Jim Desch (BUS 1970) writes, “it has been many years since my graduation. In 1965, I enrolled in Point Park Junior College. It was one of the few colleges willing to take a chance on me. During my time at Point Park Junior College and [later] Point Park College, I met my late wife, Nancy Beckett Desch, and my best friend, Denny Hathrill. Denny and I graduated [with degrees] in business and Nancy graduated with an education degree. She taught in the City of Pittsburgh for 34 years. I later received my master’s degree in education at the University of Pittsburgh and taught in the City of Pittsburgh for 36 years. I am now retired, and I am the head teaching pro at Cloverleaf Golf Club in Delmont, Pa. Point Park College gave me a chance, and I made the most of it. I remain a proud alumnus.”
William B. Fogle, LTC ret. (A&S 1983) is part owner of VCI, LLC, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned small business that was awarded a contract with the Department of Energy Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). He writes, “this is the first time DOE SPR has awarded the A/E services to a small business. This award has made VCI the Engineer of Record for the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.” He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology at Point Park in 1983.
Peter Wentzel (COPA 1982) recently reconnected with fellow dance alumnus Rob Ashford (COPA 1983, HON ’10) when Ashford choreographed dance sequences for the feature films A Million Ways to Die in the West and Ted 2, both of which were produced by MRC Studios. Wentzel is vice president of production finance at MCR and Ashford is an award-winning director and producer for the Broadway stage, film and television.
David Perozzi (COM 1988) is now senior editorial producer at ABC News. In July 2014, ABC News re-hired Perozzi after a seven-year-departure. He is working closely with television legend Barbara Walters on a six-part series ABC News is producing for ID Discovery. The series revisits and updates some of Ms. Walters' biggest crimes stories with fresh interviews and new updates. The series is being called American Scandal and is scheduled to air September, 2015.
Margaret Brindle (BUS 1988) writes, “I am a grateful alumna of Point Park University! Since graduating, I've become a university professor; authored four books; completed an M.P.A. and a Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University; and created and directed a university arts management program. Recently, I've been working in Africa to create social entrepreneurship education programs for low-income women and am on the board of the African IP Trust and vice president of Light Years IP - returning income to Africans. The only reason I can boast about these achievements is this: I remember from where I came! A girl from Wilkinsburg, attending the Pittsburgh Playhouse for 10 years! And, that Point Park University believed in me well before I believed I could succeed. Thank you very much to my alma mater for giving me a springboard for success and opening a large window.”
Karen Ferrick-Roman (COM 1991) received her doctoral degree in educational leadership from Duquesne University’s School of Education in December. Her dissertation focused on the relationship between schools and community, the community and economic impact of school closure and how schools might be reused in underserved communities. She gave a tabletop presentation of “The New Endangered Species: Community-Anchoring Public Schools” for the University Council of Educational Administration Center for Educational Leadership and Social Justice. Ferrick-Roman graduated summa cum laude with a master’s degree in journalism and communications from Point Park, and magna cum laude with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and sociology from Indiana University of Pa. Media relations manager for Duquesne University, she is active as director of student and university relations for the International Association of Business Communicators and as a volunteer with Rochester Public Library.
John Tommasino (A&S 1993) graduated from the Southern California Health Institute, as a certified personal trainer, in 2014. He owns his own business, J.T.'s Fitness, in the San Fernando Valley.
Patrick Murray (A&S ’00) writes that he “and fellow Point Park graduate Jonathan Stewart (A&S 1996) are proud to have offered a partner position to another Point Park graduate, Christopher Thomas (A&S ’01).” Murray and Stewart founded Stewart, Murray & Associates Law Group, which handles mainly civil litigation and injury cases, in 2009. Thomas joined the firm several years ago to start a criminal law department. He became a partner effective January 1, 2015 and now chairs the firm’s department of criminal defense.
Abbey Helbling (COM ’05) has been hired by PNC as a Marketing Specialist II for Investments and Retirement Marketing. She earned her degree in advertising and public relations in 2005.
Katherine Lancaster (BUS ’13) is the new communications coordinator for the Pittsburgh CLO. She earned her M.B.A. degree at Point Park in 2013.
Jared Passante (COPA ’14) writes, “moved to Los Angeles in September, 2014. I’m currently living in Hollywood and working in a full time, entry-level position at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Calif.” Passante earned his bachelor’s degree in cinema and digital arts in 2014.
Leigh Szczepanski (BUS ’12) and Alan Hallstein (A&S ’12) have announced their engagement. The couple met at Point Park, their alma mater. Szczepanksi received her bachelor’s degree in sports, arts, and entertainment management (SAEM) with a minor in business management. She is currently working in promotions. Hallstein received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and is currently working in corrections. The wedding is planned for October 2015 at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.
Amanda King (COM ’12) has accepted a position as media coordinator at Carnegie Mellon University. She earned her degree in broadcast journalism at Point Park in 2012.
Julia Best Warner (COPA ’13) played the part of Julie in the Pittsburgh City Theater production of Oblivion, directed by Stuart Carden, last March. Warner earned her degree in acting at Point Park.
Nicole M Soriano (COPA ’13) plays the lead role of Mama Bear in the national touring production of The Bernstein Bears The Musical. Soriano is also the resident choreographer for the Boston Children’s Theatre in Boston, Mass.
