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Profiles

Allan H. Meltzer, Economist, professor, author

As a kid, I moved a lot around Boston, where I was born. My mother died when I was 5, after which I lived with my grandmother. When I was 9, my father remarried and we became suburbanites, moving to Westwood, Mass. Practically no Jews lived there other than me, my dad and my sisters. …

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Ted Pappas, Impresario

How did I find myself in Pittsburgh? That’s a complicated question. I was born in Tampa to Greek immigrant parents, so my first few years were spent in Florida surrounded by a very Greek community. (There are more Greeks there than you might think.) Then we moved to Gary, Ind., where my father worked as …

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Chuck Bunch

The early 1990s seemed like a halcyon period for PPG Industries, one of Pittsburgh’s most venerable and best-known companies. Its three business pillars—coatings, glass and chemicals—each was producing about one-third of the firm’s revenue, a tried-and-true formula that promised decades of success. Then came the revolution. Thanks in part to market forces that included globalization, …

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William E. Strickland Jr., Educator and Activist

I’m a North Side kid. I grew up in the Manchester section of Pittsburgh and graduated from Oliver High School, where I was lucky enough to meet a person named Frank Ross, who was my art teacher. In several important ways, Frank turned my life around dramatically. I was raised in a small row house …

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Too strong for fantasy

Marcia Davenport and Shirley Temple Black had one, and only one, common interest: Czechoslovakia. Their dynamic paths crossed once, and only once, there. But that was at the end of the story. In the beginning… Everyone knows Shirley, who recently passed away at 83. Hollywood’s most beloved child star later metamorphosed into a skilled diplomat …

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Richard V. Piacentini, Botanist and Innovator

I was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island, practically across the street from a several-thousand-acre state park in which we played all the time. I loved being in the woods as a kid. I was always interested in plants and animals—mostly plants, to be honest—during my early years. I used …

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Elsie H. Hillman, Political and Civic Leader

Instrumental in the political campaigns of: Dwight Eisenhower, William Scranton, John Heinz, Gerald Ford, Richard Thornburgh, George H.W. Bush, Barbara Hafer, Tom Ridge and Arlen Specter Board member of many organizations through the decades, including: WQED Multimedia, the Hill House Association, the Urban League, Carlow University and the Hillman Family Foundations. Where does my story …

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A Pittsburgh banking career

In April, Jim Rohr will retire as Executive Chairman of PNC Financial Services Inc. His 42-year career with the bank includes 13 years as CEO, a span that has seen PNC become one of the nation’s largest banks. Rohr has also been one of Pittsburgh’s greatest modern corporate leaders in civic affairs, championing a wide …

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Mark A. Nordenberg, Professor of Law & University Administrator

Minnesota is the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes,’ and northern Minnesota, where I was born and raised, has more than its share. Because Duluth, my hometown, was built on a hill, we had a scenic view of Lake Superior from our home. To me, it was like an ocean. Duluth was a great place to be …

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Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., Highmark CEO

At Highmark, we probably spend in the range of $25–30 billion a year in paying claims. That’s a lot of money, and we take the responsibility seriously to try to help organize a system that spends that money wisely—because ultimately that’s all of our money. So, why is healthcare broken? What’s going on? Let me …

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Sala Udin, Community Organizer

My mother and father came to Pittsburgh during the great black migration from the South in the 1920s. They met and married here and took up residence in the lower Hill District. I was raised on Fullerton Street, which was the main drag leading to Wiley Avenue, the cultural heart of the lower Hill. From …

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Pittsburgh Mayor: Who is Bill Peduto?

For his first vacation after his victory in the May mayoral primary, Bill Peduto booked his own stops, packed his own bag and took only one close companion: his iPhone. Within 24 hours, traveling between Helsinki and Stockholm, he used it to tweet the following: Great lunch meeting w/former Finnish diplomat to Baghdad 90-91 & …

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The Lost Cyclist

On June 15, Pittsburgh will celebrate the completion of the Great Allegheny Passage, the 330-mile trail that stretches over the rugged Alleghenies to Cumberland, Md., where it links with the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal towpath and continues to Washington, D.C. Those who pedal the scenic, car-free route are following, at least in spirit, the …

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Jared L. Cohon, Academician

My grandfather’s name was Kogonovich. He arrived at Ellis Island from Poland in 1918 and didn’t speak a word of English. The immigration agent he encountered somehow believed he had called himself “Cohen,” and apparently didn’t know how to spell that, so he wrote “C-O-H-O-N,” a highly unusual spelling of a very Jewish name. Let’s …

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David McCullough, Author, Narrator, Historian & Lecturer

When he was about 15 or so and was reading about writers and their lives, one of my sons turned to me one evening and said, “Dad, I don’t think you’re ever going to be a really great writer.” “Why is that?” I asked him. He said, “You had way too happy a childhood.” And …

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Dogs of Our Lives

Dogs play a significant role in the daily lives of many in our region. In Allegheny County, there were 102,289 dogs licensed in 2011. Dogs can add to quality of life both as companions and in service, as exemplified by “Daisy,” a Golden Retriever and Standard Poodle mix who is trained as a diabetes alert …

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Kim Tillotson Fleming

Editor’s Note: Hefren-Tillotson CEO Kim Tillotson Fleming spoke recently at the quarterly CEO speakers series hosted by Pittsburgh Quarterly and Robert Morris University on its Moon campus. The following is her speech, somewhat abridged. I am a student of leadership. The more I know, however, the more I realize I don’t know. As a leader, …

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Ed Rendell, Public Servant

I was born into a slightly upper-middle-class Jewish family in New York in 1944, and lived in Manhattan with my mother, father and older brother. My father was a converter in the textile industry. My mother was a designer whose family had a pretty successful sportswear business. At an early age, my dad ingrained in …

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Edgar Snyder, Attorney

It all started back in 1977 with the U.S. Supreme Court case, Bates v. State Bar of Arizona. In that case, the Court held that lawyer advertising is commercial speech and as such is protected by the First Amendment. That decision totally upset the longstanding belief among lawyers that advertising their services somehow demeaned the …

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Foundation of Steel

How entrepreneurial is Jim Bouchard? Consider this: When he sold Esmark, Inc., the publicly held steel company he ran, to Russia’s OAO Severstal in 2008, the price was a whopping $775 million, a remarkable exit for a five-year-old company. But instead of cashing in his chips and retiring to the good life, Bouchard took the …

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Jacqueline C. Morby, Businesswoman & Private Equity Investor

Pittsburgh has changed dramatically since I first arrived here in 1988. It’s much more entrepreneurial now. There are more small companies and greater interest in financing them. We still have a problem, however. We don’t have a Microsoft. None of the technology companies that originated locally have blossomed into anything particularly huge, which is something …

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Keeping your Deals

I never really wanted a dog. But all eight of our children kept clamoring for a dog. One night—I think it was a summer night, because the Cardinals were in town—I finally said, “OK, you can have a dog.” Lots of cheering. The oldest son said, “When?” And I said, “When I get back from …

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