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Who's hiring in PGH? The P-G, Casbah, Rhiza and more. . .

A note from the editor: Pop City will soon launch a regular series featuring recent hires and departures in Pittsburgh. Submit your hiring news and job openings via email.
 
Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. Read on for this week’s roundup.
 
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette seeks a creative front-end web developer to work on data and data visualization projects for a new energy vertical, as well as assisting in newsroom-wide reporting projects. The core mission of this position will be on acquiring data and the creative, contextual display of information for a developing must-read energy site. 

Duquesne Light is hiring a SharePoint Architect with at least 10 years of experience with business information systems integration or custom business application design and development and at least seven years of experience with MS SharePoint Server development and infrastructure. Resumes can be sent to Lynn Palen at lpalen@duqlight.com.
 
Beyond Spots & Dots, a full-service advertising agency, is looking to hire a Drupal developer. Applicant must possess desire to work with Drupal modules, theming, distributions and content management, as well as programming skills in HTML, CSS, PHP and Javascript to produce quality client websites.
 
Rhiza, a start-up technology company and developer of the award-winning Rhiza Analytics Platform, is hiring several positions, including software engineers, sales administrators and a front end user interaction designer.
 
The Mattress Factory is hiring a part-time accounting assistant with a knowledge of QuickBooks accounting software and at least one year of experience in an accounting or bookkeeping role or equivalent combination of education, training, and experience.
 
The Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh Development Office is hiring a prospect researcher to conduct and provide comprehensive donor research on major gift prospects for the museums’ development officers. The Carnegie Museum is also hiring a director of corporate and foundation relations with at least five years of nonprofit fundraising experience to develop strategies for raising funds from corporations and private, public, and corporate foundations and oversee the writing of fundraising communications.
 
Point Park University is hiring a print and communications services coordinator with at least two years of office experience.
 
Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania is hiring a regional vice president of operations to develop, implement, and assess council strategies for delivery of a nationally consistent leadership development experience for girls that includes program, membership and volunteer development within the council’s 27 counties of Western PA.
 
Animal Rescue League is hiring a Wildlife Center volunteer manager to provide professional staff support to volunteers and acts as the link between employees and other volunteers
 
Jewish Federation Volunteer Center is hiring a program associate with strong programmatic and entrepreneurial skills to assist the center’s director in program development, execution and marketing.
 
Casbah, a Mediterranean restaurant in Shadyside, is looking for a talented, experienced pastry chef  to lead the team in creating a delicious variety of desserts to compliment Executive Chef Eli Wahl's menu.

Iontank: Bringing the imagination to life through interactive technology

Iontank, a specialized design studio based in Friendship that develops custom-built interactive hardware and software solutions for just about anything you can imagine, is looking to grow. In fact if you're a technically minded artist or a creative coder, Iontank might just be the place for you. A typical day at the office might include tossing around ideas involving “giant robots, fire and lasers,” says Rob de la Cretaz, technical director.

"Due to the nature of our business, growth is a weird thing," says de la Cretaz, who joined the company two years ago when there were just three employees. Now there are five and while the company is looking to expand, they want to be smart about how they are doing it, keeping the dynamism of their business in mind.

Iontank devises imaginative concepts and guides clients around the country through the prototyping process and into production. Director Stephen Streibig founded Iontank in 2001. Today, the crew includes disciplined techs and artists that boast a complete mastery of pixels, hammer drills and soldering irons.
 
“Pittsburgh is where we have chosen to live because we love the collaborative spirit of the creative folks that live here,” says de la Cretaz. “We are always open to collaborating with local artists and entities. We have an extensive war chest of technical toys and we don’t mind sharing.”
 
While the sky is the limit, much of Iontank’s work revolves around remarkable projects that leave jaws agape via installations, events and the trade show industry. For example, Iontank collaborated on the world’s first audience-driven interactive fireworks display alongside fireworks giant Pyrotecnico and VICE’s electronic music and culture channel THUMP. Commissioned to celebrate the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 on Manhattan’s Pier 84, the project has been called a game-changer in the pyrotechnic industry.
 
Iontank built a phone app that integrated seamlessly to a pyrotechnics firing board and allowed hundreds of participants to customize and view the launch of actual fireworks at the touch of the screen.
 
“Seeing the looks on peoples’ faces when they realize they just fired a real firework made for an incredible project,” says de la Cretaz.
 
“The whole process was very collaborative and could never have happened in such a crazy time frame without the support of the experienced techs and logistics personnel at Pyrotecnico. . . We are used to working under pressure and know how to plan for all kinds of contingencies, but there is nothing quite like having huge batteries of live fireworks on the other end of your mouse,” says de la Cretaz. “Click and bang.”
 
Though Iontank can’t disclose specifics about current projects in the works, de la Cretaz says the team is building off the momentum of the interactive fireworks project and buzzing with ideas to harness the energy of a crowd to create exciting experiences.
 
