Taris Vrcek is a third-generation McKees Rocks resident and a graduate of Sto-Rox High School. After graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Vrcek pursued a career in information technology before spearheading a re-visioning of his community that would ultimately result in formation of a Strategic Revitalization Plan and the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation (MRCDC). During his tenure as Executive Director, Vrcek has helped facilitate nearly $100M in economic development.
Shelley was born and raised in McKees Rocks. She attended grade school at St. Mary's and McKees Rocks Catholic, and went to high school at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (OLSH). She received her Associate's Degree in Office Management from Robert Morris University and has been Office Manager at MRCDC since November 2013. Shelley is grateful that she gets to work for an organization that is revitalizing the hometown that she knows and loves. She hopes to be a part of the CDC for a very long time.
Director of Economic Development
Jeb grew up in Santa Fe New Mexico. After earning his Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Wisconsin - Madison he moved to San Francisco where he tried out working in the tech sector. Graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University brought Jeb to Pittsburgh. While completing his work at CMU he began collaborating on revitalization efforts in the Borough of Braddock with its former mayor now Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor, John Fetterman. This partnership is ongoing. Jeb now owns and resides in Braddock in a former Catholic school building that also houses an arts venue and studio spaces. He continues to work on his new hometown and spent several years in County government before moving over to work with the McKees Rocks CDC.
Communications & Marketing Manager
A journalist with more than 10 years experience, Sonja joined MRCDC in 2016. Using her bachelor’s degree in communications from the Pennsylvania State University, Sonja handles the nonprofit’s social media, website, communications, event planning and fundraising needs. The former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer has integrated herself into many of the communities that make up the western suburbs of Pittsburgh and covered many of the efforts made by area groups including MRCDC, Focus on Renewal, Sto-Rox Family Health Center, McKees Rocks Borough, Stowe Township, Sto-Rox School District and many of the area’s businesses, groups and residents. A childhood resident of Kennedy, she returned to the area in 2003 and now resides in Kennedy.
Resident Services Coordinator
The McKees Rocks I see today is far different than the McKees Rocks of yesteryear when I was a young girl growing up. Even back then in the mid 1970’s I had a passion for our community and how it would look in the future. Although my life took many paths which diverted my concerns for the community the pride I have always carried of being from McKees Rocks has never changed.
Development Coordinator John Catone joined the MRCDC in March 2019. He has broad experience in senior management and fund development for non profits and an extensive background in public relations and communications. President of Catone & Associates, John serves as an independent contractor for MRCDC. He has also served as deputy director of institutional advancement for Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and was director of development for Bishop Canevin High School. Catone is a graduate of Edinboro University with a bachelor’s degree in library science/education.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ANTHONY T. SKENDER JR.
School Superintendent (ret.), Sto-Rox & Chartiers Valley School Districts
Focus on Renewal
Regional Sales Director, ThinkHR
Raymond P. Puskar
Principal (ret.), Sto-Rox School District
Program Manager, Neighborhood Allies
Raymond J. Garofalo
Community Development, Dollar Bank
Redevelopment Manager, City of Pittsburgh
Father Regis Ryan, Director Emeritus
Retired, Focus on Renewal, Sto-Rox Family Health Center
Executive Vice President & COO, Ohio Valley Hospital
Owner, Aliya Wray’s Beauty Parlor