Resume: Newsmakers you met in 2013 across the South

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Every week, in a feature called "Resume: A Newsmaker You Should Know," we shine a spotlight on someone from the South Hills whose work and character add to the quality of life here.

Here is a recap of a dozen of the dozens who shared their Resumes this year. Note that this year-end recap refers to the status of the newsmaker at the time the story was published.


When "The Lawrence Welk Show" came on television at the DiSalvo home in West Mifflin, a young Vito DiSalvo would sit mesmerized by the accordion playing of Myron Floren. "I knew I wanted to major in music at Duquesne University," Mr. DiSalvo, 61, told us in a Jan. 10 Resume.

At Duquesne, he majored in euphonium -- a valved, brass instrument, and also learned piano. He wrote a piece for symphonic band titled "Concerto for Band'' and since has written 10 other such works. He is now retired as a music teacher from West Mifflin Area School District.

He started the Mifflin Hills Music Co., which was an umbrella enterprise for bands he promotes, as well as We Three, a trio he formed back in ninth grade and in which he still performs. In recent years, Mifflin Hills became Mifflin Hills Publishing to which some 30 composers from around the world contribute. Mr. DiSalvo also was music director for Italian baritone Patrizio Buanne and accompanied the singer in concerts around the world. He recently toured with Giorgia Fumani, an Italian soprano.


As the son of Slovak immigrants, Joseph T. Senko grew up in a Slovak/Polish neighborhood in Oakland, where native languages were spoken and ethnic traditions were a way of life. His immersion in his heritage led to his being appointed honorary council of the Slovak Republic for Pennsylvania. He also founded the nonprofit Western Pennsylvania Slovak Cultural Association. For his efforts, he was awarded the highest award the Slovak government bestows on foreigners: the Medal of the President of the Slovak Republic. The subject of a Feb. 28 Resume, Mr. Senko traveled to the Slovak Embassy in Washington, D.C., for the Feb. 1 presentation.

Mr. Senko, 77, who lives in Mt. Lebanon, is a retired certified public accountant.


Successful dancer, author -- and Upper St. Clair native -- Tim Federle was in town to salute the Mt. Lebanon Center for Theater Arts.

In a March 7 Resume, Mr. Federle, 32, said he found a haven when he enrolled in the center, an after-school program that encourages young would-be performers. He was guest speaker at a patrons' reception for the center held at the Hilton Garden Inn at Southpointe.

Mr. Federle has appeared in a number of Broadway shows, including "Gypsy," "Spamalot," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "The Little Mermaid." He was an associate choreographer in "Billy Elliott: The Musical." He also has written a book: "Better Nate than Ever," an inspirational story published by Simon & Shuster that talks about the adventures of a young person smitten by theater.


The move to St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands was a circuitous one for Pittsburgh suburbanite Terry "Sloop" McCoy. Mr. McCoy, 65, listed in an April 11 Resume his many jobs -- including one as a track coach at his alma mater, Pittsburgh Central Catholic -- and said he keeps in touch with the South Hills via his mom, who lives in Mt. Lebanon, and other relatives here.

On the island, he produces hand-painted clothing under the name of Sloop Jones and operates a commercial satellite company called Dish and DAt. He acquired the Sloop nickname from the popular 1960s pop song, "Hang on Sloopy."


For the first time in a decade, an official chaplain is gracing the campus of Geneva College. West Mifflin native Rutledge E. Etheridge III, 35, talked about his new job in a May 2 Resume. Pastor Etheridge is now assisting students and staff on the Beaver Falls campus. He is also teaching part time in the Department of Bible, Christian Ministries and Philosophy. He is a professor at Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Point Breeze and a pastor at Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church in Brookline.

Pastor Etheridge is also a popular speaker on the religious circuit and is a frequent guest on religious radio shows.


Like the fine wine he serves, sommelier Christian Tripodi's resume gets better with time. His work in the wine business includes a move to the Cioppino Restaurant Cigar Bar in the Strip District. He is general manager and sommelier, who in a June 6 Resume told us he oversees a wine list of more than 150 selections.

Mr. Tripodi, 41, of Mount Washington, was named one of the city's three best sommeliers by CBS Pittsburgh in 2012.


Upper St. Clair High School principal Michael Ghilani was named Principal of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals. Mr. Ghilani, 40, of South Fayette, was recommended for the honor by district superintendent Patrick O'Toole.

Among Mr. Ghilani's accomplishments noted in a July 18 Resume was the "9 Program" he helped institute. The program pairs upperclassmen with students about to enter ninth grade to help the transition to high school. He also established the Chinese and Asian Studies program, the Student Leadership Academy and Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics program and STEM Center.


Even though she's a numbers person, Marcia Taylor likes words, too. The longtime Mt. Lebanon finance director, assistant manager and combination of the two also served as the first president of the Allegheny County Library Association. "I did it purely out of a love books," Ms. Taylor said of the county library position she filled in the 1990s.

