On a Pedestal: Good Examples, Port Authority, Robert Levin, Executive Leadership Academy
It’s been an extremely trying time in our country these past six months, with the virus, the fear and uncertainty, the recession, George Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests and riots, the increasing orthodoxy of public discourse, and the pre-election anxiety. Many wonder what has happened to America as waves of fear and cancellation have crippled the greatest nation in the world.
During these extraordinary times, there are a number of people who deserve recognition on our pedestal for their exemplary efforts.
This certainly includes health care, transit and essential retail workers, who have continued to do their jobs, generally with good cheer, despite being on the front lines of the virus and despite the avalanche of fear and paranoia that gets dumped on all of us every day.
It extends to public safety workers of all stripes—including police officers who have carried out their duties despite violence and abuse.
It includes parents who are struggling to balance working, a lack of child care, and the sudden need to homeschool their children.
It includes small business owners—the bedrock of our economy—many of whom were shut down with the stroke of a governor’s pen, deemed “non-essential” despite their years of financial, emotional and labor investment.
It includes nonprofits trying to stay afloat and provide much-needed services.
And it includes the countless others who are trying to remain productive despite decrees making that almost impossible.
Finally, we would also like to hoist onto our already crowded pedestal all of the Pittsburghers, near and far, who have kept their equanimity. This is a time when, more than ever, we need cooler heads to prevail, especially in positions of authority—in families, businesses and public institutions. For those who have kept their cool, acted responsibly and carried on the daily business of living, we salute you!
In the midst of all the calamity, the Port Authority has lifted our spirits and eyes by receiving $100 million in federal funding to get a rapid transit link between Oakland and Downtown under way. The final piece of the $225 million project caps off five years of planning to use exclusive bus lanes to speed transit between Oakland and Downtown by eliminating traffic jams that lead to buses being clumped together.
Coming to the rescue
During the depths of the quarantine lockdown, business owner Robert Levin secured a spot on the pedestal by his repeated efforts to buy back the furniture company his family started 100 years ago and save it and its employees from bankruptcy.
Boosting black leadership
At a time when Black Lives Matter has dominated American consciousness, a group in Pittsburgh goes on our pedestal for expanding a two-year-old program to build black leadership in the region.
The Advanced Leadership Initiative and Carnegie Mellon University have created the Executive Leadership Academy to build the pipeline of African American executive leadership—currently estimated at about 1 percent of leadership in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.
This year’s class cohort includes 28 members coming from a broad spectrum of industries who are participating in an eight-month executive education program designed to provide the tools, exposure and training necessary to increase the visibility and success of high-performing African Americans so that they can contribute to their organizations—and our community—at the highest levels.