Wins Day: Economic Development Deals Up 12% in Pittsburgh Region

 The diverse, balanced and innovation-driven economy that made Pittsburgh a great American comeback story continues to deliver value by capturing 302 economic development deals during 2013 – a 12% increase in activity over the previous year.

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA), an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the 10-county Pittsburgh region’s economic development marketing organization, today presented its annual economic development performance scorecard – a snapshot of  all of the deals, or “wins” announced in the previous year related to new facilities, expansions of existing companies, attraction/retention of companies and startups across southwestern Pennsylvania.

“The robust economic development activity in the Pittsburgh region in 2013, including a surge of wins in the information and communications technology sector, is a strong vote of confidence by business decision-makers in the future of this region and a leading indicator of future job creation,” said David J. Malone, PRA Partnership Chair and President and CEO, Gateway Financial Group, Inc.

Capital Investments of $1B+ for Seven Straight Years

The 302 regional “wins” of 2013 spanned both announced investment and development projects totaling $2.4 billion in capital investment – the seventh consecutive year that this total has exceeded $1 billion.

Investment projects accounted for $671 million in announced capital outlay and were dominated by five projects costing in excess of $40 million. They include a regional headquarters expansion for Chevron, a distribution facility for Gordon Food Service and a CSX Corporation intermodal terminal. Development projects totaled $1.8 billion in announced outlay – the second highest amount on record.

“Each county has benefited from investment, as has each of the five key industry sectors, the foundation of the region’s economy. There are investment ebbs and flows between sectors from year to year, but overall there’s balance,” said Dewitt Peart, president of the PRA.

Existing regional businesses that are expanding account for the majority of announced deals, which has been a trend for the region. In 2013, 60% t of the deals (124) involved the expansion of existing companies. Attraction wins increased from 44 in 2012 to 48 in 2013 and represent one-fourth of all the wins.

“The deals of 2013 will enlarge the regional business landscape with new and expanded existing facilities, as well as new real estate developments. This is alongside an anticipated total job impact of at least 8,700 – 1,669 jobs retained and the expectation of 6,983 jobs to be created as announced deals come to fruition. A robust job market keeps people in the region, and it helps to attract talent from elsewhere looking for new opportunities, professionally and personally,” said Peart.

Sustainable Prosperity is Powered by Partnership

“The sustainable prosperity that the Pittsburgh region is experiencing would not happen without partnership,” said Malone.  “Economic development partners from across southwestern Pennsylvania, with the support and insights of the public and private sectors, sell the strengths of the entire region – a geographically diverse place with critical commonalities around manufacturing expertise, technology and innovation and energy resources. The number of deals that we’re seeing speaks to Pittsburgh as an investment-worthy region with a legacy, ample natural and human resources and the drive to innovate.”

Sector-specific performance highlights, regarding investment activity during 2013 follow:

“Number One” Manufacturing Delivers 65 Wins to Bolster Regional Economy

Historically, the Pittsburgh region has been a hub of manufacturing. Optimized by technology, advanced manufacturing  is now a key driver of the economy and the most active sector for deals in 2013. There were 65 announced wins, an increase over the 59 recorded in 2012. “The Pittsburgh region still makes things:  specialty metals, medical devices, robots and turbines – to name a few. We’re a manufacturer to the world, capitalizing on technology to make processes precise, sophisticated and efficient,” said Peart.

 Information and Communications Technology Soars to Second Place; Tech Touches Everything

 Seeing a dramatic increase from 33 deals in 2012 to 51 deals in 2013, the region’s information and communications technology sector saw its biggest growth spike since 2008 and took second place for number of deals.

“The growth in this sector is impressive, but it’s an under-representation of information technology’s impact on the entire regional economy. Technology infuses just about everything for which we’re recognized – manufacturing, healthcare, financial services and more. Technology is integral to the successful operation of nearly every company in the region,” said Audrey Russo, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

“Having one of the global leaders in information technology, Carnegie Mellon University, whose School of Computer Science marks its 25th anniversary this year – is a prime reason why tech is flourishing in the region and adds value to our other key sectors,” she added.

