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Emplified takes the guesswork out of employee retention

Right now the workforce is experiencing a major shift as baby boomers begin to retire and Millennials move in. With this shift comes a disconnect between traditional top-down management and employees, which has led to turnover and lost productivity across the board. Pittsburgh-based startup Emplified is breaking on to the scene with its employee-led retention solution for businesses that brings workforce engagement into the modern era.
 
“There’s a huge disengagement in the marketplace,” says Emplified founder and CEO Alex Gindin. “Only 30 percent of employees in the knowledge workforce are actively engaged in the market. The largest portion of disengagement belongs to Millennials right now because companies don’t know how to work with them.”
 
Gindin founded Emplified on the belief that workforce engagement is not something that can be delegated from the top-down through surveys and periodic performance reviews. 
 
“[Workforce engagement] must be cultivated and nurtured from within the organization and driven from the bottom up,” says Gindin. “It needs to show the context and impact of individual efforts on the organization and clearly reinforce individual career paths. This is where Emplified comes in. We elevate employees above their routine for a few moments each day in order to let them capture and curate their professional development, business impact, personal accomplishments and individual needs.”
 
This seems like a tall order, bur Emplified provides this service through its secure online platform and facilitates regular dialogue with individual employees to uncover critical blind spots, navigate career paths and help them take control of their employment.
 
“We empower employees to manage up by amplifying their skills, accomplishments and needs and provide managers with critical insights needed to grow, shape and retain their people,” says Gindin.
 
Emplified is looking to work with companies in the small-medium business market in high volatility turnover fields like technology, sales, marketing and advertising.
 
“Most of those companies don’t have HR capabilities themselves, or if they do, HR is not their core expertise or core competency,” says Gindin.
 
Gindin first had the idea for Emplified about seven years ago when he managed a team of employees at Morgan Stanley in New York. As a young manager, he says it was hard to understand what his employees actually wanted in an economy where it was difficult to retain talent.
 
Using a model that employs a framework rooted in cognitive psychology, Emplified elevates people above their day-to-day routines or workloads to give them a perspective of where they actually are, where they are heading and their progress toward getting there.
 
As the former director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Pantherlab Works in the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Gindin has solid experience launching products and technologies and bringing them to the marketplace. Emplified recently completed its alpha phase and is streamlining the platform and addressing scalability this summer with plans to release a full-featured version in September.

Who's hiring in PGH? WESCO, Pitt, Robert Morris University and more...

Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. Read on for this week's roundup.

Recent job openings at the University of Pittsburgh include web application developer in the biomedical informatics department, a charitable relationship associate in the institutional advancement office, an admissions counselor, a network engineer and a network security engineer, a director of development in the law school, and a director of young alumni and student programs.
 
Alcoa is hiring an entry-level communications specialist to provide support to the communications department at the Alcoa Technical Center.
 
K&L Gates LLP is hiring a public relations and communications assistant to assist in developing and executing strategic media/public relations activities for the firm, including press releases, interview opportunities and bylined articles.
 
WESCO is hiring numerous positions, including global accounts manager, category analyst, project specialist, pricing coordinator, supplier relations manager, buyer, investor relations manager, senior accountant, financial services director, financial analyst, director of region operations, director of e-commerce, and human resources project manager.
 
Robert Half Technology is hiring a SQL database administrator, a systems engineer, a UI/UX designer and a software engineer.
 
Diamond Kinetics is hiring a lead software developer, a cross-platform mobile software engineer, a product and community manager and a digital and social marketing manager.
 
Expedient Data Centers, a managed IT solutions provider, is hiring a web application engineer.
 
BeCause LLC, a platform that connects audiences and helps them better understand one another through an interactive polling and commenting application, is hiring a chief technology officer/lead architect.
 
The Sprout Fund is hiring a program assistant for catalytic funding to contribute to the overall strength of the organization through the development and successful implementation of Sprout’s programmatic activities and its supported projects.
 
Robert Morris University is hiring a campaign director with a minimum of 5-7 years of experience in development, an associate programmer/programmer analyst, a benefits and payroll specialist and a digital marketing specialist.
 
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is hiring an office coordinator for the Frick Environmental Center. 
 
Amizade Global Service-Learning is hiring a marketing and social media coordinator to begin work as soon as possible at The Global Switchboard.

Engineering better baseball players

Diamond Kinetics is a Pittsburgh-based company aimed at improving the performance of baseball and softball players of all ages and skill levels by collecting and analyzing motion data. Founded in 2012, the company builds upon intellectual property developed at both the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan and combines engineering talent, innovation and a love of sports to bring these tools to market.
 
