Center for Economic Development Fellows are top executives of some of the Pittsburgh region’s most influential and innovative organizations in economic development today. They are key decision makers for local economic, community, and technological investments, and the leaders of some of the institutions that helped make Pittsburgh a model for other cities struggling to redevelop in the aftermath of deindustrialization. Some of them are involved in fostering business startups around new technologies; others are working to open up the scenic beauty and unlock the economic potential of our riverfronts, while still others are working to bring distressed neighborhoods and communities back from the brink.
By agreement with the College, these organizations will be submitting important projects and policy questions that our students will be able to engage through system synthesis capstone projects. Overtime, Fellows will also engage students through Convocations, student Smart Growth Club events, and panel discussions. With the help of our Fellows, the College is opening up new learning opportunities in policy and practice for students interested in economic development.
Steve Bland is Chief Executive Officer of Port Authority of Allegheny County. Steve became the CEO of Port Authority in June 2006 and oversees all aspects of this region’s primary transit system, which serves more than 220,000 riders daily across the region. His career of more than 20 years includes service with several other transit systems, including as executive director of the Capital District Transportation Authority in Albany, NY. He has served on numerous local, state and national transit boards, and is a past chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association and a past president of the New York Public Transit Association.
As CEO of Port Authority, Steve has guided a series of changes aimed at making the Authority more efficient, transparent, accountable and reliable. Some of the changes are based on recommendations of the Pennsylvania Transportation Funding and Reform Commission, which was created by Gov. Ed Rendell. These changes include the Authority's first top-to-bottom restructuring of its routes, implementation of modern fare collection equipment and significant revision of staff levels and benefit packages. More changes are either underway or in the planning stages, including implementation of smart card technology, RapidBus lines and use of real-time information.
Dennis M. Davin is Director of Allegheny County Economic Development (ACED). Dennis also serves as Director of the Allegheny County Redevelopment Authority and Executive Director of the: Industrial Development Authority, Hospital Development Authority, Higher Education Building Authority, and Residential Finance Authority. Dennis is responsible for the overall development and implementation of the economic strategy for Allegheny County, and manages 75 employees and funding from local, state, and federal resources to implement economic development activities such as: site development, new job creation initiatives, community development, and affordable housing for approximately 1.25 million citizens in 130 municipalities. He is also an active board member of the Allegheny County Airport Authority.
In 2008 his department successfully completed a three year planning process when the County Council unanimously adapted “Allegheny Places”, the County’s first “comprehensive plan” on land use, transportation, housing, economic development, infrastructure, and greenways. Prior to being Director of ACED, Dennis was Regional Director of the Governor’s Action Team for Southwestern Pennsylvania. In this capacity, he worked directly with company executives interested in relocating or expanding in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Prior to this he worked at the URA, managing Pittsburgh’s single and multi-family development, rehabilitation, and mortgage programs for eight years before becoming the URA’s Director of Housing. Dennis also played an integral role in developing the Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation, the City of Pittsburgh’s nonprofit residential development arm, while serving as its deputy executive director.
Ernest E. Hogan is Executive Director for the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG), where he relies on more than 24 years of experience as a community development practitioner to advance a neighborhood-driven agenda of economic growth. Originally incorporated in 1988 to provide a coordinated response to the financial institutions’ practice of redlining and to be the “on the ground” watchdog for the Community Reinvestment Act, PCRG works for community resources through neighborhood, regional, and banking policy initiatives.
Prior to joining PCRG’s staff, Mr. Hogan was a member of the PCRG Board of Directors for almost 20 years. During that time, Mr. Hogan helped devise many innovative programs to target credit to low-income and minority communities. Mr. Hogan leadership in six city partnership with Fannie Mae lead to $600 Million mortgage portfolios purchase by Fannie Mae freeing up bank capital to be reinvested in neighborhoods and resulted in the opening of a local Fannie Mae office. Mr. Hogan also introduced PCRG’s “Ain’t I A Woman” housing initiative, which targeted loans to African American women, and has worked with community banks and public partners to introduce creative mortgage products in underserved neighborhoods, helping to revitalize many blighted and abandoned properties throughout Allegheny County. Such programs have led financial institutions to reinvest more than $4 billion in Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods since PCRG was founded.
