The Story Behind the Billboard – Ray and Sharon Ontko

Tell us a little about yourselves.


SHARON:  Born and raised on the south side of Chicago (White Sox fan), raised in a medium-sized family. I had four siblings, two brothers, two sisters.  I have two grown children. My son and his family reside in Richmond, my daughter and her husband in Orlando, FL. I have two grandchildren who also live in Richmond.  I met the love of my life (Ray) while attending a live production at Civic Hall here in Richmond back in 1994.  I have lived in big cities, and I really appreciate and enjoy the community feeling I get in Richmond.

RAY:  Early childhood in Lake Tahoe and Santa Rosa, CA. Grew up in Lexington, KY.  Oldest of four (one sister and two brothers). Came to Richmond to attend Earlham College and put down roots here while also travelling extensively for business.  Met the love of my life (Sharon) while working backstage for a production at Civic Hall in 1994.  I love Richmond, because it’s big enough to have the amenities of a larger community, but small enough that individuals can make a difference.

What do you do professionally?

SHARON:  Doxpop, LLC, Partner/CFO, and Ray Ontko & Co., 1996-Present.  Prior to moving to Richmond, I worked for Covance Laboratory in Indianapolis for 12 years, as Sales Account Manager, Canada.  I traveled quite a bit, mostly Toronto and Montreal.  Covance is a clinical trials laboratory and their customers are pharmaceutical companies all over the world.  

RAY:  President of Doxpop, LLC, a web-based information service that makes local government information and services available online. Doxpop was founded in 2002, and built upon lessons learned while running my own consulting firm, Ray Ontko & Company, founded in 1992.

What do you do to relax?

 SHARON:  I enjoy acrylic painting, and I think my sister currently owns the largest collection of my paintings.  I tend to give them to family members and as Christmas exchange gifts.  Mostly it is fun and a way to check out for many hours. I enjoy traveling when I can, gardening, live theater of all kinds including lots of Shakespeare plays, and spending time with family. 

RAY:  I love playing ‘cello, acting, working back stage, and supporting my church, community and alma mater, Earlham College. I love travelling, back-country hiking, and, of course, spending time with my family.

You’re both very involved in the community.   Talk a little about that.

SHARON:  From 2008-2013, I was the Richmond Community Orchestra Treasurer, and I am currently doing their bookkeeping.  Our concerts are free, and the next one is on May 21st at 3:30 pm at Goddard Auditorium on the Earlham College campus.

I also do the bookkeeping for the Richmond Shakespeare Festival, and our 2017 season will open June 16th.  The theater will be set up as in years past in the old Starr-Gennett piano factory, located in the Gorge Park.  (For more information and to buy tickets to the individual productions, visit The Richmond Shakespeare Festival.)

In 2006, I joined the Wayne County 4-H Queen Committee and have enjoyed working with young ladies in our community for the past 12 years.  If any young ladies are interested in participating please visit Wayne County 4H Fair for details.  Our orientation is May 21st

I am a member of the Women’s Giving Circle, which is managed by the Wayne County Foundation.  We review and award small grants to not-for-profit organizations that focus primarily on women and children.

RAY:  I have served on the boards of Earlham College (Secretary), Richmond Symphony Orchestra (Treasurer), Richmond Community Orchestra (Treasurer), Richmond Shakespeare Festival (President), Richmond Civic Theatre (President), and Friends Fellowship Community. I have also served the City of Richmond on its Board of Zoning Appeals, and Advisory Planning Commission. I am active as the president of my church foundation, and have had numerous other roles in committees and task forces within our denomination.

I am most active at present in providing organizational leadership for the Richmond Shakespeare Festival, performing with the Richmond Community Orchestra, and playing in the orchestra at Richmond Civic Theatre.

Why do you bank with First Bank? 

SHARON:  COMMUNITY! First Bank invests in our community every day and supports many not-for-profit organizations.  It is clear to see that First Bank Richmond is very focused on being a community partner in Wayne County.  We have been First Bank customers for many, many years, and I enjoy visiting the main office on a daily basis.  I am always greeted by the tellers and the receptionist the minute I walk in the door.  I was a teller myself many years ago, and I appreciate their hard work and their commitment to customer service. 

RAY:  I love my bank, because it offers the full range of services that I need to  run our growing business, it’s commitment to and support of the local community, and the friendly and helpful people we work with at FB every day.




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