Phil Cynar

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Oct. 24 featured the greater Pittsburgh region in the article, “Cheap Natural Gas Gives New Hope to the Rust Belt.” The article and a WSJ mobile video largely focus on our abundant supply of natural gas and the potential – beyond fuel – that this resource has as a feedstock for manufacturing, particularly for the petrochemical industry.

Earlier this year, Shell Chemicals announced that it is considering building an ethane cracker in Beaver County. The proposed plant would have huge economic impact. It would rank as the single largest investment in a generation in the region and would be the creator of potentially thousands of construction jobs, in addition to hundreds of full-time jobs needed to operate the facility.

The wet gas-rich Marcellus Shale concentrated in greater Pittsburgh is the catalyst. Because of this below-ground resource (alongside above-ground resources in human capital, innovation and R&D), Pittsburgh is poised to take the next step toward reviving manufacturing in America.

It’s an exciting time for the country and for greater Pittsburgh, and it’s exciting to have the region and some of its key companies benefiting from natural gas, including Allegheny Technologies, recognized in the Wall Street Journal, which reaches 3.5 million global readers daily.

The word is out – in print, broadcast and in the blogosphere – and it underpins three key messages about greater Pittsburgh and its booming energy economy. Pittsburgh is: advancing America’s energy security with innovation; investing in American manufacturing’s rebirth with its plentiful natural gas; and driving job creation and career opportunities to meet the ever-expanding needs of the energy sector.

You can read the latest “word” with a WSJ subscription (the article is behind a paywall) or you can view the mobile video here, which is available without subscription. It’s a solid summary of the print article, featuring lots of on-location footage in Beaver County and an interview with Jack Manning from the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce.

Phil Cynar
Suzi Pegg, PRA Vice President of Global Marketing

Classical music and global marketing:  the two really can strike a harmonious chord. And that’s what is about to happen across the pond – in such western European countries as Spain, France, Germany and more. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance are taking the region’s artistic and business investment assets on tour, Oct. 22 – Nov. 11. The tour marks the seventh year that the two organizations have embarked on this unique collaboration. The music of one of the world’s elite orchestras helps open doors for introducing the Pittsburgh region to international business investors and influencers. The PRA then further engages with them to discuss foreign direct investment in southwestern Pennsylvania – a place that’s already home to 385 firms based abroad that employ 53,000-plus people in the region.

Leading the charge and leveraging the orchestra as a symbol of the region’s quality – relative to living, working and doing business – is PRA Global Marketing Vice President Suzi Pegg. An expat Brit and a native of Sheffield, England – ironically a sister city of Pittsburgh – Pegg is also leveraging her continental roots vis a vis the decision to personally invest in Pittsburgh in 2000 as a place to live and work, American style. Today, in addition to being a proud Pittsburgher, Pegg is on her way to becoming a U.S. citizen.

Watch the video below to hear from Pegg – in her delightful British accent, which hasn’t faded in Pittsburgh – about what she’s up to in Europe with the PSO; what she’s doing independent of the PSO in strategic places such as the U.K., Portugal and Luxembourg; and what she hopes to accomplish for the region.

And keep watching and our other social media – Twitter and Facebook – where we’ll answer the question “Where in the world?” with updates about Pegg’s global efforts to promote her picture-perfect Pittsburgh.

(You can also read posts about previous PRA-PSO partnerships here.)


Phil Cynar
Nobel Laureate (and Pitt grad) Maathai Wangari

Pittsburgh has inspired and enabled great achievements by pioneers in environmental justice, medicine, art and sports. You can learn more here, but a sampling is below.

Kenya-born Wangari Maathai was a global leader on environmental and anti-poverty issues. She earned a master’s degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh and received the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

A native of Springdale, a community along the Allegheny River just 18 miles northeast of the City of Pittsburgh and a 1929 alumna of Pittsburgh’s Chatham University, Rachel Carson was a marine biologist, conservationist and author. Her book, Silent Spring, is credited with advancing the global environmental movement. 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of its publication.

University of Pittsburgh researcher and professor Dr. Jonas Salk developed the first vaccine for polio – one of America’s most frightening public health crises – on March 26, 1953 in Pittsburgh. Widespread use of his vaccine is expected to globally eradicate this crippling disease.

Pittsburgh Pirates Right Fielder Roberto Clemente‘s breathtaking skills as a hitter helped the Pirates win two World Series. A native of Puerto Rico, Clemente was the first Latino in U.S. baseball to receive Most Valuable Player and World Series MVP awards and to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Pittsburgh-born leader of the pop-art movement beginning in the 1960s, Andy Warhol blurred the lines between art and life, commerce, film and celebrity. “The pop idea was that anybody could do anything.” Warhol is also often remembered for his quip, “everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Pittsburgh is home to The Andy Warhol Museum, the largest museum in the U.S. dedicated to one artist.

Born on Pittsburgh’s North Side in a neighborhood now called Allegheny West, Gertrude Stein was a writer, poet, art collector and feminist. She spent most of her life in Paris, nurturing such now-famous avant-garde artists as Matisse and Picasso, and expatriate American writers during the first half of the 20th century.