William Clark, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the University of Pittsburgh, founded the company after years of coaching youth baseball and softball. He saw how reliant skill assessment and performance improvement were on the “eyeball test”—essentially trusting the human eye to understand and diagnose performance improvement opportunities in a swing that takes about a quarter of a second. As an engineer, Clark know there had to be a better way, and so he took matters into his own hands and began developing the technology behind the Diamond Kinetics product SwingTracker.
 
“SwingTracker is being built to serve the specific needs of amateur baseball players of all ages and their coaches—whether they are just getting a taste of the sport in their local recreation league or are at the highest levels of amateur competition,” says CEO and cofounder C.J. Handron.
 
The technology behind SwingTracker uses an inertial measurement unit, or sensor, to capture position and movement in space on a real-time basis and then sends it via BlueTooth to a paired mobile device. Using proprietary tools and methods, the data is then analyzed and presented in an easy to understand interface so players and coaches can understand the swing, compare it against relevant benchmarks and identify specific areas of improvement. There is also a Diamond Kinetics online community where players can connect with their coach, compare and analyze swing data at a deeper level and access content to help them improve their performance.  
 
“The data is captured at over 1,000 data points per second, so there is a lot of information with which to work.”
 
Pre-orders for SwingTracker will be accepted beginning in July for players and coaches who want to “bat leadoff” and have first access to this technology. Beyond the SwingTracker for baseball, Diamond Kinetics plans to expand into fast pitch softball and into other areas of both sports where motion capture and analysis can help players and coaches improve performance. The company has also identified a number of ways to apply the technology at all levels of professional baseball.
 
“The technology and what we are building with it will truly take the mystery out of motion in baseball,” says Handron.
 
Diamond Kinetics is looking to expand its team; job openings can be found on its website.

Locally created, handsfree smartphone mounts rival GoPro

David Rost lives an active lifestyle and like many others in this digital age, he enjoys documenting his adventures and sharing them with friends and family via social media. The problem is that with hands tied up holding cameras and other technology, it can be difficult to fully enjoy the experience.
 
Several years ago, he was skiing in Colorado and wanted to film the beauty of the landscape for his kids. Not interested in spending $300-400 on a GoPro, he opted to use his iphone 4, holding the phone in his hand while skiing. This gave him the idea to develop something that would allow him to use his devices handsfree. Using elastic, clips, a few cases and his smartphone, he developed an early prototype for a chest harness. Since then, Rost launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $28,000 and developed a variety of mounts under the name READYACTION.
 
In addition to the chest harness, Pittsburgh-based READYACTION offers mounts for bike handles and ski poles, helmets and cars and motorcycles. And new to the collection is the "office" chest harness that allows for handsfree use of tablets, which would be useful for such professions as teachers and home inspectors, says Rost. All products are priced at $50 and under.

There are many everyday uses for the mounts, too. The ski pole and bike attachment can be used in the back of cars so kids can watch movies and the car and motorcycle mounts are perfect for using the GPS function on smartphones.
 
Rost says his products "are just making all your devices easier and more fun to use."
 
iPhone Life Magazine recently reviewed the READYACTION catalog of products and gave them a rating of four and a half stars out of five, praising the lightweight construction, easy on/off design, customizable brackets to fit any size smartphone, and secure fittings that hold devices safely in place, allowing for high-quality video footage.
 
Last week, READYACTION went from a provisional patent to patent pending in the United States and has an international patent pending as well.
 
"If we are able to get a patent on this marketplace, we will be a market leader and perhaps the only one in the market. That means we can license our products all over the world, country by country."
 
READYACTION products can be purchased through the company's website, and Rost is hoping to get them on the shelves of retailers in the not too distant future. 

Who's hiring in PGH? CCAC, Alcoa, American Heart Assoc. and more...

Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. Read on for this week's roundup.

The City of Pittsburgh is hiring a bicycle pedestrian coordinator. Candidates must have at least two years of full-time experience in urban planning, engineering, bicycle advocacy, public policy or a related field.
 
Management Science Associates is hiring numerous positions in client service, data management, data processing, operations management, human resources, and information technology. Visit the MSA career page for details.
 
Community College of Allegheny County is hiring a registrar, a bursar, a director of accounting, a director of support services, a career and technical education director, a dean of student development, a dean of academic affairs and an associate dean of academic affairs.
 
Carnegie Mellon University is hiring a communications coordinator for the School of Drama. The communications coordinator is responsible for various tasks related to marketing and recruiting for the school. CMU is also hiring a robotics engineer and an electrical engineer for its National Robotics Engineering Center and a manager of communications for the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
 
UPMC is hiring a manager of media relations for its downtown Pittsburgh location. Five or more years of experience in media relations, journalism or communications is required.
 
Alcoa is hiring to fill numerous engineering positions at its Alcoa Center facility. See details on Alcoa career website.

