| Follow Us:
Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen.
Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen. | Show Photo

Downtown & The Cultural District : Pittsburgh Innovates

329 Downtown & The Cultural District Articles | Page: | Show All

Pittsburgh celebrates National Robotics Week

April 5-13 marks the fifth annual National Robotics Week, which celebrates the United States as a leader in robotics technology development and educates the public about how robotics technology impacts society. With Pittsburgh playing a major role in robotics innovation, it’s no surprise that there are lots of robotics events taking place throughout the city this week.

Robo Day in Pittsburgh
On April 9, AlphaLab Gear will host a robotics week event in its East Liberty facility that will feature speakers from 4moms, MYRIA RAS, and Girls of Steel FIRST Team, and demos by two start-ups in the accelerators current class, IdentifIED and Rapid TPC.

Dick Zhang,  cofounder and CEO of IdentifIED, says, “Industrial businesses, in oil and gas, agriculture, mining, or safety, all require massive amounts of data to increase their outputs, decrease their inputs and operate safely. Unfortunately they don't have access to this information because aerial sensing is extremely expensive, time-consuming and requires a lot of special equipment. We are an aerial data and sensing company focused on delivering this information through small unmanned aerial vehicles.” 

The IdentfIED demo will feature a small quadrotor, a multirotor helicopter that is lifted and propelled by four rotors, that will fly around the office among attendees and a video reel highlighting the company’s vehicles in action.

International Space Apps Challenge
The International Space Apps Challenge, led by NASA, government collaborators and more than 100 organizations around the world, is a two-day hackathon that embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing relevant open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and in space. The Pittsburgh event will take place at the TechShop in Bakery Square on April 12-13.

“The International Space Apps Challenge lets people in Pittsburgh collaborate with others around the globe using NASA open source data to build and program robotic solutions to global problems,” says Richard Behana, executive director at Space Challenges, Inc., the host of the Pittsburgh Space Apps Challenge. “Challenges range from creating a robot with salvaged parts controlled from your smartphone to creating a simplified kid friendly rover using a single-board microcontroller known as an Arduino.”

Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University Celebrates National Robotics Week
The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University will celebrate National Robotics Week on April 10 with the Teruko Yata Memorial Lecture with special guest speaker Marc Raibert, chief technical officer & director of Boston Dynamics followed by a satellite screening and performance of the Robot Film Festival. The celebration will continue on April 11 with project demonstrations, lab tours, and the annual Mobot (mobile robot) races. (RSVP required to attend.)

The Secret Life of Robots
Artist Toby Atticus features a dozen scenes of robots in everyday scenarios in The Secret Life of Robots exhibition. Robots are constructed from vintage thermoses, picnic coolers, and various found objects, and some include animatronic elements that control eyes and accent lights. Peaking into the sometimes mundane daily activities of a typical robot through various stages of their lifespan reveals a glimpse of our lives through the looking-glass. The free and public Pittsburgh Cultural Trust exhibition is on display through April 27 at SPACE art gallery, located at 812 Liberty Avenue. See website for gallery hours.

Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie
Sources: nationalroboticsweek.org, AlphaLab, Dick Zhang, spaceappschallenge.org, and Richard Behana

Pittsburgh marketing news roundup--acquisitions, mergers and expansions

And now the news on Pittsburgh marketing companies. First up, Campos Inc.
 
A.J. Drexler, former president and lead strategist at Big Picture Communications, has assumed ownership and management of Campos Inc., a firm founded and run by Yvonne Campos for more than 28 years.
 
The Campos name will remain. Drexler, a champion of well-executed market research, says Campos will continue to move in the direction of marketing strategy, research and data analytics. In addition, Drexler acquired Direct Feedback, a former competitor with offices in Station Square, and has integrated the firm into Campos. Direct Feedback specialized in qualitative research and focus group work.
 
