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

Strip District : Pittsburgh Innovates

148 Strip District Articles | Page: | Show All

DeepLocal's telepresent robot offers a thrill of a lifetime to a youngster with a rare blood disease

When 13-year-old Nick LaGrande of Kansas City was diagnosed with a rare blood disease last year, his budding career as an avid baseball player came to an end. 

Nick was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a rare blood disease that lowers the immune system and prevents him from being in large crowds. Up until that moment, baseball was his life. He was born with fire in his eyes and a natural swagger for the game.

“The only time we ever saw him cry is when he learned he could no longer play,” says his mother.

Last Wednesday night, Nick learned that he would get to pitch again in an important Major League Game. In front of thousands of people, he threw the first pitch when the Oakland A’s took the field against the New York Yankees.

The pitch was made possible through Google’s high-speed fiber connection and a telerobotic pitching machine developed by Pittsburgh’s own DeepLocal.

“We created a robotic pitching arm that was controlled not just remotely, but 1800 miles away,” says Lauren Keller, accounts manager for DeepLocal. “It was awesome to see it work and Nick’s reaction to it.”

The idea for Nick’s robotic pitch was driven by Google Fiber in Kansas City. (You might recall the Google Fiber for Communities contest back in 2010, which Pittsburgh entered and lost. Kansas City won and is the headquarters Google's experimental, ultra high-speed broadband network.)

For its part, DeepLocal created the telepathic robotic pitcher, which took the Oakland field on the evening of June 12th. While Nick wound up and threw a pitch in a Kansas City studio, the vision system read his pitch, sent the data on Google’s Fiber network and triggered the robot to pitch to A’s relief pitcher Ryan Cook, all within the blink of an eye.

“It was so cool to give someone such a meaningful connection to a machine,” says Keller who watched the pitch from San Francisco while DeepLocal’s Patrick Miller, lead software engineer, assisted Nick in Kansas City.

The partners in the project were Google, Venables Bell & Partners and the Oakland A’s.  Watch the very moving story.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Lauren Keller, DeepLocal

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

Tech Bytes: startup incubators, data mining, $17 million and more

It was a busy week on the local startup scene. Among the highlights:
 
* Innovation Happens was held at the Alpha Lab office in the South Side, bringing five startups together with business leaders in Pittsburgh. The goal of the program is to introduce local startups to local companies, which is a win-win for the region in helping to build great businesses, says Sean Ammirati, partner, Birchmere Ventures. The companies included: Community Elf, Acrinta, WebKite, Appcertain and Legal Sisters.
 
* Birchmere Ventures plans to make a big announcement later this week regarding the first local startup selected for Birchmere Labs, a seed and studio fund.
 
* More than 200 people attended the grand opening of Hustle Den, the new East Liberty incubator for entrepreneurs. Project Aura claimed the $25,000 prize for Thrill Mill’s first Business Bout, two CMU design students who are working to make the streets safer by illuminating bicycle tires in an array of colors depending on how fast the bike is traveling.
 
* Cohera Medical, the company that is bringing absorbable surgical adhesives and sealants to patients, helping them to heal and recover faster from large flap surgeries, has secured an additional $17 million round through private investors. Cohera will use the funds to expand into the European markets.
 
* Big Data is changing the world.  Learn all about it from a panel of local experts on how they are involved with 'big data' and what changes and opportunities they see emerging at the next MIT Enterprise Forum on Feb. 20th starting at 5:30 p.m. The panel, moderated by Raul Valdes-Perez, founder of Vivisimo, includes Mickey McManus, president and CEO of Maya Design, Saman Haqqi, a leader in the efforts to create the “Big Pittsburgh Data Mill,” John Dick, CEO of CivicScience and Susan Bachman of Management Science Associates.

Writer: Deb Smit

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? Who isn't? 50+ jobs posted this week starting with Deeplocal

Pop City reports on companies hiring in the region each week. This week several very cool companies report the hiring of five or more employees.
 
Deeplocal regaled the entrepreneurial community with an open house at its expansive new digs in the Strip District last Thursday evening. As Nathan Martin, CEO, put it in his remarks to those in attendance, let the hiring begin.
 
The highly creative marketing firm is revving its engines with clients like Disney, Reebok and Nike.  Current openings include account manager, Android and iOS mobile developers, web developer and two interns for mobile development and software engineering.
 