More than Half of Region’s Open Jobs Require Tech Skills

A proof point for how integral information technology is to the overall regional economy is the number of available jobs with a technology component posted on – a web-based gateway to professional and personal opportunities in the region. Of the current 20,000-plus available jobs listed on the site, more than half require skills and experience with technology, with the majority of these jobs not with tech enterprises but in workplaces that include hospitals, banks, law firms, the chemical industry and energy companies.

Financial and Business Services Sector is Largest Contributor to Gross Regional Product

Financial and business services – encompassing asset management, banking, engineering, legal and other business services – have been a backbone of the regional economy since Pittsburgh emerged as an industrial center in the mid-1800s. This sector has been thriving since and is the largest contributor to the gross regional product (23%). In 2013, financial and business services had 39 announced projects. One of the region’s top employers, the sector employs approximately 230,000 people across a variety of professional disciplines. This represents nearly one-quarter of total regional employment. 

At the Core of Region’s Energy Sector, Natural Gas Industry Matures; Anticipates Petrochem-focused Future

Energy – a key economic driver for the region and one that cuts across several other sectors – accounted for a total of 35 wins in 2013. Natural gas is a major industry within the broader regional energy sector, which includes traditional and renewable energy resources.

In 2004, the first Marcellus Shale gas well in the region was drilled; by 2009 the Marcellus Shale opportunity had emerged in full force. Investments focused on new companies coming to the region or existing ones expanding by adding employees. These accounted for an average of 70% of all energy-related investment wins between 2009 and 2013. The boom has now stabilized. “Currently, we’re seeing a maturation of the industry,” said Futrell. “An increase in development deals, 24 in 2013, was largely tied to midstream infrastructure, such as compressors and pipelines. This is a big increase from only seven in 2011 when the industry was just ramping up here.”

Another indicator of a maturing industry in the region is number of natural gas supply chain deals. In 2013, 15 of 21 wins were related to supply chain, including products and services, such as finance and law, for natural gas firms.

On the horizon is a significant downstream opportunity related to natural gas as feedstock for the petrochemical industry.  The ethylene byproduct of ethane in natural gas liquids is a key component for manufacturing consumer goods connected with plastic or rubber: shoe soles, tires, paints and coatings, food and medicine containers, soaps and detergents and more. Ample supplies of Marcellus Shale (and nearby Utica Shale) natural gas have the potential to fuel a resurgence of manufacturing not only in the Pittsburgh region, but on American shores.  Currently, Royal Dutch Shell is considering building an ethane cracker facility 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh in Beaver County.

Healthcare and Life Sciences:  Where Medical Research, Manufacturing and Innovation Converge

Underpinning both knowledge and innovation as drivers of the regional economy was the healthcare and life sciences sector with a total of 15 wins. The sector, in total, employs more than 140,000 people and encompasses a spectrum of companies of all sizes. Many of these capitalize on the globally regarded medical research being conducted at the University of Pittsburgh – in addition to regional strengths in manufacturing and innovation – to envision and commercialize products and services for the health and well-being of people everywhere.

Syndicus Launches New Website



Over the last seven months, Syndicus staff members have been methodically building a robust and modern digital and social media program —  with a goal of becoming the industry experts for the company’s  three focus areas (Health IT, Life Sciences Solutions and Technology Services —  Cybersecurity) via a more customer-centric site.

On March 4, the main showpiece of this intensive program launched: a new Syndicus website. The new site – – more closely connects the company’s digital and social presence, is responsive, fully search-engine optimized and offers greater opportunity for lead acquisition.

Several features include more industry-focused content (including several white papers), a Syndicus News section that facilitates interaction with visitors, an enhanced Jobs page, Contact Us forms and much more.

“When Syndicus embarked on our social media program in the fall of 2013, we found that a new website was one  of the largest components required to overhaul our digital presence,” said Mike McNees, president and CEO. “Today’s internet users are visiting websites from their phones, iPads and other mobile devices –  and we need the ability to connect with them in multiple ways. The new site goes far above and beyond what we imagined when we began this journey.”

