Posted by Torchbearers, Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 @ 10:03pm
With a wife, two kids, a dog, and dreams of being a baker, fireman, and a speedracer, it’s a good thing Aaron Kurchev doesn’t waste money; he just, “buys really cool things that he doesn’t need.” He also probably shouldn’t count on lottery winnings, because so far he’s only won, “ball games with dramatic bottom of the 7th line drives,” and, “a sexy leg contest in high school.”
Aaron starts the day off by reading the start button on his coffee maker and heading to Gojo Industries where he is the product manager for all manual dispenser systems. He spends most of his days in meetings and keeping projects on schedule, before heading home to Rootstown.
Aaron said the one word that best describes him is, “kerfuffule.” This explains a lot considering what could have been the best gift he ever received turned out to be the worst. As a 15 year old (with very sexy legs), Aaron desperately wanted an old Volkswagen Beetle. What his dad actually got him was a model of a Beetle. Aaron’s excitement lasted about 15 seconds. Too bad, because he would have looked so cool driving around in his Beetle, listening to some of his favorite artists, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr,, and Waylon Jennings.
Posted by Torchbearers, Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 @ 10:01pm
Since first year Torchbearers’ member Erin Maconachy plan of becoming a princess didn’t pan out, she fell back on her third back-up plan, her second was to be a ballerina, and is now a Senior Account Director for Outcast Fuel Network. She works to help her clients reach customers using a video platform built into gas station pumps.
When she’s not traveling for work, she works from her home office in Northwest Akron, accompanied by her Labradoodle, Bogey, “the best gift she’s ever received.” Erin starts her day off by reading The Skimm, a daily email newsletter that “skims” all of the news and provides relevant headlines/highlights across a broad range of newsworthy topics. We’re guessing she reads The Skimm on her iPad, but given the choice, she would choose an old-fashioned paper book over a kindle.
As a Kanas City transplant, Erin loves the variety of restaurants Akron has to offer. A huge fan of brunch, she and her husband Drew love Blue Door Café, and for dinner, Nuevo is quickly becoming a staple. You can also find her at Vasili’s Greek Cuisine in the valley for a quick, authentic, and delicious meal.
As part of the Greater Akron Chamber’s strategy to attract and retain talent in the region, the “30 for the Future” award honors young professionals (ages 25-39) whose stellar contributions impact their industries and the Greater Akron Region.
This year thirteen Torchbearer members and alumni were selected to be recognized as part of this prestigious group. Congratulations to:
Rachel Barnette, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
2014 has been a banner year for Torchbearers as it pursues one of its key goals of attracting and retaining talent in the Greater Akron area. Leading the effort has been the launch of Intern Edge and Ambassador, two programs that have received generous grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
While Intern Edge is a six-week structured summer program, Ambassador is in the middle of its pilot phase that began in February and will continue through October. The aim of Ambassador is to connect new recruits and key talent at local companies with various Torchbearers, who are knowledgeable about Akron and have a strong passion for living and working in this community. Each new recruit or existing employee participating in Ambassador completes an interest survey and is paired up with an Ambassador who best shares the same interests. An outside consultant acts as a liaison between the local companies and Torchbearers to help facilitate the survey completion and matching process.
Brian Hollingsworth, who is vice-chair of the Talent Attraction Retention Committee (TARC) for Torchbearers, sees Ambassador as a perfect fit for Akron. “Ambassador is such a great program for Akron because the culture of Akron is all about personal relationships,” Hollingsworth said. “We sit down; we meet with each other, and share our passions about what makes the area great. This program is a great way to introduce that culture to people looking to move to the area, or those that may not have gotten a chance to engage in a meaningful way.”
A key part of the current pilot phase for Ambassador is generating feedback from local companies as well as trying a wide range of different meeting formats, which have ranged from coffee and sit-down meals to runs through Sand Run Metro Park.
In February, TARC held a breakfast meeting with various Human Resources professionals from local companies as an opportunity to promote Ambassador and explore new ideas for making the program successful. The goal for Ambassador after the pilot phase, which is being funded by a $12,000 Knight grant, is to continue as a self-funded program that companies support and help grow each year.
“Ambassador’s potential has yet to be fully realized,” Hollingsworth said. “We want to make sure that this is an effective program for the Greater Akron area and so we are trying to be very intentional about review and future implementation. We are excited for what the future holds for this program.”
If you are interested in participating in the Ambassador program or know someone who would benefit from it, please contact Jennifer Towell at firstname.lastname@example.org
On June 20, 2014, fifteen Torchbearers and three Intern Edge participants volunteered for United Way of Summit County’s 21st Annual Day of Action on site at the Boy Scouts of America’s Camp Manatoc located in Peninsula. Torchbearers’ eighteen participants were part of the Day of Action’s 1,400 volunteers at 94 sites across Summit County.
