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Duquesne Club's longtime manager stepping down

Friday, May 24, 2002

By Joyce Gannon, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Melvin Rex, who's run the Duquesne Club for more than two decades, will step down next week as executive director and secretary of the city's venerable center of corporate deal-making.

Rex, 65, joined the private club on Sixth Avenue in 1966 as controller after working as a certified public accountant for the firm then known as Price Waterhouse.

He was named general manager in 1980 and secretary in 1983. He took the executive director's title during a recent transition period during which Scott Neill, 36, assistant manager, was being groomed as general manager. Neill assumes that post June 1.

Rex was at the helm of the institution during years when it experienced changes industrialists Henry Clay Frick, Henry Oliver and other founding members never could have imagined when they started the club in 1873. Women and blacks were admitted in the 1980s and casual business attire was permitted for the first time in 2000.

Despite those breaks from tradition, Rex said the highlights of his 36-year career have been the Club Managers Association of America's decision to twice award the Duquesne Club top billing in its ranking of private clubs in the United States, in 1997 and again in 2000.

He also takes pride that the membership has grown to about 2,600 during his tenure. "That's very good considering the negative demographics in Pittsburgh and the exodus of corporations," Rex said.

The Butler native, who graduated from Penn State University in 1959, said he would stay in Pittsburgh and wanted to spend time with his family.

About 850 members turned out at the club for a reception Wednesday night to honor Rex, followed by a dinner for current and former directors.

Asked if he'll miss the club's signature broiled Virginia spots and macaroons, Rex said, "Absolutely. But I'm a member ... so I'll be bouncing in occasionally."

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