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Top 50: The leaders of 2001

Sunday, April 28, 2002

A look at the other business leaders selected for 2001's Top 50 roster.

No. 11 (tie)

James Cashman III, president and chief executive officer, Ansys Corp., and Nick Csendes, president and chief executive officer, Ansoft Corp.

Unrelenting economic turbulence pounded technology firms in 2001, but the CEOs of two local engineering software firms, Cashman, 48, and Csendes, 57, produced results that defied those conditions.

Ansys' software guides engineers through complex design processes, helping them simulate the effects of pressure or temperature change on items ranging from coffee cups to cathedrals. Similarly, Cashman guided his company through fast-changing economic conditions in 2001, garnering a 14 percent revenue increase over 2000 while its stock price jumped 119 percent. Promoted to lead the firm in April 1999, Cashman pursued higher margins for 30-year-old Ansys by seeking to make the company's software -- originally used only by Ph.D.-level engineers -- accessible to a broader range of users, including new contracts with clients such as Allied Signal, General Motors and Siemens Westinghouse.

When Csendes helped his brother, researcher Zoltan Cendes (they have different spellings), found Ansoft during the late 1980s, there was nothing sexy about starting a software firm. After flashier tech firms burned out, however, Ansoft got its moment in the sun. In fiscal year 2001, which ended April 30, the South Side engineering software firm saw revenue grow 30 percent, while its stock price soared 116 percent in 2001. Among the company's wins last year was an acquisition that gave it 85 percent of the market in one of its product lines.

No. 12

Ronald Violi, president and chief executive officer, Children's Hospital.

Children's was caught in a collision of the region's health care giants for the better part of last year. Once an advocate of the pediatric institution's independence and the CEO who restored its finances, Ronald Violi faced tough questions about why he helped steer it toward a merger with one of them, UPMC Health System. The biggest opponent, after all, was Highmark Inc., which warned that UPMC might use the institution to bolster its own insurance subsidiary, blocking access to children who were covered by competing health plans.

Violi, 62, vowed the hospital's doors would remain open to all children under any agreement Children's forged. In the end, he got his cake and can eat it too. Violi won a $500 million financial commitment from UPMC, half to build a new hospital and half to expand research and clinical programs. At the same time, insurers that compete with UPMC, including Highmark, forged long-term agreements for access to Children's.

No. 13

Marlee Myers, managing partner of the Pittsburgh office, Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

While lawyers traditionally have drafted contracts and argued cases, Myers, 51, represents the new breed of lawyer whose work for her clients goes beyond legal representation. In 2001, despite the worst funding environment in more than a decade, Myers helped raise more than $100 million in private financing for her high-tech clients, which include Laurel Networks, printCafe, SmartOps, Stargate and Panasas. She provided strategic counseling to FreeMarkets and helped CoManage and iGate refocus their businesses. "Marlee is this region's most tech-knowledgeable lawyer," said Dave Nelsen, CoManage chief executive officer.

Myers also chairs the board of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, an organization she co-founded in 1996, and serves on the boards of the Pittsburgh Public Theater, the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society and the Rivers Club.

No. 14

Alain Belda, chairman, chief executive officer, Alcoa.

Despite weaker demand, a double-digit decline in aluminum prices and rising energy costs that idled about 14 percent of Alcoa's aluminum-making capacity, Alcoa overcame a rare fourth-quarter loss and turned in the fourth-best year in its 113-year history. Earnings of $908 million were off 39 percent from record levels in 2000.

A big factor behind the performance: significant progress toward the 57-year-old Belda's goal of generating $1 billion in efficiencies by next year. Alcoa's stock also bucked the market, delivering an 8 percent return for investors, including dividends, vs. a 12 percent loss for the Standard & Poor's 500.

No. 15

William Johnson, chairman, chief executive officer, H.J. Heinz Co.

Wall Street analysts may endlessly debate the value that Bill Johnson, 53, has brought to Heinz shareholders, but his contribution to Pittsburgh is hard to question.

For one, the purchase of naming rights for the football stadium saved us from holding tailgate parties at Techie Park or some other odd place. At $57 million over 20 years, Heinz got a bargain price for a big marketing payoff when the Steelers nearly made it to the Super Bowl. Downtown also felt the influx of workers into the old Gimbels building, where Heinz took a 15-year lease and put its name on the structure. A new North Side warehouse and distribution center was completed last fall.

Johnson also served as chairman of the 2001 United Way of Allegheny County campaign, which brought in $39 million or 4 percent more than the previous year despite an economic slowdown and the unexpected demands created by Sept. 11. He also has been a fund-raiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

No. 16

John T. Ryan III, chairman, chief executive officer, Mine Safety Appliances.

The O'Hara safety equipment maker entered last year on a roll: record per-share earnings in 2000 and a hot new product, thermal imaging cameras that help fire and rescue units to find people trapped by fire and smoke. "Our challenge is production right now," Ryan, 58, said in May.

The challenge took on new proportions after Sept. 11, when demand for respirators, helmets and other safety equipment sparked increased orders -- including some Ground Zero business. The company ended 2001 with sales of $542.9 million and earnings of $31.6 million, both records. Mine Safety's stock, which peaked at $51.90, ended the year up 63 percent.

No. 17

Jeffrey Romoff, president and chief executive officer of UPMC Health System.

UPMC Health System isn't alternately referred to as a giant, a titan and behemoth without reason. Not only is it big -- comprising some 19 institutions -- its business moves, under the leadership of Jeffrey Romoff, 56, have been nothing if not bold.

Romoff unveiled plans last year for a $600 million revitalization of UPMC's Oakland campus, including a new $250 million home for Children's Hospital. Romoff prevailed in a fight for Children's last year, pledging both to replace its aging Oakland facilities and provide $250 million in support for new research programs. Highmark Inc., the region's largest health insurer, had opposed the deal but dropped a suit to block it after being assured a 20-year contract that would provide access for its health plan members.

No. 18

Charles M. O'Brien Jr., president and chief executive officer, West Penn Allegheny Health system

A model train buff, O'Brien spent last year getting West Penn Allegheny back on track. Ignoring the naysaying of his cross-town rivals, the system's CEO also pulled the train up quite a hill: For the fiscal year ended in June 2001, West Penn Allegheny posted a loss of $7.3 million.

The number, of course, doesn't tell the whole story. It's the distance the system came that made O'Brien's performance stand out. After all, a year before, West Penn Allegheny, which had just taken the nearly bankrupt Allegheny General Hospital into its fold, lost $92 million. O'Brien, 58, accomplished the huge swing by cutting costs sharply and beginning to rebuild the business Allegheny had lost.

No. 19

Thomas J. Usher, chairman, chief executive officer, president, U.S. Steel.

The head of the nation's largest unionized steelmaker spent much of his time in the halls of government last year, seeking government relief from imports and billions of dollars in retirement liabilities that are a major roadblock to consolidation. Usher's lobbying helped persuade President Bush to impose a three-year regimen of tariffs on imports.

But he found no takers for his offer to acquire troubled producers if the government assumed their retiree liabilities. In addition to trying to cobble together a huge American steelmaker that can compete with much larger overseas rivals, Usher, 59, severed the umbilical cord joining U.S. Steel with Marathon Oil, meaning the steelmaker will have to stand on its own two feet.

No. 20

Robert B. Knutson, chairman, chief executive officer, Education Management Corp.

Knutson's Downtown company enrolls more than 39,000 students in post-secondary schools -- including the Art Institute of Pittsburgh -- expanded its lineup last year with the acquisitions of ITI Education Corp.'s business technical schools in Canada and Argosy Education Group's 10-state program for white-collar workers completing bachelor's degrees. The company, which has posted 25 consecutive years of revenue growth and a consistent pattern of meeting or exceeding analysts' expectations, now has schools in 26 major North American cities.

Not surprisingly, with growth has come the need for more space. Last year, Education Management signed a 10-year lease to move its 170-person corporate headquarters into FreeMarkets Center, Downtown. Knutson is a member of the board of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and WQED Pittsburgh.

No. 21

J. Christopher Donahue, president and chief executive officer, Federated Investors Inc.

Presiding over Federated's annual meeting last week, CEO Donahue, 52, had good news for shareholders: The mutual fund operator's net profits had risen 26 percent over the last year, quite a feat given the stock market's sluggish performance.

Eldest son of Federated's co-founder and chairman John F. Donahue, J. Christopher Donahue has been at the company's helm since it went public four years ago, helping to boost the once-quiet company's public profile and at the same time its shares from $19 to $32 a share last year. He also presided over the company's expansion overseas in Dublin and Frankfurt.

Donahue is a member of the Chief Executives Organization, the World Presidents' Organization, Saint Vincent College Board of Directors, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Extra Mile Education Foundation, the World Affairs Council and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

No. 22

Henry Hillman, chairman, The Hillman Co.

Hillman, 83, southwestern Pennsylvania's richest person with assets worth an estimated $3 billion, has long been involved in local philanthropy, but his latest contribution gave Pittsburghers a reason to skate the nights away. He built a 9,586-square-foot ice rink outside the front door of PPG Place, a neo-Gothic glass complex Hillman purchased in 1999, opening it just in time for Christmas and attracting thousands of Pittsburghers to a public space once considered cold and uninviting. The son of a coal, steel and gas baron who built Pittsburgh Coke & Chemical, Hillman assumed control of the company in 1959 and shifted its focus into light industry and real estate. He also was one of the initial backers of famed Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

No. 23

Albert B. Ratner, co-chairman, Forest City Enterprises Inc.

When the neon guitar of Hard Rock Cafe rises over Station Square this year, it'll be yet another Pittsburgh-altering development from the folks at Cleveland-based Forest City. Ratner, 74, serves as patriarch of the Ratner clan that dominates the company and is well-known in Western Pennsylvania, where he serves on the Riverlife Task Force.

Forest City had a big year in 2001 despite problems with its proposal to build a convention center hotel. Over on the Monongahela River, its expansion of the Sheraton Station Square Hotel Pittsburgh launched a $71 million redevelopment that will include new restaurants, pedestrian walkways and better access to the water. The developer also demolished the 99-year-old Lawrence Paint Co. building along the Ohio River, which will be replaced with a small park with industrial artifacts. Meanwhile, a decades-long effort in the western suburbs finally paid off with the opening of the 1.2-million-square-foot, $130 million Mall at Robinson -- co-owned by Forest City and one of the few malls opened in the country last year.

No. 24

John Ferchill, chairman and chief executive officer, The Ferchill Group.

After discovering Pittsburgh in 1999, Cleveland developer Ferchill, 60, started work on an office building in Hazelwood without any tenants. Last year, biotechnology firm Cellomics Inc. legitimized Ferchill's risk by agreeing to anchor his 153,000-square-foot office building, which flanks one end of the Pittsburgh Technology Center.

Ferchill's Cleveland development company took another risk last year by paying $5 million for five vacant buildings at H.J. Heinz's North Side plant. Starting this summer, Ferchill plans to convert the five Heinz buildings that once made baby cereal, beans and prepared meats into 360 units of upscale apartments. The conversion is expected to cost $70 million, and Ferchill hopes to use $22 million in historic tax credits to pay part of the bill.

No. 25

Ronnie Bryant, president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance

Bryant, 47, arrived in Pittsburgh last May as the new head of one of the region's most prominent economic development agencies, becoming one of the first African Americans in the country ever to hold such a post in a large U.S. city. Before coming to Pittsburgh, he was senior vice president of economic development of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association, an agency similar to the PRA in a region with a profile strikingly similar to Pittsburgh's. He led a job creation campaign there that resulted in 117,000 new jobs between 1995 and the end of 2000.

Marketing the region, pushing for more construction-ready sites with transportation infrastructure and working for more collaboration among competing regional interests are his top priorities. Already, the PRA's status is picking up during his tenure -- last week, it was named one of the top 10 economic development groups for 2001 by Site Selection, the industry's leading site selection and business location magazine.

No. 26

Roger S. Markfield, president, chief merchandising officer, and James O'Donnell, chief operating officer, American Eagle Outfitters.

Markfield, 60, and O'Donnell, 61, run the $1.37 billion Marshall clothing chain favored by 16- to 34-year-old youngsters. In 2001, they had to learn to work together -- O'Donnell just took the job a year ago -- while handling the numerous tests thrown at them. American Eagle Outfitters made its first major acquisition in late 2000, a slightly out-of-fashion Canadian operation that cost $74 million and needed a major makeover. So last year meant absorbing the new business, hiring new management and moving rapidly to open the first American Eagle stores north of the border -- 46 in just a few months. Meanwhile, merchandise guru Markfield was guiding the company's fashion choices, from denim pants to knit tops and sweaters. For most of the year, American Eagle did well despite a slowing economy. After Sept. 11 and a dreary holiday season, it managed to post a 2.3 percent increase for 2001 in sales at U.S. stores open at least a year.

No. 27

David M. Kelly, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Matthews International.

With a 56 percent gain in his company's stock price last year and 20 consecutive quarters of double-digit earnings gains to date, Kelly, 60, kept Matthews in good graces with shareholders. Analysts credit Kelly, who joined the business in 1995, a year after Matthews' initial public offering, with focusing the company on internal growth and well-planned acquisitions. Indeed, investment specialists expect more of the same this year as Matthews, the nation's largest maker of bronze grave markers, brings its own efficiencies to bear on a competitor it acquired.

No. 28

Charles W. Pryor Jr., president, chief executive officer, Westinghouse Electric Co.

Charlie Pryor does not run your father's Westinghouse. Hired to lead the Monroeville operation in 1997, he helped CBS Corp. sell Westinghouse's industrial businesses to British Nuclear Fuels. Now he's responsible for all of Westinghouse commercial nuclear operations and the BNFL fuel business group in the United Kingdom. Although he has yet to ink a breakthrough deal for a new nuclear power plant, Pryor, 57, has used the energy problems of the past year to vigorously promote the advantages of nuclear energy. A $485 million acquisition in 2000 expanded Westinghouse operations worldwide, from North American to Russia, Japan, Korea and Europe, while boosting its revenue to $1.8 billion and employment to 9,300, including 3,000 in Western Pennsylvania. Pryor also had a hand in creating the Westinghouse Charitable Giving Program and reviving Westinghouse's long-dormant college recruitment program.

No. 29

Barbara K. Mistick, director of Seton Hill College's National Education Center for Women in Business.

Winner of numerous business-related awards, Mistick makes the list for her successful efforts to change Western Pennsylvania culture and improve opportunities for women in business here. Last year, she directed the expansion of the 10-year-old Center into a new, state-of-the-art facility. She is board president of the International ATHENA Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to creating leadership opportunities for women. Last year, the Center expanded ATHENA Power Link, which encourages economic growth into Greene, Fayette and Washington counties. She also has developed www.e-magnify.com, which with a regional focus integrates educational, business development and career resources for women. Finally, she created Enterprise Vision, an entrepreneurship program with the Girl Scout Council of Westmoreland County.

No. 30

Ed Nicholson, president, Robert Morris University.

Under the leadership of the Mingo Junction, Ohio, native, Robert Morris has graduated from a college to a university, reflecting more than a decade's worth of changes since Nicholson arrived in 1989. The Moon-based institution has added a dozen master's programs, along with a doctoral program in information systems and communications. The school's longtime business focus also has broadened to include engineering, teacher education and other disciplines, with nearly a fifth of its almost 5,000 students involved in graduate study. New construction also has given the commuter school a campus, led by a four-level student center with fitness club that opened in 1999 as part of an $18 million construction campaign that added classrooms and housing. And its football program, launched in 1994, has been a perennial winner.

No. 31

Eve Picker, president, No Wall Productions.

Picker, in 1997, became the first person to develop loft housing Downtown by renovating a building at 429 First Avenue and offering the units to young, urban professionals willing to live in the Golden Triangle. She followed that in 1999 with a 7-story loft building along Liberty Avenue and a 2-unit development in Garfield. Last year, Picker, 47, took on even more work, starting work on a 18-unit loft project in the Strip District, an 8-unit condo development in Brighton Heights and an 8-unit Downtown loft project at 905 Liberty Ave. This year, she expects to start work on a 4-unit loft development at 947 Liberty Ave., Downtown, and the renovation of East Liberty's Liberty Building into 25,000 square feet of office space. Picker also expects to be a consultant on the long-awaited renovation of the Armstrong Cork building, in the Strip District.

No. 32

Martin G. McGuinn, chairman & chief executive, Mellon Financial Corp.

McGuinn, 59, has navigated Mellon through a rocky year. The momentous sale of its historic retail banking operations to Citizens Financial Group for $2 billion completes the company's strategic transformation from bank to financial services company. And by selling to a company that is both committed to retail banking and one with very little personnel overlap with Mellon, the action improves the banking picture in Pittsburgh while saving the jobs of nearly all of Mellon's former retail banking. As good as it may be for many, however, another result of the move is that Pittsburgh plays an inevitably smaller role in Mellon's business world.

For Mellon, the sale of the retail operation came just when that kind of consistent revenue looks appealing compared with the volatile equity markets, but analysts expect that the move will pay off for shareholders when the economy picks up. Still, 2001 will also be remembered for a disastrous Mellon mistake. In a blunder of historic proportions, hurried Mellon employees lost and, in some cases destroyed, about 75,000 tax returns worth an estimated $1.2 billion. It was the worst such instance in U.S. history, said the Internal Revenue Service, which canceled $7 million contract with Mellon and also fined the company. McGuinn is among the most active executives in community work, serving as chairman of the board of the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania and as a trustee of Carnegie Mellon University, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and the United Way of Allegheny County.

No. 33

David S. Shapira, chairman, chief executive officer, Giant Eagle Inc.

Shapira keeps a lower profile than the O'Hara company he runs. Giant Eagle, with an estimated $4.4 billion in annual revenue, ranks as the region's second-largest privately owned company and its dominant grocer with more than 50 percent of the market. In the past year, Shapira's business changed our lives by adding self-checkout lines, putting our shopping lists online and installing cafes and sushi bars and even gas stations in some of its 200-plus locations. Despite consolidation in the grocery business, Giant Eagle maintained its independence and began infiltrating new markets in Ohio and Maryland.

Shapira also serves as co-chairman of Echo Real Estate Services, a development firm that last year added to its projects an effort to renovate East Liberty's tallest office tower. He's also chairman of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, a job creation and marketing group.

No. 34

Carl Johnson, chairman, chief executive officer, II-VI.

Johnson, 59, has overseen the quiet rise of the Saxonburg laser products company, whose performance cooled off in last year's second half after it posted record sales and earnings for the fiscal year ended June 30. Helping to temper the impact of the slowing economy was Laser Power, a San Diego-based competitor II-VI acquired in late 2000. The acquisition -- the biggest in II-VI's 31-year-history -- diversified the company's client base, boosting business with the military to 25 percent of overall sales. It also helped offset slumping demand from another key market: telecommunications.

No. 35

John Pelusi, executive managing director, Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P.

Perhaps best known as the starting center on the University of Pittsburgh 1976 national championship football squad, John Pelusi, 47, has quietly turned himself into the region's best-known commercial real estate financier. As executive managing director of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P., Pelusi has helped real estate developers finance the construction of One Oxford Centre, Fifth Avenue Place, CNG Tower, South Hills Village, National City Center, Century III Mall and Foster Plaza, an office park in Green Tree. Last year, though, Pelusi's work took on a higher profile as he accepted an assignment from the Pirates and the Steelers to find developers for the land between Pittsburgh's new ballpark and football stadium.

No. 36

Damian Soffer, chief operating officer and president, The Soffer Organization.

As head of The Soffer Organization, Damian Soffer oversees a southwestern Pennsylvania real estate portfolio that includes office buildings, apartments and shopping centers. But Soffer's signature project may be the South Side Works, a $280 million mix of offices, apartments, retail shops now rising on the site of a former South Side LTV Steel plant. Soffer, 56, who is one of several developers doing work at South Side Works, recently finished an $18 million office building that he built without any tenants in hand. UPMC Health System agreed to fill the space. The new building is part of a 34-acre section of South Side Works that Soffer plans to fill with more office buildings, 325,000 square feet of retail, 77 loft-style apartments and a theater.

No. 37

Tom Murrin, Duquesne University professor, and

Bill Newlin, president of law firm Buchanan Ingersoll.

Two of the people responsible for keeping Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp. from building its $122 million fuel-cell factory elsewhere were Newlin, also chairman of Kennametal, and Murrin, a former Westinghouse Electric Corp. executive and former dean of Duquesne University's graduate business school. Murrin, 72, who still has contacts at former Westinghouse companies, learned from Siemens' Tom Voigt that the company was unable to find a site in Allegheny County after 10 months of searching and that it was not willing to go to an industrial park in Armstrong County. Murrin alerted Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey to the situation. Meanwhile, Siemens hired Newlin, 61, to assist with the last-minute search, and Newlin alerted Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy. Siemens gave Murphy and Roddey 10 days to find a suitable location. After touring sites in Pittsburgh and the Mon Valley, Siemens settled on a spot at The Waterfront, a string of large stores, restaurants and office buildings in the Mon Valley that used to be the USX Homestead Works.

No. 38

James Rohr, chairman and chief executive officer, PNC Financial Services Group.

Last year certainly wasn't a banner year financially for Pittsburgh's largest bank, which recorded its first quarterly loss since 1995 after taking a big charge for getting rid of a major chunk of its volatile corporate loan business. Nevertheless, analysts have praised management for biting the bullet to enhance the future bottom line. Last year also saw the opening of PNC's namesake ballpark for the Pirates, arguably the most beautiful baseball stadium in the country. Also came the introduction of free checking and the continuing community involvement of Rohr, 53, as one of the most active CEOs in the region.

PNC also received kudos in 2001 for its technology prowess, placing first among banks and 26th overall on InformationWeek's ranking of the top 500 innovators in information technology.

Like crosstown rival Mellon, however, PNC also had an embarrassing episode that attracted national attention -- two downward earnings revisions -- one to reverse an accounting move called into question by federal regulators and another to fix a bookkeeping error.

No. 39

Kevin McClatchy, owner and chief executive officer, Pittsburgh Pirates.

A year ago, the Pirates opened the gates to PNC Park, the retro baseball stadium that quickly generated acclaim as the best ballpark in the country and revived interest in the sport in Pittsburgh. But despite record attendance of 2.4 million fans, the club continued to lose money -- $1.2 million in the 2001 season. Still, under McClatchy, who is pushing for reform of Major League Baseball revenue sharing and salary caps, the Pirates' losses have narrowed from $18 million the year before he bought the team in 1996. Midway through last season, McClatchy fired General Manager Cam Bonifay and replaced him with Dave Littlefield. With manager Lloyd McClendon in his second full season, the team is off to its best start in 10 years.

No. 40

Mark Weinstein, Pittsburgh Opera's general director.

Armed with an MBA from Harvard and a background in business, Weinstein has orchestrated a dramatic financial turnaround of the Pittsburgh Opera by bringing a business-like focus to running the nonprofit. Since he has taken over, the Opera's financial commitment to education and outreach programs has grown from $35,000 in 1995 to more than $700,000 last year; it has retired a credit line of $1.2 million and an accumulated deficit of $1.7 million, freeing more than $40,000 in interest costs for investments elsewhere; and received the largest grant ever by the Pittsburgh Foundation -- $300,000 over three years -- for an arts program.

No. 41

Ed Stack, chairman, chief executive officer, Dick's Sporting Goods.

Stack, 47, who runs the company launched out of his dad's two small stores in Binghamton, N.Y., continued to grow the business last year, boosting revenue to $1.1 billion from $900 million, despite closing its unprofitable online business, cutting jobs and putting the brakes on a plan to choose a new headquarters site. Stack ignored a tough economy and pushed ahead with concepts to test a new, 80,000-square-foot prototype store opened early this year at the Mall at Robinson. There are new private label brands of clothing, dramatic design changes and departments aimed at turning more women and children into customers. Stack serves on the board of directors of Seton Hill College, which will soon be a university.

No. 42

Paul Skoutelas, chief executive officer, Port Authority.

Although beset with financial problems resulting from lower state aid and occupied by the Nov. 30, 2001 expiration of a labor contract involving 2,800 union members, Port Authority CEO Skoutelas, 49, still was able to juggle about $1 billion in transportation projects that, if completed, will benefit public transit in Allegheny County for decades to come. The projects include the completion of a portion of the South Hills light-rail transit system, the purchase of 28 new trolleys, the extension of the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway, preliminary engineering work on a proposed subway extension to the North Shore, numerous park-and-ride developments and the first long-range plan for public transit since the 1960s. Unlike other urban areas, Allegheny County has no "transit tax," meaning these projects depend on funds from the federal and state governments, and to a largest extent, on Skoutelas' ability to lobby for the money.

No. 43

David McKamish, 49, president and chief executive officer, McKamish Inc.

McKamish, who leads a privately held mechanical contracting company, was nominated by his employees for both business leadership and philanthropic work. Located in Lawrenceville, McKamish Inc. employs more than 50 office staff and 200 shop and field personnel here. It also operates O'Grady McCormick, a mechanical contracting company in Rochester, N.Y. Combined sales volume last year was $61 million, up 16 percent from the previous fiscal year, with Pittsburgh responsible for $53 million and Rochester $8 million.

A bonus plan begun in 1997 as McKamish was preparing to take advantage of the boom in construction activity surrounding new stadiums and other high-profile projects paid out $7,500 last year to each office worker. The bonus, made in addition to other regular compensation, was tied to increases in profitability over established benchmarks.

Last year, McKamish established the McKamish Fund through The Pittsburgh Foundation and McKamish Inc. was named the Pittsburgh Philanthropic Organization of the year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

The company and its employees have a long history in philanthropy with both local and international charities. Employees donate time, money and construction skills to the Bethel Orphanage in San Luis, Mexico and they also support Food for the Hungry, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Children's Hospital, the Bradley Center, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Catholic Charities.

No. 44 (tie)

Dennis Yablonsky, chief executive officer of Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse and Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse, and Ann Dugan, 48, founder and executive director, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, University of Pittsburgh/Katz Graduate School of Business.

When the leaders of the region's two largest universities asked Yablonsky last year to help them raise as much as $600 million for the region's fledgling biotechnology industry, Yablosnky, 49, accepted the job without hesitation. But he also kept his other full-time job as CEO of the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse, a state-funded nonprofit hoping to create a new chip-design industry in Pittsburgh. With both positions, he has become perhaps the most visible member of Pittsburgh's economic development community, straddling the overlapping ground between local universities, government and companies. Thus far, the Digital Greenhouse has raised $10 million from the state and $8 million to $9 million from companies, foundations and the federal government. After taking the new job as head of the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse in December, Yablonsky lobbied the state for $40 million and got $33 million. He also started pursuing money from several local foundations and the U.S. Department of Education.

As the region tries to do a better job of releasing the untapped strengths of its universities into the business community, Dugan has emerged as a force for change. The founder and executive director of Pitt's Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, she spent 2001 studying the nation's best examples of technology transfer from universities to industry and then developed her own model for the University of Pittsburgh.

Called PantherlabWorks, the model aimed to link university departments and projects together, in order to create a "virtual business incubator" that would make the tech transfer process more natural and efficient. It formed the foundation of the university's new Technology Commercialization Alliance, which was announced in the fall of 2001. It also helped position Pitt to participate in regional biotechnology efforts.

Also during 2001, Dugan became the first female chair of the Redevelopment Authority of Washington County. As president of the Washington County Industrial Development Corp., she led efforts to use the county airport as an economic development tool. She also joined the board of the Community Loan Fund and Pittsburgh Gateways.

No. 45

J. Brett Harvey, 51, president and chief executive officer, Consol Energy Inc.

Among Pittsburgh public companies in 2001, Consol was No. 1 in return on equity, No. 6 in net income and No. 10 in revenue.

Last year, Harvey continued to oversee the transformation of this 138-year-old coal mining company into a diversified energy company with growing interests in natural gas production and electricity generation. In part, the move was a recognition of the volatility of energy markets, which even a coal-mining giant like Consol can't ignore.

Harvey, a former Utah utility executive, is on the board of directors of the National Mining Association -- the industry's Washington, D.C.-based lobbying organization. Later this year, Harvey is slated to become chairman of the NMA board. In this position, he can be expected to play an increasingly public role in the country's debate over energy policy.

No. 46

Donald P. Fusilli Jr., 50, president and chief executive officer, Michael Baker.

The former head of Baker's energy services unit engineered a turnaround at a firm reeling from a disastrous construction management job at Universal Studios' Orlando, Fla. theme park. Baker reported record earnings of $11.2 million for 2001, spurred by a 90 percent increase in operating income. Investors who stuck with Baker through tough times were rewarded with a 96 percent return on Baker's shares last year. One more positive development: Employees reduced their control by exchanging their Class B shares for common shares, a move intended to broaden investor interest.

No. 47

William Strickland Jr., 54, president and chief executive officer of Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and the Bidwell Training Center.

The founder and president of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild has never been a man to let momentary difficulties get in the way of his larger goals. "You can't wait for good times to improve the lives of people who are hurting. Recessions don't last forever," Strickland said. And true to his word, Strickland in October broke ground on his latest project: a 38,000-square-foot, $4 million greenhouse and education center near the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and the Bidwell Training Center. When completed sometime this year, it will grow about 10,000 orchids as well as hydroponic tomatoes that require little or no soil. Strickland envisions the greenhouse preparing inner city youngsters -- about 30 students annually --for careers in horticulture. Strickland has other projects he hopes will blossom soon: He has been asked to oversee the establishment of a center similar to the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and the Bidwell Training Center, in San Francisco.

No. 48

Helge Wehmeier, president and chief executive officer, Bayer Corp.

After 11 years of running the U.S. operations of German-based drug and chemical giant Bayer AG, Wehmeier is stepping down from his post in July as Bayer continues a major restructuring of its business units. Wehmeier, a highly visible proponent of economic development efforts for the region and active member of cultural and nonprofit boards, will remain in Pittsburgh, though, and continue as vice chair to assist with Attila Molnar's transition into the top job. During his tenure as CEO, Bayer Corp.'s sales doubled from $5 billion, and he oversaw the merger of Mobay, Miles and Agfa into the company which now employs 2,200 in Pittsburgh. Last year was a challenging year for Bayer and one in which the company was very much in the public spotlight. Income declined after patient deaths forced it to withdraw its anti-cholesterol drug, Lipobay. And 2001 also will be remembered for Wehmeier's negotiation of sales of the antibiotic Cipro to the U.S. government during the highly charged atmosphere of the post Sept. 11 anthrax scare.

No. 49

James Cederna, 51, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Calgon Carbon.

Here's a guy who can make the most out of bad times. The environmental services firm's net income was off 19 percent from the prior year, when a $2.3 million restructuring charge put a damper on earnings. Sales were basically flat. Despite the poor comparisons, Calgon Carbon's stock jumped 50 percent last year. Cederna kept the company focused on his objective: to sell services and solutions instead of products. Calgon Carbon's consumer products initiative also made some progress, notably its Purrfectly Fresh cat litter additive.

No. 50

Oditza Carrasco, president of 1st Vanguard Mortgage Company.

The 38-year-old native of Chile, who spent most of her teen-age years in Germany before immigrating to the United States to pursue her dreams, was the most heavily nominated candidate on this year's top 50 list -- reflecting the impact she's had on the community she serves. As founder and president of 1st Vanguard Mortgage Company, she has targeted the region's small but growing Latin America and Hispanic population. Many of her clients are professionals, some of whom were new to the United States and sought her advice for refinancing mortgages and purchasing new homes shortly after coming here. Her success at the venture has resulted in dramatic growth at 1st Vanguard, which grossed $1.6 million last year and employs 25. Carrasco, who learned her trade working for a number of financial institutions, including AllState Financial and several predecessors of what is now National City Bank of Pennsylvania, also has volunteered at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to assist medical professionals with Spanish-speaking organ transplant patients, and is active in her Shadyside neighborhood.

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