Our volunteers performed a variety of service that included activities such as assisting Scouts at the archery range, staining tables, and cleaning changing rooms at the Camp’s new $2 million Aquatic Center, which had its inaugural season this summer.
Torchbearers spent the morning in teams of two spread across various areas of the Camp, helping out with cleaning tasks and interacting with campers.
During the lunchtime break in activities, Torchbearers were treated to Pepperoni and Vegetarian pizza, with sides of pasta salad and salad. Thirsts were quenched with a tangy batch of red Kool-Aid. The volunteers were also presented with complimentary Boy Scouts coffee mugs as mementos of their visit to Camp Manatoc.
The afternoon was spent staining tables at various locations across the Camp to preserve them for another season of vigorous use by campers and staff. In addition to a hearty coating of stain for the tables, many of the Torchbearers and Intern Edge volunteers wound up well protected from the elements with splashes of the warm, wood colored table treatment. Approximately twenty tables received a fresh coat of stain courtesy of our motivated young professionals.
Logan Rice, a participant of Torchbearers’ Intern Edge program, found it to be a rewarding way to spend her Friday. "Day of Action with Torchbearers was an exciting and fun way to help make the Akron community a better place to live," said Logan.
Heather Lentz, Class of 2013, also found it to be beneficial experience. “Working with the camp and with the boys was an awesome experience, Heather shared. “I was so pleased by the activities available to them to build character and responsibility. Further, I was impressed by the leadership shown by the young Scout leaders. I made our time there worthwhile and purposeful. It felt good to know that our help in fixing up the camp would help contribute to many more months and years of creating conscientious, responsible, and productive young men.”
The friendly smiles and conduct did not end there, as the new friends from Camp Manatoc assisted some Torchbearers by locating their missing sets of car keys. Although they were tempted to spend the rest of their summer at the Camp, the Torchbearers appreciated being able to finally head home after a long summer Day of Action.
In all, Torchbearers performed 99 volunteer hours at Camp Manatoc for the 2014 Day of Action. Aaron Kurchev, Class of 2013 and a former Boy Scout, wrapped up why this event was both rewarding and important. "Working with the Boy Scouts of America was a great trip down memory lane having been a Boy Scout in the past,” Aaron stated. “Helping with the daily work gave us a great opportunity to connect with the Scouts who live the BSA’s mission every day and care about their organization. These Boy Scouts will certainly ‘be prepared’ to take on leadership roles in our community."
On June 20 the 21st annual United Way Day of Action took place and the Torchbearers invited the interns from the Intern Edge program to participate. Day of Action is a day of work and play that benefits local nonprofit health and human service agencies in Summit County. Different groups and companies are assigned specific parts of the community that need assistance.
Torchbearers were assigned to Camp Manatoc, a summer camp for Boy Scouts that helps them sharpen their outdoor skills. Service activities ranged from painting picnic tables to taking down soccer nets. Afterwards, they let us climb on the rock wall and served us lunch with the Boy Scouts. As an intern, I felt that during these fun activities, I made meaningful new connections with some of the leaders involved with Torchbearers. Day of Action was a beautiful way to help make the Akron community a better place to live.
The Intern Edge program is an amazing opportunity that I am extremely thankful to be involved in. At first, I did not know what to expect from intern edge and honestly after a long day of work the last thing I wanted to do was go to a three-hour “meeting”. After attending the first event my attitude came full circle, and now I look forward to Wednesday at 4:30 and usually end up trying to stay much past seven. This program has giving me a whole new perspective of my hometown in which for so many years I took for granted. Over the last few weeks it has been amazing to hear how many opportunities there are in Akron not only professionally but socially as well. We in the intern edge program have learned numerous skills from how to “work a room” to being a great leader and even what one should wear in the workplace. These invaluable lessons are not brought to us in the usually lecture format we as college student are so accustom too but brought to us with smiles, passion, laughter, engaging conversations, networking and fun.
Two weeks ago, myself and fourteen other intern edge participants attended a power lunch event with Jason DiLauro. I work in financial services and was very interested to hear what Jason, who runs an extremely successful financial services practice, had to say. Now Jason’s energy was more than enough to get anyone excited but he was also gracious enough to share his candid, blunt opinions on several important topics from why having an internship is important to how great Akron is and even a quick financial planning lesson. I truly believe the interactions and connections the intern edge program has created between employers, their executives with the students and recent graduates will pay dividends for many years to come for all parties involved. This has been an amazing experience.
