ImaginePittsburghNow

sherlock profileThe Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is about to take its cutting-edge capabilities to a whole new level.

On Feb. 1 the Oakland-based center will unveil Sherlock, a high-performance data handling system that will allow researchers to discover otherwise hidden patterns among what can amount to massive amounts of data. An 11 a.m. celebration will include comments from Carnegie Mellon University President Jared Cohon and University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg. A technical symposium outlining Sherlock’s potential will follow.

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center – or PSC — was established in 1986 as a collaboration among CMU, Pitt and the Westinghouse Electric Co., with support from several federal agencies, the state and private industry. It specializes in analyzing masses of digitized information – sometimes called Big Data — across multiple computer servers. Supercomputing is used in economics, science and medicine for such purposes as enhancing cybersecurity, climate modeling and severe weather prediction, understanding how infections spread and testing preventative strategies, and more. The center’s scientists say Sherlock can create graph analytics by studying a network with as many as 10 billion “edges,” or relationships, among items – be they economic data, people, genes, climate indicators or more.

“Sherlock gives PSC the first system available to researchers that is optimized for a particularly difficult family of questions regarding, for example, security, medicine, public health, and social dynamics,” said Nick Nystrom, the center’s director of strategic applications. “These problems cost individuals and society in time, money, and human suffering. Sherlock also helps keep Pittsburgh — and Pennsylvania — at the forefront of high-performance computing.”

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, a 10-county coalition that markets the benefits of doing business in southwestern Pennsylvania, and assists companies looking to relocate or expand here, salutes the PSC’s 27 years of pioneering work. Click here to learn more about Friday’s events, here to read or listen to the Jan. 29 story on WESA 90.5 FM, or here to read about the PSC’s founding.

Ben Kamber

One of the largest oil and gas trade shows, NAPE East, will be in Pittsburgh from April 10-13, 2013. Houston-based NAPE (North American Prospect Expo), will set up shop at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for its first regional expo which will focus on fostering business opportunities around the region’s growing oil and gas-related industries. Marty Schardt, general partner with NAPE and EVP of the American Association of Professional Landmen, discusses why Pittsburgh was chosen to host the show.

PTI Unveils New Welding Program

The expansion of our region’s energy economy along with the impending retirements of baby boomers is driving demand for welders. Pittsburgh Technical Institute (PTI) is working to meet this demand with the launch of a welders training program that is already experiencing enormous interest. PTI’s President Greg DeFeo and VP of Strategic Initiatives Jeff Belsky discuss the new program.

Buck Consultants Releases Findings Of 2013 Compensation Survey

Will you be getting a good raise in 2013? According to David Van De Voort, principal at Buck Consultants, the likely answer is only if you also received one in 2012. Buck Consultants, a firm which conducts an annul compensation survey,  found  that the overall compensation landscape is not expected to rise in 2013, and in certain cases, your raise may actually decrease from the previous year.

Our Region’s Business airs Sundays at 11 a.m. on WPXI-TV. Hosted by the Allegheny Conference’s Bill Flanagan, the 30-minute business affairs program is co-produced with Cox Broadcasting. The program is rebroadcast on PCNC-TV at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, and at 3:30 p.m. Mondays. It also airs Sundays on WJAC-TV (Johnstown-Altoona) at 6 a.m. and WTOV-TV (Wheeling-Steubenville) at 6:30 a.m.

ImaginePittsburghNow
Pittsburgh Promise Scholar Brianna Smith
Pittsburgh Promise Scholar Brianna Smith

With the Pittsburgh Promise now beginning its sixth year of offering college and technical school scholarships to city students, the nonprofit is also looking to bring those newly minted college grads back home – and to help connect them with some of the thousands of jobs available now in the Pittsburgh region.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently profiled efforts by the innovative program to assist its college and tech school grads with career fairs, interview trainings and networking opportunities, while the New Pittsburgh Courier highlighted a mentorship program of 150 African American male high school students interested in participating in the Pittsburgh Promise.  (Here’s another story about getting those students “Promise Ready.”)

In related news, scientific instrument maker Thermo Fisher Scientific, headquartered in Waltham, Mass. but with about 1,500 workers in Robinson Township, just announced a $1 million commitment that includes scholarships for five high-performing students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or math (known as the STEM fields).

The Pittsburgh Promise began in 2008 to award scholarships to Pittsburgh Public Schools graduates with at least a 2.5 grade point average and 90 percent attendance. Funded with foundation and corporate support, it has provided, to date, more than $25 million in scholarship funds to 3,700 students.

You can learn more about it here. And find out more about jobs in the Pittsburgh region through the Allegheny Conference’s career awareness portal and job search engine, ImaginePittsburgh.com.

Sara Gaal

This Saturday I had the chance to see The Silence of the Lambs on the big screen as part of the Manor at Midnight Oscar Classics. Fun (nerdy) movie fact: it’s one of only three movies to receive the coveted Oscar “big five” winning Best Film, Director, Actor, Actress, and Writing. The Manor will show Oscar-winning movies every Saturday at midnight through the end of February – check out the schedule here.