An integral part of Pittsburgh’s community development system, Mr. Hogan has left an impressive impact on the communities he has served. As staff to the NorthSide Leadership Conference and East Liberty Development, Inc., and as an active board member of Highland Park Community Development Corporation, Mr. Hogan’s work has directly fostered key public/private partnerships, resulting in the development of 600 units of housing and 480,000 square feet of commercial/retail space, and the creation of more than 1500 jobs. Utilizing commercial financing, government development programs, tax credits and private grants, Mr. Hogan set the stage for some of Pittsburgh most dramatic neighborhood transformations in the city. In early 2010, Mr. Hogan put his years of community development experience to work in advancing a neighborhood-driven agenda of economic growth for the Pittsburgh region. Through policy creation, advocacy, and education, Mr. Hogan is helping to change the community development system in Pittsburgh.
John Manzetti is President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse (PLSG). Prior to this he previously served with PLSG as an Executive-in-Residence and then as COO, assisting start-up companies move their ideas and products through the PLSG “concept to commercialization” pipeline. Prior to PLSG he held the positions of CFO, COO, and CEO at NOMOS Corporation, a leader in the field of radiation therapy treatment solutions for cancer patients. As CEO he spearheaded the firm’s merger with North American Scientific, afterwards assuming the role of President of the NOMOS Division, a subsidiary. Prior to NOMOS John served as CFO at Carnegie Group, Inc. During his 10 years there he helped the company become a recognized leader in delivering intelligent software solutions to commercial and government markets, and helped structure the company’s initial public offering in 1995. Prior to this, he served with Babcock & Wilcox Company, a leader in the design and delivery of power generation systems and industrial equipment to industry.
Mike Matesic is President & CEO of Idea Foundry, Inc. Mike is a seasoned business executive experienced in working with businesses at a variety of stages. Over the last 6 years at Idea Foundry he has invested in and participated in the development of over 50 technology start-ups, creating jobs in the region. Prior to the Idea Foundry, Mr. Matesic was Chief Executive Officer for two start-up companies and Chief Financial Officer for MetalSite, Inc., participating in the rapid growth of the company and public registration process. While at MetalSite, Mr. Matesic led the startup of the company’s subsidiary, ScrapSite. Before that he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Anker Coal Group and its subsidiaries where he was responsible for Human Resources, Information Technology, Tax and Finance functions. During his ten years with Anker Coal, Mr. Matesic led a successful registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, managed the company’s substantial growth, established and invested in various start-up companies and completed many acquisitions.
David Ruppersberger is Director of Strategic Economic Initiatives at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. David also plays a leadership role in Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s Power Up Pittsburgh initiative, a collaborative strategy that brings together government, business, universities and entrepreneurs to align our region’s resources for the creation of jobs. Prior to this position, David served as President and CEO of The Technology Collaborative (TTC), a non-profit, member-driven, technology-based economic development organization focused on starting, attracting, and growing robotics, cyber-security and digital technology companies. Prior to the merger of the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse and Robotics Foundry that created TTC, David served as Vice President of Business Development at the Digital Greenhouse, where he managed all membership and marketing activities. He also developed new programs to address member needs in the areas of technical recruiting and initiatives that were instrumental in attracting the Oki Semiconductor and Saronix design centers to the Pittsburgh region. Prior to joining the Greenhouse, David was a consultant and interim CEO for two Pittsburgh high-tech start-ups. He also held sales and management positions with Unisys, Symbolics, and Carnegie Group, Inc. where he served as Vice President and General Manager.
Lisa Schroeder is Executive Director of Riverlife, a non-profit organization established in 1999 by Mayor Tom Murphy to create a vision and master plan for Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. Under her leadership, Riverlife is working to open up Pittsburgh’s riverfronts as the front yard of the city and create a grand, urban-scale riverfront park in the heart of Pittsburgh, called “Three Rivers Park”. Through public/private partnerships, Riverlife is moving numerous projects forward; including construction of new riverfront trails, parks and water landings, new lighting and water transportation. Lisa developed a deep love for cities growing up in Baltimore and has always worked to revitalize downtowns and improve quality of life through urban planning, historic preservation and environmental conservation. For 30 years, Lisa has worked as a professional on a broad range of urban issues for non-profit and government organizations, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Maine Preservation, and Greater Portland Landmarks.
