Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Amanda Waltz

All eyes were on Pittsburgh yesterday when 500-plus invited guests gathered at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh for the first-ever White House Frontiers Conference, a daylong event culminating in an address by President Barack Obama and panel where he participated.

At CMU’s Jared L. Cohon University Center, Secret Service agents and SWAT team members weaved through hundreds of tech entrepreneurs and students attending panels featuring top scientists and researchers discussing innovative approaches to solving community and national issues. Those leading the interplanetary track–which covered space exploration and the journey to Mars–were easily identified by their shirts emblazoned with NASA patches.

Just down the street, the University of Pittsburgh hosted tracks on healthcare (Personal) and the issues of climate change and clean energy (Global). The other two tracks featured were Local, focusing on transportation and criminal justice, and National, featuring Artifical Intelligence.

At the event, it was announced that $300 million in funds would be granted to further technology’s role in improving city infrastructure, brain research, small-satellite technology and precision medicine.

The choice of setting made sense in a time when Pittsburgh has garnered wide attention for its role as an emerging tech hub and smart city.

“Pittsburgh’s overnight success story is 30 years of hard work and innovation,” said Mayor Bill Peduto while addressing attendees at the Local Frontiers track. At the center of that success are the research and startups produced by Pitt and CMU.

The Local Track

Peduto offered his views on transportation on a panel that included United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Zipcar co-founder and former CEO Robin Chase, and Tim Kentley-Klay of the autonomous driving startup Zoox.

In a breakout session on transportation that followed, Foxx asked, “What fundamental changes in transportation policy need to happen? It took a hell of a lot to get Congress focused on it. The conversation has always been 90 percent where will the money come from and 10 percent policy.” It needs to be the reverse, he said.

The $65 million in new funding awards announced at the Conference “will help cities and communities do the work to advance on a local level,” he said, citing the work of the Traffic 21 initiative in Pittsburgh where smart traffic signals have helped to reduce traffic congestion by 40 percent. The increased funding will allow that to “be applied to Downtown Pittsburgh much more broadly.”

“To reduce congestion, to increase safety, to really hardness opportunity, we are changing how we think about innovation,” Foxx said. ” There has to be constant vigilance by everyone . . . You tell us what you don’t like, tell us what you do like; we’re going to keep trying to build a better mousetrap.”

Kids are our future

Two themes that resounded throughout the day were about how our children will be the ones to solve many of the problems we face today and how critical it is to prepare all of our kids for the future, and how no one should be left behind as we innovate our way to the future.

“We are stronger than we think we are,” said Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer at the White House. “How do we unlock and unleash the talent of everyone?”

More than once, a panelist talked about how “a seven-year-old is out there” who will one day to be able to solve the problems we face today. The 20-year-old leader of Greening Forward, Charles Orgbon III, urged the audience to “think differently about your role with young people. You’re not just a teacher of young people. To create that transformative change, we’re gonna need a lot of things and one of those things is your role as a mentor.”

The problems of today, he said, “should not be left to so-called experts. Young people are ready to take action against the environmental issues that impact us and the global challenges we face. We’re the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change.”

Obama addressed climate change in his remarks. “We don’t listen to science just when it fits our ideology. That’s the path to ruin,” he said. “When the Russians beat us into space we didn’t deny that Sputnik was up there…we acknowledged the facts and then we built a space program almost overnight and beat them to the moon.”

Obama gave a shout-out to numerous people and groups advancing the city, including the Girls of Steel, the upcoming Maker Faire, and the remarkable work at Pitt around brain implants. He talked about meeting Nathan Copeland, paralyzed since 2014, who has a prosthetic arm that allows him to feel sensation in his fingers. He shook his hand, said Obama, then they fist-bumped.

Making sure all are included

A panel roundtable discussion later led by Chief Innovation & Performance Officer Debra Lam pointed out that Pittsburgh still has some hurdles to overcome in order to make this new tech landscape inclusive for all.

“You need to ask, am I reaching out to everyone?” Lam said as she led a group containing tech, education and nonprofit representatives from Pittsburgh and throughout the country. “If I’m not, how do I do that?”

One solution lies in sourcing and analyzing data to understand the city’s needs and concerns. It was recently used to show how diverse Pittsburgh’s 90 neighborhoods really were. “Data doesn’t lie,” said Lam.

Chief of Innovation and Performance Debra Lam at the White House Frontiers Conference. Photo by Amanda Waltz.
Chief of Innovation & Performance Debra Lam at the White House Frontiers Conference. Photo by Amanda Waltz.
The words ring true for one agreement made just prior to Obama’s arrival for his afternoon address. Peduto announced plans to join forces with White House-led Police Data Initiative (PDI), which supports efforts of local law enforcement to build trust with the communities they serve by using data to increase transparency and accountability.

“In order to rebuild police-community trust, transparency is a vital first step,” said Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay in an official statement. “In a free democracy, the public has a right to understand the workings of government, and the actions of law enforcement touch the lives of our citizenry in powerful ways.”

