With the exception of college and a handful of years in DC, I've spent whole life in Pittsburgh. In my youth the city was experiencing some of its most difficult years as the steel mills were shuttered. Jobs were lost and people began leaving for cities like Charlotte, Atlanta, and Seattle where growth was happening. If you told me then that I'd be one day calling Pittsburgh Innovationburgh, I wouldn't believe it.
After my first job in teaching I worked for a software company and traveled the country working with teachers and administrators. It seemed no matter where I was, Chicago, Maine, South Carolina, I would always meet people from Pittsburgh that left because the jobs were gone. Without fail each person would say how much they miss Pittsburgh and how they would love to come back one day.
For many people, that day has arrived. In the past 10 years Pittsburgh has made a major comeback and it's not slowing down in the least. In the photo above, I'm standing in front of a graphic at the Pittsburgh airport that details the growth in innovative investment that has occurred in recent years. It's a remarkable thing to see and it gives me a lot of hope for the future because I see innovation happening in so many different industries in the city.
I started Mend the Gap because I wanted to leverage my passion and expertise to help solve a problem. I'm committed to keeping the company in Pittsburgh and love to see that many companies are doing the same. Duolingo has famously posted recruiting billboards in Silicon Valley to encourage people to move to Pittsburgh.
I'm currently headed to Silicon Valley to participate on a panel on using AI for good and I'm very proud to come from Pittsburgh. This is the start my my company's journey and it's made possible thanks to the amazing opportunities that have become available here in my hometown!