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PRA Post is the Pittsburgh Region’s Economic Development Newsletter

December 2016

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Shell Chemicals’ Ethane Cracker Facility: Signs of Construction Progress in the Pittsburgh Region

On November 14, Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals hosted several state and local officials – including Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf – the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and a group of nine national site location consultants for a first-time visit to its site in Monaca, Pa. where the company is constructing a world-scale ethane cracker facility.

The comprehensive tour spanned the 1,200-plus assembled acres that will be home to Shell’s first petrochemical complex in the U.S. outside of the Gulf Coast region. Shell showcased its significant strides in preparing the land (the site of a former zinc smelter) for vertical construction, which is scheduled to begin late in 2017. The majority of the work so far has focused on gaining access to the site, including repositioning a rail line, adding new loading docks along the Ohio River, widening and relocating Route 18 and constructing two bridges.

Additionally, Shell announced its lease of a 76,000-square-foot office building in Beaver County for operations during the five-year construction phase, which is expected to last until early next decade. The facility buildout will provide up to 6,000 jobs during construction and 600 permanent positions once the facility is operational.

Read more | Read more and check out a photo gallery of the tour via the PRA Blog.

Pittsburgh Prospector allows you to search an expansive up-to-date inventory of available commercial buildings and sites in the Pittsburgh region.

With the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) software, is the comprehensive, online real estate database for the 10-county Pittsburgh region. Search and find real estate options efficiently by generating site-specific demographic and business analysis reports with this complimentary service. To discover the PRA’s full range of economic development services, visit

More Economic Development News

Solar City, Eyeing Growth in Pittsburgh Region, Opens Operations Center
“Solar City, the country’s largest residential solar installer, unveiled its new operations center in Emsworth, Allegheny County. The company is taking 18,000 square feet of a former steel plating facility and will include space for its sales staff, up to 10 installation crews and a total of 125 employees.” Read more

S&T Bank to Open New Loan Production Office on Pittsburgh’s North Side
“S&T Bancorp, Pittsburgh’s 11th-largest bank, is opening a loan production office on the city’s North Side. The office space will provide treasury management services as well as business and commercial banking.” Read more

Condor Airlines Adds New Nonstop Transatlantic Service from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt, Germany
“Condor Airlines recently announced new seasonal nonstop service to Frankfurt, Germany – a city that has been in high demand by the Pittsburgh region – from Pittsburgh International Airport. The airline will provide twice weekly flights beginning in June 2017 and continuing through September.” Read more

WOW Air Lands New U.S. Hub at Pittsburgh International Airport, Offers Nonstop Flights to Iceland with Connections to Europe
“Beginning June 2017, WOW air will begin direct flights from Pittsburgh International Airport to Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city – where passengers can connect to other European cities.” Read more

Duquesne Light Co. Moves Forward on Microgrid Project
“Duquesne Light Co. has selected Kansas City, Mo.-based Burns and McDonnell to begin construction of an experimental microgrid on its Woods Run facility and Preble Service Center, a project that energy researchers say has the potential to dramatically alter the power grid in Pittsburgh.” Read more

North Carolina-Based Concord Hospitality Enterprises Co. Moving Forward on 133-Room Strip District Hotel
“North Carolina-based Concord Hospitality Enterprises Co. began construction in the Strip District on the new boutique, 133-room AC Hotel by Marriott on a site located between the restaurant Eleven and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.” Read more

Pittsburgh Awarded $50 Million in Tax Credits for New Development
“The Urban Redevelopment Authority recently announced that Pittsburgh will receive $50 million in tax credits through the U.S. Treasury Department’s New Markets Tax Credit Program this year. The tax credits will aid business expansion in East Liberty and help create 50 jobs.” Read more

Pennsylvania’s $24 Million Pipeline Investment Program to Aid Natural Gas Infrastructure Development
“Pennsylvania’s $24 million Pipeline Investment Program – a program of the Commonwealth Financing Authority – will give as much as $1 million to businesses, economic development organizations and others for the building of pipelines and other natural gas infrastructure.” Read more

Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority Approves $20.7 Million in Grant Funding for 14 City Development Projects
“The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh voted to approve the processing of $20.7 million in state grants to jumpstart 14 development projects throughout the city through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.” Read more

