Evan Pattak

Evan Pattak is a Pittsburgh freelance writer and publicist. His work appears regularly in TEQ, Pennsylvania Manufacturer, Pop City and Pittsburgh Quarterly Magazine.

The Day Pohla Smith Voted

Daniel Webster, the statesman, lawyer and orator, was one of early America’s fiercest advocates for democracy, and he knew full well the importance of voting. He called it “a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform…” I had occasion to think of Webster that October 2012 morning when …

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Chin Music

In late August 2018, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill peduto looked at his calendar and was pleased to notice a rarity—a nine-day break without a scheduled public appearance. He celebrated his unusually long vacation in an unusual way. “I didn’t shave during those nine days,” he recalls.“ I made a conscious decision that I wouldn’t go anywhere …

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Pittsburgh’s Hardest Working Angel

Enter the warehouse and, if you aren’t bewildered by the seeming randomness of it all, you get a sense of the urgency. Mobile hospital beds. Crutches. Respirators. IV poles guarding bedpans. Hundreds of boxes of pharmaceuticals. Medical equipment bound for Nigeria, Uganda, Guyana. And for some reason, dozens of suitcases, many of them more than …

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The Agency Game

Pipitone Group, an ad agency in Pittsburgh’s Observatory Hill neighborhood, counts Vitro Architectural Glass as one of its largest clients. For the Cheswick-based company, which purchased PPG Flat Glass in 2016, Pipitone manages advertising and web strategy. Yet when Vitro wants to develop and implement a public relations initiative, it brings to the table another …

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The Keys to a Happy Retirement

Baby Boomers are leaving the workforce, or soon will leave it, in an unprecedented wave. Census data tell us that the number of retirees in the region soon could swell to six figures. In this final edition of our “Silver Tsunami” series, we ask, as Butch Cassidy might, “Who are those guys?” Though their circumstances …

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“And… Action!”

Editor’s note: Studies show that hundreds of thousands of people across southwestern Pennsylvania are nearing retirement or already have left the workforce. What the studies don’t tell us is how these new retirees will be spending their time and resources… and what impact those choices will have on the region. In this second installment of …

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The Silver Tsunami

Editor’s note: The Allegheny Conference on Community Development claims that as many as 760,000 people in the 10-county southwestern Pennsylvania region will be heading toward retirement in the next 20 years. This unprecedented retirement wave promises to bring significant challenges to the region’s labor force as well as such sectors as housing, healthcare, education, recreation …

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The New Apartment Dweller

East Liberty-Shadyside is the epicenter of Pittsburgh’s new apartment wave, featuring both Bakery Living and the three-building Mosites Co. complex known as Eastside Bond. Together, these developments, only a stone’s throw apart, have introduced more than 700 rental units over the past few years. One of the attractions of the neighborhood is its proximity to …

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Real Estate Tug of War

The holiday revelers, about 150 strong, gathered at East End Brewing Company to enjoy a different sort of Christmas celebration, neither family gathering nor office party. Rather, this soiree was hosted by Walnut Capital for the tenants of its trendy Bakery Living apartment complex at Bakery Square in Shadyside. To underscore how responsive it is …

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The Template for Sustainable Development

It was several years ago that Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was chatting with André Heinz, soon to be chairman of The Heinz Endowments, about development in Pittsburgh— specifically, Hazelwood’s Almono site, where the foundation is a principal. The more they talked, the more they realized they shared a vision for a new type of growth …

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Meet Jack Roseman, the Tech Whisperer

Shortly after Keith LeJeune helped found Agentase, a company that developed tools to detect hazardous chemicals, he called on Jack Roseman. LeJeune was so impressed with Roseman that he hired him as a consultant. When Sue Parker needed an exit strategy for her software start-up, Paragon Systems, she tapped Roseman, who helped her sell Paragon …

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Setting a New Standard

The professor sits at her console and looks to the monitor at her right. There, she sees the smiling, eager faces of her students, 16 strong, for this evening’s lecture. She greets them and is greeted in return. On the monitor to the professor’s left is a SMART Board, an interactive whiteboard that she uses …

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Wanted: More Workers (Part III)

With baby boomers poised to retire and far fewer younger, skilled people available to replace them, the region faces a potentially crippling workforce gap that could be especially damaging in sectors that require STEM (science, technology, engineering math) skills. The Allegheny Conference on Community Development estimates that the gap could reach 144,000 workers, although that’s …

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Building STEM Solutions

Our region is facing a potentially crippling workforce shortage, with too few young, skilled workers to replace an older generation poised for retirement. According to research by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the gap could be yawning—as many as 144,000, with the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields especially hard hit. No one expects …

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A Stitch in Time

Through the long, painful decline of Big Steel and the subsequent efforts of Pittsburgh to remake itself and regain economic viability, observers echoed a consistent theme: Pittsburgh will rise again because of the industriousness and talent of its workforce. Indeed, that committed workforce helped the region shape a multifaceted economy that grew supple and strong. …

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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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A century of safety

It was June 1914 when John T. Ryan Sr. and George Deike, two federal mine rescue engineers horrified by the carnage they’d seen in coal mine explosions, formed a company dedicated to making the industry safer. Ryan and Deike enlisted the services of no less a luminary than Thomas Alva Edison to design an electric …

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Passing the test

Think you’d like to be CEO of a major corporation? Best get ready for this test: The employer informs you that over the next day and a half, you’re the leader of a hypothetical company. You prepare by reading reams of hypothetical reports generated by your hypothetical company. As you arrive at your computer, you’re assaulted …

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Still Changing at 150

On April 19, 1864, America was preoccupied by several rather sizable events, including the Civil War and the recent emancipation of slaves. So citizens could be excused if they paid scant attention to the festivities that day in Cumberland, Md., where an entity called Consolidation Coal Company launched its operations by selling 1,000 shares of …

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Bridging the STEM Gap

If America is unable to meet our growing need for young people with STEM skills, it isn’t because we aren’t aware of the looming crisis. According to the online clearinghouse STEMconnector, more than 3,700 organizations across the country are working to bridge the STEM Gap. The problem is so Hydra-headed that it’s hard to know …

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The STEM Dilemma

When Elizabeth Roeske was growing up in the small New Jersey town of Salem, she seemed a natural for a career in science. Several members of her family are scientists, and she was planning to study chemistry and environmental science in college. But she found little peer support—”No one from my high school was planning …

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The STEM Gap

In the decade ending in 2020, United States employers will create about 2.1 million jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as well as the professional sector, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. As America moves to assert or retain leadership in such fields as robotics, unconventional energy plays and next-generation computers …

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