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PRC launches new and improved website for eco-conscious Pennsylvanians

The Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) helps environmentally-conscious state residents stay green with news, tips and programs that tackle everything from littering to the proper disposal of harmful chemicals. But when it came to fulfilling its mission, the nonprofit's website, which was built in 2000, failed to make the grade.

"The old site was cumbersome and very difficult to update, which very much limited its capacity to offer real-time resources to Pennsylvanians," says PRC Regional Director for Western Pennsylvania Justin Stockdale. "Additionally, the old website was at times difficult to navigate, therefore preventing users from reaching the content that they needed."

The organization recently launched an updated website where users can access information on recycling and disposal guides, workshops, volunteer opportunities, and PRC programs such as Zero Waste Pennsylvania and Don't Trash My Turf. The site also includes a new feature, The Bugfeed, a series of blog-style articles that explore issues directly and indirectly related to PRC programs.

However, as Stockdale points out, the site mainly operates as a user-friendly platform where the public can easily navigate content based on location and needs.

"As a statewide organization, we offer different programs and services in different places, so providing localized information was imperative," says Stockdale.

At a local level, Pittsburgh residents can use the website to find upcoming collection events for hard-to-recycle items and household chemicals, as well as adult education workshops that provide instruction on subjects such as at-home composting and rain barrels. Stockdale -- who oversees all the city's PRC programming -- believes it will also serve as a connection point to the organization's area partners, such the Point Breeze-based recycling initiative Construction Junction.

"While we know quite a bit about building materials reuse, we recognize that Construction Junction is the leader on this issue in our region," says Stockdale. "We would rather promote its work and its resources in place of creating our own content. In other words, we don’t want the site to be all about us -- we want it to be of value to the visitor, and sharing the work of our peers."

CEAgent helps nurses organize their professional lives with new app

The healthcare industry has spent years transitioning their patient records to an electronic system. As that process continues, one local company has made it easier for some medical professionals to manage their own personal records with a new app.

The South Side-based company CEAgent recently launched an iPhone app that allows nurses to maintain important professional documents such as licenses, clearances, and continuing education certifications. The concept came from CEAgent co-founder and registered nurse Steve Benso, who sees the online tool as a long overdue resource for the health-care community.

"The current system of license regulation and compliance is paper based and manually intensive," says Benso. "There are so many antiquated methods still present in health care, and CEAgent was created to help eliminate the inefficiency and wasted man hours."

Benso worked with a team of experts, including practicing nurses and network security specialists, to make the app easy to use and intuitive. Users can take photos of physical documents and store them in the system, where they are available to view or email from anywhere at any time. The app also features a real-time dashboard that provides automatic notifications when a license or certification nears expiration.

Benso adds that, unlike similar apps, which primarily focus on doctors or pharmacists, CEAgent was designed by nurses for nurses. Even so, the company hopes to expand the app to serve other licensed professionals, including lawyers and law enforcement.

"Nurses are the second largest licensed professionals in the country, second to teachers, so this proved to be a good market to start with our domain expertise," says Benso. "In order to develop the app for other professions, it will require research, testing, and, of course, funding."

The CEAgent app is now free to download in the iPhone app store. 

Hammerstep dances toward Pittsburgh with innovative live show

Hammerstep has performed multiple times in Pittsburgh, including at Mayor Bill Peduto's inauguration and as the headliner at New Hazlett Theater's annual fundraising ball last fall. With a little help from the city's arts community, the Brooklyn-based dance company hopes to return with an experimental new show.

Co-founded and co-directed by Pittsburgh native Garrett Coleman, Hammerstep has showcased its Irish and hip-hop dance-influenced act on the variety TV competition America’s Got Talent and around the globe. For its latest project, Indigo Grey, the company hopes to combine emerging technology with high-energy performances to create an immersive live show.

A Kickstarter was recently launched to raise money for Indigo Grey, which Coleman believes would resonate with Pittsburgh audiences.

"As a post-industrial city that has undergone an immense revitalization process -- some of which has been spurred by the arts and culture sector -- Pittsburgh seems open for innovative and forward-thinking projects like Indigo Grey," says Coleman. "The mix of industrial and futuristic themes in the show will directly mirror Pittsburgh's transition from a somewhat bleak setting into a city of the future."

