This region is fortunate to have the Allegheny Conference
Recent articles that have appeared in the Post-Gazette regarding the Allegheny Conference on Community Development have been unduly negative, even smarmy, in their tone and content, and the timing of their appearance seems calculated to throw cold water on the conference's message of reinvention and reorganizing, which was delivered at its annual meeting Wednesday night.
The short time that Mike Langley has been at the helm of the conference merely enabled him and his staff to develop the emerging new strategies and structure that the organization needs to lead this region into the next decade. To this end, the conference has attempted admirably to take a critical look at itself, reaching out to the community, seeking input and insight.
I personally participated in a focus group conducted by the conference, the purpose of which was to make certain that its direction was in alignment with other key stakeholders. That type of collaboration has led to a statewide coalition of business leaders dedicated to improving Pennsylvania's business climate. If we are successful this year, business taxes could be reduced by more than $320 million.
Also, members of the media ought to understand that the expenditures on the types of activities that the conference planned and implemented in recent years, as well as for its annual meeting, are by no means frivolous. The messages have to be delivered with impact, stakeholders have to be motivated and consensus has to occur on a widespread basis; this involves investing in the best ways to accomplish those objectives.
Certainly anytime an organization of this stripe undertakes change, whether it is personnel related or a refocusing of its mission, there will be discomfort and vulnerabilities. But that is not the time to pile on. The Pittsburgh region is very fortunate to have an organization like the Allegheny Conference. Many regions struggle to get private sector leaders engaged. Our region is blessed with committed leaders and an organization that is considered by other regions as a great model to get things done.
I anticipate that the conference, under the leadership of the incoming chairman, PNC's Jim Rohr, will be instrumental in the positive direction this region takes.
STEVEN G. ZYLSTRA
President and Chief Executive Officer
Pittsburgh Technology Council
Is that it? An outfit that I assume is funded (in part) by the Allegheny Conference pops up with name calling and a plea not to criticize the Allegheny Conference? Steven Zylstra makes my point more eloquently than I ever could. Problems in Pittsburgh start at the top; solutions start at the bottom.