Meet the 2023 Exelon Foundation Employee Volunteer Award Winners
A whopping 126,500 volunteer hours were clocked in by Exelon employees throughout 2022. This impressive number affirms how volunteerism is an integral part of our company culture, which encourages employees to give back to the community every chance they get. A special shout-out goes to 20 esteemed individuals and teams who went above and beyond in their volunteering efforts, granting them the honor of becoming the latest recipients of the Exelon Foundation Employee Volunteer Award.
From providing comfort to senior citizens to building homes for those in need, these winners sought out opportunities to power a cleaner and brighter future for our customers and communities. The Exelon Foundation is recognizing their efforts by awarding grants totaling $100,000 to the awardees’ nonprofit organizations.
Congratulations to all of the well-deserved winners! The Exelon Foundation Employee Volunteer Awards program has collectively recognized more than 300 employee volunteers and contributed over $2 million to nonprofit partners over the last 18 years. These impressive stats are bound to continue growing at a rapid rate as we all remain committed to giving back and serving our communities.
Jason Skolnick, Senior Training Specialist, Atlantic City Electric
Linwood Parent Teacher Organization
Having a natural gift for building things, Jason Skolnick uses his carpentry skills and creativity to support his children’s school. For over three years, he has volunteered with the Linwood Parent Teacher Organization, a group dedicated to strengthening the educational and social environment of the Linwood schools while nurturing relationships between parents, teachers and students. What makes Jason’s service unique is the high level of care he dedicates to his projects. For example, he has built and donated beautiful backdrops, donut stands and picture frames. As soon as he hears an idea for inspiration, Jason is able to quickly bring it to life in his workshop! He also has experience with selling raffle tickets, setting up tents for field days and handling bookfairs. By being an active community member, Jason witnesses his children engage in interactive experiences with their friends and surroundings. Jason’s efforts are contributing to ensure Linwood is fostering opportunities for families within their home, school and community.
Saundra Wilson, Manager, Training, Atlantic City Electric
Loving Our Cities
On the first Saturday of every month, Saundra Wilson devotes her time to fighting hunger in her community. While volunteering with Loving Our Cities, she has been able to provide hundreds of South Jersey families with access to nutritious food. This organization focuses on societal change by addressing systemic barriers that compromise the quality of life in marginalized communities. From assisting families in their registration process to compiling food bank reports that are sent to federal agencies, Saundra consistently and directly supports women, men and children without negatively impacting their dignity or self-worth. Her relentless spirit was clearly demonstrated when she was able to step in when one of the registration team members fell ill and was unable to serve for months. Saundra always serves her community with a smile, embodying the heart of Loving Our Cities as she strives to use her time and talent to make a difference in the lives of her neighbors.
Ryan Whitman, Manager, Smart Energy Network, Atlantic City Electric
Operation Safe Haven
From disarming bombs in Iraq to protecting civilians and soldiers from attacks, Ryan Whitman is a combat veteran with firsthand experience on the battlefield. As a result of his past, Ryan took it upon himself to always advocate for veterans back home. As former president and now Chair of the Board of Directors of the employee resource group EMAC at PHI, he frequently sought out veteran organizations within EMAC’s service territory to volunteer with. Since 2020, Ryan has been actively working with Operation Safe Haven, a nonprofit that provides resources and services such as housing, therapy, and coaching to veterans and first responders. Ryan has been instrumental in using his knowledge and time to rebuild distribution lines, replace poles, trim trees, build a laundry room and install an electrical panel. Ryan also helped with enrolling veterans and first responders in their workforce development program in New Jersey. Due to Ryan’s efforts, many veterans have been able to ease their way back into society and get back on their feet.
Kristin Cox, Senior Manager, Gas Engineer & Asset Performance, Baltimore Gas and Electric
Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS)
Kristin Cox has held a variety of positions across Baltimore Gas and Electric in engineering, operations, contracting and finance. She is an engineer by trade with technical experience in the field, and she has pursued a path into leadership. During her personal time, she enjoys being connected to the art of dancing. Her passion for dance has shaped her into becoming an active advocate for arts accessibility and youth development. For two years, Kristin has volunteered with the Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS), an organization committed to ensuring that all students in Maryland have access to high-quality arts education. As the AEMS Board Treasurer, Kristin is directly involved with developing the organization’s budget, examining and reviewing monthly statements, and consulting with staff on financial concerns that arise. Because AEMS has a small staff count, strong participation from board members like Kristin is crucial in order to make a difference in the lives of children who enter the doors.