About Syndicus, Inc.
Syndicus was established in 2007 in Annapolis, Md., as a technical recruiting and staffing company. In 2009, the company expanded its services to include staffing and solutions. Our focus areas for consulting are Health IT, Life Sciences and Technology Services, especially cyber security resources.

DATA 2014 FINALISTS ANNOUNCED: Register Now for Pittsburgh’s First National Creative Technologies Summit, Exhibition and Awards Gala


DATA 2014:

DATA 2014 is a national celebration of creative technologies in Pittsburgh, PA.

Founded at the intersection of Design, Art and Technology, this two-day event is an opportunity to engage with folks from all around the country on the newest trends in creativity and innovation. DATA is an event like no other — a mash-up of networking, interactivity and new ideas — showcasing the year’s most innovative art and technology projects, experiments and achievements.


The DATA conference brings together artists, entrepreneurs, geeks, investors, makers, innovation leaders, students and regular ole folk to be inspired by each other, discover new opportunities, and find out what’s next. Topics span the creative tech gamut, including design, gaming, film & television, robotics, mobile applications, education, edutainment, new media advertising, industrial design, architecture, animation, social networks, music, fine art, and much more. This day-long think tank is packed full of workshops, panels and talks on the newest and most exciting innovations and ideas!


An array of the year’s newest debuts in Creative Technology will be exhibited on Thursday, May 8 at the DATA Interactive Exhibition.Over 50 DATA Award finalists will be demo-ing their latestcreations and innovations for DATA guests and participants!


This annual gala and awards ceremony is one of the signature art and technology events around. Each year, the Creative Technology Network honors the best and brightest creative tech innovators with a party like no other! Be inspired by our keynote speaker, Penelope Trunk. Meet the makers of some of the coolest new art and tech at the Interactive Exhibition. Eat, drink and make friends all night long to a backdrop of artwork, tech, live music, and mixing-and-mingling with all the people you want to know.


Willo O’Brien: Opening Keynote, Thursday, May 8, 9am

Entrepreneur and co-founder of the illustrious YXYY unconference, San Francisco-based Willo O’Brien cultivates magic at the intersection of art + tech + business. In the last decade, she has founded three creative businesses and served as co-founder of two startups. Empowering individuals and passionate entrepreneurs to stay connected to their creativity and passion, her work focuses on “creative sustainability,” and helping others to launch their dreams.

Penelope Trunk: Gala Keynote, Thursday May 8, 5pm

International career guru, entrepreneur and blogger, Penelope Trunk has molded a generation of the young minds that are shaping our workforce. She is the founder of three startups, and her career advice has appeared in more than 200 newspapers and magazines worldwide. Penelope’s unconventional writing has established her as one of the world’s foremost career bloggers and thinkers. She has been called the “world’s most influential guidance counselor” byInc magazine, with “advice that is practical, counter-intuitive and engaging” according to Wired magazine. She is the author of the best-selling book Brazen Careerist – The New Rules for Success, and blogs at

75 Finalists have been selected from around the world to compete for DATA awards in 9 categories, including a People’s Choice Award. Starting in April, you can vote for your favorite projects on our online voting sight!

2014 Design, Art and Technology Award Finalists

Design + Making
Project Lucidity: Open Source Lucid Dreaming Mask
R/GA New York: Smart Cigarette
University of Canberra Augmented Reality Gallery
Espacio Handmade
Shade of Wood: Code + Laser Lampshades
MyMixx Fragrance Technology
The Beck’s Edison Bottle: The World’s First Playable Beer
Casepops – Custom iPhone Cases with Changeable Charms

Entertainment + Games
Fred Rogers Company/Schell Games: Daniel Tiger’s Tea-Party for PBS Kids
Lemon Labs: Happy Barometer
Schell Games: Lionel Battle Train
Wing Ma’am: Mobile App for LGBT Women
Radiant Wolf: Alien Outcasts Mobile Game
Eric Singer: Rototron, Musical Instrument
Walking Thumbs: Blabcake Messenger
Lemon Labs: PLAY
Smith Micro: Sock Puppets
R/GA New York: Nike SB App for Skaters
So CommuniqueTM: Smarter, Safter, Social

