Class of 2015 / Biographies

Class of 2015 / Biographies

Troy Balderson

Troy Balderson
Ohio State Senator Troy Balderson was a member of the Zanesville High School class of 1980. He attended Muskingum College and The Ohio State University. He was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2008 where he served on the Finance Committee. He also served as Chairman of the Finance Subcommittee for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
 
In July of 2011, he was appointed to the Ohio Senate where he currently serves in his third General Assembly. He represents the 20th Senate District which encompasses all of Fairfield, Guernsey, Hocking, Morgan and Muskingum Counties. He also represents portions of Athens and Pickaway Counties.
 
Senator Balderson is Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Vice Chairman of the Senate Public Utilities Committee. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Energy Mandates Study Committee and serves as a member of Government Oversight and Reform, Insurance, Education, Finance Subcommittee on Education and the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.
 
As a result of his effort to best serve the District, Balderson was awarded the 2014 North Star Award for Distinguished Service to Youth by the Boy Scouts of America. He is a member of Genesis Health Care Advisory Board, the Cattleman’s Association. The Muskingum County Farm Bureau, the Ohio Township Association, the Ohio Sportsman Caucus and the Ohio Broadband and Technology Caucus. He has served as an elder at the First Christian Church.
 
PRESENTER: Joshua Balderson

Clay Graham

Clay Graham
Clay P. Graham has gained success as both an attorney and businessman as a lifetime resident of Zanesville. He excelled in academics and in sports at Zanesville High School where he graduated in 1973. As an honor student-athlete, he was captain and All Conference player on the golf and basketball teams; holding a single season free throw shooting record for over 35 years.
 
Graham continued his academic and athletic success at Denison University. As a four year letterman on the basketball team, he graduated summa cum laude in 1977, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He received his Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University College of Law.
 
In 1981, Graham joined his family law firm of Graham and Graham Co. L.P.A. that was established in 1923. He has served as the firm’s Managing Partner and chief trial counsel. He has also been a leader in national, state and local professional organizations, including the Muskingum County Bar Association where he served as President in 2007. Graham is a life member of the United States Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference. He and his wife, Alice, are members of Grace United Methodist Church and are active in various social and civic organizations.
 
Graham has served the following diverse businesses as a Principal and Chairman of Shelly & Sands, Inc., Buckingham Coal Co., The Graham Auto Group, Burley Clay Products Co.
and is also the principal shareholder and Director of North Valley Bank.
 
PRESENTER: Cole Graham

Walker Huffman

Walker Huffman
Walker J. Huffman graduated from Lash High School in 1943, and then served in the U. S. Navy, on an LST in the Asian Pacific Theater, during World War II. He was a lifetime member of VFW Post #1058, and served as a President of the Ohio LST Amphibs Veterans Association. In 2000 Walker was inducted into the Muskingum County Veterans Hall of Fame.
 
Most of Walker’s occupational career was in the field of Public Education Administration in several Ohio school districts. He held a B.S. degree from The Ohio State University, M.Ed. and Ed. Spec. degrees from Bowling Green State University, and an Honorary Degree in Public Service from the Muskingum Area Technical College.
 
In 1967 Huffman joined other Administrators and Business leaders to initiate the development of career and technical education in the state. With a vision for opportunities throughout our area, he simultaneously pioneered the establishment of the Muskingum Area Joint Vocational School District (currently known as the Mid-East Career and Technology Centers) and the Muskingum Area Technical College (now Zane State College), serving as the first Superintendent of the Vocational School and President of the Technical College.
 
From 1981-1986 Huffman was a Vocational-Technical School Consultant for the U.S. Department of Labor, creating the Administrative Structure for Vocational Schools in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Upon returning to Zanesville, he worked with the Technical College Foundation Board, serving as Director for a year. During the 1990s Huffman was a Consultant for the Jobs for American Graduates (JAG) and also helped establish the Jobs for Ohio Graduates (JOG) Programs in Muskingum, Perry, Noble, Guernsey, Coshocton, and Licking counties. Walker was affiliated with many professional education organizations; in 2008 he was awarded an “Advocate of Education” award from the regional Ohio School Boards Association.
 