Volunteer Team Members: Benjamin Carstens, Section Engineer, and Ronald Carstens, Director, Utility Performance Assessment, Baltimore Gas and Electric
In the Carstens household, volunteering has always been a core family value. It comes as no surprise, then, that Ron Carstens and his son Ben would partner to make a difference. In 2017, they joined Samaritan’s Purse to provide spiritual and physical aid to people around the world through Operation Christmas Child. Since 1970, this nonprofit has assisted over 2,600 families who’ve experienced war, poverty and disease. The Carstenses’ impact ranges from making care packages for children in Native American reservations to being the boots on the ground for home rebuilds after natural disasters. In response to Hurricane Florence in 2018, Ron and Ben played a part in constructing 14 new homes and repairing 36 homes in Whiteville and Lumberton, North Carolina. After the Kentucky floods of 2021, the father and son assisted a family in a complete rebuild of their home by installing insulation, hanging doors, sanding/painting walls and installing appliances. Due to the Carstenses’ care and dedication, many impacted families were able to receive peace and comfort amid great uncertainty.
Exelon Militaries Actively Committed (EMAC) Baltimore Chapter Team Members: James Winbourne, Supervisor, Relay & Control; Ryan Bowerman, Security Specialist, Infrastructure Protection; Stacy Wirth, Manager, Community Engagement; Michael Kunkel, Senior Project Controls Estimator; Tesfa Bemnet, Project Controls Scheduler; Tampatha Patrick, Senior Administrative Assistant; Elmer Butts III, Senior Measurement Tech; Susanne Casterline, Executive Administrative Coordinator; Rayon Wright, Revenue Management Specialist; Wayne Carter, Principal Designer; Humbert Giannaccini, Senior Project Controls Estimator, Baltimore Gas and Electric
The Baltimore Station
Led by James Winbourne, the employee resource group EMAC chapter in Baltimore has been volunteering with The Baltimore Station over the past two years. The Baltimore Station is an innovative therapeutic residential and outpatient treatment program that supports veterans who are overcoming obstacles to regain self-sufficiency. The group’s goal is to help those in need overcome adversities such as addiction, homelessness, PTSD and other mental health issues. Several times throughout the year, this EMAC team prepared dinner for veterans at the station — and even donated two Weber grills! Some of the members also prepared additional dishes on their own at home and brought them to the station the night of the event. Toward the end of the dinner services, many of the volunteers take time to sit and have conversations with the veterans. This provides a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices our veterans have made and gives the veterans an opportunity to engage in talks outside of the other residents of this community. The EMAC Baltimore chapter is a team that came together to support our veterans by listening to their needs and helping them reach their full potential.
Tonya Reed, Senior Business Analyst, Commonwealth Edison Company
Continuing Academic Training Children & Youth Services, Inc. (CAT)
Growing up, Tonya Reed didn’t have a mentor to show her how to navigate the academic world. However, back in 2003, she received her bachelor’s degree in Business Management while working to financially support herself and three children. Tonya wanted to take the extra step by not only getting an education, but also by making sure future generations receive the guidance that she never had. For the past seven years, she has volunteered consistently with Continuing Academic Training Children and Youth Services, Inc. (CAT). The group offers customized educational services that provide students, parents, and educators with useful strategies and options to break the cycle of failure in our public educational system — including college scholarships to high school graduates! Tonya is now the organization’s Human Relations Chair and she is responsible for multiple tasks, including recruiting new members, creating committees, being an active board member, working with new students and organizing fundraisers. With her personal journey on her mind, Tonya tells students to redefine their definition of challenges. She believes that challenges do not determine your life outcome — it is how you overcome those challenges that determines how you live and thrive.
