Robinson to retire as RIDC president
Frank Brooks Robinson Sr., one of Pittsburgh's best-known economic development executives, is retiring from his post as president of the Regional Industrial Development Corp. of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Robinson, 71, of Squirrel Hill, for the past 22 years has been at the helm of the RIDC, spearheading developments in a nine-county region, ranging from suburban industrial parks spanning hundreds of acres, to urban brownfield redevelopment projects in Pittsburgh and Mon Valley communities.
The development corporation announced Wednesday another veteran economic development official, Robert Stephenson, 64, the current president of the Strategic Investment Fund, has been named as his successor. Sometime in June, Stephenson, of Upper St. Clair, is expected to fully assume the role as only the fourth president in the RIDC's more-than 50-year history.
"Brooks Robinson is a tough act to follow," said Stephenson. "Under Brooks' guidance, RIDC has become one of the nation's preeminent economic development agencies."
"Bob has big shoes to fill," added Stephen Hansen, chief executive officer of Dollar Bank and chairman of the development corporation's board of directors. "He's spent his entire career helping this region."
Hansen said the RIDC board, at Robinson's request, initiated a quiet search last year to find a suitable replacement. Robinson will continue to serve as a director of RIDC and also aid in the transition.
In an interview, he said has no regrets about his long tenure at the development corporation, which spans 38 years overall, interrupted by a three-year stay in the administration of former Gov. Dick Thornburg in 1979-81.
"What I am most proud of is that the RIDC has a staff of remarkable people to carry out its complicated program," he said.
The RIDC's role has evolved over the years, starting with development of three large suburban industrial parks -- O'Hara Township northeast of the city, the Cranberry-Warrendale area to the northwest, and in the Parkway West corridor on the way to Pittsburgh International Airport. Those parks today are home to several hundred companies.
The corporation also stepped forward to take a chance on redeveloping a number of former industrial sites, including the closed Westinghouse Electric Corp. East Pittsburgh plant, where it now operates the Keystone Commons industrial park, and former U.S. Steel Corp. mill sites in Duquesne and McKeesport.
RIDC has over the yeas been involved in a number of successful job-saving projects in the city, for example helping retain General Nutrition Corp.'s headquarters in 1990, and more recently, helping restart the Nabisco cracker factory in East Liberty, where the Atlantic Baking Co., (now Bake-Line LLC) set up operations in 1999.
It also owns the building that houses Carnegie Mellon University's Software Institute in Oakland, served as master developer of the Pittsburgh Technology Center in South Oakland, and is general partner for Almono Inc., a limited partnership comprised of local foundations that is seeking to redevelop the former LTV Corp. Hazelwood Works.
Stephenson, who has 35 years of economic development-related experience, spent most of his career in the private real estate industry and with the DeBartolo Corp. In 1996, he became president of Strategic Investment, a $70 million private investment fund providing assistance to economic development projects in 10 area counties.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Georgia Tech runs all over mistake-prone Pitt
- Road Trip! Destination: Chicago
- Indiana couple’s bond grows stronger after devastating accident
- West Virginia whips Oklahoma State for 4th straight win
- Pennsylvania legislative redistricting to take full effect in state House elections
- Health care law compliance complex for employers
- Steelers notebook: Ex-Steeler Sanders living up to his word
- Artists take impressionistic look at Pittsburgh
- Original director seeks a restoration for new version of ‘Annie’
- Mild spaghetti squash can stand in for pasta
- Cooking Class: Cuisine as varied as wine selection at Open Bottle Bistro