Principal, Financial Advisor Franklin, Pa.
Christopher Rakow began his career as an Edward Jones financial advisor in 2003, opening a branch office in Jeanette, Pa. In 2007, he assumed responsibility for a branch office in Franklin, Pa., where he continues to serve individual investors today.
During his Edward Jones career, Rakow has helped his colleagues by volunteering in a number of roles, including serving as a mentor, field trainer, Level 2 support specialist and phone workshop coordinator. In addition, the growth of his business has been so robust that he has invited another financial advisor to join him in the community to better serve investors. In 2011, his staff was recognized as one of the firm’s top 50 branches in terms of both production and providing exceptional client service. He has attended six Managing Partner’s Conferences, an annual event held exclusively for the top 350 of the firm’s more than 13,000 financial advisors.
In 2009, Rakow was asked to serve as a regional leader for an area encompassing western Pennsylvania. In this role, he supports and guides nearly 60 branch teams and serves as a liaison between them and the firm’s St. Louis headquarters.
He was named a principal with the firm in 2012.
Rakow earned a bachelor’s degree from Gannon University in Erie, Pa., and an MBA from Point Park College in Pittsburgh. He also holds the Accredited Asset Management Specialist® professional designation.
An active member of the community, Rakow serves on the board of the Franklin Child Development Center Foundation, Franklin Meals on Wheels, the Visiting Nurses Association of Venango County Foundation and the Franklin Chamber of Commerce. He is a past board member of the Norwin Chamber of Commerce and the Franklin YMCA.
Maryann Fink – Vice Chair
Judith Etzel – Secretary
Judith Etzel earned her B.A. degree in English and history from Grove City College. She currently is a reporter with the Derrick and News-Herald newspapers for over 45 years, covering a variety of beats including oil and gas, politics, City of Oil City, Venango County, etc.
Judith has one son, Joshua, a West Point and University of Chicago Booth School of Business graduate and also an Apache pilot in Afghanistan.
Judith has three beautiful granddaughters.
She currently lives in an old 1890 barn-converted-to-house in Rockmere, Cranberry Township.
Judith has served on VNA board 20-plus years.
Beth Fisher – Treasurer
Beth has been the working for Gardinier Funeral Home, Inc. since March of 2007. She is a 1979 graduate of Punxsutawney Senior High School and a 1983 graduate of Slippery Rock State College. Beth has a B.S.B.A. degree in Business Administration/Marketing.
At the Funeral Home, Beth assists families with Advanced Planning/Estate Planning Services. She carries an Insurance License with the State of Pennsylvania. She is a Certified Pre-Need Counselor Associate. Beth is also a Notary Public and handles insurance claims for our families. She is also the Continuing Care Ministry Provider at the Funeral Home and follows up with our families who have lost loved ones to assist them and provide them with many different resources.
Beth has three daughters, Emily, Rebecca, and Laura; and her dog, Puffin. She is a member of the Emlenton United Methodist Church; serves on the Advisory Council for the Venango County Older Adult Services. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening; spending time with family; fishing; and relaxing on her front porch.
Ruthanne, is a proud supporter of the Visiting Nurses Association of Venango County. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, she graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a nursing degree in 1960. Ruthanne, her husband Bernie, and two children Bern and Bethanne moved to Franklin, PA in 1965.
At the time Ruthanne joined the VNA, there were two agencies, an Oil City office and Franklin office. Both were separate organizations. Ruthanne has seen many changes to the organizations and in 1972 both agency merged to become Visiting Nurses Association of Venango County. Ruthanne became the director of the organization in 1973 and served that position until her retirement in 2003.
Ruthanne and her husband now live in Conneaut Lake, but continue to be involved in Venango County. In addition, to VNA of Venango, her other passion is animal welfare where she has assisted the local humane society to build a new shelter. Ruthanne has been blessed with 5 wonderful grandchildren.
