Ben Kamber
(L-R) Justin Horvat, River Vue’s business manager; Bill Vidonic, reporter with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; ImaginePittsburgh’s Nicole Burke

Ever wonder what it might be like to live in a sleek high-rise, in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh’s thriving urban landscape, with Heinz Field, PNC Park and the newly restored Point State Park right at your doorstep?

For Bill Vidonic, a general assignment reporter at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, luxury living will be his reality for the next month. He’s the winner of a month of rent-free luxury living at Millcraft Investments’ “at the Point” downtown residence, River Vue, complete with furnishings by CORT. Vidonic was one of hundreds of people who entered to win by taking the “Find Yourself in Pittsburgh” quiz at, which coincided with the June launch of this web-based “virtual concierge” for Pittsburgh’s plentiful live, work and play opportunities.

We caught up with Vidonic this morning as he received his keys to his attractively furnished one bedroom apartment, which offers sweeping views of Pittsburgh’s iconic Point State Park and confluence of rivers.

The spectacular view from the River Vue apartments

“I’m truly excited about living in Downtown Pittsburgh,” said Vidonic. “After working in town for more than three years, I’m looking forward to exploring the city as a resident, not just as someone who works here and leaves town at the end of the workday. I want to find the hidden gems in town, the sights and the locations that get overlooked much of the time, to take the time to explore the city. And the view from my apartment, overlooking Point State Park, has already made some friends jealous (even though I can’t see the Giant Rubber Duck).”

Throughout the month, Vidonic will be chronicling his experience living downtown via blog posts at Check back for updates. You can also stay updated by following him on Twitter @BillVidonicTrib.

Interested in the luxury and convenience that downtown living has to offer? Check out the video below and take an insider’s tour of River Vue with Justin Horvat, the complex’s business manager.  And, of course, check out the increasing number of job openings across the region. Pittsburgh’s the perfect place to advance your career and build a life you’ll love.

Bonnie Pfister

Women who mentor other women spread their influence exponentially by preparing a new generation of leaders. On Sept. 30 two such women were recognized by their peers for professional excellence and contributions to the community at the Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Awards celebration. (Check out brief interviews with the winners here.)

Laura Ellsworth, partner-in-charge of Pittsburgh office of international law firm Jones Day was presented with the 23rd annual ATHENA Award. Amiena Mahsoob, director of education programs for the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, received the third annual ATHENA Young Professional Award.

Named for the Greek goddess of strength and wisdom, the ATHENA awards are unique among other regional honors because of their focus on mentorship.

“Our region is privileged to have an abundance of ATHENA-worthy women in leadership – all of whom have far-reaching circles of influence, talents, interests and skills,” said 2013 ATHENA Host Committee Chair Beth Marcello. “Individually, their impact is great. Collectively, they’re a force,”

Ellsworth supervises 100 lawyers and staff in the Pittsburgh office in addition to coordinating and litigating matters of national importance for clients. She has argued in federal and state courts across the U.S. She has been named in Best Lawyers in America and has been identified as one of the top female litigators in Pennsylvania by the Legal Intelligencer. Laura was appointed to serve on the Local Rules Advisory Committee for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and she is co-chair of the prestigious Federal Judicial Selection Committee for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

She also serves as vice-chair of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, chairing its affiliate the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh as well as the Youth Policy Council of the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board and the United Way Women’s Leadership Council. She serves on the boards of the Pennsylvania State System for Higher Education, the Pennsylvania Council on Privatization and Innovation and Imani Christian Academy, among others.

Amiena Mahsoob is helping the next generation of leaders develop global perspectives in her role designing and implementing the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh’s education programming, which reaches more than 10,000 middle/high school students and educators. She expanded the World Affairs Council’s use of video-conferencing to connect Pittsburgh students with students around the world to discuss and take action on issues ranging from education to human trafficking. She has traveled to 20 countries for work, study and pleasure. In Japan, she bicycled 2,500 miles over the span of two months as part of an educational and eco-cycling team.

Amiena is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc.’s Leadership Development Initiative Class XVII and leads the Circle of Trust, which supports the personal and professional successes of mid-career female leaders. Her community involvement spans numerous organizations including Strong Women, Strong Girls, the New Pittsburgh Collaborative,  the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Council for International Education; and the Environmental Charter School. She is also an Neighbor.

The other 2013 ATHENA Young Professional Award finalists, chosen from among 29 nominees, were:

•    Erin Isler, director, loan syndications, PNC Capital Markets LLC
•    Marisa Bartley, business development office, AVP, Citizens Bank

The other 2013 ATHENA Award finalists, chosen from among 39 nominees, were:

•    Lenore Blum, distinguished professor, Carnegie Mellon University
•    Terri Bone, vice president & corporate controller, EQT Corporation
•    Maurita Bryant, assistant chief, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police
•    Titina Ott, vice president, business process & systems enablement, Oracle Worldwide Alliance & Channels

The Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award Program Luncheon is one of the largest stand-alone events of its kind among some 500 presented annually across the globe in affiliation with ATHENA International. It is presented by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its affiliates.

(Check out brief interviews with the winners here.)

Tene Croom

DuckyArticleA 40-foot rubber duck docked at the Roberto Clemente (Sixth Street) Bridge across the Allegheny River Sept.27, kicking off a party on the bridge and the month-long Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. Check out the video below.)

“My sculptures cause an uproar, astonishment and put a smile on your face,” Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman has said about his floating creation. The duck chose Pittsburgh as the place to stage its American debut, to the envy of many U.S. cities. It has spread joy in Belgium, Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paulo and Hong Kong.

