2015 Annual Report

Allegheny Conference on Community Development

Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce
Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Regional Alliance

Getting in Gear: A Message from the Chair

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“The world has shifted its perspective on the Pittsburgh region – we’re on the short list of places to visit, invest, work and live. Yet we cannot afford to be complacent. In fact, it is time for us to shift into a higher gear.”

– Morgan O'Brien, 2014-2015 Chair, Allegheny Conference on Community Development
President and CEO, Peoples Natural Gas

The Allegheny Conference and its affiliates – the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance – work together to improve the economic future and quality of life of the 10-county Pittsburgh region.

  • The GPCC advocates at the local, state and federal levels of government for economic climate improvements that enhance our region’s competitiveness.

  • The PEL provides public policy research and analysis on the most critical issues for our region’s competitiveness.

  • The PRA markets the benefits of conducting business in the region to companies all over the world that are growing, relocating or expanding.

map of southwestern pennsylvania

Our Agenda

Our 2015-2017 Agenda: Connecting People to Opportunity aligns three strategies, Economy & Community, Infrastructure and Workforce, that connect people to opportunity throughout the 10-county region, making southwestern Pennsylvania a better place for everyone who lives, works and invests here.

  • Economy & Community – Focusing economic and community development on common opportunities
  • Infrastructure – Building and reinforcing transportation and infrastructure systems that support sustainability and opportunity
  • Workforce – Understanding future career opportunities to better match supply and demand

In 2015, the first year of the new three-year plan, we were able to make significant progress on each of these strategies thanks to leadership and support from our Regional Investors and public and private sector partners. See our successes on the pages below.

Economy & Community

This strategy focuses on maximizing business investment opportunities in sectors where the Pittsburgh region offers a significant comparative advantage to employers. It does so in alignment with programs to strengthen communities throughout the region, with a focus on those that have been left behind despite the region’s economic transformation.

Increasing Investment, Creating Jobs

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA), the economic development marketing affiliate of the Allegheny Conference, works to attract new investment and helps existing businesses grow. It does so in partnership with leaders of the business community, elected officials and economic development professionals across the 10 counties of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Last Year, the PRA Helped Secure:

2015 Included a Signature Investment from JLL

graphic for Signature Investment from JLL

“Pittsburgh is a great place for JLL to do business. In our favor are strengths such as talent, work ethic and the cost of doing business for growing the presence we have established here. Because of these, we’re pleased to be expanding, once again, in Pittsburgh. We expect that our new, modern office space at Tower Two-Sixty in the urban core will be a magnet for attracting and retaining top-rate, young talent to our firm and the region. Looking forward, we intend to further position our Pittsburgh office as critical to the global real estate and investment management services we provide to clients worldwide.”

— JC Pelusi, Market Leader and Managing Director, JLL Pittsburgh

We Also Made the Region More Attractive for Business Investment

Logo for Power of 32 Site Development Fund

The Conference was instrumental in the creation of an almost $49 million fund to provide patient mortgage loans to sites located within the 32-county, multi-state Greater Pittsburgh region that have potential for regional economic impact if they are made ready for construction.

Read more | View funders list

Logo for TRI-State Shale Summit

The Conference led a partnership of economic development groups that convened the Tri-State Shale Summit and successfully negotiated a Regional Cooperation Agreement among Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor that pledges collaboration to capitalize on the economic opportunity for downstream manufacturing presented by Marcellus and Utica shale gas.

Read more

We Continued Investing in Communities to Create a More Livable Region

The Strengthening Communities Partnership (SCP) focuses private sector resources on targeted communities that have been left behind despite the transformation of the Pittsburgh region’s economy, positioning these communities for greater success in the future.

In 2015, Homewood and Sharpsburg joined five other SCP communities which include Connellsville, McKees Rocks, Mt. Oliver/Knoxville, City of Washington and Wilkinsburg.

Strengthening Communities Partnership Banner Graphic
Image of Jerome Jackson

“Although Homewood is challenged in many facets, it is also one of Pittsburgh’s most promising neighborhoods. Over the past year and a half, Operation Better Block, Inc. has worked with residents, property owners, and other stakeholders to develop a strategic plan for community revitalization in Homewood. As we begin our work with the new Homewood Community Development Collaborative, we appreciate the commitment of the Allegheny Conference to our efforts and look forward to [being a part of] the Strengthening Communities Partnership.”

