Hard work earns West Deer woman multiple awards
Self-made businesswoman Autumn Edmiston works out of her West Deer home in a former bedroom.
Award plaques decorate one wall, including her latest prize — the 2014 Women Entrepreneur Excellence Award from the Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber.
“People like to do business with those they like and trust, and I think a lot of people like and trust me,” Edmiston said.
“They know if I say I'm going to do something, I do it,” she said. “Sleep is optional.”
The Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber honored Edmiston during its annual meeting on Feb. 10 at The Chadwick in McCandless.
Edmiston, 55, is a one-time stay at home mom who sold pesticides before she became CEO of her own marketing firm — the Edmiston Group.
Her clients include professionals and firms in eye care, physical therapy, interior design, bookkeeping, construction and technology.
“She has a great sense of humor and great sense of humility … She's always willing to share her knowledge with anyone,” said Lindsey Demetris of Adams, marketing director for Sandler Training by Peak Performance Management in Green Tree and an ambassador for the Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber.
Demetris nominated Edmiston for her latest business award. Two years ago, Edmiston received the chamber's 2012 Prestigious Business Leader Award.
In addition to running her own business, Edmiston heads the board of directors for Treasure House, the Ross resale shop that benefits 60 area agencies that serve women.
Edmiston also mentors aspiring entrepreneurs through Seton Hill and Chatham universities and volunteers at Hampton Presbyterian Church.
“She has lots of balls up in the air, and for some reason, Autumn is capable of balancing all of them,” Demetris said.
Edmiston and her husband, David, have two sons, Kyle, 27, of Bellevue, and Brett, 25, of West Deer, plus two grandchildren.
Ironically, Edmiston never worked for a marketing agency before she started her own firm.
“I was a stay at home mom. … I went back to work when my children went to school,” she said.
While working in sales for Terminix, a pest-control company, Edmiston enrolled in Carlow University and eventually got her bachelor's degree in communications and business.
After trying but hating pharmaceutical sales, Edmiston worked for a variety of companies while gaining broad experience.
Edmiston was working for GPX Inc. in Cranberry when she launched her home-based marketing firm with one client: Complete Chiropractic Health, also in Cranberry.
“I met them through the (Pittsburgh North Regional) chamber,” she said. “I started my business from scratch.”
But Edmiston's entrepreneurial roots reach back to Elk City in Clarion County, where her parents — William Barrett and the late Ann Barrett — once operated an ice cream stand.
“My parents had an in-ground pool, and I gave swimming lessons,” she said. “I was 14.”
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.