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Pittsburgh celebrates its champions

The inaugural Celebration of Champions reception and awards ceremony recognized six locals as leaders in Pittsburgh's industries on June 18 at the Station Square Sheraton. 

After the community nominated and voted on the winners earlier this year, the award recipients each received $1,000 to donate to their favorite local charity.

In addition to living or working in the Pittsburgh region, the winners were chosen for demonstrating excellence in their field through leadership, achievement and volunteerism.

The six industry categories included health care; technology; education; tourism and hospitality; first responders/military/veterans; and sports/arts and entertainment.

The following individuals accepted their awards:
  •  Health care: Nancy Stitt, co-founder of International Transplant Nurses Society
  •  Technology: Jim Jen, executive director and co-founder of AlphaLab
  •  ?Education: Cindy Bostick of Communities In Schools Pittsburgh Allegheny County, mentor coordinator within the Be A Mentor Program
  •  Tourism and hospitality: Sylvia McCoy, founder and owner of ‘Burgh Bits & Bites
  •  First responders/military/veterans: James O’Conner, veteran and local platoon leader of The Mission Continues organization
  •  Sports/arts and entertainment: Joe Negri, jazz guitarist and teacher at the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University

Additional information about the Celebration of Champions can be found here.

 

Local chef hopes to conquer Cutthroat Kitchen

When Isabela on Grandview’s Executive Chef Jacqueline Wardle competes on the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen on June 21, viewers will learn just how far she’ll go to create fine food.

Wardle caught the attention of the show’s producers through an Instagram photo that showed the duck specialty she created for the Mt. Washington restaurant’s menu. The producers selected her to join three other chef contestants from across the country to the challenge.

Wardle, an alum of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh's culinary program, will attempt to prepare the tastiest dish while outsmarting her competitors. In addition, she’ll be handed $25,000 and the opportunity to spend that money on helping herself or sabotaging her fellow contestants.  

"I enjoyed everything about being on set, meeting Alton Brown and competing with other chefs on a national level," said Wardle.

On June 21, fans can stop by the Bigham Tavern in Mt. Washington beginning at 9 p.m. to meet Chef Wardle and to see the show broadcast at 10 p.m.
 

Pittsburgh parks curator receives national honor

Thanks to her role as parks curator for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Susan Rademacher will receive one of the highest national honors from the American Society of Landscape Architects. 

The ASLA bestows the honorary member title on those who've provided notable service to the profession of landscape architecture. Since its founding the 1899, the society has granted honorary membership to only 176 recipients, including former President Jimmy Carter, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Robert Redford and Ladybird Johnson. 

Since joining the conservancy in 2007, Rademacher has served as the project leader for the recent renovation of Downtown's Mellon Square and wrote the 2014 Princeton Architectural Press book Mellon Square: Discovering a Modernist Masterpiece.

Rademacher was editor in chief of Landscape Architecture magazine from 1984 to 1987 and was a founding editor of Garden Design magazine. She served as both president of Louisville's Olmsted Parks Conservancy and assistant director of Louisville's Metro Parks Department from 1991 to 2007. 

As parks curator for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Rademacher has completed master planning and project design for the Walled Garden in Mellon Park and Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain. She is currently working on Cliffside Park renovations; master plans for Arsenal Park, Leslie Park, and McKinley Park; Heth's Run in Highland Park; and the Northeast Fountain in Allegheny Commons.

Local Etsy artist takes wholesale business to next level

When e-commerce site Etsy went public last week, Etsy crafters in Pittsburgh and across the world gained global attention, too.

The New York Times recently profiled Highland Park artist Amy Hamley’s association with Etsy before the company went public. Hamley, who makes jewelry and decorative items out of porcelain, credits Etsy for taking her wholesale business to the next level. She started the business is 2008 and made it her full-time pursuit in 2010.

“I’ve gained as many buyers and retail stores as I had in the entire three years doing it on my own,” she told the Times.

