6 businesses that drive Pittsburgh region to thrive

| Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Black Box

Headquarters: Lawrence, Washington County

What it does: Black Box designs integrated communication systems.

Product: iCOMPEL digital signage player. The player is finished and customized for customers in Lawrence. Essentially a small PC, the iCOMPEL features the hardware to store and display video, which users can combine with scrolling text, photos, flash files, PowerPoint presentations and website content to create displays.

Quote: “The Black Box medium makes it possible to deliver the right, relevant content, at the right time for maximum results,” said Brian Kutchma, vice president of sales and marketing for Black Box.

Company information: Black Box designs, integrates and maintains complex communications systems. Black Box has more than 175,000 clients in about 150 countries with roughly 200 offices around the world. It has 4,300 employees worldwide, with nearly $1.1 billion in 2012 fiscal year revenue.

Elliott Group

Headquarters: Jeannette, Westmoreland County

Product: Centrifugal compressor, manufactured in Elliott's Jeannette factory.

What it does: The compressor is used in the production of liquefied natural gas in refineries that produce gasoline and other fuels and products, and in petrochemical plants for the production of ethylene, propylene and other essential polymers.

Quote: “Many of the best-known companies in the Americas, in Europe and in Asia turn to Elliott for the compressors and turbines they require to keep their plants operating around the clock in some of the hottest and coldest and most remote regions of the world,” said Tom Brown, communications manager.

Company Information: Elliott was founded in Pittsburgh in 1910 and moved to Jeannette in 1914. Today the Elliott Group, with $1 billion in annual sales, employs 1,200 people in Jeannette, Donora and Belle Vernon and 2,400 people throughout the world. Elliott has 40 locations in 18 countries, with major manufacturing centers in Jeannette and Sodegaura, Japan. Elliott Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ebara Corp., an industrial conglomerate based in Tokyo.

U.S. Steel

Headquarters: Pittsburgh

Product: Electric resistance welded line pipe, manufactured at the McKeesport Tubular Operations from hot-rolled bands made at several other U.S. Steel facilities.

What it does: Line pipe is used in the oil and gas and fluid transmission industries. It ranges from 8 58 inches to 20 inches in outside diameter.

Quote: “Our line pipe grades are used in some of the most demanding field environments, including northern Canada and the north slope of Alaska. Pipe destined for use in these extreme environments is tested to perform at extremely cold temperatures — as low as minus-60 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Douglas Matthews, U.S. Steel's senior vice president, tubular.

Company information: Founded in 1909, U.S. Steel employs 5,000 in the Pittsburgh region, including its corporate headquarters Downtown, locations in the Strip District and South Side, its coke-making facility in Clairton, steelmaking facility Edgar Thomson Plant in Braddock, and two finishing facilities, Irvin in West Mifflin and McKeesport Tubular Operations in McKeesport.


Company headquarters: Pittsburgh.

Product: PPG DURANAR ULTRA-Cool coatings

What it is: An exterior reflective coating, manufactured by PPG Industries in Springdale.

What it does: The coating contains infrared-reflective pigments that deflect solar energy from buildings, which allow the buildings to stay cooler and consume less energy. The coatings are registered in more than 250 colors.

Quote: “PPG Industries' vision is to continue to be the world's leading coatings and specialty products company,” said Jeremy Neuhart, manager of corporate public relations.

Company information: PPG was founded in 1883 as the Pittsburgh Plate and Glass Co. in Creighton. The company changed its name to PPG Industries in 1968. Its global headquarters is in Pittsburgh, and it operates in nearly 70 countries around the world. In 2012, it had sales of $15.2 billion.


Location: Monroeville

Product: CONTEX Summit

What it does: The CONTEX Summit, manufactured in Monroeville, enables people from all over the world to “meet” anywhere over the telephone or Internet. The company describes the CONTEX Summit as a new type of hardware that integrates traditional conferencing hardware and a media server.

Quote: “Our equipment accommodates multiple upgrade paths, and VoIP (voice over Internet Provider) is an extremely beneficial step for collaboration service providers to take in order to innovate,” said Benjamin Krokosky, director of software engineering at Compunetix.

Company information: Compunetix has nearly 1 million ports installed in more than 28 countries, which the company says makes it the industry's largest worldwide provider of digital teleconferencing systems dedicated to customer-focused and innovative technology. It invests about 20 percent of its profit in research and development.

MSA (Mine Safety Appliances Co.)

Headquarters: Cranberry

Product: ALTAIR 5X Multigas Detector

What it is: The device detects hazardous levels of toxic and combustible gases, as well as oxygen enrichment or deficiency.

What it does: The detector helps keep workers safe by alerting them to dangerous atmospheric conditions. Manufactured at MSA's Cranberry plant, the ALTAIR 5X can withstand drops of up to 10 feet. It lets people know if a user stops moving and becomes disabled.

Quote: “Overall, it's a product that enhances our customer-driven strategy of providing the ‘lowest total cost of ownership,' a message that resonates well with our customer base as we continue to gain significant market share in the portable gas detection market,” said William Lambert, MSA president and CEO.

Company information: Founded in 1914, MSA employs about 1,300 people in the Pittsburgh region and 5,300 globally, with annual sales of $1.2 billion. The company serves a range of markets, including the oil, gas and petrochemical industry, the fire service, the military market, commercial construction and general industry.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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