The Wright Center and NE PA AHEC Workshop Collaboration

Nevena Barjaktarovic, M.D., a dually board-certified physician in internal medicine and rheumatology at The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education, will present a free educational session on lupus for Northeast Pennsylvania primary care and emergency room doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.

The Northeast Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center (NE PA AHEC) is sponsoring the internal medicine didactic session, which will be held from 8-10 a.m., Wednesday, July 31, in The Wright Center for Community Health – Scranton Auditorium, 501 S. Washington Ave.

Participation is limited and registration is required by Friday, July 19. To register, visit Participants may join in person or virtually through Webex video conferencing. The video conferencing link will be provided after registration.

The session is a part of the American College of Rheumatology Rural Health Outreach Project, aimed at improving lupus referral, diagnosis, and treatment in underserved communities. It also will help raise awareness among health care providers of lupus signs and symptoms, what to do if lupus is suspected, and when to consider lupus in the differential diagnosis for individuals at high risk.

About 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus, 90% of whom are women, with about 16,000 new cases annually, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. Lupus is two to three times more prevalent among Black, Hispanic/Latina, Asian American, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander women than white women.

Those with lupus can experience significant symptoms, including pain, extreme fatigue, hair loss, cognitive issues, and physical impairments that affect every facet of their lives. Many suffer from cardiovascular disease, strokes, disfiguring rashes, and painful joints. For others, there may be no visible symptoms.

Dr. Barjaktarovic specializes in diagnosing and treating a broad spectrum of rheumatic and inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, back pain, connective tissue disease, fibromyalgia, gout, joint pain, osteoporosis, psoriasis, and lupus. She also serves as a physician-faculty member at The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education, where she mentors residents and fellows.

A Clarks Summit resident, Dr. Barjaktarovic joined The Wright Centers in 2020 and earned her medical degree from the Medical School of Belgrade University, Serbia. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at James J. Peters VA Medical Center, affiliated with Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, and her rheumatology fellowship training at Albert Einstein College of Medicine-Montefiore Medical Center, also in the Bronx.

TYAD Honored Gatto as Supervisor of the Quarter

When it comes to leadership at Tobyhanna Army Depot, Brandon Gatto, Chief of the Tobyhanna Legal Office, believes that good leaders will not instruct their teams to do something they wouldn’t do themselves. For his hard work, dedication to service, and strong leadership, he has been named Tobyhanna Army Depot’s (TYAD) Supervisor of the Quarter for the 1st Quarter of FY24.

Gatto joined Team Tobyhanna following years of experience working in law. Having earned degrees from Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and Temple University School of Law, he served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable James A. Gibbons in Lackawanna County and then a judicial law clerk to the Honorable James M. Munley in the United States (U.S.) District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. From there, he worked as a litigation associate at a large law firm headquartered in Philadelphia.

Gatto joined the U.S. Army Reserve as a judge advocate right around the same time he entered private practice. He said he found the work to be inspiring and that he enjoyed the idea of being part of something bigger than himself and using the law to help servicemembers. It was the work he performed with the U.S. Army Reserve that inspired him to seek out full-time opportunities with the Army, which led to his eventual joining of Team Tobyhanna.

Gatto said he appreciated the leadership component of the Army. During his initial year as a judge advocate, he said he received some of his best leadership training and had opportunities to work directly with extraordinary leaders. Lauren Leary, who serves as a Paralegal Specialist at TYAD, said that his leadership skills are second to none.

“You often hear leaders describe themselves with words such as selfless, humble, and altruistic, but it is rare to find a leader that truly embodies all of these traits. Brandon is the embodiment of those qualities. He is incredibly caring and kind and is never too busy for any of us in the office,” said Leary. “He also consistently sets clear expectations and goals for his employees, so we never have to wonder what is expected of us. I can probably speak for everyone in the office when I say that we are not only better employees under his leadership, but also better people.”

Legal Assistant Wendy Deprimo echoed Leary’s sentiment, saying she has learned and grown much under his guidance.