Dawne Watts, Senior Customer Insights Analyst, Commonwealth Edison Company
Fetching Tails Foundation
After joining ComEd at the end of 2017, Dawne Watts started her volunteer journey with Fetching Tails Foundation during 2018’s National Volunteer Month. Driven by its commitment to humane practices, this all breed/age medical nonprofit’s mission is to lower euthanasia rates by rescuing adoptable dogs from high-kill shelters and other animal intake facilities by placing them in approved caring homes. Since then, Dawne has assumed different volunteer roles, ranging from serving as a dog handler at dog adoption shows to helping obtain donations to, most recently, answering adoptapet.com inquiries. In 2019, as a ComEd Impact Leader, she brought a dozen employees to the group’s isolation center to volunteer, and she even created Christmas cards that were sold at a charity event. At the early height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when most people were working from home, a spike in dog adoptions meant Dawne would receive more than 30 emails a day. Because of her genuine love for dogs, Dawne continuously reminds us of the importance of having empathy toward all animals.
Paul Strahanoski, Work Week Manager, Commonwealth Edison Company
St. Jude Catholic Church, New Lenox, Illinois
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, genuine human connections and relationships were essential to improving our physical and mental health and making us feel a sense of belonging. Since 2013, Paul Strahanoski has taken the personal initiative to make sure people in his community are not experiencing loneliness in their own home. Partnering with St. Jude Catholic Church in Illinois, he has spent every other Sunday making sure people feel valued, seen and heard. The group’s nonprofit mission is to help those in in need by providing food, financial independence and mentorship. Particularly, Paul works with the elderly and the homebound, but he doesn’t simply just stop by to say hello — he spends the time to interact with each person and learns more about who they are. His engagement includes in-person conversations as well as reaching out to them via text or email. In some cases, he is the only personal contact they have in a given week. Aside from being an active visitor, he has recruited and trained others to join the homebound program! Paul has been instrumental in building long-lasting friendships that help people smile and feel appreciated.
Linda Lamberson, Senior Business Analyst, Delmarva Power
CATS Bridge to Rescue
Cats come in all shapes and personalities — some cats are affectionate, while others are timid and shy. Despite their many forms, Linda Lamberson has dedicated the last 14 years of her life to volunteering with cats at CATS Bridge to Rescue, a nonprofit organization that cares for lost and homeless cats while also focusing on its no-kill mission. Linda has used her creativity to piece together fun projects to help cats find their forever homes or at least feel comfortable in their environment. She taught staff and volunteers how to take high-quality animal pictures, which led to more inquiries, shares on social media and the ultimate outcome of adoption! Using her love for music, Linda implemented a music program at the shelter to reduce anxiety and stress among the cats. Her humanity and commitment have created new insights for the rescue, and she is determined to find a caring and loving forever home for the cats in the shelter.
Mark Naugle, Senior Project Construction Manager, Delmarva Power
Delmar Little League Baseball
Mark Naugle’s love for baseball and softball dates back to an early age. Because of his impactful experience, he decided to incorporate that part of his life into volunteering. For the last 35 years, he has been a member of Delmar Little League Baseball, a nonprofit organization that provides a positive environment for youth in the Delmar community by using baseball and softball as an avenue to build character and teamwork. During his time with the organization, Mark has worn multiple hats that include being an active coach, umpire, board member and vice president. He has made a personal goal to help the league grow into one of the largest youth organizations in the area. Just this past summer, he managed the all-star team that went to the Little League Softball World Series in Greenville, North Carolina, which was broadcast on ESPN! Over the years, Mark has sacrificed countless personal hours to mentor and develop the community's youth. Mark does an excellent job teaching “on-field” lessons that promote life skills that the kids will use long after they move on from Little League.
