Congratulations are in order for Erin Feeney, a Financial Analyst in Rates and Planning at Aqua, who has been named the 2016 Volunteer of the Year by Junior Achievement of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Junior Achievement (JA) is the world's largest organization dedicated to empowering students to own their economic success through programs focusing on work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. The organization recognized Feeney for her service during the 2015-2016 school year and her outstanding dedication to furthering JA's mission.
Feeney was the lead volunteer for Impress, a student-run start-up company founded by local teen entrepreneurs. The company was composed of approximately 25 students from Haverford High School, Upper Darby High School, St. Joseph's Prep, Radnor High School, Phoenixville Area High School, Woodlynde School, Great Valley High School, Science Leadership Academy, and Central Bucks High School West. The student group took home top honors at the JA National Student Leadership Summit on June 22 in Washington D.C. after competing against 15 other finalist companies from JA chapters across the country.
Feeney led a team of nine Aqua volunteers who mentored the students weekly at Aqua's Bryn Mawr offices as they developed and executed a business plan to sell a variety of personalized press metal products. The students brainstormed ideas, raised capital, elected officers, and developed an annual report, marketing materials and a formal presentation about their company.
"This year the mission of the competition was 'enjoy the journey,' and our talented group of student entrepreneurs did just that," said Feeney. "In 16 short weeks, the students started and successfully ran a profitable company with support from me and eight other Aqua volunteers. It was incredibly rewarding to watch these students mature and develop their business skills, both individually and as a team."
Feeney says she is honored to receive the award, but she wouldn't have had a successful year without her fellow volunteers and the passionate students on the team.
"My fellow volunteers also deserve a lot of credit, as well as the senior management team, who not only allowed us to use Aqua's facilities throughout the competition, but also supported the program and our efforts to mentor the students," Feeney explained.
Feeney with fellow volunteers Scott Szczygiel and Greg Galiffa.
Feeney's involvement with JA began four years ago when her mentor was involved with the program. She has been the lead volunteer for the last two years and has loved working with dedicated team members and groups of motivated students.
"Aqua is proud to partner with Junior Achievement to provide mentorship and real-world business skills to local students," says Aqua Chief Financial Officer Dave Smeltzer. "We are especially proud of Erin and all of our employee volunteers, who have given up countless hours of their personal time to lend their business acumen to such a worthwhile organization." Smeltzer is a member of the JA of Southeastern Pennsylvania board of directors.
Congratulations to Erin Feeney on her well-deserved recognition!