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Profiles

It’s a Book Thing

Ten or 15 years ago, a story about Pittsburgh’s “independent” bookstores wouldn’t have made much sense. “When we opened in 1990, there was just the Borders in South Hills,” says Richard Goldman, co-owner of Mystery Lovers’ Bookshop. Now the Pittsburgh area supports 18 of what Goldman calls “the chain superstores,” doing an estimated 80 percent …

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Heinz CEO: Bill Johnson

Quick, name the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic. It’s not easy to follow greatness, whether genuine or self appointed. William R. Johnson, CEO of The H.J. Heinz Company since 1998, has had to do it twice in his life, first as the son of an NFL player and coach and then as …

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The gift of opportunity

In October, one of Pittsburgh’s children is coming home and throwing a big party. That child is the Carnegie Corp. of New York and the “party” is a two-day celebration of the most recent winners of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. The biennial event, the Nobel Prize of philanthropy, has honored the titans of the …

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Thomas Hales: The Proof of the Proof

The message went out without fanfare on a quiet summer morning. Thomas Hales finally was done—or so it seemed. Near collapse, he e-mailed his colleagues announcing that he had achieved the impossible. After more than a decade of work, Hales had completed a proof of the Kepler conjecture, a centuries-old conundrum about how best to …

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Rich Engler, Music Promoter and Entrepreneur

I was born in New Kensington, Pa., and grew up in Creighton, across the river. My father was a glass worker at the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. My mother worked for the county. I studied art education at Youngstown State, then at Carnegie Mellon. I was also playing in a band and began to see …

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His Last Resort

I don’t want to be mayor of Pittsburgh. I want to change Pittsburgh forever, and I’m convinced the best way to do that is as mayor. There are, however, other ways to make our city better. You could work for an extraordinary politician who cares for this city like no other place on earth. You …

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Westinghouse CEO: Steve Tritch

We Pittsburghers have had our share of recent good news/bad news upon which we can pontificate over summer cocktails — the challenge of population loss vs. the glory of again being the most livable city. We can also prattle on about our region’s CEOs — better they be homebred or global business stars? With Westinghouse Electric’s …

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Anatomy of a Rescue

On the first morning of November, I walked down the long slope from my house in Squirrel Hill to the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland for a meeting of foundation leaders to do what people in my position do so many times each week: Assess the merits of a proposal to fund a worthy …

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Nathan Davis, Music Educator, Performer, Composer

Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, are twin cities, with nightclubs and great musicians in both places. The only thing that separates the two cities is a bridge. I grew up playing saxophone in Kansas City, Kansas, and went to the University of Kansas as a music education major. One night, a friend and …

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Tom Vilsack: From Pittsburgh to President

The remarkable story of Tom Vilsack began in a Pittsburgh orphanage where Dolly and Bud Vilsack adopted him. He grew up in Squirrel Hill and graduated from Shady Side Academy and later Hamilton College and Albany Law School. In 1998, he upset a heavily favored Republican opponent to become the first Democratic governor of Iowa …

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Joseph A. Hardy III, Entrepreneur and Civic Leader

Money. That’s your scorecard. Absolutely. But anyone who is financially successful is so because of the contributions of many people. I don’t say that because I’m a good guy. I say that because it’s true. Years ago, this kid of about 16 started working for us. I saw that he was bright. He had depth, …

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Astro Teller, Entrepreneur and Author

I’m an entrepreneur, the CEO of a company. That takes up a lot of my time. But I love playing with my kids, doing things with friends and getting exercise. I’ve also found that I need artistic stimulation to exercise the other part of my brain. That’s one of the reasons I write. It helps …

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A Medical Giant in Our Midst

The year is 1958. Northwestern University nominates one of its bright young physicians, Thomas E. Starzl, for a prestigious Markle Scholarship. He is told to come up with a big idea to propose during his interviews with the selection committee. Something that would be recognized as a remarkable achievement in medical science. Something to build …

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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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