Simone Woods, Senior Project Manager, Exelon Business Services Co, LLC
Major Taylor Trail Keepers (MTTK)
Simone Woods is a proud native of Chicago’s South Side, and she believes transformational change in a community starts with us! To complement this mission, Simone has volunteered with several small local nonprofits committed to giving back. This is how she came across Major Taylor Trail Keepers (MTTK), a group whose primary focus is to help secure funding to improve conditions for bicycling, walking and public transportation that increases access to Chicago’s Southwest side neighborhoods on the Major Taylor Trail. Simone’s work consists of creating project plans for fundraising, participating in cleanup events, educating Illinois voters and candidates, and working closely with the CEO, Dr. Brenda Dixon, in developing a five-year strategy plan for the organization. Simone does not simply check off a box to say she participated in an event — she is intentional in helping MTTK grow. Beyond that, she is determined to create safe and fun spaces where Chicago South Side residents can work, play and live.
Barbara Woltanski, Senior Benefits Consultant, Exelon Business Services Co, LLC
Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB)
For the past five years, Barbara Woltanski has used her Saturday mornings to fight for a cause that affects millions of people in the U.S. In partnership with Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB), she helps to provide food and resources to families and individuals who need help. At NIFB, the group focuses on delivering food and healthy eating services to the Northern Illinois community, serving 13 counties by providing 250,000 meals per day. Barbara starts her Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. at the North Suburban Center to help set up and get the morning shift ready for the volunteers. Some days, she packs cereals or meals; other days, she packs Walgreens’ donations such as medicine, beauty products or toys and separates them into categories, which makes it easier to for the food banks to organize! Aside from packing items, Barbara helps new volunteers by explaining tasks and answering any questions, and she even stays afterward to clean up and make sure everything is ready for the next volunteer group! Barbara is a joyful volunteer who is on a mission to make sure all families have food on the table, and no one goes hungry.
Patrick O’Rourke, Performance Assessment Manager DEV, Exelon Business Services Co, LLC
Regina Luminis Academy
Some people have a love-hate relationship with running. However, Patrick O’Rourke has a genuine passion for the sport — so much so that, after 30 years of running, he used his experience to help his son’s school in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. In the spring of 2021, Patrick became the head cross-country coach and track and field coach at Regina Luminis Academy (RLA), a pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade academy that opened in 2008. Due to being a new school, the cross-country and track team is its first registered athletic program. While managing his full-time job, Patrick has been dedicated to his volunteer responsibilities that include planning workouts for the whole season, ordering uniforms, creating team logos and setting up a meets schedule. At the end of their second cross-country season, both teams qualified for the Pennsylvania State Championships. Patrick is not only coaching but also making a difference in the lives of young kids by helping them embrace the virtue of teamwork.
Glenn Tiley, Energy Technician, PECO Energy Company
Keystone Opportunity Center
Encompassing multiple societal challenges, Glenn Tiley has rolled up his sleeves and provided many avenues to support his local community. As a volunteer with Keystone since 2013, Glenn and his family have helped Keystone’s food pantry and local food drives, among other things. Keystone Opportunity Center educates, encourages and empowers community members in-need to become self-sufficient. Glenn has used his handiwork skills to assist with building maintenance work at the group’s housing units, which are usually donated when someone passes away or a bank forecloses on a property. These units are typically not in the best shape and Glenn uses his creativity to make repairs that are safe, functional and cost-effective. He has painted entire houses, replaced sump pumps, installed flooring, repaired stairways, installed doors, replaced sinks and more! Glenn not only takes pride in his detailed work, but he is also happy to have his family volunteer alongside him. His biggest takeaway is instilling empathy in his children and seeing them grow into responsible and caring citizens.
Gregory Rosato, Plant Operations Mechanic, PECO Energy Company
Upper Gwynedd Fire Department
Gregory Rosato has been an active volunteer firefighter for 20 years, and the past eight years of his career have been spent with the Upper Gwynedd Township Fire Department. The mission of this fire station is to protect the lives and properties of Upper Gwynedd Township and surrounding communities by providing emergency services with a professionally trained and compassionate volunteer workforce. Throughout his time there, Gregory has served as the fire department Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, Assistant Chief and, most recently, the Deputy Chief. His current role requires him to oversee the day-to-day administrative operations, including diversity and inclusion counsel, yearly operations budget, and communication liaison with township officials. In 2020, he was awarded the Life Saving award for his heroism in saving a person who was suffering from a cardiac arrest. As a direct result of his selflessness, training and desire to serve, Gregory saved another human life.
