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Profiles

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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Dan Rooney, Steelers Chairman and 30th United States Ambassador to Ireland

The Irish like to say ‘it’s a long way from Newry’—where my family comes from originally—‘to Phoenix Park,’ where I now live and work as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland. But believe me, it’s a much, much longer way to Phoenix Park from the North Side of Pittsburgh. My life in professional football was always …

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Richard P. Simmons

I am convinced that I am absolutely, positively the luckiest man in the world. During my business life, I seemed to be at the right place at the right time. When I graduated from college in 1953, metallurgy was at the beginning of a tremendous technology and manufacturing change, and I was part of it, because …

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William S. Dietrich II, Businessman and Philanthropist

Once, Pittsburgh was the world capital of the steel industry and it was, as recently as 30 years ago, the third largest headquarters city in America. Back in the 1970s, when the mills began to shut down, we all sighed. “Well, there goes manufacturing. The muscles are gone. But at least the brains are still …

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In the American Grain

Who are the preeminent individuals in American business history? A strong case might be made for a quintet: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, John D. Rockefeller and Sam Walton. Who is primus inter pares? It’s Henry Ford in a walk-away. Here’s why: Ford was an industrialist, inventor, aircraft pioneer, museum curator, horticulturist, labor progressive, …

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John Wetenhall, Ph.D., MBA

Very early one Sunday morning when I was in graduate school, I answered a phone call from a distinguished Stanford professor who summoned me in his gruff voice: “Get down to my office.” Albert Elsen, the great scholar on the sculpture of Auguste Rodin, had just been contacted by Raymond Nasher, a Dallas philanthropist and …

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The Advisor: Jack Barbour

He has a super bowl ring, a friend in the Governor’s mansion, and he’s in charge of one of the country’s biggest law firms. To boot, he’s got a dinosaur exhibit to his credit. But for all his achievements, you won’t find Jack Barbour too close to the limelight. Which is just how he likes …

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Wheeling v. Pittsburgh

Now he belongs to the ages.” Those famous words were uttered by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton as the last breath of life fell from the lips of Abraham Lincoln. With the murder of Lincoln, the task of reconstruction would take a very different face and raise political retaliation in the U.S. to …

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Arnold Palmer, Golfing Legend and Entrepreneur

I was born in 1929 and raised during the Great Depression in Latrobe, Pa. Life was pretty tough in those days, but thankfully, my mother, father, little sister and I were together a whole lot of the time. We played golf, skied and went to movies—things like that—but we were basically homebodies. I have many …

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David M. Matter

If there’s one thread that runs through my life, it’s the importance of mentorship. I was born in 1946, which makes me a baby-boomer—barely—and grew up in Carrick. Overall, I had a pretty normal upbringing.My first mentor was a high school teacher named Bob Hickey. I had him for German, and he became a dear friend …

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Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D.

My mother and father were immigrants who had a mom-and-pop grocery store, and they worked hard. I was an only child—born March 20, 1931—and, from the beginning, my father told me that I was going to be a doctor. I was an obedient child, so I never questioned it. Then as I moved through high …

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Baby Byron Turns 18

In the 1990s, the “Baby Byron” case exposed the nation to Allegheny County’s child welfare system—and one family’s ultimately unsuccessful battle to complete a cross-racial adoption. “Baby Byron” turned 18 in July. And his story is far from over. It’s 90 degrees as we sit in front of the main Carnegie Library branch in Oakland …

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Chip Ganassi, Auto Racing Entrepreneur

Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Pittsburgh was the center of the universe. All the biggest companies were here: U.S. Steel, Gulf Oil, Alcoa, PPG, Westinghouse; you name it. And on top of that, we had the Pirates and the Steelers. The city was firing on all cylinders, and I pictured myself running one …

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A City-Centric Provost

To hear Patricia Beeson describe it, driving into Pittsburgh through the Fort Pitt tunnel is like stumbling upon some kind of hidden Brigadoon. When she arrived in the city in 1983 after driving across the country from her native Oregon, Beeson had Simon and Garfunkel’s on-the-road anthem “America”—complete with reference to Pittsburgh—cued up for that first view …

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