Learn about our staff and how their expertise can help your business/career.

Instructors at the eMarketing Learning Center are talented industry experts. Every day, they apply their skills to get the best results for their clients. Our instructors love to share their knowledge and insights for your benefit, so you are able understand and execute what you’ve learned and succeed.

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Brian Amick

As Creative Director and Co-founder of Werkbot Studios, Brian has more than 17 years experience in digital strategy and web production. He's worked as a designer, developer, instructor and adjunct professor teaching UX/UI design, web development, and the creative process.

Brian was President of the Erie Ad Club (the regional chapter of the American Advertising Federation), served on the board of the Erie Philharmonic, Young Erie Professionals and spoken at several design conferences.

Specialties: Design, UXi, Photoshop, HTML/CSS

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Kate Alward

Kate Alward is the Director of Human Resources and Training for Ben Franklin Technology Partners' Transformations Business Services Network. She has experience as an HR consultant and formed the HR division for specifically for tech startups. In her current position, Kate partners with organizational leadership to act as a change agent and helps implement effective HR solutions for the most pressing business challenges.

She's also responsible for developing and implementing performance management processes, training and organizational development programs, employee recognition programs and enhancing HR operations processes to capitalize on new HR initiatives. In addition to her HR expertise, Kate has owned two small businesses where she was responsible for all HR functions, along with her management responsibilities.

Specialties: HR Solutions, Performance Management Processes, Training & Organization Development Programs


Beth Burnside

Beth is a strategic technology advisor for small- to mid-sized business. As president of CMIT Solutions of Erie, Beth specializes in helping businesses use technology as a tool to meet their strategic business goals. Her office offers a broad range of proactive computer support, security services, monitoring, and consulting services, as well as a quick response for when unexpected crises occur.

Named to CRN Magazine’s prestigious “Women of the Channel” list for the past seven years running, Beth has was also awarded an Athena PowerLink mentor panel in 2011 and continues to pay it forward by being involved as a mentor to other women-owned businesses. She was awarded the first Wallerstein Grant from The Gerry B. Wallerstein Fund and was listed on the inaugural list of Top 50 Solution Providers by CRN magazine in 2014. Her business was featured as the cover story in Business Solutions magazine’s April 2017 issue with the headline of “Four Essentials for Double-Digit Growth”.

Specialties: Technology, Technology Consulting, Mentorship

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Joelyn Bush

Joelyn Bush is an Edinboro University graduate and marketing and communications manager for the United Way of Erie County. She has previously worked as a social media consultant for reCAP Mason Jars, and assisted other local businesses with marketing related activities as well, including the Erie Community Foundation and the Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership.

She serves on the advisory board for Newspapers in Education, and is a member of the Public Relations Society of Northwest Pennsylvania, the Erie Ad Club, and the ATHENA Circle of Trust.

SpecialtiesSocial Media Marketing, Event Marketing

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Cathy von Birgelen

Cathy von Birgelen is the executive director of the Ben Franklin Technology Partner's eMarketing Learning Center. She is a certified email marketing professional and strategic marketing consultant with more than 15 years of experience in e-marketing and business development efforts.

She has consulted with a wide range of regional and national clients including, General Electric, (GE) Choice Hotels, Proctor & Gamble, Holcombs, Howard Industries, Troyer Farms, Gannon University, Blair, Penn State Erie – The Behrend College and many more. 

Specialties: Web Design, Email Marketing, LinkedIn, Ecommerce

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Josh Curcio

Josh Curcio is VP and partner of protocol 80, Inc., an inbound marketing agency located in Bradford, PA. Josh has helped businesses of all sizes succeed online, from Fortune 500s to small local businesses.

Josh is Inbound Marketing certified, HubSpot certified, and AdWords certified. Day-to-day, Josh is usually working on inbound marketing, website creation, project management, and client communication.

Specialties: Content Marketing, Lead Generation, Hubspot, AdWords


Jill Edwards

Jill Edwards is the Executive Director of Ben Franklin Venture Investment Forum, whose mission is to promote entrepreneurship in Pennsylvania. She is also involved in the Innovation Transfer Network, a virtual technology transfer program sponsored by the Commonwealth of PA that supports 13 colleges and universities in the Harrisburg/Lancaster PA region.

Jill has spent more than years working in economic development, particularly in entrepreneurial development. She has freelanced in economic development, doing grant writing for a variety of regional economic development organizations. Jill has also conducted training programs for the York Chapter of SCORE and has acted as a mentor for the Athena PowerLink Business Advisory Council.

Specialties: Startup Funding, Venture Capital, Economic Development, Grant Writing


Steve Fafel

Steve Fafel is the Director of Business Development for Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Central and Northern PA. He is passionate about working with startup companies and has a varied and unique 20 year background in technology startups, software development, leadership,​ product management, and projects on a small and large scale.

Steve was the chief delivery officer for Frontstream, a solutions provider for nonprofits and fundraising organizations. Prior to Frontstream, he was the CEO of GiftWorks and led the company through its acquisition by Frontstream. Steve is based in Lancaster, PA where he lives with his wife and four children.

