Campus welcomes nine new advisory board members

penn state scranton's new advisory board members

The newly appointed Penn State Scranton Advisory Board members are, at top from left: Anthony Aquilina, Robert F. Beard, Lisa Durkin and Alexis Kirijan. Bottom, from left: Michael Mahon, Judge Julia K. Munley, James D. Tates and Dave Tomassoni. Missing from photo: Jason Kavulich.

Credit: Penn State

Penn State Scranton recently welcomed nine new community leaders to its Advisory Board.

The new members are: Anthony Aquilina, regional president of Geisinger Northeast; Robert F. Beard, executive vice president of natural gas for UGI Corp. and president and CEO of UGI Utilities, Inc.; Lisa Durkin, president and CEO of United Neighborhood Centers and United Neighborhood Community Development Corp.; Jason Kavulich, director of the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging; Alexis Kirijan, superintendent of the Scranton School District; Michael Mahon, superintendent of the Abington Heights School District; Judge Julia K. Munley, Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas; James D. Tates, president and CEO of United Gilsonite Laboratories (UGL); and Dave Tomassoni, sales director at PacketFabric.

The purpose of the advisory board is to advise and assist Chancellor Marwan A. Wafa in the functioning of the campus as an essential part of Penn State, and to serve as an advocate for Penn State Scranton within the local community.

The appointees bring to the board a wealth of knowledge and experience in a variety of fields.

A 1982 Penn State graduate, Aquilina oversees Geisinger Community Medical Center, Geisinger Wyoming Valley, Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre and Geisinger Marworth Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Treatment Center. As regional president, he is responsible for strategic growth and planning, clinical care, operational efficiency and financial success for Geisinger delivery systems across the northeast region.

Previously, Aquilina served as chief medical officer at Geisinger Community Medical Center, associate chief medical officer for Geisinger Northeast, medical director for health services, quality and performance for Geisinger Health Plan and regional medical director for Geisinger Health Plan. A board-certified family practitioner and geriatrician, Aquilina has practiced primary care medicine with Geisinger Health System since 1993. He resides in Mountain Top.

Beard received both his bachelor’s degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering and his master’s degree in management from Penn State. As executive vice president of natural gas for UGI, he is responsible for the company’s natural gas businesses, including utility, midstream and marketing operations. 

As president and CEO of UGI Utilities, Inc., he oversees Pennsylvania’s largest gas utility pipeline system, which has over 12,000 miles of pipeline and approximately 700,000 customers in 45 counties. Prior to joining UGI, he was vice president of operations and engineering of PPL Gas Utilities Corp.

In addition to his duties on the board of directors for UGI Utilities, Beard serves as director for the American Gas Association, Energy Association of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Business Council and PA Chamber of Business and Industry. A resident of Quarryville, Beard also is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Durkin became president and CEO of UNC in February of this year. A graduate of Mansfield University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in social work, Durkin began her career at UNC in 1998 as a housing counselor.

In 2007, she was promoted to director of community services, where she supervised more than 20 crisis intervention programs serving low-income families and individuals. Upon becoming COO in 2010, she developed the education and community health departments within the agency.

She has been actively involved in a number of community initiatives, including the Housing Coalition of Lackawanna County, Women in Philanthropy and the PROSPER team. In 2016, she completed the Achieving Excellence in Executive Education program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Durkin resides in Carbondale.

A University of Scranton graduate, Kavulich has 19 years of experience within the human services field. He advanced from caseworker to supervisory and administrative positions within the Lackawanna County Office of Youth and Family Services before becoming director of the Area Agency on Aging.

His areas of expertise include combating food insecurity, homelessness and connecting people to cultural opportunities for a holistic approach to well-being. He serves as a board member for the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, the Lackawanna County ARTS Engage! Task Force, the Food Policy Council, Continuum of Care, Lackawanna County Pro Bono and the Anthracite Heritage Museum. Kavulich is a lifelong resident of Scranton.

Kirijan received her master’s degree from the University of Scranton, her specialist in education leadership with a concentration in curriculum development from the University of Georgia and her doctorate in educational leadership from Atlanta University.

The first female superintendent of the Scranton School District, she is responsible for educating more than 10,000 students and leading 1,200 employees. There, she developed the Scranton One concept, a five-year plan to improve the education of all district students and bring the district back to financial solvency. In addition to her education credentials, Kirijan is a certified strategist in the Balanced Scorecard Strategy Management System and a certified Total Quality Leader.

She also was the founder and first executive director of the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund, Inc. Kirijan resides in South Abington Township, with her husband, Fred.

Mahon received both his bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degree in school administration from the University of Scranton, his doctorate from Marywood University and his master of business administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Since Mahon became district superintendent in 2004, Abington Heights has been selected by the Pennsylvania General Assembly as one of the state’s most efficient districts and been recognized by nationally affiliated publications and organizations including Newsweek, the Federal Title I Reward School Awards Program, the Advanced Placement Achievement Awards and the Federal Blue Ribbon Awards Program.

In 2018, the district was named one of the Top 50 districts in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report. Mahon is a current member of the Scranton School District Financial Recovery Advisory Committee, the College Board Pennsylvania Superintendent Advisory and the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators Board of Governors.

He and his wife, Heather Wright Mahon, reside in Clarks Summit with their daughter, Ella Wright Mahon.

Munley is a graduate of Marywood University and Dickinson School of Law (now Penn State Dickinson Law). In June 2016, Gov. Tom Wolf nominated Munley to a vacancy on the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas. From there, she was unanimously appointed by the Pennsylvania Senate.

In November 2017, she was elected to a 10-year term on the Court of Common Pleas. Previously, she was a trial attorney with Munley Law in Scranton. She was certified in civil trial and pretrial advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and obtained the highest peer review rating with Martindale Hubbell.

She is a fellow with the trial lawyer honorary society of the Litigation Counsel of America, and has been recognized by Trial Lawyers Care and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America for her successful pro bono representation of a victim of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks previous to the establishment of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Munley resides in South Abington Township with her husband, attorney Patrick Rogan. An Archbald native, she is the daughter of Kathleen Munley, professor emerita at Marywood University, and U.S. District Senior Judge James Munley.

Tates received his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York College at Cortland and his master of business administration from Villanova University. Prior to becoming the president and CEO of UGL, a specialty paint and coatings company headquartered in Dunmore, he was region president of U.S. West and Latin America for the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.

He also has worked for Philips Lighting, Newell Brands and Novartis. A Penn State Scranton scholarship donor through UGL Corporate, Tates is a board member for the American Coatings Association and the Coatings Research Group, and he serves as a mentor with the COMMIT Foundation.

He is a past member of the Lackawanna Industrial Fund Enterprises, past chairman of the Houston Clean City Commission and past member and co-founder of the Texas Water Smart Coalition.

Tates and his wife, Kelly, reside in Waverly Township and have three daughters.

A Penn State Scranton alumnus, Tomassoni received his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Penn State in 1992 and then began a career in technology sales. He recently joined PacketFabric, a next-generation, software-defined network start-up based in Culver City, California. The company provides data center network and cloud connectivity, and is currently in Class B Series funding.

Prior to joining PacketFabric, Tomassoni worked for MCI, Epix and Choice One Communications. At the latter company, he eventually rose to the position of national account director and spent a good portion of his time traveling the country meeting with clients like Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.

Tomassoni resides in Archbald with his wife, Jodi, and their two daughters.