“The concept of allowing a large group of people control their entertainment through innovative means instead of simply subjecting them to a predetermined composition is a very exciting prospect for us,” says de la Cretaz. “We are in the process of developing several prototypes to explore this territory.”
 
He describes his dream project as one that involves a client who is open to new and exciting ideas, a realistic budget and the shared understanding that amazing experiences normally take longer than four weeks to pull off.
 
“We’re always curious and hungry to develop new experiences,” says de la Cretaz. “There’s no doubt that there’s a healthy cross-pollination taking place between the worlds of advertising, architecture, design and digital artistry. We look forward to pushing those boundaries even further and to shaping a wondrous and unexpected future.”

Digital excavation project uncovers experimental works by Andy Warhol

Native son Andy Warhol was an incredibly early adopter of digital technology and may have been the first major artist to explore such mediums as digital photography, video capturing, animation editing and audio composition. 

Now, upon realizing that they had access to digital art produced by Warhol, the Andy Warhol Museum has unearthed several digital doodles created by the artist from floppy disks that were sitting in the museum's archival storage.

In 1985, computer manufacturer Commodore International hired Andy Warhol to produce several artworks using the Amiga 1000 to demonstrate its sophistication and accessibility as a conduit for creativity. A team of artists, curators, archivists, and technologists recently retrieved Warhol’s experimental images, which have been inaccessible since the Andy Warhol Museum obtained the collection of floppy disks in 1994.

The idea to retrieve these digital sketches was birthed in 2011, when New York-based artist Cory Arcangel came across a fuzzy YouTube clip of Warhol promoting the Amiga 1000 in 1985. Arcangel contacted the Andy Warhol Museum with the idea of restoring the Amiga hardware to catalog and exhibit the digital files. The digital excavation was performed by members of the Carnegie Mellon Computer Club, which is known for its collection of obsolete computer hardware and retro-computing expertise, working in cooperation with Archangel at the Andy Warhol Museum throughout three months in 2013. The team received support from the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry (FRSCI) at CMU, which support atypical, anti-disciplinary and inter-institutional research projects at the intersections of arts, sciences, technology and culture.

“I am both a serious Warholfanatic and lifelong computer nerd, so to have the opportunity to help uncover this history, i.e., dig through Warhol's dusty disks, was a dream come true on both counts," says Arcangel. "What's amazing is that by looking at these images, we can see how quickly Warhol seemed to intuit the essence of what it meant to express oneself, in what then was a brand-new medium—the digital."

Out of 41 Amiga floppy disks in the collections, 10 disks were found to contain at least 13 graphic files believed to be created or modified by Warhol. The files show the mature artist struggling with digital imaging tools, and encountering a learning curve familiar to anyone who remembers picking up a mouse for the first time: squiggly lines and haphazard paint-fill.

According to a report by the CMU Computer Club, the disks were in excellent condition, allowing easy data retrieval. However, several were found to be corrupted, allowing access to only partial versions of some files. Raw low-level disk images and physical low-level copies of the disks found to be corrupted were made and may provide a starting point for future study. In addition, the team recovered several copies of pre-release or unreleased software that may also be of great historical interest. 

Michael Dille, who just completed his Ph.D. in robotics at CMU and is one of the computer club members who helped “crack the code” and uncover the files, says the project is an excellent reminder of the seriousness of digital decay. 

“Do you really think that important document you're working on right now will be accessible in 10 years,” Dille asks. “Will the media you've stored it on still function? Will you find something to plug it into? Will that cloud provider still be in business or not have quietly expunged it for you? Will you still have the software?  . . .  These aren't simple questions to address, yet they are ones everyone is left to solve for themselves with very little guidance, and software/service providers have very little motivation to help.  A good starting point, certainly, is the use of standard well-documented widely-implemented open formats, which is something of which we've naturally become very strong proponents.”

The team's efforts are documented in the Hillman Photography Initiative's new short film, Trapped: Andy Warhol's Amiga Experiments. It is the second part of "The Invisible Photograph" documentary series that investigates the expansive realm of photographic production, distribution and consumption by way of the hidden side of photography, whether guarded, stashed away, barely recognizable or simply forgotten. The film premieres at 7PM, Sat., May 10, at Carnegie Library Lecture Hall, and will be available online at nowseethis.org on May 12.

Who's hiring in PGH? Zipcar, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, ModCloth and more...

A note from the editor: Pop City will soon launch a regular series featuring recent hires and departures in Pittsburgh. Submit your hiring news via email.

Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. Read on for this week’s roundup.
 
Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank is hiring a grant writer with five years of related experience. The grant writer is responsible for preparing proposals for submission to potential funding sources to obtain funds for ongoing or special Food Bank projects.
 
Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania is hiring a membership director with strong marketing, organization and communication skills. The membership director is responsible for the development and implementation of plans to increase and retain girl and adult membership
 
Temple Sinai, a Reform synagogue in Squirrel Hill, is hiring an event and venue coordinator. The position is responsible for coordinating events and scheduling logistics for a large volume of meetings, classes, services, life cycle events and private rentals.
 
The University of Pittsburgh is hiring a variety of positions, including a Communications Services web developer with five to six years of experience and an operations manager to coordinate the day-to-day activities of the Latin American Studies Association Congress at the University Center for International Studies.
 
Carnegie Mellon University is hiring a College of Engineering communications manager, an administrative coordinator for the Human Resources office, and a temporary one-year full-time senior systems/software engineer to design systems and software, and code, integrate and maintain new and existing software and scripts for the University Libraries’ UNIX-based information retrieval systems.
 
ModCloth is hiring a senior software engineer, preferably with Ruby/Ror experience. ModCloth is also seeking senior Java and/or Python engineers to tackle complex and challenging development tasks.
 
Zipcar is hiring a marketing associate to focus on the acquisition of new members through a variety of channels and tactics, including: university marketing, Zipcar for Business, sponsorships and experiential events.
 

Pittsburgh 2030 District is two years ahead of schedule for energy reductions in Downtown Pittsburgh

With the goal of reducing Downtown Pittsburgh’s impact on the environment by 2030, the Green Building Alliance launched the Pittsburgh 2030 District in 2012. The initiative was inspired by the Architecture 2030 Challenge, a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization established in response to the climate change crisis by architect Edward Mazria in 2002. Their mission is to rapidly transform the built environment from the major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central part of the solution to the climate and energy crises. The Challenge calls for 50 percent reductions in building energy use, water use and transportation emissions by 2030, with incremental goals along the way.  

Last week, the Green Building Alliance released the Pittsburgh 2030 District’s inaugural progress report.

The Pittsburgh 2030 District has become the fastest growing 2030 District in the country and is already two years ahead of schedule for energy reductions, according to the Green Building Alliance. It originally sought to achieve a 10 percent reduction by 2015, but had already attained an 11.6 percent reduction by the end of 2013. The energy reductions reached thus far represent the equivalent of removing 7,748 homes from the grid, according to the Green Building Alliance.

“This report confirms that we’ve reached a dynamic moment in our region’s history,” says Sean Luther, senior director of the Pittsburgh 2030 District. “Through the Pittsburgh 2030 District, we will fundamentally alter the way we view our energy distribution system.”

Green Building Alliance will continue to work with property partners to achieve energy reductions while simultaneously working to recruit additional properties in order to reach its goal of 100 percent participation. Participation in the program has already grown to almost 40 property owners and managers, representing 109 buildings and 35 million square feet of real estate. 

Reducing energy demand is the key to maximizing the utilization of existing power plants, eliminating the need for new coal- or gas-fired plants and related infrastructure costs. Reduction in energy consumption also paves the way for greater use of renewable energy sources and dramatically improves air quality, according to the report. On a related note, the District is working with the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation at the University of Pittsburgh to develop and pilot an indoor air quality metric for possible implementation across the country. 

In addition to reducing energy demand, the initiative plans to place an increased focus on water use reduction, which is one key to solving the region’s sewage infrastructure crisis.

“Substantially reducing water consumption in individual buildings has a direct correlation to increased capacity in the combined sewer system, allowing for better handling of major storm water events and increased reliability of potential future “green infrastructure” investments,” according to the report.

The Green Building Alliance attributes the success of the Pittsburgh 2030 District thus far to its property partners, community and resource partners and funders, as well as the 2030 District sponsors: The Efficiency Network; The ECB Network, Powered by Bayer; Stantec; and Scott Electric, GE Lighting. 

Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie
Sources: Green Building Alliance, architecture2030.org, Sean Luther, and Leslie Montgomery

Conversant Labs: Improving assistive technology for the visually impaired

Chris Maury’s vision has been on the decline since he was diagnosed with Stargardt macular degeneration in early 2011. The genetic eye disorder causes progressive vision loss, usually to the point of legal blindness. 

Shortly after his diagnosis, Maury left his job as product manager at Klout in San Francisco to develop accessibility technology for those who suffer from vision loss and impairment. In 2012, he founded Conversant Labs to improve the lives of the blind through improved access to technology. The following year, Maury moved the company to Pittsburgh. 

“While we are an accessibility company, our core technology is speech recognition and voice-enabled applications,” says Maury. “Carnegie Mellon is where a lot of the research in these fields was started, and being based here in Pittsburgh allows us to draw on that expertise.”

