This year’s edition of the Pittsburgh Power 100 underscores the truth behind the adage, “The only constant is change.” Fully one-third of the people spotlighted in the 2023 list are newcomers, whether through promotion, retirement, new business model or just … change. Another constant: This year’s edition, created over the last several months, was again developed in partnership with Pittsburgh freelance writer Jordan Snowden.
We want to hear what you think about our lists, whether you agree or disagree with the rankings and the people included or excluded. Let us know at email@example.com.
Ed Gainey made history in 2021 when he defeated a two-term incumbent in Pittsburgh’s Democratic primary, which led to his eventual victory as the city’s first Black mayor. The former state representative ended his first mayoral year with Pittsburgh City Council approving his roughly $805 million budget proposal, which focused largely on infrastructure and public safety. He has long dedicated his political career to fighting injustice and uplifting communities after being raised in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood by a single mother.
Leslie Davis says the greatest achievement in her tenure so far as UPMC’s president and CEO has been the way the Pittsburgh-based health care organization has been able to care for its employees and patients during the pandemic. Davis, who has led UPMC since 2021, following the departure of Jeffrey Romoff, told Becker’s Hospital Review that during her first year, the company has helped “educate hundreds of millions of people” about new therapies and testing.
Rich Fitzgerald is currently serving his 12th and final year as Allegheny County’s chief executive. He has made sustainability a core issue during his tenure and has continued to work with the county’s health department to manage the response to the pandemic. In December, he was named Pittsburgh Magazine’s “Pittsburgher of the Year.” He has named seeing the county’s population growth in the 2020 census – the first increase in 60 years – as one of his biggest accomplishments.
Pittsburgh native Jay Costa currently represents the 43rd state Senate district in Allegheny County, where he’s served his community by fighting for lower drug costs for seniors and more funding for public schools. He was key to creating the Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program, which he and Rep. Dan Frankel established in the wake of 2018’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue to provide nonprofits funding to protect against hate-based violence. In December, they provided $500,000 in grants to Allegheny County nonprofits, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Chabad of Squirrel Hill.
Laura Karet was named Chair of Giant Eagle in 2022, following a career spanning more than 20 years at the retailer. She has led the company through the pandemic, overseen its expansion, launched and evolved ordering and delivery services, and earned Giant Eagle accolades from the Disability Equality Index as one of the “best places to work for disability inclusion.” Karet also holds multiple board member positions, including at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and The Pittsburgh Foundation.
William Demchak leads one of the largest financial institutions in the United States as chair, president and CEO of PNC Bank. He first joined the company in 2002 as its chief financial officer and was elected president in 2012, CEO in 2013 and chair in 2014. He also currently serves on numerous boards, including the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the Extra Mile Education Foundation, and as chair of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.
Summer Lee made history in 2018 when she became the first Black woman from Western Pennsylvania ever elected to the legislature. She did it again last year when she became Pennsylvania’s first Black woman ever to be elected to Congress. Now serving Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, it seems to be only a matter of time before Lee adds more firsts to the history books.
Serving as executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union is Neal Bisno, who has been a part of the union since 1989. In his role, Bisno oversees the union’s State Power program, which, through campaigns, partnerships and building political capital, helps unify political and member engagement work both locally and statewide. Since Bisno has taken charge, he’s led multiple successful organizing campaigns — including the largest internal campaign in the union’s history, Together We Rise — and was a key driver in getting new or infrequent union members to vote during the 2020 presidential election.
In 2020, Lauren Hobart became the first female CEO of a nationwide sporting goods chain. While in charge of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Hobart has helped the company reach more female consumers by placing a sharper focus on women’s athletic apparel and footwear, and by signing a multiyear deal as the WNBA’s official sporting goods partner. Before her promotion to CEO, Hobart served as senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Dick’s.
Cynthia Hundorfean kicked off 2023 with a new leadership position in the Pittsburgh health care industry: chief living health development officer at Highmark Health. Hundorfean previously served as president and CEO of Allegheny Health Network, a position she held from 2016 until the end of last year. During her time at AHN, Hundorfean oversaw the construction of new hospitals, cancer centers and outpatient facilities in the Pittsburgh area and was named to Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential People” and “Top Women Leaders” lists.
Serving the U.S. Steel Corporation since 2013, David B. Burritt was named the company’s president and chief executive officer in early 2017. Previously, Burritt served as Caterpillar’s chief financial officer and initially joined U.S. Steel as their executive vice president and chief financial officer. In addition to his duties as a board member of the corporation, Burritt serves on the board of directors for both Lockheed Martin and the National Safety Council.
Tim Knavish is the definition of “started from the bottom.” Beginning as a PPG Atlanta plant manager in 2000, Knavish kicked off 2023 as president and CEO of PPG Industries, having previously served as the company’s chief operating officer. At the time of the appointment, Knavish also became part of PPG’s board of directors. Knavish succeeds Michael McGarry, who had held the CEO position since 2015.
In 2015, Matt Smith was named president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. Starting this year, Smith will oversee policy and advocacy efforts as chief growth officer in the Allegheny Conference’s new department – a combination of the current economic development and advocacy teams – to allow for a more seamless business approach. He also serves on the boards of the Allegheny County Airport Authority, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Committee of 100, and was recently appointed to serve as chair of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s Economic Development Transition Committee.
