Tessa and Jon Byham

Tessa and Jon, both Oil City natives, wanted to be somewhere “where there was more going on” after graduating college. “We seriously discussed leaving the area, but we realized that being near our families was something that was important to both of us, so we decided to stay,” they said.

Since making that decision, they have realized there is so much going on right here in our area. “We are still close enough to major cities for day trips and get to enjoy the perks of small-town living—the slower pace, feeling of community, and great housing market,” they said. “We both work in jobs we enjoy and are helping our hometown through those jobs, which has been so rewarding.”

Tessa, who attended Edinboro University, works as executive assistant at the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce and Jon, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduate, is a police officer for the City of Oil City.

“I love that I get to be involved in the growth and development of my hometown and surrounding area,” said Tessa. “Now we are raising a family in a beautiful neighborhood, surrounded by family, and in a few years I will get to take my daughter to kindergarten at the very same school I went to which makes my heart so happy.”

The Byhams spend a lot of their free time with family between birthdays, holidays, and supporting siblings at sporting events. They enjoy going for walks in their neighborhood and downtown, attending local events, and going out to eat.

Some of their favorite spots for shopping, eating, and entertainment include Amazing Foods, Karma Coffee Company, Spilling the Beans, The Movies at Cranberry, Benjamin’s Roadhouse, Trails to Ales Brewery, and The Liberty Galleria.

They hope to become even more involved in the community through participating in Future Leaders and Entrepreneurs Exchange (FLEX), volunteering, and joining local groups and organizations. Tessa is also part of the inaugural class of Leadership Venango, a leadership program launched by the Venango Chamber in 2018.

“I would love to serve on the Board of Directors of a local organization I am passionate about and Jon has dreams to start a business of his own someday,” said Tessa. “We also hope to meet new people, hopefully some families with kids!”

Tessa and Jon have a daughter (Charlotte), a dog (Cooper), and a cat (Louise), and they purchased a home in Oil City upon returning from college.

“In a bigger city, you have to compete with hundreds of other people that have the same qualifications as you, and even if you beat out those other people, your ability to make an impact in your area and really get to see that impact is also going to be much harder,” they said.

“In Venango County you can go out, join an organization, or start a business and start seeing the results of your efforts immediately. We have the opportunity to hold leadership positions, make our voices heard, and see the difference we are making in our own community.”