Conversant Labs builds audio-only applications for the blind and visually impaired. The company is one of the start-ups in the current cycle at AlphaLab, a leading accelerator in the country. In addition to Founder/CEO Maury, the Conversant Labs team includes Greg Nicholas, a software developer with a background in natural language processing and building applications for the accessibility industry, and Fran Kostella, who has 30 years of experience building alternative user interfaces 

“The tools currently available for the blind to interact with everyday technologies are severely limited,” says Maury.  “Expensive, difficult to learn, and not supported by many common services, these products leave the majority of the blind community without access to computers or the internet.”

Maury recently spoke at the 29th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego. His talk focused on the limitations of traditional accessibility technology known as screen readers, which display web content visually for users on a monitor and convert text to synthesized speech so users can listen to the content.

“Screen readers are amazing tools for making computers and mobile devices minimally accessible, but the standard that we set for our tools should be much, much higher,” Maury says. “We should be creating applications and experiences that go beyond plain accessibility and focus instead on usability.”

“Our approach throws out the visual component, creating an audio-only experience optimized for blind users,” says Maury. “Using voice commands, users are able to complete tasks they might otherwise avoid.”

Conversant Lab’s first commercial application “Say: Shopping,” a voice-enabled shopping client for making online purchases that will allow blind users to shop independently.

“Shopping is one of these tasks that is difficult for the blind and visually impaired to do independently, often relying on others to go to the store for them,” says Maury. “Creating an experience that allows people to shop independently and from the comfort of their homes is a big win for improving quality of life.”

Say: Shopping is now in beta testing and will likely be released into the Apple App Store by the end of May. 

Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie
Sources: Chris Maury, AlphaLab and conversantlabs.com

Who's hiring in PGH? Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pitt and more...

A note from the editor: Pop City will soon launch a regular series featuring recent hires and departures in Pittsburgh. Submit your hiring news via email.

Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. Read on for this week’s roundup.
 
Desmone & Associates, an architectural firm located in Lawrenceville, is hiring a self-motivated marketing manager to provide leadership for all firm marketing and public relations activities.
 
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is hiring a communications associate with at least three years of professional experience and a communications manager with at least five years of professional experience.
 
The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is looking to hire a program coordinator. PASA works to improve the economic viability, environmental soundness and social responsibility of food and farming systems across Pennsylvania and throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. As one of the largest statewide sustainable farming organization in the United States, PASA conducts programs that include farm-centered education, regional marketing and business support, consumer outreach, farmer advocacy and community building strategies. The successful candidate will be an important team player in advancing this overall mission.
 
The University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business is seeking a qualified associate director of career and academic advising to assist full and part-time MBA students and alumni with developing and refining a comprehensive strategy for securing an internship and/or full-time employment. Ideal candidates will have at least six year of relevant experience.
 
Carnegie Science Center is hiring a development manager with at least three years of success as a development professional and excellent written, verbal and interpersonal skills. Responsibilities include overall coordination of development-related special events, including budget and resource management; enhancing existing relationships with donors; generating reports and proposals; and working cooperatively as part of the overall development team. Application materials will only be accepted online through the employer’s website, carnegiemuseums.org/hr.
 
Carnegie Museum of Art is hiring several positions, including a construction and facilities coordinator to provide support for the administration and execution of all aspects of construction-related activities associated with the museum's temporary exhibitions, major permanent collection installations, and special projects.

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh’s Technology Department seeks a software systems administrator to oversee all aspects of the Institute’s software inventory, licenses and server farm. Ideal candidates will have a bachelor's degree and four to six years of relevant experience in the IT field. Supervisory experience required. Application materials will only be accepted online through the employer’s website, carnegiemuseums.org/hr.
 
Dress for Success is hiring a branch/development coordinator; the ideal candidate has retail, job training or social services management experience. Dress for Success is a nonprofit organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help women thrive in work and life.
 
ACTION-Housing Inc. is hiring a program manager for the One Stop Energy Shop, which works to improve and preserve existing multi-family affordable housing in Western PA through energy performance auditing, energy and water retrofits, and educational services. Candidates should have a bachelor's degree in sustainability or business and a minimum of five years of full-time work experience in building performance and/or sustainability field; master's degree preferred. ACTION-Housing Inc. empowers people to build more secure and self-sufficient lives through the provision of decent, affordable housing, essential supportive services, asset building programs, and educational and employment opportunities.
 
Conversant Labs, which builds applications tailored to the specific needs of the visually impaired, is hiring an iOS Engineer who is deeply curious about speech recognition technologies. Candidates should express interest via the company’s website.
 
American Eagle is hiring several positions, including an associate marketing manager to drive sales and effectiveness of AE Rewards and AE Credit Card programs through solid execution of strong marketing plans, an associate inventory planner with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, supply chain/logistics, finance, or related field, an art director with at least 8 years of professional graphic/web design experience.
 
Dick’s Sporting Goods is hiring a manager of marketing-planning with at least five years of professional experience to manage the integration of category marketing plans for direct mail, email, promotional digital marketing, TV and radio.
 
Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie

Science fiction or future of emergency medicine?

