Phil Cynar

This post first appeared on the blog of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, a sister organization to ImaginePittsburgh.com the focuses on business development. Get the PRA’s updates delivered to your inbox here

Pittsburgh will always be known as the “Steel City,” but a visit to the town now reveals a fresh new identity as a hub for innovation, arts and culture. That is what Yahoo News reported when its Global News Anchor (and broadcast journalism icon) Katie Couric took a look at the technology and innovation revitalizing the iconic Rust Belt city for the latest stop in her series, “Cities Rising: Rebuilding America.”

“It wasn’t steel that built Pittsburgh, it was innovation,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto in the 12-minute mini-documentary – noting that even during steel’s heyday in the region, it was innovation behind the steel-making that allowed it to grow to a global scale industry.

The same drive has created a hub of game-changing robotics expertise in Pittsburgh now that is on par with the claim to fame that steel once provided. Yet, in spite of all of its brain power, Pittsburgh has not lost its human touch. It continues to nourish arts and culture as it did – even during its darkest economic times – because it recognized that the arts bring richness and quality of life (for both natives and visitors). And with a similar mind to investment for a greater good, Pittsburgh is committing resources to revitalizing materials, people and communities that could be left behind.

If you’re a Pittsburgher or an ex-pat Pittsburgher, this documentary will make you proud. And if you’re looking at Pittsburgh, maybe for the first time, for a career or a soft landing destination to grow a business, Katie Couric’s “walk on the innovation side” of the fabled Steel City will let you see for yourself more than you might have imagined about this place: “a global center of innovation that will change the world.”

Bonnie Pfister

There are more 20,000 jobs open today across the Pittsburgh region, part of a vibrant economy with jobs in business and financial services, healthcare and life sciences, IT, energy and manufacturing. If you’re a Pittsburgher looking to advance your career, or have friends and colleagues elsewhere who’d like to move here, you should be checking out ImaginePittsburgh.com on a regular basis. Our 10-county jobs aggregator is updated nightly. For example, today you’ll find jobs like these:

Solution Center Technician at Seton Hill University

Strategic Product Manager at TeleTracking Technologies

Engineering Technician at EQT Corp.

Inventory Technician at Mitsubishi Electric Power Products 

Real Estate Agent at Northwood Realty Services

You can also reach out to our Neighbors – young and mid-career professionals who have chosen Pittsburgh — for networking ideas via the LinkedIn addresses include in their profiles. And stay up-to-date with new job postings and other news about building a great life in the Pittsburgh region via our monthly newsletter, our RSS feedFacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

Are you a military veteran looking for a job with good pay, benefits and opportunities to advance? Check out our sister website, ServiceToOpportunity.org. There you can register in just a few minutes to be connected directly with regional energy and manufacturing companies that are keen to hire returning military servicemen and women. Learn more  here.

Job hunting? You’ve come to the right place: Pittsburgh is home to tens of thousands of open positions across the 10-county region. Check out our powerful job search aggregator at ImaginePittsburgh.com/work, or just click through onto one of these offerings from our Featured Employers:

Senior Database Administrator at Development Dimensions International

 Chemical Inventory Specialist at PPG Industries

Home Equity Product Manager at PNC Financial Services

Operating Systems Engineer at UPMC

The Strip District-based Iron Workers union is offering free three-year apprenticeships to men and women who help sculpt the region’s built environment. Apprentice pay ranges from $16-$26 per hour.

Polish your shoes and print out extra resumes: UPMC Health Plan is hosting a series of job fairs around the region this spring, including one TOMORROW, March 31 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center downtown (112 Washington Place, near CONSOL Energy Center). The health insurance company is hiring candidates with all levels of experience and educational background for jobs in the following departments:

  • Customer Service
  • Retail / Sales
  • Administrative Support
  • Healthcare / Patient Services
  • Operations
  • Dental / Vision
  • Claims / Billing / Collections
  • Analytics
  • Project Management
  • Business Support

 Other UPMC Health Plan job fairs will be held Saturday, April 18 and Thursday, May 28. 

You can learn more about what it’s like to work for UPMC Health Plan from Dominique King, one of the Neighbors at ImaginePittsburgh.com.

ImaginePittsburgh.com’s Neighbors are friendly people from around the corner and around the globe who have chosen to make our region their home. Meet them all here; or take our quiz and find out which Neighbor type you have most in common with.

