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Class Notes


Pioneers in Paris

Bob Saline and Deborah Steele Saline (both COM 1968) stayed true to their school during a recent vacation in Paris, France, where they donned Point Park gear while sightseeing in the City of Lights. The Salines, who believe they are the first couple to meet and marry as Point Park students, have had an ongoing love affair with each other and their alma mater that has endured through 46 years of marriage, raising a family, and professional accomplishments. Together they founded PR Works, Inc., and the couple has long worked side-by-side in mentoring, teaching and professional development. Their son Erik Saline earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology at Point Park in 1998. The legacy continues for the Salines, who recently created a bequest in their will to support the Vincent LaBarbera Scholarship Fund, which supports journalism and mass communication students at the University. “We are grateful for all that Point Park did for us as students,” says Bob. “We are proud to be graduates. We are pleased to give back.” Where have you been in your Point Park gear? Send us a photo, and tell us your story: thepoint@pointpark.edu.


Carmen Pellegrino (A&S 1977) writes, “My thanks to Point Park University. It was 1977 when I proudly walked out of Point Park with a quality education. This was accomplished during a period of seven years attending evening classes. I graduated from high school in 1954, so the challenge of going back to college several years later (1970) was not easy. With my military obligation fulfilled, it was time to move on with my life's work. Point Park was a perfect fit for me, with excellent professors guiding me to accomplish my endeavors. They prepared me well and I was able to attain a degree in engineering technology (both electrical and mechanical). Many thanks to Point Park for preparing me well for my life's work, enabling me to progress throughout my career. Traveling from coast to coast, many opportunities came my way and I [will always remember] how it all started. It was a journey that I will never forget. I retired from US Airways, where I served as an electrical engineer and technical writer, in 2001. As I reflect back to my time at Point Park, those years enabled me to succeed in so many ways. After retirement I was able to author and publish two books – Memories of a Foregone Era and One Hundred Years (1912 to 2012) of Westinghouse High School. These two books were a labor of love for me, and Westinghouse rewarded me with an induction to the school's wall of fame. Several elective courses I took at Point Park [influenced] my desire to write and I was able to pursue this endeavor. A good education is a valuable asset that can never be taken away from you. I am a proud member of the Point Park Alumni Association and encourage more students to consider attending and realize you can get there from here.

Moving Up to “The Show”: 40 years in the making for alumnus Kim Payne

For Kim Payne (COM 1979), it took four decades but he finally made “The Show” – the National Hockey League (NHL). Payne, who worked as a volunteer statistician for the Pittsburgh Penguins at the old Civic Arena while attending Point Park (1975-1979) as a journalism and communications major, also served as an off-ice official for the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League (AHL) for 32 years, where he performed various duties such as official scorer, goal judge, timekeeper, and penalty box attendant. He grew up around hockey in Hershey, Pa. (“Chocolatetown, U.S.A.”), where the sport is second nature with the Bears being the oldest and most successful franchise in the AHL, the NHL’s primary development circuit. Now a resident of Tampa, Fla. for the last five years, his association with professional hockey came full circle last spring when he was notified by the NHL that he had been selected as a member of the Off-Ice Crew for the Tampa Bay Lightning, the league’s Eastern Conference champion, who play their home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Payne, who is the staff writer and media coordinator at Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Fla., began his new part-time job with three preseason games in early fall. During the regular season, he is one of two league-designated concussion “spotters,” individuals who are responsible for watching for potential concussions as part of the NHL’s new program. He also serves as an alternate to substitute for various Off-Ice Official positions. Payne is the only Off-Ice Official in the 75-year history of the Hershey Bears to ever be promoted from the AHL to the NHL in this capacity. “I was thrilled when I got the call and I couldn’t wait to work my first game,” he said.  “I feel humbled and privileged by this honor.” In addition to his undergraduate degree from Point Park, Payne earned his M.B.A. with a marketing concentration from St. Leo University. (Editor’s Note: In the fall 2015 issue of The Point, some information in Kim Payne’s Class Note was incorrectly reported. The Point regrets the error.)