U.S. Steel is hiring a communications program management analyst. This position will be supporting transformation, analytics, communications and continuous improvement initiatives relating to the Carnegie way.
 
The American Heart Association is hiring a foundation relations director. Day-to-day work includes strategic evaluation of potential donors to match donor funding interests with mission, donor relationship cultivation and correspondence, preparation of grant proposals/applications, collaborating with program staff on opportunities, and appropriate stewardship and follow-through. The Pittsburgh office is also hiring a quality and systems improvement director.
 
The Northside Leadership Conference is hiring a coordinator to serve as the liaison between the neighborhood groups of the conference and Allegheny General Hospital in the implementation of the Northside Partnership Agreement for the purpose of supporting and advancing the comprehensive revitalization of the Northside.
 
PULSE (Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience) is hiring a high-energy program coordinator to help the organization as it grows.
 
The Alzheimer’s Association is hiring an associate director of events to manage the overall events strategy throughout the Greater Pennsylvania Chapter. 
 
The Arthritis Foundation Great Lakes Region is hiring a community development manager to handle all aspects of special events fundraising including planning, execution and evaluation.

Have a job to submit? Email us here.

Test your theory at Pittsburgh's first community biotech lab this fall

Many communities offer resources on how to shoot a basketball, swing a bat, or catch a football — but there’s often no place for one to channel an interest in science, says Andre Samuel, who recently received his Ph.D. in biological sciences from Duquesne University. Thanks to a partnership with Duquesne University and Urban Innovation21, such a resource is coming to Pittsburgh this fall.
 
Duquesne and Urban Innovation21, a public-private partnership that boosts regional economic development through innovation-driven entrepreneurship, are teaming up to establish Pittsburgh’s first community biotechnology laboratory space, which Samuel has been selected to direct.
 
The lab and wide-ranging access to it will benefit local education, innovation and economy. The facility will be open to middle and high school students, college students, and small businesses, says Alan W. Seadler, associate academic vice president for research and technology at Duquesne. Users will be trained on how to use the lab safely and efficiently.
 
“No biotechnology space is available for use by high school educators and their students outside of what is accessible within their school system, and the university lab spaces which might be used are always in high demand by professors and their students,” says Seadler. “This lab will provide educational and community outreach, in keeping with Duquesne’s strategic plan, particularly for urban students whose schools might not have these capabilities. It also will give startup biomedical companies access to research-grade instruments.”

William Generett, president and CEO of Urban Innovation21, says the build out for the lab will begin in early September and it will be open to the public in the late fall.
 
“There’s an excitement about the lab. We can’t open it soon enough to fill the need,” says Generett.
 
Larry Miller, the life science executive in residence at Innovation Works, says the new lab will provide a similar catalytic experience that the Tech Shop did for rapid prototyping, but for the biotech science community.
 
“Their biotech lab will provide “wet labs” to university grads and undergrads as well as entrepreneurs. This is the population from whom most of our start-ups are imagined and launched. Having ready access to wet lab space, standard lab equipment and state of the art tools will speed up the testing of their hypothesis. Overall, our goal is to keep these talented scientists and engineers in the region.”
 
“At Innovation Works, about one-third of our investment portfolio for the last 10 years has been in life science companies,” says Miller. “So, we support the Biotech Lab concept—it solves a number of limited resource constraints and opens up the life science experience to the general population. It’s just what we need to develop biotech engineers and scientists and compete in the global economy today.”
 
Partners serving on the biotech lab’s advisory panel include ASSET STEM EducationCarlow UniversityCommunity College of Allegheny CountyCarnegie Science CenterDuquesne University’s School of EducationPenn State Center PittsburghThermoFisher and UPMC.

AlphaLab company Jetpack Workflow helps accountants be more productive

David Cristello’s software idea had 10 accounting firms forking over money before a single line of code was written. He founded Jetpack Workflow, a cloud-based recurring client management system for professional service firms that was recently presented to the public at AlphaLab’s Demo Day.
 
While the system will have wider applications in the future, he’s currently focused on serving the accounting profession, as accountants must manage many forms and checklists for each client. The Jetpack Workflow team interviewed thousands of accountants and bookkeepers about the most time-consuming or painful problems they deal with in their jobs. The resulting software makes it easy for accountants to keep track of numerous forms, and allows them to ditch the antiquated file cabinet system some firms still rely upon.
 
Currently, the market offers broad-based tools like customer relationship management systems that aren’t built for managing recurring client work and project management tools that aren’t suited to track hundreds of clients, says Cristello.
 