Pittsburgh Promise Announces $8.8 Million in New Funding
“The Pittsburgh Promise announced $8.8 million in new funding that will help support college scholarships for urban youth, bringing the scholarship fund up to 77 percent of its 10-year, $250 million goal launched in 2008.” Read more

Pittsburgh-Based Technology Startup NetBeez Raises $500,000, Adds Staff
“NetBeez, a Pittsburgh-based network performance monitoring startup, has raised $500,000 from European fund Partech Ventures and will use it to add two staff members and to aid its product development.” Read more

University of Pittsburgh, Innovation Works Launch New Workforce Development Program With $500,000 Grant
“The University of Pittsburgh and Innovation Works have received a $500,000 workforce development grant from the Allegheny Regional Commission to assist entrepreneurs in several Pennsylvania counties deeply impacted by declining coal jobs.” Read more

Maker Entrepreneurs to Receive Manufacturing Help from University of Pittsburgh with $500,000 U.S. Department of Commerce Grant
“Thanks to a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce through the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies i6 Challenge grant program, the University of Pittsburgh can provide help to local manufacturing and maker entrepreneurs.” Read more

Carnegie Mellon University Polymer-Engineering Spinout Raises Nearly $300,000
“Biohybrid Solutions LLC, a Carnegie Mellon University spinout founded by professors Alan Russell and Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, has received a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Small Business Innovation Research and a $140,000 subcontract from the U.S. Department of Defense.” Read more

Carnegie Science Center Awarded $100,000 Grant from Duquesne Light & DQE Communications for STEM Programming
“Duquesne Light and DQE Communications have awarded a $100,000 grant to the Carnegie Science Center to support hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programming, events and competitions.” Read more

Beaver County Developer Gives $100,000 to Community College of Beaver County for Training Programs Related to Shell Cracker Facility
“The Community College of Beaver County has received a $100,000 donation from Beaver County developer Chuck Betters to buy equipment that will be used to train would-be workers for the ethane cracker plant planned by Shell Chemicals.” Read more

Leadership through Partnership: The Allegheny Conference is Powering Progress in Pittsburgh
“The Allegheny Conference, its affiliates and regional public and private partners are working together to improve the economic future and quality of life of southwestern Pennsylvania. Here’s how they’ve powered progress in the Pittsburgh region in 2016.” Read more

Pittsburgh Region Tops Country in Overall Success Rate of Small Businesses
“According to the Main Street Entrepreneurship Index compiled by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, Mo., the Pittsburgh region ranked among the top 40 metro areas in the U.S. for its overall health in the small business sector.” Read more

Pittsburgh Ranks High as Market to Watch in Urban Land Institute Report
“The Urban Land Institute’s venerable Emerging Trends in Real Estate report for 2017 – now in its 38th year researching markets across the country – names Pittsburgh one of its top five markets to watch.” Read more

PA Business Central Spotlights Indiana County’s Growing Industries and Future Opportunities
Pennsylvania Business Central – a print and online business news publication serving central Pennsylvania – recently connected with economic development officials from Indiana County and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance to talk about the growth and economic future of Indiana County.” Read more

The Pittsburgh Technology Council Announces 2016 Tech 50 Winners
“The Pittsburgh Technology Council Tech 50 awards program, now in its 20th year, convened once again to recognize southwestern Pennsylvania’s most innovative technology companies spanning health IT, life sciences, manufacturing, consumer products, consulting services and other fields.” Read more

Ten Outstanding Pittsburgh Architecture Projects Win Awards
“AIA Pittsburgh has bestowed 10 awards to local architects for exceptional architectural work in Pittsburgh and beyond during its annual Design Awards. Projects include the Tower at PNC Plaza, the Center Avenue Corridor Redevelopment and more.” Read more

Carnegie Mellon among Bloomberg’s List of “Best Business Schools in 2016”
“Carnegie Mellon’s Business School made Bloomberg’s annual ranking of full-time U.S. MBA programs, based on data compiled from more than 1,000 recruiters, 15,000 alumni and 9,000 recent graduates.” Read more

