Ronald Gdovic Featured

9:56am EDT December 20, 2002
During the technology boom of the late '90s, lots of for-profit ventures failed and lost millions for their investors.

Today, a nonprofit is promoting the use and expansion of technology in the region, and it looks like everyone will be a winner.

At the head of the organization, 3 Rivers Connect, or 3rc, is Ron Gdovic, a Pittsburgh native with a Ph.D. in urban planning and a graduate degree from Pitt who is a former manager of shopping centers, airports and other commercial developments. Gdovic has been at the post since 3rc was founded in 1998 to promote Western Pennsylvania's information infrastructure.

Under Gdovic, 3rc has partnered with a number of private companies, educational institutions and government entities to prime the technology pump. A pilot project with Grok Technology Inc. evaluated a wireless Internet project that could ultimately turn metropolitan Pittsburgh into a wireless city.

3rc is working with Carnegie Mellon University to provide high bandwidth connections to every home, business, school, institution and government agency in the region. The goal is to provide a wired environment that will encourage new businesses to locate here.

And a project with the Wilkinsburg School District provides students and their parents with training and computers for home use. The project will ultimately distribute 1,300 computers to low-income residents in Wilkinsburg and other communities.

While it is a nonprofit, Gdovic runs 3rc like a business. Staffers participate in project preplanning, management and evaluation. And even as its projects have grown in size and number, its administrative costs have remained low, at about 6 percent.

Gdovic also lends his talents as a board member of Development Strategies, a nonprofit dedicated to recycling industrial brownfields.

We might add that Gdovic has some esteemed help in guiding 3rc. Four of the organization's directors are Pittsburgh Pacesetters, no less. How to reach: 3 Rivers Connect, www.3rc.org