The president and chief executive officer of a major education organization in the region — who also has ties to Conneaut Lake — is retiring.

Dennis Gilfoyle, who has led the Junior Achievement of Western PA (JAWPA) for the past 14 years, will be retiring no later than September. He is a native to Conneaut Lake and has been part of Junior Achievement for 35 years. JAWPA services a 50-county area of western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia through entrepreneurship and financial focused programs for students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Gilfoyle got his start with Junior Achievement in 1984 when he was hired by the Pittsburgh office. He worked his way up through the organization, creating marketing programs with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pirates, and creating a golf tournament that was supported by Arnold Palmer.

After briefly leaving the Pittsburgh branch in 1995 to become president of the Junior Achievement program in Jacksonville, Florida, he returned in 1997 to become vice president of the Pittsburgh program.

He notably helped create the Fred Rogers Good Neighbor Award in 2004 shortly after the death of beloved TV icon Mister Rogers. The award recognizes a Pittsburgh-area business or community leader every year who shows dedication to the community.

Gilfoyle also created "JA BizTown," a miniature marketplace in Allegheny County where young people in grades four through six can practice running a store in a simulated environment, and are even able to earn a paycheck through the program.

Gilfoyle will stay as president and CEO until a successor has been identified and a leadership transition is completed, with a deadline of no later than Sept. 30.

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