Pamela Shafer (COPA 1985) booked a guest star role on the CBS series Scorpion. She played the lead character’s Irish mother. The episode aired on CBS on Nov. 23. Shafer earned her degree in musical theatre at Point Park

Anthony McCune (COM 1982) operates Your Right Hand, the Virtual Assistant for Social Media based in Canton, Ohio. For information, visit www.AMcVirtualOffice.com.


Thomas Petro (BUS 1990), president and CEO of Fox Chase Bank in Hatboro, Pa., has been appointed to the 2015-16 board of the American Bankers Association (ABA). The confirmation took place in Los Angeles during the ABA’s annual convention. He earned a spot on the ABA board through his naming as vice chairman of the ABA Government Relations Council. “Tom has been an active voice in the government relations efforts supporting the Pennsylvania banking industry for many years,” said Pennsylvania Bankers Association President and CEO Duncan Campbell. “His appointment to the ABA board is a great opportunity for Pennsylvania banks to have a stronger voice in Washington.” Before joining Fox Chase Bank, Petro led the turnaround, as president and chief executive officer, of Northeast Pennsylvania Financial Corp. and its principal subsidiary, First Federal Bank in Hazleton, Pa. He has also served as executive vice president of the Bryn Mawr Trust Company, president of the Bryn Mawr Brokerage Company and chairman of Bryn Mawr Asset Management. He began his banking career with Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh, Pa. Petro earned an associate’s degree in banking and a bachelor’s degree in business management at Point Park.

Dawn Holden (COM 1998) has joined VisitPITTSBURGH as vice president of partnership development. She previously served at Hargrove Inc., where her responsibilities included sales of custom rental exhibits to C-Suite executives at associations, DMO's, corporations and other organizations. Holden was also previously employed by Destination D.C. from 2005 - 2013 and prior to that she was the assistant executive director at the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Raised in Mercer County, Holden earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications at Point Park. She also has an M.B.A. (with a focus on global strategy) from the University of Maryland University College.  

Bobbie Norman Cubbage (COM 1996) is the workshop instructor at the new Lauri Ann West Community Center (formally the Boyd Community Center). Cubbage also works for the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church Preschool since 2007, in the Pre-Kindergarten class. Prior to teaching, Cubbage worked for WGBN-AM 1150, and WPGR-AM 1080. Cubbage and her husband Samuel own a small business, "Cubbiez Creations", where they make soap and chocolate couture creations. She has been married to Samuel Cubbage (also a former Point Park student), for 13 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications at Point park.


Rick Moody, Jr. (A&S ’05, ’13) recently was appointed clinical supervisor of the Outpatient Forensic Mental Health Unit at Pittsburgh Mercy Behavioral Health Offender Services. He previously served as manager at Shawn McGill MSW Consulting. Moody was honored with the Visions Towards Peace Counseling LLC's "Road Runner Award" for mental healthcare services. He has also been re-appointed as a member of the City of Pittsburgh Propel Commission. Moody earned his bachelor’s degree in English and his master’s degree in criminal justice at Point Park.

Lou Takacs (COM’04) has accepted a position as communications specialist in the Allegheny County Controller’s Office, where he develops and disseminates communications on fiscal and policy issues concerning Pennsylvania's second largest local government. Takacs is a former legislative assistant for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and also served as community relations director for Pennsylvania State Representative Erin Molchany. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism, with a minor in political science, at Point Park in 2004. During his time on campus, Takacs served as president of United Student Government (USG) and as editor of the student newspaper, The Globe.

