Silver Medal Award Winners

Stacy Smulowitz

Stacy Smulowitz

Stacy Smulowitz, Ph.D., ABC, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Media at The University of Scranton, Executive Director of the Eastern Communication Association and Education Chair of Boost Business NEPA. She has a freelance a strategic communication consulting firm and provides strategic guidance to organizational leaders.

Dr. Smulowitz, who teaches courses in advertising, leadership and organizational communication, often includes community-based learning projects for students in her classes. The projects give students real-world experience in developing and pitching marketing-based, integrated advertising campaigns within the context of an academic course. Past clients for the classes have included Scranton Tomorrow, Cedar Bike & Paddle, East Scranton Business Association, Anthracite Heritage Museum and more. In addition, through her academic courses, University students also participate in the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition. She also serves as moderator for the University’s Advertising Club. Some clients include Sno Mountain, Café Sveda, Duffy’s Accessories, Coconut Summer, Stinky’s Chili and Anthracite Bicycle Coalition. Dr. Smulowitz also established and oversees the Ad Club’s annual Advertising Day Conference which brings advertising professionals to campus.

Dr. Smulowitz’s research focus is on theory and strategy for assessing and promoting excellence in organizational leadership. Her most recent book, The communication solution: Leading successful change in higher education, was published in 2021. Her work has also been featured in Leadership and Organization Development Journal, Journal of Intercultural Communication Studies, Measuring Business Excellence, Change Management: An International Journal, The International Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods and in several books, book chapters and training manuals. She holds a Ph.D. from Rutgers University, an M.S. from Ithaca College, a B.A. from Wilkes University, and is accredited through the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

Her passion is to pave the way for girls everywhere to have equality and unfettered leadership opportunities. Dr. Smulowitz works with the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania to revise and create leadership programming. She is also a Girl Scout troop leader.

Prior to earning her Ph.D., Dr. Smulowitz worked in product marketing, public relations, advertising and communications for Morgan Corporation, Lebanon Family Health Services, Summit Manufacturing, A. Rifkin Co., and Intermetro Industries.

Dr. Smulowitz and her husband John, reside in the Back Mountain with their daughter Victoria, son Alexander and a spirited Brussels Griffon, Arlo.


Bob Adcroft


Bob Adcroft started his career in marketing and advertising in 1980 at WSCR Radio. He also served as an Account Executive for Susquehanna Broadcasting in 1989-1991 and was a Senior Account Executive CRMC at Key Market Communications from 1991-1994. He also spent a decade at the New York Times Co. as a Strategic Marketing Consultant from 1994-2004. During 2004-2008 he was the Director of Marketing and Sales for the local Krispy Kreme franchise that he co-owns. It was during this time period that he successfully launched the Valpak Direct Franchise with his son. He then continued his career as a Marketing Consultant for New Age Media (FOX 56), from 2008-2014. From then on, he moved into the Local Sales Manager position at WBRE-TV, up until 2015. Aside from his commitment to helping businesses navigate the current marketing landscape of both traditional and digital advertising Bob is currently employed as a Senior Account Executive at Entercom Communications.

Bob is also a partner/co-owner of Early Morning Doughnuts; a franchise that his parents started over 60 years ago. The Adcroft family has two Krispy Kreme franchise locations in Northeast Pennsylvania. Bob spent six years serving as the Director of Sales and Marketing of Krispy Kreme development company, which played a key role in the extreme growth the NEPA locations have experienced. In addition, he successfully launched the Valpak of Northeastern Pennsylvania franchise, in which he developed a dormant territory to a client base of over 200 local business accounts.
Bob is a partner/co-owner of Early Morning Doughnuts; a franchise that his parents started over 60 years ago. The Adcroft family has two Krispy Kreme franchise locations in Northeast Pennsylvania. Bob spent six years serving as the Director of Sales and Marketing of Krispy Kreme development company, which played a key role in the extreme growth the NEPA locations have experienced. In addition, he successfully launched the Valpak of Northeastern Pennsylvania franchise, in which he developed a dormant territory to a client base of over 200 local business accounts.


Peter Steve


Prior to the start of Ideaworks in 1998, Peter culminated a 17-year career in the management services industry serving as vice president of marketing for Sodexo. In that role, Peter was responsible for the company’s overall marketing strategy and growth initiatives, including account-level marketing, corporate identity, sales support, national brand management and signature concept development.

Peter holds an undergraduate degree in marketing/communications from Wilkes University and has completed post-graduate course work in a number of specialized areas, including brand strategy and market development at The Wharton School and George Washington University. In addition to being a certified Focus Group Moderator, Peter has authored a number of feature articles for industry trade publications and is an accomplished speaker on branding and marketing strategy. He holds memberships in numerous professional organizations, including the American Marketing Association and the American Advertising Federation. Peter is the father of two sons, Peter III and Tyler, and resides in Dallas, PA, with his wife Judy and the family’s two Portuguese Water Dogs, Crispin and Dante.


