2012 Winter

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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A Pittsburgh Original

At a civic event 11 years ago, I saw an unusually dapper fellow—navy pinstripe suit, rep tie and perfectly combed white hair. The fact is, I thought he was someone else. I went over and introduced myself, and he said, “Bill Dietrich.” The name meant nothing to me. But after chatting for a minute or …

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The Gospel of Brass

Pointing a handheld video camera at himself, James Gourlay made an eccentric sight on the streets of Pittsburgh, as the native of Scotland made tiny films literally “picturing” what it would be like to live in this city. The eminent tuba player, educator and brass band director was in town not quite two years ago …

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Neighborhood Academy / Saks Fifth Avenue

A calling made good slowly but surely, like the Little Engine That Could, something remarkable has been climbing and climbing in Pittsburgh’s East End. It started as a vision to help children for whom effective guidance and results had been wanting.  The Neighborhood Academy’s mission is to “break the cycle of generational poverty by preparing low-income …

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Shall We Dance?

Don Shepherd may have stumbled upon the closest thing to the fountain of youth. While millions of Americans—and Steelers fans—tuned in to watch Hines Ward glide and smile his way across the dance floor in “Dancing with the Stars,” Shepherd was leading his own dance partner. The 58-year-old Peters software salesman took up ballroom dancing …

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There were no hidden tape recorders, car chases or safe houses involved, but you can almost hear the theme music from “Mission Impossible” when Gary Saulson, PNC’s director of corporate real estate, describes the steps he took to veil PNC’s purchase of almost a block of downtown Pittsburgh. The transactions along Wood Street between Fifth …

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