Robert Gregg (COM ’10) writes: “On Jan. 14, 2015 I received two awards at a ceremony at the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta. But it really wouldn’t have been as special if Kristi Grey and Chris Perkins had not been there with me. They are the other [award] winners from the Pittsburgh International Airport. They are above wing workers and I am a below wing worker. However, as Chris said, ‘there shouldn’t really be a distinction between the two. We are all part of one big team!’ The above wing workers work directly with the passengers and the below wing workers focus on the baggage. [The above wing workers] have their own lingo but they never allowed me to feel as though I was left out, and we congratulated each other. [The] award was the kind that you want to find just the right spot for, because it is solid glass and says Delta Climber’s Club Winner and your name, of course. We [also received a second award that] displays compliments that our peers shared anonymously. Supervisor Michelle was proud to read these aloud to the audience before handing them to us. Kristi told me that she enjoys dealing with the ramp below wing crew and I told her that I feel the same way [about] the above wing workers. Chris knows the territory [well] and, fortunately for the below wing workers, he is always willing to lend a helping hand …We let the people at the event know that the Steel City contains good and honest workers who are going to keep on climbing as the planes continue to soar. In conclusion, I will remember … the day I formed a bond with two coworkers who I previously [knew] simply as two individuals who walked in and out of the same airport doors.”
Patrick Scott (A&S ’12) became an assistant principal at Woodland Hills High School last September. He previously spent seven years teaching computer applications at Mars Area Middle School. Scott earned his bachelor’s degree from Robert Morris University and his master’s degree and principal’s certification from Point Park in 2012.
Hunter Tresnicky (COM ’14) is a news producer at WJAC-TV in Johnstown, Pa. He says, “I chose Point Park after attending the High School Summer Media Workshop. Working with the students, professors and equipment for an entire week confirmed for me my career choice of broadcast journalism. Tresnicky started with WJAC in May 2014 as an intern. “I serve as the producer for the 6 p.m. weekday newscast. My daily responsibilities include helping the noon anchor produce the noon newscast, I then booth the newscast, meaning I time the show from the control room. After the noon, I begin work on the 6 p.m. show, which is filled entirely with local news.” Tresnicky is also active in the arts community of Johnstown as an actor and singer. He earned his degree in broadcast reporting in 2014.
Tyler Scherer (COPA ’12) is a member of the cast of the national tour of Beauty and the Beast, which stopped at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh March 31- April 5. A Pittsburgh native, Scherer is also an alumnus of Central Catholic High School and the CLO Academy. As a Point Park student, he played such roles as Zak in A Chorus Line, Jigger in Carousel and Kodaly in She Loves Me. For the past two years Scherer has resided in Los Angeles, where he is involved in Playhouse West.
Erdem Kurtmen (BUS ’13) is a special project engineer and project business analyst with Guralp Crane and Machine Construction Industry and Trade Inc. He earned his M.B.A with a concentration in international business. A native of Turkey, Kurtmen served as secretary of the Graduate Student Association and as graduate assistant during his time at Point Park. He says, “an M.B.A. degree is another feather in the hat of an engineer who wishes to have a bright future. An engineering degree teaches you how to apply your knowledge practically. An M.B.A. degree teaches you how to manage people with engineering degrees who are going to be working for you. My own M.B.A. studies gave me many ideas on how to approach a variety of projects more effectively.”
Munkhdelger Tsedenbal (BUS ’14) is a market risk analyst for XacBank in Mongolia, where he was raised. He earned his M.B.A with a concentration in international business. “The M.B.A. program at Point Park offered a perfect blend of quality, flexibility and rigor. [It] provided me with the knowledge and skills to land a position as a market risk analyst at one of the leading banks in Mongolia. Point Park’s distinguished professors with real-world experience broadened my horizons and business perspectives in unique ways. I must give kudos to Dr. Dimitris J. Kraniou, my academic advisor and one of my professors. Through the courses, he challenged and influenced me in ways that no other professor has.”
Jessica Ladow (COM ’09) is a partner operations manager at Google Pittsburgh, where she provides operational support for major retailers who advertise on Google Shopping and other comparison shopping engines. A journalism graduate, Ladow says, “I use a variety of internal tools to detect, diagnose and resolve issues that affect our clients and their product data. One of the biggest things that I do is provide clear communication of complex concepts to our clients and internal partners.”
Frank Sottile (COM ’14) is marketing communications manager at Fourth Economy Consulting in Pittsburgh. His responsibilities include “managing, maintaining and updating several websites, both that of my own company as well as several others we manage for regional initiatives and other organizations. I also do a fair amount of graphic design work, email and social media marketing and organizing proposals to pursue new projects for the firm.” Sottile says “The best thing about the M.A. in journalism and mass communication program was that it really focused on the areas that I had been lacking for the modern workplace. I was able to tailor the program to meet specific goals I had in mind to improve my skill sets.”
Callan Bergmann (COPA ’10) returned to Point Park to host a Q&A with Conservatory of Performing Arts students on Jan. 22. Bergmann was in town performing in Pippin the Musical at the Benedum Center, located just a few blocks away from campus. Bergmann has performed in the Broadway production of Cinderella, off-Broadway productions of Silence! The Musical and Lucky Guy, and the TV series Smash. He says, “I grew up doing gymnastics, but I knew I needed training in musical theatre and dance. I credit Point Park for shaping me as a triple threat (or a quadruple threat if you count my gymnastics skills). Growing up in a small town, Downtown Pittsburgh was a perfect fit for me because I needed a stepping-stone before moving to New York City. Pittsburgh really is a great city.”