Since the acquisition, Campos has hired four people, three from Direct Feedback and a new marketing strategist. Drexler’s message to the rest of the agency community? Campos is not in the business to compete with other agencies.
 
“We will do the strategy work up to a creative brief, but will go no further,” she says. “We are all about marketing planning and strategy all the time.
 
Campos will remain at the firm for another three years. “Our goal has always been to find the story, ask what’s the impact,” she says. “It’s not data for data’s sake but how we can use it to make better decisions.”
 
Portfolio Creative, a creative staffing and recruitment firm based in Columbus, Ohio, has opened an office in East Liberty. The firm specializes in recruiting creative talent for marketing firms, both full-time and freelance work for long and short term projects.
 
Not to be confused as an advertising or design firm, Portfolio Creative instead focuses on locating strong talent in the areas of marketing, creative advertising and graphic design, says Kristen Harris, COO and co-founder.
 
“Pittsburgh has a huge creative community,” she says. “We looked at a lot of cities and saw so much activity here. No one here is doing what we do, helping creative people to find one another.”
 
Founded in 2005, Portfolio Creative has been an Inc. 500|5000 fastest growing firm for the past four years. The office is located at 6101 Penn Avenue and is managed by Katie Speers.

Pittsburgh-based advertising agency Garrison Hughes moved this month into new 7,200 square foot offices the week that will double the firm’s original footprint. The new digs are on the second floor of the First & Market Building in downtown Pittsburgh. Employment has grown to 23.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Campos + Portfolio Creative

PodCamp Pittsburgh, the social media survival fest, returns Oct. 5th

“The beauty of PodCamp Pittsburgh is no two years are ever the same,” says Norm Huelsman, the organizer of the region’s favorite social media unconference, which returns on Oct. 5th.
 
PodCamp, like the social media scene, continues to evolve with the times, and this year is no different, he says. While it began as a forum for podcasting, PodCamp has grown into a study of information sharing online and the effects and effectiveness of the messages.
 
“This year we’ll have a variety of sessions designed to give you a local source of creative inspiration,” says Huelsman. “It covers all the social media bases. How do you stay creative, innovative and inspired while creating content.”
 
PodCamp Pittsburgh 8 will be rolled into one day this year, making for a schedule packed with great seminars on Saturday, he adds. No one person will headline. Instead, many small business owners and in-house professionals will present the latest tools and techniques.
 
“By whittling it down, we think people will get more out of it,” says Huelsman.

Small Business Toolkit will cover some of the best tools available to promote businesses. Some of the other seminars include Visualizing Twitter in Real Time, Topography in Web Design, Storytelling and Blog to Book.

“We’re trying to tell good Pittsburgh stories of the people who are doing it and doing it well,” he says.

PodCamp Pittsburgh 8 is free, but registration is required. A VIP pass for $25 gets you a tee and swag bag.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Norm Huelsman, PodCamp Pittsburgh 8

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? Google Pittsburgh announces major expansion and more

Each week Pop City reports on hiring and job news in the region.
 
Google Pittsburgh is expanding again and will hire between 100 to 200 people in the coming year. Google Inc. announced this week it is leasing another 50,000 square feet of office space in Bakery Square and will begin aggressively hiring for 75 open positions, many in the shopping and commerce division.
 
Google Pittsburgh has grown rapidly since establishing a presence in Pittsburgh, having hired 50 people in the last year alone. Positions include software engineers as well support staff.

Across the way, a new restaurant called Social will be holding open interviews on Thursday, June 13th, from 12-8 pm for all positions: waitstaff, cooks, hosts, managers. Social is located at 6425 Penn Avenue.

ThoughtForm, a communication design consultancy working at the crossroads of business strategy and creative thinking, is currently recruiting people for six permanent positions and one contract position. The positions include designers, developers, writers, an image specialist and project manager.

The Congress of Neighboring Communities, better known as CONNECT, is hiring an outreach and program coordinator. CONNECT, part of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, works to bring the region’s urban municipalities together to enhance and deliver important public services.
 