Allegheny County’s chief law enforcement officer, Stephen Zappala, has sought to protect the rights and seek justice of the county’s citizens for more than two decades. Zappala writes on Allegheny County’s DA website, “I am extremely proud of the staff of attorneys and support personnel who have been brought together to carry out what is oftentimes a broad and complex mission.”
The eldest grandson of Steelers’ founder Art “The Chief” Rooney Sr., Art Rooney II has served as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ general counsel, vice president and, most recently, owner and president during his more than three decades with the team. But Rooney’s life isn’t strictly sports. A graduate of Duquesne University’s School of Law, he holds an of counsel position with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney and is an active member on numerous boards, including the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Public Theater, and the Extra Mile Education Foundation.
Boasting more than 25 years of experience in the legal world, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Executive Vice President Thomas Buchanan has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for over a decade. Alongside his role on the firm’s executive management team, Buchanan also serves the corporate section’s executive committee. He handles local and national venture capital financing, mergers and dispositions, and will step in as general counsel when there is no in-house counsel for a company.
Vincent J. Delie Jr., the chair, president and CEO of First National Bank, has led the company to not only financial gain but prestige. This includes FNB being named by multiple publications as one of the top places to work in Western Pennsylvania, a top employer recognition from DiversityJobs.com, and being named one of the World’s Best Banks by Forbes magazine. Under Delie’s leadership, FNB has increased both revenue and profitability, nearly tripling its market capitalization.
As Pennsylvania’s state representative in the 21st district, Sara Innamorato has been a key figure and progressive voice in the fight for equitable housing, improved public transit, cleaner air quality and more. She was first elected in 2018 after defeating the incumbent by 64% of the vote and was reelected in 2022. In December, she announced her candidacy to replace outgoing Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who is term-limited and can’t seek reelection. Innamorato has already received one notable endorsement for the position: Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey.
Currently representing Pennsylvania’s 23rd state House district, which serves Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, Greenfield, Oakland, Point Breeze and Regent Square neighborhoods, state Rep. Dan Frankel is working to end gun violence, promote equity and the rights of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians, and protect women’s reproductive rights. Frankel joined the state House of Representatives in 1999 and is currently a member of Allegheny County’s Area Agency on Aging’s Advisory Council, the State Employee Retirement System board, and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s Board of Directors. He also represents the governor on the University of Pittsburgh’s Board of Trustees.
Theresa Kail-Smith was first elected to represent District 2 as a member of Pittsburgh City Council in 2009, where she is currently serving her second term as Council president. A lifelong resident of Pittsburgh, she has volunteered for numerous nonprofits over the past three decades and serves as a board member of the Housing Opportunity Fund, the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, ALCOSAN, Carnegie Library and more. As Council president, she focuses on quality-of-life issues, including social service, development and environmental needs.
Overseeing Highmark Health’s 37,000 employees and millions of nationwide customers is David Holmberg. He has served as the company’s president and CEO for a little under a decade, bringing with him numerous years of executive experience, including time leading both Highmark diversified business and HVHC, Highmark’s optical retail subsidiary. Under his guidance, Allegheny Health Network bounced back from near bankruptcy and Highmark Health quickly and successfully navigated the early days of COVID-19.
Nish Vartanian has served in a wide range of roles during his 35-year career at MSA Safety, a Cranberry-based manufacturer and supplier of industrial safety equipment. He was first hired at MSA as a sales representative in 1985 and advanced through various positions in the company until being named as the company’s president and chief executive officer in 2018. Vartanian is responsible for all of MSA’s business initiatives and operations, and he lists his greatest success as MSA’s integration of California-based General Monitors, which remains the company’s largest acquisition. Vartanian also serves on the board of directors of the Pittsburgh branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
With more than 30 years of work in government and politics, Leslie Gromis Baker brings a wealth of knowledge to Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney. She first joined the lobbying and government relations firm in 2006, then left in 2013 for a stint as then-Gov. Tom Corbett’s chief of staff.
Prior to her work at the firm, she worked in the administration of George W. Bush in the White House. In 2016, she returned to the practice as co-chair and managing director of State and Federal Government Relations, where she uses her political and public advocacy skills to build rapport with key decision-makers.
Those in Pittsburgh looking to navigate antitrust law can turn to Wendelynne Newton. From health care to consumer products, Newton has successfully directed numerous litigation and antitrust matters. She currently serves as chair of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s antitrust and trade regulation practice group. She was elected to the firm’s management committee in 1992, and three years later was appointed to the board of directors.
A lifelong union activist, John Shinn became secretary/treasurer of United Steelworkers in 2019. He also previously served as the organization’s chief financial officer and as director in District 4, where he was known for aggressively promoting union members and supporting legislation to keep and create jobs. Over his career, Shinn has served on a number of labor councils, as well as community and safety organizations, including his current position as chair of the USW Chemical Sector.
This will be the last year Patrick Gallagher serves as chancellor at the University of Pittsburgh. After leading the institution for nearly a decade, he announced last April that he would be stepping down this summer. Under Gallagher’s direction, Pitt has further strengthened its status as one of the nation’s leading institutions for higher education and research. He also serves as chair of the board of the Association of American Universities and was a member of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s transition team as chair of the Advisory Committee for Education and Workforce.