Carnegie Mellon University Celebrates Opening of Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Ushers in New Era of Business Excellence
“More than 350 people, including those from the startup community, gathered at the Jared L. Cohon University Center to mark the opening of Carnegie Mellon’s Swartz Center, which will provide programs and activities that offer a unique path toward entrepreneurship.” Read more

Homewood Cafe Hopes to Create Bridge Between Neighborhoods
“Last week’s opening of The Everyday Café coffee shop in Homewood – a participating community of the Allegheny Conference’s Strengthening Communities Partnership program – is another sign that things are beginning to turn around in one of Pittsburgh’s most downtrodden neighborhoods.” Read more

Pittsburgh Named among Top Cities in the U.S. to Shop Local
“Pittsburgh is one of the top 20 cities in the United States for shopping locally, according to a Harris poll commissioned by the website Yelp.” Read more


Companies are investing and growing in the Pittsburgh region and creating opportunity for top talent, including for the positions below:

Go to to check out more jobs, learn about the region’s employers and industries and explore the region’s great live, play, and learn options.



December 6German American Chamber of Commerce Pittsburgh: Fall Networking Event with Condor Airlines and Allegheny County Airport Authority
Presented by the German American Chamber of Commerce. Join Condor Airlines and the Allegheny County Airport Authority to celebrate the airline’s recent announcement of nonstop flights to Frankfurt, Germany. Visit for more event information and to register.


December 7ULI 2017 TRENDS – Emerging Trends in Real Estate featuring Maureen McAvey
What are the key emerging trends that will shape the real estate market in 2017? What do industry leaders say about the outlook for U.S. real estate property sectors, metro areas, finance and capital markets and other real estate issues? The 38th Annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate, undertaken jointly by PwC and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), is based on insights from hundreds of industry leaders and is the most highly regarded and widely read forecast report in the real estate industry. Join the discussion and hear from our local experts’ panel on how national economic and real estate trends are playing out in the Pittsburgh area. The event’s keynote speaker is Maureen McAvey, the Bucksbaum family chair for retail at the ULI in Washington, D.C. She concentrates on urban retail and has led several special projects around demographics and future urban development. Held at the Rivers Club from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.; cost to attend is $55 for ULI members, $75 for non-members.


December 7Doing Business with University of Pittsburgh
The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Small Business Development Center, and the Purchasing and Facilities Management departments of the University are sponsoring a program that will help you to better understand the overall purchasing process at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), how to qualify to become a potential supplier to the university and create awareness and market and sell within the university community. Come meet the purchasing powerhouses at Pitt from Facilities Management, Housing, Athetics, IT and Purchasing Services. Business owners who are currently doing business with the university but wish to increase their volume, or who offer products or services that they believe would be of interest to the university community, or entrepreneurs looking to target the university community with a new product or service should attend. Held at the William Pitt Union Ballroom on from 7:30 – 11:00 a.m.; the workshop is free to attend.


December 9Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series
Chatham University’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship’s Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series features prominent regional women business leaders speaking on a variety of progressive business topics. This month’s breakfast topic is “Leading Transformational Growth” and features CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank Lisa Scales. Lisa will discuss the adjustments in organizational culture, talent and operations that are required for transformational growth in an organization. Donations will be accepted at this event. Please view the most-needed items list here. Held at the James Laughlin Music Hall, Chatham University from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.; cost to attend is $25 per person, $12 for students and veterans.


December 14Design Matters: Experimentation in Business with MAYA Design
Presented by the Pittsburgh Technology Council. Join the strategy team from MAYA Design and its strategy lead Greg Gibilisco for a half-day, hands-on workshop on methods for designing pilot programs and new ways to safely test business ideas in the real world. Get an introduction to the the importance of iteration, rules and tools for experimentation in business, and facilitated activities for prototyping and piloting business ideas. Held at the Pittsburgh Technology Council from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.; cost to attend is $99 for members, $175 for non-members.


