Alumni and Friends Honored at Annual Alumni Awards

By Steve Harmic, Penn State DuBois

In the front row, pictured, from left to right, are: Carrie Wood, Dave Spigelmyer, Stephen Johnson and Aaron Beatty.
In the back row, from left to right, are: Lois Richards, Rawley Cogan, Ross Donahue, Brian Elias and Chancellor Anita McDonald. (Provided photo)

DUBOIS – Some of the most accomplished individuals in the Penn State DuBois community were recently honored for their success during the Penn State DuBois Alumni Society Awards Banquet, at the DuBois Country Club.  The society presented awards to four people this year, based on their professional accomplishments and the support they’ve offered the campus and their communities.

This year’s honorees are: Carrie Wood, recipient of the Dave Shaffer Outstanding Young Alumni Award; David Spigelmyer, recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award; Stephen Johnson, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award; and Aaron Beatty, recipient of the Distinguished Ambassador Award.

Aaron Beatty accepted the Distinguished Ambassador award first during the program.  This award is given to an individual who may or may not be an alumnus, but has made outstanding contributions to the campus and its mission. Beatty has served as chair of the Penn State DuBois Athletics Golf Benefit for the past two years.  He has also volunteered with the planning of the Lion Wine and Cheese fundraiser for athletics.  During his involvement, these two events have raised more than $20,000 for campus athletics. 

Beatty is the human resources director for Beatty Restaurant Enterprises, which operates McDonald’s of DuBois and Brockway, as well as human resources director for LiJo Incorporated.  He also works as shop manager for Treasure Lake golf courses.

Beatty’s friend, Brian Elias of DuBois, presented the award.  Elias said of Beatty, “He’s a real go-getter and has done wonderful things for Penn State DuBois athletics.  I remember how he would always come to me and ask me to donate to the golf outing and to the wine and cheese.” 

Beatty commented, “I’ve been extremely lucky for the friends and family who have supported me in everything I do.”  One of the most impactful things he’s found support in doing, Beatty said, is volunteering with athletic programs at the campus.

“To have a campus of one of the greatest universities in the world right in your home town is amazing,” he said.  “Supporting the campus and the teams is a great cause.  All you need to do is come to a sporting event and see the drive these young people have and you’ll know that they’ll go on to be exceptional citizens.”

Next, Carrie Wood was presented with the Dave Shaffer Outstanding Young Alumni Award.  Wood is the chief executive officer of Timberland Federal Credit Union in DuBois.  She earned a Master’s degree in business administration from Penn State in 2002.  Previously, she earned a dual bachelor’s degree in business administration and Spanish from Juniata College in 1998. 

Wood currently serves as chair of the development committee for the DuBois Educational Foundation (DEF), which provides financial support to Penn State DuBois.  She is also a past president of the Penn State DuBois Alumni Society and continues to be an active member of the society.  Additionally, Wood is president of the Shortway Chapter of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.  She volunteers with the GFWC Curwensville Woman’s Club and the Curwensville United Methodist Church and serves on various professional committees. Wood’s award was presented to her by her own mother, Lois Richards, who is also a past recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award.  Richards spoke of her daughter’s dedication and hard work, noting that it only took Wood four years from her date of hire at Timberland to become the CEO.

“She dedicates herself to something and she does it,” Richards said.  “She sets high goals for herself, and she reaches them.” 

Richards also explained that above all of her professional and volunteer responsibilities, Wood finds time to make family her top priority.  She said, “No matter how busy she is, Carrie always makes time for her family, and puts her two wonderful children first.” 

Dave Spigelmyer then received the Outstanding Alumni Award.  Spigelmyer currently serves as vice president of government relations for Chesapeake Energy in its Eastern Division operations. He is chairman of the Marcellus Shale Coalition and is a founding member in the development of that organization. Spigelmyer is responsible for Chesapeake Energy’s state government relations program in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia.  He is a 1982 graduate of Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in public service.

Spigelmyer has built a 29-year career in the natural gas industry, building bridges between state and local government officials, communities and community leaders, philanthropic organizations and advocacy groups.  He began his career working as a director in his hometown YMCA and then moved into the natural gas industry in 1983. He serves on the board of directors for the Moraine Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America, is a former president of the board of directors for the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, and is a member of a variety of additional professional organizations.

Spigelmyer’s long-time friend Rawley Cogan presented the award.  Cogan spoke of his friend’s direct, yet careful approach to his work in the natural gas industry. Cogan said, “He’s a true professional, a good communicator.  He was born right here in Clearfield County, right here in DuBois.  He understands what it takes to have clean air and clean water.  He didn’t read about it in a book, he lived it.  He is connected to the outdoors and conservation.”

In his comments, Spigelmyer echoed those sentiments about the quality of the environment in the DuBois area; that in the natural environment, and that created by the people.

“When I think of a definition of home, I think of a great place to raise a family,” Spigelmyer said.  He also shared insight on his experience of becoming successful with integrity.  He said, “Success is driven by how one treats others.  Treat everyone with compassion and a level of respect.” 

Stephen Johnson was then presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Johnson is the vice president for Cornell University Government and Community Relations. He directs the university’s legislative efforts and coordinates its involvement with government-focused higher education associations.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Penn State in 1967, and a master’s degree in public administration from Maxwell Graduate School of Syracuse University. 

In his 41-year tenure at Cornell, Johnson has been closely associated with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Program, state relations, and federal advocacy. He serves on the board of the local economic development agency, Tompkins County Area Development, and Excell Partners, a regional economic development partnership focused on Upstate New York.

Ross Donahue, Johnson’s life-long friend, presented the award.  Donahue said, “Steve cares about the community.  He’s willing to do anything he can to help.  He lives with honesty and integrity.  I’m proud to be his friend.” 

Upon receiving his award, Johnson said, I want to thank the association, I’m very honored.”  He then shared reflections on receiving the Lifetime Achievement award, and on how things have changed since he first started to make those achievements. 

“When I learned I was being considered for this award, I thought, ‘wow,’” Johnson said. “I started at the campus in 1963.  The campus was very different in 1963.  Our first year there was 110 students.  Today, I look at what the campus has become, and I’m very proud.” 

In closing, Chancellor Anita McDonald thanked the award recipients for the deeds that they had been recognized for throughout the program.  She encouraged them to stay engaged, and to continue to inspire future generations of students and alumni.

“Please continue to stay involved with the campus,” McDonald said.  “Your efforts have made, and do continue to make a difference.  We wouldn’t be able to do the things that we do without such support from dedicated people.”

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