Part of the participation includes the expansion of the Guide to Crime, Courts, and Corrections, a website developed by the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center (WPRDC) to increase public access to law enforcement data for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The WPRDC will enlist help from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, the Department of Innovation & Performance, and the Allegheny County Human Services to add up-to-date information on everything from non-traffic violations to police training to civil rights lawsuits.

The site will also feature a variety of tools, such as charts, maps, interactive visuals and reports, as well as additional criminal justice-related data provided by Allegheny County and the State of Pennsylvania.

“This important work continues to build upon our broader efforts around open data,” said Lam in an official statement. “We hope that providing such data not only increases government accountability but empowers the community and strengthens partnerships. This is another testament to Pittsburgh’s inclusive innovation.”

Joshua Devine

Looking to land your dream job, start your career or advance in your profession? There are plenty of options – over 25,000 of them across all industries – to choose from. Let ImaginePittsburgh.com help you get started. You can use our virtual one-stop shop and discover information on employers and careers as well as search jobs via our powerful aggregator that’s updated nightly from more than a thousand job boards and corporate websites. With ImaginePittsburgh.com, you can also explore the site’s Featured Employers, as well as many great places to live, play and learn in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Here are just a few of the jobs available now with our featured employers:

Senior Leader – Aerospace Engines at Alcoa

Systems Engineer CBTC, Signaling at Mitsubishi Electric Power Products

Research Chemist I/II – Funded Initiatives at PPG

Melter Technician at ATI

Electrical Engineer, Transmission Protection at FirstEnergy

Too busy to check these out now? Bookmark ImaginePittsburgh.com or save us to your favorite read-it-later app. You can also sign up for career news about the region through our RSS feedFacebookTwitter or monthly newsletter.

Joshua Devine

Looking to land your dream job, start your career or advance in your profession? There are plenty of options – over 25,000 of them across all industries – to choose from. Let ImaginePittsburgh.com help you get started. You can use our virtual one-stop shop and discover information on employers and careers as well as search jobs via our powerful aggregator that’s updated nightly from more than a thousand job boards and corporate websites. With ImaginePittsburgh.com, you can also explore the site’s Featured Employers, as well as many great places to live, play and learn in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Here are just a few of the jobs available now with our featured employers:

Technology Project Manager at BNY Mellon

IBM Domino Administrator at PJ Dick

Inside Sales Representative at Lamar Advertising Company

Senior Engineer – Solidification at Alcoa

Too busy to check these out now? Bookmark ImaginePittsburgh.com or save us to your favorite read-it-later app. You can also sign up for career news about the region through our RSS feedFacebookTwitter or monthly newsletter.

 

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.”

ImaginePittsburgh.com

Uber’s driverless vehicles — the first to hit American roadways — have begun picking up passengers in Pittsburgh.

In a race with Google and Tesla to bring autonomous vehicles to market, Uber is poised to leap ahead thanks in part to the talented engineers that emerge from Carnegie Mellon University, Bloomberg News, Forbes and others have reported.

A few of Uber’s modified Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicle began appearing on Pittsburgh streets around Labor Day, with a fleet of 100 to be rolled out by year’s end. Cars in Pittsbugh will have safety drivers and co-pilots.

Uber began operating in Allegheny County in early 2014, and recently expanded service to several adjacent counties. In February 2015, the San Francisco based company partnered with CMU to create the Uber Advanced Technologies Center just off campus, foucsing on developing long-term technologies. The partnership includes collaboration between Uber and the National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville around mapping, vehicle safety and autonomy technology.

Check out the Bloomberg’s video here, and read the full article here.

 

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Pittsburgh has jobs: more than 20,000 across 10 counties, including at Uber. Tap into ImaginePittsburgh.com to explore southwestern PA’s trending careers and industries.

Find a job, advance your career, build a life you’ll love: ImaginePittsburgh.com.

 

ServiceToOpportunity.org

Tired of sending your resume into a black hole? ServiceToOpportunity.org has got your back.

STO is a powerful matching tool that connects veterans directly to managers ready to hire for in-demand jobs at regional energy and manufacturing companies. The site has recently be enhanced with a fresh, more user-friendly interface, interface, videos of the types of open jobs, and a direct and personal connection to employers.

If you’ve already created a job seeker profile on the site, click here to reset your password (as part of the site revamp) to begin connecting with employers ready to hire. Not sure if you made a profile? Enter your email address in the log in page; if you’ve already created a profile, you will be prompted to update your password. If you haven’t, or if your new to the site, it takes about five minutes to create a basic profile; you can always come back later to tell employers more about your skills and experience.

VETERANS: Even if you’re not job-hunting right now, it’s always a good career move to have your resume out in places where recruiters are looking for talented, hardworking veterans. Sign up here, or pass the word to veterans or returning servicemen or women in your personal and professional networks, on Service To Opportunity®’s social media platforms: Facebook.com/ServiceToOpportunity and Twitter.com/Srv2Opportunity.

EMPLOYERS: Want to post your Pittsburgh region energy or manufacturing jobs on ServiceToOpportunity.org? Contact kmckenzie@alleghenyconference.org.

Like ImaginePittsburgh.com, ServiceToOpportunity.org is a program of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development to connect people with family-sustaining careers in southwestern Pennsylvania. Let’s get to work!