Thursday, May 17, 2012

Positively Pittsburgh Live News 5-14-12

Positively Pittsburgh Live News

Greater Pittsburgh Business and Professional Women’s Association
Benefit for the Linda A. Cobb Memorial Scholarship Fund
Breakfast Panel & Discussion on Issues that Affect Women
June 6, 2012· Registration 7:00AM *** Program 7:30 to 9:30AM
Rivers Club · One Oxford Centre Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Read the entire release here.

Local proprietor carves up win as Western PennsylvaniaSBA Small Business Person of the Year award
Residents from 37 different Cambria County zip codes know where the beef is – because they can visit Jay Smithmyer, proprietor of Smithmyer’s Superette, who is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Western Pennsylvania’s Small Business Person of the Year.

Jay Smithmyer
Smithmeyer and eight other local small business owners and advocates will be lauded at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel Pittsburgh during SBA’s Western Pennsylvania Awards Luncheon May 25th, held in conjunction with the 49th annual celebration of National Small Business Week.

Read the entire release here.


YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Announces the 2012 Tribute to Women Leadership Awards
The YWCA Greater Pittsburgh will recognize eight extraordinary women for their demonstrated excellence and leadership in the workplace and in the community as part of the 30th annual Tribute to Women Leadership Awards Luncheon to be held on Wednesday, May 16, from noon to 1:30 p.m., at the Westin Hotel, 1000 Penn Avenue. Read the entire release here.

Small Seeds Development, Inc.
Mother to Son Program
The Mother to Son Program's mission is to strengthen African American families by creating a stable home environment through the support and utilization of community resources, and by actively networking with new and existing organizations and agencies. Our goal is to improve the quality of life for single mothers and sons.
Objectives of MTSP are:
  • To expose families to education, entrepreneurship, social and health related opportunities.
  • To promote and stimulate a greater appreciation for family development.
  • To encourage civic involvement and inform families about emerging economic, communal and political issues affecting African Americans.
  • To stimulate an appreciation for African American and other cultures in the community and world.
Program Eligibility Requirements:
  • Families headed by single mothers
  • Young males between ages 8 to 15
  • Young males must be of African American descent
  • Allegheny County resident
This is a partnership with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Office of Community Services (OCS).For more information contact Roxanne Davis at

Showcase Noir Celebrates the African Diaspora
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Showcase Noir is an exhibit that celebrates the works of artists and designers of the African Diaspora. 2012 marks the 9th year the Cultural Trust has presented this exhibit showcasing works for sale -  paintings, sculptures, photographs, fiber art, jewelry, pottery and art in various mediums  ̶  from emerging and established artists, both local and national. 

The exhibit will be located under the tents at the corner of 8th Street and Penn Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.  Exhibit hours are Saturday, June 2: Noon to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 3: Noon to 7:00 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Read the entire release here


Calling All Foodies – Cocktails & Cuisine 
The Woodlands Foundation Crisis Center North will be holding its fifth Annual Cocktails & Cuisine for Women in Crisis, with sponsorship from the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and UPMC Health Plan and media sponsorship from North Hills Monthly Magazine and Comcast. The event will again feature top notch grazing from over 20 local restaurants, wine and ale purveyors, the sounds of top Pittsburgh’s jazz duet, It Takes Two, and silent and live auctions. Jon Burnett, KDKA-TV Accuweather Forecaster will serve as emcee. Celebrity foodie judges, Doug Oster and Rhonda Schuldt, will be selecting the Best Overall Taste Treat and all event guests will have the opportunity to vote for The People's Choice Award for overall favorite. For more information click here.

SBA financial services champion award winner is former SBA employee who educates bankers on government lending
Enterprise Bank Senior Vice President Dave Miller routinely assists other bankers in facilitating Small Business Administration (SBA) loan packages for their customers – something he did on a daily basis when he worked for SBA years ago.

“Because of our SBA expertise, a lot of community banks call us [Enterprise Bank] with SBA eligibility questions,” he explained. “If they need SBA support to get a deal done to help their customer, they will often contact us and we work jointly with them on the SBA loan project.”
Miller, 42, will be honored in May as the SBA Western Pennsylvania Financial Services Champion of the Year for 2012. He and eight other local small business owners and advocates will be lauded at the Western Pennsylvania SBA May 25th Awards Luncheon at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel Pittsburgh. The luncheon is held in conjunction with the 49th annual celebration of National Small Business Week. According to Miller, the SBA will always be near and dear to his heart and helped springboard his career in small business lending and remains an integral part of his lending activities today at Enterprise Bank.

