Cassie Buseck

Reports on steroids. Websites on steroids.

These specialties have helped business services firm Plus Consulting to grow briskly in recent years, necessitating an expansion from its Bridgeville offices to an “edgy, urban” space in Carnegie craved by its dynamic workforce.

Founded in 1999, Plus Consulting provides technology guidance, implementation services, training and support to clients across a spectrum of industries. Headquartered in the Pittsburgh region, it also has offices in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Scottsdale, Ariz. and Westbrook, Maine.

Plus has been recognized as a Pittsburgh Impact Company, a unique subset of firms that through their strong growth are creating 74 percent of jobs throughout Pennsylvania. The Impact Company initiative is a project of 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.

Plus Consulting was recognized on “Wins Day,” an annual event in which the PRA totals up all the announced investment and development projects, or “wins,” of the previous year.  (You can read more about that here.)

At Wins Day, Plus Co-founder and Managing Partner Steven Smith said that the company’s Pittsburgh location has been vital to its 35 percent top-line revenue growth in 2011. That’s been thanks to a kind of “locavore” trend among local Fortune 1000 companies to use homegrown business services, rather than those out of town or off-shore. Within the past six months, Plus Consulting has closed three or four deals primarily because of its local roots, a marked departure from the practices of Pittsburgh companies a decade ago.

Along with expansion in revenues and workforce, Plus Consulting has been named among the Top 10 Firms to Work For by Consulting Magazine, Top New Partner in North America by SugarCRM, a leading global provider of commercial open source customer relationship management (CRM) software, and Ninth Best Place to Work in Western PA by Pittsburgh Business Times.

Click on the video link below to hear directly from Smith about how why he sees a bright future in Pittsburgh for Plus Consulting.

Pittsburgh Impact is an initiative by the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance [link again] to help high-growth businesses continue to thrive by communicating with them, connecting them with resources, talent and opportunities, and championing their successes. Learn more at www.PittsburghImpact.org.

Jim Futrell

The Census Bureau recently released city population estimates for 2011, which indicate that the population in the city of Pittsburgh increased by 528 people between July 1, 2010 and July 1, 2011.

This continues the broader story of the renewed growth of the regional population since 2009 after decades of losses. As seen in the following table, the population in the 10-county region increased by 930 people between 2010 and 2011.

Interestingly, while Butler and Washington counties have continued to grow, Allegheny County is also registering population growth. But again, that pesky “natural loss” (when deaths outnumber births) has offset much of the positive migration in the region.  I also think it’s interesting that Pennsylvania experienced net domestic out-migration, while the region experienced positive domestic in-migration.

Geographic Area

Pop. Estimates (as of July 1)

Total Population Change1

Natural Increase

Vital Events

Net Migration

Births

Deaths

Total

International2

Domestic

2010

2011

No.

Pct.

Pennsylvania

12,717,722

12,742,886

25,164

0.2%

18,268

143,420

125,152

7,468

14,714

-7,246

.Allegheny County

1,224,833

1,227,066

2,233

0.2%

-695

12,903

13,598

2,984

1,361

1,623

.Armstrong County

68,894

68,568

-326

-0.5%

-202

679

881

-122

24

-146

.Beaver County

170,701

170,414

-287

-0.2%

-339

1,724

2,063

64

9

55

.Butler County

184,037

184,848

811

0.4%

1

1,788

1,787

822

27

795

.Fayette County

136,498

136,097

-401

-0.3%

-491

1,332

1,823

98

40

58

.Greene County

38,821

38,623

-198

-0.5%

-62

381

443

-135

9

-144

.Indiana County

89,525

89,298

-227

-0.3%

17

888

871

-239

48

-287

.Lawrence County

90,975

90,535

-440

-0.5%

-163

940

1,103

-273

33

-306

.Washington County

207,903

208,282

379

0.2%

-433

2,024

2,457

817

-8

825

.Westmoreland County

365,085

364,471

-614

-0.2%

-1,101

3,240

4,341

503

-27

530

Ten County Region

2,577,272

2,578,202

930

0.0%

-3,468

25,899

29,367

4,519

1,516

3,003

City of Pittsburgh

306,956

307,484

528

0.2%

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Total population change includes a residual. This residual represents the change in population that cannot be attributed to any specific demographic component. See Population Estimates Terms and Definitions at http://www.census.gov/popest/about/terms.html.
2 Net international migration includes the international migration of both native and foreign-born populations.  Specifically, it includes: (a) the net international migration of the foreign born, (b) the net migration between the United States and Puerto Rico, (c) the net migration of natives to and from the United States, and (d) the net movement of the Armed Forces population between the United States and overseas.
Ben Kamber