Actively involved in the community, Walker served on the Associate Board of the Zanesville Art Center, and as President chaired the building fund drive for the new location of the Center. He served as a President of the Muskingum County Genealogy Society, and was a member of the Muskingum Co. Board of the American Cancer Society. He was also involved in various capacities with the Rotary Club, Goodwill and Red Cross Boards, and the Ohio P.T.A. Walker as an active member of Grace United Methodist Church, and was a 50-year member of the Ohio Masonic Order and Royal Arch Masons.
 
Walker and Mary, his beloved wife of 65 years, were the parents of five children: Jennifer, Craig, Deborah, Lynne, and Steffanie. They are survived by 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
 
PRESENTER: Amy Stewart Smith
ACCEPTOR: Jennifer Huffman Stewart

Seth Martin

Seth Martin
Seth was born and raised in Zanesville and graduated from Zanesville High School in 1997. He excelled in basketball and scored 1,371 points, second on the school's all-time list.
 
As a sophomore, Seth was a member of the 1995 OHSAA Division I State Championship team. He banked in the winning free throw in a 69-68 overtime victory against No. 1 ranked Cleveland Heights. The Blue Devils finished 20-0 in the regular season and 26-0 overall. Seth gained special mention All-Ohio recognition.
 
In his junior year, Seth averaged 17.8 points per game and received third team All-Ohio Division I accolades. He was first team All-District 12, All-OVAC Class 4-A and all-Eastern District D-1.
 
As in Seth's sophomore year, the Blue Devils were AP Division I state poll champions.
As a senior, Seth averaged 19.5 points and 6.5 rebounds while boasting a 59 per cent field goal accuracy mark. He earned first team All-Ohio Division I and finished second in balloting for Ohio's "Mr. Basketball" award. He was the District 12 Division I/II Player of the Year and was first team all-OVAC Class 4-A and all-Eastern District D-1.
 
Seth graduated from the California University of Pennsylvania in sports management in 2002. He continued to excel in basketball while in college. He scored 1,459 points at Cal which ranks No. 10 all-time in school history. He was named a three-time all-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference first team selection, a two-time second team All-American selection and a Street and Smith first team All-America.
 
After graduating from college, Seth has coached and taught in both the high school arena and the college ranks. Currently he is the head girls' basketball coach at Logan High School where he received Conference and District Coach of the Year Honors for the 2014-2015 season. Seth was inducted into the District 12 Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame Class in 2012 and into the California University of Pennsylvania Athletic Hall of Fame Class in 2013.
 
Seth resides in Lancaster with his wife Katie and three children: Cale, Mia, and Keynen.
 
PRESENTER: Scott Aronhalt

Don Mason

Don Mason
Donald L. Mason was a high school class officer, co-captain of the wrestling team where he was two time district champion and state tournament qualifier. His senior record was 22-1. Mason graduated with a degree in political science from Muskingum College and earned his law degree from Capital University, graduating cum laude. Don’s athletic career at Muskingum College included qualifying for the NCAA Championships by placing in the Ohio Athletic Conference championships all four years, two time OAC champion, OAC Conference Pin Award, Outstanding Senior Athlete and three year co-captain including the 1979 OAC Conference Championship team. He placed twice in the national championships and his senior record was 25-2. He was the first NCAA All American wrestler at Muskingum College and in 1991 he was inducted into the Muskingum College Hall of Fame.
 
After graduating from college, he was elected to the Zanesville City Council in 1979 and President of Council in 1981. In 1983, at the age of 26, Mason was elected mayor of the city of Zanesville and re-elected in 1987. As Mayor, he created the Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority and the Muskingum County Convention and Tourism Board and increased the geographic size of the city by over twenty per cent including building the Northpoint Industrial Park. Leaving local government in 1991, Mason then became Chief of the Division of Oil and Gas at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and Deputy Director of ODNR; he supervised the Divisions of Parks, Forestry, Watercraft, Natural Area Preserves, and Wildlife. In 1998, he was appointed as Commissioner of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio by Gov. George Voinovich and reappointed in 2003 by Governor Bob Taft. During his tenure, Commissioner Mason was appointed to several state and national committees dealing with energy policy including twice appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Energy to serve on the National Petroleum Council.
 
