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Profiles

What Do I Know? Guillermo Velazquez

My story begins in Mexico City. I am the youngest of eight children, and my father passed away from liver disease when I was 11. When someone in your life dies while you are still young, you don’t really understand what’s happening. All I knew was that I saw my father working, and then he …

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Andy Russell, Businessman and Former Steeler

I grew up with a father who had come over on the boat from Scotland. We moved around a lot. My parents convinced me that every move presented an opportunity to meet new and different people. By the time I entered college in 1959, my father was running Monsanto in Europe.I got a B.S. in …

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“The Levy”

Maurice (pronounced Morris) Levy was a career-long math teacher in Pittsburgh schools. He was beloved for many reasons, including his sense of humor and his unusual way of addressing students. Rather than using their first names, he called each one “Mr.” or “Miss,” teaching his students lessons about respect they didn’t even know they were …

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What Do I Know? Chris DeCardy

I was born in Urbana, Illinois, and grew up in Champaign, its “sister city,” about three hours south of Chicago. I spent my entire childhood there as the only child of a single mother. My folks were divorced when I was very young and, although my dad was in my life, my primary childhood influence …

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Seven Questions for George Greer

Five years ago, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust named its Cabaret at Theater Square after philanthropic leader George C. Greer. The longtime executive of the H.J. Heinz Company has been perhaps the least known most effective civic leader in Pittsburgh over the past 30 years, eschewing the limelight as he led transformation of the Eden Hall …

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What Do I Know? Smokey Robinson

Everyone is born with a gift from God. Some people discover their gift, and use it to a positive end. Some discover their gift, but squander it. And others, for one reason or another, never discover their gift. I discovered mine very early in life. I was blessed with the gift of music, and worked …

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Pittsburgh’s Frank Gorshin was the Original Riddler

Frank Gorshin was famous for the many faces he wore. On the Ed Sullivan Show, the master impressionist emulated the likes of Kirk Douglas, Marlon Brando, and Burt Lancaster with uncanny precision, contorting his malleable face and lithe, sinewy body to actually look like, and not just sound like, the people he portrayed. Crowds packed …

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What Do I Know? Sam Hazo

without a doubt, the course of my life was determined largely by my upbringing. My mother died when I was 6, and while my father was still around, my brother, Robert, and I were taken into the care of our mother’s parents and they raised us, with significant help from my mother’s aunt. My mother’s …

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What Do I Know? Dr. Robert M. Friedlander

“My mother’s father was born in 1905 in Pinsk, in the old Soviet Union. He was Jewish and had witnessed pogroms against his people, during which half of his family lost their lives. In fact, his father and some of his brothers were killed right in front of him. So, when he was 15, my …

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Just Asking…Janis Burley Wilson

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job?A: Every day is different. It’s NEVER the same schedule, same problems, same rewards. That’s what I love about working in a creative, artistic environment. Q: What’s the best advice anybody ever gave you?A: “It’s not how you play the game, it’s whether you win or lose”— Dad, and …

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Oh, Say Can You Sing?

During the winter months, every executive in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization is thinking about the upcoming season. Chris Serkoch isn’t pondering who’ll bat clean-up, whether a platoon will work in left field, or how she can line up the bullpen. Her concerns, though, are just as vital. Serkoch is wondering who will perform the national …

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The Selling of Mellon

Editor’s Note: This article is based on the upcoming book published by Lyons Press:“From Swampoodle to Mellon Bank CEO; An Irish American’s Journey, the Autobiography of Martin G. McGuinn Jr.” When I came to Mellon Bank in 1981, it was the dominant bank in Pittsburgh, much to the chagrin of Pittsburgh National Bank, which later, …

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A Purpose-Driven Life

Arnold Zegarelli would probably agree with the adage: “find a job you enjoy doing, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” For 66 years until his retirement in November at the age of 85, that’s precisely what he did. Dressed in a suit and tie, a pocket square tucked neatly into …

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A Q&A with Senate Candidate David McCormick

After leading Pittsburgh high-flyer FreeMarkets, McCormick returns for a Senate run. (Editor’s note: McCormick is the only Western Pennsylvanian in the Republican Senate Primary.  After the May primary, we hope to profile whichever Western Pennsylvania candidates remain in the Senate race from either party.) Why are you running for the Senate and what are the …

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Just Asking…Byron Stripling

Q: what’s the most interesting thing about your job?A: I get paid to do what I love! Q: what’s the best advice anybody ever gave you?A: Everything you want is on the other side of fear. Q: how do you start the day?A: It starts with gratitude for the gift of another day. As Maya …

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Arthur Ziegler: The Power of Community

When I was growing up, my parents used to take me by trolley to East Liberty for a Saturday night treat, dinner at Gammon’s restaurant. In those days, East Liberty was considered our “second downtown” in Pittsburgh, and so I had a vague affiliation with the area. Many years later, I would learn what the …

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Andy Masich: Pittsburgh Has a Story to Tell

My father was an engineer and my mother was a trained actress who went to school at Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon University. (Her first kissing scene was with Carl Betz, a Pittsburgher, who played the husband on “The Donna Reed Show.”) My parents met while doing community and summer-stock theatre. I have a wonderful …

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Just Askin’… Susan Jaffe

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: The most interesting part of my job is working with the dancers and creating programs to enrich the dancers and the audiences’ experience of dance. Q: What’s the best advice anybody ever gave you? A: The best advice that was given to me was to …

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Just Askin’… Anne Kraybill

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: Meeting artists! I love going to artists’ studios and learning about their process and background. This region has such a rich history of creativity that persists today. Q: What’s the best advice anybody ever gave you? A: It is not about where you are, but …

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Cameron Heyward, Gridiron Philanthropist

I was born in Pittsburgh on May 6, 1989. My grandma still lives here. When I was young, we moved around a lot because my dad, Craig Heyward, played 11 years in the NFL for five different teams. When I was 6, we moved to Atlanta so that my dad could play for the Falcons, …

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Karla Boos: “All the World’s a Stage”

As a kid, I lived in Wheeling, W.Va., but I wasn’t born there. My dad worked for Titanium Metals Corporation and, before Wheeling, we moved a couple of times around the country to places where Timet plants were located. I was 10 when we settled in Wheeling, so I think of myself as a West …

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Just Askin’… Carey Harris

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: The most interesting and rewarding part of my job is bearing witness to the tremendous resilience of our students, who I like to call “never give uppers.” These adults have faced enormous barriers to education, well-being and wholeness, yet they keep pushing forward. They are …

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