Since Etsy’s beginnings in 2005, the massive online site for vintage and handcrafted artisan goods has provided a vehicle for sellers to display their work for low sales fees plus a 3.5 percent commission. This changed the game for artisans, who used to depend on street fairs, arts festivals or gift trade shows to market their items. But with tens of millions of unique visits to Etsy’s site each day -- many of whom are retailers buying products wholesale-- sellers like Hamley gained a level of visibility never before granted to artists like her.
 
Last year, Hamley moved her studio out of her Highland Park home and launched Redraven Studios from a building converted from an old ice cream shop in Sharpsburg. She was one of a select group of Etsy sellers worldwide invited to attend the ringing of the stock market bell the morning the company went public. She was also among the small gathering of artisans who set up shop in Times Square to display and talk about her work. 

Pittsburgh is home to a number of Etsy crafters who bring their imaginations to market at the e-commerce site.

Source: The New York Times, Nasdaq, Upstart Business Journal

CMU grad student awarded national prize for screenplay

Savannah Reich, a graduate student in the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama dramatic writing program, won the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Student Grand Jury Prize from the Tribeca Film Institute for Best Science-Themed Screenplay. The award recognizes the best student screenplay in the nation that uses science and technology themes in a narrative.

Reich wins $30,000 plus $20,000 if the screenplay goes into production. The Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize will boost development of the project and introduce Reich and her work to the industry at large.  

Learn more about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation here.

Eater blog profiles chef Kevin Sousa

Local celebrity chef Kevin Sousa, who will be opening his latest restaurant venture Superior Motors in Braddock this spring, was featured recently in the national online foodie magazine Eater.  

“Superior Motors isn't just a restaurant,” writes Eater’s Amy McKeever, “it's a major effort to bring Braddock back to a state of urban vitality.” 

Of course, that is the goal and the ultimate gamble. With all of the sweat poured and money raised by Sousa and supporters, many are hoping for just that. 

Superior Motors opening soon at 1211 Braddock Ave. 

Read the extensive profile on Sousa here.

 

Pittsburgh among top 10 most creative cities

Real-estate brokerage site Movoto released its list of America's 10 most creative cities and ranked Pittsburgh at No. 9 based on business listings and census data. 

While Pittsburgh's artistic bent may have stirred some head-scratching over at Movoto, landing on the list comes as no surprise to keen observers of our city's creative class. 

Get inspired with the full list here

Thriving startup scene detailed in The Atlantic

If you're the mastermind behind a brilliant tech startup, Silicon Valley's not the only place to set up shop. Pittsburgh offers a viable alternative and a model for tech magnetism, offers The Atlantic magazine.

In his article "How to Create a Tech Startup if You're Not in Silicon Valley," The Atlantic's John Tierney explains that Pittsburgh's startups share oxygen with internationally known tech companies like Google and Disney Research that have a sizable presence here.

"Pittsburgh has one of the liveliest tech ecosystems in the country," Tierney writes. "It's a tech mecca, along with places like Silicon Valley, Boston/Cambridge, Seattle, and Austin."

Read the full how-to here.
 

For Millennials, Pittsburgh is 'Land of Opportunity'

The Atlantic’s latest investigation into what makes our region tick dives deep into the youthful enthusiasm of a cross-section of Pittsburgh boosters.

In an article titled “What Millennials Love About Pittsburgh,” writer John Tierney expounds upon recent research showing that Pittsburgh – with its abundance of both affordability and mobility -- still offers a shot at the American Dream when many U.S. cities are unable to.

“It’s a very good time to be in Pittsburgh if you’re a young person (need we call them ‘Millennials?’),” Tierney writes. “So, if you’re roughly in that age cohort and now living somewhere else – in a place where opportunities seem limited – consider a move to the City of Bridges.”

Meet Pittsburgh’s biggest proponents here.
 

