Coal Creative Year in Review 2021
Welcome to the Coal Creative Year in Review for 2021. Below, you will not find any references to the new normal, these trying times or now, more than ever. What you will find is a joyful look back on 2021, which is something we need now…. mor…. just kidding!
We made it to the end of another year. If your year has sucked, we hope 2022 rocks so hard for you. If your year has been great, congratulations, you should bask in the glow of your successes!
I can’t speak for the Coal Crew’s individual years, but as a company we have a lot to be joyful about. The team has expanded, making this Coal Crew the biggest group of creatives in our seven years as a company. Our video, social media and content teams all grew their capacity this year and we’ve turned out lots of incredible work.
Our year in review will focus on the three things we’re most passionate about: our work, our team and our community. There is a joke available about charging through the year like a COVID variant, but I promised to avoid those tropes, so… on to the review!
One of our biggest projects from 2021 was mostly completed in 2020. Matt Simoncavage, Lead Web Developer and Designer, and Travis Antoniello, Web Developer, built and launched three new websites for PA CareerLink® of Luzerne County. The Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton and Pottsville offices — and the corresponding websites — are one-stop service centers for residents looking for employment, training and hiring needs.
Travis celebrated his second year at Coal, as did Content Director Samantha Bucher. Matt, who proudly holds the distinction of Coal Creative’s first employee, marked five years on the job in January.
When you flip the page to February, you’ll find another Coal Crewmate celebrating an anniversary. Project Manager Jeremy Brown reached the one year mark on February 3.
In February we learned we won a first-full of 2021 AVA Digital Awards.
Platinum Award Winner: The safety promo video for the Young Professionals Awards.
Gold Award Winner: The Maxx Strength Airsled video.
Gold Award Winner: The new Brier Moving website.
Honorable Mention: The Pro-bono poster for the KISS Theatre Production of Journey of the Noble Gnarble
Honorable Mention: The 2020 Census video that we created pro-bono with Wilkes-Barre Mayor George C. Brown.
March was a magnificent month of recognitions for Coal Creative.
The Wilkes-Barre City census video won an American Advertising Federation (AAF) NEPA Silver Award.
We received the Best Practices in Community Involvement Award at the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce SAGE awards.
And to round things out, Coal Creative earned gold in Best Ad Agency and Best in Video Production at the Times Leader Media Group’s Best of the Best Awards.
This is going to look intentional, but there was one big piece of news in April: me! Content Writer Adam Roberts started a four month streak of new team members. I write blogs, newsletters and social media captions. In my spare time I wear and think about hats.
Video Specialist Jay Nguyen joined the team in May. Jay shoots and edits a range of video projects for our award-winning production team. Off the clock, Jay is a foodie and anime fanatic who enjoys traveling with friends and trying new things.
On May 21, our Post Production Manager Alex Manganella marked three years at Coal Creative.
May saw the launch of the new maplehillcemetery.org. Coal Creative partnered with the Maple Hill Cemetery Association to redesign their logo and website to coincide with the cemetery’s 150th anniversary. We also created videos of the 38-acre property in Hanover Township.
University of Scranton senior Vic Fini joined the team this summer as our social media intern. Vic did great work, especially on NEPA Creative social media. She also graced us with these NEPA Hidden Gems for her final video project. The Goshen, NY native will graduate this spring with a major in marketing and a minor in social media strategy.
On June 8, eight members of the Coal Crew met at Mohegan Sun Arena for the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber’s 2021 EPIC Awards. The award show was a great way to see people and celebrate the exceptional work that took place in 2020. The Coal Creative team made videos and graphics for the event.
On June 24, the Fourth Annual NEPA Sings culminated with a YouTube broadcast and an in-person viewing at the Garden Drive In. Our video team filmed the 10 finalists’ performances at the THINK Center in May. NEPA Sings benefits Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Luzerne County.
July was the beginning of the Jesse Macko era at Coal Creative. As our Social Media Specialist, Jesse helps our collaborators plan, implement and engage on social media. Jesse is our resident coffee expert who enjoys spending time with friends and exploring.
Jesse and the rest of the Coal Crew had a day of bonding on July 23 for Coal Creative Team Building Day. The event brought our semi-remote team together for a day of fun activities and delicious local food.
August marked the fourth year at Coal for Post-production Manager Will McHale. At the beginning of the month, Camaryn Lokuta marked her one-year anniversary. By the end of the month, she was promoted! Camaryn is now our Operations & Business Development Manager.
Three of us participated in Storytime with WVIA this summer. The initiative allowed educators and other community members to make videos of themselves reading children’s books. Check out story time with Holly, Samantha and Adam.
We officially welcomed Jon O’Connell as our Director of Strategic Communications in September. Jon develops earned media strategies and deploys multichannel content plans for our collaborators. Jon works from his home in Pittsburgh. Over the course of the year, he’s become more and more involved in local networking groups.
Coal Creative CEO Holly K. Pilcavage earned a Silver Stevie Award at the 18th Annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business in September. Holly received the “Maverick of the Year” award, which recognizes “female individuals who have affected positive change in their companies and/or industries.” Congrats, Holly!
The Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber Young Professionals Awards was another amazing night out at the Garden Drive-in for the Coal Crew. The drive-in movie screen was alight with videos and graphics made by us — the presenting sponsor of the evening. Young Professionals Chair and Coal CEO Holly K. Pilcavage and Vice Chair Anthony Melf shared hosting duties, while our Creative Director Sam O’Connell presented the Hero of the Year Awards.
September saw the launch of a new monthly blog that we call Creative Juice. Creative Juice is an opportunity for our subject matter experts to bring outsiders into their worlds. The first three editions were made with excellent insights from our web, video and social media teams, respectively.
On October 20, Social Media Specialist Jesse Macko and Operations & Business Development Manager Camaryn Lokuta attended the Luzerne Foundation’s annual meeting. The event recognized retired President Charles Barber for his 21 years leading the organization. Part of that recognition was a video made by Alex Manganella, Production Manager, and Jay Nguyen, Video Specialist. The video included interviews with Charles’s colleagues, friends and family.
November 17 is Coal’s birthday so you know we had a good time ringing in year seven! Creative Director Sam O’Connell also welcomed a big milestone with his five-year anniversary.
This month was the official launch of TheBenchProject.net. The new website is home to the Bench Project Directory — an interactive map of all Bench Project benches, along with descriptions and a virtual journal. The website also includes a video shot by Alex Manganella and Jay Nguyen back in July. We’re so excited to see what the future holds for The Bench Project.
The final Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce event of the year was the Annual Dinner on November 18. Seven members of the team represented Coal Creative, the event’s creative sponsor. Our video team’s work was featured on-screen. You can watch those videos on the chamber’s YouTube channel.
In December, Samantha Bucher was promoted from Content Manager & Design Specialist to the Content Director. In her new role, Samantha drives our content strategy and execution.
On December 23, the Times Leader for once again named Coal Creative as a Best Places to Work platinum winner! We all know Coal Creative is a sweet place to work, it’s nice to be recognized by the voters.
The Coal Crew had a pair of chances to hang out in December. Mid-month we held our annual meeting that allowed us to look back at 2021. The open forum helped us set the tone for 2022. Two weeks later we had another Zoom gathering, this time to celebrate the holidays. It’s always nice to see the crew, especially in these trying times. (Dang! I was so close!)
We hope you have a restful holiday season. See you next year, and don’t forget to stay Coal!