Bonnie Pfister

Congratulations to ImaginePittsburgh.com sponsor PITT OHIO, which earned top honors in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s annual ranking of best places to work in the region. That’s good news for job seekers, because the family-run company is actively seeking men and women for one of the most high-demand jobs in the Pittsburgh region. (More on that below.)

PittOhio_IPFeaturePITT OHIO was ranked the No. 1 place to work among large Pittsburgh region companies (more than 400 employees), while CEO Charles “Chuck” Hammel was named top leader in the large-company category for the second time.

The Post-Gazette’s survey partner, WorkplaceDynamics, invited 1,401 Pittsburgh area companies to participate and received completed, confidential surveys from nearly 16,000 employees at 126 organizations. The survey’s 22 questions measured seven factors, three of which addressed how they feel about their day-to-day job.

Participating PITT OHIO employees noted: “I have the latitude and flexibility to get my job done;” “a very professional, caring organization;” “they are friendly, open-minded, flexible and honest.”

It’s rewarding for PITT OHIO to be held in high esteem by its workforce, said Executive Vice President Geoff Muessig. “Excellent customer service is a prerequisite for success in our business and high employee morale is a prerequisite for excellent customer service.”

The Strip District-based trucking company was founded in 1979, specializing in hauling less than full truckloads of goods across the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. It has since expanded to handling supply chain needs of other businesses and delivering packages across North America, employing 567 people across the Pittsburgh region.

PITT OHIO has several immediate openings for commercial truck drivers – the most in-demand job in the Pittsburgh region – as well as for mechanics and dockworkers. It is also seeking business system analysts and other office-based jobs, and offers internships with hands-on experience in a range of jobs across the company. Its postings listings tout competitive wages and 100 percent employer-paid medical insurance.

Overall in the Pittsburgh region, employees surveyed indicated that organization health was the most important issue for them. Pay and benefits were lowest among the seven factors. WorkplaceDynamics’ website called that unsurprising: “Time and time again, [our] research has shown paying more money does not make a bad workplace better.

“What really motivates employees is feeling they are part of a company that is going places. This means an organization that sets a clear direction for its future and how it conducts itself; executes well and has a culture of high performance; and creates a strong connection between employees and the company by showing appreciation and by bringing meaning to work.”

You can learn more about WorkplaceDynamics methodology and findings here, and read the Pittsburgh-related results here.

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

Congratulations to Maggie’s Farm Rum Distillery in the Strip District for making the Nov. 15 issue of Wine Spectator. It is one of six artisanal distilleries recognized as “among the most distinctive and exciting producers” among the 750+ small distillers operating in the United States today.

TimRussellMaggiesFarmRotatorMaggie’s Farm (also known as Allegheny Distilling) is Pennsylvania’s first producer of a commercially-available craft rum dating back to Prohibition. All products are distilled from scratch on the Spanish-made copper still just behind its cocktail bar on Smallman and 31st Street. Maggie’s Farm aims for smooth yet full-bodied spirit.

“Founder Tim Russell’s approach to distillation is: by hand, by ear, by nose, by palate, on that simple still,” the article notes. “Russell says, ‘That’s part of what “craft” is. Rather than pressing buttons and looking at what an LCD screen tells me, I know what the temperature is. I know what the proof is. I know how the distillate tastes. That’s how I learned to distill.’ ”

Check out the Nov. 15 issue on newsstands now, or stop by Maggie’s Farm in person to taste the rum during its limited cocktail hours on Friday or Saturdays. Bottle sales are Wednesdays through Sundays.

 

little nav imageAre you new to Pittsburgh? Are you new to the United States? Are you looking for ways to succeed in the region as an immigrant or refugee? Are you trying to understand the new system and lifestyle? If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider attending the free, first-ever Navigating Pittsburgh Summit on from 9 a.m .to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8 at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District.