Naturals Gas Powered Vehicles: Do They Make Financial Sense?
EQT’s natural gas fueling station in Pittsburgh’s Strip District is selling a gallon equivalent of natural gas for about $1.76. Given the cost differential, it may seem like a no-brainer to swap out your gas powered vehicle for one that runs on natural gas. But as Ken Zapinski of the Allegheny Conference and EQT’s Lisa Hyland state, there are other considerations — including the lack of natural gas fueling infrastructure and high-initial cost of purchase and/or conversion — that must be accounted for before making the plunge. While natural gas vehicles may not make financial sense for many consumers, commercial operations — particularly ones with “high-mileage, return to base” fleets — may be able to take advantage of the cost savings. You can learn more at alleghenyconference.org/naturalgasvehicles.

NETL: Creating Cleaner, More Efficient Coal Power Plants
Bill caught up with Charles McConnell, assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy, who was in Pittsburgh to brief business leaders on the future of fossil fuel energy. McConnell emphasizes that the U.S. will be a fossil fuel dominant society for the next 50 — 100 years, even as today’s energy debate is often centered on fossil fuel alternatives versus traditional energy sources. In the studio, Bill discusses the future of fossil fuel research with Jared Ciferno, director of coal and power research and development at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) which is located in the South Hills.

Three Rivers Regatta Returns for Extended July Fourth Weekend
Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Three Rivers Regatta is the largest inland regatta and the biggest summer event in the tri-state area. ISM USA’s Michael Dongilli previews this year’s festivities which, for the first time, include a free outdoor “ice-less” skating rink open to the public.

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.

State legislators have passed a balanced $27.66 billion 2012-13 fiscal year budget, a budget without tax  increases which preserves higher education and key biomedical research funding. A number of provisions will improve government efficiency and encourage business investment. In some cases this progress caps a decade-plus of work by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its Affiliates, members and partners across Pennsylvania.

Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky talked about the budget with Essential Public Radio‘s Paul Guggenheimer on July 2 on the noontime program Essential Pittsburgh. If you missed it, you can listen here. Yablonsky joins the conversation around 09:00.

Phil Cynar

“America’s former industrial center is now a hub for sustainable design, green technology, LEED-certified buildings and groundbreaking startups.” So says Forbes.com in“Green Living in America’s ‘Steel City,’ ” a June 29 article by New York-based business and travel contributor Tracey Greenstein.

Forbes.com image from atop U.S. Steel tower, May 2012

Greenstein was one of 15 national and international journalists who participated in a recent study tour of Pittsburgh’s “emerald assets.” Hosted by the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance in cooperation with VisitPittsburgh, participants learned about companies and institutions that are pioneering new solutions in energy, intelligent building and sustainability.

It’s just one of several articles generated by the study tour. Read them all here on our blog, ImaginePittsburghNow.com.

Phil Cynar

Earlier this year, Pittsburgh and the larger Ohio River Valley captured the attention of California-based Global Trade magazine and its Senior Editor Warren Strugatch. On his mind was the revival of America’s original industrial cities – places like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Evansville. To understand why Pittsburgh and other Ohio River sister cities are “at the center of a resurgent and diversified industrial expansion” that is reaching far beyond the Ohio River, Strugatch contacted the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. He was looking to explore the why and how of what’s happening along one of America’s most beautiful rivers. His investigations revealed an answer – one that’s grounded in what he calls a “new globalism and an export ethos.”

Detail from Global Trade magazine article

You can read more about these cities’ – their pasts and presents – as well as their futures in the global market in the article “From Rust Belt to Exporting Giant.” Pittsburgh is called out in the article for being first – among its river city sisters – in economic development “wins” related to corporate facility growth. And 30-something boomeranger Lucas Piatt, executive VP at Millcraft Industries – a company with roots in steel, but now a vibrant redeveloper of industrial and other space – is featured. Read what he has to say about Pittsburgh’s “hustle and bustle.” He says Pittsburgh has it, and more, for those who crave “the excitement of living in a place like New York or Boston.”

Well said, we say. Best of all, those who chose Pittsburgh can bank on much more bang for their urban living bucks. The views of the Ohio (and our two other signature rivers) – all that you want – are free. Consider them your “welcome to” (or welcome back) gift from Pittsburgh.