— Jerome Jackson, Executive Director, Operation Better Block, Inc.

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Thank you to our current funders, and also to Conference members including The Forbes Funds, Covestro LLC and The Penn State Center for providing valuable technical assistance to our SCP partners | Get Involved at SupportSCP.com


This strategy focuses on improving systems and structures that enhance the region’s economy and sustain its population. To attract and retain talented individuals and employers to our region, we must provide a world-class transportation and infrastructure network, including transit, to better connect the region locally, nationally and globally.

Building a Better-Connected Region

Graphic for Better Connectign the Region

We Worked with Partners to Improve Air Service Competitiveness

We have worked closely with the Allegheny County Airport Authority for almost 15 years to improve air service. We congratulate the Authority on the significant progress over the past year.

Four airlines – Allegiant Air, Frontier, One Jet and Porter Airlines – began serving a total of 16 destinations from the region. Southwest expanded service. Service has been restored to St. Louis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and New Orleans, with other added flights providing more links to Chicago, Toronto and Denver.

The non-stop Pittsburgh-to-Paris flight on Delta Airlines announced expansion to seven days a week for six months. In 2009, the Allegheny Conference and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania put up a financial guarantee to encourage Delta to launch the service. The investment is paying off.

We Launched an Effort to Better Our Region’s Transportation Network

The Regional Transportation Alliance (RTA) is a coalition of public and private partners from each of the 10 counties of southwestern Pennsylvania and the City of Pittsburgh and was formed to imagine a new transportation future for our region. Working together through a “crowdsourcing” initiative with hundreds of partner organizations across all 10 counties, the RTA began to gather ideas for projects that will enhance regional connectivity, competitiveness and quality of life.

Regional Transportation Alliance Logo

The initiative is a direct result of a benchmarking trip to Denver, Colorado, which hosted almost 100 civic leaders from all 10-counties of the region.

Photo of Steve Craig, Lawrence County Commissioner

“Improving connectivity and mobility throughout southwestern Pennsylvania is a crucial issue facing our region. The launch of the RTA and its crowdsourcing initiative is just the first step in a journey to redefine how the region’s transportation network functions.”

— Steve Craig, Lawrence County Commissioner and RTA Co-Chair


This strategy focuses on connecting people to skills, connecting job seekers to employers and connecting skilled workers from inside and outside our region to opportunity here. The Conference strives to meet the workforce needs of the region with two initiatives: one targeting supply and the other targeting demand.

Building a Globally Competitive Workforce

More than 270,000 Baby Boomers working here are eligible to retire over the next 10 years. If we do nothing, our region faces a shortage of about 100,000 skilled workers to replace them. Through its Workforce Steering Committee, the Conference in 2015 moved forward with several initiatives to address these challenges. We launched our 2014-2025 Occupational Supply and Demand Analysis, which will forecast workforce demand – as well as the available labor supply and talent pipeline – across all economic sectors through 2025. The results will be used to help the region better align education and training with market demand.

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We Are Working on Solutions to Attract, Retain and Elevate Talent

Imagine Pittsburgh Banner Graphic

ImaginePittsburgh.com is the gateway to opportunity in the Pittsburgh region. It's a comprehensive database of more than 20,000 open jobs across all sectors. In 2015, ImaginePittsburgh.com reached a number of milestones in efforts to attract and retain talent:

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We are Bridging the Soft Skills Gap and elevating talent in the region:

To help to retain more of the 40,000 individuals who graduate from our region’s colleges each year, we surveyed employers about the soft skills of their young professionals. We worked with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to develop a business plan for a potential pilot training program in soft skills at our colleges.

We Are Helping to Develop a Robust Energy and Manufacturing Talent Pipeline

This comprehensive recruitment, training, placement and retention program for the oil and gas industry served 1,320 students in 2015.