Suspended animation sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. That’s why the investigative team at UPMC Presbyterian describes the lifesaving technique they are ready to perform on humans for the first time ever as “Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation” or EPR.
 
The new technique, which requires the cooling of the body by 50 degrees, is designed to improve survival rates and protects brain function in trauma patients who suffer cardiac arrest due to massive bleeding from gunshot or stabbing wounds.
 
Currently, patients who suffer cardiac arrest from major trauma rarely survive,” says Dr. Samuel Tisherman, associate director of Shock and Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation at the University of Pittsburgh’s Safar Center for Resuscitation Research and director of the Neurotrauma Intensive Care Unit at UPMC Presbyterian.  “Less than 1 out of 10 of these patients leave the hospital alive. EPR, or emergency preservation and resuscitation, is a novel way that we’re hoping to try to resuscitate trauma patients who suffered a cardiac arrest.”
 
Using a large tube to administer ice-cold fluid to lower the patient’s body temperature by 50 degrees, EPR gives the medical team time to get the patient to the operating room for surgeons to control the bleeding before resuscitating patients.
 
“The body can’t tolerate the lack of blood flow for even more than just a few minutes,” says Tisherman. “By cooling them, we can buy time by slowing down processes that occur when there is no blood flow to the vital organs like the heart and brain. This will allow the surgeons to repair injuries and save the patients.”
 
Tisherman is now leading the Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation for Cardiac Arrest from Trauma (EPR-CAT) Study, which will use the profound cooling technique on about 10 patients throughout the next one to two years.
 
Ideal candidates for the trial are 18-65 year-olds with penetrating trauma who experience cardiac arrest less than five minutes before arriving in the emergency department and show no response to standard care, including airway intubation, blood transfusions and opening the chest.
 
The interest in using hyperthermia therapeutically in the treatment of cardiac arrest from trauma came about through the observation of “patients who drowned in cool water and survived incredibly long times underneath the water,” says Tisherman. “So it appears that hyperthermia could have a great preserving effect if you have a cardiac arrest.”
 
Traditional therapeutic hyperthermia after cardiac arrest involves cooling patients by only about six or seven degrees below normal. “For EPR, we’re talking about cooling them by almost 50 degrees below normal temperatures,” he says. “This type of cooling has never been tried before in trauma patients.”
 
Tisherman and his team have been ready since the beginning of April to use this new emergency medicine technique that could save the lives of patients experiencing cardiac arrest from severe trauma at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. They are the only team in the country ready to perform EPR-CAT, though teams at the University of Maryland and the University of Arizona are expected to start performing EPR-CAT on humans within the next few years.

Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie
Source: Dr. Samuel Tisherman

Pittsburgh Fringe Festival receives catalytic Sprout Seed Award

Next month, Pittsburgh will kick off its inaugural Fringe Festival, modeled after the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is the largest arts festival in the world. The Pittsburgh theater arts festival recently announced it received a Sprout Seed Award  help fund 24 theatrical performances in various Shadyside venues this May.
 
Pittsburgh Fringe Festival, led by its founder and executive director Dan Stiker, supports adventurous and exploratory performing artists by presenting their uncensored artistic expression to equally adventurous audiences. In addition to performances, the Fringe Festival will facilitate continuing education, workshops, discussions and forums. 

“I think Pittsburgh has a great arts community, and the theater community is one aspect of that,” says Stiker. “I think interesting theater is just starting to be supported in Pittsburgh. This is just the right time for the city to have its own Fringe Festival.”

Stiker’s interest in organizing Fringe stems from his theater background in New York City, where he performed in the NYC Fringe Festival and was in a company that did a lot of experimental theater. Stiker also has a background in theater management, and the management strength of the collective Fringe Festival team he's assembled helped attract The Sprout Fund's support. 

“The Seed Award is The Sprout Fund’s catalytic funding program for community innovation projects, and we are pleased to be able to support Pittsburgh's first organized Fringe Festival with a $7,500 grant,” says Mac Howison, Senior Program Officer for Catalytic Funding at The Sprout Fund. “The Sprout Fund has been hearing about the need for a Fringe Festival for years from the Pittsburgh theater community.  We're happy to be able to support Dan Stiker’s project, which highlights community partnerships and supportive collaboration among businesses, city officials and the performing arts companies making it happen, through the launch this spring and then hopefully as an annual event.”
 
The Seed Award Fund for Community Innovation offers grants to support, celebrate and showcase the initiatives of creative people in the greater Pittsburgh region with the cumulative power to create a critical mass of positive change. Seed Award projects are innovative, non-traditional ideas that focus on current issues and challenges faced by the community, and inspire a diverse group of participants to be more active, involved and civically-engaged.
 
Since 2001, Sprout Seed Awards have supported hundreds of dynamic local innovators and exciting community projects making an impact in the Pittsburgh area. Sprout provides critical financial support for projects and programs in the early stages of development—when just a small amount of investment has the potential to yield big results in the community.

