The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 28, 2013

Business capsules (Sherry to Your) 04/28/2013


The Tribune-Democrat

JOHNSTOWN — Sherry Lynn’s Ballroom Dance Center

Located: 646 Main St., Johnstown.

Leadership: Brian and Sherry Lynn Harshberger, owners and operators.

Employment: Three ballroom instructors and one Zumba instructor and looking to hire another instructor.

History: Established in 1999 and expanded to a full-service dance studio in 2005.

General: Sherry Lynn’s center provides dance lessons for young adults, teens, persons with special needs and senior citizens. Dance lessons are taught in both private and group settings in more than 20 styles of partner dancing. Students arrive weekly for classes from Cambria, Somerset, Indiana and Blair counties. In addition to studio classes, outreach programs are held off-site at Greater Johnstown elementary and middle schools each week.

Programs also are available at Pitt-Johnstown. The studio continues to grow with a steady flow of new students. Since 2005, the business has increased 50 percent and continues to increase at about 10 percent per year. Most of the growth came from adding take-home customized DVDs, home study courses and practice materials.

In 2012, the studio expanded to teach beginner guitar lessons. Improvements to the studio included concrete sidewalk repair, new rug, leather couch, remodeled stage and storage area. Installation of new windows is planned this year.

The staff attended numerous trainings in new dance techniques, styles, teaching ideas and Zumba choreography.

Also in 2012, the dance center held its first charity ball to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Western Pennsylvania. Twice each month, groups from the Cambria County Association for the Blind and Handicapped in Ebensburg and Johnstown take classes at the studio. The studio hopes to expand to include people from United Cerebral Palsy and any person confined to a wheelchair. Sherry Lynn’s is in the beginning stages of creating an online bridal choreography coaching device to help couples prepare for weddings. Information will become available in more detail on the website by the end of the year.



University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Located: 450 Schoolhouse Road, Johnstown.

Leadership: Jem Spectar, president.

Employment: There are 72 union employees and 395 nonunion employees, a decrease of 16 since 2011; however, there are plans to hire 15-20 people.

History: Established in 1927.

General: Pitt-Johnstown offers 46 undergraduate majors and three University of Pittsburgh graduate degrees. Additional programming for the community is available through the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center and the Office of Community Education and Outreach. It serves the educational needs of students throughout Pennsylvania with more than 50 percent of its students coming from Cambria, Bedford, Blair, Somerset and Westmoreland counties.

Ground was broken for Pitt-Johns-town’s 26,000-square-foot nursing and health sciences building. The quality of incoming of students continues to increase, with the average SAT score of the incoming class in 2012 exceeding both the state and national averages.

Pitt-Johnstown was accepted into the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, with conference play beginning in the fall of 2013.

Pitt-Johnstown is developing new programs in response to the needs of students and community in areas including: Justice administration and criminology, and special education. The university completed the final year of a three-year faculty hiring initiative that resulted in the hiring of 50 full-time faculty to ensure that the students received the highest quality education possible. The facilities are upgraded with most recently investing more than $2.5 million in the renovation of Krebs Hall. Wireless Internet service has been expanded into the lodges and townhouses.

Pitt-Johnstown successfully expanded its recruitment efforts internationally, with 90 international students currently registered at the university.

The accomplishments for Pitt-Johnstown were being recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college. It was named, for the fourth consecutive year a “Military Friendly School” by GI Jobs.

Pitt-Johnstown earned a place, for the third consecutive year, on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and named a “Top 100 Organization” by Pennsylvania Business Central.  The university hired 19 full-time faculty (is and launching searches for an additional 15) as part of a historic faculty-hiring initiative.

Pitt-Johnstown partnered with Windber Research Institute to support economic and social development in the region.

Pitt-Johnstown and Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI) established the RealWorld Link, a partnership that promotes entrepreneurship among the students.  

It presented the fourth Distinguished Alumni Award to Martin Fritz (1986), and James Fallon (1977) was named a Pitt Legacy Laureate.



USSCO Federal Credit Union

Located: 532 Oakridge Drive, Johnstown.

Leadership: Todd Cover, CEO.

Employment: There are 42 employees, with plans to hire five to 10 more.

History: Established in 1958.

General: USSCO is a federal credit union. Unlike for-profit financial institutions, USSCO does not give its earnings to stockholders, but instead uses its funds to improve services and provide its members with the best loan and savings rates. USSCO provides services such as checking accounts, ATM cards, credit cards, IRAs, mortgages, home equity loans, payroll deduction, direct deposit and more. Member savings are federally insured to at least $250,000. Those who join USSCO become a part owner and have a vote in deciding what services are provided and who sits on the volunteer board of directors. Anyone may become a member of USSCO.

USSCO has four branch offices located in Cambria and Somerset counties. Those are in Richland, Moxham, Ebensburg and Somerset. The administrative office also is part of USSCO’s Richland office.

USSCO saw growth in both membership and assets in 2012. A home equity specialist, USSCO has put an emphasis on 15-year home equity loans to better serve its members’ needs. USSCO introduced a Business Visa credit card and also focused on small-business lending.

USSCO’s new Core System Evaluation (CSE) Team is thoroughly reviewing existing processes and work flows with a goal of improving efficiency and increasing customer satisfaction. The CSE Team’s initial goal is to assemble a Request for Proposal from several “best in class” core system providers that will help USSCO upgrade its technology platform. An improved IT infrastructure will enable USSCO to better serve its retail and business customers and remain competitive into the future.