“Words can’t possibly convey my admiration, respect, and appreciation for Brandon. He leads by example, inspiring trust, and empowering those around him. His natural ability to lead, inspire, mentor, and motivate others is truly impressive,” said Deprimo. “I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work under his leadership and continue this growth journey.”

Gatto’s leadership style embodies the old saying “there is no ‘I’ in ‘Team,’” metaphorically saying that the legal office rolls the ball up the hill collectively.

“This is not a legal office where we sit back and wait for bad things to happen. We’re incredibly proactive. We work hard to understand new issues quickly and to empower those we serve to do what’s best for our client – the Army. ‘Leading by example’ is part of our overall culture and the servant leadership ethos that we try to practice,” said Gatto. “The ‘servant leadership’ mentality directly aligns with ‘leading by example.’ We prioritize client service, put the needs of others before our own, take ownership of the problems we face, and equip leaders to act with confidence. Doing so has helped us build trust across the organization quicker and demonstrate that we are all part of the same team.”

Associate Counsel Shanna Williamson feels Gatto’s leadership style resonates with her, saying it is the epitome of reliable, honest leadership.

“Brandon exemplifies what it is to be a true leader. He is decisive, compassionate, and fair,” said Williamson. “I am privileged to learn from his example daily.”

Associate Counsel Jamie Schelling said Gatto not only inspires the team to reach their max potential but also makes coming to work a pleasure.

“Brandon challenges us to think outside the box to find new, more efficient ways of doing things and he listens without judgment when we do. He makes it a priority to recognize our team’s wins big or small,” said Schelling. “He provides constant support but also trusts us to tackle projects without his oversight. He makes coming to work every day enjoyable and inspires us all to reach our full potential.”

One recent initiative that Gatto supported, with help from TYAD’s Business Intelligence Team, was the development of a work tracker aimed at tracking responsiveness to client questions, among other things. The idea nests with the depot’s overall desire to implement metrics-based dashboards for each cost center with the goal of making data-driven decisions.

Gatto said that although the team previously tracked each matter that they handled, they felt it didn’t really equate to a tracking service that their clients could see. He said the team decided to begin tracking responsiveness formally because they recognized it is important to their people. They quickly found that they were turning around client requests within 1-2 days, which is a high mark considering the complexities of some issues that arise.

“Most of our leaders need answers yesterday. Showing them that we have the ability to rapidly analyze complicated legal questions builds trust immediately,” said Gatto. “It also dispels the myth that questions get ‘stuck in the legal office.’”

Gatto credited the entire legal team, which boasts many years of experience, for his receiving the honor. He said that without them and their hard work and dedication, success wouldn’t be possible.

“We have an exceptional team in both the professional and personal sense. I think our diversity and our experiences have led to that,” said Gatto. “My Supervisor of the Quarter plaque has a sticky note over it that says ‘Teamwork Award.’ That’s how I really consider it. Any individual recognition is a result of the team’s success overall. When one of us is celebrated, we’re all celebrated, and I believe that’s the mentality throughout the office.”

Associate Counsel David Tomaszewski also works closely alongside Gatto in TYAD’s Legal Office. He said Gatto is the most talented and caring leader he’s had to privilege to work with.

“Brandon consistently demonstrates the utmost character, competence in his guidance, and commitment to serving the best interests of Army, TYAD, and his Legal Office teammates. He fosters a collaborative team-oriented environment where everyone’s opinions and ideas are respected and valued. While Brandon has high expectations, the atmosphere in which we achieve them is relaxed and even fun,” said Tomaszewski. “Brandon truly cares about our professional and personal development and well-being. We are all inspired to do our best for him, as he always does his best for us. In my 38 years of legal practice both in military and civilian settings, I have not enjoyed a job more, nor experienced a more talented and caring leader, teammate, or coworker. I am proud to have the good fortune, honor and privilege to serve under Brandon’s leadership.”

At the end of the day, Gatto said it is the individuals surrounding him that brings him the most joy in his work.

“I have exceptional people throughout my chain of command. It’s the same thing I love about working for the Army. It’s the people,” said Gatto.