Described as "Sleep No More meets The Matrix," Indigo Grey would forego a stage, props, backdrops, and other traditional theater elements. The multimedia show would instead use technology such as 3-D projections, drones, and ultimate surround-sound to turn an abandoned warehouse into an interactive, futuristic setting. Among the Pittsburgh venues proposed to host the show are the Carrie Furnace in Braddock and the old Iron City brewery in Lawrenceville, as well as several vacant locations along the Allegheny River.

Coleman hopes to rally the support of local arts, urban development, and political figures to bring Indigo Grey to Pittsburgh as part of a larger urban revitalization and arts education programming push. He discussed the project with Lawrenceville United Executive Director Lauren Byrne and plans to open dialogues with Braddock Mayor John Fetterman and restaurateur Kevin Sousa this April.

If brought to Pittsburgh, the show would not only serve as entertainment, but as an opportunity for the city's arts professionals. As Coleman explains, the production would involve the work of local installation artists, movement specialists, and technical crews. Hammerstep also plans to engage Pittsburgh's youth by giving them firsthand, behind-the-scenes career experience.

The Indigo Grey Kickstarter will run through March 16, 2015. The show will make its world premiere this summer.

Blast Off Apps helps small businesses enter the mobile market

Small Pittsburgh businesses that need affordable mobile apps can now turn to a new local startup.

Founded by West Virginia University graduate Adam Paul, Blast Off Apps focuses on providing low-cost, high-quality mobile apps for small businesses in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The Pittsburgh-based company was created when Paul noticed how high prices were driving small businesses out of the mobile app market.

"I began to look into the mobile market and realized that mobile application development was severely overpriced and, if not for greed, could be utilized by small business to level the playing field," says Paul.

Paul formed the company with Chief Technology Officer Cecil O’Dell, a fellow WVU alum he met while studying physics and working as a STEM ambassador at 4-H summer camps. After a year of planning and developing their system, the two launched Blast Off Apps last February.

As Paul explains, Blast Off Apps differs from other mobile app providers in its approach to pricing and development. Creating an app for Android and Apple devices can cost an average of $50,000 or more, and can take six or more months to develop. Blast Off Apps offers a flat fee of $1,500 to design apps for both Android and Apple stores. They also strive to complete each project -- which is hand-coded in-house -- within four to eight weeks.

The company recently launched an Android app for its first client, the independently owned, Wheeling, W.Va.-based bookstore Words & Music Bookshop. With more possible clients coming in, including some from as far as Australia and Switzerland, Paul hopes to expand their sales team to help further their mission of making mobile apps accessible to everyone.

"We are here to make small business the equal, once again, of big business," says Paul. "No longer will small business be priced and delayed out of the mobile market. Blast Off Apps wants every local, small business to have mobile."
 

Pittsburgh art advocates to lead panel at SXSWedu

The annual SXSWedu Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, works to foster innovation in learning by hosting a diverse community of stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds in education. On March 9, local art professionals and educators, including Felice Cleveland, director of education at the Mattress Factory, will attend SXSWedu to participate in a panel discussion that covers the benefits of project-based learning (PBL) in schools.

Cleveland will join representatives from other Pittsburgh institutions, including Heather McElwee of the Pittsburgh Glass Center, Tresa Varner of The Andy Warhol Museum, and Avonworth High School Principal Kenneth Lockette, to explain how the Pittsburgh Galleries Project operates as a model for PBL. Titled Using Art to Transform Physical Spaces and Minds, the panel will share the successes and challenges of the project with the broader education community.

“We hope to inspire some of our fellow educators to think about this project and replicate it in their own way,” says Cleveland.

Started in the fall of 2013, the Pittsburgh Galleries Project combined the efforts of Avonworth High School and several Pittsburgh art institutions to encourage students to take part in creative extracurricular projects outside of the classroom. Groups of students visit places such as the Mattress Factory, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Pittsburgh Glass Center, the Warhol, and the Toonseum, where, as Cleveland explains, they receive behind-the-scenes insights into curating, installing, making artwork, and creative careers. The students then use inspiration from their experiences to collaborate on an installation that will go on display at their school.