“The original concept came from hearing the pain of tracking due dates, client work, staff and recreating similar client files over and over again,” says Cristello. “Jetpack Workflow exists because we want to alleviate pain and frustrations from their firms so they can become more fun, productive and profitable. When they can save admin time, better track staff, or not deal with complicated software, it frees up their time and focus to serve their clients and build their firm.”
 
With features that allow users to apply filters and automatically clone checklists, Jetpack Workflow is designed to eliminate a lot of headaches. In the future, it will also be able to integrate with other cloud platforms.
 
Managers can also use Jetpack Workflow to track the progress of their staff – something that has been nearly impossible for them until now.
 
Since the service launched about a month ago, it has tripled the number of firms it’s working with and is setting up new features to further serve users.
 
So far, clients are thrilled.
 
"It’s definitely been a time saver, and instead of getting lost trying to track so many tasks, now I know where they are and can get instantly focused on what requires attention,” says Rob Olson of Apex Payroll.
 
There is a small team in Pittsburgh and other members in Louisiana and Slovenia with backgrounds in back-end development, front-end development and design, sales and marketing.
 
“We're fortunate to be in a time where talent can come from anywhere, although we look forward to continuing to build up our presence here in Pittsburgh,” says Cristello.

Who's hiring in PGH? Start-ups, universities and more...

Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. Read on for this week's roundup.
 
Conversant Labs is looking for software engineers to help build mobile apps for the blind and visually impaired. Developers will get to work with speech recognition and natural language processing technologies to create powerful applications that improve the lives of our users. Contact info@conversantlabs.com for more info.

Diamond Kinetics, a company actively commercializing a revolutionary new technology platform to improve player performance in both baseball and softball, is hiring a lead software developer (web and mobile) and a cross-platform mobile developer.
 
Rent Jungle, online apartment search engine, is hiring a Python developer to oversee day-to-day coding for the back-end systems that power the company's data-gathering systems.
 
Treatspace, an emerging healthcare IT startup in Pittsburgh, is hiring a project manager to provide clients with software implementation services. 
 
Murray Avenue Apothecary, Pittsburgh's premier compounding and wellness pharmacy, is hiring a clinical administrative assistant (certified pharmacy technician) to process and schedule consultations for clients, organize and execute "Lunch and Learn" events, process RX refills, enter patient data, manage inventory, develop and maintain working relationships with physicians throughout the city and region, and assist staff with other administrative tasks as they arise. 
 

The Environmental Charter School is looking for a creative and catalytic K-3 Arts Thinking Lab Fellow to co-teach alongside a science co-teacher. Successful candidates must be progressive minded, and embody a can-do spirit and work ethic. The school is also seeking a principal for its upper school. This position will support the infusion of culture within the educational experience at ECS, and lead faculty in building and evolving an innovative school in the city of Pittsburgh.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is seeking a full-time executive assistant to provide administrative support for the Executive Director. The candidate must be a professional, highly motivated and reliable individual with exceptional writing, communication, organizational and multi-tasking skills.

Conservation Consultants, Inc., located in the Southside, is hiring a part-time bookkeeper with at least five years of experience and an extensive knowledge of Quickbooks. Experience with nonprofits is a plus.   

Carlow University is hiring a web and social media content editor. The position requires a creative and engaging professional to handle a mix of responsibilities including social media, photography, video creation, writing, web wrangling, and out-of-the-box problem solving.
 
Carnegie Mellon University is hiring an executive director of alumni relations and annual giving; an assistant director for the Tepper School of Business Masters Admissions Office; a computer services systems administrator; and a policy and compliance coordinator for its Computer Security Office.
 
The University of Pittsburgh is hiring a marketing content coordinator for its Office of Admissions and Financial Aid; a web application developer for Pitt business programs; a development associate for the Eye & Ear Foundation; and a server systems manager for the NSABP Biostatistical Center.
 
Robert Morris University is hiring an annual giving specialist to oversee its phonathon program and other fundraising initiatives as well as a major gifts officer.
 
Point Park University is hiring a director of student life, a financial aid administrator, and an assistant registrar to manage registration database and provide technical support to students and faculty.

Coming & Going: Pittsburgh professionals on the move

Jackie Baker recently joined Bricolage as the theater’s new general manager. Baker was formerly the development manager at Kelly Strayhorn Theater. In addition to overseeing Bricolage’s day-to-day administration and the long-term healthy functionality of the organization, she is working to double the staff and usher in a new strategic plan.

Mayor William Peduto recently hired FBI Special Agent Stephen A. Bucar as Pittsburgh’s new Public Safety Director. Bucar, who was raised in Washington County, has overseen the analysis of information associated with domestic and international terrorism investigations for field offices across the United States as a supervisory special agent section chief in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division in Washington, D.C. He was also formerly an assistant special agent in charge of a branch within the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, the largest office of its kind in the nation.