Mason is a Rotarian with over 32 years of perfect attendance and a multiple Paul Harris Fellow. He twice served as Master of his Masonic Lodge and is a 32nd degree Mason, Shriner, and a member of the several other Masonic organizations and the Knights of Columbus. In 1987 he received the Jaycees Distinguished Service Award and in 2010, he received an award for Outstanding Community Service by the Grandmaster of all Ohio Masons. Mason continued to serve Muskingum County as trustee and president of the Muskingum County Library System, as Chairman of the Zanesville Planning Commission, member of the Board of Zoning Appeals, Downtown Design Review Board, Design Review Board and the Chamber of Commerce. He is also known as a State Tournament Championship Wrestling Official where he officiated multiple state championships.
 
Additionally, his wife, Danielle, and their three children Christian, Madeline and Zachary, live in Zanesville, Ohio.
 
PRESENTER: Mike Haddox

Steve Smith

Steve Smith
Steve “T.J. Tatters” Smith is a product of the Zanesville City Schools and is a graduate of the class of 1969. Classmates from Westview Elementary recall that kids loved to be around him because he was always saying and doing funny things. As it turns out, he is still making people laugh today.
 
Steve studied at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Clown College, earned a BFA in acting from the Goodman School of Drama and studied physical comedy with some of the world's top performers. He taught extensively and served as the Director of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Clown College from 1985 to 1994. He has also traveled the world conducting workshops and master classes in physical comedy. He has worked with Walt Disney World, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Princess Cruise Lines, NBC - TV, CBS - TV, Chuck Jones Film Productions (Warner Bros. Studio) and The Big Apple Circus.
 
The many awards recognizing Steve's talent and creativity include: five time Emmy Award recipient, Action for Children's Television “Kidding Around” award, Medal of Merit in Performing Arts from Ohio University, Excellence in the Arts from DePaul University, and the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art. Steve was also inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1993.
 
Most recently, Circus Center, San Francisco's internationally-renowned circus training and performing arts center has appointed Steve as its Creative Director, performer, teacher, and creative consultant. In his new position, he will provide creative counsel on all aspects of the organization's operations, including the selection of artistic projects and personnel and overseeing their production.
 
PRESENTER: Mark Bowen

Shannon Sowers

Shannon Sowers
Shannon is a 1983 Zanesville High School graduate. She excelled in basketball, volleyball, softball and track.
 
As a 3 year starter on the varsity basketball team she averaged 17.6 points a game and became the first girl or boy to score 1, 000 points and finished her career with 1,127 points in just 64 games. This was before the 3 point shot was introduced. Her senior season the team made it to the Sweet 16 in the State Tournament before being beaten by a shot at the buzzer.
 
She was named to the All-Central Ohio League Team, 1st Team Eastern District and Honorable Mention All-Ohio AAA her sophomore season. Her junior year she was named Central Ohio League Player of the Year, Eastern District Player of the Year and Second Team All-Ohio AAA.Shannon was named a Street and Smith Pre -Season All- American, Central Ohio League Player of the Year, Eastern District Player of the Year and All-Ohio First Team (receiving the most votes) her senior year.
 
She was a 3 year starter on the varsity volleyball team where she was named to the Muskingum County All-Star Team and to the All-Central Ohio League Team all 3 seasons.
Shannon played shortstop for the Lady Devils softball team during her Sophomore and Junior year and was named to the All-Central Ohio League Team her junior year while also competing on the track team in 3 events.
 
After two seasons on the softball team she decided not to play her senior season to focus on her track events. She ran the 440 relay and threw the discus and shot put, setting several meet records.
 
She was honored as a Columbus Dispatch Scholar Athlete during her senior year.
Shannon received a full scholarship to play basketball at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio where she was a four year starter and had the opportunity to travel and play against some of the top players in the country. While at Xavier she became the first basketball player on record to make a 3 point shot. She graduated with a BA in Liberal Arts.
 
Since college she has had a successful 25 year career with AT&T. She held management positions in Network Operations and most recently took the position of Senior Risk Manager in the Finance and Treasury Organization.
 
Shannon and her partner Amy, and their 9 year old son Aidan, live in Columbus, Ohio. She enjoys spending time with her extended family traveling, camping and being outdoors.
 
PRESENTER: Wayne Cunningham
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