After serving as Carnegie Mellon University’s provost, vice president for research, and then interim president, Farnam Jahanian was named CMU’s 10th president in 2018. In addition to his higher education experience, Jahanian is nationally recognized for his work as a computer scientist. In 2001, he co-founded the internet security company Arbor Networks, and from 2011 to 2014, he led the National Science Foundation Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering.
As Duquesne University’s 13th president Ken Gormley has garnered national recognition for his leadership and work as a lawyer and bestselling author. At Duquesne, Gormley leads nearly 8,500 students, representing every state and more than 80 countries. Before taking the helm in 2016, he served as Duquesne’s law school dean. In 2022, Gormley announced Duquesne’s law school would be named after Thomas R. Kline, a founding partner of Kline & Specter, after Kline presented the school with $50 million, the largest gift in the university’s history.
Husband-and-wife team David and Cynthia Shapira lead The Shapira Foundation, an organization dedicated to investing in projects that provide a substantial social benefit to the community, specifically those concerning Jewish life. Cynthia, the foundation’s president, has also served as chair of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors for seven years running. David, The Shapira Foundation’s chair, brings with him more than 30 years of executive leadership experience, previously working as chair, chief executive officer and president at Giant Eagle Inc.
Early last year, Alison Beam became UPMC’s vice president of government affairs and chief government relations officer, leaving her position as Pennsylvania Secretary of Health. Prior to that leadership role, Beam served as then-Gov. Tom Wolf’s deputy chief of staff, where she assisted with delegating the almost $2 billion federal stimulus package across the Department of Health’s various branches. At UPMC, Beam focuses on government relations across all levels, in addition to the company’s charitable giving.
Roy Harvey is the president and CEO of the Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Corporation, the world’s eighth-largest producer of aluminum. Under Harvey’s leadership, Alcoa has made a commitment to sustainable aluminum production, with a goal of achieving net-zero carbon by 2050. Among its investments is a technology that Harvey says will allow scraps to be recycled into a purer quality of aluminum than if made new. Prior to taking the helm, Harvey was Alcoa’s executive vice president of human resources, environment, health and safety, and sustainability from 2014 to 2015.
Pittsburgh-based Howmet Aerospace ended 2022 with an increase in both revenue and employees. At the helm of the organization is John Plant, who assumed the role of CEO in late 2021. He previously served for several years as co-chief of the company, a leading global provider of advanced engineering solutions for the aerospace and transportation industries. Plant’s career in the automotive industry spans nearly 40 years, and he’s credited with the transformation of Arconic, the company that split from Howmet, where he formerly served as CEO.
Thomas Conway is well-known for his contract negotiation skills while serving as international president at United Steelworkers, the largest industrial union in North America. In December, he ended the year with an announcement that the organization ratified a new, four-year contract with U.S. Steel on behalf of roughly 11,000 members of 13 local unions. Conway first became president in 2019, after more than 25 years of serving in various positions within the organization, and was an integral part of developing the organization’s Institute for Career Development.
Under the leadership of president and CEO Rafael Santana, rail and locomotive company Wabtec has transformed into a Fortune 500 company. A native of Brazil, Santana has an engineering degree and an extensive record of transforming businesses. He previously served as president and CEO of GE Transportation, where he expanded the company’s regional footprint, and as president and CEO of General Electric in Latin America.
Sam Reiman is making an impact: As the director of the Pittsburgh-based Richard King Mellon Foundation, one of the 50 largest such foundations in the world, Reiman has created opportunities for countless entrepreneurs since taking over the position in 2019. He told Forbes magazine in December that his background – he grew up poor and dropped out of high school – has given him an awareness of the complications of systemic poverty.
Michael Huwar has had a long career in the natural gas industry, first leading Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, where he worked for more than 30 years, and then becoming president of Peoples Natural Gas in 2020. Huwar is in charge of ensuring the delivery of natural gas service to customers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky. In 2022, he was appointed to serve a term as co-chair of Pittsburgh Works Together, an alliance of unions and business and civic leaders.
Community colleges across the country faced a decline in enrollment, but President Quintin Bullock says the Community College of Allegheny County remains an “excellent venue” for students to access affordable training. Under his leadership, the 2023 county budget included a 12% increase in funding for CCAC, the largest the school has seen in a decade. During his tenure as CCAC’s ninth president, Bullock has also overseen several large capital projects, stabilized finances and launched new academic programs.
Matthew Dugan, Allegheny County’s chief public defender since 2020, has had a lengthy career in the court system. After receiving a degree from Duquesne University School of Law, he was a member of both the preliminary hearing and trial divisions, and served as a trial manager, deputy of the pre-trial division and chief deputy director. Dugan might also have higher aspirations – it’s been reported that he will challenge six-term incumbent Steve Zappala in the May Democratic primary for Allegheny County District Attorney.
As both a managing partner and a partner in Reed Smith, LLP’s Global Commercial Disputes Group, Jason Hazlewood has served the commercial and financial services litigation firm for just under two decades. He handles everything from class action lawsuits to construction disputes and securities litigation and, most recently, was chosen for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for his commercial litigation work. Outside of the office, Hazlewood is a board member of Neighborhood Allies, The Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh and The Design Center.
