“I want other young people to see that they can make an impact, too.”
When newly minted poli-sci grad Justin Teets applied for a job at Somerset Trust Co. in 2015, hiring managers weren’t sure he’d be a good fit. They offered him a bank teller’s job, and his work ethic and agility in learning new skills quickly cemented the relationship.
Justin became a branch manager for the century-old independent bank and in addition to commercial lending, helped the Connellsville branches attract new business and strengthen community banking and development. “If there’s a new company in town and we can provide financing for them to get started, that makes me feel great. It’s really community banking at its finest.” Most recently, Justin has taken on the role of Investment Executive, focusing on IRAs, Mutual Funds, Life Insurance, Annuities, and 529 plans for Fayette and Westmoreland counties.
Justin has quickly become a leader outside of work, as well. “I was born and raised in Connellsville and while I considered leaving the region after college, I love the area and realized in a smaller community, I could make a bigger impact. I decided to work in and contribute to the community that raised me, and eventually raise my own family here.” At 25, he is president of the Rotary Club, on the board of directors for the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce, a member of the local Lions Club and policy council chairperson for Fayette County’s Head Start.
“It’s not uncommon to know everyone in the room at community meetings. Volunteer fatigue can be a challenge, but that to me is an invitation for more young people to get engaged and take on leadership roles to determine the future of our region.” In 2016, with the guidance of local businesswoman Robin Bubarth, Justin started the Greater Connellsville Area Young Professionals, a network to help build awareness and engagement in civic and community activities.
In his free time, Justin revels in the benefits of rural life: hunting in the mountains of Somerset County, fishing in Virgin Run Lake, walking his German Shepherd, Teddy, along the Great Allegheny Passage as it parallels the Youghiogheny River, and maintaining his self-proclaimed status as an “avid crappy golfer.” He is a regular at Bud Murphy’s sports bar, cheering on the Pittsburgh teams and competing in Thursday night trivia.
He regularly drives into Pittsburgh to take in games at PNC Park or PPG Paints Arena, and to check out shows at the Benedum Theater and other venues in the city’s Cultural District. “Connellsville is ideal: you get all of the great qualities of small-town rural living, but the amenities of Pittsburgh and Morgantown are both just 45 minutes away.”
Justin also works to counter the skewed image of his hometown that some locals still hold. It’s true that regional manufacturing has declined over the decades, but new opportunities have emerged. “People don’t always realize the appeal that our recreational opportunities offer to newcomers, and that small but significant growth is already happening. We have some great new restaurants and the new Cobblestone Inn and Suites hotel. People are investing in our community.”
Connellsville is about a 30-minute drive from both architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater
house and the popular hiking trails of Jumonville Glen State Park. Justin’s final pitch for his hometown: “We have a small-town atmosphere with a big-city attitude. It’s a progressive place with a lot of people who embrace their community and really care about keeping families in town and welcoming newcomers.”