Team Members: Mark McDonald, Senior Project Construction Manager; Lingyu Lu, Manager, Project Construction; Frank Colelli, Senior Safety Specialist; Deborah Cook, Senior Safety Specialist; Andrew Coyle, Senior Engineer; Charles Dettling, Program Manager; Craig Dupell, Supervisor, Gas; Jasmine Jackson, Senior Project Construction Manager; Tara Ogden, Business Analyst, PECO Energy Company
Good Works Inc.
For the past seven years, Mark McDonald has used his strong construction background — with specialization in the electrical trades — to help a local nonprofit in his community. Knowing this type of work takes a team, he recruited employees from PECO to join him on this cause. Good Works is dedicated to helping low-income Chester County families living in homes with serious health and safety issues. The group transforms unsafe and unhealthy houses into warmer, safer and drier homes. The PECO volunteers have completed multiple tasks during their eight-hour days such as removing vines, installing plumbing, installing wall framing, installing floor joists, running new electrical circuits, painting many rooms, and moving the homeowner’s belongings — the list goes on and on! The impact is seen in the comments from some of the homeowners: “I feel loved by my community,” one beneficiary said. “Total strangers helped me when I couldn’t help myself. The volunteers are so sweet and selfless to give up their time to help us.” Because of this PECO team, homeowners and their families learned they are not alone and that there are people in the community who care and are willing to help in transforming lives with hope and dignity.
Zach Chizar, Senior Communications Specialist, Pepco Holdings
While tuning in to SportsCenter, Zach Chizar watched how kids facing serious health challenges had their one true wish fulfilled by meeting their favorite athletes. After witnessing these touching stories, he knew he wanted to get involved and make a difference. That’s why he has been volunteering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Philadelphia, Delaware and Susquehanna Valley chapter as a Wish Granter for the last nine years. The core mission of this organization is to grant life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses. From scheduling family interviews to determining a child’s wish, Zach has worked with more than 70 kids and their families — all while balancing full-time employment and other responsibilities. Zach’s efforts will soon expand beyond his Wish Granter duties as he begins to mentor new volunteers. Zach has made an impact in the lives of many, and he was even recognized as the recipient of the Wish Granter of the Year award in 2018 because of his incredible efforts.
Veronica Sergiacomi, Senior Performance Assessment Specialist, Pepco Holdings
Emmanuel Cancer Foundation (ECF)
For nearly 40 years, the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation (ECF) has been providing New Jersey families facing pediatric cancer with a place to turn for comfort and relief. Veronica Sergiacomi recently joined the group’s efforts to support families when a cancer diagnosis hits their doorstep. As a member of the Board of Trustees, Veronica has played a key role in the goals and mission of the organization — she has participated in steering meetings and weighs in on decisions about budget, priorities and strategies. This is an effort to improve the lives of local families with children who have cancer, and many of them live below the poverty line. Veronica has participated in several ECF fundraisers, including the 5K run and the golf outing, by collecting donations and working at the events. She diligently works toward the goal of helping the community, and she has brought other volunteers from Pepco Holdings to help. During one of the holiday parties, a mother of a child with cancer personally and tearfully thanked Veronica for her impact. Veronica has brought comfort to many homes as they cope with a cancer diagnosis.
Julia Reilly, Senior Legal Analyst, Pepco Holdings
Equine Rescue Ambulance Fair Hill Division Inc (ERA)
When the average person thinks about animal rescuing, they usually envision cats and dogs. However, Julia Reilly’s love for horses and her extensive experience as a trail guide brought her to Equine Rescue Ambulance Fair Hill Division Inc (ERA), an all-volunteer nonprofit that provides a humane and dignified approach to large animal rescue. The group’s mission is to provide emergency rescue, stabilization and transportation for injured horses. Julia is one of their dedicated volunteers who assists with the group’s main fundraisers for the bi-annual paper chases on horseback. From planning an eight-mile trail to marking the trail, registering guests, and tallying results, Julia carries the heavy workload with a smile and encouraging words to all. With 28 years of experience, she is grateful to be part of a group that provides immediate crisis support and rider education.