The first six months of the Pittsburgh Impact initiative provided some important insights as we engaged, personally and collectively, with companies that are growing. We learned from these businesses and the network of organizations that support their growth that we should tackle three areas of activity: communicate with businesses to exchange information; connect companies with the business opportunities, resources, and talent they need to continue to grow; and champion their success through a variety of communication channels. We’ve successfully implemented that strategy, and we’re always looking for new opportunities to improve.

IMAG0114
Albert Ciuksza, director, Pittsburgh Impact Initiative

With that focus, we’re excited to announce the introduction of Pittsburgh Impact Radio on KQV AM 1410, broadcast this Sunday (and every first Sunday of the month) at 8:30 – 9:00 a.m., with a replay on the following Monday at 7:30 p.m. and always available via podcast on iTunes.

Why radio?

We think that radio will give people in the region the opportunity to hear the stories of those organizations that help enable business growth in the region, as well as the companies that are creating jobs and driving our economy. We believe we can use this medium to help other business owners learn more about the more than 150 different organizations and programs that exist solely to support their growth. Finally, we believe that this show, and its easy-to-share audio, will help to broadcast the message of the great things happening in our region’s business community.

So, please join us this Sunday morning and first Sunday mornings thereafter (or on your MP3 player or iPhone anytime) as we explore the many opportunities for small business and economic development in Pittsburgh. To kick things off, we’ll be speaking with De Peart, president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance  – an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.  Hear about the services his organization provides and the successes it’s had recently with marketing the region for business investment.  One such investment is Reaxis, an expanding chemicals and coatings firm with its headquarters and multiple locations in the region.   Vice President, Technology and Business Development, Leon Perez tells why the company is growing here.

Ben Kamber

Pennsylvania’s Pension Time Bomb

Of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, 66 have at least one local government in financial distress. Some of this can be attributed to municipal pension fragmentation throughout the Commonwealth. Nearly one quarter of all municipal pension plans in the country are located in Pennsylvania – a recipe for high costs and anemic returns. Chad Amond is seeing the effects of this fragmentation first hand as president of the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Coalition for Sustainable Communities – a statewide coalition committed to addressing municipal fiscal distress. He discusses how Pennsylvania found itself in this position and what can be done about it.

Buck Consultants Launches Private Health Care Exchange

As part of the Affordable Care Act, there’s been a lot talk about health care exchanges – both federal and state. But Buck Consultants, a human resource consultant firm owned by Xerox, is delving into the private exchange market by launching an exchange aimed at helping larger companies comply with the health care law. Sherri Bockhorst, principal of health & productivity with Buck Consultants discusses what a private health care exchange is and how companies can benefit from joining one.

Legume Bistro Receives National Recognition

A leader in the transformation of Pittsburgh’s dining scene, Trevett Hooper, co-owner and chef at Pittsburgh’s Legume Bistro, was recently recognized as a James Beard Award semi-finalist – one of the culinary industry’s most prestigious honors. Legume, which started in Regent Square in 2007 before moving to a larger space in Oakland in 2011, is committed to the ideals of locally sourced ingredients and whole animal butchery. Hooper discusses his path to Pittsburgh, which came by way of Ohio, California and Boston, and what has led to Legume’s success.

Our Region’s Business airs Sundays at 11 a.m. on WPXI-TV. Hosted by the Allegheny Conference’s Bill Flanagan, the 30-minute business affairs program is co-produced with Cox Broadcasting. The program is rebroadcast on PCNC-TV at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, and at 3:30 p.m. Mondays. It also airs Sundays on WJAC-TV (Johnstown-Altoona) at 6 a.m. and WTOV-TV (Wheeling-Steubenville) at 6:30 a.m.

Ben Kamber

TechShop Opens Newest Location in East Liberty’s Bakery Square

Billed as a Kinko’s for geeks or a 24-hour fitness center for makers, TechShop has brought its makers paradise to Pittsburgh. Founded in California in 2006, TechShop is a membership-based, do-it-yourself fabrication studio that provides more than $1 million of professional equipment and software to budding entrepreneurs looking to bring their ideas to life. Mark Hatch, TechShop’s CEO is joined by Rich Lunak, president and CEO of Innovation Works and Jeff Thompson, president of the Product Management and Development Association, to discuss TechShop’s offerings and the impact this new location will have on Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurial community.