MARC USA is hiring an advertising account executive and looking for a PR/social media apprentice. The ad exec/ new business development specialist will focus on many aspects of the agencies new business program.  The PR/social media apprentice is a paid position for a college grad in advertising, marketing business or a related degree.

Pop City is looking for a part-time person to size and load photos in Pop City's content management system every week. Deadline day is every Tuesday so availability is important on Mondays and early Tuesdays. Position requires approximately 7 hours every week. Previous online experience with photos is very helpful. Photoshop skills are a necessity.  Must have photo software.  For more info email info@popcitymedia.com

Quantum Theatre is looking for a part-time consultant to raise brand awareness and deliver traffic to the theatre’s website, social media destinations, live productions, and special events. 
 
KDKA-TV is looking for a commercial videographer with skills as a sound mixer and lighting director, able to support all studio and set productions in preparation for productions.
 
Think Through Learning is hiring a senior editor, K-2. The position is responsible for the production of web-based mathematics and instructional materials for elementary-aged students.
 
A.C. Coy Company in Pittsburgh is hiring a technical writer for its technical writing department to work on a complete overhaul of their documentation and must have experience with Doc-to-help and authoring tools.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is opening a customer service center in Greentree that will create 150 jobs. The servicing operation offers services and counseling to student loan borrowers. Many of the positions are related to loan counseling and human resources. A recruitment event will be held on June 25. 

Still looking for the perfect job? The Allegheny Conference this week unveiled a re-imagined Imagine Pittsburgh website, a gateway to more than 30,000 jobs in the region. New features take the site beyond that of a mere job board, including  stories about the people who work and live in our region.
 
Have hiring news? Email Pop City. Sign up for Pop City on our homepage and receive hiring news each week.
 
Writer: Deb Smit

Evive Station takes on the single-use bottling business with kiosks across the region

Single-use water bottles might be most wasteful invention of all time. At last, they are getting their due.
 
South Side-based startup Evive Station is waging a campaign against waste with a network of kiosks that not only encourage the recycling of water bottles, but take a customized marketing approach to refilling them.
 
With design help from Pittsburgh-based Daedalus, the startup developed one of the world’s first on-site bottle cleaning and filtered water dispensing services. Unlike other approaches, Evive sells a BPA-free water bottle for $10, entitling the user to free cleaning and water refill for the life of bottle.
 
And the whole process takes less than one minute, says Tom Petrini, Evive founder.
 
The first Evive Stations appeared on the campus of West Virginia University last April. The kiosks have since expanded to Pittsburgh locations, including American Eagle and the campus of CMU. Evive plans to locate kiosks on Pitt's campus this fall.
 
Americans buy 50 million single use water bottles each year; 40 million wind up unrecycled in a landfill, notes Petrini. “It’s really less about the water bottle and more about the reusability and convenience of the reusable bottle.”
 
Evive is taking the idea one novel step further. Each bottle has an embedded RFID tag in it, similar to an EZ Pass, which enables the station to identify each customer. This customized approach means Evive can tailor the content on the screen for each customer and increase profitability.
 
So while you are waiting for your bottle to sanitize and refill with UV-treated municipal water, users may view benefits and deals that might appeal to them, such as a special offer on a kayaking trip.
 
"We are really blown away by the response we’re getting to this," says Lacy Caric, business developer for Evive. “People enjoy interacting at the station and learning about local businesses. The user experience has been very positive.”
 
Evive Station currently employs 11 and plans to expand in the coming year to multiple locations across the state, including hospitals, resorts, fitness centers, says Petrini.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
SourceL Tom Petrini, Evive Station

Busking is back and taking it to the T Stations with a year-round schedule of performances

Busking is back in a big way. The centuries-old practice of street troubadours who perform for not much more than the joy of playing (and tips) will assume a year-round schedule in Pittsburgh beginning this weekend. 
 