The Supervisor of the Quarter award – and its companion Employee of the Quarter awards – are TOBY2035 initiatives aligned with the Invest in Our People line of effort. The plan, which has three additional focus areas, strives to position Tobyhanna for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense’s premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

Golden Awarded Five Scooter Categories in Fourth Consecutive Contract

Golden Technologies is excited to announce they have been awarded their fourth consecutive, five-year contract since 2003 by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to supply mobility products. Golden proudly provides power scooters across the VA nationwide to enhance the quality of life for Veterans and allow them the freedom of movement and independence they so deserve. This significant partnership ensures continued quality products for America’s Veterans with Golden’s commitment as they celebrate 40 years in business next year.

Golden submitted scooters in five categories and was awarded the contract for all five. The VA will continue to provide veterans with Golden’s popular Companion GC240 Mid-Size 3-wheel and GC340 Full-Size 3-wheel scooters. Additional products new to the VA contract include the Companion GC440 Full-Size 4-wheel and the newly launched GC540 Heavy-Duty 3-wheel scooters – now fully representing the entire Companion Series product offering. The compact portable BuzzAround HD 4-wheel scooter rounds out the fifth category.

“We are ecstatic and incredibly honored to have been awarded the contract to continue providing top-of-the-line power mobility scooters to our Veterans and introduce even more exceptional models in additional categories with this new commitment from the VA,” said Rich Golden, CEO of Golden Technologies. “The Golden brand is associated with quality, innovation, and compassion, focused on supplying home medical equipment that changes lives. It is profoundly humbling to provide our amazing Veterans with power scooters to access critical medical care and accomplish necessary tasks in home and community environments that are so important as they gain more independence in their daily life,” he added.

“I am extremely proud and grateful that Golden Technologies was awarded the Nationwide Scooter Contracts by the VA. For the past 21 years, the continuous effort and determination of the entire Golden team – from our VA Customer Service, VA Technical Service, Production, Research & Development, and Shipping departments have demonstrated our dedication and commitment to the Department of Veterans Affairs and our nation’s Veterans,” said Donna Payer, VA National Account Director. She added, “We are all very proud of our awards and are excited to continue our strong working relationship with our VA Medical Centers.”

Golden was awarded their first nationwide scooter contract by the VA in 2003 for Mid-Size 3-wheel and Full-Size 3-wheel scooters. Scooters awarded to the new contract will begin shipping on May 20th. The period of performance for the contract will end in May 2029. Visit for more information.

Johnson College Now Enrolling in Continuing Education Welding Courses

Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program is enrolling students in its Fundamentals of Welding and Intermediate Welding courses at the Scranton campus. The Fundamentals course will begin on May 16, 2024, and can be taken on its own or followed by any one Intermediate course including Shielded Metal Arc (Stick), Gas Metal Arc (MIG), or Gas Tungsten Arc (TIG).

The Fundamentals of Welding course teaches the basics of major welding processes. Students learn equipment set-up as well as basic techniques and safety for oxy-fuel welding and cutting, Stick, TIG, and MIG welding. Additional lectures are given on basic metallurgy, welding codes, nondestructive examination, and welding symbols. Intermediate courses build upon specific welding processes, working towards plate certification to a common welding code.

The fundamentals course fee is $1,870 and includes a PPE kit. Intermediate course fees are $2,750 and include certification testing fees. The courses can be bundled for a reduced cost of $4,251.

For information about using GI benefits for Fundamentals and Intermediate welding courses, email

To learn more about these programs or enroll call 570-702-8979 or email To register for the course, visit

UNC’s Project Hope Summer Day Camp Return for 2024

United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania (UNC) Project Hope at Camp Kelly is excited to provide a traditional summer day camp once again for children living in Scranton. Campers are provided transportation to and from the camp located in the beautiful countryside of Tunkhannock, PA and experience arts and crafts, sports, and a variety of other fun and educational activities. They will be served breakfast, lunch, and a nutritious snack before returning home the duration of camp from July 1to July 26.  