Branding Brand works the mobile commerce space and counts American Eagle, Ralph Lauren and Sehora among its clients. The firm is hiring nine people in a variety of positions: lead software engineer, web application developer, account manager, project manager, iOS developer, director of account management, VP of project management, quality assurance director and a financial analyst.
 
4 moms is the company behind creative robotic technology that is taking the art of parenting to the next level. The Strip District firm has more than doubled each of the last four years and expects to double again this year.
 
The firm is hiring 13 people at the present time, looking for mechanical and software engineers, a user experience designer, network administrator, logistics and quality technicians and product developers.  There’s an internship for an industrial graphic designer too.
 
EDMC, one of the largest providers of post-secondary education opportunities, is hiring four for marketing and IT positions: admissions representative, academic advising manager, systems analyst III and software supervisor.

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation is hiring a chief learning officer.
 
Kelly Strayhorn Theatre in East Liberty is hiring an event manager.
 
MEMS Industry Group is looking for a marketing associate.
 
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is hiring a director of media relations.
 
SnapRetail is looking for a sales rep for its Pittsburgh-based tech company that helps to market independent retailers through its online marketing system.
 
College Prowler, the online service that guides students through the college decision process, is hiring a quality assurance analyst.
 
Philips Electronics, developer of medical devices for the care of neonates and infants, is hiring a technical writer for its Children’s Medical Ventures New Product Development Dept.

Premier Medical Associates, is growing rapidly and hiring and hiring 16 for its Monroeville, Forest Hills and Penn Hills offices. Positions include: medical assistants, physician assistants, patient care coordinators, accounts receivable and patient care reps.

The architectural and urban design firm of Rothschild Doyno Collaborative is in need of talented and motivated team members with one to five years of post-degree professional experience.  The ideal candidates must also possess excellent communication and graphic skills with both hand-drawn and digital media. Preference will be given to applicants with experience in urban design.
 
Nothing here? Take a look at last week's postings. Have hiring news? Email Pop City and include the job links.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
 


2013 Carnegie Science Awards recognizes outstanding innovators in the region

The 2013 Carnegie Science Awards were announced this week, an illustrious list of educators, researchers and business leaders working to improve the lives of others. The awards celebrate the accomplishments of individuals working in the fields of science, technology and education in Western Pennsylvania.
 
The winners include:   
 
The ExOne Company’s David Burns, Advanced Manufacturing Award 
Burns was recognized for positioning this promising North Huntingdon company as a leader in additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. ExOne recently announced a public offering.
 
Edward Argetsinger, Jonathan Stinson, Paul Turner, Paul Jablonski, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Advanced Materials Award NETL assisted in the design of a new alloy for coronary stents used by physicians to open blocked or restricted arteries.

Nancy Minshew, University of Pittsburgh, Catalyst Award
As the head of the Center for Excellence in Autism Research, Minshew has extensively studied autism and applied the findings to practice and public policy. Her work has led to the region’s recognition as a world-class center for autism research.

Tracy Cui, Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, Emerging Female Scientist Award Cui is researching smart biomaterials for neural implants and neural tissue engineering.

Raul Valdes-Perez, Jerome Pesenti, Vivisimo, Entrepreneur Award
The Squirrel Hill-based company, recently acquired by IBM, has taken an untraditional and creative approach in helping companies and governments discover, analyze and navigate large volumes of data.

Bob Enick, Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, Environmental Award
Working in collaboration with a GE Global Research Team, Enick has developed a unique method of capturing carbon dioxide from the stack of coal-fired power plants, a technique that may cost far less than current technologies.

Patrick Daly, Cohera Medical, Start-Up Entrepreneur Award
As president and CEO of this promising Pittsburgh startup that grew out of research conducted at Pitt, Daly is helping to move the company’s first product, TissuGlu, into the market. The adhesive is designed to reduce the need for surgical drains in plastic surgery procedures and speed healing time.
 
David Vorp, Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and NETL-RU, Life Sciences Award Dr. Vorp's work on aortic aneurysms has changed the way clinicians view this disease and research on vein graft modification may one day change arterial bypass surgeries.
 
Peter Lucas, Joe Ballay, Mickey McManus of MAYA Design, Science Communicator
MAYA is helping the world to think more scientifically about design through informational films and interactive websites as well as the book, "Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology."
 
Check out the complete list of 2013 Carnegie Science Award winners.
 