Unlike most busking, which tends to be spontaneous, BuskPGH is an organized undertaking of the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corp. (PDCDC).
 
“When we were discussing BuskPGH, we looked to the city of New York,” says John Valentine, executive director and a native of the Big Apple. “You see all these great minstrels playing music. It adds a tremendous flavor and atmosphere to the city. We figured if we brought this here it will add to the whole personality to our downtown.”
 
The program kicks off this weekend alongside the festivities surrounding the reopening of Point State Park. Performances will continue through the winter months.
 
The whole idea is to expand the public’s awareness of the city’s diverse cultural identity. Buskers will initially play at the four indoor T-stations: Gateway, Wood Street, Steel Plaza and the Northside, with more venues to follow, Valentine says.  
 
“Our main goal is to make downtown an art centric community, “ says Ryan Firkel, a busker and program organizer.
 
Program funding from The Sprout Fund and PDCDC will cover insurance and website costs. The performers will generate revenues from the tips they receive, estimated to be between $50-$100 for a one to two hour stint.  
 
Some may recall another organization, Busk Pittsburgh, funded by Ground Zero Action Network and the Sprout Fund, which actively supported busking in the past, Firkel says. BuskPGH is absorbing the former group, along with its list of more than 200 musicians, poets and jugglers.
 
Each T Station will host different types of performances, depending on the space and the crowd. Gateway, for example, might be the best place for jugglers and visual art, says Valentine.
 
 “We want to encourage more year-round public performance in Pittsburgh. For many (performers), its an opportunity to get out and play to an audience.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: John Valentine, Ryan Firkel, PDCDC

The 2013 Data Award winners included a few surprises and a surreal atmosphere

The Pittsburgh Technology Council’s 5th Annual Design, Art and Technology (DATA) Awards celebrated, as it does each year, the intersection of art and technology design with a lineup of the region’s most creative startups.
 
This year's event gave off a surreal glow, although maybe it was the fog machine and the light filtering through the stained glass windows into The Priory’s Grand Hall on the Northside.
 
“It’s a great event for showcasing innovations with an art twist and sharing it with a wider audience,” said Paul Fireman of Fireman Creative whose firm took away a DATA in the Media Arts category.

“There were a lot of companies this year that I hadn’t heard of and that's a good thing because it means the group of participating companies is growing.” 
 
New this year was an interactive element that allowed the public to vote and determine the winners, along with a jury of experts.
 
The public voting was an important piece, said Audrey Russo, president of PTC, giving the artistic and creative communities a voice in the process.
 
“We are continually pleased with the breadth and number of individuals, and organizations, that actively participated,” said Russo. "I believe this space serves as the preamble to an imminent, seismic change in skill development and education.  Plus, we always have a ton of fun supporting those who build and execute big ideas.” 

The 2013 winners were:
 
i-CON: Apps & Information Architecture Award – Highmark + United Concordia: Chomper Chums

Next Generation: Kids & Creative Technology Award – The Center for Creativity: TransformED

Maker: Design & Art Award – Teletrix: Radiation Training Simulators

Media Arts: Interactive + Multimedia Award – Fireman Creative: Ricky’s Dream Trip
 
Joystick: Gaming Award – Schell Games + Yale University: PlayForward

Student Award – Carnegie Mellon University: Floria

People’s Choice Award – WQED Multimedia + SLB Radio Productions: iQ Kids Radio

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: PTC

Pittsburgh in the running as an American LED streetlamp city and manufacturing center

Pittsburgh is one of three cities in the running to become a model LED streetlamp city and North American headquarters for a state-of-the-art lighting company from Slovenia. 
 
Grah Lighting of Slovenia, which has bathed quaint towns in the Baltics in an energy-efficient white light, met with officials in Pittsburgh this month. The company also makes LED lighting for high-end cars like Mercedes, Audi and BMW.
 
