Phil Cynar

Exhibit at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Exhibit at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Pittsburgh is a town built, to a large degree, on historical philanthropy when considering public assets around arts and culture. Many are the museums here – from the Heinz History Center and the Children’s Museum to the National Aviary and the Carnegie Museums, and more. When out-of-town guests come a-visiting or just for your own rainy day getaway, Pittsburgh museums are sure to please. The underwriting of these and other arts and culture assets by well-to-do Pittsburghers has proven to be good investments of their “green.” But today – as these facilities embrace the latest sustainable operations and practices to lessen their impact on the environment and reduce energy consumption – their value is multifaceted. And often, the innovation, parts and materials that are making such sustainability achievable are homegrown – coming out of the Pittsburgh region’s universities, entrepreneurial startups and companies firmly established in the sustainability space within the region’s broader energy sector.

Pittsburgh’s green museums and similar places of interest are highlighted in Part II of a series on these structures – old and very new – in Green News Update. Part I is available here. For a deeper dive on a dozen nifty green practices underway at our region’s museums, check out this sidebar.

If you already know Pittsburgh as the new “Emerald City” you’ll be even more impressed. If not, and you hail from elsewhere, you might find yourself green with envy to discover that Pittsburgh is where all this – and more – is happening.

Author’s Note:  Green News Update Editor Bobbie Faul-Zeitler writes from personal experience with Pittsburgh’s green assets. She participated in a May 2012 “green Pittsburgh” media study tour organized by the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and VisitPittsburgh, in cooperation with a number of the region’s green champions.

Joshua Devine

Pittsburgh Impact, a business growth initiative of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) helping to connect high growth companies with resources and opportunities and championing their success regionally, recognizes three Pittsburgh Impact companies for receiving nominations for the inaugural Governor’s ImPAct Awards. They are AEC Group, Inc. (McKeesport), Precision Defense Services, Inc. (Irwin) and Environmental Service Laboratories, Inc. (Indiana).  Award winners from among the nominees were announced at a May 23, 2013 ceremony in Harrisburg, Pa.

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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.

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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.

Phil Cynar

A feature article, “Manufacturing in Armstrong County on Upswing,” published in the April 16 edition of the Leader Times, takes a closer look at the economic development deals or “wins” of 2012 as recently announced by the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) . The PRA is the 10-county Pittsburgh region’s economic development marketing organization and an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. On April 2, the organization presented its annual economic development scorecard for the previous year to the media and regional leaders and business executives. Scorecard marks were high.

10county3DThe scorecard for activity – investments by businesses in new facilities or expansions of existing ones, along with job creation and retention – showed that the region, including Armstrong County, benefited from a diverse economy that’s held up by five key industry sectors. Economic development activity was steady and stable in the county and region, not only in 2012, but during the past five years, including the recession. The region’s diverse economy was a key factor in helping the region weather the recession so well and to be recognized as one of only three U.S. metros to be “fully recovered” from recession by the D.C.-based Brookings Institution.

Manufacturing – one of the region’s key sectors – was a top performer, as far as deals or “wins” were concerned in 2012, around the region. Manufacturing positively impacted Armstrong County last year.

Read the complete Leader Times article to learn about county-based manufacturing wins such as Flir Systems, Inc., Belle Flex Technologies and Sloan Brothers Lubrication Systems. All are growing in the region, including adding jobs. Michael Coonley, Armstrong County Department of Economic Development Council director – and others – describe how and why.

Jim Futrell
Jim Judkis/Courtesy Washington Post The 1978 photo of Fred Rogers and an  unnamed boy at Pittsburgh's Children's Institute
Jim Judkis/Courtesy Washington Post
Fred Rogers and an unnamed boy at Pittsburgh’s Children’s Institute, 1978

In honor of what would have been the 85th birthday of Fred Rogers — that quintessential Pittsburgher, educator, songwriter, author and creator and host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood – we revisit a previously published post by Jim Futrell, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance’s vice president of market research. A sometimes-gruff repository of facts and figures about the 10-county region, Futrell slowed down and waxed philosophical about growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico with ImaginePittsburghNow’s Phil Cynar.

Mr. Rogers was one of my favorite shows. My mom used to joke that I would never miss the two Freds: Rogers and Flintstone.

Why did I like the show so much?  I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that Fred Rogers was an adult talking to me at my level. He always came across to me as a man who respected his audience and who wanted to share cool things about the world. He also had a lot of pretty amazing things in his ‘house’ – Trolley, the stop light, Picture-Picture and the miniatures of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. I loved the model of the neighborhood at the beginning and end of the show and could not wait until Mr. Rogers changed his jacket and shoes so we could get on with the show.

There are snippets about the Neighborhood of Make-Believe that I’ll never forget:  King Friday XIII’s marriage (he loved Queen Sara Saturday’s cupped custard), the birth of Prince Tuesday, X the Owl changing the supports on his door so they made an ‘X’ rather than a ‘Z,’ the Platypus family moving into the neighborhood, Daniel the Stripèd Tiger getting a wristwatch because ‘when you live in a clock you really should know what time it is,’ and Donkey Hodie who lived in the windmill in Someplace Else.  Of course, Lady Elaine Fairchilde, the cranky, outspoken curator of Museum-Go-Round, was certainly unforgettable.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Rogers! Thanks for being our neighbor — and helping to put Pittsburgh on everyone’s map.

Phil Cynar

Ness Technologies – a global provider of IT solutions and services and end-to-end, commercial-grade software development solutions opened its first U.S. development center in Southpointe, Washington County. The Pittsburgh Development Center (PDC) is part of Ness’ plan to build a strong onshore presence, in addition to multiple offshore and nearshore development centers in India, Eastern Europe, Singapore and Israel, where Ness is headquartered in Tel Aviv.

Up to 200 software engineers – a mix of junior- and senior-level positions – will round out employment at the new PDC when it’s fully staffed. These IT professionals will provide expertise in areas such as mobility and business analytics, as well as full spectrum software engineering services to Ness’ clients, which include notables such as Standard & Poor’s, Google, eBay and PayPal – in addition to many others.  PDC staff serves as an extension of the client team and enable fast, measurable and sustained value creation.

“Today’s business environment demands speed-to-market with the highest quality, and our clients are responding by looking for more personal and responsive service options, including domestic outsourcing services that enable seamless collaboration, more frequent face-to-face visits and more effective development teams,” said Ness President of Software Engineering Services Joe Lagioia.

Teaneck, N.J.-based Ness set its sights on the Pittsburgh region for number of reasons including a strategic location in close proximity to corporate clients and a competitive cost to do business. But one of the key reasons was the access to a highly educated talent pool that’s constantly renewed as the region’s colleges and universities produce IT grads, at this time, in excess of 1,900 annually. It’s a number that’s on the uptick. For Ness, deep relationships with universities are critical to tapping into junior level talent that can be quickly trained.

Ness officials say that the PDC will provide a unique environment for software engineers who will work across different clients and industries – all without having to change jobs. Typically, these types of opportunities are most frequently available in cities such as San Jose, Boston, New York and Austin. As Ness’ Marketing Director Gretchen Rice notes, “For many talented and smart people who don’t live in these key cities – or don’t want to – Ness  can provide a compelling combination of challenging work and job security at a place such as the Pittsburgh PDC.”

Read more here .