Last May, the San Jose Mercury News, in the heart of Silicon Valley, served up a starkly contrasting set of articles on the success of California’s famed high-tech mecca.
The first of the articles, entitled “Dot-Com Angst,” echoed the great lament of residents there who are tired of the gentrification of the region and its skyrocketing cost of living, thanks to the aggressiveness of its youthful Internet economy.
But that wasn’t the real attention-getter. Rather, it was the second article, entitled “Dot-Com Envy.” As it turns out, it was a profile of, well, Pittsburgh.
The epicenter of the New Economy suddenly was looking at this former steel town for the hope and promise it offers those willing to give this laidback cross between Midwest and Northeast a second look. Finally, people here and now those looking in from the outside are beginning to see a region where the people are friendly, the culture is easygoing but world-class, housing costs remain relatively low, entrepreneurial ideas flow as powerfully as the three rivers and money to fund the best of those ideas continues to grow exponentially.
Pittsburgh has come into its own again.
The continuing transformation is no accident. Behind every changed attitude, behind every entrepreneurial success and behind every new stadium and building are tireless business, civic and government leaders contributing their time, clout and money to make Pittsburgh the dot-com envy of the New Economy.
By day, they run their companies and organizations and governments to the best of their abilities. But their visions for the region then drive them to jump head-first into the sometimes thankless role of civic visionary as they donate their energy and earnings to the collective growth of this unusual region.
We call these people Pittsburgh Pacesetters.
Choosing this year’s honorees was no easy task; the region seems to breed new Pacesetters as fast as the Silicon Valley breeds new Internet companies. And we continue to uncover more and more Pacesetter-worthy individuals who are less worried about the publicity and more concerned about their impact on the community.
Still, the selection process proved fairly straightforward and unscientific; the editors of SBN Magazine simply combined some serious observation and insight garnered from a year of writing about the region’s most successful business leaders with a bit of research and other feedback from afield. Then we narrowed the list to 20 people who clearly are fueling the region’s transformation (21 if you count both co-founders of CoManage Inc.). They join the ranks of last year’s lofty group of 55 Pittsburgh Pacesetters.
To these 20, we congratulate you not so much for the Pittsburgh Pacesetter distinction, but rather for what it represents as you put your hearts and souls into making this region the envy of even the Silicon Valley. In fact, we commend all of the business and civic leaders who contribute well beyond what’s expected to make this a better place to work, play and raise a family. That’s what pacesetting is all about.