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The Illusion of Control, Part III

In my last post I pointed out that, contrary to the claims of Modern Portfolio Theory, families who own businesses aren’t at all uncomfortable with the “single stock risk” they are taking. (I’m not counting startup companies, which mostly fail.) I also pointed out that, once a family sells its…

The Illusion of Control, Part II

When I was writing my last book, Family Capital, my objective was to make it appealing — well, tolerable — for people who didn’t care much for investment issues but who knew they really should learn something about them. Adult children, for example. But also spouses, cousins, attorneys, accountants, bankers, trustees and others who…

Path to Delinquency

Aaron Thomas was 14 when a Pittsburgh police drug task force raided the Garfield home where he lived with his parents, whose lives were ruled by an addiction to cocaine and heroin. That led to his first encounter with the juvenile justice system. But the time he would spend in…

Whistleblower

In 1991, the smell of Nabisco saturated the air in Pittsburgh’s eastern neighborhoods. The cookie factory was still just that, years away from its second act as a Google anchor. Sears was closed, but its big blue shell sat fading in the parking lot on Highland Avenue. Peabody wasn’t Obama…

The Template for Sustainable Development

It was several years ago that Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was chatting with André Heinz, soon to be chairman of The Heinz Endowments, about development in Pittsburgh— specifically, Hazelwood’s Almono site, where the foundation is a principal. The more they talked, the more they realized they shared a vision for…

Among the Trees

As Meg Cheever said, “The best park in Pittsburgh is the one you are in.” She founded the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in 1996 at a time when Pittsburgh was a long way from claiming victory in stemming the tide of decline that still clung to the city. With a band…

The Illusion of Control

“Tell me, sweet lord, what is’t that takes from thee/​Thy stomach, pleasure, and thy golden sleep? *** In thy faint slumbers I by thee have watched,/And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars.” —From Lady Percy’s soliloquy in Henry IV, Part I

The Puzzle of “E”

If you didn’t read my first piece, I was prompted to consider writing this blog by my own passage through late middle age to advanced middle age. I can see the end of the road, career-​wise, through the haze. My younger, more energetic colleagues are assuming more of the responsibility…

Meet Jack Roseman, the Tech Whisperer

Shortly after Keith LeJeune helped found Agentase, a company that developed tools to detect hazardous chemicals, he called on Jack Roseman. LeJeune was so impressed with Roseman that he hired him as a consultant.

Pittsburgh: Too Much Same Ol’ Same Ol’

Despite being one of the country’s hottest cities, at least as far as mainstream media reporting goes, the Pittsburgh metro still provides less opportunity for its residents than its peers. That fact was borne out by recently released employment numbers for July: unemployment is rising above both State and national…

Thoughts on the Search Business

I‘ve been ruminating recently — one tends to do that at a certain stage in life — about the business I’m in: executive search. It’s a nice business, especially if you enjoy introducing interesting, talented people to other interesting talented people, which I do, and don’t mind rejection, which I don’t. The business is…

Boom and Bust

All over rural pennsylvania, motel parking lots, which just a couple of years ago were teeming with lumbering pickup trucks with out-​of-​state plates, are nearly empty. So are the hastily constructed “man camps” that not so long ago provided temporary shelter for roughnecks and roustabouts. So are the breakfast joints…

On the Road to Prosperity

Prosperity means different things to different people. But to the residents of a village by that name in Washington County that’s been significantly affected by fluctuations in the coal and Marcellus Shale gas industries, Prosperity is home. Some of the 1,105 residents have made a lot of money. Some are…

The Road to Sustainability

In a region conceived around the principles of sustainability, clean, healthy air is an undisputed staple. Southwestern Pennsylvania is not there yet. The air has markedly improved from the days when industry was the backbone of the economy. Yet, in the best of years, it’s only good enough to warrant…

The Right Thing To Do

It had stormed the night before, hard enough to postpone the Pirates game and scrub the air, leaving it sharp and glittering for the early morning joggers along the North Shore Trail. The bridges overhead buzzed with the aggregate sound of thousands of people going to work. Halfway between PNC
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