A native of Guatemala, Luis Von Ahn is a Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor and MacArthur “Genius” grant winner. He pioneered crowd-sourcing and the reCAPTCHA software used to digitize books and other printed text. His latest venture is Duolingo, a free language-learning website and crowd-sourced text translation platform.

Born to Portuguese parents in Mozambique, Teresa Heinz is an American businesswoman and philanthropist. She chairs The Heinz Endowments and Heinz Family Philanthropies, which help the Pittsburgh region thrive economically, ecologically, educationally and culturally.

Called “the father of modern transplantation,” Dr. Thomas Starzl, was the first to perform human liver transplants. A physician, researcher and organ transplant expert, Dr. Starzl has called Pittsburgh his home since 1981.

An American entrepreneur and engineer, George Westinghouse is the inventor of the railway air brake. This device enabled trains to be stopped – for the first time – with fail-safe accuracy by locomotive engineers and was eventually adopted on the majority of the world’s railroads. Westinghouse was also a pioneer of the electrical industry and one of Thomas Edison’s main rivals. A transplant to the Pittsburgh region from his native New York state, Westinghouse and his wife, made their first home in Pittsburgh in 1868.


Phil Cynar

There’s more than meets the eye to the buildings that dot Pittsburgh’s picturesque skyline and populate its neighborhoods. Many of them — 83 to be exact — are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified-structures commonly called “green buildings” because their design, materials and operations are easy on the environment and energy usage.

Fact:  Pittsburgh – once notoriously tagged “hell with the lid off” because of its environmental pollution– registered three of the first 12 LEED structures in the United States. Fast-forward to today when some 75 percent of new buildings in the city are pursuing LEED certification. And more than 20 million square feet of real estate is part of a groundbreaking, high-performance building district that aims to dramatically reduce energy and water consumption, reduce transportation emissions and improve indoor air quality by 2030.

Green is definitely a way of life in Pittsburgh, the new “Emerald City.” But we’re even moving beyond green by designing and constructing “living buildings” that produce as much energy as they use and that capture precipitation and treat their own wastewater – leading to water independence. One such building is the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory, the site for today’s One Young World breakout session on “Sustainable Cultivation:  Growing Greener Communities Across the Globe.”

Recently, Architectural Record was so impressed by Pittsburgh’s green leadership, that it featured the city in a series on “Transforming the American City.”  And we’re on the cover, too. If you can’t make it to Phipps and the Center for Sustainable Landscapes for this afternoon’s breakout, you can read about it in an online version of the magazine. The article also features a sampling of some of our other green building gems. Several are in town and worth checking out while you’re here.

Finally, mark your calendars to come back in the summer of 2015 when the world’s tallest green skyrise – The Tower at PNC Plaza – will be open for business.

Emma Watson and Jimmy Fallon gushing over Pittsburgh

Many of us feel like we’ve watched Emma Watson grow up through her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter film series. But here at we’ve become even bigger fans given her passionate praise for the city we love.

Watson was in town not all that long ago to shoot the hit movie, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, based on the novel of the same name by South Hills native Stephen Chbosky (who also scripted and directed the film).

Earlier this week she turned up on Jimmy Fallon’s show – and it turns out he’s a Pittsburgh fan, too. You can view the clip here. The ‘Burgh banter begins around 03:30.

Emma Watson: Pittsburgh is so awesome.

Jimmy Fallon: It’s cool, right?

EW: Everyone’s super friendly and –

JF: Did you eat at Primanti Brothers Sandwiches? … It’s so rad… They put — French fries? …And they squash it down and that’s the sandwich. And if you make one change at all, are like, “Can I have a little…” they throw you out…. I go “Can I have mine with no mayo?” And then I’m in handcuffs….

Click here to read our earlier post about Watson’s lyrical description of our city – particularly the iconic view of the skyline from the Fort Pitt tunnel.

Cassie Buseck

How can small businesses better work with the large companies to grow and build a brighter economic  future for our whole region? Find out at the Business Growth Expo on Monday, Oct. 22 at the DoubleTree Hotel at Bigelow Square in downtown Pittsburgh.

Part trade show, part conference and full of networking opportunities, the expo is presented by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The Pittsburgh Impact Initiative is the presenting sponsor, and will be exhibiting at the Expo. As part of the expo, the Pittsburgh Impact Initiative will release its Business Quick Guide, a centralized, searchable online database of economic development resources located in the Pittsburgh 10-county region. Features include built in unique user profiles and login, basic or more intricate wizard search based on organizational and demographic data, and a centralized events calendar that can be filtered based on interest. Attendees who visit the Impact booth will have the opportunity to view the Guide, as well as navigate the database.

The expo starts at 8 a.m., featuring such speakers as Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; Ray Newhouse, Chief Financial Officer of LANXESS; and Jennifer Daurora and Noreen McGinnis Campbell of McGinnis Sisters Special Food Stores. A  panel discussion convened by Jack Martis, executive with APICS, will feature:

  • Rob Albinger, President, Conspec Controls
  • Bill Geisler, Operations Manager, Conspec Controls
  • Christian Klanica, President, Leese And Company
  • Matt Rubright, Supply Chain Manager, Leese and Company

To register for the conference and tradeshow, please visit

We hope to see you there!