George Sweda

Sweda Advertising

After more than two decades in the advertising business, George Sweda founded Sweda Advertising in 2004. Today, it has blossomed into a shop that posts annual billings of $2M+ and provides professional services to some of the region’s most respected clients. George holds a Master’s degree from Syracuse University’s SI Newhouse School of Public Communications and an undergraduate degree in Communications from The University of Scranton.

Sweda Advertising is known as a strategic, driven, full-service advertising agency that builds strong and long-term relationships with its clients. Renowned for its exceptional brand management, message development, and marketing strategy, the Sweda team features a deep in-house roster of talented, experienced, affable and motivated individuals comprised of Account Executives/Brand Managers; Media Planners; Copy/Content Writers, Graphic Designers, Audio/Video Producers/Directors; Print Managers and Digital/Web Specialists.

George and his team have provided pro-bono support for many of the area’s nonprofits including The Foundation for Cancer Care, Coaches vs Cancer, Griffin Pond Animal Shelter; Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center’s Angel Fund, Lackawanna County’s Annual 3on3 Basketball Tournament, Susan G Koman and Race for the Cure.

Between speaking at schools and working with at least 2 interns per year at his agency, George sets an example for how agency professionals can provide positive guidance to the next generation of advertising professionals.

George and his wife Mary are the proud parents of three children: Sarah, who has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Scranton, is a Bereavement Counselor for children & teens at Hospice & Community Care in Lancaster; Emily with a BS Degree in Public Policy from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, is a member of Congressman Matt Cartwright’s staff in Washington D.C. and Corey who is finishing up his senior year at the Haub School of Business at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.


Rita Fendrych

Television advertising in Northeastern Pennsylvania took a rapid and progressive upward turn when Rita Fendrych and Gil Hoban moved to our area. In fact, the local television stations didn’t know what hit them. In 1987 Gil stepped in at WOLF-TV as general sales manager, responsible for budgets and revenue. While there he increased revenue by 100% in less than three years.

Meanwhile, his better half was forming an independent media buying/consulting firm known as RF Media Associates that deals with all facets of electronic media planning, negotiations and placement. Until this day she still brings her hard-nose negotiation skills to all local, regional and national broadcast and cable stations on behalf of individual clients as well as advertising agencies such as Lavelle Strategy Group where she has been a part of the team for more than 25 years.

Before leaving the Big Apple for the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, Rita was Vice President and Director of Spot Broadcast for D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. She handled $30 million annually in purchases negotiated by a staff of 27 in 70 east coast markets. Among her clients were the American Dairy Association, Anheuser Busch, Burger King, General Motors, Proctor & Gamble and M&M/Mars. Prior to that she served as Senior Negotiator at J. Walter Thompson, New York.

Both Rita and Gil became entrenched in our community…familiar faces at many charity and industry events. Rita served on the board of NEPA AAF and was president for two years. She was on the founding board of Dress for Success Lackawanna, helping to establish the annual luncheon and fashion show that is still going strong today. Currently she and her adorable companion Spike are members of Therapy Dog International Chapter 254, visiting hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living homes to brighten the day of the patients and residents.

A media planner and buyer extraordinaire, Rita Fendrych has made many outstanding contributions to the advertising industry which she loves and has devoted her career. For those contributions and for furthering the standards of the industry, she deservedly is being honored to receive the AAF Silver Medal.


Gil Hoban

Posthumous Honoree

Anyone who knows Rita knows she will never look at the Silver Medal without thinking and remembering her beloved Gil. A power couple, they shared a passion for life and our community, so it is fitting that at this time we remember the notable differences Gil made in the lives of many as well in the industry he too loved.

As a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters, Gil Hoban lobbied fiercely for his colleagues. But where Gil truly shined, was as a mentor, advising and guiding one on one and helping however he could. In fact, people often noticed that if he offered help, and could not provide it himself, he would find someone who could.

When Gil passed in 2010 he left behind a legacy of glorious friendships and memories, as demonstrated in the many messages of love Rita received. Examples include…”Gil gave me the opportunity to begin a career in television sales and I will always be in debt to him.”; “Gil was a great friend who left us with a lot of tremendous memories that I will treasure forever.”; “Gil was an icon. Someone everyone looked to and he could always make you laugh.”; “He was a wonderful mentor, friend and gentleman. He made a big difference in many lives.”


Christine Medley

Marywood University

Christine Medley is an assistant professor of graphic design at Marywood University, graphic designer and an exhibiting fine artist. She runs a small community letterpress studio in downtown Scranton called The Workshop along with her freelance design business, Crow Designs.

Christine is from Omaha, Nebraska and earned her Bachelor of Journalism in Advertising from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She worked for a short time in Omaha and Champaign-Urbana, Illinois as a graphic designer and then settled in Rockville, Maryland for 15 years. There she earned a MFA in printmaking from the University of Maryland, College Park while maintaining artist residencies and a studio. She worked as a print and web designer for the City of Rockville, WTTG FOX TV, The University of Maryland, and numerous nonprofits such as the Rachel Carson Council, The Renwick Alliance, National Institutes of Health, Rockville Arts Place and Maryland College of Art and Design.