Writer: Deb Smit

Award recipients Dr. Robert Enick and Dr. Tracy Cui, courtesy of Carnegie Science Center 

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? Google Pittsburgh, Marc USA, Astrobotic and more

Each week Pop City reports on the latest company news and hiring:
 
Black Box Corp., a global technical services company, is hiring a web marketing manager responsible for web marketing strategy, direction and management for the company’s technology product solution offerings. The ideal candidate will have a minimum seven years of professional experience in technology-based markets and five years in website management.
 
Google Pittsburgh is looking for a lead content writer for its Bakery Square office, as well as software engineers and a Data Scientist. Generally speaking, the ideal candidates will be working in a fast-paced environment with a highly innovative team of people. All the positions are full-time.
 
MARC USA is seeking a creative director-copywriter for its ad agency that is brimming with new business. The ideal candidate should be a “killer writer” and “strategic thinker” as well as a pioneer in all media. 
 
Astrobotic, the CMU spinout in the business of establishing commuter missions to the moon, is hiring an experienced Administrative Assistant to join the team. A bachelor’s degree and experience with graphic design, Photoshop and/or video editing experience is sought. Must be willing to oversee all aspects of an office of a small company. 
 
The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is looking for a chief communications officer, someone who will lead the Food Bank’s marketing, communication, education and advocacy efforts in the pursuit of hunger relief in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Marketing and communication skills and the ability to lead a team strategically forward are key.
 
Carnegie Learning is looking for a team-oriented, self-directed software engineer-user interface to create custom components and layout managers in a message-driven environment. Strong software design skills and experience with the Java programming language including Swing and Java 2D are necessary.
 
Pittsburgh law firm K&L Gates is looking for a Website Administrator for its Pittsburgh office, a position that will be responsible for the coordination of an array of relevant content. Sharepoint and Social Media Web 2.0 technologies is a must.

Is your company hiring? Email Pop City and send us your link! Check out more listings from last week.
 
Writer: Deb Smit

2012 was a good year for VC growth in Pittsburgh despite a nationwide decline

Venture capital investment across the region continued to climb steadily in 2012 with 79 deals that totaled $168.97 million, a 7.9% increase over 2011 when $156.53 million was raised and spread over 55 deals. 

The news in Pittsburgh was a bright spot; nationally VC figures declined by 10 percent from the prior year. All figures are from the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), based on data from Thomson Reuters.

“We’re bucking a trend here in Pittsburgh which is very positive,” noted Gary Glausser who joined Innovation Works this month as Chief Investment Officer.

A longtime venture capitalist in the local community, Glausser was with South Side-based Birchmere Ventures for 13 years. He most recently handled alternative investments for the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System, a total portfolio of $7 billion. He is also a member of the IW Board of Directors.

Among the highlights of the MoneyTree report for 2012:

The strongest showing in Pittsburgh was the life sciences and software sectors. More than 23 companies received funding in life sciences, predominantly medical device companies, and 19 software and IT services companies were funded. The number of software company deals last year is a sign of the region’s strength in this sector since software companies generally don’t require large infusions of cash, noted Terri Glueck of Innovation Works.

Innovation Works and The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse (PLSG) were the largest overall investors, IW with 12 deals and PLSG with six according to the MoneyTree report.

The companies that raised the largest rounds included: Avere Systems ($20 million), Thorley Industries ($20 million), TriStar Investors ($15 million) Duolingo ($15 million) Knopp Biosciences ($14.94 million) and BodyMedia ($11.89 million). 

Other local investors included: Birchmere Ventures, Draper Triangle Ventures, Adams Capital Management, BlueTree Allied Angels, Eagle Ventures and Pittsburgh Equity Partners.

“I personally think the next few years will be exciting,” Glausser adds. “We’re looking at a pipeline of opportunities here. Our mission is going to be to get the capital to put into these companies.”

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: NVCA and MoneyTree 

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? Sarah Heinz House, Advanticom and more

The Sarah Heinz House, a nonprofit providing a nurturing environment for local youth and their families, is looking for an executive director.
 
The ideal candidate shall provide visionary leadership and support to the board in setting and achieving organization goals, obtaining and allocating resources and carrying out established organizational policies. Additional tasks include managing and working closely with staff.
 
As reported this week in Pop City, Astrobotic Technologies is moving to the Strip District, which will make room for two additional hires in the coming months, including a principal software engineer.
 
Advanticom in Pittsburgh is looking for a full-time sales engineer. The position is a combination of sales, support, technical writing, inside sales and sales engineering. Strong networking, visualization and data center technology understanding is essential.
 
