allegheny conference of community development annual meeting 2018
Growing the Economy Feature Banner Image

Growing the Economy

We’re focusing economic development strategies to grow our economy through business attraction and retention across five strategic sectors (advanced manufacturing; energy; financial business services; healthcare and life sciences; IT), including a focus on innovation and energy-related manufacturing.

In 2018, this strategy was chaired by Laura Karet, Vice Chair of the Allegheny Conference and CEO, Giant Eagle, Inc.

graphic divider

Innovation Economic Development

In 2018, the Allegheny Conference participated in the regional team that formulated and submitted Pittsburgh’s Amazon HQ2 proposal. The region was named as a Top 20 finalist for the project, which has significantly raised the profile of Pittsburgh for additional technology investment and media attention. As a result, we have been considered for other projects because we were an HQ2 finalist, and we have a regional team encompassing the business, government, academic, nonprofit and philanthropic communities that can mobilize quickly to address new opportunities and challenges.

graphic for innovation economy

While Amazon may not have chosen our region for HQ2, we are seeing other signature innovation-related projects coming here. One example is San Francisco-based Affirm, a fast-growing, five-year old company that creates financial products and alternatives to traditional credit, chose Pittsburgh for its second office primarily because of Pittsburgh’s available tech talent. The company plans to create 100 jobs by the end of 2019, anticipating to grow the office to 500 in coming years. The PRA thanks the State, Allegheny County, and City of Pittsburgh for helping to make this win a reality.

To support our economic development efforts we ramped up marketing the region to innovation-related companies. We traveled with a regional coalition to Seattle for the GeekWire Summit, and we also hosted journalists from publications such as Fast Company, Forbes, VentureBeat, ZDNet, Politico and MedTech Insight for a media tour of Pittsburgh’s innovation assets.

Finally, to ensure we unlock our full potential of our innovation opportunity, we developed an innovation strategy with a focus on a number of areas, including talent, infrastructure, policies and economic climate, place-making, corporate engagement, and business attraction. We are collaborating with tech-based economic development partners to find ways to help build on their years of progress.

One initiative is a “first customer” program. We are partnering with Innovation Works and Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority to create more meaningful, scalable matches between regional startups and established businesses. Another initiative is aligning our business attraction efforts with the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pitt, CMU, Innovate PGH and local accelerator Ascender to target tech company attraction, with a focus on companies looking to expand outside of the Silicon Valley.

Sponsor Ad

Energy-Related Manufacturing

graphic for Energy & Petrochemical Manufacturing

The Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals petrochemical facility is under construction and growing by the day. An economic development win from 2016, the facility now hosts 2,950 construction workers, and key pieces of equipment vital to the operation of the ethane cracker arrive routinely.

Although under construction, the cracker is already paying dividends. Six new supply chain projects related to Shell’s facility are underway in the Pittsburgh region.

Sponsor Ad

A Big Win for the Region

Based in Ontario, CA, Niagara Bottling, LLC, will be constructing a 456,000 square-foot filtration and bottling operation as part of a $60 million capital investment. After an extensive search throughout the region, the company has acquired a 42-acre site at the Findlay Industrial Park in Findlay Twp. The operation will create 49 jobs initially, with plans to ramp up to 120 jobs at full build-out.

graphic for a Big Win for the Region

The Allegheny Conference’s 2018-19 Agenda: Creating a Next Generation Economy for All focuses on Growing the Economy, Improving the Region’s Competitiveness, and Measuring the Region. View our progress on Improving the Region's Competitiveness here and Measuring the Region here.