 

NEXTpittsburgh

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Written by Leah Lizarondo

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman has launched a $250,000 Crowdrise campaign for The Braddock Promise—and becomes the first municipality outside of Pittsburgh to offer its residents a college scholarship, administered by the Pittsburgh Promise.

This is the latest effort in the mayor’s ongoing campaign to renew the town that has struggled since the fall of the steel industry in the region.

The Crowdrise campaign aims to raise funds for 9 Braddock students graduating this year. In the fundraising video, the mayor talks about coming to Braddock in 2001, helping youth complete their GEDs. Fetterman saw many with great potential but lack of resources to fund a college education limited their opportunities. Since then, one of Fetterman’s goals has been to “do something about this gap between ability and ambition and the reality of attending college. The Braddock Promise would alter the trajectory of this community for generations,” he says.

The Braddock Promise — managed by The Pittsburgh Promise and The Pittsburgh Foundation—will offer the same Promise scholarship benefits to children in the municipality. Kids who attend Braddock’s public schools, Woodland Hills and Propel Braddock Hills, will receive up to $10,000 a year to fund their college education if they meet the 90% attendance and 2.5 grade average requirements.

The Braddock Promise gives Shiane Adams — mother of Raemon Prunty, a straight-A student from Braddock — a renewed sense of optimism. “If this door was opened, more kids will see this and say, we do have hope.”

The Braddock Promise from Braddock Redux on Vimeo.

Fetterman also hopes that The Braddock Promise will begin a movement throughout the county. “One of the important things is that it opens the dialogue to offer the Promise to other communities like Wilkinsburg.”

Fetterman adds, “The need is so much stronger—as Pittsburgh continues to grow and become more livable, you are going to create this ring of poverty around the city. How absurd is it that a kid growing up in McKeesport doesn’t have access to this? It’s so important. I understand that you have to draw boundaries somewhere but to me the county is much more reasonable than the city line. There are a lot of school districts in the county that are struggling and this is just one more thing that can be done.”

Fetterman

The Braddock Promise is a significant salvo in the Mayor’s third term in office—a tenure that has been characterized by a nationally documented entrepreneurial and envelope-pushing approach to urban renewal.

The past years have brought the beautiful Naia Page Community Center, The Free Store and The Braddock Youth Project—whose longstanding relationship with the community the Mayor credits as key in contributing to the youths’ successful transition to college with The Braddock Promise.

Early entrepreneurial entries in the town Include Ink Division printing and Fossil Free Fuel, one of the first alternative fuel companies in the region.

Shauna Kearns. Photo by Brian Cohen.

Last year, Kevin Sousa’s Kickstarter record-setting Superior Motors brought attention to the town. Its projected Spring 2015 opening is one of the most anticipated in the industry. But Sousa is not the only food industry talent to put down roots in Braddock. The Brew Gentlemen brings craft beer enthusiasts from all over the region and—also set to open in the spring—The Braddock Oven, as envisioned by young baker Shauna Kearns, will be one of the first of its kind on the East Coast.

Last month, the Allegheny Health Network opened an Urgent Care facility in Braddock, five years after the UPMC hospital in town closed down. Fetterman says, that “made the ribbon-cutting so symbolic. It’s been five years to come back full circle and in a way that is much better for Braddock strategically.”

This year, Braddock continues its transformation from abandoned town to a place of possibilities.

According to Fetterman, a Strip District-based technology company has bought property in Braddock with plans to move its headquarters in town.

Photo from Braddock Redux

Bill Barron, a developer whose projects have played a significant role in Lawrenceville’s renewal, has taken on the redevelopment of Braddock’s Ohringer building into a mixed-use facility. Fetterman underscores the significance of the project slated to begin this year. “Ohringer represents the first time that we have been able to bring in a private developer who will create commercial and residential spaces without the assistance of a lot of government entities.”

Last year, Trek made leases available for the Creative Studios at 501 Braddock Avenue at the heels of “The Overlook,” its housing development on the former grounds of the UPMC hospital.

Trek

The arts, what many consider an optimistic canary in urban development, are also making strides. Street artists have long been attracted to the town’s grit and their work punctuates the one square mile town. Unsmoke Systems, in what used to be an abandoned building, has been hosting independent art exhibits for the past few years.

