Dunmorean of the Month: Dave Hawk

David Hawk with his wife Ann

By Steve Svetovich

Tis’ the season to buy chocolates, and this has been a way of life for Dunmore’s Dave Hawk and his family for many decades.

That is making and selling those chocolates.

Dave Hawk’s grandmother started the Gertrude Hawk business as a paid hobby in 1936.

“It all started in my grandmother’s home at her dining room table,” said Dave Hawk, 71.

“She made the candy and chocolates and molasses coconut–a big item in those days–at her dining room table. Her house was open for business during holidays such as Christmas and Easter.

“Gertrude Hawk became a full-fledged business in 1946 after my dad, Elmer Hawk, returned home to Dunmore from World War II where he was a POW for 17 months in Austria. He was owed half of his back pay from those 17 months and he put it into the business.”

Hawk, the third of a fourth generation owner and operator of the business, is now semi-retired.

“My dad asked me to become his partner in 1971,” said Hawk, a polite, soft-spoken gentleman. “It was a terrific partnership that lasted for 21 years until he sold me the business in 1992. My dad died in 2013. Now I have my four children run the business.” His children took over the business a year ago, he says.

Members of the Hawk family are shown, from left: Patrick Hawk, Paul Hawk, Ann Hawk, David, Carolyn Hawk Horter, and Jennifer Hawk.

His son Paul Hawk is current owner. Daughter Jennifer Hawk is vice president of IT and purchasing. Son Patrick Hawk is vice president of special business. Daughter Carolyn Harter is chairman of the board.

Hawk remains very active as chairman of the board for the Hawk Family Foundation. He is also founder and chairman of the board for the Nativity Miguel School at Marywood University. “The school is based on the Nativity model of education,” said Hawk. “There are about 63 students enrolled from fifth to eighth grade. It is tuition-free, but you have to get accepted. Many of the students go on to receive scholarships from Holy Cross or Scranton Prep High Schools.”

Hawk is married to the former Ann Walsh. The couple met at the local Penn State campus where Dave was studying for an associate’s degree in business. “It was love at first sight.”

The couple has 12 grandchildren. Each of the Hawk couple’s children have three kids.

Hawk is a North Pocono graduate, but has lived in Dunmore with his wife for the past 50 years.

The original Gertrude Hawk business location was at 1325 Drinker St., Dunmore.

Hawk said his family runs 45 Gertrude Hawk stores at present. There are 14 located in Northeast PA, including the one at Keystone Industrial Park.  All of the stores are located within a 156 mile radius from Dunmore. Some of the stores are in New Jersey and parts of New York State such as Binghamton and Syracuse.

“We’ve had a dynamic year with the business,” said Hawk. “Business is growing like crazy. We never knew it would be like this. We developed a unique product.

“However, the most important thing is not about the money exchanged. It’s about how you treat people. It’s about treating people well. It’s about treating the customers and also the people who work for you well. You need to instill a feeling of trust, especially in this community.”

Hawk said fund-raising has become a huge part of the business. He said a piece of the Gertrude Hawk business was sold five years ago.

“We try to come up with the right blend of cocoa for our chocolates,” said Hawk. “We work hard at it. Molasses coconut was big in my grandmother’s day. Times change and people’s tastes change. You have to be able to adjust to those changes. Cocoa over the years changes, so we have to search for places for that flavor.

“We are always trying to keep up with food trends and what people like. Chocolate products have to be responsive to changes in taste. Coconut was the number one seller during my grandmother’s time.”

Dunmorean of the Month: Jim Barrett

By Steve Svetovich

Jim Barrett, 71, has been involved in the trucking business as long as he can remember.

The Dunmore native graduated from Scranton Prep in 1969 and the University of Scranton in 1973.

A couple years later he began working for Fowler and Williams, Scranton, before deciding to venture into his own business.

He and his wife, the former Debra Fowler, formed Road Scholar Transport in 1988. The business is located at 130 Monahan Ave., Dunmore.

Road Scholar Transport has grown into a large asset based carrier serving the Truckload LTL and specialty service needs of businesses in the northeast and mid Atlantic United States.

Over the past 34 years, the business has grown from one owner operator to a fleet of over 105 tractors, 300 trailers and 65 refrigerated units. The technology and methods evolved over the years, but the mission is the same.

“We approach every customer and every customer’s customer with the same dignity, respect and professionalism we would afford our own family. We employ only experienced drivers who are always uniformed, clean-cut and courteous.”

Road Scholar Transport combines its experience and culture with its Northeast and Mid-Atlantic footprints and is always considered to be a local trucking company.

Barrett said he thought of the company’s eventual name while traveling through Philadelphia. “I wanted to put a positive spin on it,” he said. “I came up with the name and called my wife. She agreed to it.”

Barrett and his wife started with very little and gradually built up the business.

