"I am proof of the life newcomers to Pittsburgh can have."
A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jesús Torres spent a good part of his teen years in the U.S. before eventually settling in Pittsburgh permanently. At 16, he was recruited to play high school basketball near Bangor, Maine and continued his basketball career playing for Penn State Greater Allegheny before transferring to main campus. After graduation, Jesús had a job offer in Puerto Rico, but decided to stay in the U.S. because of the breadth of opportunities: “It’s hard to find a job in Puerto Rico. It’s been a constant battle for people with degrees to build careers there that allow upward growth.” he says. “Sad but true, most of my friends are trying to leave. My family is disappointed that my wife and I have not returned home, but they understand that we have more opportunities here.”
Fresh out of Penn State, Jesús and his wife, Elizabeth headed for the go-go world of Washington D.C., finding jobs in finance in a town that is thick with diverse young professionals and vibrant night life. “We didn’t know anyone and we missed our friends and family. There were also financial considerations. After we moved to Pittsburgh,we bought a house and our monthly mortgage is half of what we used to pay in rent in D.C.”
Jesús started his career in Pittsburgh as a senior accountant with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, whose 2,500 professionals provide a wide range of business and financial services. Most recently, Jesús took a position as an audit project manager at PNC Bank. He's proud to work for a company that allows him to be a lifelong learner and with colleagues who care about fostering a workplace and region that has a place for everybody. “It’s great to work with a company and in a place that cares about making Latinos a part of the local fabric.”
In addition to his day job, Jesús is the treasurer of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber ofCommerce, a mentor for the Connection Accelerator Mentor Program through Vibrant Pittsburgh, and a member of the Next Generation Council– a group that convenes emerging leaders to think critically and act collaboratively to elevate racial, ethnic and generational diversity of talent in the Pittsburgh region. Jesús also keeps close ties to his native, Puerto Rico. After the recent devastating hurricanes, he used his connections with the Hispanic Chamber and Penn State to help fundraise and organize relief efforts, as well as sponsor students traveling there to assist with cleanup. As a result of his ongoing dedication to service and his community, he was recognized by Penn State Greater Allegheny in fall 2018 as a Distinguished Gold Alumni.
In their limited spare time, Jesús and Elizabeth enjoy working on their house, running or walking at nearby Indian Lake, and operating a small Professional Bookkeeping LLC business. They hang out with friends in the shopping and dining districts of Shadyside and The Waterfront in Homestead, and enjoy catching Pirates and Steelers games. They also love exploring restaurants downtown and Condado, City Works and The Carlton are a few favorites. In August, they welcomed their first child, Isla, and have been staying closer to home enjoying walks outdoors as a new family of three.
“Pittsburgh has a lot to offer. You can find a good job.You can afford to buy a home. It’s welcoming, affordable and safe. I am always telling my friends, ‘you should consider moving to Pittsburgh.’”