Registration for UNC’s Project Hope is required, and opens on May 1, 2024, online at

Johnson College to Host Event for Architectural Drafting & Design Technology

Johnson College is hosting a Closer Look event for its two-year Architectural Drafting & Design Technology program on May 1, 2024, from 5 to 7 p.m. on its Scranton campus. Prospective students can explore the College’s Architectural Drafting & Design Technology laboratory inside the new Ideal Saldi Hall while learning more about the program, career opportunities, and the enrollment process.

Johnson College’s two-year Architectural Drafting & Design Technology Associates Degree program prepares students as entry-level technicians in computer-assisted drafting (CAD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) for residential and commercial construction. Instruction and hands-on learning include all phases of building design drafting, print reading, cost estimating, specifications writing, and sustainability concepts.

For more information or to register, visit or contact the College’s Enrollment department at (570) 702-8856 or

NEPIRC Announces Manufacturing Day Event Keynote Speaker

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) announces its upcoming Manufacturing Day Best Practices Summit & Expo, scheduled for Friday, October 4 at Mohegan Pennsylvania Casino & Convention Center, Wilkes-Barre. This annual event celebrates the vibrant manufacturing industry in our region and provides valuable insights and networking opportunities for businesses and professionals.

This year, NEPIRC welcomes Chris Czarnik as the event’s keynote speaker. Czarnik is a renowned author, coach, trainer and subject matter expert on talent recruiting, engagement and retention in today’s dynamic manufacturing environment. With diverse career experience, including roles as a former military officer, human resource manager, career services manager and job search advisor, Czarnik brings unparalleled expertise to the table.

Over the past two decades, Czarnik has dedicated his career to understanding why individuals join and depart organizations. His insights have empowered thousands of job seekers to identify organizations and roles that align with their aspirations and values. His acclaimed book, “Winning the War for Talent,” has become a cornerstone resource for over 3,500 organizations nationwide.

“We are thrilled to have Chris Czarnik as our keynote speaker for this year’s Manufacturing Day event,” said Eric Esoda, NEPIRC’s president & CEO. “His wealth of experience and profound insights into talent recruitment and retention will undoubtedly provide immense value to attendees, helping them navigate the evolving landscape of workforce management.”

Manufacturing Day serves as an essential platform for businesses to connect, learn and collaborate. In addition to Czarnik’s keynote address, the event will feature interactive sessions, panel discussions and networking opportunities to foster growth and innovation within the manufacturing sector.

NEPIRC is actively seeking business sponsors to support this significant event. By becoming a sponsor, organizations will gain exposure to a diverse audience of industry professionals and decision-makers while demonstrating their commitment to driving manufacturing excellence in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Manufacturing Day sponsorships are open to all businesses and organizations – not just manufacturers. Sponsors include businesses that assist and support manufacturers or would like to acquire manufacturing sector clients, colleges with advanced manufacturing or robotics programs, economic development organizations, etc.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities or to register for Manufacturing Day, visit or contact Chelsey Coslett, manager of marketing & stakeholder engagement, at

Scranton Area Community Foundation Awards $2,000 Grant to Leadership Lackawanna

Leadership Lackawanna, an affiliate organization to The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, and a local nonprofit organization dedicated to community leadership and professional development, announces the support from the Scranton Area Community Foundation for its Welcome Scranton! program. In correlation with the Foundation’s Spring Grants cycle, Leadership Lackawanna received a $2,000 Community Needs Grant.

The grant funds will be directly used in the support and delivery of Welcome Scranton!, a 2 ½ day program designed to give participants a quick, but thorough, understanding of Scranton and Lackawanna County, along with a revitalized sense of putting leadership into action. enrollment is open to everyone, from newcomers to area natives, from entry-level employees to executives.

“Participating in Welcome Scranton gave me an insider look at so many unique places in and around Scranton. I learned more in 2 and a half days than in the 7 years I’ve lived here, and I connected with some wonderful people along the way! We’re so grateful that thanks to this grant, we’ll be able to continue to offer this one-of-a-kind program.”

The benefits of the program encompass exploring our area’s hidden gems, enhancing your network of personal and professional connections, hearing inspirational stories from our business community, and gaining exposure to local leaders, issues and service and leadership opportunities.

Applications are now being accepted for Welcome Scranton! which begins May 23rd. Interested parties should apply online at by May 2.