BHiveLab: Gatorboard™
MARC USA: Rite Aid’s Online Nail Extravaganza
R/GA New York: McCormick FlavorPrint
MarketSpace Communications: Fiesta’s Colorama
Group16: Green Building Alliance Open Source Website
Red Privet LLC: HMIG (Highmark) Multi-Channel Platform
Peerless design, inc: Kazanjian Drupal 7 Website How To Get to 300,000 Fans in One Year

Art + Technology
The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry: CLOUDS
Data As Culture: The UK’s Open Data Institute Art Programme
Lightwave International: Talking Towers Seismic Laser Art
Justin Crow: Torso iPhone Charger
SUPER•BALL: A Multi-Media Exploration
No Fly Zone: Crowd-Activated, Crowd-Sourced Installation
Paul Zelevansky: IMAGINATION
Boston Math Designs: The Art Of Pi
Ecologic: One Vision
Boundary Investigations

Software + Apps
Best Bike Split: Faster Cycling Through Data
Smith Micro: Anime Studio
Hability: Patient Engagement Platform
R/GA Buenos Aires: Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices — Ethicon IP Tool Home Improvement Network
APositive: Think, Create, Innovate Augmented Reality App
Optimized Training Labs: Triathlon Training Model
Meograph: Content Marketing Platform
Sprinklr Brand Analytics & Content Optimization
Fireman Creative: TabletTours
Matthews International: eVantage Memorial Designer
mBank: Mobile Banking Platform
Employyd: Social Recruitment App
MarketSpace Communications: DermatologistOnCall®

Chartiers Valley School District: Locomotion Lab
San Gabriel Valley K-8 Vector Inspectors
Blackhawk High School 3C Lab
Fine Art Miracles: Social Robot Therapy
Fox Chapel School District: Creativity and Literacy Program
West Allegheny’s Entertainment Technology Academy

Alpha Lab Gear: Accelerator for Hardware, Robotics and Physical Product Start-Ups
Pop Pop: A Living Pedestrian Signal in NYC
Gradient Labs: Palo Verde Nuclear Station Education Center
Net Health: Auld Lang Syne
UpTo: Pop Up Main Street Media Services
Phipps Conservatory: Center for Sustainable Landscapes
Pittsburgh Art Places
Assemble: Arts + Technology Community Space

Carnegie Mellon University: Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher
Carnegie Mellon University ETC: Monetizing Inc.
Point Park University: Eyes Wide Open
Carnegie Mellon University ETC: Halububum
Carnegie Mellon University ETC: GameGrid: Water+
Texas A&M University Viz Lab: Dinner
Carnegie Mellon University ETC: Maze of Hearts
Carnegie Mellon University ETC: Speak with Purpose
Carnegie Mellon University ETC: Ice Couple
Point Park University: Movie Poster Designs
Carnegie Mellon University ETC: Where’s Miss Merry?
Carnegie Mellon University ETC: Locanimals
Point Park University: Me, Myself and I

Reserve your spot for this year’s big event now! Featuring dozens of the coolest new creative tech projects – and a full day of workshops and presentations by innovators from all around the world, this year’s DATA event  is an all-new mash-up of networking, interactivity and new ideas — showcasing the year’s most innovative art and technology experiments and achievements. Click here for full details.

The Creative Technology Network

The Creative Technology Network is part of the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Art + Technology Initiative, presented in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University. Its mission is to foster the growth and sustainability of the intersections of creativity and innovation.


Metis Secure Launches New Line of IP Panic Solutions and Mobile Apps

Metis Secure has launched a new line of IP-based “panic” solutions that people use to instantly and discreetly summon police or security if danger strikes. For emergency responders, the Metis Secure system offers the flexibility to be notified of a panic activation and location via a wide variety of methods—IP phones, auto-calls to mobile devices and handheld radios, desktop pop-ups, base stations, and software.