“They’re looking for a city or state willing to put together a massive pilot project,” says Councilman Bill Peduto, one of four contenders in the city’s mayoral race. “In return, they would create a North American headquarters and manufacturing center here.”
 
Among those who met with the company and the General Consul of Slovenia were Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, officials representing Gov. Tom Corbett, RIDC and Peduto.
 
To win the company’s favor, Pittsburgh must gain grant funding, with state and federal assistance, for the estimated $20 million cost. Competitive  bidding would follow. Also in the running are Cleveland and Denver.
 
The beauty of the project is that the cost of the lighting would offset over time by the savings in energy and maintenance costs, says Peduto.
 
Grah was attracted to Pittsburgh, in part, by The Pittsburgh Climate Plan, a strategy created in 2005 by Peduto and the Green Building Assoc. to reduce energy consumption in the city through improved technology. The plan calls for replacing 32,000 street lamps with LED lighting for a energy savings of 70%.
 
Grah Lighting is so efficient, it exceeds the city’s new lighting code for energy efficiency, says Peduto who believes the 178-acre former LTV Steel Co. site in Hazelwood, owned by Almono, LP, would suit the manufacturing operation.
 
“It’s a double win for green,” Peduto adds. “It’s environmentally sound and could make Pittsburgh a model of a 21st century urban city.”
 
The chance Pittsburgh will land the deal is a “tangible reality,” he adds.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Bill Peduto, City of Pittsburgh
 
 

Pittsburgh artists draw inspiration from agriculture, selling shares of locally grown art

For years, community supported agriculture has brought a bounty of locally grown produce to our doorsteps, or at least someplace nearby.
 
We can now buy art in the same buy local spirit. Two community-supported arts programs are underway in Pittsburgh that offer patrons an opportunity to purchase local shares of art, CSA PGH and the New Hazlett Theatre CSA.
 
While both groups are using the community-supported model, they've taken different approaches. CSA PGH is selling shares of visual works of art. The New Hazlett is a performing arts series that offers subscriptions to six performances by local artists.
 
The inspiration for local artists outreach was conceived by Springboard for the Arts in Minneapolis in 2011; the concept has since been promoted by them through a toolkit offered to organizations for a small fee, explains Kilolo Luckett of CSA PGH. 
 
CSA PGH is offering a package of six Pittsburgh artists sold through 50 member shares, which go on sale this month. The inaugural group of artists is wide ranging: a conceptual artist, visual artists, a sculptor and multi-disciplinary artists.
 
The shares, $350 each, go on sale Tuesday, April 30 at 10 a.m.
 
“The idea is to support local artists and the local creative economy,” says Luckett. “It’s gone swimmingly well in other cities.”
 
By contrast, the The New Hazlett Theatre CSA offers shares for a series of six performances, which run every other month starting on Saturday, August 10th. The subscription share is $100 for an opportunity to not only enjoy but support and meet local artists.
 
“It’s just like buying a farm share,” says Rene Conrad, executive director. “Some weeks you might not know what’s coming to the table and that’s okay. We want to expose you to the wide variety of artists here locally.”
 
Both CSA programs will offer previews of the art and artists during the Gallery Crawl downtown, 937 Liberty Ave. on the second floor. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Kilolo Luckett and Rene Conrad

How is the Pittsburgh Tech Sector doing? A new report tells all at the 3 Rivers Venture Fair

The 3 Rivers Venture Fair kicks off at PNC Park this week, bringing investors together with emerging new companies in the region.
 
New this year is a comprehensive report of trends and highlights in Pittsburgh during the last five years, 2008-2012. 
“Optimizing Opportunities, Investment in Pittsburgh’s technology sector” is sure to spark the interest of any stakeholder considering an investment in the region, says Rich Lunak, CEO of Innovation Works, the largest seed-stage investor in the region.
 