Since becoming president of the Port Authority of Allegheny County, Katharine Kelleman has not only led the company through a pandemic but a major rebrand. In June 2022, the Port Authority was renamed Pittsburgh Regional Transit, a move officials say “better reflects the services, values, and location of who we are and what we do every day.” Under Kelleman’s leadership, PRT announced last year a commitment to transitioning to a zero-emission bus fleet by 2045. Kelleman’s contract has been unanimously extended by the board through 2025.
Any University of Pittsburgh student who finds themself in one of Diane Holder’s classes, where she works as an assistant professor of psychiatry and adjunct professor of health policy and management, should take note. Holder’s experience in the health care industry is lengthy and varied. She was the founding CEO of Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, served as the CEO of UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital, and is the current executive vice president and president of the UPMC Insurance Services Division and president and CEO of one of UPMC Insurance Services Division’s subsets, UPMC Health Plan.
Pennsylvania American Water, the largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company in the country, named Justin Ladner as its president in late 2022. Prior to joining the Mechanicsburg-based company, he served as president of Illinois American Water, where he led a team that provided services to 1.3 million customers. Ladner received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in metallurgical engineering from The University of Alabama, as well as a doctor of law advanced degree from the university in 2010.
Since 2017, James Segerdahl has served as the global managing partner for one of the world’s largest law firms, K&L Gates. He specializes in insurance recovery and counseling and professional liability but has handled a diverse range of complex litigation. Segerdahl sits on the boards of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and is a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association, American Bar Association and Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Ronald L. Hicks Jr. has handled a broad range of litigation at the federal and state levels since 1987. Two years ago, he helped launch, and now co-chairs, Porter Wright’s LGBTQ+ Business Practice Group, where he represents LGBTQ businesses with corporate, real estate, and other business issues. Hicks also co-chairs the firm’s Election Law Practice Group. In this role, he serves as general or litigation counsel for Republican candidates and political committees at the local, state and federal levels.
In 2020, Jerad Bachar was named president and chief executive officer of VisitPITTSBURGH following a nationwide search. He brought more than 30 years of experience in economic development to the position. He previously served as the organization’s executive vice president, where he oversaw MeetPITTSBURGH, SportsPITTSBURGH, Destination Services, and Partnership Development and Research. As the official tourism promotion agency for Allegheny County, VisitPITTSBURGH is committed to generating convention, trade show, and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region.
Since Joel Adams founded Adams Capital Management in 1994, he has helped the company raise $815 million of capital. The Pittsburgh-based firm credits its success to a belief in its investors, the promise of its portfolio companies, and the experience of its team. Prior to his work at ACM, Adams was the vice president and general partner of family-owned investment firm Fostin Capital and a nuclear test engineer with General Dynamics’ Electrical Boat Division in Connecticut.
Kevin Walker made history in 2021 when he was named Duquesne Light Company’s CEO, the first Black man and person of color to hold the title. A graduate of West Point and the Wharton School of Business, and an Operation Desert Storm veteran, Walker has more than 30 years of leadership experience. As a child whose family sometimes couldn’t afford to pay their electricity bill, Walker brings empathy to the role. He is also a proud member of the LGBTQ community and was part of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s transition team.
Jim Jen says his favorite thing about working with startups is seeing “the companies (and founders) progress from one stage to the next and ultimately achieve success.” He brings that encouragement and excitement to his role at AlphaLab, a nationally ranked accelerator program at Innovation Works that helps technology startups in the software, hardware, and life sciences sectors receive funding, education, mentorship and network-building.
UPMC Executive Vice President and Chief Strategic and Transformation Officer David Farner has been with the organization for over three decades, holding numerous senior financial leadership roles through the years. Most recently, Farner was UPMC’s interim chief financial officer, stepping into his current position in 2010. Farner heads the company’s strategic opportunities and initiatives, federal reimbursement issues and payer contracting strategy.
Pittsburgh workforce development organization Partner4Work has a mission of ensuring all residents have equal access to career opportunities. It also wants all businesses to have access to a pool of talented employees. As CEO of the nonprofit since 2021, Robert Cherry is working to achieve those workplace development goals through partnerships, new ideas and strategic solutions. He’s expanded the organization’s collaboration with PA CareerLink and others. In December, UPMC Health Plan announced Partner4Work as a local partner offering workplace training in its new health plan neighborhood center in East Liberty.
After almost two decades of serving as Highmark’s president, Deborah Rice-Johnson was named the company’s CEO of diversified businesses and chief growth officer in late 2021. She cites the ability to be inclusive and the development of strong people skills as key drivers in her success. Rice-Johnson oversees the pursuit of strategic partnerships and heads various Highmark subsidiaries, such as United Concordia Dental and HM Insurance Group.
One of Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey’s first orders of business upon his historic election was naming state Rep. Jake Wheatley as his chief of staff. Prior to starting that role, Wheatley was the longest-serving African American member in the state House of Representatives, having first been sworn into office in 2003. Throughout his career, he has been a champion for minority- and women-owned business inclusion, criminal justice reforms, and affordable health care. He also is one of the state’s largest advocates for adult-use recreational cannabis legalization and the expungement of criminal records of nonviolent drug offenders.