Winchester Thurston School in Shadyside is hiring a Technology Support Professional immediately to provide support to the Director of Technology. The position requires an Associates Degree or Bachelor’s degree or equivalent and experience in academic computing environments. Knowledge of Microsoft and Apple operating systems and software, Google Apps for Education, Blackbaud, Active Directory, and multi-platform environments is preferred.
 
UPMC is hiring a technical writer to work regularly business hours full-time or as needed.
 
Smith Micro Software is hiring a Senior Technical Recruiter, responsible for managing positive relationships and hiring mid to executive level job candidates.

Got hiring news? Contact Pop City! 

Writer: Deb Smit


Pittsburgh Craft, a magazine for the discerning beer drinker

As we all know, beer is among the things that Pittsburgh does well.
 
And now we have a regional magazine to go with it. Launched in 2010, Craft Pittsburgh is embracing the local craft beer industry in response to the resurgence of interest in craft brewing here, says founder and editor Tim Russell. 
 
Pittsburgh just wasn’t getting its due, he says.
 
“I want to enlighten everyone, bring in people on the fringe who are just beginning to discover craft beer,” explains Russell. “If people start drinking better beer, it will grow the industry and help everyone.”
 
Craft Pittsburgh is for connoisseurs to wanna-be better beer drinkers who are interested in following the business, or brewing a batch at home. Stories range from the several well-orchestrated events that happen around beer, including Steel City’s Big Pour and The Reverse Keg Ride, where an empty keg is returned to its neighborhood brewery with the help of more than 100 cyclists. (All in the name of charity, of course.)
 
The most recent issue (No. 7) relates the wonderful history of beer making in Pittsburgh. Did you know, for example, that long before President Obama was throwing back hotcakes at Pamela’s, President Roosevelt was swilling Duquesne Brewing Company’s “near beer” during prohibition?
 
There’s also the events and festival listings, cooking with beer, home brewing tips and regular installments from columnist The Drunk Yinzer.
 
The only problem is that  when the magazine comes out, about 10,000 copies a run, the free hard copies disappear fast. Fortunately, it's also available online.
 
Craft Pittsburgh officially became a profitable enterprise with the sixth issue, thanks to the support of local establishments and restaurants, says Russell.
 
“I hope it gets the craft beer community going, because I’d love Pittsburgh to become one of those cities like San Diego or Philadelphia (who are on the forefront of the craft beer movement),” he says. “But Pittsburgh is catching up.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Tim Russell, Craft Pittsburgh

What's next for Yinztagram? The Pittsburgh parking chair perhaps?

Unless you’ve been under a wireless rock for the past week, you’ve probably snapped multiple  pictures of yourself and friends heaving giant Primanti sandwiches over your head--or juggling Rick Sebak’s (like Mitt Romney).
 
The opportunities to add local color to your life are endless with Yinztagram.
 
“I really didn't see it becoming as popular as it has become, I thought it would remain an inside joke,” admits Colin Miller who created the app with Deeplocal colleague Matthew Pegula based on a funny idea suggested by friend Drew at Commonplace Coffee. “It’s nice to see that the community has a sense of humor when it comes to the Pittsburgh culture.”
 
Based on the reactions of friends to the beta version, I knew people would love it but didn't think it would be spread beyond my immediate friends, says Pegula.
 
The photo app that allows users to juxtapose iconic local images—from Green Belt signs to our own golden arches—on top of personal snapshots has taken Twitter and Facebook by storm. (See the best of pics in this weeks Buzz section.) The Primanti’s sandwich, in particular, has found its way into some rather hilarious situations.
 
Miller and Pegula sat they've enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame. Stay tuned. The duo has been taking requests and additional photo ops are in progress. Not wanting to give away too much, they revealed the possibility of the classic Pittsburgh parking chair, or perhaps an angle on the Fort Pitt Tunnel.
 
"We hope to release a version that lets us easily push out new content without having to go through the Apple review process,” Pegula says. “We’ve gotten lots of suggestions and additions and are always looking for more.”

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Colin Miller and Matt Pegula, Deeplocal

Image of Colin and Rick courtesy Deeplocal

Thorley Industries rolls out The Breeze, the play yard that assembles itself; makes Inc 5000 again

Bringing up baby seems to get easier every day, thanks to advances in mechanical technology. But this one takes infant gear to a new level of ease.
 