C. Todd Gibson has recently joined the global law firm K&L Gates LLP as an investment management partner in its Boston and Pittsburgh offices. Gibson was formerly with Reed Smith LLP. Focusing his practice on international investment management and globally distributed fund products, Gibson advises clients such as U.S. and international investment managers, broker-dealers, hedge funds and private equity funds on regulatory compliance matters, investment management services, and the sale of pooled investment products across borders.

As special U.S. counsel to funds organized under the European Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities directive, he also advises on cross-border acquisitions of foreign asset managers and compliance with foreign laws and regulations.

Brad Stephenson recently joined Level Interactive/University Bound Agency as its Director of Strategic Accounts. Stephenson was previously the senior digital marketing manager at Philips Respironics. In his new position, Stephenson ensures marketers stay informed on the effectiveness of how their money is being spent.

Burns White LLC, a full-service law firm that provides corporate, litigation and consulting counsel to clients operating across a broad spectrum of industries nationwide, recently hired three new associates at its Pittsburgh office:

Matthew J. Glenn’s energy practice involves the conducting of research, review and preparation of due diligence and title curative measures, as well as the writing of certified title opinions for clients in the oil and gas industry. Glenn was formerly an abstractor at Turner Oil & Gas Properties.
 
Andrew W. Lawrence assists clients in the oil and gas industry with due diligence review, title curative measures and certified title opinions. Lawrence was formerly an abstractor at Definitive Energy Solutions LLC.
 
An experienced litigator and a trial attorney, Candace G. Ragin brings a diverse practice in civil and criminal law to the Transportation Group at Burns White. Ragin is an adjunct professor in the Sociology and Law Department at Saint Vincent College and was formerly an associate attorney for the Allegheny County Office of Conflict Counsel and an assistant solicitor in the City of Pittsburgh Law Department.

Do you have news to share about Pittsburgh professionals on the move? Submit to Pop City via email.

Art Institute of Pittsburgh alum works visual effects magic on new X-Men film

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the new X-Men film X-Men: Days of Future Past, you are missing out on visual effects by Pittsburgh’s own Joseph A. Spano III. Spano, who received his bachelor’s degree in visual effects and motion graphics from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2009, worked as senior compositor for Digital Domain on the film starring Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellan and Jennifer Lawrence.
 
Prior to his graduation from The Art Institute, Spano sold nearly all of his belongings in preparation for his cross-country move to Los Angeles. Determined to hit the ground running, he packed up his car and embarked on his journey the day after receiving his diploma. He’s since made himself at home in Hollywood with more than 29 films under his belt, including Iron Man 3, Wolverine, 42 and A Good Day to Die Hard. He's also worked on numerous  television productions, including True Blood, Behind the Candelabra, Mad Men and CSI.
 
Spano says the highlight of his career has been getting a job with Digital Domain, which was his “dream studio” in college. As part of the Digital Domain team, he worked on Iron Man 3, which was nominated for an Academy Award for its visual effects.
 
“A career in visual effects is interesting in that almost every day I have a new, unique challenge to face,” says Spano. “Specifically as a digital compositor, my job is at least 50 percent problem-solving.”
 
Spano is responsible for the final shot as it appears on screen. To do this, he combines the work from other departments like CG, Environments and FX, and is responsible for color corrections and green screen keys among other preparations. 
 
Spano says the visual effects work is a much heavier process than people tend to think. Things shot in front of a green or blue screen do not magically vanish. Spano says they spend sometimes hundred of hours to attain photo-real results.  
 
The technical work is just one aspect of the challenges Spano faces in his career.
 
“If I were to single out the absolute most challenging aspect, it would have to be the difficulty of leading a normal life while working,” he says. “We constantly have to move for work, often working 12- to 20-hour days, six or seven days per week. This starts to put a huge strain on your day-to-day life, as well as your social life."
 
Spano recently worked 47 consecutive days without a day off.
 
It may be exhausting, but Spano says he loves his career.
 
“I absolutely love knowing that my work is going to be around long after I am gone -- living on in these films.”

Who's hiring in PGH? The Parks Conservancy, C-leveled and more ...

Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. Read on for this week’s roundup.
 
Burson-Marsteller’s Consumer and Brand Marketing team is searching for a client executive, a public relations professional with a minimum of one year of previous public relations work experience, to be an integral member of the account team and service the client through research, writing, program development and management, and day to day account administration. The global agency is also searching for a senior associate, a public relations professional with a minimum of six years of previous public relations work experience, that will be responsible for day-to-day client projects and/or events to ensure the quality of work meets the client’s objectives and provides value. This role will manage diverse internal teams, drive project deliverables, achieve deadlines and deliver outstanding results. Enthusiastic, tireless, passionate and driven people are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter indicating interest in either of these positions to Annette Capp at annette.capp@bm.com. No phone calls please.
 