USSCO will be expanding its services and increasing customer convenience by developing a mobile app as well as enhancing the current online home banking, and introducing home equity loan online applications.



Valley Printing & Design

Located: 667 Main St., Johnstown.

Leadership: Michael Migut, CEO.

Employment: There are seven union employees.

History: Established in 1941.

General: Valley Printing is a full-service printing company, design, set-up and bindery for Johnstown, Pittsburgh and surrounding areas.

In 2012, sales increased 10 percent and computer systems were updated.



Veterans Community Initiatives Inc.

Located: 727 Goucher St., Johnstown.

Leadership: Tom Caulfield, president/director.

Employment: Nonunion employees decreased from four to three, with hopes of hiring one.

History: Established in 1993.

General: Veterans Community Initiatives provides professional job search assistance, career counseling, administering of needy programs for veterans, family members and the community at large.

This year is the 20th anniversary for Veterans Community Initiatives, which will be providing multiple services to veterans and their families.

The accomplishments for 2012: Held the seventh annual returning veterans symposium; reached the 6,000th client milestone; sponsored the fourth annual Veteran Spouse Appreciation Day. It also played a significant role in Cambria County’s Veteran Courts Program.



Wessel & Company

Located: 215 Main St., Johnstown, and 120 W. High St., Ebensburg.

Leadership: Robert J. Eyer, CPA, managing shareholder.

Employment: Nonunion employees increased from 45 to 47, with intent to hire one more.

History: Established in 1958.

General: The company is a group of certified public accountants and business consultants who provide accurate, thorough accounting and audit services, aggressive, up-to-date tax services, litigation support, fraud detection and prevention services, intelligent financial forecasting and estate planning, plus comprehensive technology consulting and training to a broad spectrum of business and individual clients.

In 2012, the company had a 14 percent increase in overall revenues, the staff was expanded by 10 percent and the number of CPAs in the firm increased to 22. Also, tax compliance services have become fully automated with the use of its “Client Portal.”

It has implemented firm-wide policies to aid the staff in balancing work and home life; provide a virtual office and use of technology to provide online support to clients; offer free educational seminars to the service agencies; have a firm policy for employees to be certified or in the process of certification to increase value to clients and decrease the risk taken in providing services; and have 22 certified public accountants on staff, one of the highest ratios in the industry.

Accomplishments include being named to the “Top 100 Best Places to Work in PA in 2012” and “Top 100 Best Accounting Firms to Work for in 2012 in the USA” by Accounting Today, a national publication; and was recognized as one of the “Top 100 Organizations – 22 Country Region” by Pennsylvania Business Central. Also, a member of the firm was named to Pennsylvania’s Business Central “Top 100 People in 2012.”

Technology has helped in communicating with clients faster, being paperless in the audit function, clients utilizing the client portal on the website for delivering information and having a virtual office capability for the staff.



Your Interactive Media Works

Located: 201 Elknud Lane, Johnstown.

Leadership: John Concannon and Joe Workosky, co-owners.

Employment: There are six nonunion employees including two full-time and four contract employees with plans to hire if the demand for the products and services increase.

History: Established in 2000.

General: Your Interactive Media Works provides video production and photography. Media Works upgraded the HD Video Editing System to Adobe’s Create Suite 6 with a Matrox MX02 with Max. It now has more than 15 TB of digital storage to accommodate the ever-growing HD video library and also added a new Nexis Pro Dual Disc DVD/CD duplicator and printer. Its business is more productive by taking full advantage of all social media outlets, such as Facebook, YouTube and updates on the Web pages.

The accomplishments in 2012 were that Media Works produced numerous video and photographic assignments for a Pittsburgh-based company, including a DVD series on health and wellness for the worldwide workforce and recently completed a 90-minute, three-part exercise DVD. The series was hosted by an environment, health and safety specialist and was produced for distribution throughout Europe, South America and Asia.

The business also completed a variety of photography assignments for the firm, including video messages from the CEO and vice presidents, photography for the annual report and photo and video services for the annual global meeting. The firm also contracted Media Works to produce a chemical vapor disposition safety DVD for the facilities in China, which consisted of a live-training session hosted by a safety engineer, PowerPoint slides, pre-produced video clips and voice-over narration.

In cooperation with Giant Eagle and the corporate office in Pittsburgh, the business produced a DVD for the Pittsburgh-based industrial client featuring a grocery store healthy lifestyle tour. The video featured the employees and a nationally known nutrition author appearing as the on-camera host.

Media Works produced several employee, contractor and visitor safety training DVDs, along with companion safety booklets for several large industrial facilities. The combined DVD and booklets ensure a consistent safety message for delivery to employees, visitors, contractors and for new employee orientation. The business also provided multilingual editions of the finished programs for a generating plant in San Bernardino, Calif.

Media Works produced a virtual tour DVD for a major pharmaceutical distribution center for use in their presentations to nursing homes, prisons, the military and other institutional clients. The DVD highlighted the company’s highly-skilled pharmacists, newest modern robotic medication packaging equipment, the computerized online ordering system and shipping department.

Various manufacturing firms and utility companies have contracted Media Works to produce videos documenting events, promoting new products, virtual tours of facilities and safety training videos at power generating stations.

Media Works employees have worked throughout Pennsylvania and traveled to New Jersey, South Carolina, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Texas and California on assignments.

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