Business Bout Champion Crowned; Start-Up Incubator Launched

What began several years ago as a backyard gathering to help connect young professionals in Pittsburgh has morphed into a full-scale business plan competition that recently awarded $25,000, its biggest prize to date, to Project Aura – a bike safety lighting company started by two CMU undergrads. The overall effort, which now includes a start-up incubator in East Liberty, is called the Thrill Mill and is the brainchild of College Prowler CEO Luke Skurman and several friends including Bobby Zappala, Thrill Mill’s CEO. Skurman and Zappala are joined by Jonathan Ota and Ethan Frier to discuss what’s next for the Thrill Mill and why Project Aura was chosen as this round’s winner.

Pittsburgh Technology Council Celebrates 30 Years of Helping to Build Region’s Tech Sector

Thirty years ago, civic, business and university leaders came together to form the Pittsburgh High Technology Council – a collaborative organization committed to building Pittsburgh’s technology driven economy. Today, technology and innovation are integral to many of Pittsburgh’s most impactful economic sectors from manufacturing to financial and business services. Audrey Russo, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council sits down to reflect on the organization’s history and successes over the years.

Our Region’s Business airs Sundays at 11 a.m. on WPXI-TV. Hosted by the Allegheny Conference’s Bill Flanagan, the 30-minute business affairs program is co-produced with Cox Broadcasting. The program is rebroadcast on PCNC-TV at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, and at 3:30 p.m. Mondays. It also airs Sundays on WJAC-TV (Johnstown-Altoona) at 6 a.m. and WTOV-TV (Wheeling-Steubenville) at 6:30 a.m.

Ben Kamber

Egyptian Ambassador Visits Pittsburgh

He has only been the Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. for a short time, but Mohamed Tawfik has decided to make Pittsburgh his second U.S. city to visit (the first being New York). While Egyptian politics are still in a state of flux since the Arab Spring, Tawfik discusses the growing opportunities for American companies in Egypt. Tawfik is joined by Devesh Sharma, managing director of Aquatech –  a company that has conducted business in Egypt for many years — to discuss how he wishes to build a bridge between Egypt and Pittsburgh.

Taking the Pulse of German-Owned Businesses in Pittsburgh

Cautious optimism defines the state of German-owned business in our region according to an annual survey conducted by the German American Business Circle. The companies surveyed go well beyond the big names such as Bayer and LANXESS and represent some of the nearly 75 German-owned business that have made investments in our region. Jeffrey Deanne, CEO of Malin Berquist & Co., who helped conduct the survey, is joined by Sam Bennardo, president of Auma Actuators and Tony Pauly, VP and general manager of Ventana USA, to discuss the state of German-owned business in Pittsburgh.

Bayer Extends a Helping Hand to Super Storm Sandy Victims

One of our region’s largest chemical companies, Bayer Corporation, is also one of the region’s most generous corporations when it comes to philanthropic endeavors. This was recently on display when the Bayer U.S.A. Foundation, which oversees corporate philanthropy in North America for the German-owned company, partnered with the American Red Cross to provide aid to those affected by Super Storm Sandy. Sarah Toulouse, executive director of the Bayer U.S.A. Foundation, discusses this as well as other commitments that Bayer has made in the areas of education and workforce development.

Our Region’s Business airs Sundays at 11 a.m. on WPXI-TV. Hosted by the Allegheny Conference’s Bill Flanagan, the 30-minute business affairs program is co-produced with Cox Broadcasting. The program is rebroadcast on PCNC-TV at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, and at 3:30 p.m. Mondays. It also airs Sundays on WJAC-TV (Johnstown-Altoona) at 6 a.m. and WTOV-TV (Wheeling-Steubenville) at 6:30 a.m.