The Tech Forge in Lawrenceville, the Westmoreland Innovation Center, the redevelopment of the historic Carrie Blast Furnace site – since Don Smith Jr. became president of the Regional Industrial Development Corporation in 2009, the company’s regional economic development portfolio has become a robust and popular one throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. Smith also serves on numerous boards, including the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative Board and the Fox Chapel Zoning Hearing Appeals Board, and was a member of the Shapiro-Davis transition team.
For more than eight years, Christina Cassotis has led the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which manages Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County Airport. Previously the deputy director of communications at the Massachusetts Port Authority, Cassotis is the ACAA’s first female CEO. Cassotis believes that “aviation is foundational to world peace,” and since starting her leadership role in 2015, she has greatly expanded the airports’ offerings, doubling available destinations and adding international flight destinations. A new facility aimed to modernize the airport’s infrastructure, featuring a new terminal, roadway system, and multi-model complex, is set to open in early 2025.
Lisa Schroeder made history in 2019 when she became the first woman to helm The Pittsburgh Foundation. Since her appointment as president and CEO, Schroeder has helped the philanthropic nonprofit raise millions of dollars for local institutions, including funds for small business owners, pandemic relief, racial justice initiatives and more. Schroeder previously served as head of Riverlife, a nonprofit dedicated to redeveloping Pittsburgh’s riverfronts.
Pittsburgh-based language learning program Duolingo has gained worldwide success since launching in 2011, with the tech company generating 55% more revenue in 2021 than the previous year. In 2022, CEO and co-founder Luis von Ahn used his position to influence policy as well. After Roe v. Wade was overturned, von Ahn told politicians the company would be forced to move its headquarters outside of Pennsylvania if the state banned abortion. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which resulted in a huge uptick in users learning the Ukrainian language to better support refugees, von Ahn also announced the company was donating its ad revenue from the increased usage to further support relief efforts.
A former member of the Carpenters Union, David Daquelente brings almost 20 years of experience to his role at the Master Builders Association of Western Pennsylvania, which he’s held since late 2019. In December he was named by the Pittsburgh Business Times as one of the “20 People to Know in Construction and Architecture.” Daquelente is the treasurer of the Builders’ Guild of Western Pennsylvania and serves on the boards of the ACE Mentor Program of Western Pennsylvania and The Association of Union Constructors, among others.
During her over two decades with The Heinz Endowments, Carmen A. Anderson has made great strides in furthering the nonprofit’s programming for parents and their children, as well as leading its initiatives to address social injustice and inequity and promote diversity and inclusion. In 2019, she supervised the endowment’s Disability Inclusion and Access: Moving Forward conference and, most recently, oversaw the $1 million grant The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh received for its One Pittsburgh Now initiative.
Since becoming the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s executive editor and vice president in 2020, Stan Wischnowski has created an investigations team that has exposed foreign influence in U.S. governmental and corporate affairs; launched two new Sunday sections of the paper; and expanded the Post-Gazette’s digital footprint through interactive graphics, podcast and newsletter portfolios. At the 2022 Keystone Media Awards, the paper was named the state’s top-performing newsroom and won the 2022 Society for Features Journalism contest. Additionally, The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation named the P-G its 2022 News Organization of the Year. He is currently trying to navigate the paper through an ongoing strike.
During her first year as press secretary for Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, Maria Montaño served as the city’s spokesperson at a wide range of events, from the rebuilding of the collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge to the launch of a Pathways to Prosperity partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools. The first trans woman to hold the office, and one of the highest-ranking Latinas in city government, Montaño came to the role with 15 years of experience in communications and public speaking, including a stint as a campaign communications specialist for SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. Her social media feeds are also a frequent source of encouragement, with reminders like, “Today is a beautiful day to remember that you are worthy of a life filled with joy and love.”
The Allegheny Conference on Community Development has been working to improve Western Pennsylvania’s economic future and quality of life for more than 75 years. Since 2017, Stefani Pashman has served as CEO for the organization and its affiliates: the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. Prior to joining the Allegheny Conference, she was the CEO of Partner4Work and its predecessor, the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, where her triumphs included streamlining the company’s use of public dollars and reducing administrative overhead by more than a half-million dollars.
As superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, Wayne Walters entered 2022 vowing to be a hands-on leader. Walters’ unanimous appointment followed a brief stint as interim superintendent – one of many positions he’s held during his 30 years with the state’s second-largest public school system. After growing up in the Virgin Islands and moving to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon University, he served as a music teacher at King Elementary and as principal of the Pittsburgh Barack Obama Academy of International Studies. He is widely known for his passion for the public school system and the students he serves.
Bobbi Watt Geer, the first woman president and CEO of United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, brings more than 30 years of nonprofit-sector experience to her role at the organization. Since joining in 2017, Geer has overseen the organization as it provided almost $28 million in grant funds for programs like food banks, domestic violence shelters, job training and more across the five counties it serves. Geer also currently serves on the United Way Worldwide Network Advisory Council and is president of the Franklin Regional Band Fund.