"Sprout understands that Pittsburgh Fringe can be a catalyst for enhancing the performing arts community in Pittsburgh and we are grateful for their support," says Stiker.
 
Check out the 2014 Fringe lineup and purchase tickets at pghfringe.org.

Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie
Sources: Dan Stiker and Mac Howison

Who's hiring in PGH? The Sprout Fund, Carnegie Museums, Venture Outdoors and more....

A note from the editor: Pop City will soon launch a regular series featuring recent hires and departures in Pittsburgh. Submit your hiring news via email.


Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. Read on for this week’s roundup.
 
GTECH Strategies is hiring a membership and relationship manager with excellent communication skills and a minimum of two years of experience in the development of corporate fundraising partnerships and sponsorship proposals.
 
The Sprout Fund is looking for a business manager with a strong desire to work with diverse communities to leverage Sprout resources to create change in the Pittsburgh region.
 
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is looking for a director of science education and research and event sales administrator.
 
Venture Outdoors is hiring a director of membership and annual giving and a public program administrator who are passionate about the organization’s mission of connecting people to the outdoors.
 
Gateway Rehabilitation Center is hiring a high-energy and entrepreneurial director of development who demonstrates a proven track record in building strong relationships with supporters and meeting fundraising goals.
 
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, opening this summer, is hiring a chief operating officer and administrative assistant to support its mission to provide inspiration and education about the quality of life that can result from teaching people how to live in harmony with the earth.
 
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is hiring an executive assistant (Andy Warhol Museum), assistant director of membership, education department administrative manager, and a part-time communications specialist (Natural History).
 
Carnegie Robots, a spinoff of Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center, is hiring a software engineer and has several openings for technical associates and software associates.
 
The National Aviary is hiring a marketing associate with at least two years of experience. The marketing associate’s responsibilities will include advertising, print production, public relations, social media, web site management, direct mail, promotions, signage projects, and special event and promotion.
 
The Senator John Heinz History Center is hiring a development officer with at least five years of nonprofit development/fundraising experience.

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), a professional organization located in RIDC Park West, is seeking candidates for multiple positions, including a chief executive officer to ensure the organization’s future success and fulfillment of the mission to promote excellence in oncology nursing and quality cancer care. In addition, ONS is looking for a staff editor for the publishing department, a digital marketing coordinator, web developers, project managers, a director of development, and a customer service representative. Learn more on the ONS careers website.
 

Are you hiring in Pittsburgh? Email Pop City with links to job postings.
 
 Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie
 

Carnegie Mellon robot plays mean game of SCRABBLE

There’s some stiff SCRABBLE competition at Carnegie Mellon University. So stiff in fact, that the fierce competitor inhabits a body encased in plastic. Victor the Gamebot, the latest in a series of social robots developed at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, is a limbless torso with a mobile head and animated face who spends most of his time trash-talking opponents across a SCRABBLE board. 

“We believe that robots will soon be ubiquitous in society,” says Reid Simmons, research professor and associate director for education at the CMU Robotics Institute. “We want them to be able to interact with people just in the same way people interact with other humans.”

If an elderly person or someone with disabilities has a service robot with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, people will begin to feel it is more than a machine — and expect it to interact with them in anthropomorphic ways they would not expect from their dishwasher or microwave, says Simmons.

The research team behind Victor includes collaborators from robotics, computer science, drama, design and entertainment technology. They wanted to develop a robot that would interact with people while completing a joint task. 

Located near a cafe on the third floor of CMU's Gates and Hillman centers, Victor electronically move his tiles while his human opponents move their virtual tiles on the touchscreen board using their fingers. Victor converses with opponents with his voice, and people reply to him using keyboards. 

“We figured people would like to play games, so we’d make the robot play games with people,” says Simmons. “They could interact during the game, and the robot could comment on the moves the people make and how it’s doing relative to the person.” 

Indeed, Victor speaks freely throughout gameplay. Perhaps a little too freely.

After his opponent played the word “wave” for 14 points, Victor chides, “I have seen better, but not from you.”

Simmons says he was surprised by how strongly people react to Victor when he becomes angry while losing a game. Opponents can observe Victor’s mood thanks to a light over the gamebot’s heart that changes color and pulsates at different speeds depending on his mood. 

“When he’s in a good mood and kind of bantering, people don’t tend to type much to him,” says Simmons. “But when he starts trash talking them, they start trash talking right back. …I think people feel that the robot — just because he’s losing — he shouldn’t be a bad sport.”

While Victor has a high opinion of his SCRABBLE skills, he is not a strategic player. He’s not particularly concerned with double- and triple-word scores, and his 8,600-word vocabulary is hardly a match for the 178,000 words in the Official SCRABBLE Player Dictionary. Eventually, the researchers will enable him to recognize previous players and adjust his level of play to that of his opponents. 

Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie
Sources: Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh celebrates National Robotics Week

April 5-13 marks the fifth annual National Robotics Week, which celebrates the United States as a leader in robotics technology development and educates the public about how robotics technology impacts society. With Pittsburgh playing a major role in robotics innovation, it’s no surprise that there are lots of robotics events taking place throughout the city this week.

Robo Day in Pittsburgh
On April 9, AlphaLab Gear will host a robotics week event in its East Liberty facility that will feature speakers from 4moms, MYRIA RAS, and Girls of Steel FIRST Team, and demos by two start-ups in the accelerators current class, IdentifIED and Rapid TPC.

Dick Zhang,  cofounder and CEO of IdentifIED, says, “Industrial businesses, in oil and gas, agriculture, mining, or safety, all require massive amounts of data to increase their outputs, decrease their inputs and operate safely. Unfortunately they don't have access to this information because aerial sensing is extremely expensive, time-consuming and requires a lot of special equipment. We are an aerial data and sensing company focused on delivering this information through small unmanned aerial vehicles.” 

The IdentfIED demo will feature a small quadrotor, a multirotor helicopter that is lifted and propelled by four rotors, that will fly around the office among attendees and a video reel highlighting the company’s vehicles in action.

International Space Apps Challenge
The International Space Apps Challenge, led by NASA, government collaborators and more than 100 organizations around the world, is a two-day hackathon that embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing relevant open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and in space. The Pittsburgh event will take place at the TechShop in Bakery Square on April 12-13.

“The International Space Apps Challenge lets people in Pittsburgh collaborate with others around the globe using NASA open source data to build and program robotic solutions to global problems,” says Richard Behana, executive director at Space Challenges, Inc., the host of the Pittsburgh Space Apps Challenge. “Challenges range from creating a robot with salvaged parts controlled from your smartphone to creating a simplified kid friendly rover using a single-board microcontroller known as an Arduino.”

Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University Celebrates National Robotics Week
The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University will celebrate National Robotics Week on April 10 with the Teruko Yata Memorial Lecture with special guest speaker Marc Raibert, chief technical officer & director of Boston Dynamics followed by a satellite screening and performance of the Robot Film Festival. The celebration will continue on April 11 with project demonstrations, lab tours, and the annual Mobot (mobile robot) races. (RSVP required to attend.)

The Secret Life of Robots
Artist Toby Atticus features a dozen scenes of robots in everyday scenarios in The Secret Life of Robots exhibition. Robots are constructed from vintage thermoses, picnic coolers, and various found objects, and some include animatronic elements that control eyes and accent lights. Peaking into the sometimes mundane daily activities of a typical robot through various stages of their lifespan reveals a glimpse of our lives through the looking-glass. The free and public Pittsburgh Cultural Trust exhibition is on display through April 27 at SPACE art gallery, located at 812 Liberty Avenue. See website for gallery hours.

Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie
Sources: nationalroboticsweek.org, AlphaLab, Dick Zhang, spaceappschallenge.org, and Richard Behana

Who's hiring in PGH? IBM Watson Group, MARC USA, Jawbone and more...

Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. Read on for this week’s roundup.
 
Mayor Bill Peduto's office is looking to fill three servePGH 2014-15 AmeriCorps VISTA positions to work on a variety of service initiatives designed to impact Pittsburgh neighborhoods and youth: community & youth engagement associate, neighborhood service associate and sustainabiltiy service associate. Learn more online.

Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh works to reduce the literary gap by providing more than 20,000 of the city’s most economically disadvantaged children with access to self-selected books to create positive environments that motivate children to develop a lifelong love of reading and engage families in reading in the home. The organization is looking to fill two positions, Storymobile co-director and a Fall 2014-15 AmeriCorps KEYS position as children’s literacy outreach coordinator.
 
Carnegie Mellon University is looking to fill several interesting positions, including leadership coach of the Tepper School of Business, manager of workplace safety and Professional Development Services program coordinator.
 
The University of Pittsburgh is hiring a director for its Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence. In addition, Pitt is looking to hire a Network Operations Center manager, network engineer with at least five years of experience, donor relations coordinator and an alumni coordinator.

ANSYS, Inc., an engineering simulation software developer that has been recognized as one of the world's most innovative and fastest-growing companies by BusinessWeek and FORTUNE magazines, is hiring a marketing communications manager with at least 10 years of experience as a writer in a technical business setting and at least five years of management experience.
 
IBM Watson Group is hiring 18 positions, including software developers, software test specialists, UX designer, and front end developer. View all opportunities online.
 
MARC USA is hiring an interactive web developer who is proficient in XHTML/CSS, JavaScript, jQuery and has a working knowledge of Photoshop and Dreamweaver.
 