The bridge party starts at 5:30 p.m., and coincides with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Night Market, also hosted on the bridge, as well as the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s quarterly Gallery Crawl. After the party’s over you can see the duck at Point State Park through Oct. 20.

The Festival of Firsts, which continues throughout the city through Oct. 26, is the Cultural Trust’s presentation of edgy U.S. premieres of new works of international contemporary performing and visual artists. I’m curious about such offerings as Granular Synthesis, an audio-visual smorgasbord. The duo of Kurt Hentschlager and Ulf Langheinrich will present this self-described “visual radiation” for free at SPACE, 812 Liberty Ave. through Oct. 20.

A certain je ne sais quoi is likely when dancers perform in the U.S. premiere of Henri Michaux: Mouvements, thanks to choreographer Marie Chouinard of Montreal, Quebec. Presented by the Pittsburgh Dance Council, the show contains some nudity. Check it out at the Byham Theater on Sept. 28 at 8:00 p.m.

And then it will be time for the Carnegie International, which kicks off Oct. 5! But more on that later.

Plan your outings to the Festival of Firsts event here. Here’s that video:

Bonnie Pfister
Nyya Jones works with students for the Western PA Conservancy
Nyya Jones works with students for the Western PA Conservancy

Nyya Jones chose Pittsburgh during the depths of the Great Recession, and found connection through initiatives native Pittsburghers might not even realize exist.

With a freshly minted liberal arts degree and a willingness to jump in and get involved, this New Jersey native began volunteering and working with civic organizations. Now outreach coordinator with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Jones works side-by-side with Pittsburgh Public School students, planting and nurturing gardens. She is also on the board of Assemble, which connects artists and technologists, adults and kids of all ages through interactive gallery shows, workshops and community ”talkbacks.” (Assemble is looking for a few new board members, by the way. Ping Jones via LinkedIn if you’re interested.)

An avid traveler who found her way to the Pittsburgh Spanish Language Meetup to keep her language skills fresh, she is now a co-organizer of an organization that has become a welcoming point of social entry for many native speakers new to the region. She’ll be talking about that and more Sept. 27 on 88.3 FM’s La Rumba Live, the bilingual radio program hosted by fellow Neighbor Cindy Fernandez.

You can check out Jones’s profile and those of all the Neighbors at, a virtual concierge that highlights work, play and live options in the 10-county region. On the site you can look for a job among the nearly 30,000 gathered by our powerful job aggregator, sign up for updates about the region through our social media channels or RRS feeds and take the “Find Yourself in Pittsburgh!” quiz to be matched up with Neighbors who may share your interests and have tips on what’s fun and engaging to do in the region.

Bill Flanagan

With the team’s defeat of the Chicago Cubs Monday night at PNC Park, the Pirates are definitely “in” – in the spotlight of the playoffs, that is. This first run since 1992 at the pinnacle of MLB, the World Series puts the Pirates and their hometown more in the spotlight than ever.

Like the Bucs, the Pittsburgh region is looking better than ever — re-imagined and re-made in significant ways since 1992. We’ve capitalized on Pirates winning streak to present the highlights of the region’s own great American comeback in a fun video, à la 60 Minutes, the classic American TV newsmagazine. In the interest of time, so that fans can get back to the business of cheering on the Buccos, we present the Pittsburgh region’s transformation in “60 Seconds!” Got a minute? Check it out.

Laura Fisher
Ha'Penny Bridge over Dublin's RIver Liffey
Ha’Penny Bridge over Dublin’s RIver Liffey

DUBLIN — With the redesigned now nearly four months old and brimming with new offerings every week, I’m excited to be overseas to talk about it and the opportunities it showcases.

Along with my colleagues from the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, the business development and marketing arm of the Allegheny Conference, we’re visiting Dublin, Manchester and London to make the case that our 10-county region is a great place to live, work and play. Along the way we’ll be connecting with “Pittsburgh alumni” – not just graduates of our region’s universities, but anyone with a tie or interest in returning to our region. Those who have been away for a while may be surprised at how much things have changed for the better.

Tonight we’re gathering at Google Ireland – the headquarters for all of Google’s operations in Europe – to commemorate existing ties between the two nations and foster new ones. We’ll also be networking and sharing information about opportunities available right now back home.’s job search engine highlights more than 30,000 open jobs, and we have more than 20 Featured Employers that have joined the site because they have career opportunities to share.

Tomorrow we catch a plane across the Irish Sea to Manchester, England, a city that – like Pittsburgh – has a rich manufacturing history. My PRA colleagues will discuss the business opportunities back home in that still-robust sector, including those that have emerged from new energy markets. We’ll continue to spread the Imagine Pittsburgh message at a reception at the Manchester Art Gallery.

By Thursday we’ll be in London, making more business development connections, and all of us Pittsburghers excited for the big Steelers vs. Vikings game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. Game day will find us hosting a celebration at a pop-up “Steelers Bar” in Farringdon’s Sportsbar & Grille. We’ll watch the game on a big screen, enjoy good food, spirits and company, and share information about and opportunities available back home. If you’ll be in the UK on the 29th, or know “Pittsburghers in diaspora” or others there who might be interested in career or business-development opportunities in our 10-county region, tell them to check out the registration link for the event here; we’d love to meet them!

I’ll check back in when I’m back home in Pittsburgh. In the meantime, may the road rise to meet you!