The report provides fresh content and insights on investment trends in the region’s growing technology sector. The data is culled from both IW and Venture Source and Ernst & Young compiled and validated the figures. It will become a staple offering at the 3RVF beginning this year.
 
Among the most noteworthy highlights was the total scale of the regional impact and the value of the exit transactions, says Lunak.
 
In the last five years, 217 technology companies attracted more than $1.3 billion in investment from venture capital firms, angel investors, strategic investors, accelerators, seed funds and other sources.
 
At the same time, Pittsburgh saw 28 companies make successful exits for a value of $2 billion, remarkable numbers considering the country was in a recession, he adds.  
 
Many of those exits involved deals estimated at more than $95 million, including the acquisitions of Vocollect ($190), M*Modal ($130) and Carnegie Learning ($97 million).
 
“It was also nice to see that Pittsburgh bucked the national trend that saw number of total deals and dollars go down,” Lunak adds. “Pittsburgh deals were up significantly.”
 
“The sheer number of firms making investments was eye opening to me,” adds Lynette Horrell, managing partner, Ernest & Young. “Our firm is focused on trends; looking at this data in a comprehensive manner is very beneficial to us.”
 
The report also identified several challenges. Indigenous venture capital funding decreased steadily from 2006 to 2011, meaning entrepreneurs have had to work harder to raise capital here, Lunak says.
 
Several new funds have been launched, the largest being a $40 million fund in 2012, which has helped to reverse this trend.
 
Lunak and Horrell will introduce the report at the 3 Rivers Venture Capital Fair at 2 p.m. this Thursday, April 11th.
 
Among the other takeaways:
 
Despite a slowing on a national level of both the number of investment deals and amount of funding, the Pittsburgh region saw a 54% increase in the number of fundraising rounds. The overall amount of funding, however, increased only slightly from 2011.
 
In 2012, there were 190 deals in the region totaling $329.1 million in funding. In 2011, there were 123 deals totaling $326.9 million in funding.
 
Software companies, including consumer and enterprise software, received the largest portion of VC funding in the region in 2012, followed by medical devices, energy technology and health care IT.
 
The diversity of these sectors speaks to the broad base of technical talent in the Pittsburgh region. The breakdown is as follows: enterprise software (24%),  consumer software (22%), medical devices (14%), energy (8%), biotech (7%), healthcare IT (7%) and electronics (5%).
 
Of the funding received by the tech sector during the last five years, three-quarters of the total came from VC firms. The second largest share was provided by angel investors followed by corporate investors and seed funds and accelerators.
 
Nearly two-thirds of all the funding received consisted of smaller rounds featuring angels or seed funds and accelerators as the lead investor.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Rich Lunak, IW; Lynette Horrell, Ernst & Young

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? Bayer Material Science, Phipps, Kelly Strayhorn and more...

Each week Pop City reports on the latest in company hiring news.

Phipps Conservatory in Oakland is hiring for four full-time positions: finance administrative assistant, retail/ guest services management, building maintenance technician and a heavy custodial laborer. In addition, two part-time jobs and two internships are available: event assistant, guest service associate and a studio intern and pest-management intern.

Kelly Strayhorn Theatre is hiring a production assistant, a part-time position (25 hours a week) to assist the production manager in coordinating and executing a number of live events. The theatre provides provocative theatre that attracts local, national and international productions.
 
Expedient Data Centers in Pittsburgh is looking for an application engineer to join Pittsburgh’s team of four developers to work with the latest open-source projects that help companies manage everything from their energy usage to their operating system.
 
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is seeking a foundation & grants coordinator. This full time position involves research and successful funding of foundation and government proposals for both capital and programmatic projects as well as corporate sponsorships for various exhibits and projects throughout the Zoo. 

Monroeville-based Chorus Call, working in the audio and video conferencing space, is hiring a software engineer with relevant IT experience.
 
Bayer Material Science, a leading producer of polymers and high-performance plastics, is hiring a marketing communications manager. A B.S. in a technical or business related field and 7-10 years of experience is required.
 
