John Amplas is an actor known primarily for his work with director George A. Romero. His first work with Romero was the cult classic Martin (1977), a film that strikingly deconstructed the vampire myth, in which he played the title role. Thereafter, he has appeared in a number of other films directed by Romero, including Dawn of the Dead (1978),Knightriders (1981), Creepshow (1982), and Day of the Dead (1985). He has recently acted in a horror concept teaser entitled The Three (2011) directed by filmmaker Scott Goldberg, which also features co-lead from Day of the Dead (1985) Lori Cardille. John Amplas currently teaches acting at Point Park College.
Director of Education & Outreach, SLB Radio Productions, Inc.
Jennifer Baron is Pop Filter arts and culture editor for Pop City Media, and author of a column on historic signs for Western Pennsylvania History Magazine, a publication of the Heinz History Center. She also works as development associate for SLB Radio Productions, Inc., and as a public relations consultant. Jennifer runs Fresh Popcorn Productions, a locally made line of craft products, and is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade, Pittsburgh’s first and largest independent craft fair, which received the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council’s “People’s Choice Award” in 2007 and 2009. Baron is co-editor of the award-winning book, Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania (Carnegie Mellon Press, 2009). She currently serves on the advisory board for the Pittsburgh Craft Collective and has served on the boards of Future Tenant Gallery and the Brew House Association. Jennifer was a founding member of the Brooklyn band, The Ladybug Transistor (Merge Records) and has also played in Saturnine and The New Alcindors. In 2009 she started the Pittsburgh-based girl band, The Garment District.
HILARY BROWN PURCELL
Castriota Metals & Recycling
An Upper St. Clair native, Stephen grew up attending the Hollywood Theater. In 1999 he published his coming-of-age novel “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” He also wrote the screenplay for the 2005 film “Rent” and was co-creator, executive producer, and writer of the CBS television series “Jericho,” which began airing in 2006. Stephen wrote a screenplay for “Perks,” and production of the film, which stars Emma Watson, began in the spring of 2011. Portions of the movie were filmed at the Hollywood Theater. The film was released in the fall of 2012.
René Conrad has an extensive background in both for-profit and non-profit management, with expertise in strategic planning, the development of marketing strategies, financial and budget management, and process improvement. She worked for many years in industry, while also serving as a board member and volunteer for a variety of arts organization. She turned to arts management in 2002, and is the new executive director for The New Hazlett Theater. Before that she served as the managing director of Quantum Theatre for six years. Other past positions include business manager of Pittsburgh Musical Theater and the managing director of Gemini Children’s Theater, all in Pittsburgh.
Patricia returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh after a twenty-year career as a performer in NYC, during which time she appeared on Broadway, in regional theater, daytime television, commercials and feature films. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1988, she worked as a law clerk in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, while continuing to work as an actress in local commercials and feature films. As a member (1989-1998) and chair (1996-1998) of the Arts and the Law Section of the Allegheny County Bar Association, she developed educational and fundraising programs for the Bar, including a mock trial based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Later, as president of a non-profit, she staged a second mock trial, The Free State of Venice v. Othello, featuring top attorneys from Pittsburgh’s legal community (including newly elected Governor Tom Corbett) and benefiting area arts programs for children. Presently, Patricia works as an attorney and performer. She maintains active memberships in Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Actors Equity Association (AEA) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). She sits on the board of the Pittsburgh Film Office, on the Council of the Screen Actors Guild’s Philadelphia branch, and serves as president of the Allegheny County Retirees’ Association. She’s had bit parts in “Wonder Boys,” “Houseguest,” and “Love and Other Drugs.”
Representative Dan Deasy was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2008. He attended Canevin Catholic High School and the University of Pittsburgh, worked as a supervisor at Pittsburgh’s Public Works Department, and served as a Pittsburgh city councilman and member of the water and sewer authority board prior to his election to the legislature. He has a long history of community service, working to address housing concerns; securing funding for playgrounds and other community resources and obtaining grant money for neighborhood revitalization. He serves on many local boards, including the Carnegie Museum board, Westwood-Oakland Athletic Association, and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Currently, he is the chairman of the board for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. A lifelong native of the 27th Legislative District, Rep. Deasy is married to Kelly Skeba. They have four children and reside in Westwood.
Mara Dowdy is the Program Director for Town Center Associates, a firm dedicated to building vibrant business districts in western Pennsylvania communities. She serves as a board member of the Young Preservationist’s Association as well as the Mt. Lebanon Partnership. Additionally, she is an active member of the Urban Land Institute and volunteer with the Hearts for Haiti committee. Mara earned a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a master’s degree in Public Administration, with a concentration on Non-Profit Management, from the University of Pittsburgh.