Pittsburgh-based Thorley Industries, also known as 4Moms, is rolling out a robotic, one-touch portable crib that pops open without breaking a sweat. If you’ve ever tried this at home with the older technology, you know that getting a portable crib to stand can be as confounding a Rubik’s Cube. 
 
You know the joke, how many parents does it take to open a pack-and-play? All of them.
 
Dubbed “The Breeze,” Thorley’s latest entry on the baby gear market is as pretty to watch in action as their earlier products, the power-folding Origami stroller and the gently swaying mamaRoo. It also comes with a removable bassinet and a portable changing bag.
 
Thorley has raised $20 million led by Boston-based Bain Capital, the private investment firm founded by presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, to expand company product development, invest in supply chain and logistics and initiate global expansion, says Thorley.
 
With headquarters in the Strip District, Thorley employs 52 and sells its product in retail stores across the country as well as 23 countries overseas. The company recently made the Inc 5000 list at #743 and was listed at #55 in the Consumer Products and Services category.
 
Watch it.

Writer: Debra Smit
Source: Emily Cappo, Thorley Industries
 

Pittsburgh-based AltarTV, the alternative music network for bands and artists on the way up

When their days in a band began winding down, longtime friends Alex Mohler and Alex Drizos considered starting a business.  
 
Their first thought was to open a production company to produce original concert footage from local events. The idea grew into AltarTV, an online repository of the music of bands and artists from around the world who were flying just under the radar.   
 
Since 2011, the studio in the Rose building in the Strip has produced seven original series, all high definition videos that share the music and stories of the artists through live concert footage, documentaries, intimate artist interviews and exclusive in-Pittsburgh-studio performances.

Altar TV’s specialty is finding those acts that are on the verge of crossing over to the mainstream, explains Mohler, vice president of AltarTV. 
 
“We are bound by our mutual passion for music, content and a mission to re-connect artists with their fans in new and interesting ways,” Mohler says. “Our mission is to capture that moment when an artist is breaking out. That’s our specialty, finding artists that are at that point.”
 
AltarTV has a "nimble" team of seven who wear many hats, he adds. Everyone was either a former touring musician or has experience in film production.  
 
More than 200 segments have been recorded to date. There's “Unplugged and Unrehearsed, ” “Noise from the Underground,” “Studio Diaries” and “Here and Now. ” The network, hosted on Ultra Genie, reaches 60 countries including China, one of our biggest audiences, he says. 
 
The artists cross several genres and are local and international. There's the up-and-coming band from Las Vegas, Imagine Dragons, who wander The Point before their concert; they performed on Jay Leno last month. Scottish folk rock band The Dunwells. Rapper Snoop Lion (who recently changed his name from Snoop Dogg). 
 
There’s also a few unexplained segments such as “Lucky the Painproof Man Eating a Lightbulb,” which you may or may not want to force yourself to watch.
 
“We want to be the destination where people know they can consistently get good quality video and media about artists they care about. We want to rise above all that noise.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Alex Mohler, AltarTV

An app for those nasty potholes; Deeplocal sells transit app RouteShout

Just in time for the spring thaw comes a new weapon against  Pittsburgh potholes, a smartphone app that tracks their location and subtly takes the city to task for leaving them unattended over time.

Carnegie Mellon University's RODAS Project--that's Road Damage Assessment System--gives GPS-linked smartphone users the tools to snap pictures of potholes and upload them on Facebook. The photos are then automatically tagged on an online map, marked by bright red dots, creating a virtual overview of potholes to alert officials (and drivers) where the potholes are.

The project, started last summer, was the original idea of Chilean Heinz grad Veronica Acha-Alvarez and inspired by a similar successful project in Chile. The Chilean app offers contests, (subtly timed with local elections) to identify the largest potholes.

"We are creating a secure, independent source of information about potholes that can be used to alert government agencies and to monitor their response," says Robert Strauss, professor of economics and public policy in the H. John Heinz III College.

Widespread publicity this week drove more than 800 hits to the site in one day, he adds.

Involving the community in identifying and monitoring the pothole problem is the primary goal of the project. The team also is considering other ways citizens may assist, including an adopt-a-pothole program that gets the community more involved with repairs.

"Kind of like a  pet rock," says Stauss.

"PennDOT found it interesting," he adds. "This new public database is a new tool people can use to monitor what road crews are doing and to judge the efficiency of government."