January 11SIOR Industrialist of the Year Dinner
Join SIOR of Western Pennsylvania for its annual black-tie event as it honors local heads of industry who have made a profound impact on the region. Past honorees have ranged from presidents and CEOs to university deans and former chairmen of industries. The dinner will be held at The Duquesne Club from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. and will be attended by a large number of influential real estate brokers, developers and property owners. Following a formal dinner will be the Industrialist of the Year Award ceremony in recognition of outstanding career achievements. For more information contact Diane McQuade at (412) 391-2634 or


January 11Design Matters: Introduction to Design Thinking, with SUMMA
Presented by the Pittsburgh Technology Council. Join SUMMA and its Director of Human Centered Design Practice Mark Lotter for a one-hour discussion where business leaders will describe their experiences using design thinking to solve problems and create business value. The discussion will be preceded with a short overview defining design thinking and examples of how you might start using design thinking to benefit your organization. Held at the Pittsburgh Technology Council from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.; cost to attend is $45 for members, $175 for non-members.


January 17Huntington Breakfast Briefing: CEO, Michael Baker Intl.
The Pittsburgh Technology Council is pleased to present Kurt C. Bergman, CEO of Michael Baker International, for its Huntington Breakfast Briefing. Michael Baker is a global leader in engineering, planning and development with more than 6,000 employees in 90 offices worldwide and more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Join tech industry colleagues for breakfast and networking while you learn more about one of the nation’s leading engineering, planning and consulting services firms. Held at the Rivers Club from 7:00 – 9:15 a.m.; cost to attend is $55 for members, $185 for non-members.


January 24I Love It When You Call Me Big Data 2016
I Love It When You Call Me Big Data™ is a day-long summit focused on big data trends and best practices. This event will explore innovative strategies and technologies surrounding real-time data collection, processing, protection and privacy, industry regulations and compliance and storage. The morning of the event will feature keynote presentations by industry leaders, followed by an afternoon of Tech Talks offered in three tracks of 18-minute presentations that resemble the format of the popular TED Talks. Held at the Marriott City Center from 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; early bird registration is $175 for members, $375 for non-members. After January 13th, cost to attend will be $190 for members and $390 for non-members.


January 24-26Marcellus Midstream Conference & Exhibition
Attend the Marcellus-Utica Midstream Conference and Exhibition and get the latest production forecasts from the region’s top E&Ps, learn about current and planned projects to expand regional takeaway capacity from leading midstream operators and hear about emerging markets that could change the game for Appalachia’s bounty of natural gas. Held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, stay connected to the latest intelligence within the field. Register by December 30th and receive the early bird registration rate of $795 for a conference and exhibit pass or $295 for exhibit pass only. Click here for sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities.


January 28Indiana County Chamber of Commerce Business Expo
The 2017 Chamber Business Expo, hosted by the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce, promises to be an exciting event filled with great business-to-business and business-to-new customer interactions, as well as fresh entertainment that should fill the halls of the Indiana Mall with people eager to learn about your business. The expo is free to attend. Booths and sponsorships are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline to reserve a booth is January 13. Booth, sponsorship rates and registration forms can be found here.


January 28German American Chamber of Commerce Pittsburgh – Second Annual Ice Gala
Join the German American Chamber of Commerce Pittsburgh for its second annual Ice Gala – the German American business community’s premiere event of the year. The gala will feature live music from the River City Brass Band, an “Ice Room” that will include ice sculptures, Glühwein and more. Plus, VIP speakers, great food and an amazing view of the city. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Chamber’s Dual Model Apprenticeship Program. The dress code is formal optional or business attire. Held at the Energy Innovation Center, the VIP reception will begin at 5:00 p.m. followed by the gala dinner at 6:00 p.m. Cost to attend is $195 for members, $250 for non-members. Register by December 30th and receive the early bird registration rate of $149.


February 22Catalyst Connection’s Annual Manufacturing Reception
Save the date! Catalyst Connection’s Annual Manufacturing Reception will be held at Heinz Field’s UPMC Club Lounge. Visit for more information.


February 28State of the Pittsburgh Economy
Join the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence and PNC Bank for an in depth look into a national and regional economic forecast led by PNC’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, Stuart Hoffman. Hoffman joined PNC in 1980 after a six-year tenure with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, became vice president and senior economist for PNC in 1987 and assumed his current leadership roles in 1991. Hoffman is frequently featured in respected financial news media and is active in numerous economic organizations on a local and national level. The event will be held at the Tower at PNC Plaza from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. For event and registration details, please contact Tara Gerek at