Achievers Hall of Fame Inductees 2024

Thomas “T.J.” Colaiezzi – SHS Graduate 2000 – Achievers HOF

T.J. Colaiezzi, a member of the class of 2000, was a long-time Springfield Firefighter and EMT who has turned entrepreneur. Seeing a massive need for social media literacy and technology solutions, in April 2018, T.J. left his executive position in the fitness industry to start LifeBrand. T.J. and LifeBrand are the true stories of entrepreneurship. He and his wife Kristen risked it all, maxing out credit cards, emptying life savings, and even pawning her engagement ring to pay early employees.

Fast forward a few years, T.J. has become the driving force behind LifeBrand. This AI-based software company empowers users to cultivate a dynamic personal brand through their social media literacy and technology solutions. With 40 local employees based out of their West Chester headquarters, his leadership garnered industry recognition, notably as a two-time Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a recipient of the “Philadelphia Titan of Industry 100” award for two consecutive years, two-time Philadelphia Business Journal Best Places to Work, and in 2021 LifeBrand was named “ Philly’s Startup of the Year” company.

LifeBrand’s success, marked by victories in the StartEngines Pitch Competition in which Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, said about LifeBrand “I just loved this idea, I thought it was ingenious.” In March of 2021, LifeBrand raised 27 million dollars through “Series A” front-line financiers such as Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Phillies legend Jimmy Rollins, and other notable industry leaders, which valued the company at 137 million dollars.

Presently, LifeBrand boasts local clients such as Saint Joseph's University, Rowan University, and Devon Preparatory School. On the national level, clients include ADP Payroll Company, Clemson University, US Olympic teams, a host of pro sports teams, publicly traded banks, and dozens of other high-profile enterprise clients.

As LifeBrand continues its growth in 2024, it is expecting to finish “Series B” financing, which will likely see LifeBrand’s valuation continue to rise as it chases the elusive title of “tech unicorn.” T.J. also looks to continue giving back to the local communities and actively supports the Headstrong Foundation and The Delco Group.

Joseph P. Dascola – SHS Graduate 1963 – Achievers HOF

Joe graduated from Springfield High School in 1963. He then attended Drexel University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Engineering. He was granted the Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities Award at Drexel and earned a soccer scholarship as a goalkeeper. He jointly established the soccer record for the fewest goals scored against in the 1965 season. 

Joe’s career began as an Industrial Engineer at Owens Corning Fiberglas and International Playtex. He was promoted to Production Superintendent at Johnson and Johnson's Personal Products Division. From this position, he was recruited to join Prince Tennis Racket Company as Director of Worldwide Operations, where he established manufacturing and distribution facilities in the United States, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Taiwan.  

He joined The Franklin Mint as Director of European Distribution in London, streamlining all operations in England, Germany, Spain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He was promoted to President of Franklin Mint in Toronto, then recruited as President and Chief Operating Officer of Calstar, a rare coin and stamp collectibles catalog company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

With over twenty-five years of experience, he joined Ken Malek Associates, Inc., the premier Direct Marketing Search firm, as an Executive Search recruiter specializing in Direct Mail and Catalog companies nationwide. He prepared thousands of candidates for personal interviews and successfully placed them in their dream jobs.  

He was President of the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce and a Board member. His primary purpose in joining the Chamber was to provide an avenue for his involvement in community service. He was a mentor and tutored reading and math at multiple elementary schools in Tampa. He has also volunteered his time on his own weekly live hour-long radio show on NPR/WUSF Radio Reading Service,reading to sight-impaired listeners. The South Tampa Chamber awarded him the Ultimate Chamber Award 2009, Citizen of the Year 2006, and Volunteer of the Year 2003.  

Being retired, he wanted to continue to give back to the community and joined the University of South Florida’s Standardized Patient (SP) program. The SP portrays a realistic case for each medical student for training and testing medical students’ abilities and knowledge. Along the way, Joe has horseback riden in the English countryside, soloed his first airplane flight, continued his love for model trains, and served in the US Army Reserve for six years as a Staff Sargent.

William “Chip” Mackrides – SHS Graduate 1971 – Achievers HOF

Judge William C. Mackrides was elected in November 2013 and sworn in on January 6, 2014, to a tenure term on the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. In November of 2023, he was retained for an additional 10-year term. 

Judge Mackrides was born in Delaware County and has lived there his entire life, having grown up in Springfield. He attended Springfield High School, participating in football, wrestling, track, weightlifting, art club, and ski club, and graduated with honors. He received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Villanova University and Juris Doctor of Law from Loyola University School of Law.  

Judge Mackrides practiced law in the Delaware Valley for more than 33 years in the areas of Contracts, Real Estate, Estate Litigation, Administration and Planning, Injury Law, and Business Law. He was trained and served as a mediator/arbitrator for more than 30 years. He has lectured on various legal topics for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Delaware County Bar Association, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, Delaware County Community College, and the PA Conference of Trial Judges in person and on television and radio. 