Those who have recently moved to the area, especially refugees and immigrants from medium to low-income, are invited to register and attend this event in order to acclimate themselves to their new home. In order to accommodate the language needs of refugees and immigrants, workshops will be interpreted into Nepali, Portuguese, and Spanish. Attendees are asked to pre-register on the Navigating Pittsburgh website. Transportation shuttles will be available from several neighborhoods. Free refreshments and child care will also be offered.

The day-long event will feature workshops on several topics focused on five main pillars: civic knowledge, education, financial capability, health and wellness, and community engagement. Local professionals from both the public and private sectors will present on the areas of their expertise and answer questions. Attendees will also be able to speak directly to representatives from several local resources, such as the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Consumer Health Coalition and agencies participating in the Immigrant Service and Connections (ISAC) program. “This event was created with the needs of immigrants and newcomers in mind. It also demonstrates the commitment of organizations and affinity groups in the region, to welcome immigrants and help them succeed,” said Jesabel Rivera-Guerra, chair of Navigating Pittsburgh.

After identifying the need for newcomers across the board, a collaborative, centralized event for new arrivals to the area to connect to a wide array of needs was born. Navigating Pittsburgh was created by board members of Casa San Jose, a social service agency that works with Latino immigrants. “Navigating Pittsburgh is a concrete expression of welcoming those who are new to our region and providing them with tools to promote their integration and self-sufficiency,” said Sister Janice Vanderneck, executive director of Casa San José. Donations will benefit the work of Casa San Jose.

This event at the Heinz History Center will be a unique opportunity to discover Pittsburgh while you connect with key people that will help you transform from a newcomer to a successful contributor to the community, and to achieve your goals – whatever they may be. Learn more at NavigatingPgh.com.

Thanks to our valued sponsors and collaborators, including: 

Vibrant Pittsburgh / Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh / Casa San José / Latin American Cultural Union / 

Highmark BCBS / Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project / PPG Paints

NEXTpittsburgh

Powered by Laurie Bailey for NEXTPittsburgh.

Pittsburgh innovation studio Deeplocal created a new twist to the balloons and birthdays theme. Call it an inflated sense of selfie.

Combining the pop culture selfie craze and a birthday party staple, the Selfiebration Machine was designed and constructed by Deeplocal for Old Navy to honor the retailer’s 20th birthday. In October it made stops in New York City’s Times Square and near Los Angeles’ TCL Chinese Theater for eight hours at each location.

Selfies, sent by well-wishers via Twitter and captured by Deeplocal-designed software, were transformed into digitized photos made up of nearly 1,000 customized latex balloons on a 15-by-15-foot structure.

The balloons, divided among 16 identical “balloon boxes,” inflated simultaneously with each capture, thanks to almost five miles of wiring and a pneumatic valving system built by Deeplocal engineers, explains CEO Nathan Martin.

The device is capable of showing two images a minute.

“Fun is intrinsic to Old Navy’s DNA, and the smiles from the wonder and amazement were so rewarding. That said, the reaction in social really blew us away,” says Taylor Bux, director of digital/social for Old Navy.

Displaying about 2,000 images, last week’s participation far exceeded Deeplocal’s goals, says Martin.

“We generated 640 million impressions on Twitter alone; #selfiebration was used over 17 thousand times,” says Bux.

Concept through creation to going live took just eight weeks.

A mix of about 20 artists and engineers, Deeplocal began in 2006 when Martin, then a research fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, led mapping software research work. Since then Deeplocal has crafted concepts and the technology to produce national campaigns for the likes of Nike, Gap, Toyota and others.

“We come up with the ideas to generate news coverage and attention without the client paying for it to help promote the brand for the company,” says Martin.

And most projects, he says, are typically done for less than the cost of a television commercial.

A 2013 campaign for Google grabbed the attention of the Today Show, ESPN and more when the company designed a telepathic robotic pitcher with a vision system. The project allowed Nick LaGrande, a 13-year-old whose rare blood disease prevented him from being in crowds, to virtually pitch a ball through Google’s Fiber network from a studio in Kansas City to an Oakland A’s home game in California.