Distasio & Kowalski

Attorney Daniel J. Distasio has been selected to the 2017 list of “Nation’s Top Attorneys” by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. Fewer than 1 percent of practicing attorneys in the United States are selected for this honor. The recipients have demonstrated the highest ideals of the legal profession.

Attorney Peter J. Biscontini has been selected by National Trial Lawyers for inclusion in its Top 40 Under 40 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in Pennsylvania. The honor is given to only a select group of lawyers for their superior skills and qualifications in the field. Membership is by invitation only and is limited to attorneys in each state or region age 40 or younger who have demonstrated excellence and achieved outstanding results in their careers in civil plaintiff or criminal defense law.

Fidelity Bank

Jill Marie Valentini, retail branch manager of the Green Ridge office, completed coursework at the 2017 Pennsylvania Bankers Association School of Banking, June 4-8 at the Penn State Conference Center in State College.

Valentini has been with the bank since 2008, where she’s served as teller services supervisor as well as assistant branch manager at both the Abington and Green Ridge offices, before she assumed her current position. In February, her peers at the bank selected her as the 2017 Fidelity Banker of the Year for exemplifying the bank’s core values: relationships, integrity, commitment, passion, innovation and success. Valentini is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Lackawanna and currently serves on its executive board. She is also an active member of the Green Ridge Business Association. A graduate of Valley View High School and Penn State University, she resides in Blakely.

Foley Law Firm

Attorney Michael J. Foley of the Scranton firm was a speaker participant at the American Association for Justice Birth Trauma Litigation Group roundtable. The panel discussed discovery of issues relevant to electronic health records under HIPAA/HITECH and medical audit trails for electronic medical records information in medical malpractice litigation at the American Association for Justice Annual Convention in Boston on July 26. Foley is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice (2008-2009) and a board member of the American Association for Justice (2009-2016). Foley has been an invited speaker at the American Board of Trial Advocates Master’s Program in Europe and the Western Trial Lawyers Association in Hawaii.



Medical Center

Pulmonologist and critical care physician Pius Ochieng, M.D., F.C.C.P., has joined the medical center.

Ochieng treats patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit. He also treats patients with pulmonary issues, including various forms of lung disease, asthma, bronchitis, chronic cough, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, lung cancer, obstructive sleep apnea and tuberculosis.

Board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine and critical care, Ochieng earned his medical degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Queens Hospital Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, and a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, New York.

He is a fellow of the College of Chest Physicians and a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Thoracic Society, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the Kenya Association for Prevention of TB and Lung Disease and the Christian Medical and Dental Association of Kenya. He is also an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

Keystone College

Tracy L. Brundage, Ph.D., has been named provost and vice president of academic affairs.

Brundage comes to the college after serving as vice president of workforce development at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport. She has 25 years of experience in operational leadership, strategic planning and organizational development in higher education and the private sector.

She has been employed in the private sector as a small-business owner, a software education instructor and training specialist.

Brundage holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Gettysburg College, a master of education in training and development, and a doctorate in workforce education and development, both from Penn State University.

Munley Law

Marion Munley of the Scranton law firm was named chairwoman of the American Association for Justice Women Trial Lawyers Caucus at the AAJ annual convention in Boston recently.

The caucus provides an opportunity for women in the legal profession to support and learn from one another through networking events, continuing legal education courses, awards and leadership opportunities. Munley’s dedication to women’s leadership development in the law has been well-documented. She currently serves as co-chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession Mentoring Committee. Last year, she received the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Lynette Norton Award, recognizing an outstanding female litigator devoted to mentoring other women lawyers. As Munley takes on this new role, she will continue to work on behalf of women lawyers by promoting the advancement of female attorneys to leadership positions.

Niki Jones Agency

Chief Executive Officer Niki Jones of the local public relations, marketing and digital solutions firm has been accepted into the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, an investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing access to education, capital and business support services. The program is designed for business owners who have a business positioned for growth.

The agency has served some of the most iconic brands and organizations in the Hudson Valley, Pike and Orange counties for more than 18 years.

O’Donnell Law Offices

Best Lawyers has chosen attorney Neil T. O’Donnell, owner and founder of the law office in Kingston, as Lawyer of the Year for Personal Injury Litigation—Plaintiffs. O’Donnell has been recognized by Best Lawyers for the last five years.

Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Its methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical and legal practice area.

A frequent contributor to legal education programs, O’Donnell has held leadership positions in both regional and state legal communities, including the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. He has been recognized as a Top 100 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer from 2007-2017. He has also been selected by his peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2012-2017, and from 2002-2017 has received the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating. He was inducted into the Melvin Belli Society, named after America’s most famous trial lawyer.

University of Scranton

The university has named Harry R. Dammer, Ph.D., associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dammer is a professor in the university’s Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice and Criminology. He joined the faculty in 2002. He is the author or co-author of seven books, including “Religion in Corrections,” “The Offender in the Community” and “Comparative Criminal Justice Systems.” He has also published or co-published more than 40 articles, chapters, manuals and professional reports on a variety of criminal justice topics, including corrections, international justice and religion in prison. In 1993-94, and the spring of 2009, Dammer was awarded Fulbright Scholarships to lecture and conduct research in Germany.

Dammer has 16 years of experience as a department chairman, serving at both Scranton and Niagara University.

At Scranton, Dammer served as the faculty representative to the NCAA, as a faculty fellow in the Office of Educational Assessment, and as a member of the Steering Committee and chairman of the Mission Implementation Sub-Committee for the university’s last Middle States review.

In 2011, he received the University’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Advancing Interdisciplinary Study, and in 2016 he received the Faculty Award for Excellence in University Service and Leadership.

Dammer earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Dayton and his doctorate from Rutgers University.

Wells Fargo

Greg Collins, who served since 2009 as the community bank area president for Northeast Pennsylvania, has decided to retire near the end of September. Until that time, he will continue serving the company, working to ensure a smooth transition of leadership across the region.

A 25-year company veteran, Collins led more than 300 team members and oversaw the operations of 37 branch banking offices across nine counties. Previously, he served the bank in leadership roles in Northeast Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

Collins is serving as a member of the board of trustees for Misericordia University, and as a board member of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, Leadership Wilkes-Barre, the Wilkes-Barre YMCA, Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and the United Way of Wyoming Valley.

A Northeast Pennsylvania native, he received his bachelor of science from Misericordia University. He is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Wilkes-Barre’s Executive Leadership Program.

The Allentown office, located in Hawley, of Wells Fargo Advisors, Wealth Brokerage Services, announced that David Green has joined the firm as a financial adviser, vice president/investments.

A graduate of Shippensburg University with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration, Green has seven years of experience in the financial services industry. He resides in Tyler Hill with his wife and their two children.

Luzerne County Bar Association

Judges and lawyers of the association honored attorney Girard J. Mecadon of Pittston and Lee Ann Palubinsky of Conyngham. The award was presented by Judge Joseph J. Van Jura, the association’s president, for their exceptional service to the local bar.

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