“We can really see a difference in the quality of the schools here. Our kids do more in a day than they did in a week before.”
T.J. Crawford wasn’t sold on Pittsburgh, at first. When a former co-worker tried several times to recruit him to work at MARC USA, he resisted. After all, he and his wife, Amy, and their five sons had made a great life for themselves on the West Coast and in Reno, Nev., close to many amenities and opportunities. “We had a misperception about the area and its industrial history.” That was turned around during a recruiting visit here with Amy and their two youngest, 6-year-old twins Chase and Trent. “We stayed downtown and purposely struck up conversations with people at lunch and on the streets here and couldn’t believe how friendly everyone was.” They also fell in love with the historic architecture and the excitement surrounding the sports teams; the Baltimore Ravens happened to be in town to play the Steelers and the competitive vibe was palpable.
What really clinched the decision, though, was the quality of the schools. “Our twin boys are doing more in one day here than they did in a week or more in their old schools, and you can really see a difference in the quality of work they do.“ (Their older sons are adults and living in other states.)
Living in Cranberry Township in Butler County, the Crawfords are part of the Seneca Valley School District, one of the top in the state. They are also part of a neighborhood that T.J. says they couldn’t re-create anywhere. “The camaraderie here is great. We have barbecues and the kids can run around and play in different yards and no one worries about that. In L.A., Lake Tahoe or Reno, privacy fences are common. It’s a whole different sense of community here.”
At MARC USA, the area’s largest advertising agency, T.J. is helping clients extend their reach to target audiences through online channels such as social media. For national retailer Rite-Aid, for example, the agency is using social media for a “Wellness Card” loyalty program that targets customers age 65+ and their caregivers, often younger family members.
An avid golfer, T.J. is enjoying the links here, including Montour Heights Country Club and Pittsburgh North in Wexford. As a family, they’ve been enjoying the Children’s Museum, the National Aviary and Point State Park, as well as a stocked pond for fishing in Hopewell Township in Beaver County. “One of the great things about Pittsburgh is there’s low-friction access to a wide variety of amenities here.”