The history of Westmoreland County highlights the American spirit of determination. At one point, our southwestern PA region was the home to many firsts. First airmail pickup was at Latrobe airport. First Big Mac. First and oldest monastery in the US. First county seat west of the Alleghenies. First simple and cheap way to extract aluminum from ore using electricity, leading to ALCOA. Our younger generations don’t think of Westmoreland county in this way because they are so far removed from those events. I started out in life shoveling cow manure and ended up faculty in Pitt’s School of Medicine, a school ranked 3rd in the nation for research funding and research discoveries. I feel I am who I am today because of the American dream and the spirit in our County.
I am a life-long resident of Westmoreland County; in fact, I've lived on the same street for all but 10 years. I was born April 1, 1970, the son of Lori Chew and Bill Chew.
I graduated from Hempfield High School 10th in my class, and I got my BS in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Pitt in 1992. I spent almost 30 years at Pitt as faculty, teaching and working with colleagues to write grants that created jobs. Public service is in my blood, and I won Pitt’s highest award for public service in 1999, by helping underrepresented communities do real science. I spent 6 years working alongside bioengineers as they innovated and created. One of those projects resulted in Angioshield, a product that addresses inherent limits with using veins for heart bypasses. I finished my last 8 years at Pitt working with a group of rheumatologists, writing grants, managing millions of dollars in funding, and increasing clinical trial revenue nearly 10-fold. Since leaving Pitt, I started my own consulting firm and led the submission of 2 grant applications to date.
I am a lifelong resident of Westmoreland County and have always been a participant in the political arena. I’m the former Chairman of the District 5 Republican Committee, which is the Hempfield area, and I was elected to the Hempfield Board of Auditors for a 6-year term in 2009. In 2019, you elected me to be a Westmoreland County Commissioner, a job I’ve enjoyed very much
Family is extremely important to me. My wife, Cyndi, is a graduate of Norwin High school, a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Pediatric Associates of Westmoreland, an Assistant Professor at Pitt, and the past-President of the Three-Rivers Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. My oldest son, Joe, is a decorated Eagle Scout, who graduated from Drexel University, and recently returned to the area. Cyndi and I are raising 2 additional boys in our Hempfield home: Andy and Luke, who are 9-years-old and 5-years-old respectively.
Most of my influences growing up were from my mother’s side of the family because they lived very near us. I didn’t realize that we were on the lower side of the socio-economic scale until I hit high school. Most of my family were self-employed, so I was able to work a variety of jobs from an early age without needing a work permit. My Uncle had a large greenhouse (Communale's). Another Uncle sold and installed carpet and flooring. Using hydraulic presses, I made little steel pieces for underground mines to use to hang their conveyor belts. My favorite, though, was working on the family dairy farm, which another Uncle maintained. That farm was in Penn Township, and I spent most summers there, living with my cousins in the farm house, never knowing I was doing hard work. I learned the value of hard work, whether it was raining or snowing. I learned about accountability and responsibility. Those are my bedrock principles, which I bring to the courthouse every day.
I was previously a member of the Ascension Church in Jeannette, where I oversaw the altar servers and learned to appreciate my Italian heritage. I am a member of the NRA, a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, and a member of St. Barbara’s Parish in Harrison City.