MarketSpace Communications in Cranberry is hiring a PR & Social Media Intern. The ideal candidate will have 3-5 years of experience and a degree in communications.
 
Attention all those seeking an entry-level job or internship with a computer science or engineering background. Network with area companies at Tech Connect, an informal recruiting event at Pitt’s William Pitt Union in the ballroom on the main floor from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 28th.

In other job related news, a Neighborhood Employment Center has opened to help Northside residents write and polish resumes and find jobs. The center is open 5 days a week, from 12-4:30 p.m. on Mondays and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and offers many free job-seeking services.

Have hiring news? Email Pop City and include a job description and career link.
 
Writer: Deb Smit

Duquesne University researchers studying the proprietary chemicals in fracking fluid

The toxicology of the chemicals contained in fracking fluid—proprietary ingredients used by the industry in the drilling of the Marcellus Shale—is the focus of a study now underway at Duquesne University.
 
Dr. Fred Fochtman, director of forensic science and law in the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, and his research team received $193,000 to conduct a toxicological study of the chemicals.
 
Weatherford US, an international oil and gas service company, awarded the grant. The results will be used as documentation to be shared nationally and internationally, the researchers say.
 
The study will investigate 752 “chemical entities” and provide a detailed analysis of how the chemicals are used, including whether or not the elements are carcinogens.
 
The list was taken from a Congressional committee and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is reviewing the fracking ingredients in an attempt to find ways to minimize the environmental risk. A study of the 14 largest oil and gas service companies from 2005-2010 revealed that 2,500 products were used, made up of some 750 chemicals.
 
The identified chemical elements include toxic and/or cancer-causing elements, some of which are regulated under federal and state regulations, some of which are not, the researchers say.
 
“Even a minute amount can be dangerous depending on what it is and how it is used,” says Fochtman.
 
“We’re primarily interested in finding out what these chemicals are, (determining) what hazard do they pose, what is known about their toxicity and putting them into a volume available to anyone working in this area,” he adds.
 
The researchers say the results will adhere to scientific findings and not become a political tool, even though the study was funded by a gas service company.
 
“It’s a tribute to them that they’ve left us alone completely,” says Paul Carlson, a member of the toxicology team. “They haven’t tried to influence us in any direction. Our marching orders are to call it what it is. If it’s a carcinogen, it’s a carcinogen.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Fred Fochtman and Paul Carlson, Duquesne University

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? Co-eXprise, Mind Over Media, Flashgroup and more

Each week Pop City reports on the latest hiring news in the region.
 
Wexford-based software company Co-eXprise is expanding its team. The company hired 17 in 2012 and currently has three openings for a sales director of the western region, a junior software engineer and a system administrator engineer. The firm provides sourcing software to manufacturers to facilitate their businesses.
 
CMU spinout Flashgroup, founded by two CMU professors, is exploring ways to facilitate a faster-paced social network. The company is hiring three: Python developer for NLP Analytics; a system administrator and a UI/UX designer. Those adept in IT need apply.
 
Mind Over Media, a Pittsburgh marketing strategy firm, is hiring a facilities technician, a key role that will support video and post-production needs. The firm creates multi-channel products for higher education, college athletics and the corporate sector.
 
Little Earth Productions, the South Side company that makes cool purses and recently landed a big contract for the Terrible Towel, is looking for a marketing associate to assist with marketing and the promotion of licensed sports accessories.
 
ShowClix is on the lookout for a director of marketing. The ideal candidate will provide leadership, training and management to the ShowClix marketing team and be able to juggle multiple projects (in the air) simultaneously.
 
The Pittsburgh office of Bombardier is hiring a technical writer/ editor intern to author sections of manuals and smaller documents. The job requires editing and publishing operation and maintenance manuals, illustrated parts catalogs and training documentation as well as assisting in other technical writing duties.