As Cleveland explains, the program has made an impact on students to find creative solutions to real-world problems. This year, the group will use what they learned to address issues with the school’s Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) policy, mainly the lack of available charging stations. The students are working to build a London-style telephone booth that, upon completion, will serve as a charging station located in the school’s common area.

The panel will also address how to transform schools into more creative spaces and introduce students to the variety of careers in the art world. Says Cleveland, “We want to share the work that we do with the education community around the country; we also hope to be inspired by what others are doing and bring that back to Pittsburgh.”

For more details on the Using Art to Transform Physical Spaces and Minds panel, please visit the SXSWedu website.

Who's hiring in PGH? Dinner Lab, East End Cooperative Ministry and more

Each week, Pop City scours the web to bring you exciting career opportunities in Pittsburgh. Employers, if you have a job opening or internship you would like to promote, please email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "Hiring" in the subject line. Hit us up on Twitter @popcitypgh if our job listings put you on the path to success.

Dinner Lab began in New Orleans in 2012 and has since become a national sensation. The pop-up supper club has hosted innovative dining events in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York. Today, Dinner Lab announced Pittsburgh as its newest city.

“We’re really excited about coming to Pittsburgh,” said Zach Kupperman, co-founder of Dinner Lab. “Pittsburgh [has] an amazing cultural and culinary scene … Pittsburgh is a very cool and underground cultural city with a lot going on.”

The underground, membership-based social dining club is hiring a part-time event manager for its new Pittsburgh location. Email hdietsch@dinnerlab.com for more details.

The Frick Art & Historical Center has openings for a development manager and a membership assistant.

The East End Cooperative Ministry (EECM) is hiring a part-time database and donor stewardship coordinator to manage its donor database and stewardship cycle through print and electronic communications. Requirements include a bachelor's degree and experience with Raiser's Edge software. Send cover letter, resume, application, and compensation requirements to HR Director, 6140 Station St., Pittsburgh, PA 15206, or email materials to KellyJ@eecm.org.

Jawbone, an international consumer technology and wearable devices company, is hiring a senior hardware engineer at its Pittsburgh location. Requires seven years of experience in electrical engineering.

The hybrid advertising agency Chemistry Communications is looking for a senior digital designer with five or more years of agency digital design experience.

Hi-Tech Learning, which offers technology-focused summer camps for kids in the Pittsburgh area, is looking for camp instructors. Candidates must have criminal and child clearances and reliable transportation. Send resume to swalk@hi-techlearning.com.

Paid internships:

CBS has multiple part-time internships for students pursuing careers in television broadcasting and related fields. Application deadline is April 3.

Check out last week's listings for more opportunities.

 

Pitt launches new crowdfunding platform to support university projects

The Internet offers numerous ways to raise money for a project. But now students and faculty at the University of Pittsburgh can forego the Kickstarters and Indiegogos of the world with a new crowdfunding platform devoted to their specific needs.

The school recently launched EngagePitt, a website where student organization leaders or faculty members can create fundraising campaigns for community outreach and research projects. Managed by Pitt’s Office of Institutional Advancement, the site allows users to reach out to donors in the Pitt community, as well as family, friends, and colleagues.

As Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement Albert J. Novak Jr. explains, EngagePitt offers multiple advantages compared to other crowdfunding sites, where users could potentially pay large fees and risk losing funds when a campaign fails to reach the goal amount.

"Unlike other sites that charge user fees ranging from 4.5 percent to 10 percent, there will be no user fees incurred by faculty and student groups using Pitt’s EngagePitt platform," says Novak. "Further, all gifts recorded during a project’s campaign will be applied toward the stated need, whether or not the final goal is met." In addition, the Office of Institutional Advancement also provides training and guidance to all campaign groups.

EngagePitt tested the crowdfunding waters last December with a few approved pilot campaigns. Among them were projects for ThinkSepsis and Pitt’s Society of Women Engineers, both of which focus on advancing innovation on campus and beyond. ThinkSepsis will use its funds to equip six ambulances in the Pittsburgh area with new, state-of-the-art alert systems, while the Society of Women Engineers will apply the $2,351 they raised to improve their annual outreach events.

