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Phil Mollenkof

Founder & CEO

Phil MollenkofPhil Mollenkof


  • Name: Phil Mollenkof
  • Where I'm From: Tokyo, Japan
  • Where I Live: Morningside
  • Education:
    Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI; B.A. Communications and Media
  • Company:

“Pittsburgh is becoming this really cool and interesting place. It’s on the rise and giving places like Philadelphia or New York a run for its money.”

When Phil travels for work and talks about Pittsburgh, without fail people respond: “I know someone who lives/lived there and I heard it was a really cool place.”

A “cool place” is exactly how he’d describe the city. “It’s the ‘sleeper’ town that everyone is surprised by. No one expects it to be as great as it is.” Raised in Tokyo, Japan, Phil trekked to the States and after a few jobs landed in Pittsburgh. He is charmed by its unique neighborhoods and the culture often hidden within. Lesser known communities across the river such as Millvale and Sharpsburg are home to small-town feels and great breweries (he recommends The Grist House and Hitchhiker Brewing Co).

An experienced and distinguished marketing and design strategist, Phil is the founder of Cultivate, a national branding and marketing firm based in Pittsburgh. Phil and his team advise non-profits and small- to mid-sized companies on design, strategic marketing and visioning. Seeking clients with a mission, he notes that he enjoys helping people tell their stories of success, better. His story of success, he owes to Pittsburgh: “It’s one of the best places to start a business,” he says. “Here, you have an amazing network of startups and a relatively cheap support and resource infrastructure. Plus, a community of intelligent people dedicated to excelling that you can draw from.” His company has worked with local clients such as Ascend Climbing, Heinz History Center, Three Rivers Outdoor Company – which is hoping to put Pittsburgh on the map for its outdoor scene – and the Pittsburgh Promise, where he formally worked as its communications and design manager.

At home with two children in the quaint, working class neighborhood of Morningside, Phil and his wife, Allie, stay busy – indoors and out. “We love The Children’s Museum, Highland Park, the Toy Lending Library in the East End, and lots of restaurants such as Highland Park Brews and Noodlehead in Shadyside.” Biking and hiking is a family passion. Together, they traverse the roads, hills, trails and paths of the SWPA region (and beyond) year-round and are members of cycling and outdoor groups. “There are so many great places to ride here with all the hills. The number of bike shops just within a couple of miles from my house shows just how active everyone is.” The connectivity of Pittsburgh makes it a great place to work and play:

“I wouldn’t have started in any other place than Pittsburgh. Anywhere else, it would have been much harder.”

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