Wayne Fontana has represented the 42nd Pennsylvania Senatorial District since 2005. For the 2011-12 legislative session, Senator Fontana will serve as the democratic chair of the Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee. He is also a member of the Appropriations, Law & Justice Policy, Public Health & Welfare, and Urban Affairs & Housing Committees. Regionally, Senator Fontana is chairman of the Sports & Exhibition Authority board and a member of the Three Rivers Regatta board, the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County, and a Point Park University trustee. Senator Fontana is, by profession, a real estate sales associate and broker. In 2004, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh (RAMP). He holds an associate’s degree in business from the Community College of Allegheny County. Born and raised in Beechview, Senator Fontana now resides in Brookline. He and his wife have three grown children and four grandchildren.
Dan Holland is the founder and CEO of the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh (YPA), Dan recruits young people to join a growing effort to explore, appreciate, and preserve the region’s history. In 2002, Dan started YPA as the only organization in the United States committed to the participation of young people in historic preservation. The organization has grown to more than 350 members in 19 states and has a successful track record of being a catalyst for preservation in southwestern Pennsylvania. Dan has more than 20 years of experience in the historic preservation field, including the development of the Youth Main Street Advisors Program for high school students. A Pittsburgh native, Dan has a bachelor of arts degree in applied history from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s of public management from CMU’s H. John Heinz School of Public Policy and Management.
Mark Johnson owns a Dormont-based graphic design firm and his customers include many of Pittsburgh’s leading companies. For thirteen years, between 1993 and 2007, Mark was the president of the Daguerreian Society, an international society he brought to Pittsburgh. In 2001 he purchased a building in Dormont and over four years rebuilt it as the Society’s headquarters, hosting the first exhibition in 2005 in their new gallery. Unfortunately, a dispute among the Daguerreian Society’s board of directors closed the facility in 2007—and he resigned—but some of the seeds he planted survive and have helped to support other arts organizations around Pittsburgh. He also volunteers with the Historical Society of Mount Lebanon, and has helped plan and install five of the society’s exhibits.
Gary Kaboly is the exhibition director for Pittsburgh Filmmakers, which runs three independent theaters in the Pittsburgh area: Regent Square Theater, Harris Theater, and the Melwood theater.
Dan Kamin performs worldwide—including Cleveland, Atlanta, Malaysia, Singapore, Syracuse, Shanghai, and Dallas—for theatres, colleges, and symphony orchestras. On film, he created the physical comedy sequences for Chaplin and Benny and Joon, and trained Robert Downey, Jr. and Johnny Depp for their acclaimed starring performances—Downey was nominated for an Oscar, and Depp for a Golden Globe Award. He also created Martian movement for Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! and played the wooden Indian come to life in the cult classic Creepshow 2. Dan is the author of Charlie Chaplin’s One-Man Show, a book that reveals the secrets of Chaplin’s comic art. Hailed as a breakthrough work, the book boasts a preface by another Chaplin fan, Marcel Marceau. Dan’s new book, The Comedy of Charlie Chaplin: Artistry in Motion, updates his earlier book and features an account of how he trained Downey for his Oscar-nominated performance. He lives in Mt. Lebanon.
CEO of Dream Catchers Films, Inc. He has worked in the film and video industry since 1981, including producing, writing, directing, editing, and technical operations on feature films, commercials documentaries, and industrial productions. Since 1989, Dream Catcher Inc, has emerged as a national industry leader in the development of successful educational, training, and documentary productions featuring mental health issues. Several of Leonard’s works have been distributed throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. In 2007, Leonard relocated Dream Catchers Films, Inc., to Dormont where it expanded its services to include full pre-production, production, and post production services. Leonard is producing the documentary, Zombie Culture, about the zombie sub-culture. Taping began in October 2010, will wrap in June of 2011, and be released in the fall of 2011.
Katherine Molnar is a cultural resources specialist with experience in historic structure surveys, state inventory form preparation, criteria of effects evaluations, programmatic agreement preparation, archival records research, deed research, and HABS/HAER documentation. Her project involvement at Baker includes preparing historic context reports and evaluating historic structures for National Register eligibility. In addition, Katherine works on historic mitigation projects preparing interpretive wayside markers and kiosks for historic trails and roadways. She is well versed in historic preservation planning, city planning, and city permitting processes. Katherine is a cultural resources specialist with experience in historic structure surveys, state inventory form preparation, criteria of effects evaluations, programmatic agreement preparation, archival records research, deed research, and HABS/HAER documentation. Her project involvement at Baker includes preparing historic context reports and evaluating historic structures for National Register eligibility. In addition, Katherine works on historic mitigation projects preparing interpretive wayside markers and kiosks for historic trails and roadways. She is well versed in historic preservation planning, city planning, and city permitting processes.