A number of ongoing EngagePitt campaigns are now accepting contributions. Students and faculty interested in launching a campaign should visit the site's application page.

First Bytes Society seeks tweens and teens for computer programming class

In 2012, the computer programming education initiative, First Bytes Society, won a $1,000 micro-grant from the Awesome Foundation.

“The grant from the Awesome Foundation served as the initial kick start for the First Bytes Society,” says First Bytes Society founder, Nate Good. “Their backing affirmed that this was a cause worthy of bringing to the community and helped us establish some important relationships in Pittsburgh.”

Now, after years of building partnerships, developing a curriculum, and creating a custom development environment, the Pittsburgh-based group is ready to launch its first pilot class.

The First Bytes Society Kick Off will provide a free eight-week course focused on teaching computer programming to 10 students between the ages of 12 and 15. The sessions will begin on March 30 and take place every following Monday at Union Project in East Liberty. Good hopes the pilot class will serve as a first step toward giving students the skills to succeed in today’s tech-heavy job market.

“In my anecdotal research among Pittsburgh students, it is very uncommon for students to even have the option to explore computer programming prior to late in their high school curriculum,” says Good. “This is especially true for public school districts serving communities with lower income families. Computer literacy has quickly become a crucial skill set for those entering the job market, regardless of their occupational focus."

First Bytes Society still has some work to do in the weeks leading up to the launch. The organization hopes to raise $3,500, either from corporate or individual donors, to round out funding for the class. For $250, donors can sponsor a laptop that will be used during the pilot class and future classes. Two local companies, ShowClix and Metamorphosis Spa in Lawrenceville, have already chosen to sponsor laptops.

Good is also in the process of recruiting more mentors to help with the classes. In addition to several software engineers that have signed on to teach, he hopes to attract individuals who possess backgrounds in computer science, or have experience working with teens.

While the pilot class centers on tweens and teens, First Bytes Society’s long-term mission is to teach programming to everyone, regardless of age. As the organization grows, Good plans to develop instruction for adults and young children.

“As we start to expand to older -- and younger -- demographics, we will introduce new curriculum tracks,” says Good. “The curriculum for tweens is focused around creating visuals and building interactive games. Curriculum for adults may be more oriented towards pragmatic real-world solutions, replacing the simple 2-D game with an interactive mortgage calculator.”

Those interested in registering a tween or teen for the First Bytes Society Kick Off can attend an info session taking place on March 2 at 7 p.m. at Union Project, or fill out an online application. Interested donors are encouraged to check out sponsorship opportunities on the website.

Pittsburgh joins urban goat grazing movement with Steel City Grazers

It's the year of the goat both in the Chinese zodiac and in Pittsburgh, where one small business has found a greener, more adorable way to handle lawn care.

Entrepreneur Carrie Pavlik recently launched an Indiegogo campaign for her venture Steel City Grazers. The service would provide goats to city residents who want a more eco-friendly alternative to gas-powered mowers and pesticides. The idea was launched after Pavlik, who runs a Hilltop-based urban hobby farm called Arlington Acres, received multiple requests from people wishing to use her two Nigerian Dwarf goats for landscaping. Interest in the practice was further piqued last summer when the urban forest initiative, Tree Pittsburgh, used 30 goats to clear West Penn Park in Polish Hill.

"I've had people come to me wanting the goats to eat poison ivy or knotweed in their yards," says Pavlik. "But the Tree Pittsburgh event definitely got the conversation started publicly and has created more excitement for the idea of grazing goats."

Steel City Grazers adds Pittsburgh to the list of cities taking part in this growing trend. The herd in Polish Hill came courtesy of the Annapolis, Md.-based business Eco-Goats, and metropolitan areas such as Detroit, San Francisco, and Portland have also recognized the advantages of urban goat grazing. Besides the environmental benefits, goats are also able to eat poisonous plants and scale terrain unreachable by conventional lawn equipment.