“I learned how to drive a truck and I liked it,” Barrett said. “So I decided to start my own business.”

Barrett said the purpose of the company is to provide first class transportation products and creative solutions while delighting the traditional and digital customer.

Road Scholar Transport is a carrier with vast pharmaceutical transportation experience and a complete understanding of the regulations, security protocols and equipment requirements.

Charity work as part of an “Awareness Campaign” is also a part of Road Scholar Transport. “We don’t only deliver freight, but we deliver awareness,” said Barrett.

It all started with the pink tractor trailer.

Barrett was unable to attend a walk with his family to support breast cancer, so he promised them he would do something “big” to make up for it.

A week later, a pink trailer rolled into his business lot. It was the birth of a program to partner with organizations and customers to raise awareness with “rolling billboards” on trucks for dozens of affiliations, groups and causes.

Barrett has a particular fondness for children’s causes. Road Scholar Transport created a truck to promote the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation. The goal each year is to support as many children and families as possible.

A single awareness trailer on the road receives between 30,000 to 80,000 impressions in a single day, said Barrett.

Road Scholar Transport’s temperature controlled trucks also provide high security shipping, food grade transport, beer and liquor transport, hazmat and chemical transport, storage trailer rental, expedited and emergency shipping, dimensional freight, cross docking, warehousing, and Road Scholar relay.

“We have 170 temperature controlled trailers, 350 van trailers, and run 125 tractors,” said Barrett. “We operate in 12 states.”

There are 55 “decorated” tractors used for the Awareness Campaign.

“We do it to spread awareness to the less fortunate and for different causes, especially for children,” said Barrett.

Barrett and his wife have four children: Mary Beth, 47; Kathie, 44; Bridget, 43; and Matthew, 40. All of the children work in the business.

The couple has eight grandchildren.

“I love what I do,” said Barrett. “It’s a tidal business. There is an incoming tide and an outgoing tide.

“I don’t look at it as work. When things are going well, it’s addictive.”

Dunmorean of the Month: Gianna Muracco

By Steve Svetovich

Fitness is the name of the game for Dunmore School District health and physical education teacher Gianna Muracco.

Daughter of Joe and Jean Muracco, Dunmore, Gianna, 34, competes in multiple half marathons and numerous triathlons which she wins or places in her age group almost every time.

Last year Gianna was voted best Zumba instructor in Northeast PA through a public vote in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

She is currently a local Zumba instructor and cycling instructor.,

Gianna is head girls’ varsity track coach for the Dunmore Lady Bucks. She teaches health and physical education at Dunmore Elementary School for grades kindergarten through sixth and health education to the seventh grade in the school district.

As a student at Dunmore, she was a member of the track and field team, both as a runner and javelin thrower. She was also a member of the swimming team. She made districts in both sports all four years.

She has been a Zumba instructor for 13 years and cycling instructor for nine years.

The Dunmore graduate received a bachelor of science degree in health and physical education from Marywood University in 2011. She received a master’s degree in secondary education K-12 from Marywood in 2013.

Gianna also teaches hot yoga and strength training. She started teaching cycling nine years ago at Studio LA and now at E Mobile Gym, Dunmore.

“I love being a school teacher,” she said. “It’s inspiring. I’m very passionate about it. I tell kids they can do anything. You can do a lot of things well. You don’t have to be great at everything. You just start with little steps and little goals. I can teach Zumba in school and the students connect with it.

“It’s a roller coaster ride. I believe in building both mental and physical strength. You need determination in life.”

Gianna made nationals twice in her age group in triathlons which she started competing in beginning in 2017. She also competes in sprint triathlons,

Gianna said she lives her life with fitness as her mantra. “I believe in determination and building strength and endurance. I try to get better and faster. I am super competitive. Running relieves stress and keeps you in shape mentally and physically. It has come naturally to me. I try to push myself beyond my limits and build up endurance.”

Confident and highly energetic, Gianna said she has been a member of Scranton Ballet Theatre since age four.

“I’ve been dancing my whole life,” she said.

Gianna’s strong beliefs in fitness help her see the world. As a Zumba instructor, she has traveled the world teaching. She has taught Zumba for audiences of as many 500 people.

“I travel the world doing events,” she said. “I have the time in the summer months when not teaching in school. I love teaching Zumba. I love Latin music. I just love the beats and different cultures and backgrounds.

“Zumba has made me a more multi-cultural person. Now I have multiple diversities.”

Gianna most recently placed first in a triathlon in Hazleton. She placed sixth in her age group recently in Lancaster. She places in the top five percent of all the half marathons she competes in. She ran in several 5K marathons and placed in all of them.

Gianna has been the Dunmore girls’ track and field coach for the past five years after serving four years as an assistant.

If you meet Gianna when she is not teaching, it will most likely be during or after a workout. “I love working out,” she said.

“I work out all the time.”