As president and CEO of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Karen Wolk Feinstein is frequently seen at national and international conferences advocating for quality health care. Before joining the organization, she taught at the University of Pittsburgh and worked as faculty at Carnegie Mellon University and Boston College. At the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, she founded the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative to address health care safety and quality improvement, as well as to support the organization Health Careers Futures, where she’s worked to improve attraction, recruitment and retention of quality health care workers.
Kendra Whitlock Ingram became the first person of color to lead the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust when she was named the company’s president and CEO in late 2022. While earning a bachelor’s degree in music education from Duquesne University, Whitlock Ingram says, she enjoyed performances at the Benedum Center and has been impressed by the revitalization of the Cultural District. A native of Scranton, Ingram received a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha before beginning her career in arts management.
Since co-founding ColdSpark Media in 2011, Mark Harris has witnessed his full-service political consulting firm expand to over 30 employees, with offices in Downtown Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Specializing in political campaigns, Harris boasts one of his most significant success stories as former U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s successful 2016 reelection campaign. Before launching ColdSpark, Harris was a co-founding partner of Fifth Influence, a Pittsburgh-based digital advocacy firm.
Bryan Salesky started self-driving vehicle startup Argo AI, which is backed by Ford and Volkswagen, in 2016 following a lifelong interest in technology. He aims to provide robotics products that enhance users’ lives through productivity and safety. A computer engineering graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, Salesky has worked as the director of hardware development at Google and assisted with large commercial programs at Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center.
Wesco International celebrated its 100th year in 2022, with John Engel currently at the helm as the company’s chair and CEO. The global supply chains solutions company has recently been awarded numerous accolades, including being listed as one of the world’s most admired companies, best employers, the best companies for Latino employees, and one of America’s best employers for women. The recognition has been an important achievement for Engel, who says building an inclusive company culture is essential to the company’s business practices.
Overseeing all wealth management teams – including portfolio management, wealth planning, business development, and private banking – for BNY Mellon Pittsburgh market is Huma Mohiuddin, who has more than 20 years of experience in financial leadership roles. After almost six years with BNY Mellon, she was made the Pittsburgh market president, which is one of the company’s largest markets worldwide. She is focused on maintaining her team’s 94% client satisfaction ratings, community engagement and growth of the business. Previously, Mohiuddin served as the vice president of investments at J.P. Morgan. She is also a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony and Carnegie Library boards.
For more than a decade, Dan Onorato has served as Highmark’s executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer. Prior to joining Highmark, he worked as an Allegheny County Executive and County Controller, and brings experience as both an attorney and certified public accountant to his current role. Onorato is also an active member of his community, serving as a board member for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce and the Allegheny County Parks Foundation.
Kevin Acklin was named the Pittsburgh Penguins’ president of business operations in June 2022 after serving as the organization’s chief operating officer for almost two years. Prior to that, he was the Penguins’ senior vice president. In this new position, Acklin will head the team’s strategic planning, corporate partnerships, marketing, and community outreach and continue his previous responsibility over the Lower Hill District and former Civic Arena site development. Acklin is no stranger to the leading day-to-day operations, previously handling similar duties for the City of Pittsburgh as then-Mayor William Peduto’s chief of staff.
Sitting at the head of Pittsburgh’s leading voice in technology and innovation is Audrey Russo. Under her direction as Pittsburgh Technology Council’s president and CEO – a position she’s held since 2008 – the council launched its first IT apprenticeship program, Apprenti PGH, and the sustainable nonprofit Fortyx80. Alongside her work in technology business development, Russo is an active community member, serving on the advisory board for Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute and as a commissioner for the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission, among others.
After a career that spanned over 30 years with CNX Resources Corporation, Nicholas DeIuliis now serves as the natural gas company’s president and CEO. A registered engineer and a member of the Pennsylvania bar, DeIuliis also believes in giving back to the community. For the past two years, he has taken a voluntary pay cut, donating $1.5 million of his compensation to expand the CNX Foundation’s Mentorship Academy, an education and training organization he launched to provide opportunities for disadvantaged Pittsburgh-area youth.
Manchester Bidwell Corporation, the head of multiple affiliates – including adult career training school Bidwell Training Center and Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, which serves as both an after-school program and jazz label (MGC Jazz) – was founded by educator and author Bill Strickland. As a lifelong North Side resident, Strickland has long been committed to uplifting and supporting disadvantaged and at-risk youth and adults in the City of Bridges. Strickland is a Remake Learning Council member and has received a MacArthur Genius Award and a Goi Peace Award.
Doris Carson-Williams says the best advice she’s ever received is to “Never give up on your goal; keep the faith and move forward.” As president and CEO of the African American Chamber Of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania, Carson-Williams is a shining example of that advice: after a City Council campaign failed, she launched the chamber in 1998 in an attempt to effect change in the city where she was born. Her other duties include serving the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland; previously deputy chair, Carson-Williams was appointed chair of the board for 2023.
Martial Hebert specializes in areas of computer vision and perception for autonomous systems. A former director for the Robotics Institute at CMU, Hebert has been a key part of high-profile projects including NavLab, a pioneering program for self-driving vehicles, and in leading the development of perception capabilities for personal care robots. Among Hebert’s recent projects: finding ways to reduce supervision in machine learning.
