What prompts a successful Pittsburgh gaming company to change its name after 10 years?
Etcetera Edutainment had made a name for itself creating educational video games for a range of industries, but the company moniker never quite reflected its line of video gaming products for a wide range of industries, says Jessica Trybus, CEO. So it did what any smart startup would do, rebranded with a name that captures more of what it does, Simcoach Games.
The name plays off the word simulation as in simple, interactive and measurable. “It’s a sort of pivot,” says Trybus, a professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center who founded the company out of CMU in 2005. “We wanted to rebrand our company and let our products speak for themselves.”
Simcoach brings gamification to the corporate workforce, helping to not only train workers and teach skill sets but improve job safety, a hot space that is driving growth. The startup employs 15 and expects to nearly double in size this year. (Check out NEXT jobs.)
It also delivers video simulations for productivity, ethics, cognitive learning and customer service. Many of the products are delivered on mobile devices, says Trybus.
In 2012, the company extended its game-based methodology to sustained behavior change applications. In the coming month, UPMC will roll out a Simcoach mobile app for patients called “Heart Failure Coach.
Heart failure patients will play mobile games to learn to incorporate key behaviors to facilitate their recovery. On the workforce side, the videos will assist ER doctors in recognizing trauma cases, business students in practicing ethical decision making and analysts in improving adaptive reasoning and problem solving abilities.
Hospitals are no longer being reimbursed by Medicare for certain repeat procedures. They need to find new ways to change patient behaviors after major surgeries, explains Trybus. If it proves successful, Simcoach will expand the methodology to other hospitals.
By simulating potential health problems during recovery, such as what symptoms to monitor and when to call the doctor, we are able to help some of the sickest patients, she says. “We’re just trying to motivate them and present critical skills they can practice.”
“Good game design is good learning,” says Trybus. “The bottom line is it’s active learning. Players are making choices. If you don’t make choices, there’s no game and no effective learning.”
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Looking for a job? Pittsburgh’s got ‘em — more than 22,000 open positions across the 10-county region. Check out our powerful job search aggregator at ImaginePittsburgh.com/work.
UPDATE: Parking will be FREE OF CHARGE in Pittsburgh Parking Authority lots on Friday, Nov. 28, Saturday, Nov. 29 and all Saturdays through Christmas to encourage shopping at downtown merchants. Learn more here.
Get switched on to the holidays at Pittsburgh’s 54th Annual Light Up Night.
Presented by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) on Fri., Nov. 21st, the highly anticipated kick-off to the 2014 holiday season will feature a vibrant mix of time honored traditions along with brand new components and expanded programming spanning the Golden Triangle.
Discover the more festive side of Downtown Pittsburgh, from dusk to dark, with an entire evening of activities and events for all ages designed to showcase the city’s world-class holiday attractions and shopping. One of the country’s largest holiday celebrations, Light Up Night also ushers in full month of Downtown programming presented by the PDP.
Highlights include new components, additional family activities and an expanded lineup of entertainment spanning the event’s four Downtown stages.
Party on the Roberto Clemente Bridge, where the BNY Mellon New Music Stage will welcome national headliner, Cobra Starship, a dance-pop band based in New York City. Rocking over the Allegheny with some of Pittsburgh’s top emerging bands, the Clemente Bridge will also feature performances by Grand Piano and Donora, and an array of tasty treats. The picturesque locale also boasts prime viewing for Zambelli Internationale’s dazzling fireworks finale by, being launched from the adjacent Andy Warhol Bridge.
Looking for a good party spot? Over at the Northwest Savings Bank Stage at Smithfield Street, the crowds will rock out with headliner and local legends Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers who will be joined by special guest sax player and E Street Band member Eddie Manion, for a sneak peek at their upcoming Asbury Park concerts. Also rocking the Northwest Savings Bank Stage will be soul singer Billy Price and country rockers NOMaD. All that rock making you hungry? An added attraction to the Smithfield Street festivities will be the event’s Food Truck Roundup offering an eclectic selection of local eats.
Head to the Holiday Market Stage in Market Square, where the traditions of the season will really come to life. Count down with a guy in a red suit named Santa as he flips that giant switch, illuminating the dazzling BNY Mellon Season of Lights. Featuring more than140,000 lights and a 33-foot tall sphere tree, the choreographed, glittering wonderland will be synchronized to a new high-energy holiday medley and mini-concerts by Jeff Jimerson and Airborne.
Jazz fans should not miss the special homecoming of renowned trumpeter Sean Jones at the EQT Jazzmasters Stage in Katz Plaza. Newly appointed as Chair of the Brass Department at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Jones will be joined by legendary drummer Roger Humphries and vocalists Michele Bensen, Spanky Wilson and Anqwenique Wingfield.
It’s not a holiday without some shopping, and there’s no better place to find those stocking stuffers and special gifts than at the Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square. New for 2014, the charming European-style holiday market will swing open its doors on Light Up Night featuring 30-plus vendors selling international and handcrafted gifts. While in Market Square, visit Santa’s downtown digs and enjoy live entertainment by local bands and performing arts groups.