“Coming out of Penn State with a degree in management and after working summers during college in a steel mill, I thought I had wanted to be an operations manager because my father, grandfather and I all had worked for a steel company,” he said. “Because of the poor economy at the time I graduated, I used my academic achievements and good class standing at Penn State to pursue a career with the federal government and landed in finance at the SBA.”
Miller, who ended his SBA career as assistant district director for economic development, began as a collector for the agency’s disaster loan program. Responsible for collecting loan payments and liquidating failed businesses, he managed the Agency’s direct loan portfolio for Western PA and even coordinated foreclosures and auctions for the agency. One year later, he wrote his first new loan under the SBA LowDoc program and estimates that during his SBA career he processed and underwrote more than 1,000 loans on behalf of SBA.

Miller moved from collections to lending, eventually heading the lending department and catapulting the SBA Pittsburgh District office to the number one SBA 7(a) lending office in the country during his tenure. When Miller left for Enterprise Bank in 2003, he took his SBA lending contacts and government-backed loan knowledge with him.

Enterprise is a business-only-bank, and the only one of its kind in the area, but they weren’t very active in SBA lending before my arrival,” he explained. “Now, about 60 percent of our loans are SBA products and we are recognized as one of the area’s top SBA lenders.”

According to Miller, his role at Enterprise is all-encompassing which is something not usually found at larger banks. “Here, each lender handles all aspects of the lending and banking relationship, including business development, underwriting, closing, servicing and even collecting if there is a default. Most other commercial banks are much more segmented with different people responsible for each portion of the loan process.”

Miller most readily recalls the tougher, more creative projects he has facilitated at SBA and Enterprise, which involved coordination with multiple programs and organizations or were business turnarounds. His creative lending efforts have saved a number of businesses from failure and a number of jobs from being lost in multiple sectors including manufacturing, wholesaling, and even in the small business development community itself. 

He also has a special fondness for startups and entrepreneurs he has taken risks on that other banks or lenders wouldn’t, who followed him from SBA to Enterprise and are big successes in business today. “While at SBA, I approved a loan guaranty for one young man to get his start in business with a small retail frozen dessert business while he was still in college and ten years later that same entrepreneur provided Enterprise with one of its largest commercial real estate loan relationships for a large scale retail shopping center,” Miller said.

Miller also shares his lending knowledge with prospective entrepreneurs throughout the region, explaining how banks operate and how they can access SBA and other economic development loan programs. “I explain the importance of equity, collateral and good personal credit – which is often the only insight the bank has on the character of a borrower in a new relationship,” he said, “and I always mention SBA loans.”

In fact, Miller can even be found educating competitive lending institutions on SBA lending tools and trends. As past chair and current vice chair of the Western Pennsylvania Association of SBA Guaranteed Lenders (WPASGL), an organization he helped build and grow, he works with other active SBA lenders in the market to create training programs. WPASGL’s annual small business lending conference, known as the Quality Circle, caters towards SBA and the small business lending needs of hundreds of lenders and economic development specialists across the Mid-Atlantic region.

According to Western Pennsylvania SBA District Director Carl Knoblock, Miller is using his knowledge of SBA programs to help grow the region.

Enterprise is a major force in SBA lending due to Dave’s expertise,” Knoblock said. “Not only is he helping entrepreneurs start businesses and fuel the economy, he’s helping other lenders secure SBA loans for their clients.”

Miller said he appreciates being nominated and selected as the SBA’s Financial Services Champion. “It’s nice to be recognized for my SBA work and it provides an opportunity for me to look back at all the entrepreneurs I have worked with over the years and everything they have taught me,” he said. “SBA lending has a very important role, as did my time with the agency, I could not have asked for a better learning experience.”

SBA’s SCORE Volunteer of the Year started as a student, has now taught hundreds how to build their business
Fourteen years ago, Stephen Cohen began his home-based marketing business.  One of his first steps was to attend the day-long SCORE (America’s Counselors to Small Business) Small Business Basics Workshop, a comprehensive seminar on how to start a business.

Soon after, Cohen offered his graphic design expertise pro bono to the Chapter. Little did he realize that assisting the local chapter with their marketing materials would result in his serving as Chapter Chair and to being honored as this year’s U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Western Pennsylvania SCORE Volunteer of the Year.

“I spent many years in the health service field doing presentations and designing brochures and marketing materials,” Cohen said, until a health condition propelled him to start his own business, Keystone by Design.

