Alumni Spotlight on Joseph Shemasek
Kent State University at East Liverpool alum, Joseph Shemasek, wasn't recruited to come to Kent State East Liverpool for the bachelor's of business administration degree he later earned. Instead, the bright, engaging professional was sought to play basketball for the then Kent State East Liverpool Bridgers basketball team.
"Some of the best times I had were those three years," Shemasek said. "In 1987 we won the conference championship; we had cheerleaders – the whole nine yards."
While studying at Kent State East Liverpool, Shemasek, who also played golf, was very involved in the student senate and helped coordinate "Pit Parties." Shemasek said the campus was a good fit for him.
"At 18, I don't know how successful I would have been if I had gone away to school," he said. "I enjoyed my time there. I received a lot of personalized attention, and economically, it made a lot of sense."
Working on a degree in marketing, Shemasek took classes with both students his age and those who had worked for a while and were returning to school. "I even took classes with my dad," he said, noting that the pair had a few business classes together. Following a stint at the Kent Campus to finish his degree, Shemasek took a job with First Federal Bank of Pittsburgh. "I studied marketing, but have worked in finance for more than 20 years," he said with a smile.
Shemasek stayed in Pittsburgh for many years before deciding to return to his hometown. He is currently the senior vice president, chief commercial loan officer at 1st National Community Bank in East Liverpool. "It's different than working for a large bank," he said of his current position. "You wear a lot of hats." Shemasek, who is very involved in the community, is new to the Kent State East Liverpool advisory board. "The campus means a lot to me," he said. "I think it's important for the downtown, and it's an honor to serve in any way I can."
Shemasek is married to his wife of 17 years, Abby. The two have twin girls, Maggie and Emma. Although his daughters have a few years before heading off to college, Shemasek can't help but hope they'll follow in his footsteps.