Manor Theatre

And it should come as no surprise that the movie has a Pittsburgh connection. It was shot here — most notably at Carnegie Museum of Natural Historyand Soldiers and Sailors Museum Memorial. More than 20 years have passed since Lambs and in that time Pittsburgh has become a favorite location of movie studios, due in large part to our generous tax credit. In just the past three years, 24 movies have been filmed here and have brought more than $300 million into the region.

OK, enough about numbers. Let’s talk about this year’s Oscar nominees. Ben Affleck was snubbed. Can a 9-year-old really be a “Best Actress?” Tell me what movie will win Best Picture this year, by either leaving a comment below or Tweet us @ImaginePgh  and if you’re right, you’ll be registered to win a gift card to The Manor. I’m pretty good at picking the winners and make it a habit of seeing every* Best Picture nominee. So, give it a shot and see how you stack-up. You might just walk away with some free tickets!

Oh and if you haven’t been to The Manor recently, go check out the half-million dollar renovations the owners completed last year. New seats, digital conversion and perhaps best of all: a bar featuring beer, wine and movie inspired cocktails. It’s been a part of the city for 90 years and has adapted with the times, much like Pittsburgh itself.

*even the boring ones people claim to see but really don’t

Jim Futrell
The Alamo / Photo by Billy Calzada Copyright San Antonio Express-News
The Alamo / Photo by Billy Calzada Copyright San Antonio Express-News

By Jim Futrell, vice president of market research and analysis for the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance

A recent article published on Texas CEO Magazine’s website talked about the “brain gain” in San Antonio, citing a rise in the number of talented young people with college educations choosing to move to that medium-sized city – particularly to its more urban neighborhoods — to live and build their careers.

Sound familiar? It should, as we’re seeing those same trends in the Pittsburgh region, as I’ve noted here before. Similarly, the Alamo City is also seeing strong “return migration” of native sons and daughters who went away for college or to launch their careers. (We call them boomerangers, or as a colleague prefers, gumbanders.)

As a model for this new “talent economy,” the article cites Pittsburgh and specifically Carnegie Mellon University. It notes that instead of trying to lure graduates away in competition with other firms and locales, companies like Google and Disney are relocating right on campus. (Google has since moved to Bakery Square.)

It’s an interesting take, and of course it’s always nice to see Pittsburgh held up as an example to follow.  But I don’t think you can give sole credit to the activity generated by CMU. Overall it’s a relatively small (albeit very important) part of the economy. Our talent economy (and the talent spun out of Pitt, Duquesne and our many other regional colleges and universities) also manifests itself in all our other key sectors each of which has contributed to our growth.

Personally, I am not sure the comparison between the two cities is as strong as the article makes it seem. San Antonio’s economy was largely built around its several military bases, and government is their largest employment sector, accounting for 19 percent of employment (one-quarter of those with the federal government). In Pittsburgh, 11 percent of regional employment is in government. Tourism is also a critical economic generator for San Antonio.

And while I am sure University of Texas in Austin has some powerful spinoff benefits, San Antonio does not have a CMU or a Pitt. Their major research university is one of the University of Texas Health Science campuses, which does about $200 million in R&D. In fiscal year 2010, that figure in the Pittsburgh region was just over $1 billion.

But it does sound like the city itself is a talent magnet which I can certainly understand. I love San Antonio; it‘s my favorite city in Texas.

Bill Flanagan

Not only is our region among the most livable, it continues to rank among the “most list-able” as well. And we’re off to a good start in 2013 in racking up Top Five rankings.

NBC’s Today Show started things off by noting Pittsburgh as one of three must-see destinations in the world to visit this year. And now, Forbes reports that Pittsburgh is among the happiest cities in which to work.

This list of the happiest and unhappiest cities to work in, compiled by CareerBliss, is based on an analysis of more than 36,000 independent employee reviews between November 2011 and November 2012. Workers from all over the country were asked to evaluate 10 factors that affect workplace happiness. Those include one’s relationship with the boss and co-workers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and control over the work one does on a daily basis.

Workers in Dayton, Ohio ranked happiest, with Knoxville, Honolulu and Memphis coming in second, third and fourth, respectively. Pittsburgh ranks as fifth happiest.

The unhappiest place in America? Boulder, Colorado. Followed by Reno, Wichita, Fresno and Little Rock.

Cleveland ranks sixth unhappiest, not that we’re counting.

So, given our relative happiness, maybe it’s no surprise that our region’s workforce, at 1,265,110, is the largest it’s been in history – even compared to our industrial heyday, according to PittsburghTODAY.com.

Yes, our jobless rate is higher than we’d like it to be, but that’s in part because fewer people are leaving and more are coming; more people are joining the labor force. There’s a perception that there’s greater opportunity here than in other places, and the perception is a reality.

No wonder folks around here are happier.

Also, be sure to check out the special section on Pittsburgh in fDi magazine, a unit of the Financial Times. The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance sponsored the overview of our region’s economy. The issue will be distributed at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland on Jan. 23-27, in keeping with this year’s forum theme of resilient dynamism.