2023 Alumni Awards
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology was pleased to host its 2023 Alumni Awards Banquet on October 14, 2023. This event also included awardees from 2020, as no event was hosted that year.
It was a fantastic event with more than 120 people in attendance, emceed by Alan Massenburg, class of 2008.
The awardees are as follows:
Spirit of Alumni Achievement
2020 Awardee: Charlie Byers ’79. Charlie graduated from the Mechanical Drafting program and then went on to earn his Associate Degree of Applied Science in Carpentry Technology in 2008. He was first introduced to the College by a WWII-disabled combat veteran and credits the College with a technical education that has spanned four career paths. He remembers Mr. Johnson, Mr. Norris, Mr. Hirack, and Mr. Gerfin for taking an interest in Charlie and his future career plans. Charlie is now an instructor in Thaddeus Stevens College’s Residential Remodeling Technology program and credits the impact of his past instructors in how he supports his students today.
2023 Awardee: Samuel Van Cleve, ’03. Sam is a graduate of the College’s Carpentry Technology program and began his career at Benchmark Construction Company. He quickly rose through the ranks and now serves as Director of Quality Control where he is responsible for the design, implementation, oversight, and management of Benchmark’s Quality Control Program. He credits Thaddeus Stevens College with teaching him the trade of carpentry and connecting him with his first job at Benchmark as a carpenter. He noted many teachers who had an impact on him, including Mrs. McCully, Mr. Noel, and Mr. Snavely, all of whom stressed the importance of doing the work correctly. This prepared him for his early job experiences and made a positive impact on his career.
Alumni Service to the College
2020 Awardee: April Lausch, ‘097. April is a graduate of the Business Administration program and has spent her career in the automotive industry. Since 2010, she has been the Manager at Faulkner BMW Collision Center. She is the Chairperson for the College’s Occupational Advisory Committee for the Collision Repair associate degree program. She credits Thaddeus Stevens College with preparing her both intellectually and socially for her career and adult life. Her instructor, Kathy Walls, inspired her to do her best and nothing would hold her back. April has championed fundraising efforts to support student success at the College and loves having graduates and interns at her company. She also has been featured in magazines, is active in her community, and holds memberships at various professional organizations.
2023 Awardee: Bill Beyer, ’91. Bill completed his associate degree in Electrical Technology here and then went on to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology at Millersville University, graduating Magna Cum Lauda. He has spent much of his career at Pepperidge Farms working in a variety of different positions leading to his current role as Maintenance Manager. He credits Thaddeus Stevens College with building the foundation of his career. Bill’s service to the College began when he became involved with the Electrical Technology Occupational Advisory Committee, on which he has served for more than 15 years and has contributed to the success of students, the program, and the College. He has created internship opportunities at Pepperidge Farm, provided soft-skills workshops for students, and volunteered at College events. He also facilitated the donation of 20 electrical enclosures that are used daily by students.
Corporate Partner Award
2020 Awardee: Haas Factory Outlet/Phillips Corp. This company is a longtime supporter of the College’s Computer Integrated Machining program. They participate in our Occupational Advisory Committee, regularly support students in the CIM lab with expertise and industry experience, participate in Open Houses, and more. This company believes so much in the mission of Thaddeus Stevens College that they show up again and again for our students, from hosting Technical Education Conferences and supporting efforts for students competing at state and national levels to providing funding.
2020 Awardee: Douglas Kopp. Doug received an associate degree in drafting from the York Technical Institute and completed post graduate studies at Augusta Military Academy. In 1988, he began coaching football at the high school and college level, and in 2006, he began coaching at Thaddeus Stevens College as an assistant coach for defensive backs. He said his 10 years as a coach here were the best and most rewarding of his career, and he is proud of winning 4 Seaboard Conference Championships and coaching three all-star games.
2020 Awardee: Rep. Steven C. Mentzer. A graduate of Manheim Township High School and Elizabethtown College, since 2013 Rep. Mentzer has served as Pennsylvania’s 97th Legislative District Representative to the General Assembly. He champions many causes in addition to his love for Thaddeus Stevens College.
2023 Awardee: Tom Baldrige. A graduate of Ithica College, Tom has served on the College’s Board of Trustees for the past five years, which he says is one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences of his career. Thaddeus Stevens the statesman is Tom’s political hero, and being part of advancing his vision and legacy is something he takes very seriously. He is inspired every year by the College’s graduations.