She made the transition to teaching in 1996 and moved to Northeast Pennsylvania in 2003 where she balanced teaching, her design business and working for Happening Magazine until 2007 when she because full time at Marywood. She has been involved with AAF NEPA since 2004 and a board member since 2006 acting as director, education liason, membership director, web director, and Addy co-chair. Current professional memberships include the AAF NEPA, AIGA, Southern Graphics Council International, Ladies of Letterpress, and Mid America Print Council.


Paul DeLuca

President DFA, Inc. Since 1993

Paul grew up on the streets of Wilkes-Barre spending way too many nights at Butteria’s Pool Hall. He found his way to Millersville University to study art and photography. After graduation Paul landed a job as art teacher at John Reynolds Junior High School in Lancaster, PA. From there it was a two-year stint, again as an art and photography teacher, in Stavanger, Norway. After coming back to the States, he took time to travel and lived in Calgary, Canada, Denver and San Francisco before returning home to Northeast Pennsylvania. Several more jobs—writer and station editor for TV Guide, Sales and Producer for Music Designers and finally Account Executive at Don Bennett Advertising. He left there to become Marketing Director of Third National Bank, Scranton, PA and finally co-founding DFA, Inc. in 1993. Paul was also President of Scranton Lions Club, Dream Game Chairman, & Board Member of Luzerne County SPCA. (Photographer for Pets with Santa Claus)


Paula Mackarey

Happenings Communications Group

Ms. Paula Rochon Mackarey serves as the President of Happenings Communications Group, Inc, where she has been since 1994. Ms. Mackarey served as Publisher of of CVSL Inc. She was a Chairperson, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Scranton Counseling Center, Workforce Investment Board and Past President, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, NEPA Ad Club and Past Board Member, United Cerebral Palsy, Lackawanna Historical Society, Abington Business and Professional Association. Her awards includes: Top 50 Women in Business in PA; Barack Award for Creative Leadership. She studied at Marywood University. She enjoys spending time with her 5-year-old daughter, enjoying afternoon tea with girlfriends and taking in the beauty and wonder of a huge gorgeous lake.


Phil Condron

Condron Media

Phil’s knack for grabbing maximum exposure for his clients’ media dollars comes from the two decades he spent managing area broadcast stations. That experience, plus the three years he ran the most prestigious ad firm in Northeastern, PA prepared him well to launch Condron & Company in 1994. Dedicated to implementing marketing campaigns that solve client challenges and exceed objectives, Phil has guided the steady growth of Condron & Company through the addition of talented personnel, the latest research tools and up-to-date technology. He manages many of the agency’s key clients and works closely with the research, creative, copy, PR and production professionals at the agency. Phil also strongly believes in “giving back” by continually helping to grow and improve our region. He serves on 13 area non-profit and community boards, and has headed Scranton Tomorrow, MertoAction, The Burn Prevention Foundation and The Scranton Rotary Club.


Thom Welby

Previously worked in advertising and Internet divisions at FOX & WB-TV, 16 years; advertising and promotions director; nightclub DJ at The Station Complex, Wilkes-Barre, 1980-86; on-air personality/program director, WEZX (FM107), WEJL and WPTS radio stations. He dedicates a great deal of his time to volunteering and past and present positions include: Board chairman, Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority; treasurer, Lackawanna County Convention and Visitors Bureau board; Lackawanna College Trustee; vice president, League of Women Voters of Lackawanna County board; board member, NEPA Arthritis Foundation; volunteer, Stand for Children; advisory board member, Dress For Success; volunteer, Good Schools Pennsylvania; member, St. Ann’s Basilica choir; director, Stephanie Jallen Paralympic Committee; committee member, First Friday; former board member, volunteer, St. Ann’s Media; former president, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; former member, Lackawanna-Luzerne Consumer Council; former director, Greater Scranton Jaycees; former treasurer, Scranton Parking Authority.


Tom Donahue

Lamar Advertising

Occupation: Vice President – General Manager of Lamar Advertising and 27 years in Outdoor Advertising Industry starting with Patrick Media in 1986. Prior to joining Patrick Media, worked 10 years for Union Carbide’s Battery Products Division in New York.

Education: Graduated St. John’s University in New York and a BS in Business Management.

Community Involvement: On the Board of Directors with the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, Work Force Investment Board Lackawanna County, Blind Association, and Scranton Chamber. Member of President’s Circle for Johnson College; Member of Executive Committee for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and President of Stephanie Jallen Foundation.


Helen Lavelle

Lavelle Strategy Group

A superb strategic thinker, Helen has a knack to knock the ball right out of the park. Imaginative and versatile, she motivates creative and technical teams to compellingly convey product benefits through graphic elements and solid marketing strategy. Immersed in the industry and the latest trends in advertising, Helen has held every key positioning the American Advertising Federation and continues to serve on the Council of Governors.