Bonnie Pfister

SarahAMBlogArticleCalifornia native Sarah Arimoto-Mercer has lived in cities around the U.S., and has worked at top schools in Chicago and at Yale. But when it comes to the place where she feels most supported on the job and in her work-life balance, she chooses the Pittsburgh region.

Find out why at, where Arimoto-Mercer is one of the the Neighbors — real people who’ve chosen the Pittsburgh region as the place to advance their careers and build lives they love. There you can learn more about Arimoto-Mercer through text, photos and a video sponsored by Duquesne University, one of the employer sponsors of Imagine

The site is virtual concierge that highlights work, play and live options, as well as a search engine for the nearly 30,000 open jobs in the 10-county region.



Meredith Fahey

The region still has well-paying blue-collar jobs, but too few locals pursue the training needed to fill them, resulting in a skills gap.

As the daughter of a bricklayer and the granddaughter of a steelworker, Michele Hricik Saling’s mission is close to her heart: bringing the Pittsburgh region’s economic comeback to blue-collar workers as well as professionals.

Saling is working to further that cause through the Forum for Economic Development, a nonpartisan, nonprofit Pittsburgh-based organization. With its recently launched website and blog, the FED aims to serve as a clearinghouse for innovative ideas to bring manufacturing and jobs in the trades to southwestern Pennsylvania.

While the Pittsburgh economy overall has made a comeback, many blue-collar workers have been left behind, Saling says. As the organization’s president and executive director, she hopes to foster discussion that will help civic, business leaders and the general public better understand the problem, the players and the possible solutions.

Among the ideas and projects the FED is pursuing is a study of how the regional transformation strategy emerged to create the post-steel “meds and eds” boom, as well as how this strategy impacted the city and county and its roadmap for the future. Other projects include taking an inventory of the region’s initiatives addressing the needs of low- to mid-skilled manufacturing workers and convening a conference to share this information and develop next steps.

The FED kicks off its speakers series Sept. 27 at Carnegie Mellon University with City Councilman and Democratic mayoral contender Bill Peduto. Check out the FED’s website,, to learn more.

Phil Cynar

When Sanpellegrino – the sparkling beverage company – wanted to showcase Italy, its country of origin to consumers, it turned to Pittsburgh’s Deeplocal.  Self-described as an “innovation studio that creates remarkable experiences for brands,” Deeplocal’s vision and tech wizardry will allow people to visit Sicily from 5,000 miles away for the Sanpellegrino project, which is in partnership with Ogilvy, New York.


With the premise in mind that “many Americans have a love affair with Italy – its people, art, cuisine and lifestyle – today Deeplocal will help Sanpellegrino Sparking Fruit Beverages kick off “Three Minutes in Italy” – the first-ever telepresent escape to Italy via computer.

For three minutes, online users can take control of a life-sized robot in Taormina, Italy, where parts of the film, The Godfather, were filmed. Telepresent travelers can drive around the town piazza, view the sights in real time and even talk with passerby natives. Each robot’s “face” is a screen that displays the user at home, allowing Italians and American to chat, face to face.

Salute! to Deeplocal for yet another amazing innovation and for putting Pittsburgh – as a thriving and growing hub for innovation and technology – even more on the global radar.

A spinout of Carnegie Mellon University, Deeplocal’s chief visionary is CEO Nathan Martin. Last year, in a special report on Pittsburgh reinventing itself as a tech hub in fDi (Foreign Direct Investment) magazine, a Financial Times publication, Martin said, “I used to work in San Francisco and what you see there is a huge sense of ego … that means higher salaries and less loyalty for the company that developers work for.  [In Pittsburgh], lower staff rotation means Deeplocal can focus on devising high-tech campaigns for clients such as EA Sports, Reebok, and Toyota.”

Stroll down the streets of Italy today between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. EST via this link.

Bonnie Pfister
ImaginePittsburgh Neighbor Deirdre Kane co-captains the rowing team at Highmark, where works as an analyst.
ImaginePittsburgh Neighbor Deirdre Kane co-captains the rowing team at Highmark, where she works as an analyst.

Meet Deirdre Kane, a Highmark analyst devoted to her native Lawrenceville through such efforts as community gardening and soon a re-opened neighborhood grocery at 52nd Street and Holmes. The market will focus on such staples as milk, eggs, bread and fresh fruits and vegetables.

You can read more about Deirdre in her profile 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 feed and learn more about what is fun and engaging to do directly from those who have chosen to build their lives here, the the Neighbors. 

Phil Cynar
Warhol's grave marker in his hometown of Pittsburgh is not as he envisioned.
Warhol’s grave marker near his hometown of Pittsburgh is not as he envisioned.

Happy Birthday, Andy Warhol!

If he were still alive, the Pittsburgh born King of Pop Art would be celebrating 85 years of life today, August 6. Warhol’s time here was cut short when he died unexpectedly in 1987 while recuperating from a standard gallbladder removal surgery, but his impact on the art world has never been truncated.

To honor the anniversary of his birthday, The Andy Warhol Museum, located on Pittsburgh’s North Side, and Earth Cam have launched a collaborative projected entitled Figment. Figment is a 24/7 live feed of Warhol’s gravesite, viewable worldwide at The project takes its inspiration from an infamous Warhol quote (no, not his “everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes” quip), but rather this more morbid line: “I always thought I’d like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph and no name. Well, actually, I’d like it to say ‘figment.’”

He didn’t get his wish with regard to the tombstone, which you can visit at the St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in Castle Shannon, one of the communities comprising Pittsburgh’s South Hills. The tombstone simply bears his name and a three-barred cross, indicative of the Byzantine Catholic faith which he practiced as a child with his parents in Pittsburgh and as an adult in New York City. His parents are buried directly behind their beloved son and the world’s King of Pop Art.

Gone, but not forgotten, and certainly no figment. Happy birthday, Andy.

Phil Cynar

Thursday Farmer’s Market in downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square

Restaurants and residences of some 8,000 people, boutiques skyscraper offices and a weekly seasonal farmer’s market featuring fresh produce, flowers, healthy eats and artisan-created treats to heart of downtown Pittsburgh – that’s what Pittsburgh’s Market Square is all about.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership  – a nonprofit organization providing energy, vision and advocacy for downtown Pittsburgh – says that a $5 million Market Square improvement project has become a major stimulant for private investment in and around the urban core. PDP President and CEO Jeremy Waldrup notes that Market Square, more recently a bus thoroughfare with little to offer in the way of fun or inventive dining, has now become a destination with “meet me in the Square” being a catch phrase among downtown residents and employees. With its European piazza feel and inviting public spaces, Market Square beckons year-round for coffees or cocktails, and there are always plentiful lunch and dinner options. When you’re downtown, it’s the place to go.

And from mid-May through Halloween, a weekly farmers’ market on Thursdays from 10 a.m. -  2 p.m. brings even more buzz to Market Square with live music and about 25 vendors featuring wares from breads and biscotti to fresh flowers, live herbs, all-natural dog treats, Angora goat yarn and more. With such diversity, there’s a find for every market-goer, every time.

Watch the video below to what PDP’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications Leigh White has to say about why a farmer’s market in Pittsburgh’s urban core is a “really exciting idea” and why Market Square, suggestive of a strong-beating heart at the center of town, is causing new life to be pumped into the rest of downtown Pittsburgh via major investment projects such as The Academic Village at Point Park University and The Tower at PNC Plaza (to be the world’s greenest skyscraper) – to name just two.

All work and no play can make a downtown dull, but thanks to Market Square and other developments in the neighborhood, downtown Pittsburgh is all live, work and play today.