Pittsburgh Quarterly Contributors
Chris Allison

Chris Allison

For 16 years — 10 of which as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer — Chris led Tollgrade Communications Inc. from technology startup to public company to being recognized as one of the Best Small Companies In America by Forbes, Fortune, Business 2.0, Bloomberg Personal Finance and Industry Week. In the year 2000, sales of Tollgrade’s centralized telephone test systems reached $114 million. That year, its value on the NASDAQ exchange also reached $2 billion. For his efforts, Chris was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, as well as by the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association. Chris was also named CEO Communicator of The Year by the Public Relations Society of America.

Chris has been a columnist for Pittsburgh Quarterly since the magazine’s inception in 2006. His column, “To Boldly Go” deals with the subject of innovation. For his writing, he is a two-​time nominee and one-​time winner of the Golden Quill Award by the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania.

Hiking Boots & Shamrocks

While most travelers to the west of Ireland enjoy golfing, visiting castles or fishing, my wife and I hit the hiking trails. We rewarded ourselves for all the hoofing by staying in two quaint Irish hotels with great food and above average hospitality.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Pasteur’s Quadrant

Among scientific researchers, you’re in the zone if you can create something that falls into what is known as Pasteur’s Quadrant. Back when the National Academy of Science was getting organized, its president, Vannevar Bush, developed a methodology for allocating federal funding by classifying research as either basic or applied.

Say What?

If you think it’s hard understanding a George Will editorial, you ought to spend time with the technology intelligentsia as they evaluate a prospective investment in a start-​up company.

Whatever Happened to the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit?

In 1955, Sloan Wilson wrote a groundbreaking novel on the trials of working in the 1950s. “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” became a hit film starring Gregory Peck and tells the story of how a young executive works tirelessly in what would become known as the white-​collar world.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

You’ll manage — Spring 2008

With his slogan, “It’s The Economy, Stupid,” political operative James Carville helped catapult a relatively unknown Arkansas governor into the Oval Office. And just as it was back then, the economy and health care reform are big issues as the 2008 presidential race kicks into high gear.

The Life of an Ex-​CEO

Leaving a job after 10 or 15 years is more like mourning the loss of a close friend than it is a career change. Think about it. You spend 20 years of your life sleeping, five years going the bathroom and 80 percent of what’s left working. So your job is a big…

Get Some Sleep with SOX

For managers of public companies and their shareholders, the Sarbanes-​Oxley Act of 2002 has done for business what the Department of Homeland Security has done for air travel. It’s a necessary work in progress that makes us feel more secure. But for frequent fliers, such as CEOs, CFOs and their audit firms, taking…

Cut Me, Mick!

Right about when I purchased new 36-​inch-​waist pants and my self-​loathing reached a peak, the new Sylvester Stallone film, “Rocky Balboa” opened.

The Bionic Entrepreneur?

For me, fall marks not only the return of autumn leaves, cider and football, but returning to my role as a college entrepreneurship instructor. Despite this being my third year teaching this subject, I’m still troubled by a gnawing, fundamental question: Can you actually teach someone to be an entrepreneur? Is it a…

Image and Reality: When They Don’t Match

There’s a saying in Texas, “He’s all hat and no cattle.” I don’t know why I was thinking about Texas as I flew aboard a US Airways flight bound for Ireland. It’s probably because I had just read Doug Parker’s Letter From The CEO in the in-​flight magazine, Attaché. Parker’s obligatory dear-​dummy letter…
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