Business

Working in the Coronavirus Era

Q. How do you expect the aftermath of the coronavirus to change the working conditions for the American workforce? A. It’s definitely going to change working conditions. It’s also going to change the way we arrange work. Social distancing is going to change the workplace. The recovery is going to be gradual. I think you’re …

Working in the Coronavirus Era Read More »

A Liberal Approach to Business

Because you study anything and everything at a liberal arts college, you might say that it resembles an episode of Seinfeld, the observational comedy show about nothing. And because nothing really prepares you for a business career, the liberal arts might make the best choice. Late one night in 1992, my father phoned, asking me …

A Liberal Approach to Business Read More »

Death Becomes Her

“Why?” is the obvious question: dead bodies of all ages (arriving daily), grieving families, being surrounded by sadness and despair, not to mention dealing with the more unseemly but necessary “physical” aspects of the job. As a family business—sure, that makes sense—family pressure can go a long way, and there is no shortage of customers, …

Death Becomes Her Read More »

The Working Life

Work is a fact of life for nearly 1.2 million southwestern Pennsylvanians. Some love what they do; others, not so much. Either way, work consumes a healthy share of their time and energy. Their weeks are structured around it. It’s what puts money in their pockets. What do Pittsburghers think about their jobs? Pittsburgh Quarterly’s …

The Working Life Read More »

A Look Inside Google’s Unconventional Bakery Square Offices

What is really behind the brick walls of that redeveloped Nabisco cookie factory building in Bakery Square, labelled with Google’s colorful logo? Think: hammocks, coffee shops, dining rooms, gaming rooms and pool tables. Created in collaboration with local architecture firm Strada, Google’s office space in Pittsburgh’s East End is playful, unconventional and inspiring with many …

A Look Inside Google’s Unconventional Bakery Square Offices Read More »

How My English Degree Helped Build a Tech Company

When I was 26, my dad got sick and asked me to take over as CEO of the tech company he started. I was armed with my English major from Allegheny College and a couple of years in a retail management training program. In other words, I didn’t have a clue. Or so I thought. …

How My English Degree Helped Build a Tech Company Read More »

The Agency Game

Pipitone Group, an ad agency in Pittsburgh’s Observatory Hill neighborhood, counts Vitro Architectural Glass as one of its largest clients. For the Cheswick-based company, which purchased PPG Flat Glass in 2016, Pipitone manages advertising and web strategy. Yet when Vitro wants to develop and implement a public relations initiative, it brings to the table another …

The Agency Game Read More »

Pittsburgh Business Show Ready to Launch Second Year

Last year, Linda Jo Thornberg created the Pittsburgh Business Show with notable success, attracting 157 exhibiting business and 2,800 attendees. Prior to this year’s show, April 25 and 26 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, we asked her how she got the show started and what to expect in its second iteration. Q. How …

Pittsburgh Business Show Ready to Launch Second Year Read More »

A Lesson in Growth from Austin, Texas



With the U.S. Census Bureau reporting continuing populations losses for metropolitan Pittsburgh, the region is one of only a few “large” U.S. metros reporting losses, putting us in the company of Youngstown, Ohio and Altoona/Johnstown, Pa. This is not a good story. Companies often choose where to locate or expand in places people want to be. …

A Lesson in Growth from Austin, Texas

 Read More »

The Union Project

“Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread.” –Studs Terkel When my friend Sara asks me to work a catering gig, a hipster-ish wedding in a rehabbed church called The Union Project, I say, “I am so in,” and she says, “Really?” as if she expected me to say no. …

The Union Project Read More »

Examining Austin as a Boomtown—Lessons for Pittsburgh?

Today’s high in Austin is 104 degrees, with 106 predicted for tomorrow. Even the native Texans, proud and defensive of the State’s hardships, are complaining. It has become a standard topic of conversation between strangers in elevators and in bars. And still the masses make their way here. Sit in traffic—which we do a lot of …

Examining Austin as a Boomtown—Lessons for Pittsburgh? Read More »

What Will the Shell Cracker Bring Along with It?

Orange plastic curtains protect passers-by from blow torch-wielding workers who are learning to weld in a new training facility for Steamfitters Local 449. The building on the border of Butler and Beaver counties represents an $18 million bet on a building boom that economists and government officials say the nearby Shell cracker plant will spur. …

What Will the Shell Cracker Bring Along with It? Read More »

China: The New Normal

“All is flux, nothing stays still.” –Heraclitus (540–480 BC). China in 2017 only vaguely resembles the China I described in a 2006 overview for Pittsburgh Quarterly. Few countries have ever changed so much in such a short period. Sit back, because it is time to rethink what you need to know about today’s China. A …

China: The New Normal Read More »

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 and Bush I was in …

Whistleblower Read More »

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 in our office and are …

The Puzzle of “E” Read More »

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. When Sue Parker needed an exit strategy for her software start-up, Paragon Systems, she tapped Roseman, who helped her sell Paragon …

Meet Jack Roseman, the Tech Whisperer Read More »

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 never as good as it …

Thoughts on the Search Business Read More »

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 where they used to eat. …

Boom and Bust Read More »

The City Should Welcome Shell to Downtown Pittsburgh

In the current issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly, Publisher Doug Heuck notes the collaborative work of Pittsburgh civic leaders in helping Pittsburgh’s economic rebirth. The recent announcement that Shell is now committed to building an ethane “cracker” plant in Beaver County is an opportunity to increase that collaboration. The natural gas in the region has a …

The City Should Welcome Shell to Downtown Pittsburgh Read More »

Problem in Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate, reported for the latest available month, April 2016, bumped up for the third month in a row to 5.8%. On the surface this is a disturbing figure given that most cities in our cohort group are experiencing falling unemployment rates. The unemployment rate in Charlotte is now down for the third consecutive …

Problem in Pittsburgh? Read More »

Should We Go Fishing for PayPal?

Recently PayPal announced the cancellation of a planned operations center in North Carolina resulting from the passage of North Carolina HB2 (the “bathroom” bill). The reasons a company chooses a particular location to establish a facility are complex, but I believe Pittsburgh offers practically everything that was to be found near Charlotte. I would like …

Should We Go Fishing for PayPal? Read More »

Expat Paul Scripko Sets the Stage

A few years ago at Southwestern University in Texas I attended a lecture given by Michael Chabon, author of those two love letters to Pittsburgh, “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” and “Wonder Boys”. At the start of the evening he asked “Who in the audience is from Pittsburgh?” A number of us raised our hands and …

Expat Paul Scripko Sets the Stage Read More »

Top