The spring will bring two major theater productions to Braddock. Bricolage will produce an experiential performance that will take the audience throughout town on a bus. Barebones Productions also announced that its May 2015 production, American Falls, will be shown in Braddock.

Community work continues.

Boilermakers Local 154 has launched its “Guns for Opportunity” program, naming Braddock as the first location. The program will exchange free training in the union’s welding program for firearms surrendered.

Bridget Miller, working with Gisele Fetterman, will bring The Erase Project to residents. The project will offer free removal of gang-related and inappropriate tattoos that may prevent individuals from getting jobs or simply moving on with their lives.

To his gentrification critics, Fetterman minces no words.

“Displacement? 90% of all the people who have lived here have already left. You can’t get 90% of people to agree on something these days. But at one point, 90% of people in Braddock agreed that it’s not the place they want to live.

“This isn’t a case of pushing the ‘wrong’ people out and bringing the ‘right’ people in. Let’s bring people in to re-energize the community and in the meantime, we have an unflinching commitment to improve the quality of life for all residents—through the Promise, through the best summer youth employment program in the county, the community center, new playgrounds, The Free Store. There is a balanced approach in what we do,” he says.

“Everything that we do is based on keeping in the balance—if we don’t bring in these things, we are not going to grow a community and we don’t want to create the stereotypical nest of social service agencies and payday loan shops. That doesn’t help grow neighborhoods.”

Fetterman says it’s just the beginning.

“It will never be done. It is constantly evolving and growing. I’d like to think we’ve got a good head of steam and we’re headed in the right direction—to continue to move in a positive trajectory and become a place where people desire to live.”

“Braddock is coming back from a very difficult place. It hit bottom around a decade ago. The return to some semblance of normalcy and some positive energy is something we never take for granted,” Fetterman says. “I never stop and say well we’re almost done because we have so much work still.”

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Written by Laurie Bailey

Tissuglu. Photo by Cohera, Inc.
Tissuglu. Photo by Cohera, Inc.

Cohera Medical, Inc., a company spun out of the University of Pittsburgh, has gained the U.S. Food and Drug Administration go-ahead to market TissuGlu, the first surgical tissue adhesive for internal use during abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery.

Developed by Pitt chemical engineering professor Eric Beckman and oral and maxillofacial surgeon Michael Buckley (formerly of Pitt’s School of Dental Medicine), the biodegradable, biocompatible product provides surgeons with an alternative to stapling, stitching or less effective surgical wound sealants used to connect tissue flaps during abdominoplasty surgery, according to the FDA website.

And the use of TissuGlu may also reduce or eliminate the need for uncomfortable postoperative surgical drains and offer other advantages, including lowering the risk of postoperative complications that could occur from drain use, says Beckman.

“The FDA’s approval of the first synthetic adhesive for internal use will help some abdominoplasty patients get back to their daily routines after surgery more quickly than if surgical drains had been inserted,” says William Maisel, deputy director for science at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

In a clinical study of 130 patients undergoing elective abdominoplasty, half received surgical drains and the other half received TissuGlu with no drains. Seventy-three percent of those who received TissuGlu required no postoperative intervention to drain fluid.

TissuGlu is a urethane-based liquid, applied by surgeons using a hand-held applicator—or the “world’s coolest glue gun,” as Beckman refers to it—and is dispensed into the patient’s tissue during surgery.

“We wanted something that was easy, quick and obvious. It takes a surgeon about two minutes to learn to use,” says Beckman.

Tissue flaps are bonded together when water in the tissue triggers chemical reactions that cure the adhesive into a flexible solid. Unlike topical medical super glues that take 30 seconds to cure, TissuGlu takes about 10 minutes to form into a flexible solid.

“Clinicians have lacked internal adhesives that are both strong and safe, and it’s exciting that TissuGlu is the first internal tissue adhesive to be approved by the FDA,” says Beckman.

He adds that TissuGlu is so new that the FDA created a category for the product’s approval and that premarket approval (PMA) from the FDA is rare.

“It’s normally a long process to go through the FDA and can easily take 10 to 12 years,” says Beckman.

After completing European clinical trials in 2010 and receiving a CE mark certifying conformity with European Union health standards in July 2011, Cohera launched TissuGlu that same year in Germany.

Marketing details are still being ironed out, says Beckman, and it will probably be “a few months” before TissuGlu is available.