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is hiring a grants manager to handle all phases of the grants application and administration processes, from the identification of potential new sources of funding and proposals, writing and submitting the grant requests, ensuring compliance with grant requirements and preparing reports in a timely and accurate basis. The ideal candidate will have at least seven years of grant management and writing experience, including grants from foundations, corporations and government entities.

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, which is currently being developed on 460 acres along the airport corridor near Settler’s Ridge, is seeking a horticulture and facilities manager. The position is responsible for the construction of horticultural exhibits, and maintenance of living plant collections, garden buildings and infrastructure. The ideal candidate will have a bachelor’s degree in horticulture, botany, natural science or a related field and at least five years of progressive experience in managing horticultural staff, preferably in a public garden.

First Insight is hiring a product marketing manager to develop, implement and maintain First Insight’s product line. The position is responsible for directing and performing all aspects of product development, product changes and product promotions including development procedures, specifying components, packaging and header design, product positioning, pricing, catalog and sell sheet copy, training aides and point of purchase merchandisers.

InRhythm, a fast growing, innovative technology company, is hiring a distributor support specialist. The position is responsible for providing ongoing personalized support and training of the InfoMetrics database program to client distributors and their staff.
 
Carnegie Mellon University is hiring several interesting positions, including a director of marketing for Student Affairs Operations to develop and implement marketing strategies and initiatives for Conference & Event Services, Dining Services, Housing Services, and the Cohon University Center. A bachelor’s degree in marketing, business administration, or a related field and a minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in a marketing role is required. CMU is also hiring a campus affairs financial manager to assist in providing financial data and analysis, communicating and assuring policy compliance, and facilitating colleagues' abilities to anticipate needs, identify potential problems, and forecast resource requirements.
 
The University of Pittsburgh is hiring an assistant manager for its computing services department. This senior level technical assistant manager position reports to the director of system engineering involving analysis, planning, requirements, design, development, maintenance and testing of enterprise/ departmental system and services.
 
C-leveled is hiring an account executive to manage three to five company accounts by maintaining and directing client contact and managing client expectations to ensure client satisfaction. The ideal candidate will have two to five years of experience in managing accounts; agency experience preferred. 

Are you hiring? Send your job openings to Pop City at innovationnews@popcitymedia.com.

CMU launches cross-disciplinary institute to spur innovation

With the launch of Carnegie Mellon’s Integrated Innovation Institute, it becomes the first university to cross train students in engineering, design and business. The market-focused institute is meant to speed the pace of innovation via collaboration, something that has long been a hallmark of CMU. Students take courses across disciplines to understand how those other disciplines think, so they will be ready to be successful innovators in the marketplace.
 
"Global business challenges demand a new breed of executive talent,” says institute co-director Peter Boatwright, the Carnegie Bosch Professor of Marketing at the Tepper School of Business. “Our integrated innovation tenets force students outside their previous training and comfort zones, creating hybrid thinkers and doers. We've been moving toward this pivotal point for years, training students in a deeply integrated and pragmatic method that directly addresses the barriers inhibiting speed in industry."
 
The institute was inspired by the cross-disciplinary curriculum of CMU’s Master of Integrated Innovation program, which was founded in 2003 as the Master of Product Development program, says co-director Eric Anderson, an associate professor in the School of Design and associate dean of the College of Fine Arts.
 
Anderson says the program’s success has been the result of tackling the “fuzzy front end of development” — figuring out the kinds of things that should be designed and what features customers want to see in products.
 
In addition to the Pittsburgh-based Master of Integrated Innovation for Products in Services, the core of the institute includes the Master of Science in Software Management, based in Silicon Valley and founded in 2004; and a professional master’s degree planned for fall 2015 as part of Carnegie Mellon’s new Integrated Media Program at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
 
“I think the challenges most folks have is that they don’t always start off with integration of disciplines in mind,” Anderson says of typical snags in the innovation process that the institute aims to alleviate.
 
“Companies are still very linear in how they think of product design. In companies that are more successful, they collaborate in points of the process. But we distinguish ourselves because we are integrated in how we teach — so people become hybrid thinkers and doers. It’s hard to get disciplines together to think about a problem at a high enough level that people can work through the difficulties.”
 
Anderson says being empathetic to other disciplines helps identify opportunities and shape potential solutions to challenges.
 
“Our students, from day one, they are thinking in an integrated environment,” he says. “And they are being taught the fundamentals of other disciplines.”
 
So what does this kind of cross-discipline collaboration look like in action?
 
