Building Bridges To Careers

It is fitting that our first print issue would include our thanks to BB2C staff and sponsors, plus all of its programming for what they have done for Marietta and Beyond, and most especially for the opportunities they create for area youth – and the opportunity for us to be a part of these activities.

As I write this, it is Sunday afternoon and I hear the cheery sounds of the newest business – HMB Music Therapy. Martha Webster, MT-BC and we just introduced ourselves. She recently moved in, but we haven’t had the opportunity to meet until this moment. I’m thrilled to hear that I won’t be the only one singing children’s songs behind closed doors! (I teach English to children in China and often sing with the little ones.)

Marietta and Beyond (MAB) has been involved with Building Bridges to Careers (BB2C) for the past 3 plus years. Our office is here, and we have been involved with as many of the programs as we could — Problem Scenario, Family Career Awareness Day, Makerspace Open House, job shadowing program and more. The Epicenter Business Incubator and the Makerspace are under the BB2C umbrella. The official ribbon cutting and grand opening was more than a year after BB2C opened at the Armory in Marietta, and moved to 107 Lancaster Street. Marietta and Beyond is only one of four businesses presently housed in the Epicenter Business Incubator.  The Makerspace creates opportunities for the more creative types to find a fulfilling way to earn a living or to just enrich their lives.

“Building Bridges to Careers” is both the name and the function of this entire program. The robust bridges this program crafts span the Mid-Ohio Valley. Many golden and multi-colored threads wind through the synergy of this place. There are the activities of each of the businesses — the peculiar characteristic sounds of their comings and goings, conversation, laughter, and interactions. Intertwined with the businesses in the Epicenter runs the thread of community connections and programs aimed at bridging the employment gap for the futures of area youth. These bridge the gap that the schools are willing to but unable to fill. We participate in programs designed to create awareness of employment opportunities and career paths directly related to our specific businesses.

We often have students shadowing us for a few hours or a day. Sometimes we have an intern from an area high school or college. For example, BB2C and Marietta and Beyond shared a writing intern – Hannah McDole. You can find some of her contributions on the BB2C website and on the Marietta and Beyond online magazine. There are others too. If you know someone looking for an opportunity to intern, they should call here to be connected either with an area business or in the Epicenter.

I can honestly say this is one of the most positive and affirming places I have ever worked in – it is a privilege to be here. There is so much synergy and positivity. And, seriously, things are happening here. Keep an eye on this place. C’mon in and get a tour, and if you have any ideas, mention them. This is fertile ground. Your seed may find a happy growing space.

Pamela LankfordPamela Lankford

Pamela Lankford is the Director of the Building Bridges to Careers Epicenter – providing incubation, maker space and career development services. Helping youth bridge the gap between education and employment through various programs is paramount in all facets of her work.   Previously she served with the Ohio Small Business Development Center in Marietta for 26 years.  Her passion is helping entrepreneurs, all of all ages, realize their dreams. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Marietta College where she double majored in Entrepreneurship and Spanish.  She received her MBA from Ohio University. She is also a Certified Business Analyst and was named 1999 and 2001 Director of the Year and 2001 Innovator of the Year for the Ohio SBDC Network as well as Ohio’s State Star for 2005. She has also been an adjunct faculty member at Marietta College, teaching marketing classes, as well as Small Business Management, Entrepreneurship, and Business Consulting. She has also been actively involved in two small family-owned businesses.


Tasha WerryTasha Werry

Tasha Werry, Building Bridges to Careers Executive Director. She is also listed as the Director of Community Outreach, Marietta City Schools and Building Bridges to Careers Facilitator on the Ohio Department of Education website.


Tonya DavisTonya Davis, BB2C Coordinator

Tonya Davis began her career as a children’s therapist in Wood County, West Virginia.  After leaving the therapeutic field, she continued her career with the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC), an Ohio Appalachian Center for Higher Education program in Marietta, OH.  During the five years with EOC, she found her love of assisting potential students with career exploration, helping them discover their passions, and pursue their dreams.

After being a stay at home mom for five years, she re-entered the workforce to become a part of the Building Bridges to Careers Initiative. For the past seven years she has worked to connect students, parents, teachers and businesses in an effort to bridge the gap between education and employment — while also developing a workforce for local businesses.

In order to accomplish this goal, Tonya has worked to create career awareness through BB2C programming. Some of these include job shadowing, an annual county wide career fair, the development of new projects such as the Discover Day series. This past year resulted in BB2C programming crossing the river into Wood County West Virginia. She believes all students and youth are on their own career journey and she is excited to provide them with opportunities that can help them make informed career decisions.


Brad HemmerlyBrad Hemmerly, BB2C Makerspace Coordinator

Brad Hemmerly is the Makerspace Coordinator. He took over for Jenny Bruce starting on January 3rd, 2019.

Brad, an Ohio State University graduate, has been developing his skill in woodworking, machining, sewing and more for years now. Growing up in a household with a father who was an industrial technology teacher and a mother that was a seamstress, he grew up working with his hands. He was then exposed to CNC machining and computer programming while pursuing his mechanical engineering degree at Ohio State.

Brad has also coached rowing for 13 years during and after college, including multiple championship and 3 NCAA National Championship teams. Now as the Makerspace Coordinator, he schedules and advertises all of the public classes, school and community group visits, and oversees all of the activities, equipment, staff and spaces at the Makerspace.

He is very excited to continue sharing the many assets of the Makerspace with the members of the Mid-Ohio Valley community and help the Makerspace continue to address the interests of the community.


Suzy ZumwaldeSuzy Zumwalde, BB2C Placement Coordinator

 Suzy Zumwalde has been working since 2018 at BB2C as the Career Placement Coordinator. She’s responsible for developing student internships, and administering the new Student Solving Problems Program in all of the local high schools. She also provides mentoring and career counseling for Ohio’s Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (CCMEP) in conjunction with BB2C. CCMEP is an innovative program that can help low-income young adults build career paths, find employment and break the cycle of poverty. It offers a wide range of services specifically tailored to each individual. She also administers the new Student Solving Problems program in all local high schools.

Suzy grew up in Cincinnati and graduated from Marietta College, Ohio and went on to work with the YMCA’s in New Hampshire, Texas and Ohio for 29 years. She recently began a Master’s degree in Mental Health Clinical Counseling with Antioch University with an anticipated graduation date of December 2020. She lives in Ohio with her daughter Samantha who is a senior in high school.