Joe Senko, Honorary Consul and Tod Sedgwick
U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia
Joe Senko, a Slovak American, has been a resident of Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania since his birth in 1935. He is the youngest child
of seven born to Slovak immigrants, John Senko and Mary Stropkaj.
The two young Slovaks left the Michalovce area early in the 1900's
looking for a better life. They married in 1914 and made their
home in Pittsburgh. Although they became American citizens, they
were always proud of their Slovak heritage.
John and Mary made sure that all of their children attended the
Slovak parish school and all the Senkos were very aware of their
Slovak heritage. Joe attended an all boys Catholic high school
where he graduated in the upper tenth of his class. While there,
he was the editor of the school paper and assistant editor of
the school year book. Joe was the only one in his family to attend
a University. He received his Bachelors Degree from Duquesne University
and his Masters Degree from Robert Morris University.
After graduating as an accountant, he worked for the Internal
Revenue Service, then with an international accounting firm before
starting his own accounting firm. He is now a partner in the public
accounting firm of McKeever Varga & Senko. He is licensed
as a certified public accountant in Pennsylvania, Ohio and the
District of Columbia. He is also a certified financial planner.
Over the years, he has received numerous awards in the accounting
profession. He received the Distinguished Service award from the
Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs and he
was twice selected as the local “Accounting Advocate of
the Year” by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In addition to his family and professional life, Joe does volunteer
work for many non-profit organizations.
his years of professional experience by serving on the boards
of many of these organizations. He presently serves
on the board or on the advisory committee of eleven non-profit
organizations. Joe is also a member of numerous Slovak organizations
Minister Robert Fico
and Joe and Albina Senko
In 1955, Joe married Albina Kolodzej, a native of Slovakia. Albina
was born in the Spis area of Slovakia and together they raised
six children. In June, 1998 the entire Senko family, a group of
13, visited Slovakia. Joe and Albina have visited Slovakia 15
times since 1995. Over the years, at the gentle urging of Albina,
the Senko house was open to many Slovak students, professionals
and cultural delegations. Slovak visitors to Pittsburgh are always
welcome in the Senko home. They are introduced to the Pittsburgh
region with a tour, many times given in Slovak by Albina. Business
contacts and appointments are also scheduled for them if desired.
Abassador to the U.S Peter Kmec
Welcome to the Embassy
According to the 2000 Census, 243,009 Pennsylvanians are of Slovak
ancestry, the highest of the 50 states. Of these, approximately
212,000 reside in the greater Pittsburgh area. In order to expedite
relations between the Slovak Republic and the United States, the
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic announced the
establishment of a consulate in Pennsylvania in July, 1997 to
be headquartered in Pittsburgh. Joseph Senko of Pittsburgh was
appointed Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic for Pennsylvania.
The main task of the honorary consul is to promote economic,
scientific, cultural, educational, athletic and other relations
between the Slovak Republic and the United States. Mr. Senko
maintains a Consulate adjacent to his main accounting office located
at Manor Oak Two, Suite 500, 1910 Cochran Road, Pittsburgh, PA
Since his appointment, he has assisted numerous Slovaks through
telephone calls, correspondence, visits and notarization of documents.
He and his wife attend many Slovak functions in Western Pennsylvania
and Washington, D.C..
Andrej Kiska , President of Slovakia and Joe Senko
On March 17, 1997, Joseph Senko formed a non-profit, organization,
Western Pennsylvania Slovak Cultural Association (WPSCA). It was
formed to bring diverse authentic Slovak cultural programs to
Western Pennsylvania for not only Slovak-Americans, but for the
entire public to enjoy. Their mission is to bring the majority
of the Slovak cultural programs to be presented, whether they
be performers or exhibits, directly from Slovakia so that the
attendees could appreciate the rich cultural talent that is available
in the Slovak Republic; secondly, the cultural programs presented
are highly diversified in order to appeal to a variety of cultural
tastes of Western Pennsylvanians; and thirdly, the programs are
marketed to acquaint the general public with the geography, history
and culture of the Slovak Republic.
Some of the events that the WPSCA has sponsored to date in Pittsburgh
were performances by the Bratislava Choir, concert violinist Ondrej
Janoska, two Slovak film festivals, ten Slovak language classes,
Easter and Christmas Slovak cooking demonstrations, various exhibits
of Slovak artifacts and jointly sponsored events with the Czechoslovak
Genealogical Society and the Jewish Community Center. WPSCA’s
first event was the formal presentation of the Slovak flag for
permanent display in the Court House to the Mayor of Pittsburgh
and the Allegheny County Commissioners.
SENKO AWARDED PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL
At a recent reception at the Slovak Embassy in Washington D.C., Joseph Senko of Pittsburgh, PA was awarded the Medal of the President of the Slovak Republic for extraordinary merit in the development of friendly relations with the Slovak Republic, as well as promoting Slovakia throughout the world. This is the highest award that the Slovak government awards to foreigners.
Joe Senko has been the Slovak Honorary Consul for Pennsylvania since 1997. In this capacity, he receives and responds to approximately 100 inquires each year. Shortly after becoming Honorary Consul, he formed the Western Pennsylvania Slovak Cultural Association, a non-profit organization, that presents approximately ten Slovak cultural programs each year.
He is also a charter member of the executive committee of the Washington D.C. based non-profit organization, Friends of Slovakia, which was formed in 2001 to seek friendship and understanding between Slovakia and the United States. Joe is the Chairman and Treasurer. This organization has sponsored over 125 events since it was formed including scholarships for Slovak students, annual freedom lectures, receptions for dignitaries from Slovakia and artistic and cultural events.
Some of the more notable programs which Joe has accomplished were:
The collection, repair and shipment of 250 computers to Slovakia which were distributed to 45 schools
Shipment of 60,000 copies of an American children's magazine which were distributed to 830 schools to assist in learning English
Shipment of medical supplies to hospitals in Svidník, Bardejov and Bratislava.
Senko is presently arranging his tenth tour to Slovakia. Over 250 people from the United States have participated in his previous tours