Donald F. Smith is President of the Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern Pennsylvania (RIDC), one of the region’s best known economic development agencies. Don’s career in economic development began with the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, and then the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce, where he served as the lead analyst on the state's economic development strategy. He then enrolled at Heinz to work on research related to venture capital, technological innovation, and patterns of Japanese investment in the U.S. Upon receiving his Ph.D. he worked at RAND's Critical Technology Institute in D.C. as a policy analyst specializing in the financing of new technologies and regional technology clusters. After RAND he served as Director of the Center for Economic Development at Heinz for seven years, and during this time he has also served as President of the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse. From 2002 until he joined the RIDC, he held a joint economic development post at both Pitt and CMU known as the University Partnership.
Arthur P. Ziegler Jr. is President of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), and a leading American preservationist, urbanist, writer, and activist. He is best known for co-founding the PHLF in 1964 to combat urban renewal policies that devastated Pittsburgh––literally and spiritually. He promotes historic preservation as an effective means to create sustainable affordable housing, healthy neighborhoods, and economic development. Arthur's work has been as much about social justice for disenfranchised populations as it has been about preserving important places.
PHLF’s Manchester neighborhood project was the first urban renewal project to create a preservation district within a predominantly African-American neighborhood and the first to be administered by the residents themselves. Emblematic of PHLF’s success in using historic preservation as an instrument of economic revitalization, its adaptive re-use of a former rail terminal facility into Station Square had the lowest public cost and highest taxpayer return of any major renewal project in the Pittsburgh region since the 1950s. With over three million visitors annually, Station Square generates over six million dollars annually in tax revenue. Under his leadership, PHLF was instrumental in defeating a massive downtown demolition plan. PHLF then restored several buildings to bring highquality retail back to the area and achieved LEED Gold status. Arthur has also authored five books on historic preservation.
Our eternal thanks to these Executive Fellows who have moved on from our partner organizations or have retired from the field!
Rob Stephany is the former Executive Director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the City of Pittsburgh’s economic development agency. He has over a decade of community based development experience. While directing East Liberty Development Inc.'s commercial development program, he — along with many others — successfully brought several major national retailers into East Liberty's commercial district, and sparked vitality in the district with numerous smaller restaurants and shops.
As part of a comprehensive development project designed to undo the negative effects of the urban renewal programs of the 1960s, he has spearheaded a neighborhood driven master plan, coordinated 12 developers in the implementation of the plan and facilitated the development of 350+ units of housing and over 200,000 square feet of commercial development. His specific passion is in aligning public, private, non profit, and philanthropic missions to accomplish the revitalization of urban neighborhoods while ensuring existing stakeholders remain key beneficiaries in the change process.
Rob joined the CED as a Fellow in 2009. We are especially grateful to Rob and the URA for sponsoring the first student project under the Center’s Executive Fellows program, "Measuring the Economic Impact of Greenspace". Since then Rob and his staff continuously engaged our students with opportunities to learn more about redevelopment in the City of Pittsburgh. Rob recently left the URA to take the position of Program Director for the Community and Economic Development program at the Heinz Endowments. It is extremely gratifying for us to know that Rob is in a great position to identify and deploy strong strategies to build and maintain Pittsburgh’s greatest assets: its neighborhoods.
Ellen Kight is the former President of the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development, a key financial intermediary for community development organizations. Ellen oversees the operations of PPND, whose mission is to support the revitalization of the Pittsburgh region’s distressed neighborhoods into desirable and diverse communities by raising funds and making strategic investments in community development/improvement organizations.
Prior to coming to PPND, Ellen spent 27 years in State Government, serving under four governors, most recently from 1996-2006, as the Regional Director of the Southwest Region of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), which includes nine counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania. From 1979 until 2006, she served as the Regional Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs (DCA.) The Regional Office offers technical and financial assistance to municipalities; non-profit, community-based organizations and businesses; encouraging community empowerment, building partnerships and entrepreneurial development. Services provided support affordable housing, revitalization of distressed communities, Main Street and commercial development, community-based organizations, Enterprise Zones, community development corporations, and community planning.
Ellen has been a very welcome presence at Hamburg Hall. She regularly served as a guest lecturer in Urban Policy class, and she and PPND Deputy Director Maureen Hogan were frequent guests at Innovation Exchange and other events. Over and above its partnership with the CED, PPND has also been a great partner to Heinz College via the PPND Fellows program, which enabled a Heinz student to intern with PPND every two years. After over thirty years of service in the field of economic and community development, Ellen recently retired from the role of executive practitioner to the role of world traveler.