Brian Durniok, President, UPMC Northwest
Vice President of Human Resources, UPMC Hamot and UPMC Northwest
Brian has a dual leadership role as president, UPMC Northwest and vice president of Human Resources, UPMC Northwest and UPMC Hamot. Mr. Durniok has oversight for both organizations’ employee health, business partners, employee relations, compensation and benefits, recruitment, education, employee safety and wellness services. As president, Mr. Durniok is responsible for operational oversight for UPMC Northwest, including nursing, the medical staff and community outreach. Mr. Durniok has more than 22 years of extensive experience in the human resources field, most of which was within the health care system and nearly 15 years of operational leadership experience. Prior to joining UPMC Northwest, he worked as vice president human resources at UPMC Horizon in Greenville, in 2013 Mr. Durniok was appointed vice president for human resources for UPMC Hamot and its affiliates. In 2014, Mr. Durniok assumed Human Resource and Operational responsibilities for UPMC Northwest and was appointed president in 2017. Mr. Durniok graduated from Thiel College with a bachelor’s degree in business. He received his master of business administration in 2001 from Baker College.
Kathy Cochran, has been a nurse for the Visiting Nurse Association of Venango County since July of 1980. She is committed to this great organization as evidenced by her longevity. Her current position is Director of Clinical Operations. Kathy, earned her MSN from Clarion University of PA in 2008. She recently “retired” from her role as clinical instructor for the ASN program at Venango College after 10 years of service. She enjoyed facilitating the learning experiences for up and coming new nurses.
She resides in the Franklin area with her husband, Frank and has two daughters as well as 5 grandchildren.
Jim Hanna – retired from The Conair Group where he held various positions including Engineering Manager, Manager of Manufacturing, and Customer Service Manager. He is currently a Director for a local manufacturing company and also does consulting work and project management.
Jim is very involved in local community outreach work, and programs primarily for the benefit of the elderly, handicapped and financially needy.
Interests and hobbies include music, woodworking and cars. Spends a day every week with his two granddaughters in the Pittsburgh area.
Julie Hovis is enjoying retirement after serving the VNA of Crawford County as their CEO for 16 years.
She stays active as a ‘cheerleader’ for my grandchildren’s’ sports endeavors.
She is also committed to supporting the Hospice philosophy that espouses living a quality vs. quantity life to one’s natural end.
Matthew Kirtland was born and raised in Franklin. After being away at college, receiving his law degree and master’s in business administration from Campbell University in North Carolina, he returned home to open a law practice in 2012 in downtown Franklin.
His father, Dr. Howard Kirtland, is very active in providing support and aid to individuals in the community who are in need and that inspires Matthew. Becoming a board member of the Venango VNA Foundation, Mathew is excited to be a part of a board that is able to provide support and programming to those in need in Venango County.
Dave Ballard – Franklin Insurance
Venango VNA Foundation Staff
Pam Greenlee – Administrative Assistant at VNA of Venango County
Kim Slater – Palliative Care Coordinator
My name is Kim Slater Heil and I am the Palliative Care Coordinator for the VNA of Venango County. The Venango VNA Foundation has committed to support a Palliative Care Nurse position to coordinate the palliative care team efforts at VNA of Venango County, UPMC NW and at Sugar Creek Station. The program focuses on providing palliative care to seriously ill patients, public education, and coordination of an interdisciplinary team of health care providers.
I have presented information at local senior centers, church groups as well as community organizations. I welcome the opportunity to speak with you or your group about palliative care and to let you know our VNA of Venango County may be able to help you or your loved one. 412-651-8729.
Shelly Hart- Marketing Executive
Shelly is a young professional that is truly proud to call Venango County her home. She has recently returned home to take a position as a Marketing Representative with the Venango VNA Foundation. There she sets up health fairs, interacts with community members, organizes events, and helps to educate the public about the Venango VNA Foundation.
It was through an internship during her time at Clarion University where Shelly’s passion for marketing for the healthcare industry was realized. After graduation, Shelly accepted a position in marketing with Rex/UNC Healthcare in Raleigh, North Carolina. There she built a solid reputation in healthcare marketing as well as being recognized as 2013’s Regan’s Health Care Marketing and PR Award for best PR/Marketing Team at Rex/UNC Healthcare.
When Shelly is not at work she enjoys traveling and exploring new destinations. If they’re not traveling, she and her husband, Colt, like to take time to soak in the region’s beauty on nature walks with their Yellow Lab, Penny Lane. They also take advantage of the outdoors through camping, hunting, and capturing the local countryside through photography. Shelly’s family and friends play a large part in her life as well.
Looking to the future, Shelly is hoping to make a difference in this world. She says, “I was born to be a helper and giver; and if I can do that in any way, shape, or form; my mission here is accomplished.”