Intern Edge has given me a wonderful perspective on the Akron area and how closely knit the city is. Again, tonight reassured my decision to stay in Akron and begin a career when I graduate from The University of Akron. The notion that Akron is a “small, big town” was again proven tonight with 20 community leaders coming together at the First Merit building to speak with our group on Leading by Example. This session offered the opportunity to learn from not only these prominent community leaders who have dedicated their time to help us, but the other interns participating in the program. We were presented with questions that challenged us to think about the characteristics and what steps it takes to be a great leader.
The afternoon began with Justin Hilton discussing his “Secrets to Success.” I can probably speak on behalf of the group when saying he was an engaging and influential speaker. He stressed the importance of developing habits that will lead to your success and how every aspect of your life leads up to these habits. Another talking point he had was the significance of having a mentor and someone to look up to. This really hit home for me because I have been fortunate enough to have someone to turn to for advice on my professional and personal career, so I understand how powerful it can be. In conclusion, he spoke for all of the community leaders in the room when saying how you should give back to your community, with your time and money. Anyone that has been in the program would agree the people and leaders of Akron share the value of service to their community.
With each Intern Edge session, I learn more about how much that Akron has to offer. It is incredible how much time the people of Akron contribute to our community, therefore, making it a better place to live. Being a longtime resident in the Akron area, it is easy to lose sight of the resources just in our backyard. Going through the program has opened my eyes to all of the great people, events, and places to enjoy.
Before attending college at Ohio University, I lived in Cuyahoga Falls my entire life. Akron was always in my backyard, but after attending the Plugging In session at Intern Edge, I really never knew what I was missing out on in the community. During the session at Canal Park, representatives from the Akron Zoo, Summit Metro Parks, and the Akron Civic Theatre explained exciting events that are happening this summer. There were also food experts from local restaurants that suggested some of Akron’s hidden gems and professionals that recommended some of the popular places to live in the area for young professionals. Summit County Executive, Russ Pry, and the owner of the Rubber Ducks, Ken Babby, also gave advice on events in Akron and explained why they love the community.
After each Intern Edge Session, I've learned more about Akron and what it has to offer young professionals. The Plugging In session encouraged interns to explore the unique events that Akron holds this summer and after the session I know that I will definitely be in attendance at many of these events.
Posted by Torchbearers, Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 @ 11:19am
When I turned down a job offer in Los Angeles after college my friends thought I was crazy. When I moved from Columbus, Ohio back to my hometown of Akron, no one understood (well, no one but my overjoyed family). I could never quite put it into words why I love Akron so much, until this morning at 8:17 a.m.
Running late for work, I was backing out of my driveway when the telltale sound of spinning tires echoed in my ears. My little white VW Jetta was stuck in the snow. I put the car in reverse…nothing. I put it in drive…nothing. My husband had already left for the day, it was -10 degrees outside, and I was stuck—blocking half of Melbourne Avenue. I called my dad, my husband, and my brother-in-law for advice, but no one answered. With my nose hairs freezing, I began to shovel under my car, desperately trying to remove the snow under my tires. After digging for several minutes, I put my car in drive, then reverse…still nothing.
Suddenly a loud voice coming from the cab of a large, gold pickup truck said, “Hi, I’m Bill. Try this.” This stranger walked over to the front of my car and asked me to accelerate while he pushed. He didn’t ask if he could help, he just helped.
It didn’t work. After five minutes of my car being as stubborn as my English Bulldog, Bill had to leave for work and I began to call AAA. As I dialed my phone, another neighbor stopped. He was dressed in a crisp business suit, offered a very kind “good morning,” and began to push my car while I remained behind the wheel pedal to the metal. As he was pushing, two other neighbors parked behind him and walked over to help. With little introduction, they all began working together and, miraculously, my car moved out onto the snow-covered bricks of Melbourne Avenue.
I jumped out and cheered while they smiled, each telling me to have a wonderful day. As they began to walk away, I said the only words I could think of: “Thank you, you are my angels!” They smiled and I added, “Oh, by the way, I was having this crazy morning, running late, and today’s my birthday. You guys absolutely made my day.” As they all started wishing me a happy birthday, one of the neighbors said, “Oh! It’s my wife’s birthday, and tomorrow is our anniversary. We’ll be married 31 years.”
Bundled up in sub-zero temperatures and stuck in the snow, I realized why I love this town. In Akron—and specifically on Melbourne Avenue—people don’t ask to help, they just help. People celebrate each other, and are proud of the love they share in their lives and the love that surrounds them. Not a single person drove by me this morning without getting out and helping. No one.
