Finding the path to the top of the job market was made clear to Pottstown High School students by professionals representing over 25 companies participating in the high school Career Summit. The daylong program was organized by Mr. Dennis Arms, business education teacher, and Mrs. Danielle McCoy, Director of Career and Technical Education. Meeting in small, focus groups with students, business people provided answers to questions ranging from “what do you do,” and “what post-secondary education do I need to be successful in your field.”
Keynote speaker Lacee Ecker, Pottstown High School graduate Class of 2005, discussed the focus and path that she took that led her from Pottstown High School to her current position as Contract Attorney for U.S. Steel Corporation in Pittsburgh. She provided insight into the value of involvement in high school and collegiate activities that led to her being accepted into law school and her current employment position. Ms. Ecker emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with supportive and positive thinking friends. She noted that being proactive plays an important role in applying for admissions to schools and scholarships. She pointed out that the Pottstown Class of 2013 was awarded over $586,000 which amounted to approximately $3,000 per graduating student.
Skipper Beltz, Pottstown High School graduate Class of 1989, is the current Director of Product Management at Martin Guitars. He spoke about the challenges of his position and the need to learn the role of modern technology in the field of production. In addition to providing insight for students, he brought along as a special treat an acoustic guitar valued at over $10,000 dollars. Pottstown student Andria Rich who had previously authored her own song was given the opportunity to the delight of her classmates to perform using the guitar.
Students were excited to hear Gamini Dharmasena and Steve Lash, Production Engineers at Video Ray in Pottstown, as they discussed the many aspects of robotics. Of special interest to the students was the experience that the speakers had helping to upright the “Costa Concordia” cruise ship after it sunk off the coast of Italy in 2012. Students noted that Video Ray, a company internationally recognized for its work, is located in their hometown of Pottstown.
Listening to the financial and intrinsic rewards of working in a hair salon or as a critical care nurse all within the borders of Pottstown gave students an extra sense of pride in their hometown.
Hearing professionals such as Jim Arms express his passion not only for his job at Dallas Data System but also for his excitement in being part of the team that is responsible for building the Pottstown Carousel.
Event Organizer Mr. Dennis Arms said, “It is my continued goal to bring real world experiences to Pottstown students through speakers, field trips, and hands-on activities. As an added bonus to the event, many of our speakers were Pottstown graduates. I am proud to be a Pottstown graduate and lifelong Pottstown resident and hope that our students share that feeling.”
Director of Career and Technical Education Mrs. McCoy agreed and said, “Students must see the value in their learning to truly buy into what they are being taught. If a student asks why they are learning something or when they will ever use that information, answers coming from people like Sharif Omar, the CEO of Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, means a great deal.” She continued, “We couldn’t have done this without all of Mr. Arms’ hard work. His contributions to Pottstown students are invaluable. The success of this year’s program for our students is exciting because we are looking to expand the Career Summit next year.”
Speakers attending this year’s program included:
• Gamini Dharmasena and Steve Lash, Video Ray, for careers in Science Technology and Engineering
• Mary Rieck, Pottstown School District PEAK Coordinator and Dotty Frey, Program Director from Mom’s House, for Education and Training
• Brian Luzzi, Video Ray, Kristen Rawlings, Communications Director for Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, and Alana Mauger, Director of Communications for Montgomery County Community College for Marketing
• Representatives from Lords and Ladies Hair Salon
• Erica Weekly, Assistant Borough Manager and Mark Painter, PA State Representative for Government
• Andy Desko, PA Fish and Game Commission, for Agriculture
• Lori Endlich, Controller for Video Ray and Ann Marie Supinski Market Manager for WalMart discussed Business, Management, and Finance
• Jim Arms, VP of Dallas Data Systems, Bill Rosenbaum, Directory of Technology for Montgomery Community College and Skip Beltz, Director of Product Management, Martin Guitars for Information Technology
• Amber Krause, Critical Care Nurse at Lehigh Valley Hospital and Sharif Omar, CEO of Pottstown Memorial Medical Center spoke on careers in Health
• Anesa Owens and Robert Folwell, Trail Coordinators for Schuylkill River Heritage and Francine Marz, Head Chef at Montgomery County Community College presented information on the Hospitality and Tourism career cluster
• Marta Keisling of Steel River Playhouse represented careers in the Arts
• Lacee Ecker, Contract Attorney for U.S. Steel, Jamie Ottaviano, attorney with O’Donnell, Weiss, Mattei, and Siobhan Klinger Communications Coordinator for Whitemarsh Police Department, Allen Stewart, Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff discussed fields in the area of law and law enforcement.