SpecialtiesSelling on Amazon, Business Development, Tech Startups


Angela Gast

Angela Gast is owner of Mighty Creative and blogger at MightyMrs.com. Angela holds a bachelor’s in Mass Communications from VCU and has been working as a creative in advertising for more than 15 years. She started out working on Circuit City’s ecommerce site where she learned that better quality product photography ultimately led to increased online sales. Angela has since worked with a variety of online companies to help promote their products and services using visually appealing ads and online experiences to attract and convert sales.

She currently uses photography to attract viral (free!) traffic to her blog. Angela recently completed a photography workshop in Minneapolis taught by food-blog-famous Lindsay Ostrom of Pinch of Yum, and will be sharing some of the same tips and tricks she learned there, with the eMLC audience.

Specialties: Graphic Design, Cooking, Blogging, Photography, Food Photography


David Hunter

David Hunter is a managing partner of Epic Web Studios, a company that manages successful social media campaigns for both large and small businesses, from local manufacturers to national brands and celebrities.

Specialties: Facebook Advertising, Google My Business


Colin Jacobsen

Colin is a digital marketer with more than eight years of experience in the industry. He’s worked in analytics, client services, and business development at both startup and enterprise level ad tech companies.

Recently, after almost five years at Twitter, Colin departed to start his own mobile-focused programmatic advertising and analytics company, 4045 Media.

Specialties: Programmatic Advertising, Digital Marketing, Web Analytics

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Nick Kosanovich, Jr.

Nick Kosanovich, Jr. began his web marketing experience as the program coordinator for the eMarketing Special Interest Group and e-marketing Apprentice for the eMarketing Learning Center. Since leaving the eMLC, Nick has moved on and started Long Dog Marketing (now Striking Alchemy), a web design and digital marketing agency.

He has consulted for a wide range of B2B and B2C brands, including Inca Brands, reCAP Mason Jars, FAT-Tees, Warrior Alpaca Socks, Seaway Manufacturing, the eMarketing Learning Center, and the Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity of Pennsylvania (VOSH/PA) to name a few.

Specialties: Web Design, Graphic Design, Photoshop, Social Media

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Jeff McCullor

Jeff has been in the digital marketing game since 2005, working with clients on developing comprehensive strategies involving responsive website design, social media management, search engine optimization, analytics, and email marketing. Jeff is Google Analytics and Google AdWords certified, and frequently conducts presentations for local organizations on digital marketing best practices.

He is an account manager at Werkbot Studios and co-owner of Erie Ale Works.

Specialties: Google AdWords, SEO, Email Marketing, Social Media Management, Brewing Craft Beer 

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Melissa Pangborn

Melissa is an SEO and PPC consultant certified in Google Adwords and Analytics, with more than seven years of experience in campaign management and 10 years in web development and usability. A newbie when Google was founded in 1998, she has watched it morph into the giant that it is today. From the beginning “content is king” has been Google’s mantra.

Mel bases her success on the fact that she takes this to heart.  While offering services of site audits, campaign management and training she helps her customers understand that organic ranking and ad quality score are based on unique, quality content.

Specialties: SEO, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Google Adwords, Google Analytics

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Christopher Park

Chris has been Blair.com’s Affiliate/Partnerships Manager since January 2001, and has been working with Blair’s paid search program since September 2004. Since September 2013, he has been managing the Old Pueblo Traders and Bedford Fair affiliate programs.

He's been interviewed for articles in publications such as Multichannel Merchant and Marketing Today, and is a frequent speaker at affiliate marketing events, including Affiliate Summits East & West, Performics Client Summit, ACCM and AffiliateFORCE.

Specialties: Affiliate Marketing 

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Lesley Ridge

Lesley Ridge is a digital devotee with a penchant for social media. Ridge started Socialution Media, a digital marketing agency, to help build online communities around businesses.

Her work landed Ridge on Erie Reader's "40 Under 40" List as well as a nomination for Innovation Collaborative's award for "startup of the year" in 2015.

Specialties: Social Media, Digital Marketing

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Elizabeth Ryan

Eliabeth Ryan is program coordinator for the Center for Business and Economics at Allegheny College. She assists with performing program administration for internships, events, student activities, communications and fund-raising activities focused on providing experiential learning experiences for students with interests in business and economics.

Prior to that, Beth served SECO/WARWICK Corp. as the Communications Director for North America, and was responsible for integrated marketing and organizational communications. She has been involved with the company in a variety of positions including purchasing, estimating and sales prior to assuming her duties in marketing. She also previously served as Marketing Director for Gannon University.

Specialties: Marketing Communications, Fund Raising, Organization Communications


Kelly Wylam

Kelly Wylam is director of the Innovation Partnership for PA’s premiere SBIR/ STTR statewide assistance program. She is seasoned in grant proposal preparation and funding acquisition as well as assisting clients with federal grant proposals. Kelly has extensive experience in facilitating cooperation between diverse organizations including governmental agencies, economic development groups, small business clientele, and institutions of higher education.

She has a strong background in utilizing economic and community development models for analysis of strategic and programmatic impacts dealing with business development and assistance. She's well-versed in grant application, review and acquisition, negotiations, and and strategic planning & anaylsis.

Specialties: Account/Portfolio Management, Program Management & Development, Funding Acquisition & Identification, Grant Writing

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