Pavlik hopes to raise enough start-up funds through the Indiegogo campaign to bring on 10 goats -- enough to clear one acre of land in three weeks -- as well as buy fencing, equipment and a guard llama. Once established, the herd can be rented for a base charge, a per-day charge, and other costs that depend on factors such as distance and accessibility.

With jobs lined up for the upcoming summer, Pavlik plans on beginning operations in May. From there, the goats will have a busy first season, followed by a much-needed vacation.

"They’ll get to kick back and relax over the winter, with the exception of an occasional party or event where a goat is requested," says Pavlik. "In the future, we may breed some of the goats to expand the herd as well."

Who's hiring in PGH? WPXI, Carlow University and more

Each week, Pop City scours the web to bring you exciting career opportunities in Pittsburgh. Employers, if you have a job opening or internship you would like to promote, please email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "Hiring" in the subject line. Hit us up on Twitter @popcitypgh if our job listings put you on the path to success.

WPXI-TV is seeking a motion graphic designer and graphic artist for their Marketing Department’s Creative Studio team. Responsibilities include conceptualizing, designing, animating and executing visual effect graphics. 

The station group that includes WESA and WYEP is hiring a director of development to manage annual individual giving and alternative revenue streams such as vehicle donations and corporate matches. Requirements include a Bachelor's or Master's degree and six years of relevant development and fundraising experience.

Automated Health Systems, Inc (AHS), a national health services management company headquartered in Pittsburgh, is hiring multiple positions, including a technical recruiter and IT coordinator.

Carlow University is looking for a full-time software applications support analyst and a full-time IR data analyst.

Highmark is hiring a senior decision support analyst (Job number 74340) to assist in the development of projects and data analysis. Candidates must have three years of experience in research, data analytics or statistical analysis.

Paid Internships

Giant Eagle has numerous paid internships available in the Pittsburgh area.

The civil engineering and architectural design firm Larson Design Group needs a summer site intern at their Cranberry Township offices. College juniors and seniors are welcome to apply.

Check out last week's listings for more opportunities.

To receive Pop City weekly, click here.

Web Design Day to showcase Pittsburgh talent

This summer, one conference will showcase the local web design and development community with a full lineup of speakers, workshops, and networking events.

Founded in 2009 as part of Refresh Pittsburgh, Web Design Day gathers individuals from Pittsburgh and beyond who work to make the web a better place. What started as a one-day local conference with around 100 people at Left Field Meeting Space has since grown into a two-day endeavor that attracts around 350 people and some of the biggest names in the industry. Even as the conference grows, however, it continues to provide a fun, intimate atmosphere where attendees can learn and network.

"We’ve heard awesome stories of people who have met their future bosses and colleagues at Web Design Day, a few folks who made career changes to web design, and even a speaker who moved back to Pittsburgh after getting to hang out with our awesome community," says G. Jason Head of Refresh Pittsburgh, who organizes Web Design Day with his wife and partner, Val Head.

Web Design Day will begin on June 11 with two full-day pre-conference workshops, one at Left Field Meeting Space on the North Shore and one at The Beauty Shoppe in East Liberty. The conference will take place on June 12 at the New Hazlett Theater in the North Side, where guests can enjoy plenty of activities, as well as an after-party that includes food, music, and hands-on screen printing of T-shirts and posters. The events also include a variety of speakers -- including Adaptive Web Design author Aaron Gustafson, brand and content strategist Margot Bloomstein, and many others -- who will offer their expertise and input on a variety of subjects.

"We put a lot of thought into carefully curating a well-balanced and diverse speaker lineup," says G. Jason Head. "We base our selections on what areas people are interested in, popular and relevant topics in our industry, speakers that we have seen and were impressed by, all focused around providing a day of relevant take-aways that will leave our attendees inspired."

New this year, Refresh Pittsburgh has developed a way to bring in community members who may not otherwise attend. The organization partnered with MailChimp, Think Through Math, and Girl Develop It Pittsburgh to provide 14 free scholarship tickets to students, low-income residents, and others unable to afford conference tickets, which range in cost from $215 to $499. As G. Jason Head explains, the free tickets are a way to ensure that Web Design Day includes people from a wide array of backgrounds.

