TribLIVE

| Business


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

New leader of Allegheny County development group touts engagement

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

Organization's agenda

“The Allegheny Conference recognizes that our region is not the ‘most livable' for everyone here. People and places have been left behind by our economic recovery.

“There is an emerging skills gap between the needs of employers who have jobs to fill and those looking for work. To fully realize our potential, we must address these disparities.”

Source: alleghenyconference.org

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Morgan K. O'Brien said his strategy for building the region's economy as the next leader of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development will be to engage communities and businesses whether large or small.

O'Brien, CEO of Peoples Natural Gas, will succeed Charles Bunch, CEO of PPG Industries Inc., on Jan. 1 as the leader of a 67-year-old group whose mission is to promote development in the region. Bunch headed the group for two years.

“Generations ago, our reputation was big business,” O'Brien said in a telephone interview before the group's annual meeting. “But today, our economy is made up of many businesses and groups. ... My job will be to make sure we have as much engagement as possible.”

The Allegheny Conference, made up of the region's top business and civic leaders, was founded in 1944 and since 2003 has operated as an umbrella for the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, Pennsylvania Economy League and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.

The conference held its annual meeting on Wednesday in the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland, where it updated attendees on the group's three-year growth agenda that was started in 2012. The agenda focuses on a competitive business climate and attracting investment, jobs and talent. More than 300 companies and organizations in the 10-county region contributed.

In his interview, O'Brien outlined some of the group's recent accomplishments. They included a community development program sponsored by the state and funded by companies that receive tax credits of as much as 80 percent for their contributions.

McKees Rocks Community Development Corp. and Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp. were granted funding on Monday for neighborhood improvement projects under the state program. McKees Rocks is set to receive $1.5 million and Wilkinsburg $2 million — all from local companies.

Jake Haulk, president of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, a Castle Shannon think tank, and a past critic of the conference, said such efforts are OK as long as they don't require public subsidies.

“I don't have any trouble with trying to induce investment if the program can pay off, if it gets people to invest in the area and create jobs,” Haulk said. “But I'm skeptical of some programs because of their inability to do what they promise. ... With private money going in, I'm not as concerned as if it was tax money.”

John D. Oravecz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7882 or joravecz@tribweb.com.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. First Niagara sets aside $45 million
  2. Education Management removes itself from Nasdaq listing
  3. EQT Corp. boosts profits despite lower gas prices
  4. World’s 1st carbon capture power plant switches on in Canada
  5. PUC approves Columbia Gas pipeline extensions program for homeowners
  6. Rule to close coal royalty loophole
  7. Mortgage rate slide’s impact could be minimal
  8. Chevron puts $20M into educating, training Appalachian workers
  9. Open enrollment puts varied impact of health care law back in focus
  10. EDMC loses $664M; executives receive six-figure bonuses
  11. Falling fuel prices help airlines — not fliers
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.