Rebekah Byers Kcehowski became partner-in-charge of Jones Day’s Pittsburgh office in 2020 after two decades of working for the international law firm. She previously served the company in multiple roles, including as a litigator and a hiring partner, and is best known for her class action defense work. She also currently serves as a co-chair of the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh.
U.S. Navy veteran Darrin Kelly is a force to be reckoned with. Kelly, president of the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, has been an active-duty member of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire for over two decades. When not fighting fires or representing laborers, he serves as a member of the United Way of Western Pennsylvania board, Allegheny Health Network’s Cancer Center Advisory Committee, and Partner4Work workforce development board.
After 12 years of advocacy, Pittsburgh’s Chinatown finally received a historical marker from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 2022. Marian Lien, president of Pittsburgh’s Organization of Chinese Americans chapter, was among the celebrants, having tried multiple times in previous years to get the neighborhood its recognition. Lien also led efforts to establish the city’s Lunar New Year Parade and was awarded an Illuminate Award by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh last year for her extensive community work.
Evan Rosenberg is the publisher and market president of the Pittsburgh Business Times, a subscription-based print and digital media outlet featuring local business news. The weekly newspaper is one of 44 markets published by American City Business Journals, with Rosenberg at the helm of its Pittsburgh branch. During a tumultuous time for many print media companies, the PBT has remained the region’s No. 1 source of local business news and events, continuing to break industry news before competitors. Pittsburgh-born and raised, Rosenberg has led the company since 2017, following nearly 20 years at several CBS-owned television stations.
Pittsburgh Technical College President and CEO Alicia Harvey-Smith has more than three decades of higher education experience, including executive roles at Lone Star College, River Valley Community College and Baltimore City Community College, among others. Her work in the field is recognized nationally thanks to her creation of The Seventh Learning College Principle. During her time at Pittsburgh Technical College, Harvey-Smith opened its first Health and Wellness and Fitness Centers, and led the formation of the Pittsburgh Technical College Education Foundation.
A former executive director of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund, Carlos T. Carter now heads the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, where he helps marginalized communities secure civil rights, achieve economic self-reliance, and more. In early 2022, he published the book, “Greatness Awaits You!: 23 Ways to Unlock the Greatness Within,” sharing his knowledge of personal empowerment with those outside the City of Bridges.
As president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Jeremy Waldrup has the duty of ensuring Downtown Pittsburgh is a vibrant and innovative place to live, work and play. While the pandemic saw businesses leave Downtown, Waldrup expects more Pittsburgh residents to move to the area. In 2022, Downtown residents got a full-service grocery in the form of a Target store opening in the former Kaufmann’s department store building, which also houses luxury apartments that are 100% full. More residential development includes the approval for 300 apartments atop the neighborhood’s former YWCA of Pittsburgh building. Waldrup also serves as board chair for the Healthy Ride Bike Share Program, and has been recognized as Bike Pittsburgh’s Advocate of the Year.
At the head of Hillman Family Foundations, a private foundation that administers the 18 philanthropies associated with the Hillman Family, sits David K. Roger, who has worked with the foundation since 2001. In his position as president and director, Roger oversees the Hillman Foundation, Henry L. Hillman Foundation, Elsie H. Hillman Foundation, and Mary Hillman Jennings Foundation – whose missions are to improve the quality of life in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania. Roger is also a member of multiple boards, including the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, InnovatePGH, and Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative.
Joylette Portlock’s work as executive director of Sustainable Pittsburgh focuses on building community around sustainability projects and making scientific or technical information accessible. Before joining the organization in 2018, she was the associate director of science and research at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the executive director at Communitopia, a nonprofit focusing on climate change communication. Portlock studied biology and anthropology at MIT and received a doctorate in genetics from Stanford University.
Silas Russell is entering his second year as SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania’s vice president for politics after first joining the organization in 2010 as a political organizer. Russell’s advocacy work includes pushing for safe workplace conditions, increased funding for nursing homes, higher wages and racial justice initiatives. He previously served as a member of numerous political transition teams, including for former Gov. Tom Wolf in 2014 and as co-chair of Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey’s team for his first term in office.
As the president and CEO of the Alliance for Police Accountability, Brandi Fisher has worked to end racial profiling and police brutality. She founded the grassroots organization in 2010 after the assault of Pittsburgh resident Jordan Miles by three undercover police officers. For the past decade, Fisher has been dedicated to criminal justice reconstruction, working to unite community members, institution stakeholders and government officials. Under her leadership, APA has obtained more than $5.5 million for individuals and families, and was an integral part in the passage of ballot initiatives to ban no-knock warrants by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and to limit solitary confinement in the Allegheny County Jail.
Following seven years of serving as Chatham University’s 19th president, David Finegold announced that the 2022-23 school year would be his final year as the university’s leader. Finegold has worked in the educational field for over 30 years and plans to turn his attention to his career as an author, writing books about shaping higher education to keep up with the ever-changing political, environmental and societal climate. Finegold has already published several books, including “BioIndustry Ethics,” “Corporate Boards: New Strategies for Adding Value at the Top” and “Are Skills the Answer?” A new university president is set to be named this summer.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Samuel DeMarco started his political journey in 2015 after more than 20 years of working in various executive roles, where he assisted in the reduction of costs and improved business practices for local Fortune 500 companies and colleges. Since 2018, DeMarco has served as the Republican Caucus of Allegheny County Council’s chair. He sits on the Budget & Finance, Economic Development & Housing, and Public Works and Public Safety committees, and serves as chair of the Appointment Review Committee.