Jason Lauffer (A&S ’04) is director of business development and customer services at Thales Transport & Security Inc. According to Mass Transit Magazine, “during his tenure with Thales, Lauffer founded and started the services group for the U.S., servicing 11 different customer signalling sites, providing 24/7 on-call support and deployment of system upgrade projects for lifecycle extensions … In his two decades in the business, Lauffer has demonstrated a keen commitment to transit safety and a dedication to his customers, and has risen to the top of the industry as an expert on communication-based train control and rail signalling systems. In addition to signalling jobs, Lauffer is responsible for the business development of the other business lines within Thales Ground Transport, including Urban Rail Signalling (CBTC); Revenue Collection Systems (Fare Collection); Integrated Communications systems; and Mine Line Rail Solutions. During his prolific career, Lauffer has been involved in the deployment of several worldwide train control projects, including in Taipei, Taiwan; New York City; Heathrow Airport (London); Dulles Airport (Washington, D.C.); Baltimore, Md.; Busan, South Korea; Dallas Tex.; Atlanta, Ga; and San Francisco, Calif.. Additionally, Lauffer has overseen train signalling bid proposals for some of the largest and most complicated transit networks in the country, including New York and San Francisco, and for people mover and airport systems in Newark, New Jersey, West Virginia, Orlando, Florida, Houston Texas, and Washington, D.C. … Lauffer is named on four engineering patents, three trainborne-related and one for a cable-driven train inspection system, and holds several awards for design engineering during his work at Bombardier.” Read the entire article. Lauffer earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering technology at Point Park in 2004.

Patricia M. Lonsbary CFRE (BUS ’01) has joined the American Red Cross of Western Pennsylvania as a major gifts officer – individual channel serving Allegheny, Greene, and Washington counties in western Pennsylvania. In her new position, Lonsbary is responsible for the cultivation and stewardship of major donors. Prior to her employment with the Red Cross, Lonsbary gained extensive fundraising experience for nonprofits through her roles as a consultant and managing director of Bob Carter Companies in Sarasota, Fla.; global philanthropy fundraising manager for major donors, with UNICEF in Geneva, Switzerland; and vice president of development and marketing with Sheffield Place in Kansas City, Mo., among other positions. Lonsbary earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in psychology and communications and a minor in journalism from the University of Pittsburgh, and an M.B.A. (international business) from Point Park. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

Krystin Roczko (BUS’08) spoke to Point Park students about her work as U.S. field marketing manager for Reebok-CCM Hockey, a subsidiary of Adidas Group, on Oct. 8 at a workshop hosted by the Pittsburgh Center for Sports Media and Marketing at Point Park University. According to Roczko, who earned her M.B.A. at Point Park, “sports have always been a passion of mine. I knew that I wanted to work in the sports world in some capacity. The sports, arts and entertainment management (SAEM) concentration allowed me to gain as much knowledge in all areas of the business without limiting myself. Since I knew that I wasn’t going to be happy with just the status quo, I wanted to continue to push myself. That is why the M.B.A. program was the perfect way to start my career.” Roczko was recently honored with the Adidas Group 2014 Team Work Award and Adidas Group Marketing 2012 Representative of the Year.

Becki Dennis (COPA ’06) writes, “I had a speaking role in the major motion picture Ted 2, written and directed by Seth MacFarlane.” A resident of Bedford, Mass., Dennis earned her degree in musical theatre at Point Park.


Michele L. Tabaka (COM ’13) writes, “Being born and raised in the Pittsburgh area, then attending Point Park University, it was time for a change of pace. [In addition to] working full-time as a marketing manager for a local business in Pittsburgh, I had the opportunity to work for Pittsburgh Fashion Week as a communications liaison and for Allegheny Valley School District as: publicity director for the high school musical, assistant girl's basketball coach, and head 7th grade volleyball coach. After about two and a half years’ experience in the marketing field, I wanted to go outside of my comfort zone and put to test my skills and knowledge in Washington D.C. After two short weeks moving out here, I gratefully accepted a full-time position in the Digital Advertising Department at The Washington Post.” Tabaka earned her Point Park degree in public relations and advertising with a minor in business management.

Shayna Robinson (BUS ’14) writes, “I am so excited to share the news that I have accepted a position in Jacksonville, Fla. Thanks to my great professors and diverse classes, I was able to obtain a position as an executive assistant for 1-800-BOARDUP, a great company with a great cause.” Robinson earned her degree in organizational leadership at Point Park.

Richelle Szypulski (COM ’13) recently accepted a position as editorial operations assistant at Travel + Leisure magazine in New York City, where she assists the magazine’s editor-in-chief, executive editor and managing editor. Prior to that, she worked as a freelance web editorial producer for Vogue.com. According to Szypulski, who also has her own photography business, “I am absolutely loving it in New York, but I do miss the wonderful people back in Pittsburgh and at Point Park.”

