100 Pittsburgh Leaders
We asked 100 top leaders across Pittsburgh to respond in 100 words or fewer
to this question: According to the U.S. Census, in 2021 the Pittsburgh MSA had the inauspicious distinction of having the highest natural population loss — more deaths than births — of any metro area in the country. Pittsburgh lost 10,838 people, followed by Tampa/St. Pete (-9,291) and Sarasota/Bradenton (-6,643). In order to sustain this region’s future economy and quality of life, what’s your top idea to stem the population losses and attract new people? Their answers follow in the pages to come. But Pittsburgh Tomorrow needs your thoughts too! Please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will use them in shaping the final plan for Pittsburgh Tomorrow.
Previously in this Series: Part XII
MATT GALLUZZO, PRESIDENT AND CEO, RIVERLIFE
Like Pittsburgh, the riverfronts are a work in progress. While significant progress has been made, there is much work to be done to fulfill the challenge David McCullough issued in the early days of Riverlife to “make this a place where you want to bring the people you love.” The rivers can be the beacon — a magnet that attracts new and tenured Pittsburghers, visitors, and those seeking refuge and care. Intuitive, safe, and accessible spaces with unique activities and amenities can shine with a clear signal: Everyone is welcome. Completing the Loop is Riverlife’s partnership-driven commitment to creating this vision.
JIM MCQUADE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, DOLLAR BANK
The new corporate tax change will help retain companies and hopefully attract new businesses, increase job opportunity and growth. We need to do many other things: expand rapid public transportations region-wide, providing access and mobility to residents and further connecting our communities; connect Oakland to Downtown via a rail system; increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage; remain committed to providing education, training, and access to jobs for our young people; make it easy for businesses to open and operate in the Downtown area, while ensuring safety and security; and finally, increase efforts to eliminate food insecurities and provide resources and programs that are inclusive.
SEAN LUTHER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INNOVATEPGH
Connecting our university-affilated R&D and tech into a high-growth innovation economy is a — if not the — major economic development opportunity for Pittsburgh. Recent research confirms we cannot fill those technology jobs exclusively with people currently in the region; attracting middle-career technologists must be our top priority. Succeeding in a revitalized strategy means aggressively removing barriers to BIPOC technologists, especially women of color, thriving in the Pittsburgh tech sector. Simultaneously we must immediately prioritize lifestyle amenities, including transit, bike infrastructure, restaurant/retail investments, and outdoor recreation connectivity. Pittsburgh will grow if we focus on authenticity and building a community (and economy) where people thrive.
TACY BYHAM, CEO, DDI
Pittsburgh should market itself as a unique place to grow personally, professionally, and financially. On the personal side, we can tout our vibrant arts, culture, sports, and dining options, plus close proximity to outdoor adventures. Professionally, employees value company culture more than ever, so it’s crucial that Pittsburgh-based companies become “Best Places to Work.” The pillars of these attractive cultures are inclusive leadership, a holistic approach to work-life balance, and talent development programs that help people grow their careers. Financially, we offer an excellent cost of living and affordable housing — particularly important for younger workers who are finding their financial footing.
JEREMY GOODMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, PITTSBURGH ZOO & AQUARIUM
Decreasing population in the region is a complicated, multifactorial problem. With any such complex issue, no single solution will provide a remedy. One important solution to help increase the number of people moving into the region is to provide opportunities that will provide a high quality of life. Pittsburgh and the surrounding region offer a higher than usual number of cultural and recreational opportunities compared to other similarly sized cities. We must ensure we continue to invest in those institutions and facilities, market them heavily around the country, and brand the city as a best place to live.
KEVIN WALKER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, DUQUESNE LIGHT
Pittsburgh has long been celebrated for its hardworking, resilient communities and workforce. As it has become a renowned leader in education, medicine and technology, it’s important to continue attracting diverse talent from around the world to help make this a cleaner, healthier and safer place for all. At Duquesne Light Holdings Inc., we’re committed to building the workforce of tomorrow to enable a clean energy future. The economic and environmental benefits of doing so will allow current and future generations to thrive. This is the Pittsburgh way, and we’re proud to have powered its progress for more than 140 years.