2023 Awardee: Vince Skimski. For the past 25 years, Vince has served as a plumbing instructor at Thaddeus Stevens College and has touched the lives of many students as well as colleagues. For the past 12 years, he has also been involved with the Student Housing Build Project. He is an ASSE certified back flow inspector, plumbing inspector, and has served on the Board of Examiners for the City of Reading. Vince has enjoyed mentoring students and working on award-winning home build projects.
Distinguished Alumni Entrepreneur
2023 Awardee: Kevin Leonard, ’06. Kevin graduated with a degree in Plumbing Technology and worked as a pipe fitter with Commonwealth Fire Protection for eight years. In 2014, he pivoted his career into maintenance and began a business: KL Property Services, which renovates properties. He also owns two Rita’s Italian Ice franchise locations. He credits Thaddeus Stevens College for building his confidence and motivation. He remembers Mr. Skimski and Dr. Miles who made a major impact on his life. They were always in his corner and encouraged him to never give up.
Alumni Citizenship Award
2020 Awardee: LaFennis Terry III, ’05. LaFennis completed the Business Administration program at Thaddeus Stevens College and currently serves as the Director of Delaware County Operations and Court Liaison for The Academy, aiming to keep youth out of juvenile placement and set them on a better path. He is heavily involved in his community, volunteering, coaching football and track & field, and serving on various boards. He credits Thaddeus Stevens College with the course his life has taken. “It opened a door, and I found my passion in life on the other side of that door.” His program instructors, including Dr. Vincent Miles, pushed him and helped him gain an internship and important work experience.
Outstanding Young Alumni
2020 Awardee: David Jeremiah, ’14. A graduate of the College’s Metals Fabrication & Welding Technology program, upon graduation, David began his career with Arconic and quickly worked his way forward to Senior Cold Mill Mechanical Maintenance Technician. David has also grown into a role where he instructs others as a Millwright and Mechanical Trades Instructor. He says Thaddeus Stevens College laid his foundation in the trades and allowed him to excel. He fondly remembers Mr. Bachman for not only teaching but also demonstrating how to find meaning in a career and have fun.
2020 Awardee: Matt Krupa, ’06. After completing the Carpentry Technology program, Matt went on to earn his Bachelor of Science in Construction Technology from Pennsylvania College of Technology. He spent much of his early career at Clark Construction Group, working his way to a Superintendent role. He has recently joined Thaddeus Stevens College as an instructor in our Residential Remodeling Technology program. He shares his time and expertise with the American Concrete Institute as well as the Associated Builders and Contractors. His time here as a student gave him the opportunity, direction, and tools to move forward while also giving back. Instructors Charlie Byers, Dan Noel, and Timothy Draper were all instrumental in his time here.
2023 Awardee: Brandon Pierce, ’17. Brandon graduated from the Computer & Network Systems Administration program an went on to attend the Information and Sciences Technology program at Penn State. Today he works with some of the latest technology in cyber security and data management for large companies. Brandon notes that not only did his education at Thaddeus Stevens College give him a head start on his bachelor’s degree, he had both hands-on skills and leadership training that many of his classmates and colleagues did not have. He notes Ms. Trina Hess helped him with his calculus grades and Ms. Meley, Mr. Flory, Mr. Jameson, and Mr. McFarlane prepared him for the real world.
Exemplary Board Member Service
2020 Awardee: Thomas Kenyon Jr., ’56. Thomas graduated from Thaddeus Stevens College under the Commercial Baking program the school offered at the time. He spent 46 years working in the baking trade for various companies and had his own bake shop for several years as well in Lititz. He spent much of his life in service, and in 2008, joined the Alumni Association and Foundation boards. He was involved in homecoming, banquets, and many other fundraisers. On February 19, 2022, he passed away at the age of 85. The award was presented to Anna Mae Kenyon on his behalf.
Lifetime Achievement Award
2023 Awardee: Alex B. Munro, ’60. Alex graduated from the College’s Masonry program and went on to spend 30 years in the masonry construction field working as a bricklayer. He began his second career at Thaddeus Stevens College teaching masonry to first-year students and went on to become Executive Director of the Thaddeus Stevens Foundation and the Thaddeus Stevens Alumni Association. He served the College in those roles for more than 30 years before retiring. During his tenure, he championed many capital projects. He speaks fondly of the College for giving much value to his life. He also fondly remembers Mr. Denlinger, the masonry instructor who gave great attention to every student personally.