"Diversity is important to us, and we feel a more diverse audience provides a better experience for everyone," says G. Jason Head. "We realize that the cost of attending industry conferences can be prohibitive for some people, and we want to do what we can to make it easier for someone to attend and have a good experience."

Visit the Web Design Day website to register for the conference. Those interested in applying for the scholarship tickets can do so on the Scholarship Program page.

Former Steeler partners with Pitt to launch new sports medicine company

When it comes to dealing with injuries, elite athletes have access to the best in rehabilitation technology. Now with the help of a retired football great, the University of Pittsburgh hopes to make the same grade of treatment available to the public.

Former Pittsburgh Steeler and businessman Charlie Batch, along with his three partners, joined with the University of Pittsburgh and its Innovation Institute to launch a wellness, fitness, human-performance, and rehabilitation-focused company. The Pittsburgh-based startup, called Impellia, will develop and commercialize technologies from Pitt and around the country.

To Evan Facher, director of enterprise development for the Innovation Institute, Batch's influence will help their commitment to improving public health and furthering the city's image as a hub for emerging technology and science.

"Because of the profile that he has and the good work that he's done, he can open a lot of doors for the company and the university as well," says Facher.

As part of the new relationship, Batch and the rest of the Impellia team -- which includes tech-savvy business professionals Richard Walker, Dave Morin, and Ed Kim -- completed option agreements for three distinct Pitt innovations. Physical therapists can help improve their patients' physical rehabilitation with the joint-function monitoring tool, interACTION. For knee injuries, there's PIVOT, a program that can quantitatively assess the pivot shift test, a clinical exam for diagnosing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. And the Versatile and Integrated System for Telerehabilitation (VISYTER) software platform provides a secure, integrated system that allows doctors to make diagnoses remotely with high-quality videoconferencing, access to electronic health records, and other tools.

"If you put all these things together, you have a company that can really do some novel rehabilitation and sports medicine," says Facher.

The inventions were edged toward commercialization by Pitt faculty members and the Innovation Institute, which is dedicated to promoting and fostering innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship. But as Facher explains, the process still requires an outsider like Impellia to come in and market the technology. To that end, he believes that Batch and his team bring a level of expertise that will help transform Pitt research into real innovations for years to come.

"In the past, they've taken university technologies and been successful at developing them," says Facher. "So it's a team that we believe in and would like to continue to do more with and build off of."

Who's hiring in PGH? Grow Pittsburgh, Point Park University and more

Each week, Pop City scours the web to bring you exciting career opportunities in Pittsburgh. Employers, if you have a job opening or internship you would like to promote, please email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "Hiring" in the subject line. Hit us up on Twitter @popcitypgh if our job listings put you on the path to success.

Management Science Associates (MSA) is hiring a UX researcher and a UX prototype developer to join the user-centered design team in their Information Management Solutions (IMS) division, which has been offering data and insight solutions to the consumer packaged goods industry since the early 1980s.

Niche, a local start-up that rates neighborhoods, schools and colleges, is hiring for multiple positions, including a front-end engineer and a senior software engineer.

Point Park University needs a full-time safety coordinator to oversee all Cinema Department productions. Candidate must have experience working on location production shoots, and have knowledge of cameras, lighting packages, grip and gaffing duties, and on-set safety procedures. Position requires a Bachelor of Arts or Master of Fine Arts in film production or related area.

Chatham University has an opening for a full-time Assistant Professor of English. Requires a doctorate in literature.

The Center for Theater Arts, a Mt. Lebanon-based nonprofit that offers professional performing arts classes to children and teens in the Pittsburgh area, is hiring a part-time director of development. Requirements include a Bachelor of Arts and five-plus years in development and fundraising.

Grow Pittsburgh is hiring a part-time site coordinator for its Garden Resource Center (GRC), a recently-opened tool lending library and materials depot. Candidates must possess some knowledge of organic gardening practices. Applications are due by March 2, 2015. 

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh has two new part-time openings for an education programs specialist and early childhood program specialist.

Paid Internships

The Pittsburgh Steelers needs two marketing interns for the fall. 

The Allegheny Land Trust is looking for a Chartiers Creek Watershed intern for the summer. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2015.

Check out last week's listings for more opportunities.

