Updated: Sep 12, 2022
After earning a bachelor of science degree in marriage and family studies from Mercyhurst College, the Butler High School graduate decided that four years enduring Erie winters was enough, and opted to pursue his master’s degree at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.
After earning his master of divinity in 2013, Patrick went to work as the pastor at Peace Church in Hickory, NC – a small, progressive congregation he said had “a history of advocacy.”
While it was on the verge of having to shutter its doors when Patrick took the reins, that wouldn’t happen on his watch. In fact, the opposite occurred: Not only did the church survive, but it began to thrive.
His first mission: To help the church find its identity as a place where all are welcome at a time when marriage equality was under attack. Two years later, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all bans on same-sex marriages, Patrick became one of the first local pastors to officiate them.
But that’s not all: He helped the church build a website, create a logo and social media presence. He helped form an environmental justice committee at the church and led the congregation through a series of initiatives with a clear goal: How to create a more just and compassionate community.
Through Patrick’s leadership, Peace Church started a recycling program and the congregation began thinking more critically about how they could be a better steward of the 10 acres of land on which their house of worship is situated.
By 2020, Patrick and his wife decided to move back to southwestern Pennsylvania. He knew that he wanted to use his education and experience to help effect change at a nonprofit organization, ultimately taking a job at another southwestern Pennsylvania environmental nonprofit that focused on community organizing, education, and public safety concerns around unconventional oil and gas development.
His skill set and environmental advocacy were a perfect fit, which was no surprise for Patrick, who grew up camping and enjoying the great outdoors with his family.
“My Dad was really good at teaching me to love nature and to take care of it,” he said. “When you’re outside you learn that human beings are a part of nature and we must play a much more responsible part.”
Now, he’s using his passion to help GASP not only continue the legal, watchdog, and advocacy work people have come to expect from us over the past 52 years, but to elevate it.
“It’s exciting that GASP has this stellar reputation and history. The past has given us these incredible shoulders to stand on,” Patrick said. “It’s so important that we continue to work with those who are most vulnerable leveraging our voice and our platform.”
Patrick replaces our longtime executive director Rachel Filippini, whose last day is Sept. 30.
“Patrick has an impressive background working with people and on environmental issues. He has calm competence, and a willingness to listen and make informed decisions we feel will serve GASP well in our second half-century of air quality advocacy,” GASP President Jonathan Nadle said. “We welcome Patrick and look forward to seeing where he will help lead us!”
Please join us in welcoming Patrick to the GASP family. He can be reached at email@example.com.