Forging Innovation

Catalyzing economic development in Pittsburgh through collaborative discussion and emergent thought.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Champions of Innovation

Pittsburgh is a great place. It is going to take some bold execution and great deal of vision, however, to transform the area into a hotbed for innovation. As I have explored the economic development scene, I have had the opportunity to meet with some folks that might just be able to pull it off. Some key players to keep your eyes on our listed below. If you know any other folks that are making waves--let me know!

Jared Cohon
The visionary president of Carnegie Mellon University is hard at work rallying Pittsburgh super-powers to join forces to improve the region. As a highly influential Pittsburgher, Jerry is leveraging Carnegie Mellon's vast resources to pump-prime innovation in the region. Under his leadership, Carnegie Mellon attracted technology tech titans Apple and Intel to Pittsburgh to conduct cutting-edge research in the brand new Collaborative Innovation Center.

Frank Demmler
As part of a new leadership team at Innovation Works, Frank is working hard to spur radical innovation in the area by embracing high potential start-ups at the earliest stage and helping them take root in Western PA. Frank has been around the block and back, so look for some great things out of IW in the near future.

Bill Peduto
This city council member has been shaking things up in the local Pittsburgh political scene, pushing some bold ideas including consolidating city and county services and creating a unified economic development front for our region. This no-nonsense politician has already turned some heads with his fresh perspective. I am excited to see what he can pull off.

Gary Rosensteel
The outspoken CEO of local IT startup DigiBrix has taken economic development into his own hands with a grass-roots effort called HELP (Helping Entrepreneurs Learn from Peers). This group's mission is to provide a safe-haven for leaders of entrepreneurial companies to discuss challenges they face. This tremendously successful effort has garnered the attention of some of the established economic development forces such as the Allegheny Conference and Pittsburgh Technology Council.

Cori Shropshire
Local reporter Cori Shropshire knows the state of innovation in the region and has made it her mission to make sure Pittsburgh does too. Cori makes it her business to stay in tune with the local technology scene using her vast network of connections to start-ups and local business leaders. Her "tell it like is" like it is attitude is helping the community actively understand our strengths and weaknesses as a region. I expect that we will only see more of her work gracing the Post Gazette in the future.

Don Smith
As VP of Economic Development for the twin towers of education in the city, Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh, Don has the unique ability to forge the economic development policies of these two academic powerhouses and improve the region. One of the key initiatives that Don has championed is the KIZ (Keystone Innovation Zone) program. The goal of the KIZ program is to create "knowledge neighborhoods" around local universities, transforming these communities into technology incubators.


  • At 3:48 PM, Blogger HELP said…

    Thanks, Hooman, for including me in this auspicous list; not sure I earned it, but thanks!

    Together we'll drag Pittsburgh kicking and screaming into the realities of the 21st century.


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