“From the outside, it may seem like organized chaos,” Anderson says, with a laugh. “It is very dynamic. You have people sketching and making diagrams and papers and reports, all of which inform the process from different disciplines… They all weave it together at different stages in the process to make arguments about why what they are proposing is the best solution for the problem that has been stated.”
 
The university has dedicated a state of the art building to the institute that features open and flexible space that can be reconfigured at any time to accommodate talks or teams.
 
Not only are students constantly integrating other disciplines into their work, they are often immersed in the cultures and environments for which they are designing solutions. A CMU collaboration with the long haul truck company Navistar several years ago exemplifies the success of this level of immersion.
 
Anderson says during the project, students practically lived at truck stops. This environmental research yielded key insight students would not have otherwise learned.
 
“Students found in their research that when truckers are pulled over by state troopers — truckers must open their door to share their license and registration. And when the truck is dirty, truckers are more likely to get a ticket.”
 
For this reason, a cleaning zone was one of the five activity zones implemented in the redesign of the internal cab of the truck. The other zones included sleeping, working, meal preparation and pets. The five teams that designed the zones had their work patented and their features were translated to one large system. The truck won the 2008 Truck of the Year award.
 
“It’s because of this integrated approach that allows them to have these real world experiences and allows them to be immediately valuable in the marketplace,” says Anderson.

Highlights from Demo Day

On Tuesday, a crowd of about 500 people flocked to see demos by the current cohort of companies at Alphalab, which was recently ranked the sixth best accelerator in the country. This Demo Day also marked the debut of Alphalab Gear, a hardware and robotic startup accelerator. For the first time, the event was held at Stage AE to accommodate the ever-growing crowd, a testament to the excitement and momentum surrounding Pittsburgh innovation.
 
With so much talent in Pittsburgh, it’s no wonder Illana Diamond, managing director of Alphalab Gear, says it’s the mentorship and extensive alumni network that make Alphalab/Alphalab Gear standout from their counterparts. Indeed, in a survey led by MIT professor Yael Hochberg, entrepreneurs ranked Alphalab third in the nation for general mentorship and industry-specific knowledge.
 
Both Alphalab and Alphalab Gear are part of Innovation Works, the region’s largest seed stage investor. Investing in and providing business assistance to high-potential seed and early-stage tech companies in the Pittsburgh region, Innovation Works has made a name for itself as one of the nation’s most active seed investors.
 
While Innovation Works is certainly a major player in the Pittsburgh innovation scene, the city as a whole continued to outpace national averages in the amount of venture dollars invested in regional companies from 2009-13, according to a report by Ernst and Young and Innovation Works that was released earlier this spring. The report also points to the growing number of successful company exits as proof of Pittsburgh’s success as a hub for innovation.
 
Read on for highlights from the Demo Day presentations.
 
Last year, the United States threw away 40 percent of its food supply. FreshTemp, an Alphalab Gear company, aims to eliminate waste by making it easy to monitor and manage the temperature of perishable goods across the entire supply chain. Cloud-based Freshtemp automates temperature collection during production, transportation, and the storage of any product via state-of-the-art Bluetooth devices. The company is already working with some big names in the food industry, including Wendy’s and Popeyes.
 
What’s lighter than aluminum and stronger than steel? Carbon fiber. Just one problem, until now, manufacturing carbon fiber products has been cost prohibitive to only the aerospace and automotive industries. That’s where Alphalab Gear’s RapidTPC comes in. RapidTPC has developed a proprietary manufacturing process that enables consumer markets to automate the mass production of parts from composite materials – reducing both initial capital costs and production costs by 90 percent. Replacing materials with composites can reduce the weight of a product by 50 percent. The company is already working with a baby product company and plans to expand into the sporting goods industry in the future.

CDL Warrior, an Alphalab company, is a mobile platform for commercial truck drivers and fleets. It saves truckers time and increases productivity through tools that simplify mandatory logs that keep drivers compliant, thus avoiding costly fees and lost time on the road. The app also has a feature to quickly facilitate resolutions to long wait times and other events that delay drivers while sending automated, real-time alerts to their dispatch.

Who's hiring in PGH? Alcoa, Duquesne University, PULSE and more...

A note from the editor: Pop City will soon launch a regular series featuring recent hires and departures in Pittsburgh. Submit your hiring news and job openings via email.
 
Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. Read on for this week’s roundup.
 
DICK’S Sporting Goods is hiring a community and corporate relations coordinator with three to five years of relevant experience to create, support, execute and evaluate community relations events, charitable programs and corporate giving strategies.
 
Alcoa is hiring an innovation and technology communications manager with at least 10 years of relevant experience. This newly created position will develop and drive a dynamic technology communications strategy and brand vision for Alcoa globally.
 
