It’s nice to end a year on an up note. For our region it’s coming in the form of new international recognition.
On Dec. 12, The Financial Times ran a story, “ ‘Steel City’ Pittsburgh Develops a Soft Side.” It was one of three cities profiled in a midwestern swing by correspondents Christopher Booker and Christine Spolar. Detroit and Lordstown, Ohio — right on the edge of our “greater Pittsburgh” region — were also profiled in text and a video on the newspaper’s web site. Our region is portrayed as the shiny spot on the “Rust Belt,” citing the economic, environmental and quality-of-life transformation over the past 30 years, with an emphasis on the growth of new, technology-based industries and our region’s strengths in health care and financial services.
The other global story is in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of fDi, or Foreign Direct Investment, another Financial Times publication.” The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance hosted Michal Kaczmarski earlier this fall during a multi-day visit to our region. Kaczmarksi’s story, “From Steel to Silicon,” also details the transformation story, with an emphasis on research, innovation and commercialization. He profiles entrepreneurs who decided to remain in the region after college – or relocate here from bigger cities — because of our network of opportunities to start and nurture their businesses.
Both of these publications are widely read globally, especially by business leaders and individuals that influence foreign direct investment. The stories come on the heels of a Richard Florida article in The Atlantic noting that we’re home to two of the world’s top research universities; global HR firm Mercer’s recognition of our region as among the “Top 50” in the world for quality of life; Farmers Insurance Group’s ranking of Pittsburgh as the most secure place to live among nearly 400 U.S. cities of 500,000 or more; and National Geographic Traveler’s naming us as among the 20 “Best of the World” places to visit in 2012. We’re supporting VisitPittsburgh’s efforts to really beat the drum about that in the New Year.
The coverage tees us up quite nicely for next year, when Pennsylvania will be a keystone state for the Presidential campaign and our region will be in the international spotlight again thanks to a couple of major events, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May and the One Young World Summit in October. The Presidential candidates will bring national and international media with them, and the two events will bring thousands of the best and brightest young people from around the world to our region.
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Happy Holidays and Happy New Year,