Setting the pace Featured

8:00pm EDT September 25, 2008

As Pittsburghers, we love to beat ourselves up about our region’s problems: population loss, high taxes and the decline of the steel industry. We put on a pedestal the titans of yesteryear’s industries, ignoring the problems of those days. How often do we claim that today there are no Andrew Carnegies, no Henry Clay Fricks or Andrew Mellons leading Pittsburgh to become one of the most important cities in the world again?

While the industrial revolution is long gone, today’s cutting-edge industries are thriving here. The reason, once again, is strong leadership. Pittsburgh has reinvented itself as a center for technology, medical breakthroughs and education.

I believe the future looks bright — certainly much brighter than when St. Barnabas Health System hosted its first CEO Leadership Conference 22 years ago. At that time, the steel industry here was failing. New industries had not yet developed. The St. Barnabas CEO Conference was founded as a way to bring some of the region’s leaders together for an open discussion. In the early years, I was surprised at how many of the leaders had never talked to one another, much less shared a stage at a conference like ours. I like to think that, in some small way, St. Barnabas has played a part in Pittsburgh’s revitalization by bringing leaders together.

Now, as Pittsburgh celebrates its 250th anniversary, St. Barnabas is honored to partner with Smart Business to recognize 12 of today’s leaders as the 2008 Pittsburgh Pacesetters. After carefully reviewing dozens of nominations, Smart Business selected four finalists in three categories according to their organization’s size: emerging, midsized and large. From each category, Smart Business selected one overall winner. The 2008 Pittsburgh Pacesetters will be recognized — and the winner in each category announced — at the St. Barnabas CEO Leadership Conference.

The conference has a theme that I believe Carnegie, Frick and Mellon would embrace: “STAT: Standing Together Against Taxes.” We’ve assembled a distinguished group of panelists to give insight and perspective on this topic — a topic that is undoubtedly of great concern to the Pacesetters themselves.

Inside this publication, you will find profiles of all 12 Pacesetters. I invite you to join me in congratulating these individuals for setting the pace for our region.

WILLIAM V. DAY is the president and CEO of St. Barnabas Health System.