Conestoga-Rovers & Associates is hiring an environmental engineer with at least 10 years of environmental experience to manage projects, maintain budgets, oversee remedial system installation, conduct field activities, maintenance and operations.
 
Winchester Thurston School is hiring a director of eLearning to provide leadership, planning, and oversight of the school’s teaching and learning that is delivered, supported and enhanced through the use of electronic and/or digital technologies. 
 
Pittsburgh Council of Higher Education is searching for an executive director with seven to 10 years of experience in higher education to work to strengthen existing partnerships and to create new collaborative opportunities for PCHE's member institutions. The position will act as a spokes person for PCHE and promote and support other collaborative efforts for PCHE institutions through fundraising, proposal writing, program development, and joint sponsorship of academic and non-academic programming. 
 
Duquesne University is hiring an advancement communications coordinator to plan and execute a wide range of communications projects, including electronic and printed materials, feature articles, reports and other collateral for the Development, Alumni Relations and External Relations functions within the Division of University Advancement. 
 
Carlow University is hiring a web and social media content editor with at least three years of professional experience working in a web content development role or similar function.
 
Carnegie Mellon University is hiring several exciting positions, including an associate director of Corporate Relations and Career Services at the Integrated Innovation Institute, an associate director of the Career Opportunities Center (Technology Careers) at the Tepper School of Business, a computer security information analyst at the Software Engineering Institute, a software developer and senior software developer at the Software Engineering Institute, a director for strategic initiatives and engagement in the Office of the Provost, and a data services librarian who has a demonstrated understanding of data curation and lifecycle management of data in an academic setting.
 
The University of Pittsburgh posted several interesting positions last week, including a director of fan engagement and new media with at least five years of relevant experience and an assistant director of media relations for the athletics office.
 
PULSE (Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience) is hiring a high-energy, part-time office administrator to coordinate office work and help support fundraising efforts for 20 hours per week. Cover letter, resume and salary requirements should be sent to ccooke@pulsepittsburgh.org by 5PM on June 6.

New real-time traffic signal technology to hit the streets this June

The city is soon extending its cutting-edge system of real-time traffic signals that adapt instantly to shifting traffic conditions. The new traffic signal technology is coming to the Baum-Centre corridor. This $1.8 million pilot project will provide the first-of-its-kind smart traffic technology from the city’s eastern edge almost to Downtown.
 
This work is being done in cooperation with the locations foundation community and two Carnegie Mellon University entities: the University Transportation Center (UTC), which explores cutting-edge technologies that could influence everything from the safety of vehicles and roads to the analysis of traffic flow, and Traffic 21, a multi-disciplinary research initiative addressing problems facing the transportation system of the Pittsburgh region. The UTC and Traffic21 project call the technology the Scalable Urban Traffic Control system, or Surtrac.
 
“Pittsburgh uses its quirks -- in this case a tight urban street grid packed with pedestrians, bikes and commuters -- to make itself great. We don’t have the resources to widen roads or buy up properties to solve our traffic issues -- we use brainpower to create efficiency instead,” says Mayor Peduto.
 
“What also makes Pittsburgh special is the way government works alongside university and private partners to make splashes, such as with this project, that get noticed on the world stage. This is a proud moment for CMU and our city.”
 
Traffic21’s Surtrac project has studied adaptive traffic signal control technology to control real-time optimization of urban traffic flows for the last four years. Prior adaptive signal technologies typically focused on straight-ahead traffic flows common to suburban areas. Surtrac senses constant shifts in crossflows of traffic that dominate urban areas and adjusts green lights on a second-by-second basis, accounting for changes in the traffic flow resulting from breakdowns, accidents, special events or street closures. The system is decentralized, meaning each intersection manages its own local traffic and neighboring intersections communicate to coordinate behavior.
 
“The Baum-Centre corridor serves as a critical gateway to Oakland, Shadyside, Bloomfield, Friendship and East Liberty," says Councilman Dan Gilman. "This project will not only improve traffic between these neighborhoods, but will also improve the health of residents and visitors by reducing vehicle emissions by over 20 percent."
 
According to the Mayor’s office, an existing UTC traffic signal project at 18 intersections in East Liberty and Shadyside has cut vehicle wait times by 42 percent, travel times by 24 percent and vehicle emissions by 21 percent.
 
The project will soon be expanded to another 23 intersections along Baum Boulevard and Centre Avenue going west to Craig Street. Installation of the system is scheduled from mid-June through the end of the year, and should be operational in early 2015.
 
The project is underwritten by UPMC, the Hillman Foundation, the Heinz Endowments and the R.K. Mellon Foundation, as well as the city, U.S. Department of Transportation and PennDOT. The foundations are funding nearly $1.3 million of the work and government bodies are funding $512,000.
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