She now has more time to delve into her favorite novels. On July 12, Ms. Taylor, 60, retired after 34 years of administration in Mt. Lebanon, which she has called home for the past 33. Her affiliation with the municipality goes back to 1974. After graduating from Bucknell University, Ms. Taylor went to work for a public accounting firm, which assigned her Mt. Lebanon as an audit client.

"The manager hired me away," she recalled in an Aug. 22 Resume.

She was Mt. Lebanon's finance director from 1979 through 1990, when she was appointed assistant manager. In 2009, she became finance director again, and she carried on the double duties until retirement.

She continues to serve on the board for the Allegheny County Library Association's Electronic Information System, a common automation network for libraries throughout the county.

And, she has been taking classes at the Pittsburgh Glass Center on Penn Avenue, working on techniques to produce such items as decorative flowers, beads, balls, paperweights and icicles for Christmas trees. She is also in her second five-year term on the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, which sets accounting standards for all governmental organizations in the United States.


Minister Kimberly Greway of Mt. Lebanon said she has found her role in helping prisoners. Rev. Greway, director of chaplaincy services for Allegheny County Jail, recalled in a Sept. 26 Resume her struggle as a young woman pondering a career. One option was the Peace Corps to fulfill her love of travel. But, on the other hand, divinity school seemed like the right choice.

She ended up doing both, serving more than two years with the Peace Corps in Zimbabwe, then going to Divinity School at Duke University. She moved back to Pittsburgh, served as an associate pastor at the United Methodist Church in Mt. Lebanon and applied for the chaplaincy.

In the position, she oversees religious services, including those of other religious leaders who minister to the prisoners. She also works with volunteers.

A major focus of her work these days is a fundraising campaign for the Foundation of HOPE, a nonprofit that serves prisoners to increase their chances for success when they are released.


One of the first things you notice about Adam Causgrove is his mustache -- and, in an Oct. 3 Resume, he said he wouldn't have it any other way. Mr. Causgrove is president of the American Mustache Institute and holder of the Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year title. He is also a member of the Steel City Beard & Mustache Club.

Mr. Causgrove, 29, of Mount Washington, was an organizer and master of ceremonies for Beards for Beasts competition, a benefit for the Animal Rescue League of Pittsburgh. In addition to his volunteer roles with the institute, he is a grants administrator at the University of Pittsburgh; director of community outreach for Side Project Inc., a nonprofit he co-founded that identifies resources for other nonprofits; a tour guide for PA Brew Tours; and an umpire for the Pittsburgh Sports League. He serves as president of PAWS for Olympia Park, a dog park in Mount Washington.


Michael Funfar is "the sweetest guy with a lot of 'tude!' " But, if you don't understand that Internet review of the math teacher, it's OK -- because his students do. The high school mathematics teacher in Upper St. Clair School District was recognized for his "innovative and passionate" teaching style by Veritas Prep as one of the 40 Most Influential Teachers Under 40 in America. The nominations were sought directly from students by the Malibu, Calif.-based SAT prep provider.

Mr. Funfar, subject of a Nov. 14 Resume, was recognized for his creative instructional methodology and commitment to student leadership development, according to Veritas. He also was cited for his dedication to helping students discover the value of mathematics in everyday life and empowering them to take ownership for their learning.

Mr. Funfar, 30, lives in Castle Shannon.

"Mr. Funfar is a theatrical dynamo in front of the classroom. He makes learning fun and engaging," said school principal Michael Ghilani. "He also has a tremendous impact on our school outside of the classroom in his involvement in various committees, including our student mentoring program and leadership academy."

To keep his students interested, Mr. Funfar plays a different pop tune every day; the songs relate to the day's lesson. For example, in November students were greeted by Coldplay's "The Scientist," on a day when the lesson plan included learning about scientific notation.


Mary Phan-Gruber has always wanted to help others, she said in a Dec. 12 Resume. From serving as a Vista volunteer after she graduated from Muskingum College to her new role as executive director of Jefferson Regional Foundation, every position she has held has had a component of helping others.

Her new job has her serving the South Hills' Jefferson Regional Medical Center through grant making, wellness education and outreach.

Ms. Phan-Gruber, 57, worked in vocational rehabilitation after her stint with Vista. She lives with her husband, Michael Gruber, in Forest Hills. The couple moved to the area after they finished their master's degrees because they believed it would be a good place for them -- both professionally and personally.

She has worked in a variety of positions in Pittsburgh, including as the executive director of the Birmingham Foundation, an associate director of Allegheny County Center for Victims of Crime and Violence, independent consultant to nonprofits and an adjunct professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh.

According to Ms. Phan-Gruber, when Jefferson became part of the Allegheny Health Network, $75 million was dedicated to the new health foundation.

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