Contributing Business Writer
Phi Beta Lambda national business fraternity conducted its 41st annual initiation banquet at the Elkins Motor Lodge on Dec. 2. The annual banquet provides the setting at which eligible Davis & Elkins College business administration students are initiated into the fraternity, and local business people are initiated onto the organization advisory board as honorary members. Eighteen business students and four local business executives were welcomed into the organization during the event.
“Versatility of Business” was the theme of guest speaker Greg Falvo, medical director of Triad Tech of Huntington.
In his opening remarks, Falvo said, “It has been over 25 years since I joined Phi Beta Lambda to enjoy the fellowship and comradery of this organization at D&E College. At that time I was sitting where you are listening intently to the evening’s speaker.”
After being asked to speak, Falvo said he reflected on what he has gained by being involved in the organization.
“What is it about this organization that has helped me succeed in life? The famous artist (Jehuda) Rodan said, ‘Nothing is a waste of time if you spend that experience wisely.’ The time spent at D&E, especially with Dr. (Gloria) Payne and Phi Beta Lambda, was far from wasted; it was part of the most valued memories of my life,” Falvo said. “Things like conferences and fashion shows, communications day, international business day and many, many more of the activities that I was involved in at D&E helped me learn the importance of commitment, creativity and determination.
“The famous film director Cecil B. DeMille said, ‘A person who makes a success of living is the one who seeks his goals steadily and aims unswervingly.’ Throughout our lives, we constantly set goals, plan strategy to accomplish those goals and work hard toward their success. This requires time management, teamwork and focus. This is the essence of determination. Success, however, takes more than determination; it takes commitment,” Falvo said.
“Commitment is the giving of one’s all despite the sacrifices we must undertake; it involves the commitment to your profession, your ideals and convictions. Often these convictions are shaken by family, business and world events. However, these values will carry you through times when you aren’t sure or are unprepared for the events in your future. Be committed to who you are and what you stand for, and everything will fall into place,” Falvo said.
Another key value Falvo said he learned at D&E and as a member of Phi Beta Lambda
“Perhaps creativity is the most significant factor in developing the ability to think outside the box. It is necessary for adapting in troubling times, and it is important to success,” Falvo said. “As you travel your next 25 years, be committed to what you do and with whom you spend time. Be creative; life rewards the unique in spirit. As Abe Lincoln said, ‘Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other thing.’”
Following Falvo’s remarks, 18 members of the D&E business administration class were initiated into the fraternity, including Danielle Anderson, Amanda Ayers, Ebtisam Bahar, Michael Deneroff, Megan Dulik, Aaron Edings, Kimbra Ellison, Tane Hardy, Ben Jones, Zahra Khalid, Jennifer Kimble, Nathan LaValla, Alison McKeon, Chris Racine, Ricardo Soler, Max von Doemming, Phillip Wood and Buddy Allen Young.
Payne, fraternity advisor and chair of the Business Administration Department, challenged the group to the fraternity’s edicts, which include college, education, progress and service.
“These are very much a part of our organization; this is what we expect of you. Education will provide the key, the way for you to be of service in this world. We expect you to join others in helping America, Davis & Elkins College and yourself as you progress through life. We are expecting great things of you,” Payne said. “One of the things I want you to remember is that you should leave the world, you should leave your college, you should leave your organization a little bit better than it was when you arrived. You can make a difference. You can make a difference in this organization and we are counting on you to do just that.”
The four business leaders initiated onto the fraternity’s advisory board were Tharon L. “T.L.” Jack II, Dale Joe Kelley, David “Chongo” Skidmore and Linda Howell Skidmore.
Jack grew up in and attended the school system of Elkins. During his high school years, Jack studied at Welfield High School in Leyland, England, for one summer and was a student delegate to the United Nations. Upon graduation from Elkins High School, he went on to begin his collegiate study at West Virginia University. During his sophomore year, he transferred to Davis & Elkins College where he completed his education with a bachelor of science in communications. He is the fifth of all five family members to attend and graduate from D&E.
In 2001, he went to work at US Cellular as a retail wireless consultant. During his time with the company, he has moved through the ranks as an assistant manager, sale supervisor and then into his current role as a sales manager. He has been actively involved in regional initiatives to increase customer satisfaction and the training of leaders throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. On a national level, he was part of the team who was sent to St. Louis, Mo., for the largest market launch in company history.
He resides in Elkins with his wife and six of their eight children.
The youngest of five children, Kelly is the son of Mabel and Brady Kelly. At age 6, his family moved from Mabie to Elkins. He attended Highland Park Grade School, Elkins Junior High and graduated from Elkins High School in 1973.
He began working at the Elkins Motor Lodge in 1970 at age 17 as a bellboy. After a year at this job, he moved into the restaurant. In 1971, he began working in the kitchen as a salad prep cook. He did a number of different tasks in the kitchen including washing dishes, preparing salads, making desserts and helping prepare for the dinner hours. This work sparked Kelly’s love for cooking and his interests in the culinary arts. It was at this time that he decided he wanted to devote his life to cooking and decided to go to culinary school.
He entered the culinary arts program at the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs and completed his study under the finest chefs in the business. After graduating in May 1975, he returned to the Elkins Motor Lodge and became head chef of the 1863 Tavern. He has worked 32 of his 34 years as a professional chef at the Elkins Motor Lodge. He estimates that he has prepared in excess of half a million dinners in his career.
Howell Skidmore is editor of The Inter-Mountain, where she has worked since 1991. She began as a reporter and later became region editor, city editor and managing editor. Under her leadership, the newspaper received numerous awards of general excellence from the West Virginia Press Association.
She attended Wheeling Jesuit College, now Wheeling Jesuit University, from which she graduated with a degree in communication of journalism and psychology. She has worked in radio in Wheeling, Morgantown and Elkins and in advertising in Florida.
In 2003, the Elkins Business and Professional Women’s Organization recognized her as Community Business Woman of the Year.
She is married David “Chongo” Skidmore. They are members of St. Brendan Catholic Church and both serve as readers. She is the daughter of Libretta Leombruno Howell of Elkins and the late John D. Howell.
David Skidmore began his media career at WDNE radio in 1972. He later worked as air talent and with advertising and promotions at WELK and WBTQ radio. He is currently an account executive at The Inter-Mountain.
He is a native of Elkins and attended Davis & Elkins College. The Randolph County United Way and the Rotary Club of Elkins, among other organizations, have recognized him for meritorious service to the Elkins community.
He is the son of Charles Skidmore of Elkins and the late Ethel Skidmore.
STUDENTS INDUCTED — Eighteen business administration students at Davis & Elkins College were inducted into the Phi Beta Lambda on Dec. 2. Inducted are, front row, from left, Allison McKeon, Ebtisam Bahar, Zahra Khalid, Megan Dulik and Jennifer Kimble; second row, Amanda Ayers, Nate LaValla, Danille Anderson, Max von Doemming, Tane Hardy and Michael Deneroff. Inducted, but pictured, are Aaron Edings, Kimbra Ellison, Ben Jones, Chris Racine, Ricardo Soler, Phillip Wood, and Buddy Allen Young.