To receive Pop City weekly, click here.

WindStax and Aquion Energy add more battery life to wind turbine systems

Two Pittsburgh companies prove that sometimes the best partners are the ones you find in your own back yard.

Strip District-based wind turbine manufacturer, WindStax, recently teamed up with Aquion Energy, a sustainable battery company located on 39th Street in nearby Lawrenceville. WindStax will integrate Aquion’s trademark Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) batteries in their turbine microgrid systems, which will enable them to store more wind-generated energy.

While WindStax has already installed a dozen microgrid systems using traditional battery technologies, the Aquion partnership signals a move toward creating an overall cleaner energy source. Made with safe saltwater electrolyte and nontoxic materials, the AHI batteries are more eco-friendly than lead acid or lithium ion batteries, and produce a low carbon footprint throughout their lifespan, which, as WindStax founder and president Ronald Gdovic points out, could last for many years.

“Partnering with Aquion Energy allows us to offer our customers these environmental benefits while also greatly improving the performance and life of the batteries in our microgrid systems," says Gdovic. "In some cases we anticipate a five-fold increase in life -- possibly up to 20 years."

Founded in 2012, WindStax has worked to bring wind power to residential and commercial consumers by designing easy to use, self-contained systems. There's also the reliability factor, as their turbines are built to operate even in low wind conditions, while their generators are able to store up to several days worth of clean electricity.

Though WindStax is a young company, using Aquion demonstrates their foresight in preparing to grow and change with the industry.

"We recognized long ago that the next big thing in electricity generation will be improvements in battery technology," says Gdovic. "So we designed our turbines to charge a number of different batteries. For us, adding the Aquion battery option only took a small change in the charging profile -- an easy integration."

The first WindStax/Aquion microgrid system will debut in Braddock this March. WindStax is also offering the AHI battery as an option to current customers who wish to upgrade.

Who's hiring in PGH? Astrobotic, Qeexo and more

Each week, Pop City scours the web to bring you fulfilling career opportunities in Pittsburgh. Employers, if you have a job opening or internship you would like to promote, please email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "Hiring" in the subject line. Hit us up on Twitter @popcitypgh if our job listings put you on the path to success.

Astrobotic, a space logistics company specializing in affordable commercial space robotics technology, is hiring multiple positions, including a director of marketing and communications, a senior software engineer, and an avionics engineer.

Astrobotic recently accepted a third Milestone Prize from the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. The $1 million victory, in addition to two previous wins, brings the secured prize money total to $1.75 million.

“These three Milestones are big for us,” says Astrobotic CEO John Thornton. “It’s acknowledgement of a lot of tough work.”

Based in the Strip District, Astrobotic formed in 2008 shortly after the XPRIZE competition was announced. Since then, the company has competed with five other teams by showing off various components of their commercial robotic lunar rover.

The recent achievement brings Astrobotic closer to its goal of sending a robotic rover to the moon in 2016.

Community-based organization Larimer Consensus Group is seeking a neighborhood improvement specialist. Requirements include a valid driver’s license, access to a vehicle, and the ability to work occasional evenings and weekends. Please send current resume and up to three professional references to the Larimer Consensus Group Hiring Committee at mmaeda@kingsleyassociation.org.

PennFuture, a statewide public interest membership organization, is hiring a full-time director of outreach. The qualified candidate will manage PennFuture's issue campaigns, organize coalition efforts, and maintain relationships with policymakers, members of the organization, and the public. PennFuture is also looking for a donor relations intern.

Qeexo, a company that specializes in touchscreen technology, is hiring multiple positions, including a project manager and a software engineer, for its Pittsburgh office.

Mobile commerce platform Branding Brand is hiring for multiple positions, including a communications and events coordinator, a project manager, and a software engineer/web developer.

Dick's Sporting Goods is hiring an assistant graphics designer to work on the development of packaging, collateral and product branding. Requires a B.A. in graphic design and four years of design experience.

Pittsburgh Bike Share, a nonprofit citywide bike sharing system, needs a director of operations and a director of marketing and community relations.  

Check out last week's listings for more opportunities.

To receive Pop City weekly, click here.
 
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