Letters to the editor Featured

9:46am EDT July 22, 2002
A Pittsburgh Pacesetter overlooked?An associate gave me a copy of your January issue of SBN. I was particularly interested in the “Pittsburgh Pacesetters” section because it appeared to be a very useful tool for me to become more familiar with Pittsburgh area leaders.

I was surprised at what seemed to me to be an obvious oversight in the “55 leaders for the millennium” list.

I was both surprised and disappointed that Howard W. “Hoddy” Hanna, III, had been overlooked. Through his leadership, Howard Hanna Co. has grown to become the largest, most successful multifaceted real estate company in Pennsylvania.

I started a real estate brokerage business in Beaver County in 1976. Howard Hanna Co. acquired that business from me in 1995. I joined Hanna’s management team at that time and have continued my association with Hanna Co. to date.

I have since relocated out of Beaver County to Clarion County, where my wife is employed as vice president with Clarion Hospital.

During my business career in Beaver County I became very involved in the community and countywide initiatives that were focused on economic development and renewal. I had the privilege of being associated with a number of Beaver County’s most dynamic leaders and, ironically, served as president of the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce during Barbara McNees’ tenure as the Beaver County Chamber executive vice president.

Whether one agrees or disagrees, the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County have focused enormous emphasis on developing residential, commercial and sports-related real estate assets to help attract young professionals and others back to the Pittsburgh region. The dominance of Howard Hanna Co. that is recognized nationwide and how that reinforces the city and county efforts seems obvious to me.

Consider the award-winning impact of the Hanna Web site to market this region, its homes and quality of life here. Consider Hoddy’s role on bank and hospital boards, his extraordinary effort in charitable fund-raising or the fact that Howard Hanna Co. is headquartered in the Pittsburgh area.

His leadership role is undeniable. Although I am sure there are always a couple of others who could have been included on the SBN list of 55, I think you could have helped SBN and provided a more valid list by not overlooking Hoddy Hanna.

Ron L. Dishler,

Howard Hanna Co.

Another? It was with great interest that I read SBN’s January 2000 issue and your list of 55 business, civic and government leaders referred to as “Pittsburgh’s Pacesetters.”

You described them as people who are willing to give of their time, money and ideas to make southwestern Pennsylvania a great place to live and do business.

To my surprise, however, was the absence of a “Pacesetter” from PNC Bank Corp., this city’s largest company ($1.19 billion in core earnings) and one of its top employers (8,100 workers) and a leading small business lender ($4.7 million in the past year).

The irony of our omission was that this same issue of SBN included other matters critical to the economic development and growth of the Pittsburgh region of which PNC employees are playing a leading role. On page 9, “Of Stadiums and Stages” describes the impact of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust — PNC’s president, Jim Rohr, is the trust’s chairman and a longtime supporter. He is also chair of the Pennsylvania Business Roundtable, president of the United Way of Allegheny County campaign and a director of the Riverlife Task Force among other key roles.

The same article quotes Kevin McClatchy regarding the benefits of PNC Park to the quality of life. PNC Chairman Tom O’Brien played a critical role in keeping the Pirates here and spearheaded the naming rights agreement worth $30 million to the team’s operating budget. He is also active in the leadership of the Pittsburgh Opera, Extra Mile Education Foundation and The Carnegie Museums. On page 13, you summarize the support of PNC and Mr. O’Brien for the development of women-owned businesses via Seton Hill College.

Sy Holzer, PNC’s president of the Pittsburgh region, is also playing a critical role in the region. Among his numerous community initiatives, he is active with the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and The Pittsburgh Symphony and chairs the board of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

SBN’s profile, meanwhile, of CMU’s Jack Roseman references (page 27) the doubling of venture capital funds. PNC Equity Management, led by Gary Zentner, is ranked first in the Pittsburgh area as a source of capital, and has been instrumental in the creation of several high-tech firms in the region.

You conclude that you “no doubt have missed even some higher-profile visionaries,” but to not include even one PNC representative provides an incomplete account of Pittsburgh’s leadership. Between our 8,000 employees, PNC Park, our property rights at Fifth and Forbes, and the new PNC Firstside Center, I don’t think you will find any single organization more involved in Pittsburgh’s economic development and quality of life.

It is clear to us that a strong community, and a strong financial services company, go hand in hand. As you continue reporting on the rebirth of our city, I ask that you remember PNC and do not hesitate to call us for background or sources regarding regional issues.

Denise T. Johnson

senior vice president and director of marketing

PNC Bank Corp.

Editor’s Note: I think the lesson in this is that, yes, we do need to continually stay better informed, but to do so, I would encourage our readers to stay in better touch with us as well so that we can give you a broader, more complete perspective on local business every month.

A surprised Pacesetter I see you included me in your 55 Pittsburgh Pacesetters. It was a surprise, since I did not know it was going to appear. Good article, and good luck for the New Year.

William R. Newlin,

president and CEO, Buchanan Ingersoll, P.C.

Amarraca and apple pie

[Ray Marano’s] article in the December issue of SBN, “Only in Amarraca,” was brought to my attention.

First point, I do not consider myself a bragging person. Secondly, you misinterpreted the point I was trying to make. Our emphasis is to make the very BEST apple pie; the price point is a secondary consideration.

The big box retailers put price point as their only consideration, regardless of what it tastes like. Thank God we have many loyal customers that can discern the difference, even if the press can’t.

Bill Marra,