In other app news, Deeplocal's award-winning transit technology, RouteShout, was acquired by Atlanta-based RouteMatch Software Inc., developers of traveler information systems. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RouteShout, which marks the first sale of a Deeplocal asset, allows riders to access up-to-the-second transit arrival times from their mobile phones. It will provide the "missing link" of real-time arrival data needed for intelligent transit systems, says Tim Quinn of RouteMatch.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Robert Strauss, CMU; Deeplocal



Sprout Fund supports 20 new biodiversity projects with $190,000; PLSG on the move

Good news for the region's biodiversity and life sciences industry.

PLSG received $500,000 in funding that will help to establish a life sciences campus on the South Side at the River Park Commons Business Center.

The funding comes from a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant from the state. The new campus will provide space for four to six wet-labs in addition to the existing 9,000 square feet of life sciences labs. PLSG will also move its office to the campus.

"The demand for this campus is significant as an increasing number of new biotechnology companies are being launched throughout the nation, and geographic clusters to house these new, start-up companies are highly competitive," said John W. Manzetti, President and CEO.

In other news, 20 biodiversity projects received $190,000 this week as part of a new initiative to support the stewardship of Southwestern Pennsylvania's natural resources.

The Sprout Fund and The Pittsburgh Foundation hope to jumpstart community-based biodiversity projects in the region through the Spring Program. The funded projects were selected from among 75 applications, says Dustin Stiver of The Sprout Fund.

"These projects offer an exciting array of innovative solutions to the many environmental challenges we face," says Stiver. "With diverse objectives and creative approaches, they give promise that the biodiversity of our resource-rich region can be preserved and enhanced for generations to come."

Six biodiversity projects received $20,000 awards including:

BioShelter and Food Systems Center at the Garfield Community Farm, where a permanent bioshelter will extend the farm's growing season and offer educational opportunities to the nearby elementary school;

Green Roofs for Bus Shelters in East Liberty, introducing flora and fauna into the urban environment through a living green roof on Penn Avenue;

Heritage Seed Bank and Nursery for seed banks and educational opportunities in the preservation of native heritage or heirloom edible plants;

Native Appalachian Garden, part of Pittsburgh Botanical Garden, cultivating woodland species of the region;

And Take a Hike: Backyard Biodiversity for a traveling presentation that will lead elementary school children on an exploration of the Earth's biomes at the Carnegie Science Center.

The other 14 recipients receiving $5,000 awards are include outdoor classrooms for children, ecological gardens, artificial chimney habitats for neotropical migrant birds, rain gardens in schoolyards with the help of Nine Mile Run Watershed Assoc. and native plant restoration projects.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: PLSG, Dustin Stiver, The Sprout Fund


Unstoppable expected to bring $60M and at least 250 jobs to region













Twentieth Century Fox's decision to film the biggest budget film in the state's history in Pittsburgh was a coup for the region. The $100 million production will dump $60 million into the local economy and create 120 to 250 jobs.

Was it the state's Film Tax Credit program? Mogul Mind's studio facilities? The strength of the local production crew? Movie Mogul founder John Yost says it's all three and this marks just the beginning of a great future for the film industry here.

"I'm a kid from Pittsburgh," says the actor and CEO. "It's a cooperative effort. We need to collectively realize how strong we are if we want to truly originate projects here. We (Mogul Mind) have the second largest facility outside of Hollywood. At the end of the day, I'm going to employ 1,200 people and create a media factory where people of all creative bents can have an outlet, have a career. It's an opportunity for a huge sector of people, the jobs are right here."

Unstoppable crews have already taken over every inch of the 330,000 square foot space in the Strip District where sets and locomotive building are in progress. Mogul Mind's 40 employees are busy around the clock. The scalability of the space has proved key, as well as the close proximity to rail lines.

Yost, unstoppable, is already planning to expand.

For Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, there's no question the state Film Tax Credit won the day along with the availability of experienced film crew workers.

"We have a great diversity of locations, we can get all the scenes done without having to travel far. We have the facility. But none of it would have happened without the tax incentive," she says.

Act 55, the tax credit program that allows the state to compete and attract larger film productions, has generated 4,355 jobs and $20 million in state revenue in its first year. For an informative Mogul Mind video on the impact of the credit program, click here.

To receive Pop City free each week, click here.

Writer: Debra Diamond Smit
Source: John Yost, Mogul Mind; Dawn Keezer, Pittsburgh Film Office
148 Strip District Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
0
Email
Print
Signup for Email Alerts