Robert Michael (A&S ’14) is an English/special education teacher at Moon Area High School. Michael, who earned his B.A. and dual certification in Secondary Education English and special education at Point Park in 2014, says that his student teaching placement at Bethel Park High School was a key factor in being hired for his current position at Moon. “I was a nontraditional student. My decision to seek teaching credentials didn’t come until I was 28 years old, living in New York City and working in the human resources field,” says Michael. “When I decided to move back to Pittsburgh, I began my course work at another local university. I was very displeased with the lack of connection to the professors, delivery of content and the school overall, which prompted me to shop around.” He ultimately chose Point Park instead. Michael is now pursuing an M.A. in curriculum and instruction, with a concentration in teaching and leadership, and expects to graduate in 2016.

Gulsara Shingozhina (BUS ’13) is an ISS specialist (Investment Services) with the Bank of New York Mellon. A native of Almaty, Kazakhstan, Shingozhina earned her M.B.A. with an international business concentration at Point Park in 2013. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Moscow University of Industry and Finance. She says she chose Point Park because, “as a foreign student, I was looking for a school that offered interesting programs, had a great reputation, a convenient location, smaller size classes and most importantly, cultural diversity. Point Park met all my requirements. One of the greatest characteristics of Point Park is its faculty, who create a warm and positive environment for international students. I especially would like to thank Rebecca Lee and Amanda Avampato in the International Student Services and Enrollment Office for their support and love, and for organizing incredible cultural events that brought all domestic and international students and faculty together.” 

Elizabeth (Birdsell) Mutschler (BUS ’12), married Scott Mutschler on Sept. 6, 2015 at Fellows Riverside Gardens in Youngstown, Ohio. The bridal party included Andy Olson (BUS 2011) and Karly Shorts (A&S 2013). Point Park alumni in attendance included Carleigh Detorre (A&S 2012), Phylicia (Winland) Joy (A&S 2012), and Kaitlin Villines (COPA 2012). Elizabeth is the marketing and community relations manager for Magic Tree Pub and Eatery in Boardman, Ohio. Her role within the family business includes social media management, community and press relations, and event coordination, among other responsibilities. She says she is thrilled to be utilizing many of the skills she learned during her college career at Point Park, both inside the classroom and outside at her many internships. She received her bachelor of science degree in sports, arts and entertainment management (SAEM), with a minor in advertising and public relations, at Point Park.  

Daniel Komara (BUS ’11) is a vice president, associate service director for the Bank of New York Mellon. He earned his M.B.A. with a concentration in management at Point Park in 2011. In gaining his promotion to vice president at BNY Mellon, Komara says “having an M.B.A. definitely contributed to my upward mobility within the organization. My current manager places a lot of value on education and the internal motivation that an individual shows by furthering it. “He says he chose Point Park because “a handful of my more successful colleagues had earned M.B.A. degrees from Point Park and recommended the program to me. And the Downtown Pittsburgh location and class schedule conveniently fit into my work/life routine.” In addition, “I liked the flexibility of the program, and also appreciated that Point Park did not require me to enroll in any unnecessary prerequisite courses. Point Park really offered me the most value in comparison with other M.B.A. programs that I considered.”

Daniel Mikulan (A&S ’13) is a cyber intrusion analyst for PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh. He earned his bachelor’s degree in intelligence and national security in 2013. A Marine Corps veteran, Mikulan says that career advancement was the most important factor in choosing Point Park's intelligence and national security program. He currently works with PNC's SOC/CERT team. According to Mikulan, “these types of fusion centers are commonly used in the security world to gather threat intelligence. I have seen my share of fusion centers while serving five years overseas and I am happy to be a part of this new state-of-the-art facility here in my hometown. My short-term career goals are to earn the respect of my team through performance and dedication. My long-term goals are to develop subject matter expertise in the cyber intelligence field and take on a leadership role.” Mikulan also says, “To all the veterans at Point Park University and those coming home: Our time in service does not have to be our greatest accomplishment. Keep your standards high. I’d like to extend a special thanks to the intelligence and national security program, Point Park’s Career Development Center (which helped Mikulan obtain an internship with the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance), and the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania. “

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