Muriel Reynolds Moreland is a lifelong resident of Dormont. After graduating from Dormont High School, she earned her bachelor of education at Waynesburg University and a master’s in education at the University of Pittsburgh. She taught middle grades in the Dormont/Keystone Oaks School District for 39 years. In 1999, Muriel founded the Dormont Historical Society, which is based in the Dormont Municipal Center, and has been its president since. She served as the secretary of the Dormont Centennial Committee. An active member of the Waynesburg University Alumni Council, she has had the privilege of working with students on various campus activities. Her husband, Bill, was on Dormont council for eight years and mayor for 24.
Tracy Montarti has been a Dormont resident since 1997 when—after serving in the Peace Corps (Poland)—she came to Pittsburgh to pursue graduate studies at Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz School. She has long been involved with community development and nonprofit projects in various capacities, including as a founding board member of the Young Preservationists Association where she is currently a member of the advisory board. She succeeded in getting the Hollywood Theater included on the first of YPA’s Top 10 Historic Preservation Opportunities Lists. Tracy is married to Eric Montarti, has two children, and runs her own business as a professional custom child photographer. She has ambitious plans for renovating their 103 year-old Dormont home and garden.
Project Coordinator, Allegheny CleanWays
Rick Sebak makes unusual television programs. His slightly wacky documentaries celebrate various aspects of modern American life and the unexpected charms of Pittsburgh. Audiences in western Pennsylvania and across the country have learned to recognize his friendly narrative style and the unusual topics that he obviously loves. He included a story about the Dormont Pool in his 2007 program titled Underground Pittsburgh. His other works of note include Kennywood Memories (1988), A Hot Dog Program (1999), A Flea Market Documentary (2001), and Right Beside the River (2009).
Local Businessman Lana Scheimer co-owns Dormont Appliance Center with his brother Craig. The store was founded by their father, Buz in 1949. When you factor in grandfather Max Scheimer’s Meat Market on Potomac Avenue that opened in 1919, then the Scheimer family has been in business in Dormont continuously for almost 100 years. Alan received his bachelors from the University of Pittsburgh and is a member of the Dormont Main Street Committee. His previous memberships include: Dormont Business & Professional Association, Dormont Chamber of Commerce, Mt. Lebanon-Dormont Chamber of Commerce, Beth El Congregation. He and his wife, Deb, have three children: Michael, Dave, and Robin
A graduate of Mt. Lebanon High School, Craig attended Point Park University before joining his father’s business, Dormont Appliance Centers where he has been employed for 39 years. Craig helps oversee 25 employees at two locations. He lives in Mt. Lebanon with my wife, Penne, who is in the staffing business. Their daughter, Dorey, is junior at Penn State University’s main campus, majoring in broadcast communications and son, Zach, is a sophomore at Ohio University majoring in business.
KATHRYN SPITZ COHAN
A Pittsburgh native, has been actively involved in the Pittsburgh arts community since 1994. She currently serves as Executive Director of JFilm: The Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum, a position she has held since 2001. From 2003 to 2007, Ms. Spitz Cohan also was the Artistic and Education Director of Shakespeare-in-the-Schools, the outreach program of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Theatre Arts. Previously, she served as the Assistant Director of Administration for the Three Rivers Arts Festival and was the Artistic Director of the Theater Department at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. Kathryn is an adjunct professor in film studies at the University of Pittsburgh and freelances as an actor in television and radio commercials. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Theater Department and is a board member of the International Jewish Presenting Association. In 2004, Ms. Spitz Cohan was named as one of the top 50 cultural forces in Pittsburgh in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In 2012, she won an Opal Award from Women in Film and Media – Pittsburgh for exemplary professional achievement and contributing to the economic and cultural development of the region. Kathryn recently started the Pittsburgh Film Presenters Network to encourage dialogue, collaboration and sharing resources amongst all Pittsburgh film presenters.
On January 20, 2009, Jack Wagner was sworn into office for his second term as Pennsylvania’s 50th elected Auditor General. Before he was elected auditor general, Jack Wagner had represented Allegheny County as a state senator since May 1994. Jack has been a member of the Pittsburgh City Council for 10 years—and its president from 1990-93—representing all city neighborhoods. Born and reared in the Beechview, Jack graduated from South Hills High School and served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1968. He has received a Purple Heart and other military commendations. Following his military service, Wagner graduated from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in safety management in 1974. Among other boards, Wagner has served on the Senator John Heinz History Center board, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute board, and World War II Veterans of Allegheny County Memorial Fund, Inc. Wagner lives in Beechview, with his wife, Nancy, and children, Luke and Sara.