Alumnus Interview: Steve Demofonte
Steve Demofonte was born and raised in Neshannock. He attended Neshannock from 1973 until he graduated in 1985. When I asked him who his favorite teacher was while he attended Neshannock, Demofonte told me it was Mr. Bleggie. He taught “P.O.D,” also known as Problems of Democracy, and he was also the football coach. When I asked Steve why he chose Mr. Bleggie as his favorite teacher, he told me it was because he was just an average person.
I then proceeded to ask Steve if Neshannock prepared him for college. “It did, I could tell by my classmates in college that we were way further ahead and prepared to do college work than they were,” he answered. Steve continued to say, “Neshannock made sure that if we needed assistance getting applications filled out or getting into colleges, they were there to help us.”Steve Demofonte started at Slippery Rock University while planning on majoring in safety management, and then he finished at night at Youngstown State University with a degree in labor relations.
I asked Steve if being a Neshannock alumni gave him any opportunit
ies later in life and he told me, “Since I was a resident in Neshannock, it allowed me to become a member of the Neshannock Fire Department, which then got me into Neshannock Road Department as a summer helper while I was going to college and then I later got a full-time job at the Neshannock Road Department.” Although the fire department led him into many job opportunities, his first job in Neshannock was at Ponderosa when he was only sixteen and worked there until he graduated.
After we covered the past, I began to ask him about the present. I asked him if he has seen any differences in the school district. He told me that our facilities are much better now, the school work is way harder, and the teachers prepare us for our work much better. I then asked him what the titles and positions are in each of his jobs. Demofonte shared information about his professional life, saying, at Pennsylvania American Water I am a Field Operations Supervisor, I am in charge of the Commercial Department and also the disc replacements which are water line replacement projects, and they are all capital projects. I am the current President of the Fire Department, and as Township Supervisor, I am the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors”. I asked Steve what comes along with each of these jobs, and he told me a ton of responsibility. He also told me, “two of the three things I do are a volunteer [capacity] but it is still a ton of responsibility.”
When I asked Steve what being a Neshannock alumni felt like, he told me “When I was young people used to say “I bleed Neshannock” so at the water company even my guys know when they come to Neshannock to work, they have to be neater, quicker and more organized. They say it’s ‘Demo land’ in Neshannock, but everyone knows, even in the political world, that I am Neshannock, and I care about Neshannock. That is why I jumped into the political field; I have a direct impact. You want to give back to where you live, and you hope that younger people see that. That is why I go to schools and do career day; I do one session as a firefighter, one session as a Township Supervisor, and one session as an American Water Company-employee. You want to give back; you want to get kids excited about where they live, not just live here. You hope that when they graduate college, they will want to come back here and work. As a Township Supervisor, it is my job to try to bring business back here so that when kids graduate, they have somewhere to work and will want to stay around here for the rest of their lives. That is the goal.”.
After finishing my interview with Steve Demofonte, I can say that we are lucky to have someone who cares and gives so much of his time back to the community. He is trying to make this community better in every aspect. He is a trained firefighter, keeping us safe. He is a Township Supervisor, keeping our town busy. He works at The American Water Company, keeping our water clean. All in all, Steve Demofonte does great things for this community and will continue doing great things for Neshannock.