Have hiring news? Email Pop City the details and include the link.
 
Writer: Deb Smit

Looking good Pittsburgh. PittsburghTODAY report highlights the state of the region

PittsburghTODAY released its 2013 Today & Tomorrow report and the news across many sectors is enlightening.
 
With the economic recovery still underway in much of the country, Pittsburgh is the only benchmark region out of 15 that has experienced job growth and housing price appreciation. In addition, the labor force is at an all-time high and young people are returning and staying in the region.
 
Southwestern Pennsylvania continues to be one of the most affordable places for moderate-income families to live. A Brookings Institution study says so too, listing Pittsburgh as one of three cities in the U.S. to have recovered from the deep recession that began in 2007.
 
The region, however, has work to do in several areas, including transportation, the environment and issues pertaining to diversity, particularly in helping African Americans in the region to achieve the same quality of life as whites.
 
Among the highlights:
 
Population: It has been official but bares repeating: the region is attaining and attracting young talent. The region’s population of 20- to 34- year-olds grew by 7% over the last five years and is expected to grow another 8% in 2020. Three decades earlier the region was losing more than 50,000 people than it was attracting, mostly young adults.
 
Jobs: Jobs grew by a non-seasonably adjusted 1.7 percent in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) from November 2007 to November 2012. Certainly not robust, but it was better than any of the Pittsburgh TODAY benchmark regions. Pittsburgh was the only region to post job growth over that period.
 
Tourism: Visitors to Southwestern Pennsylvania pumped $8.1 billion into the local economy in lodging, recreation, retail, food and beverage, transportation and other spending during 2011,the latest year the full data was reported. This is a 9.6% increase over 2010.

Housing: Pittsburgh was the only region in which the 5-year housing prices rose from 2007-2012.
 
Environment: While fine particle pollution is slowly decreasing, and met federal air quality standards for the first time in 2011 since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, smog and sewage spills and the health of our rivers remains an issue.
 
Fracking: Across the region, a survey shows that far more residents are convinced of the economic potential of the Marcellus Shale gas industry than are against drilling for it. More than 70% of those surveyed believe that gas drilling is boosting the local economy.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: PittsburghTODAY

Campos embraces the future of marketing research and trendspotting

Marketing and research companies used to be in the business of holding a magnifying glass to human behavior and reporting on what they see in real time.
 
But the accelerated pace of living calls for more of a crystal ball approach, developing new ways to identify future trends and putting them into a larger context for companies.
 
Pittsburgh-based Campos Inc is taking on this brave new frontier, putting its 26 years of research experience to work by establishing a sourced library of trends to help small and medium-sized companies stay ahead of the curve.  
 
“Large companies have access to this information today, but small to medium-sized companies do not,” explains Yvonne Campos, founder and CEO of downtown-based Campos. “Everything is turning so quickly. It’s not about what research looks like in the future, but where can we add value for clients in a bigger space.”
 
Few companies have the time or resources to hire “trendspotters” or do their own trend analysis. Equipped with the knowledge of these emerging trends and how it applies to them, Campos hopes to help companies determine the most effective strategies.  
 
For example, businesses might consider showing their appreciation to customers who regularly patronize their coffee shop or restaurant by knowing and understanding their expectations before they walk through the door.
 
When a retail store receives a new shipment of a customer’s favorite designer, why not contact them and give them an opportunity to be the first in line?
 
The future of marketing is about “earnable trust” and “presumers,” new terms that are about giving consumers more of what they want. Companies need to earn their customers trust by doing things like locating in and supporting centers of urban activity and involving consumers with products and services before they launch and go mainstream.
 
“The idea is how can you make my life easier,” Campos says. “It’s all about corporate responsibility. Companies should be thinking not how can I sell to you more, but how can I make the consumer’s life easier.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Yvonne Campos, Campos Inc
329 Downtown & The Cultural District Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
0
Email
Print
Signup for Email Alerts