In addition, the Metis Secure system can tie into video management systems and automatically display available camera feeds from the panic activation site to dispatchers in on-site or off-site police or security stations.

The new line of panic options includes:

•  Customizable “hot key” keyboard shortcuts that designated staff can use to discreetly alert responders that help is needed.

•  Mobile panic apps for smartphones and tablets that instantly alert responders and automatically transmit GPS location and basic information about the user.

•  Easy-install IP panic button and foot pedal hardware that plugs into any Ethernet port. Designed for discreet under-desk locations, the hardware is automatically supervised by the system, so dispatchers are alerted to any power or operation issues.

Emergency responder notification options include:

•  Sirens, voice announcements, and on-screen text alerts via IP desk phones.

•  Automatic calls to handheld radios or mobile phones, with a voice announcement identifying the location of the panic activation.

•  Desktop pop-ups on computer screens of designated personnel, with audio prompts via computer speakers.

•  Voice announcements and on-screen text with sirens and flashing lights on a wall-mounted base station in dispatch offices or stations.

•  Voice announcement with automatic map display of the panic activation location in Metis Secure’s Command Center software, which can be accessed through any browser.

“What makes the Metis Secure panic system different is the ultra-flexibility and reach of the system,” Mark Kurtzrock, Metis Secure president and CEO said. “Unlike standalone systems, the Metis Secure platform gives you almost limitless power to tie together different systems, locations, and emergency functions—making your response in an emergency much faster and more effective. Connect every school building in a district to the police station, tie in video and access control, give designated people access to the system to rapidly broadcast emergency instructions to everyone affected by a mass emergency—the Metis Secure system is designed to let you do all this and more.”

The Metis Secure emergency communications system is used by universities, K-12 school districts, industrial facilities, commercial and public sites. See the Metis Secure networked panic system in action in a new 2-minute video:

Comcast Business to Award more than $600,000 in Cash and Services to Tech Savvy Entrepreneurs

Comcast Business and Inc. Magazine today launched “Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs,” a national competition that will award more than $600,000 in cash and services to aspiring entrepreneurs who are leveraging technology to enhance customer and employee experiences. Individual winners will have the opportunity to win $25,000 in cash, Comcast Business Internet and TV services for two years, a $2,500 allocation for additional Comcast Business services and complimentary use of premium cloud applications from Comcast’s Upware partners Cisco, Microsoft, Symantec, DocuSign, Soonr and Swiftpage Engage for one year. 

“Technology can transform a small business, and we want to elevate and recognize those entrepreneurs that are using it to make a difference for their customers and employees with the Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs program,” said Terry Connell, senior vice president, Comcast Business. “Across our growing customer base, Comcast Business sees so many incredible stories about how innovative uses of technology help create exciting, profitable businesses. This program will show what can happen when these promising companies receive the funding and tools they need to take on the challenges of owning and running their own business.”

Based on an essay submission, entries will be judged and two winners will be selected in each of the 16 Comcast Business Regions: one winner for best use of technology to enhance the customer experience and one for best use of technology to enhance the employee experience. Entries will be judged by John Jantsch, Marketing Consultant, Speaker and best-selling author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and Anita Campbell, Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends.

From the 32 regional winners, six will be named grand prize winners and, in addition to cash and services, will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City, where they and a guest will have the opportunity to receive one-on-one consulting with nationally recognized business experts: Marcus Lemonis, businessman, investor, TV personality and Philanthropist; Robert Irvine, Celebrity Chef and Entrepreneur; and Comcast senior executives. They will also receive a VIP tour of 30 Rockefeller Center and an awards dinner prepared by Chef Irvine.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to visit to submit their application and essay and review the full program details. Entries are due by April 30, 2014.

Regional winners will be notified the week of May 19, 2014. Public voting for the 32 regional winners will be held May 20 – June 1, 2014. The six grand prize winners will be announced the week of June 30, 2014 with the New York awards event planned for August 26, 2014.