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.
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 Director
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.
Director of Community Engagement
A native of Cleveland, Gina Beavers received her M.A. and B.A. in American History from the Universities of Massachusetts and Pittsburgh respectively. She is an artist, freelance arts writer and communications professional. Before joining the MRCDC, Gina spent three years as Grants Manager and Communications Coordinator at Focus On Renewal. She also served as the Interim Organizational Director of the Black Caucus American Library Association and is currently Chair of the Allegheny Metro West NAACP Chartering Committee. Gina has sat on several boards in Massachusetts and was President of the Springfield Cultural Council for two terms. She is a current member of the Radiant Hall board in Pittsburgh. She also served as a community liaison for several organizations in the Greater Springfield Massachusetts area including the Community Foundation of Western Mass and Make-It-Springfield.
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.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Positive Parenting Director,
Focus on Renewal
TALIA PIAZZA DePASQUALE
Director of Storytelling & Communications, Neighborhood Allies
Paul K. Brown
Owner/Operator Rocks Landing
Father Regis Ryan, Director Emeritus
Retired, Focus on Renewal, Sto-Rox Family Health Center
Account Executive, Engle-Hambright & Davies, Inc.
ANTHONY T. SKENDER JR.
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
School Superintendent (ret.), Sto-Rox & Chartiers Valley School Districts
Pharmacy Services, Cardinal Health
Redevelopment Manager, City of Pittsburgh
Accountant, Carnegie Mellon University
Coach LaRoi Johnson
Counselor, Three Rivers Youth