CNN documents Pittsburgh's robot renaissance

CNN is the latest news outlet to report on the local robotics industry, with reporter Maggie Lake interviewing Mayor Bill Peduto, Seegrid Corporation President David Heilman, and University of Pittsburgh’s Chris Briem about Pittsburgh’s tech sector.
 
“Pittsburgh: A once-gritty steel town transformed into a booming tech hub and a leader in the robot revolution,” Lake says.

Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute has spun off more than 30 companies, employing over 1,000 people in the local economy, according to Lake.

Catch the robots in action here.
 

Forbes calls Pittsburgh the best place for veterans

Just in time for Veterans Day, Forbes magazine names Pittsburgh the No. 1 city for veterans. The list is based on research conducted by USAA, a San Antonio financial services company that caters to retiring members of the military and their family.

“The Rust Belt city isn’t known for having a big military base or defense contractor,” the intro to The Best Places for Veterans 2014 says. “But it has other attributes that make it an attractive spot for vets.”

The Forbes list cites Pittsburgh’s attainable median home prices and high-quality colleges as important to veterans just starting out in the civilian world.

Also boosting the rank? Pittsburgh’s myriad employers with veteran hiring programs, including Alcoa, FedEx Ground, PNC Bank, Heinz and Wellpoint.

Find the full list of The Best Places for Veterans 2014 here.
 

CMU professor receives national medal

Mary Shaw, the Alan J. Perliss University professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, was recently honored by President Obama. Shaw was one of eight recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest honor for achievement in the field of technology, innovation and invention.

“These scholars and innovators have expanded our understanding of the world, made invaluable contributions to their fields, and helped improve countless lives,” President Obama said. “Our nation has been enriched by their achievements and by all the scientists and technologists across America dedicated to discovery, inquiry, and invention.”

Read more about Shaw’s honor here.

Native rappers stick together

MTV reported this week that Pittsburgh rappers stood by Hardo, a rapper from Wilkinsburg, through social media after he was found not guilty for drug charges.
 
Mac Miller asked fans to tweet their support with the hashtag #welcomehomehardo while Wiz Khalifa pledged his allegiance to the black and yellow and tweeted “free Hardo.”
 
Hardo was arrested and charged with drug possession and intent to deliver last August when officers found 250 individual stamp bags of heroin in a bag in his vehicle.
 
Since returning home, Hardo has already recorded and released a new single entitled “Thug Motivation.”

Duquesne grad and August WIlson protege contributes to Broadway musical about Tupac Shakur

The New York Times reported last week that  “Holler if Ya Hear Me”, a new Broadway musical revolving around Tupac Shakur’s music and messages, was originally the brainchild of beloved playwright August Wilson who saw honor, duty, betrayal, and love in Shakur’s music.
 
When Wilson died in 2005, the idea lapsed until Western Pennsylvania native, Duquesne graduate and former Pittsburgh Public Theater staff member Todd Kreidler collaborated with director Kenny Leon and they took on the project of weaving 21 of Shakur’s songs and poems into a narrative.
 
The musical will open directly onto Broadway on June 19, after the Tony awards deadline, at the Palace Theater. The piece asserts the idea that Tupac Shakur is universal and that everybody can relate to his music.
 
“This is the greatest stage for storytelling in our country and I think Tupac Shakur belongs there,” Leon tells the New York Times.

"When movies film in Pittsburgh, experiences vary"

Communication is the key to successful movie filming in Pittsburgh, according to a recent article.

Movies like “Fathers and Daughters” and “The Fault in Our Stars” were filmed in Pittsburgh recently and have affected businesses in Pittsburgh in a variety of ways. The Toonseum on Liberty Ave. has witnessed several film shoots close to its building. 

"We love having these films in Pittsburgh. We love that they bring something to not only the economy, but to the personality of the city," Joe Wos, the executive director of The ToonSeum, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
122 Talent Articles | Page: | Show All
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