He served as Vice President of the Delaware County Bar Association, Section Chair, and Delegate for the Pennsylvania Bar Association, a Supervisor of Edgmont Township for more than 14 years, and Solicitor and/or President of numerous charity and community non-profit boards. He also served as President of the Rose Tree Media Education Foundation, President of the Delaware County Association of Township Officials, Chancellor of the Delaware County Justinian Society, and President of the Guy G. DeFuria American Inn of Court. 

Judge Mackrides has been chosen as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer every year since its inception in 2004 and has received awards for distinguished service, leadership, and pro bono work. He has the highest AV ratings through Martindale-Hubbell, representing the highest level of professional excellence and ethical standards. He received the President’s Award in 2002 and the Man of the Year Award in 2008 from the Delaware County Bar Association and its Lawyer's Club.  In 2017, he received the Guy G. DeFuria Award from the Guy G. DeFuria Inn of Court. 

Judge Mackrides has admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. He serves as Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Civility Committee, Zone 9 Delegate to the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and an outgoing PA Conference of Trial Judges Education Committee member.

Marshall Mirarchi – SHS Graduate 2001 – Achievers HOF

After graduating from SHS in 2001, Marshall Mirarchi attended Kutztown University, pitched for the Golden Bears, and attended two College Baseball World Series. There, Marshall also achieved student-athlete academic scholarships.  

Marshall entered the US Secret Service from college and was assigned to the White House Presidential Protection Division. Shortly after, he made it through the grueling Emergency Response Team Tactical Operator’s Course, earning himself a place in the Special Operations Division. It was not long before he made his mark, breaking fitness records for the Secret Service kettlebell test and the powerlifting record for bench press, squat, and deadlift. Marshall continued this path into the Tactical Canine Unit, where he teamed up with his partner, K9 Hurricane. This partnership was a pivotal moment in his career. 

In 2014, Marshall and his K9 partner stopped an intruder on the North Grounds of the White House while the President and First Family were inside. This story received national and international praise. In the following days, Marshall received the Award for Merit from the Director of the Secret Service. In 2015, Marshall was given the highest honor within Homeland Security by receiving the Award for Valor from the Secretary of DHS. 

In 2017, Marshall again received accolades from the Director of Secret Service for heroic actions off-duty after witnessing a severe multi-car pileup on 295 South, where he noticed an overturned vehicle with an unconscious woman pinned inside. Marshall was able to pry the door open, extracting her from the car and removing her from further harm before medical personnel arrived. In 2019, Marshall and K9 Hurricane were invited to the British Parliament, making them the first in U.S. history to receive the British Order of Merit for their heroism. In 2022, Marshall and K9 Hurricane again became the first in U.S. history to receive the Distinguished Service Medal at the United States Capitol, earning them a spot in the 2023 Guinness Book of World Records.  

Marshall continued to serve in the U.S. Government as a Supervisory Special Agent, receiving the Special Agent of the Year award in 2022. His most significant contribution is founding a non-profit called K9 Hurricane’s Heroes in honor of his K9 partner. This federally recognized, non-profit organization provides retired law enforcement and military dogs with subsidized veterinary care so they can live long and healthy lives. Hurricane’s Heroes currently supports over 100 K9s nationwide and has raised over half a million for these K9 heroes.

Sharon Taylor – SSD Teacher 1958-1993 – Achievers HOF

Dr. Sharon Taylor always believed teaching was the world’s best job and never wanted to do anything else. Beginning at Sabold in 1958, Sharon taught for many years at Springfield Junior High and the High School, from which she retired in 1993. Her gift for reaching students from any background empowered her pupils with self-esteem and a skillset to learn, making her beloved across generations.  

As she was affectionately named, Doc ensured that her students recognized their potential and used education to transcend social, emotional, and economic barriers. In settings ranging from the gifted room to remedial classrooms, conversations embraced life skills, career counseling, and academic tutoring. 

Building on her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Michigan, Sharon completed her master’s and doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania at age 50, specializing in Educational Linguistics. Developing teaching methodologies that engaged students intellectually while fostering mutual respect and self-worth, Doc’s signature approach created a learning atmosphere where students felt valued, heard, and motivated to achieve their best. 

Her determined advocacy for students set Dr. Taylor apart, and this advocacy continued in her own business. For 20 years, Doc taught seniors how to plan for retirement. Doc’s impact is evident in her lasting friendships and academic and personal influence on her students’ lives.

Dr. Taylor’s efforts are celebrated in the words of a former student in 1960. On Sharon’s 90th birthday, he wrote:

I met you in 9th grade English. You walked into the noisy classroom and yelled at everyone to “knock it off.” I never realized at that moment the major impact you would have on my life. Sharon, you’ve helped me through the tough times, celebrated the good times, and always been my friend. You always helped me see both sides of the issue without inserting your personal beliefs, guiding my decision. I admire this in you and the fact that you are always direct, no guessing where you stand on things.

Dr. Sharon Taylor's legacy underscores the transformative power of teaching and the enduring impact of genuine, heartfelt connections between a teacher and her students.