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

 

pit_JoshKnauerJosh Knauer
CEO
Rhiza

Rhiza CEO Josh Knauer envisions the company as a leading provider of marketing analytics, and a recent $3 million capital infusion will aid in accelerating that growth.

New products are expanding Rhiza’s suite of analytics with tools to rapidly create marketing plans, support cross-channel media buys and support the development of data-driven marketing and sales collateral.

The company’s core technology leverages advanced research in distributed systems, data visualization, geospatial analysis and predictive analytics in a platform designed to handle big data with ease.

The software as a service product is enterprise ready, and major media companies, including Comcast and Cox, use the platform. Knauer plans to continue to scale the software as a service model to make it accessible to midsize businesses and nonprofits needing to better target customers, donors and supporters.

Rhiza’s staff, which has more than doubled in the past six months, also gives back to the community by participating in local tech events, hiring student interns from area universities and lecturing on campuses.


 

pit_JeffKuhnJeff Kuhn
President
Elite Orthotics Inc.

Elite Orthotics Inc., founded in 1998, was a profitable business, but Jeff Kuhn, president, determined that he needed to take the business to the next level.

Working with John Laslavic, a licensed business coach from Thistle Sea Business Development, Kuhn implemented new policies and procedures, job descriptions with key performance indicators and more, leading to substantial growth and profit.

The company is dedicated to raising the bar on quality standards and improving outcomes with custom-fabricated orthotic devices, including crow walkers, ankle gauntlets, pediatric braces, knee-ankle-foot orthosis, ankle-foot orthosis and supra-malleolar orthosis.

Kuhn, disappointed with an AFO device he wore, wanted to create a more superior fit.

Elite Orthotics uses a composite material that can be placed in a convection oven, heated to a low temperature, placed on a patient’s limb, wrapped to compress and molded.

Each product is designed for the individual patient, and also can be reheated and remodeled if a patient’s anatomy changes.


 

pit_DennisLeJeckDennis Lejeck
President
Black Knight Security

The partners behind Black Knight Security created a document entitled “Principals for Growing Value in a Privately Held Business” that defined company culture, and resulted in 46 percent revenue growth from 2013 to 2014.

Those philosophies are reflected in, “What we stand for,” a framed document President Dennis Lejeck keeps at his desk to inspire him on how to lead the company: continuous self-improvement; achieve desired outcomes; know your truths; work hard, work smart; high character behavior; and we will not be great by what we accomplish, rather by what we help others accomplish.

Black Knight Security differentiates itself from competitors by attracting and recruiting quality employees through an extensive screening and interview process that includes a nine-panel drug screen, personality profile exam and written essay. As a result, guard tenure is 2.16 years, while the average turnover rate in the private security industry is 125 percent.

Clients include the US Steel Tower, the H.J. Heinz Co. and Pennsylvania Department of General Services.


 

pit_GregLignelliGreg Lignelli
COO
System One

System One provides specialized workforce solutions and integrated services, with a focus on engineering and energy staffing. System One also has developed a proprietary vendor management system to provide clients with a single source, technology-driven recruiting and on-boarding platform.

Under the leadership of COO Greg Lignelli, System One has a proven methodology for connecting skilled energy candidates with global energy employers. Lignelli spearheaded the company’s expansion into oil and gas, wind and renewable energy, smart metering and utility support services.

He also championed the System One Technical Training Center, which develops a workforce for energy-related nondestructive testing and pipeline inspection.

In its first year, the company made a list of the 100 fastest-growing staffing firms in the U.S. — before Lignelli-led acquisitions of Compliance in 2011 and Joulé in 2013.

Today, System One has an employee base of more than 6,000 and operates through 40 offices nationwide.


 

pit_JohnPatrickLydonJohn Patrick Lydon
CEO
Auberle

As CEO, John Patrick Lydon leads nonprofit Auberle’s mission to help troubled children and their families while facing an uncertain economy, shrinking government funding and instability in private fundraising.

He has made achieving measurable and replicable outcomes a top priority — a focus that resulted in Auberle being named Agency of the Year in the U.S. by the Alliance for Children and Families.

Lydon challenges staff to ask how they will know a new project is successful, which has resulted in a 19 percent increase in numbers served in 2013, improved systems and diverse funding.

He empowers staff to make decisions and execute new projects, including launching 23 initiatives in one year. That approach has created a positive response among staff, with 80 percent of employees in a 2013 survey stating that they felt highly engaged.

He also advocates for human services throughout the region, leading an effort in 2012 that averted cuts by pointing out that the $5 million drew another $17 million in state matching funds.