WEIRTON - Eleven area business representatives took their final steps toward becoming community leaders Tuesday during a graduation dinner held in honor of the Leadership Weirton Class of 2013.
The graduates and their guests were welcomed to Williams Country Club by Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce President Brenda Mull, who congratulated the class on their accomplishments.
"This class, maybe more than others, has really stepped up and taken on that leadership role," Mull said.
Leadership Weirton is offered each year by the Weirton chamber, organized under the auspices of its Education Committee.
Those completing the program as part of the Class of 2013 include MaryLee Ammon, Hancock County Savings Bank; Larry DeRosa, West Virginia Northern Community College; DeeAnn Greene-Marszalek, Melaleuca - The Wellness Company; Marisa Marino, Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort; Karen Mason, Hancock County Senior Services; Jennifer McHenry, Hancock County Savings Bank; MaryLou Martire-Pittman, Wal-Mart; Renee Salkovick, City of Weirton; Alecia Sirk, Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau; Patricia Soplinski, Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce; and Danielle Welshans, Fairfield Inn and Suites.
Mull noted some of the highs and lows of this year's class, including its selected community service project of raising money for renovations to the Weirton Honor Roll veterans memorial, including the purchase of new flags and stone benches and landscaping.
COMPLETE PROGRAM — Eleven local business representatives completed the Leadership Weirton program Tuesday. Graduates in the Class of 2013 include, from left, Renee Salkovick, Karen Mason, DeeAnn Greene-Marszalek, Marisa Marino, Larry DeRosa, MaryLou Martire-Pittman, MaryLee Ammon, Danielle Welshans, Patricia Soplinski, Jennifer McHenry and Alecia Sirk. The program is offered each year by the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce. -- Craig Howell
GUEST SPEAKER — Jeff Knierim, vice president of community engagement at West Liberty University, served as the guest speaker Tuesday, discussing qualities of leaders in the business community as well as some of the improvements made at the local university in recent years. -- Craig Howell
"This project will be an inspiration to the community and everyone who stops by this memorial," she said.
She also mentioned the early departure of two members of the class, which left DeRosa to plan the program's History and Culture session on his own, and thanked Soplinski, Sirk and McHenry for their assistance in completing the class scrapbook; also a duty of the program's History and Culture committee.
"We hope this has been an opportunity to make lasting friendships," Mull said.
Jeff Knierim, vice president of community engagement at West Liberty University, served as the guest speaker, encouraging the graduates to stay involved in the Weirton chamber following the program.
"The chamber is the pulse of the community," Knierim said.
He noted some qualities of leadership, citing from the book "Good to Great," by Jim Collins, including selecting the right people, facing reality, having discipline, using technology to move forward, working steadily and pushing forward.
Knierim noted some of the improvements at West Liberty in recent years, including upgrades to its facilities, the creation of new programs and an increase in benefactor contributions, are reflections of the university's leadership.
As part of the Leadership Weirton program participants take part in six scheduled sessions focused on areas such as education, business and economic development, and government. They also must attend two civic or governmental meetings, volunteer at least six hours with a local non-profit, and take part in a group service project.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)