Susheela Nemani-Stanger is on track to make history. Following the resignation of Greg Flisram, the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority’s most recent executive director, Nemani-Stanger was named the economic development arm’s acting executive director. Currently, Urban Redevelopment Authority board members are set to consider Nemani-Stanger for the permanent position. If appointed, she will be both the first woman and the first of Indian descent to serve in the role. Nemani-Stanger worked for the authority from 2007 to 2020, returning as deputy executive director last year.
Diana Bucco, the president of the Buhl Foundation, is renowned for her extensive work with nonprofits. She formerly held the position of president of The Forbes Funds and is credited with launching the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, a coalition of 350 nonprofit organizations. Bucco also was the founding director for the Coro Center for Civic Leadership and The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania. As the leader of the Buhl Foundation, she oversees the revising of the company’s strategic and philanthropic approach, with a focus on community-driven neighborhood revitalization.
Boutique global financial advisory and management consulting firm FoxChase Advisors has been run by Warner Macklin III for just over five years. His executive leadership experience in the business world is vast, previously holding vice president, partner, and managerial roles at Meter Feeder, DVI Technologies, PNC, and more. Macklin is interested in higher education and global affairs, and alongside his responsibilities at FoxChase, he serves as an adjunct faculty member at Robert Morris University and is a member of the Business Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Sam Williamson has been a force in Pittsburgh labor for well over a decade, including nine years as the elected Western Pennsylvania District Leader of the more than 6,500 local members of SEIU Local 32BJ, the largest property services union in the country, representing workers in 12 states and Washington, D.C. Williamson, who has served on the board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh since 2018, and also serves on the board of the League of Conservation Voters Pennsylvania, the Allegheny County School Health Insurance Consortium, and on the Executive Board of the Allegheny County Labor Council.
Mike Stancil was appointed president and CEO of Pittsburgh Business Group on Health at the end of 2022, succeeding Jessica Brooks. He previously served as PBGH’s director of marketing, chief of staff, and most recently, chief operating officer. One of his main goals in this new role is hosting more in-person events and engaging better with members on an individual basis. Stancil is also the vice president and co-founder of Bridges 4 Health Equity, and co-founder of Leaficient, Inc.
As president of SALVO Strategies, Vanessa DeSalvo Getz has managed public affairs, legislative advocacy and procurement projects for clients since founding the company in 2016. Named one of Pennsylvania’s “Most Politically Powerful Women,” DeSalvo Getz has had a career spanning two decades in local government. She’s raised millions of dollars for political candidates and charitable organizations, and was U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s Western Pennsylvania campaign manager.
Leadership Pittsburgh’s newly appointed president and CEO, Jenn Beer, is excited to bring her regional public policy experience and passion for promoting civic engagement to the nonprofit role. Beer, who previously served as Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s vice president of government affairs, has also spent time as the government affairs manager for the Society of Interventional Radiology and as a legislative assistant for state Rep. Dan Frankel. Beer currently sits on the board of directors for the Local Government Academy and is a mentor in the nonprofit organization Pennsylvania Women Work’s “Three Cups of Coffee” program.
Leading Pittsburgh’s regional association of developers, owners, and investors is Brandon Mendoza, who has served as the local chapter’s executive director since 2020. He brings with him vast land use policy, advocacy, and nonprofit fundraising understanding. Prior to taking on his current role at NAIOP, Mendoza was the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce’s government affairs manager, where he was in charge of government affairs strategies at both the local and federal levels.
According to Emmai Alaquiva, “The Sky is NOT the Limit.” Previously living on the streets of Pittsburgh, Alaquiva formed the digital multimedia agency Ya Momz House in 2001. Since its creation, Alaquiva is now a two-time Emmy winner, his work appearing on PBS, BBC, NBC and CBS. Alaquiva is also the founder of Hip-Hop On L.O.C.K., curator and creator of OpticVoices, and serves on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
The Pittsburgh branch of the Laborers’ International Union of North America – Local 1058 – is headed by Joseph Laquatra. Featuring more than 4,000 members, the union holds contacts in multiple industries, including manufacturing, retail sales, transportation, and more, and spearheads a majority of the construction projects, both large and small, in the Western Pennsylvania area. As business manager, Laquatra is in charge of ensuring the union members are given fair wages and benefits and job sites are safe for everyone involved.
Thomas R. McIntyre is in his second year as the business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 5. He joined the union in 1984 and its ranks of members with a long record of bargaining for the rights of IBEW workers since its founding in 1897. McIntyre also serves as secretary/treasurer of the Building Trade Council and is on the board of trustees for his union’s Pension and Insurance Trust Funds and the Joint Apprenticeship Trust Fund.
A longtime union leader in the Pittsburgh area, Joseph Broadbent has led the plumbing and pipefitting union — which aims to improve labor quality and workforce treatment through partnerships with businesses — for more than 20 years. In addition, Broadbent serves as a board director at the McCandless Branch of SSB Bank and Pittsburgh Works Together.