Appalachia Partnership Initiative
A collaboration of Chevron Corp., the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, RAND Corp. and the Allegheny Conference, the Appalachia Partnership Initiative funds STEM education and workforce training and development for energy and manufacturing employers across southwestern Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio.

Service To Opportunity ®
An initiative that matches veterans with in-demand energy and advanced manufacturing jobs.

Bridging the Soft Skills Gap Graphic


The Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce (GPCC), the advocacy arm of the Allegheny Conference, advocates at the local, state and federal levels of government to improve the economy and quality of life in the Pittsburgh region. In 2015, the GPCC successfully advanced a number of priorities critical to achieving the goals of the Allegheny Conference’s 2015-17 agenda of Connecting People to Opportunity.

Working Together on Behalf of One Region

Elimination of the uncompetitive Capital Stock and Franchise Tax

Elimination of the uncompetitive Capital Stock and Franchise Tax

Passage of $305 billion federal infrastructure investment package

Passage of $305 billion federal infrastructure investment package

Reauthorization of the federal Export-Import Bank

Reauthorization of the federal Export-Import Bank

$61 million federal budget increase for the National Energy Technology Laboratory

$61 million federal budget increase for the National Energy Technology Laboratory (FY 16)


One of our values is that we’re in it for the long haul. While our agendas span three years each, we are dedicated to carrying our programs over the finish line, no matter how long they take. In 2015, two long-term projects came to fruition that demonstrate the power of staying the course. General Electric’s decision to site its Center for Additive Technology Advancement here was the culmination of 15 years of effort to prepare the region for this type of successful economic development. Another example was the City of Clairton’s exit from Act 47, the result of a nearly three decade-long effort to help the community get back on its feet and to modernize earned income tax collection in Pennsylvania.

Watch how our blueprints on these two issues culminated in success:

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Our Best Days Are Ahead: A Message from Our CEO

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image of Richard Harshman Speaking at 2015 Annual Conference

“Whether we focus our energy on better transportation, strengthening communities, attracting business investment or developing our workforce, if we share a vision and work together, we can make it happen.”

– Rich Harshman, 2016-2017 Chair, Allegheny Conference on Community Development Chairman, President and CEO, ATI


The People Behind the Progress

2015 Leadership
Morgan O'Brien, ACCD Leader

Morgan O'Brien

Chair, Allegheny Conference

President and CEO, Peoples Natural Gas

Dennis Yablonsky, ACCD Leader

Dennis Yablonsky

CEO, Allegheny Conference

Rich Harshman, ACCD Leader

Rich Harshman

Vice Chair, Allegheny Conference

Chairman, President and CEO, ATI

William Demchak, ACCD Leader

William Demchak

Chair, Workforce Strategy Chairman, President and CEO, The PNC Financial

Services Group, Inc.

Jerry MacCleary, ACCD Leader

Jerry MacCleary

Chair, Economy & Community Strategy

President, Covestro LLC

Nicholas DeLuliis, ACCD Leader

Nicholas DeLuliis

Chair, Infrastructure Strategy

President and CEO, CONSOL Energy Inc.

Laura Karet , ACCD Leader

Laura Karet

Chair, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance

CEO, Giant Eagle, Inc.

Bill Strickland, ACCD Leader

Bill Strickland

Chair, PA Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh

President and CEO, Manchester Bidwell Corporation

Laura Ellsworth, ACCD Leader

Laura Ellsworth

Chair, Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce

Partner-in-Charge Global Community Service Initiatives, Jones Day, Pittsburgh

Kim Tillotson Fleming, ACCD Leader

Kim Tillotson Fleming

Treasurer & Chair, Audit Committeee

Chairman, Hefren-Tillotson, Inc.

Venkee Sharma, ACCD Leader

Venkee Sharma


President and CEO, Aquatech International

Michele Fabrizi, ACCD Leader

Michele Fabrizi

Chair, Strategic Communications Committee

President and CEO, MARC USA

David Porges, ACCD Leader

David Porges

Chair, Personnel & Compensation Committee

Chairman, President and CEO, EQT

Board Members and Regional Investors Council

Allegheny Conference on Community Development | Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce

Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh Regional Alliance

Regional Investors Council