Episode 52 (Featuring Jack Mason & Bill Flanagan)

The Western Pennsylvania region, in addition to being known for its “Ed’s and Med’s”, has also been a bastion of entrepreneurial and economic development in recent years.  On this  edition of “Your American Story” Radio, Raja talks with a pair of local leaders who have their fingers on the pulse of what drives this development, and where this path will lead the region going forward.

-When it came time to pick a new Director of Duquesne University’s Entrepreneurial Studies Program in late 2012, the management of the Palumbo Donahue School of Business at Duquesne University knew they had some big shoes to fill.  For the previous eleven years, the program had been run by its founding director, a man with whom many “Your American Story” listeners are familiar, the late Ron Morris.  Ron’s energy and passion for developing the entrepreneurial spirit in his students was without equal, and under his leadership, the program produced hundreds of students who were ready-made to either start their own businesses, or to make significant contributions to the success of pre-existing smaller companies throughout the region.  Ron’s passing in June of 2012 had left a significant void on the Bluff, to be sure.

Enter Jack Mason.  For over 40 years, Jack had served as an executive and leader for many businesses in the energy and tech sectors, as well as an educator, having served on the faculty of the University of Colorado in Denver.  Since coming to Pittsburgh in January of 2013, Jack has made an immediate impact on the school, and the region.  He has reached out to hundreds of businesses throughout the area, to determine the areas of biggest need, in order for the region’s business profile to rise to the next level, attract new and existing companies in the region, and create thousands of knowledge-based jobs in the process, positions that may be partially filled with Duquesne University students.

Here, Jack talks with Raja about what he is doing to ensure that Duquesne University’s current crop of entrepreneurial students is making an impact in the region, and how the Entrepreneurial Studies Program is differentiating itself from other entrepreneurial education programs across the region, and the country.

-Of the many organizations in Western Pennsylvania dedicated to promoting the region as an legitimate economic player in the United States, if not the world, few, if any, have been as impactful as the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.  Bringing together the business community, the region’s political leadership, and the economic resources necessary to drive this region forward, the Allegheny Conference has raised the profile of Western Pennsylvania as an economic powerhouse on a global scale.  This was no more evident than in 2009, when, through the efforts of the Allegheny Conference and the region’s political leadership, Pittsburgh was the host city for the G-20 economic summit, and welcomed economic and political leaders from around the world to discuss the progress that has been made, and that which remains, in making the “global economy” a TRULY global effort.

Today, Raja welcomes Bill Flanagan, the Allegheny Conference’s Vice President of Corporate Relations, onto the show to discuss the work the Conference has done in promoting the cause of economic development in Western Pennsylvania, and what lies ahead for the region’s efforts.