To my neighbors who stopped to help the girl with the ridiculously big fuzzy earmuffs and frozen hands, you reminded me of my faith in the power of this great community. This town offers what we all want in our lives, and the best birthday gift is a reminder that when harmony exists within, it shines through to the outside, too.
Harmony exists on my street, and in my Akron, and it shines through on to those we touch throughout the day. Thank you, Akron!
Posted by Torchbearers, Thursday, January 9th, 2014 @ 9:52am
Thirty-Nine young leaders selected to Torchbearers’ tenth class
Torchbearers, a Greater Akron young professional organization, is proud to announce the selection of 39 future leaders for its Class of 2014. The organization had a record number of applications creating the most competitive selection process to date. As a result, Torchbearers is proud to present an exceptionally strong and professionally diverse class of future leaders in Greater Akron.
Members of this new class will take part in a year-long curriculum devoted to leadership development, community service and talent attraction and retention in Greater Akron. Members will have the opportunity to participate in the Torchbearers College Curriculum, serve the community through unique volunteer opportunities and network with community leaders.
Recruiting an incoming class that is representative of Greater Akron community was especially important to Torchbearers.
“I’m excited to collaborate with other community-minded professionals on how we can make a positive impact in Akron,” said Jennifer Hertzig, practice growth manager at BCG & Company, and Torchbearers Class of 2014 member.
Priya Srinivasan, senior engineer at Bridgestone Americas and Torchbearers Class of 2014 member, said “I look forward to the new opportunities Torchbearers will bring including new friends, new activities, and the opportunity to work closely with the non-profits in the area.”
TORCHBEARERS CLASS OF 2014
Blake Babcock Fast Switch
Rachel Barnette The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Brian Berg United Way of Summit County
Taylor Bond EdgePoint Capital Advisors
Catherine Breck Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron
Russell Burgett Cohen & Company, Ltd.
Alison Caplan Akron Art Museum
Katie Carver Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
Emily Clark Dental Ceramics Inc
Chip Clupper County of Summit
Melissa Cort Assuramed
Michael Davis Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology
Kristen Uitenham The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
Cathy Vue Asian Services In Action, Inc.
Alison White Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN) - Akron Hub/ The University of Akron
Future leaders ages 25-39 who are interested in leadership development and community service are encouraged to apply for the Class of 2015. The application process will begin in March and runs through July. Please visit TorchbearesAkron.com for more information on how to apply.
Torchbearers, a local organization that supports young professionals, is developing two dynamic programs aimed at attracting and retaining Greater Akron’s next generation of leaders. The programs are supported by $65,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Intern Edge will connect Akron summer interns in both for-profit and nonprofit companies to community life and foster connections between interns, community leaders and other civic players. Interns will gain exposure to new places to live, play and volunteer while building relationships with peers and community change makers. The six- to eight-week program aims to create a deeper sense of attachment to Akron, and will help local companies attract young talent to the area. It will also provide career resources to interns who want to return—or remain—in Akron.
Torchbearers will partner with Leadership Akron, in designing and administering the program. Together they will create an interactive and robust program that will showcase Greater Akron’s many advantages.
Torchbearers Ambassadors will help promote Akron as a vibrant place to work and live. Ambassadors will work with human resources representatives in local companies to connect with job applicants after interviews with the potential employees are completed and inform them about places to live, play and connect in Greater Akron and the region. The goal is to help local employers recruit and retain more of their employees, particularly young professionals.
Knight Foundation is providing $45,000 to support the internship program and $20,000 for the ambassadors pilot. The funding will go to resources needed to develop the programs and inspire participants to pursue careers in Greater Akron.
“These two programs will highlight Akron’s rich community life and encourage talented professionals who are considering Akron as a career destination to make it their home,” said Jennifer Thomas, Akron program director for Knight Foundation. “Building on the existing talent pool in Akron will add to the vitality of the city and create more opportunities into the future.”
The Torchbearers Ambassadors pilot will begin in early 2014, and Intern Edge will launch in the summer of 2014. Both programs will ultimately be maintained through fees from participating companies. Torchbearers will announce an application process and additional program details early next year.
Posted by Torchbearers, Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 @ 2:24pm
When: Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 5:30pm – 6:30pm Where: Brennan, Manna & Diamond, LLC, 75 E. Market Street, Akron, OH 44308
This event is for the Class of 2013.
Several members of the Class of 2013 met at the end of August and came up with great ideas for the class service project for Big Brothers Big Sisters! In order to keep the momentum going, we will be holding another meeting in September. We will be gathering more ideas and will formulate a defined plan. This is also a great opportunity for class members who could not attend our last meeting to join us and bring any ideas or suggestions!