Taking On a Challenge, in Skippack

The tiny Tennis Center is one of many local businesses which will participate in a new event, Fallfest at Univest.

The tiny Tennis Center is one of many local businesses which participated in Fallfest at Univest.

Univest, Skippack’s community bank, recently held it’s first ever community-wide FallFest, to show its appreciation for our community. The event took place at the Univest Skippack Financial Center at 4285 Township Line Road in Skippack, across from CVS pharmacy, and featured many local business and services, for example:

  • Tinny Tennis Center of Skippack – child tennis demonstrations and lessons on a mobile court
  • Skippack Karate Martial Arts School & AmeriKick Training Center – demonstrations and lessons
  • Skippack Fire Company – touch-a-truck
  • Skippack Emergency Medical Services – Touch-an-ambulance

Money was raised for Hope for Emma, to help a local family with a 2 year old daughter diagnosed with severe congenital neutropenia, a condition that occurs in only 2 out of a million people. Thanks to this event, the Skippack Blogger got to meet Joe Oskowitz, the Skippack Banker.

Joe Oskowitz, the Skippack Banker

Joe Oskowitz, the Skippack Banker

The door knocks. The phone rings. A message arrives in the email: Each encounter with a yet-unknown individual is a potential for a new beginning, a new adventure. Especially in a small town like Skippack, where a human being, a distinct soul, is at the heart of every transaction that takes place.

But if there is the potential for adventure, there is also the potential for disinterest. How much can I, a community blogger, a wannabe poet masquerading as a civic booster, have to say to Joe Oskowitz, the manager of the Skippack Branch of Univest Bank? In other words, what does the Skippack Blogger share in common with the Skippack Banker?

I know nothing of banking or finance; in fact, I can barely balance a checkbook (thank you for running the household finances, Mrs. Skippack Blogger). Shouldn’t I interview instead a local musician or artist, so I can make a keen, poetic observation about life and the human condition, in Skippack Blogger style, as I promote the next great event in Skippack?

Meet the Skippack Banker

Joe, the Skippack Banker, was brought into Univest Corporation from outside the banking industry, with professional experience in big-box retail, and expertise in operations management, human resources, customer service, and sales. He exudes the infectious, optimistic high energy of the competent sales professional, along with a keen awareness of the perspective of the individual on the other side of the table.

“i like to sit down and talk with people,” says Joe, “I like to listen to people. I like to learn about their lives and their history. I like to take the things I discover, the things the person to whom I am listening gives me, the things that capture their heart, and make them part of what I am doing. I use my understanding of each individual to figure out how to best serve them, find products that suit them, and make their lives better.”

The Skippack Banker, Joe Oskowtiz, left, with the Skippack Blogger at First Friday in -- you guessed it -- Skippack.

The Skippack Banker, Joe Oskowtiz, left, with the Skippack Blogger at First Friday in — you guessed it — Skippack.

The Skippack Banker had taken on a new challenge: Hosting a new Skippack event, Fallfest at Univest, at the the Skippack branch of Univest Bank, 4285 Township Line Road in Skippack Township, near the CVS. He enlisted help from the Skippack Blogger in promoting this event.

Overheard at the Bar at Hotel Fiesole

“Joe, Skippack Banker, I gotta be honest with you. We face some obstacles in getting out the word about the event you want to promote, Fallfest at Univest,” says the Skippack Blogger (that’s me). “First, October is a month crammed full of well-known Skippack Events such as Skippack Days and Winetober Fest.

‘Second, and this is your biggest challenge: events are usually held in the heart of Skippack Village. Fallfest at Univest takes place at a close by but new location, the Skippack branch of Univest. We have to make people aware of this, first and foremost.

“I gotta tell you Joe. We have a challenge on our hands. I’d like another beer.”

The Guy Love Challenges

The Skippack Banker loves a challenge. When he is not working, raising his family, or participating in civic activities such as serving as a Cub Scout Den Leader, he trains and participates in obstacle races. Obstacle racing is a sport in which a competitor, racing on foot, thru trails and mud, must overcome obstacles, for example, climb over walls, carry heavy objects, traverse bodies of water, crawl under barbed wire, or jump through fire.

“As I was doing the race, I had to carry a 5-gallon bucket filled with rocks up a mountain at 3,000 foot elevation,” the Skippack Banker relates  with characteristic high-energy. “My hamstrings gave out on me. At that point, I fell the the ground. Some teammates came to my aid.

“Once I finished that, I go the next obstacle, which was climbing up a 100 foot rope. I climb up the rope, I ring the bell at the top, I fall into a cesspool of mud, then my calves gave out on me.”


The Skippack Banker Joe Oskowitz finishing an obstacle race: the only person he tries to be better than is the person he was yesterday,

The Skippack Banker Joe Oskowitz finishing an obstacle race: the only person he tries to be better than is the person he was yesterday,

The Skippack Banker’s Philosophy

Why does the Skippack Banker put himself thru this ordeal? Obstacle racing is a sport which gives the participant continual opportunities to compete against himself or herself; by improving their time, by performing better on specific obstacles, and by taking on more challenging courses.

“The words I have lived by for many years are: ‘the only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday,’” Joe confides in me.

It is the poetry of the businessman, the philosophy of the road warrior, but it is a philosophy that works. It’s a philosophy for people, like myself, who must work for a living, who must get up every morning and carry on, no matter what life throws at us.  I find myself now repeating the quotation I learned from Joe the Skippack Banker in my own mind: ‘The only person I should try to be better than is the person I was yesterday,’

Repeating this phrase in my thoughts is helping me become less anxious about my personal failings. I no longer focus on my ideal, perfect self;  the calm, confident, and competent Skippack Blogger I am far from being. Instead, I try to be a bit better than I was yesterday. My goal is always just a step beyond me now. This is giving me peace.

My conclusion: The Skippack Banker is awesome: a refreshing jolt of high-energy talent in our Main Street business community, with a heart big enough to accommodate the personal and sincere approach that makes Skippack special.

Great to meet you, Skippack Banker.