Phil Cynar

The Pittsburgh Pirates – enjoying their first playoff berth in 21 years – are once again making the region proud. But beyond the ball field triumphs, the region itself has a lot of which to be proud. Re-imagined and re-made, Pittsburgh might not be recognizable to the fans that flocked to Three Rivers Stadium in 1992. Like the team, the region has been transformed and is on a winning streak of its own as a clean, green and dynamic destination for business investment, as well as a place for great jobs and a great life. Inspired by the Buccos performance this season, we present “The Pittsburgh Playbook: 21 Regional Home Runs.”


TitleCityOfChampionsPittsburgh’s a sports town, with three million fans turning out annually for professional sports events. Monday Night Football announcer Howard Cosell first coined the term, “City of Champions” in the early ’80s, after the Pittsburgh Steelers won their first Super Bowl and the Pirates their second World Series in the ’70s. Over the past 20 years the sports scene has gotten even better, especially with the recent success of the Pirates.


  • SinPhotoCityOfChampionsce the 1992 National League Playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers have made four trips to the Super Bowl, bringing home two Lombardi trophies, and the Pittsburgh Penguins have appeared in two Stanley Cup finals and won the Stanley Cup once.
  • Pittsburgh’s hosted major national sporting events, including the Men’s and Women’s U.S. Open Golf Tournament (twice for men’s tournament); the MLB All Star Game (also twice); and the NHL Winter Classic; and the NCAA’s Frozen Four – to name a few.
  • The Bassmaster Classic bass fishing tournament came to town in 2005, drawing national attention to the reclamation of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers, which are now home to not only bass, but walleye, catfish, sauger, and mayflies – a long-time harbinger of good water quality.



TitleUrbanCoreWhile other downtowns declined or even decayed, Pittsburgh’s central business district has continued to thrive, benefiting from more than $7 billion in investment.


  • PhotoUrbanCoreFive new major league sports venues were built: PNC Park, Heinz Field, CONSOL Energy Center, plus nearby Peterson Events Center on the University of Pittsburgh campus and Highmark Stadium at Station Square.
  • The North Shore is redeveloped, featuring new corporate centers for Alcoa, Del Monte, Starkist and Peoples Gas, in addition to the major league football and baseball stadiums.
  • Pennsylvania’s only urban state park, Point State Park, is restored – a $41 million investment, the largest in a state park in Pennsylvania’s history. The project also restored the iconic fountain at The Point – the original “Gateway to the West.”
  • “Green to the Core” – In 2000, Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group opened its PNC Firstside Service Center, the largest building and the first financial institution in the U.S. to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Since added to downtown’s roster of green real estate are Three PNC Plaza and the Fairmont Hotel, and under construction is The Tower at PNC Plaza, to open in 2015 as the world’s greenest skyrise.
  • “Earth to Pittsburgh” – The Pittsburgh Summit 2009 brought the leaders of the Group of 20 nations to town, along with thousands of journalists from around the world, collectively changing global perceptions about Pittsburgh.


TitleGreeningIt’s shades of green, not gray in Pittsburgh, where there are more than 80 LEED-certified “green” buildings within city limits, including 10 of the world’s first green buildings, plus some 40 others across the 10-county Pittsburgh region.


  • TPhotoGreeninghe David L. Lawrence Convention Center opened in 2003 as the world’s largest green building. Today, it’s the only LEED Platinum convention center and the world’s first to achieve a LEED certification for both design and construction and for operations and maintenance. Also in downtown, CONSOL Energy Center opened in 2010 as the first NHL arena to achieve LEED Gold certification.
  • The Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory was completed in 2012 – one of the few Living Buildings on Earth, creating its own energy and treating/re-using its wastewater – while Chatham University broke ground on the world’s first from-the-ground-up sustainable university campus.
  • More than 4,000 acres of brownfields have been redeveloped, including Summerset at Frick Park, Washington’s Landing, The Waterfront and South Side Works – the latter two being the former sites of major Pittsburgh-based steel producers – U.S. Steel’s Homestead Works and Jones and Laughlin, respectively.
  • The Great Allegheny Passage was completed in June 2013 – linking Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. via a 335-mile “no cars allowed” bike/hike trail.
  • Pittsburgh’s reclaimed rivers are now this Water Belt city’s “front yard.” Since 2000, Riverlife has been leading the construction of Three Rivers Park, a 13-mile interconnected loop of riverfront trails, parks and amenities, with an investment in excess of $2.5 billion since 1999. More than 80 percent of the project is complete.


TitleArtsPittsburgh’s civic, corporate and foundation leaders directed that deliberate investments be made in arts and cultural assets. Under the auspices of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, a dilapidated 14-square block area was revitalized to become a cultural district with seven theaters – considered one of the best theater districts outside of New York City.


  • PhotoArtsNew museums and performing arts venues opened including The Andy Warhol Museum in 1994 – the largest museum in the U.S. dedicated to a single artist: the King of Pop Art and a native son; the Senator John Heinz History Center in 1996, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the largest history museum in Pennsylvania and devoted the region’s rich heritage and history; the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in 2009; and the Toonseum in 2007, one of only three cartoon museums in the country.
  • The Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) school moved to its downtown location at the beginning of the 2003-04 school year. In the hub of Pittsburgh’s cultural district, students study their craft and collaborate with artists from all over Pittsburgh amid amenities including a 400-seat auditorium, black box theater, art gallery, television studio and computer labs.
  • In 1994, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra was the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican for the late Pope John Paul II’s Silver Jubilee celebration, underscoring its artistic excellence as one of the world’s elite orchestras.


TitleBuildingPittsburgh invested in people and technology to build a diverse economy, retooling traditional industries and commercializing innovation pouring out of its universities and health care systems over the last 20 years.


  • PhotoBuildingThe region’s total employment is up from 1,183,700 in 1992 to 1,270,400 at the end of July 2013. There are more people at work in the region now than at the height of the steel industry.
  • Apple, Disney, Google, Intel, and Microsoft are among 1,600 tech firms generating $11 billion in annual Pittsburgh payrolls. Pittsburgh is the only place in the world where all five of these tech giants have R&D operations.
  • Google strategically opened a full-blown R&D center in 2010 in Bakery Square, a redeveloped brownfield in Pittsburgh’s East End, where 350 people are now employed, with future expansions anticipated.
  • Pittsburgh earned the title of America’s “most livable city” by Places Rated Almanac, Forbes, and The Economist while inspiring National Geographic Traveler in 2012 to name the city a “best of the world, must-see” destination.
  • Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) opened on Oct. 1, 1992. PIT provides 155 non-stop flights daily to 37 destinations via 12 commercial air carriers. In 2009, nonstop transatlantic service returned to the region via Delta Air Lines and Air France, the latter offering connections from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport to 100 cities in Europe and beyond. JD Power and Associates and Condé Nast Traveler magazine have named PIT among the top airports for customer satisfaction.
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.