I grew up in Archbald and live there today. My dad Jack was a WW2 Navy Vet who came home to work at the Tobyhanna Army Depot for more than 30 years. My mom, Theresa Maslar, was a hard-working mother of 5 and talented seamstress. My parents stressed faith, family, hard work and education. They inspired my calling to public service, and I really miss them.
I have 3 sisters who I count on for help and support — Pat Bianchi, Peggy Carrighan and Teresa Newberry — all who live in the area. We lost my older brother Vince in 1977.
I went to Valley View High School; was president of my Senior Class; and played linebacker for legendary football coach Frank Pazzaglia. More important to my parents, I worked hard at being a good student.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to continue my academic career at Villanova University where I earned my undergraduate degree in 1983 and played defensive end for 2 years for the Division I Villanova Wildcats.
I continued in school and earned a Masters Degree in Social Work from Marywood College and an MBA in Finance from the University of Scranton’s Kania School of Management. I also completed Executive Education in Public Management at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
At the age of 27 I was appointed Executive Director of the Lackawanna County Redevelopment Authority. Over the next 10 years I secured and leveraged over $50 million in federal, state and private investment for housing, public works and infrastructure improvement projects to support regional business and job growth.
In 1998, I was selected from among 9,000 applicants nationwide for a two year Community Builders Fellowship with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
My experience in community and economic development then led me into the private sector. As vice-president and senior development advisor for PNC Bank’s community development division I managed and grew a $35 million portfolio of community development loans and investments and focused the bank’s community reinvestment activities.
I left PNC for a position as Director for the Northeast PA Office of the Governor. In that position I served as a Rendell Administration liaison to local government officials; to the academic and business community of the region; and to community and economic development professionals in 15 counties.
In 2007 I was appointed Executive Deputy Secretary for the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, serving as DCED’s Chief Operating Officer. I also served as Acting Secretary for the Department where I stewarded the state’s community and economic development mission through one of the worst recessions ever visited upon the Commonwealth. While at DCED, I worked with the PA Base Development Commission to sustain and protect defense industry jobs and our state’s military installations including Tobyhanna Army Depot.
Currently, I serve as a member of the Adjunct Faculty for the Economics and Finance Department of the University of Scranton’s Kania School of Management.
This year my wife, Louise Kubilis Blake, and I celebrated 27 years of marriage. Louise graduated from Bishop O’Hara and then graduated in the first class of a new dental hygiene program at Luzerne County Community College. She has worked as a dental hygienist for over 30 years.
We have two great children. Vince recently graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology and works for Siemens Corp based in Malvern, PA. Katie studied for two years at Marywood and in 2013 will complete her degree in communications at Pace University in New York City. Katie is a very talented vocalist and was a former lead singer for “The Window Shoppers”, a local indie rock band.
My aspiration to a seat in the Senate of Pennsylvania is motivated by my determination to help others — to help my hometown and my region — in achieving a better quality of life.
My education, experience and local roots inform and guide my beliefs about the value of public service and about the significant, profound duties and responsibilities of holding public office.