He and eight other local small business owners and advocates will be lauded at the Western Pennsylvania SBA’s May 25th Awards Luncheon at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel Pittsburgh. The luncheon is held in conjunction with the 49th annual celebration of National Small Business Week.

A native of New York City, Cohen drove a cab to help pay for his undergraduate tuition at Brown University and his graduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He waxed philosophically that riders have their stories to share, and Cohen is no different.

“I have an undergraduate degree in international relations and a graduate degree in economics, but I’ve always been interested in technology,” Cohen explained.  “I was often the first person in my company to use computers for designing and producing marketing materials.”

Cohen’s first major position was with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, where he oversaw the development and publication of the “Pennsylvania State Health Plan.” After leaving state government, Cohen lent his talents to several small, innovative health insurance-related companies, holding senior management positions in sales and marketing.

“When the day came that I had to open my own business, I was ready,” Cohen explained.  “I had learned all the technical tools needed for a marketing consulting business.”

Starting his business with one customer in 1998, the savvy Squirrel Hill resident utilized several local networking groups to drum up clients. He incorporated his business three years later.  Today, he represents more than two dozen clients and specializes in web design, internet marketing and promotional product distribution. His tagline is “We help small businesses grow!”  At the same time, his role with SCORE also increased. He maintains their website, teaches the marketing segment at the Chapter’s workshop and co-counsels entrepreneurs. He has been an officer of the Chapter since 2007, serving first as vice chair for two years and then Chair for two years.

“I always stress to new entrepreneurs the importance of visiting their competitors in my SCORE marketing course. There is a lot to learn from an existing business,” he said. “You can determine how to price your product or service and help identify your target market.”

Yet the SCORE member with a full-time job still manages to lend his time to the community.  He directed the establishment of a pre-school at Beth Shalom Congregation, winning their Young Leadership Award in 1988. As Chairperson of the Allderdice High School Parent-Teacher Organization in 1998, he led the campaign to stop the construction of a middle school on the Allderdice campus.

He currently serves as an Election Judge and as a Local Coordinator in the AARP Tax-Aide Program. Cohen supervises a staff of 14 individuals at the Squirrel Hill and Edgewood libraries. This tax season he has assisted more than 1,300 individuals and families, who are over 65 or with incomes below $50,000. His commitment to helping small business extends to the political arena, where he volunteers as Chair of the Heath Care Working Group of SMC Business Councils.

According to Western Pennsylvania SBA District Director Carl Knoblock, Cohen serves as a shining example of how a working professional can share their knowledge and expertise with the community in a volunteer capacity.

“We need more individuals like Stephen Cohen who have helped SCORE and its clients tout their services and businesses through technology like websites and blogs,” Knoblock said. “He is proof that and individual can work full-time and make the region better by volunteering. We all should strive to look inward and reach out.”

Cohen was pleased to be nominated and selected as the SBA’s SCORE Volunteer of the Year.
“SCORE is fun. We are working professionals and retired business executives, who, like me, know that it’s important to give back,” he stated. “This is so gratifying to know I’ve helped many small businesses -- and the Chapter itself – grow and succeed.”

Note:  If you would like to speak with Stephen Cohen or Carl Knoblock, Western Pennsylvania SBA district director, please contact Janet Heyl at 412-395-6560, ext. 103

Roving Pittsburgher Report

Paris Festival Finale:  Gershwin, “An American in Paris
The symphony itself is enough to feed your soul. Taking a four year old with you is akin to listening to cellestic music and walking on clouds with cherubs. Read the full review here.

Cirque De La Symphonie
Saturday night treat at the Heinz Hall was Cirque De La Symphonie. What a visual and musical evening filled with aerial artists, jugglers extraordinare, and amazing acrobatic feats accompanied by an energetic, enthusiastic, and excellent Pittsburgh Symphony orchestra. Read the full review here.

Double Fun, Temptations and the Four Tops at Benedum
All I knew was the Temptations were in town and I had not heard them live since the late sixties. So, I ran out on the kids after waiting in line for a Mother’s Day buffet (thanks Dean and Angel) and got into my dates car with the rest of my dinner in a box. Didn't want to miss a minute of the show. Read the full review here


This was reported as a reproduction of PositvelyPittsburghLive news done by Joanne Quinn-Smith. (c) Joanne Quinn-Smith and PositivelyPittsburghLive(TM) 2012 All rights reserved.

Tara Darazio is a Positively Pittsburgh Live reporter, an independent copywriter, blogger, article writer, and social media strategist. If you are in need of writing assistance, or need help with your social media efforts connect with Tara on LinkedIn here.

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