NEPA Scene Staff

VIDEO: F.M. Kirby Center Executive Director Will Beekman receives EPIC Award as Rocky Balboa

VIDEO: F.M. Kirby Center Executive Director Will Beekman receives EPIC Award as Rocky Balboa
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From a press release:

The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce has announced the honorees for the 2018 EPIC Awards (Extraordinary People Inspiring Community), which take place tonight at 5 p.m. at the Wyoming Seminary Kirby Center for Creative Arts in Kingston, presented by Wells Fargo.

The Innovator the Year Award, sponsored by Penn State Wilkes-Barre, will be presented to Will Beekman, executive director of the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Wilkes-Barre, for his work to drive innovation within the region. He has helped lead the Kirby Center to achieve a ranking of No. 104 on the list of worldwide theaters, based on ticket sales for the 2017 calendar year.

Busier than ever, the F.M. Kirby Center is averaging nearly 150 events per year, which greatly impacts the local arts scene, the economy, and the quality of life in Wilkes-Barre. In addition to his professional success, Beekman also serves on the board of directors for the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, Diamond City Partnership, and Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association.

Wilkes-Barre Internet marketing company Coal Creative created a fun “Rocky” parody with Beekman to celebrate his win while also featuring the other award winners:

The chamber will present the ATHENATM Award, sponsored by Riggs Asset Management, to Kathleen Dunsmuir. She has attained and personified leadership and professional excellence within her role as senior vice president and wealth management director at PNC Bank. Dunsmuir has devoted her time to the local community through her positions on the board of directors for the Osterhout Free Library, the Wyoming Valley Children’s Association, and Leadership Wilkes-Barre, as well as her work with the North Branch Land Trust, Northeast Sight Services, Family Service Association, Luzerne County Historical Society, and the American Red Cross.

She has also generously assisted women in attaining their full potential through her work with Maternal and Family Health Services and Dress for Success Luzerne County.

The Volunteer of Year Award will be presented to Alison Zurawski, community relations coordinator at Community Bank, N.A. Through this role, she has developed community and social outreach activities within Community Bank. In the community, Zurawski is an active leader as a member of the board of directors for the Back Mountain Chamber, Northeast Sight Services, and Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center.

She also volunteers for numerous organizations, including CASA of Luzerne County, Leadership Wilkes-Barre Alumni Council, North Branch Land Trust, Osterhout Free Library, Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA, Northeast Sight Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bridge, Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, Tunkhannock Foundation, United Way of Wyoming Valley, Back Mountain Chamber, The Lands at Hillside Farms, and the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber will also present two Community Celebration Awards, sponsored by Geisinger, to Northeast Sight Services for their 100th year in service and to the Family Business Alliance for their 20th year in service. Both of these organizations go above and beyond to meet the needs of the local community.

Northeast Sight Service helps blind and visually impaired individuals achieve the best possible quality of life by providing compassionate services and works to prevent vision loss through education and early detection for people of all ages. The Family Business Alliance’s mission is to be a trusted resource providing world-class services to support, strengthen, and empower regional family-owned businesses and the community.

This event at the Wyoming Seminary Kirby Center for Creative Arts (260 N. Sprague Ave., Kingston) is open to the public. Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased at or by calling 570-823-2101. After the awards ceremony, a closing cocktail reception will be held in the lobby featuring chamber member food vendors, wine, and beer.

Hear behind-the-scenes stories and learn more about Beekman and the F.M. Kirby Center in Episode 10 of the NEPA Scene Podcast: