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Pittsburgh Business 2001: The Leaders, 21 - 30

Sunday, March 25, 2001

By the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

No. 21. Mark Kryder

Senior vice president and director of research for Seagate Technology Corp.

Kryder, 57, is the reason that the world's largest maker of computer disk drives decided to build its main research and development center in Pittsburgh. "That's where Dr. Kryder wanted it," a spokesman once said. When Seagate Technology committed to the project, Kryder left his post at Carnegie Mellon University.

While at CMU, Kryder founded the university's Data Storage Systems Center, recognized as the preeminent academic research institution in its field. Before coming to CMU in 1978, Kryder was a researcher at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Seagate's new R&D center, now under construction in the Strip District, is costing $40 million to build. It already has attracted 40 Ph.D.s from 30 universities around the world. When Seagate moves into the space in December, it will employ 150. Kryder's goal, as director of research, is to help Seagate increase the efficiency of disk drives.

No. 22. Henry Hillman

Industrialist, financier

Hillman, 82, is southwestern Pennsylvania's richest person, with assets worth an estimated $3 billion. His father was a coal, steel and gas baron who built Pittsburgh Coke & Chemical. Hillman assumed control in 1959 after his father's death. He shifted the company's focus into light industry and real estate, buying properties across the country. He also was one of the initial backers of famed Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

Notoriously private about his business, Hillman is well known for the quote: "The spouting whale gets harpooned." His firm is still active locally. In 1999 it paid $185 million for PPG Place. The main reason he's on the list this year is his $10 million donation for the Hillman Cancer Center, a new $104 million, 355,000-square-foot project dedicated to cancer research. The center is now under construction in Shadyside.

No. 23. Roger S. Markfield

President, chief merchandising officer, American Eagle Outfitters Inc.

If the clothes don't work, nobody else does either. So Markfield, 59, has to stay slightly ahead of the 20-year-old customer's fashion tastes. Markfield came to American Eagle Outfitters Inc. in Marshall in 1993 with the idea of building another business like The Gap.

The brand is now worn all over the country. Last year, spring dresses and swimsuits missed the mark but a strong comeback in denim helped total sales pass the $1 billion mark. American Eagle now has more than 550 stores and continues to add employees at such a rate that it needs a new headquarters.

Markfield also serves as a trustee board member of the Beth Samuel Jewish Center in Ambridge.

No. 24. Robert B. Knutson

Chairman, chief executive officer, Education Management Corp.

Knutson, 66, is chairman and chief executive officer of Education Management Corp., the Downtown company that runs the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and more than 20 other schools across the country. The publicly traded company is one of the nation's largest providers of proprietary post-secondary education and employs more than 3,000 staff and faculty. Enrollment at the start of the fall semester was 27,999, up 14.3 percent from a year earlier. Art Institutes is the company's largest operating unit with 21 locations nationwide -- plus an online division -- that offer bachelor's and associate-degree programs in creative and visual arts. Knutson, a former vice president of Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, helped the chain's founder, Richard Royston, buy the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in the late 1960s. He is a member of the board of directors of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and WQED Pittsburgh

No. 25. David Matter

President, Oxford Development Co.

Under Matter's leadership, Oxford Development Co. had one of its best years in 2000. Matter, 54, the firm's president, organized a partnership that purchased Dominion Tower for $82 million -- the year's largest commercial real estate sale. Oxford also brokered the year's largest lease, signing H.J. Heinz to a 275,000-square-foot deal at the old Gimbels department store Downtown. Eddie Lewis and Mark Mason still own Oxford, but it is Matter who runs the business day-to-day. As a former chief aide to Pittsburgh Mayor Richard Caliguiri and former chairman of the Regional Asset District, Matter gives Oxford powerful political ties. Last year, Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey proved that by naming Matter chairman of his transition team. But Matter provides Oxford with business savvy, too. It was Matter who helped Oxford diversify its interests in the early 1990s, allowing the company to stay afloat amid a downturn in the real estate industry.

No. 26. Richard P. Simmons

Venture capitalist, former chairman and chief executive officer of Allegheny Ludlum and its successor, Allegheny Technologies

Simmons, 69, wasn't satisfied proving he could make a living in the Old Economy. Now he's making one in the New Economy as well. The MIT metallurgist turned Allegheny Ludlum, Allegheny International's ugly duckling, into the goose that laid the golden egg, even if the egg's been a bit scrambled of late. Finally retired from the mill, Simmons is pursuing a second career as a venture capitalist. Through his various Birchmere funds, Simmons has sown $40 million in seed money in FreeMarkets, CoManage and other regional ventures. If mighty oaks grow from small seeds, just what kind of sequoias will Simmons grow in our back yard?

No. 27. David Shapira

Chief executive officer, Giant Eagle Inc.

Shapira, 59, runs the region's largest privately owned company and its dominant grocer -- Giant Eagle controls more than 50 percent of the area's grocery market, employs more than 25,000 and, according to Forbes magazine, has revenue of $4.3 billion. Its revenue is expected soon to reach $5 billion, making it one of the country's largest family-owned grocery chains. Shapira also is chairman of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, a job-creation and marketing group. Since taking that spot in 1999, Shapira helped orchestrate a reorganization that culminated last year in Allegheny Conference on Community Development's Rick Stafford taking the PRA's top job.

No. 28. Dave Nelsen

Chief executive officer and co-founder, CoManage Corp.

Dave Nelsen, 40, does not run a profitable company. His potential, though, lands him on this list. Nelsen, an ex-Fore Systems executive who in 1998 started CoManage with fellow ex-Fore employee Andy Fraley, has raised $70 million of venture capital and hired 170 people in 21/2 years. His firm, which makes a telecommunications software system, completed its first sale last year. Nelsen's goal is to become profitable within 24 months. Named the region's "Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year" in 2000, Nelsen is an icon of the New Economy who discourages defined work hours and encourages his employees to play pinball, darts and foosball in the office. He recently moved to a larger headquarters in Wexford.

No. 29. John S. Brouse

President, chief executive officer, Highmark Inc.

In 1996, a merger of Pennsylvania Blue Shield and Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania begat Highmark Inc. Six months after the consolidation, the region's largest health insurer appointed Brouse its new president and chief executive. It's not been easy sledding for Brouse, 60, who's had a tough time wringing profits from the new organization's operations. But the moment finally came last year. For 2000, Highmark reported $129 million in pretax earnings from its insurance businesses. Coupled with investment income, that pushed total after-tax profits to $242.2 million on revenue of $9 billion.

No. 30. Henry Posner Jr.

Chairman, The Hawthorne Group

The longtime business associate, adviser and advocate of Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey heads the private investment and management firm with interests in communications, soft drink bottling, real estate, health care and railroads. Posner, 82, of Pittsburgh, has served as president or chairman of many closely held businesses including American Mobilphone, Maxicom Cellular, Pittsburgh Outdoor Advertising and Pittsburgh Telecasting (Channel 53). He has been chairman of Star Cable and the Bantry Health Group. The Hawthorne Group is the majority owner of six Pittsburgh office buildings including the Dominion Tower, one office building in Savannah, Ga., and four development properties. His charitable interests have included Rodef Shalom Temple, Carnegie Mellon University, Shady Side Academy and the Homewood Brushton YWCA.

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