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The Cumberland Valley Business Alliance honored one business and six young professionals for their dedication and achievements with more than 100 people in attendance at the third annual Young Professional Awards on September 26.

“We were honored to recognize the hard work and dedication of these amazing young professionals.” said Stephen Christian, president of the CVBA. “Our finalists have had a tremendous impact on the Cumberland Valley community, and we are appreciative of each and every one of them.”

The banquet, held at Green Grove Gardens, included the presentation of awards in the following categories: ATHENA Young Professional Award, Educator of the Year, Young Professional Employer of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Nonprofit Young Professional of the Year, Rising Star Award and Volunteer of the Year.

Jessica Brindle from the Boys & Girls Club of Chambersburg and Shippensburg accepted the international ATHENA Young Professional Award. The award honors an emerging leader who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession, and serves as a role model for young women personally and professionally.

Jessica is enthusiastic about sharing the mission of the organization to those in need of their services. She recently worked with the leadership in Chambersburg to launch the Great Futures 5k that was a collaboration with the Earth Day and Fandom events held in downtown Chambersburg. Not only was this a fundraiser for the club, but more importantly, their presence downtown during these events helped expand her organization’s outreach to families in need. It also served to help build coalitions with other individuals, nonprofits and businesses. Jess also has a presence in First Friday events and is a regular volunteer in downtown Chambersburg promoting the club.

Runners-up for the ATHENA Young Professional Award were Hannah Frey from Grayce Gardens and Katie Shank from Wilson College.

Also presented during the ceremony were the following awards:

Educator of the Year:  Stephanie Barnhart, Shippensburg Area Middle School

This award recognizes an individual under 40 in the education field who has gone above and beyond to have a positive impact on those they teach.

Stephanie is the Assistant Principal at Shippensburg Area Middle School and has worked diligently to build a community with teachers, students and parents to improve the overall image of SAMS. She set student expectations, improved communication with teachers and families and utilized social media to showcase events happening at the middle school.

Runners-up for the Educator of the Year award were Chelsea Miller, a teacher at the Franklin County Career and Technology Center and Stefanie Breneman-Smith, a teacher at Shalom Christian Academy.

Young Professional Employer of the Year:  LaunchUX

The Young Professional Employer of the Year award recognizes a local organization that is devoted to the advancement of their young professionals.

LaunchUX, owned by Nathan Neil, is a nationally awarded website design and SEO firm that specializes in driving new revenue to business.

In his nomination, employees said “Through his company, Nathan has created an exceptional work environment that fosters growth, encourages creativity, and empowers young professionals to thrive. The knowledge and experience I gained during my internship greatly complemented my university education and prepared me for a successful career in the tech industry. The positive work environment and open communication culture at LaunchUX foster a sense of belonging and enable us to thrive professionally.”

Runners-up for Young Professional Employer of the Year were SEK, CPAs & Advisors and The Manitowoc Company.

Entrepreneur of the Year: Mike and Sarah Gardner, Edge Fiber Solutions

The purpose of this award is to recognize an entrepreneur or small business owner who has grown and developed a sustainable business.

Mike and Sarah’s business, Edge Fiber Solutions, was born out of significant expertise in engineering combined with a desire to create a supportive and uplifting workplace. Based in Waynesboro, the company has continued to thrive since its initial beginnings in 2021. With thirty-three primarily remote workers, they provide services throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region, stretching as far as Delaware and Virginia. The Gardners are known for their generosity, supportiveness and excellent training. Mike and Sarah also have supported numerous nonprofits, local sports teams and events in their area.

Runners-up for Entrepreneur of the Year were Brachelle Zimmer of Brachelle’s Beauty Lounge and Nicholas Searfoss of The Dapper House Barbershop.

Nonprofit Young Professional of the Year
:  Katie Shank, Wilson College

The purpose of this award is to recognize a nonprofit employee who demonstrates excellence in their work and dedication to their organization and its mission.

Katie is employed with Wilson College as the Director of Alumni Engagement and the Annual Fund. As a young alumna, Katie offers a unique point of view to the Advancement Office and its work to expand the connections among the office, alumni and students. She consistently emphasizes the importance of giving back and helped create the Giving Every Month Society which provides Wilson the opportunity to strategically plan for the future with monthly gifts.

Runners-up for Nonprofit Young Professional of the Year were Evan Crider and Lauren Formosa from the Franklin County Visitors Bureau and Kelly Kozlowski from the Capitol Theatre.

Rising Star Award:  Morgan Landman, SEK, CPAs & Advisors

The purpose of this award is to highlight an individual who has shown tremendous potential in their field.

Morgan graduated with a master’s in business administration from Shippensburg University in May 2022 and passed the CPA exam just months after her college career. Morgan interned for 3 semesters with SEK and accepted a full-time offer in the fall of 2022 in the tax service line of the firm. Since she started, she has continued to prove her growth trajectory and earned a promotion from staff accountant to senior accountant this past July.

Runners-up for the Rising Star Award were Dave Thomas of S&A Homes and Jillian Pavlick of Local News 1.

Volunteer of the Year:  Grace Waller, Chambersburg and Shippensburg Neighbors with Best Version Media

The purpose of this award is to recognize a young professional who has dedicated significant time and resources to serving the Franklin County community.

Grace is involved in many volunteer opportunities such as Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build. She works hard in the marketing and fundraising component of the project and has helped tremendously with the t-shirt sponsorship success, raffle ticket benefit and trash-a-thon.

Grace is also involved with Girl Boss; Not Your Average Networking Group (NYANG) and is a tourism ambassador for the CTA program through the Franklin County Visitors Bureau.

Runners-up for Volunteer of the Year were Jordan Nace of WellSpan Health and Korey Paff of Goosehead Insurance.

Special thanks to this year’s Young Professional Awards sponsors:

The Cumberland Valley Business Alliance is a partnership between the Chambersburg and Greencastle chambers of commerce. Its mission is to help its members prosper and enhance the quality of life in the Cumberland Valley region. Learn more at

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