The Pittsburgh Smart 50 help spark the region’s business success and strength

 

pit_JesseSchellJesse Schell
Founder and CEO
Schell Games

While working as a creative director at the Disney Imagineering Virtual Reality Studio, Jesse Schell was convinced to leave Disney to teach at the fledgling Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. From the moment he left, Disney pursued him to work as a consultant.

He founded Schell Games in 2002, where he serves as CEO, to make it easier for him to interact with Disney. Twelve years later, Schell Games is a dominant force in the transformational game market, a phrase Schell coined to describe games that use entertainment mechanics to positively transform players in a meaningful way.

The company’s projects in this space include a partnership with Yale University to produce an HIV-prevention game for teens, a mobile game focused on drug prevention for kids and an educational game that promises to transform the current K-12 school system.

Schell has grown his company to become the largest and most successful game studio in Pennsylvania, without taking on any outside investment.


 

pit_HerbShearHerb Shear
Owner and executive chairman
GENCO

As a third-party logistics provider to the consumer electronics industry, GENCO continues to innovate under third-generation Owner and Executive Chairman Herb Shear.

One of Shear’s more innovative accomplishments that has helped set the company up for another 100 years was when he transitioned the company from solution-based to a vertical market-focused company. For Shear, that involved employing a product lifestyle logistics approach, something innovative in the industry.

He’s been focused recently on organic growth and exploring ways to stretch the capabilities of the company through new market penetration, unique product lines and strategic acquisitions.

The company employs more than 8,000 people, yet Shear is an accessible leader. He gets to know his people and believes that innovation comes from understanding how front-line employees deliver products and services to customers, as well as listening to and acting upon the information gleaned from customers.


 

pit_ChrisSimchickpit_ScottBarnyakpit_ChristyMarucaChris Simchick
Founder and CEO
Scott Barnyak
Founder and chief of marketing & sales
Christy Maruca
Founder and director of talent acquisition
SDLC Partners

When Chris Simchick, Scott Barnyak and Christy Maruca founded SDLC Partners they accepted two beliefs — to work smarter and harder than ever before, and to continue to grow individually for the company to meet its long-term objectives.

In developing SDLC’s operating core values, the three founders established metrics by which they would evolve opportunities, hire employees and govern the company. Along with a balanced value model, these principles became the bedrock of the company’s culture.

SDLC’s overall goal is to help clients execute strategies while balancing speed to market, cost and quality. By working smart and executing flawlessly, the company has become known as the execution partner of choice and a results-driven alternative to the large consulting companies.


 

pit_DickSingerDick Singer
Best practice chair
Vistage

Around the globe each year, thousands of seasoned executives who have become chairs of CEO advisory groups for Vistage International facilitate more than 16,000 meetings for the organization’s nearly 20,000 executive members. They bring the organization’s motto to life: “Better leaders, better decision, better results.”

Among these coaches, Dick Singer is acknowledged as one of the best. Singer joined Vistage in 2003 and was named best practice chair for Pittsburgh and Northeast Ohio in 2011. Best practice chairs are acknowledged as the best of the best, and serve as mentors to other Vistage chairs. They are the coaches who coach the coaches.

As a Vistage chair with three groups in Pittsburgh, nearly 60 senior executives of regional businesses consider Singer their business coach and leadership guru, ranging from leaders with fewer than 10 employees to senior executives with thousands of employees and billions in sales.

In 2013, Singer was the recipient of the Pat Hyndman award, recognizing his service to the worldwide Vistage community.


 

pit_DaveSternDavid J. Stern
President and CEO
Paris Cos.

As the second-generation owner, president and CEO of Paris Cos., David J. Stern demonstrates an unwavering drive to be the premier textile rental company in his market area and a leader in the industry.

His constant focus on remaining true to the core values of the company and continually exhibiting those values in his daily life have resonated throughout the ranks of the organization to create a culture and service level that differentiates Paris Cos. in a mature industry.

Stern’s and Paris’ achievements in the linen uniform supply industry are even more notable in light of the nature of the industry, which is characterized by slow growth, heightened competition emphasized by pricing and declining profitability.

When the industry as a whole was reeling from contraction and uncertainty, Paris expanded. The company invested in the development of two 50,000-square-foot processing facilities in 2004 and 2009 that incorporated the most advanced technology available at the time.