If tree lighting is your favorite ritual, you’re in the right place. A full lineup of eight official tree lightings and ceremonies begins at noon, with the lighting of the tree at the City-County Building and the dedication of the US Steel Tower crèche, and then concludes at 7 p.m. with the lighting of Highmark Unity Tree followed by rooftop fireworks.
Looking for indoor family-friendly programs? Visit One Oxford Centre for free indoor activities for children, including face painting, balloon art, sand art and caricatures, an exhibition of historic photos celebrating Pittsburgh during the winter season and live holiday music by The Rick Gallagher Trio. Visit with Santa Claus, see the lighting of a 30-foot tree and even take a free horse drawn carriage rides around the block!
For a VIP party experience, check out Light Up Night’s Blast, a special reception hosted by the PDP. VIPers will start at the Union Trust Building with hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and music from 7 to 9 p.m., and will then watch the fireworks from an exclusive viewing area on the Clemente Bridge at 9:38 p.m. Limited tickets are available. (NEXTpittsburgh is a proud media sponsor.)
Be sure to pop into Downtown’s signature buildings and businesses, including Macy’s, Fifth Avenue Place and PPG Place, which will all host Light Up Night merry making, music and family activities.
Leigh White, with the PDP says that between 200,000 and 400,000 revelers are expected to attend this year’s edition of Light Up Night.
Where can you find 25,915 job listings for the Pittsburgh region — all in one place? ImaginePittsburgh.com, that’s where! Each night our powerful job aggregator scrapes more than 900 corporate websites and job search engines for listings across the 10-county Pittsburgh region. So it’s no longer necessary to go to Monster, then Career Builder, then US Jobs and on and on. We bring it all to you in one convenient place.
Here are few of the jobs you’ll find on the site right now:
If you are a transitioning service member or a veteran, Pittsburgh is the destination for you. In fact, Pittsburgh is the #1 Best Place for Veterans in the U.S. according to the 2014 “Best Places for Veterans,” study by USAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes program, based on educational opportunities, jobs, health resources and ease of transition for returning veterans.
We have two hot opportunities right now: a job fair at Heinz Field on November 19, and a new, free career website that matches your military skills with in-demand jobs open now in the Pittsburgh region:
Hiring our Heroes Career Fair for Veterans
Veterans are invited to the freeHiring Our Heroes job fairat Heinz Field on Pittsburgh’s North Shore on Wednesday, Nov. 19. (Register in advance to upload a resume.)
ServicetoOpportunity.org and the Pittsburgh Region
Greater Pittsburgh is home to more than 1,000 energy and related manufacturing companies with more than 2,500 in-demand, open positions that are a good match for veterans and transitioning service members. And these employers are hiring.
ServiceToOpportunity.org is a free career website that translates military occupation codes and experience to civilian opportunities. It also helps veterans create a resume and profile, and provides a direct channel to these Pittsburgh region employers who are interested in hiring veterans.
For veterans and civilians alike, Pittsburgh has more than 20,000 great jobs open across all industries. ImaginePittsburgh.com’s comprehensive career search engine is updated nightly from more than 900 sources (including Monster, Career Builder and LinkedIn) with jobs of all kinds across the 10-county region. ImaginePittsburgh.com does not accept resumes, but we urge you to use the search engine to find a job that might be right for you, and to apply directly to that link.
Graffiti. Wheatpastes. Stencils. Murals. Once renegade and considered urban blight, street art is now a cultural movement showcased in sold-out museum exhibitions and co-opted by brands from Adidas to Dolce & Gabbana.
We’re not talking about the aimless tagging that litters public and private spaces. Think instead of the more famous urban street artists, from Banksy and Basquiat, to Blek Le Rat and Espo.
Or locally think of Tim Kaulen, one of the most recognized street artists-turned-legit. His works–the iconic Deerhead at Carrie Furnaces and his classic Amaco Bulls–were among the first urban art fixtures in the city. Today, his commissioned work appears throughout the city, including The Workers, a 20-foot sculpture honoring Pittsburgh’s heritage located along the South Side riverfront.
Our city’s architecture provides a rich canvas for artists—both authorized and transient. And there are some areas where the art is so concentrated that it’s like walking through an outdoor gallery.
We spoke with Shannon of PGH Murals, street artists Jeremy Raymer and Shane Pilster and visited many neighborhoods with great street art. Here are some of the best places we’ve found and a good start to your Pittsburgh street art tour.
1. Carrie Furnace
In 2012, Shane Pilster, a San Francisco Bay native who moved to Pittsburgh over a decade ago, took a tour of the Carrie Furnace. Pilster, who has been painting graffiti, marveled at the rich “collection” in the historic site—pieces by artists like Hert, Prism, Mfone, Necksi, Onorok, and 21Rak, to name a few. He convinced Ron Baraff, who directs the furnace’s archives, not only to preserve a few of the works but also to designate a couple of spaces for street artists to produce new ones.
