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David Pearson of Mondelez International – Why NEPA? image
Why NEPA
June 18, 2024
David Pearson of Mondelez International – Why NEPA?
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“I’m happy where I’m at career-wise. I mean they’re a snacking company. And I love snacks.”

Lifelong NEPA champion, David Pearson grew up in South Wilkes-Barre. He was generally a quiet, keep-to-himself type of kid, dabbling, a bit, in soccer and basketball. He credits a big, beautiful extended family as his saving grace. They kept him busy, kept him social, helped him survive that big move from St. Al’s Elementary to Bishop Hoban (See Holy Redeemer).

In high school, he began to emerge from his shell. He admits, though, that he could have branched out more (same for just about everyone ever). In these crucial  years, however, stars began to align, vision, often clouded by social obligation, started to clear, and David discovered the arts. And, not only did he discover them, he realized that it was precisely what he wanted to do in life.

He graduated and bid NEPA farewell for Philadelphia University to pursue a dream career in marketing and graphic design – so long as it didn’t involve hand drawing. Inevitably, that post-college job trail led him right back home. He bounced around a bit in screen printing and advertising and put in a few years at Highlights Magazine in Honesdale before finding a career as the Graphics Specialist at Mondelez International. Oh, and he’s also doing a bit more of that “branching out” as the Board Chair at NEPA Rainbow Alliance.

We caught up with David for a chat and a coffee at Pour in Downtown Wilkes-Barre. There, he waxed artistically about his love for his hometown, the food and the good, supportive people of the region. And somewhere in there, we squeezed in a question or two, like Why NEPA?

 

How long have you lived in NEPA?

Um… 37 years. Soon to be 38 in November.

What do you love about your town?

I would say I love the closeness of the city and how people are always looking out for each other. It’s really great to think of how many fundraisers and charities there are for people in need. There’s always someone or some group to offer help no matter what it is. It really goes back to that age-old saying, “the Valley with a heart.”

I love it and I try to get pretty involved in a lot of these organizations at this point in my life. I always recommend that people who want to feel like a part of the community should just go to one of these local fundraisers, or something like KirbyFest. You just have to find the right people who care about the same things.

I used to be so scared to go to events alone or to strike up a conversation with someone and I found that, especially after being in Leadership Northeast, sometimes all it takes is the initiation of a conversation. Even if you’re not sure what you want to get involved in, just strike up that conversation.

What’s your favorite NEPA restaurant?

Immediately, right away my favorite one is Bank + Vine – never had a bad dish there. I can’t go all the time, of course (laughs). But it’s a nice treat every once in a while.

I just really love a lot of local restaurants. I like The Down Pour. And Café Toscana is great. They have a killer lunch special. It’s called the express menu. I just found out about it (laughs). I had no idea it existed. I was blown away. It’s like $20 and you get to choose from a list of starters and entrees and then a list of desserts. It’s great. I highly recommend it.

Oh… let’s do one more. CrisNics in South Wilkes-Barre. They have a pretty extensive menu and there’s always something for everyone.

What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?

I like to check out the different shows that come to the Kirby. I like to eat at all of the different restaurants we have here. And I guess we’ll call it just spontaneously walking around (laughs). Like I’ll just go and walk down Main Street in Pittston. Last Sunday, I went there and started walking and planned on giving myself a little reward at the end when I got to DeMuro’s.

What’s next for you?

I’d like to embrace some more involvement with the area and just kind of branch out even more. I feel like I’m starting to make connections and getting to know people a lot better. And I’d like to see that personal progress continue, but I’d also like to contribute to helping the area grow as well.

Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?

I’ve definitely seen a change with all the different new businesses opening up and I feel like people are getting to live out their passions more. And I’ve seen a lot of change in the community over the years where it’s more open to supporting those small, local businesses. There are a lot of new mom-n-pop-type places opening and it gives me flashbacks to when there used to be so many of those kinds of places when we were kids.

I’m definitely seeing more people who are eager to support these great businesses, like this one (Pour) and Abide down the street. And I want to keep seeing that support continue. I mean that’s kind of what our area is known for – supporting each other across communities. It’s no longer just Wilkes-Barre or Pittston or Scranton. People are supporting each other across those community lines. It’s great to see.

Why NEPA?

I like the not-so-small-town aspect, where it’s not an overwhelmingly big city. I like that if you want to catch a movie, or if a show comes to town that you really want to see, it’s right there. it’s not impossible to get tickets. I also like that we’re only two hours from New York City and Philadelphia. So, we have that, but if you also want to go hiking, we have all these parks just about 20 minutes away. Pretty much, anything you could possibly want to do is here. We’re really lucky to live here. And sometimes it takes stepping back for that bird’s-eye view of it to realize that.