Phil Cynar
Arte’s video web report is divided into five chapters that look at Pittsburgh’s image, heroes, economy, democracy and lifestyle. Click the image above to view them all.

Late in 2012,  a two-man creative team from Arte (Association Relative à la Télévision Européenne) – a Franco-German television network that’s akin to the U.S.’s PBS – spent a week in Pittsburgh, filming interviews and footage of Pittsburgh today, vis a vis the famous black-and-white images of the city captured during the 1950s by the great American photographer W. Eugene Smith. These images are iconic of post-war America and illustrate the evolution in Pittsburgh and its environmental and economic transformation that spans over half a century.

The footage was used to create a short TV documentary that aired in France and Germany, as well as a five-episode web report on the Pittsburgh then and now – probing how this transformation was realized and the work that remains to be done.  Promoting the project on Arte’s website, Producer Vladimir Vasak notes, “Pittsburgh is a city that has undergone total transformation: from a city of steel, industrialized and polluted, it is now green and high-tech … a miracle of which Americans are proud.”

With France and Germany being among the top global destinations for foreign direct investment into the Pittsburgh region, Arte’s program and web report provide reinforcement in those countries about the region’s 21st-century strengths and illustrate why Pittsburgh is a choice destination for business investment, as well as tourism.  As it’s been said, “everything [including investment] begins with a visit.”

For regional residents, the web report is a great reminder of how easy it is to overlook what we have.  Seeing the region through the eyes of our visitors from Arte makes it nearly impossible to not proclaim,  “J’adore Pittsburgh!”

Check out two of the episodes below (“Visit Pittsburgh” and “Pittsburgh’s Renaissance”) and view the complete web report here. It’s divided into five chapters that look at Pittsburgh’s image, heroes, economy, democracy and lifestyle.

Ben Kamber

Our Region’s Business hits the road to northern Allegheny County, the site of our region’s latest asset dedicated to sustainability — Chatham University’s Eden Hall campus. The university recently broke ground on the 388 acre site, which once functioned as a retreat for female employees of the H.J. Heinz Company. When complete, the campus will welcome 1,200 resident students and will have an extremely limited environmental footprint. David Hassenzahl, dean of Chatham’s School of Sustainability and the Environment is joined by Alice Julier, program director of Chatham’s Food Studies Program to discuss the campus and its integration with the broader Chatham mission.

Happy Animals Yield Healthy, Tasty Meat at North Woods Ranch

This is certainly not your grocery store variety of beef and pork. North Wood Ranch’s ultra-organic animal rearing practices are producing some of the healthiest and tastiest meat you can find anywhere. The Marshal Township ranch is the brainchild of Oliver Griswold, a one-time aeronautical engineer who decided to create the ranch after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

Urban Farming Takes Hold in Pittsburgh at Healcrest Urban Farm

Successful farming can no doubt be difficult in any location, but how about in the heart of the city of Pittsburgh? With a background in community development, Maria Graziana set out to answer this question after acquiring nearly two acres of land in the city’s Garfield neighborhood to establish Healcrest Urban Farm. Graziana discusses the idea behind the farm, which sits on the site of several abandoned home lots.

Chatham University Receives Chemical Landmark Designation From The American Chemical Society

On the heals of the 50th anniversary of the publication of “Silent Spring,” Chatham University is being recognized by the American Chemical Society for the work of it’s most recognizable alum in transforming the thinking of the nation’s chemical industry. Patricia DeMarco, director of Chatham’s Rachel Carson Institute discusses Carson’s impact on the chemical industry and the importance of this recognition for the university.

Our Region’s Business airs Sundays at 11 a.m. on WPXI-TV. Hosted by the Allegheny Conference’s Bill Flanagan, the 30-minute business affairs program is co-produced with Cox Broadcasting. The program is rebroadcast on PCNC-TV at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, and at 3:30 p.m. Mondays. It also airs Sundays on WJAC-TV (Johnstown-Altoona) at 6 a.m. and WTOV-TV (Wheeling-Steubenville) at 6:30 a.m.