In these new walls, Pilster and artists like Kaff-eine have created work that is a sight to behold. Pilster holds Urban Art Tours and Workshops at the Carrie Furnace, a great immersive experience to get a broader understanding of street art’s culture and wide-ranging style.
Of course, uber-hip Lawrenceville makes the list. Start at Doughboy Square to check out Kaff-eine’s work on a boarded-up building. It reflects the street artist ethos, says street artist Jeremy Raymer. “Note how she preserved a Shepard Fairey ‘Obey’ wheat paste by incorporating it in the creature standing.” Raymer’s work, both commissioned and otherwise, can be seen around the city, including the street art gallery on the walls of houses on 35th St. and 42nd St. Don’t miss the“Exploding Homer” by Matt Gondek on Dresden Way between 54th and 55th St. PGH Murals lists 23 works in this area alone.
3. Braddock and North Braddock
With 33 works listed on PGH Murals, a street art tour is just one more reason to check out Braddock. Works by James Simon, Anthony Purcell, Kaff-eine, Swoon, and the 30 artists collective enliven the one square-mile town. Make sure you veer off Braddock Ave. to check out Lady Pink’s Brick Woman under the bridge on Library St. along with Maya Hayuk’s pattern on 809 Talbot Ave., and portraits of local residents by Swoon under the railroad on 505 Verona St.
Since you’re in the area, head over to North Braddock for a short stop. Street art royalty Swoon and the Transformazium art collective have taken over an old church in North Braddock to launch theBraddock Tiles project. You can see some of her work outside the church, on 798 Hawkins Ave. including a super adobe structure at 714 Jones Ave.
4. The East Busway
At 5880 Centre Avenue on the Busway is one of the most detailed murals in the East End (see top photo). “This mural is only visible from the busway or from Tay Way or College Ave where it wraps behind the Tokyo Japanese Food Market off Ellsworth Ave in Shadyside. It’s worth the effort to find a vantage point to see it,” notes PGH Murals. Multiple artists contributed to the work but Ashley Hodder’s Mother Nature image on the left is especially noteworthy for its breathtaking detail. Bring binoculars or a telephoto lens to catch every element that makes up this beautiful work.
And not to miss: On the busway’s North Homewood Ave. end, Hodder and other artists have created “Peace Over Pittsburgh” an exceptional mural under the overpass.
Wilkinsburg may not have the most concentration of street art but it does have a great mix of murals and graffiti. Start at 1105 Franklin Ave. to see Lucas Stock’s and Kyle Holbrook’s graffiti-style mural,Wilkinzburg. Trace the busway route and go off on the side streets to catch other great work. Don’t miss 701 Wood St. where multiple artists including Colleen Black have covered five large walls and a gazebo. There is so much detail in this dense collection that you can spend hours just taking it all in.
It’s no surprise that artist James Simon’s neighborhood is on this list. Simon’s work can be seen throughout the county, but along Forbes and the short expanse of Gist St. is a concentration of his work and that of his colleagues. Don’t miss the the whimsical Base Man with Moon and the toweringUrban Rhythm along Forbes Avenue. Exploring the street art is a good way to get acquainted with this up and coming neighborhood.
Start your Oakland tour by checking out the Locks of Love on Schenley Park Bridge, modeled after a project in Paris. Couples can write their names on a lock and fix it to the chain-link fence to commemorate their love for each other. Then go on a scavenger hunt of sorts to spot some pink dinosaurs, protractors and the Doors of Oakland project.
Bonus: The Garfield Gators Mascot
This work is the only noncommissioned work on the PGH Murals site. And rightly so because it is a beautiful, site-specific work—once discovered, the developers on the site decided not to paint over it. The work is located along N. Pacific Ave at Kincaid St in Garfield and it will take some climbing to find it. The location is about 2/10 of a mile walk from Penn Ave. on N. Evaline. It’s very much worth the hunt.
One of the best sources for street art maps in this city is PGH Murals. Founded by two avid cyclists who go by the names Shannon and Vannaver, the site is the most comprehensive map of legal street art in the city, an eye-opening collection that showcases some of the city’s hidden gems. Growing from 150 locations three years ago to more than 500 today, it includes every commissioned public art, from the Sprout Fund murals we know and love to Shepard Fairey’s 20 sites from 2010, once vivid but now worn and familiar.
Street Art Pittsburgh is another online resource that maps some specific work like riot robots and pink dinosaurs, a good source for “non-commissioned” street art.
Got a favorite we didn’t mention? Feel free to comment below or email us.
Pittsburgh’s got jobs — 24,269 open as of today across the 10-county region. You can find them on the ImaginePittsburgh.com job search engine, a one-stop aggregator of career postings updated daily from nearly 900 corporate and government websites and job search engines, including Monster, Career Builder, LinkedIn and Craigslist. Why go there when you can find it all in one place?