AIReS Corporate Relocation Services, which was named to the 2013 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing independently owned businesses in the U.S., is hiring a Java developer with at least four years of experience.
 
Jawbone, which has developed human-centered wearable technology and audio devices for more than 10 years, is looking to hiring a Java applications developer with 3-5 years of object oriented software development experience.
 
DICK’S Sporting Goods is hiring a mobile product manager for its ecommerce department with at least three years of experience in mobile product management and product development for a consumer website.
 
Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie

Plugged in: CMU's Electric Garage now offers the only public Tesla charging station in Pittsburgh

Need to recharge? Carnegie Mellon University’s Electric Garage is now home to a high-power wall connector for Tesla electric cars, joining eight existing vehicle recharging stations available for public use in the Oakland facility. All of the charging stations are available at no cost 24 hours a day on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Located at 4621 Forbes Ave., a former gas station now houses ChargeCar, a community-centered electric vehicle research project that wants to make electric vehicles practical and affordable enough to revolutionize urban commuting.  

“This is definitely the largest charging infrastructure of any institution in this half of Pennsylvania, and likely anywhere in the state,” said Illah Nourbakhsh, CMU professor of robotics and project director. “And the Tesla charger is the only one available to the public locally.”

Made possible through private donations, the Tesla High Power Wall Connector at CMU’s Electric Garage can provide 58 miles of range per hour of charge.

In January, Tesla’s first Supercharger station in Pennsylvania opened in Somerset off of exit 110 of the I-70/I-76 turnpike, a toll road connecting Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Superchargers can replenish half of the battery in as little as 20 minutes. The Somerset station supports the Tesla cross-country route that will soon enable Model S owners to drive from Los Angeles to New York without paying a cent to refuel.

Interested in joining the electric car revolution but can’t afford a new electric car? ChargeCar can help. In addition to lowering the costs for commercially-developed electric vehicles, the project helps people convert their cars in collaboration with local mechanics and garages. ChargeCar is hosting an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 4, during which gas vehicles converted to electric power and other electric vehicles will be on display. 

Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie
Sources: Byron Spice, Carnegie Mellon University, ChargeCar, Tesla Motors

Pittsburgh Modular makes synthesizers used by musicians around the world

Richard Nicol is the creator and founder of Pittsburgh Modular, a synthesizer company that sells its music gear worldwide through about 25 dealers in the United States and a dozen more overseas. As a musician, Nicol has been fascinated with synths for many years and enjoys experimenting with them to produce new sounds. 

“You can create thousands of different worlds with the smallest turn of the knobs,” he says. 

About five years ago, Nicol took an advanced circuit building class at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PCA), where he met his instructor Michael Johnsen, who is now the “mad scientist” who designs the equipment that Nicol manufacturers and sells at Pittsburgh Modular. Johnsen still teaches analog circuit building classes at PCA, and is currently teaching a beginner level audio circuit course that covers such basics as soldering, construction, schematics and the idiosyncratic world of “circuit bending.”

Johnsen, who also teaches filmmaking to high school students, has nurtured a longterm interest in electronic music and the techniques that have been used to make it throughout the years. Helping people understand electronic music — all the way down to the circuit board — is practical knowledge to have in a very digital era, says Johnsen. 

Nicol began building handmade synthesizer modules in his basement as a hobby while working as a full-time software developer. Using bold components and dynamic layouts to promote interaction and experimentation, his creations resembled something built in a 1950s science fiction laboratory. It didn’t take long for people in the synth community to take notice and express interest in purchasing Nicol’s creations of modern analog circuitry, marking the birth of Pittsburgh Modular.

Pittsburgh Modular, which quickly outgrew Nicol’s basement, is headquartered in the former Mine Safety Appliance factory building, located at 201 North Braddock Ave. in Pittsburgh’s East End. 

Though Pittsburgh Modular is relatively young, there are some big names using its gear. Because the synths are sold through dealers, it’s not always possible to know who’s using them. But some of the big names they know of include Trent Reznor, Deadmau5 and Depeche Mode. 

In January, Pittsburgh Modular announced a full line of synthesizers and modular gear, which the company just began to ship. 

“Pittsburgh is a big music town — but it’s a rock ’n roll town,” says Nicol. “We weren’t sure how well [our synths] would sell in Pittsburgh.”

But to Nicol’s delight, Pittsburgh Modular gear is selling very well at its local dealer, Pianos N Stuff on Freeport Road.

“Pittsburgh is a great city to start a company,” says Nicol. “I don't think we could have built this company from ground zero to where we are now in most cities.”

The company also recently started Pittsburgh Modular Records and its first release was "Encryption Cypher,” a project with Herman Pearl (a.k.a. Soy Sos) of Tuff Sound Recording, who paired its synth sounds with remixed beats by Pittsburgh’s top hip-hop artists.  

Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie
Sources: Richard Nicol & Michael Johnsen
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