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We Have to Keep Rooting for Our Tech Companies, No Matter What

By Audrey Russo, President and CEO, Pittsburgh Technology Council

Thought Leader

As Tech 50 approaches a quarter of a century, the Pittsburgh Technology Council has taken the time to honor some of the region’s most innovative and high-growth companies that call the Pittsburgh region their home.

Building companies, feeding the soul and fueling growth requires an entire community of effort. 

We have to ensure that we are removing obstacles and leveraging our assets, so these companies can be free to focus on their business. Taking time to show the region what is often behind the scenes of a company creates a collective pride and a culture of unity. That is why we continue to host the Tech 50 Awards – even during a pandemic. It was for these same reasons that Tech 50 was created 24 years ago. Back then, there was a collection of companies who were igniting the next chapter of Pittsburgh, just as there are today.

Avoiding the obvious, but intending to reinforce the pace of change, 2020 and COVID-19, altered our lives in ways we have only yet to unpack. The modalities of our human interactions have changed. The likelihood that we resume our previous behaviors for connecting will certainly be different. 

We will ask ourselves why we need to travel for business, we will ponder the importance of a face-to-face meeting, when a virtual call can be valued as efficient and effective. We will evaluate our working from home policies and even look beyond the local workforce for filling hard-to-fill positions. We will ponder how we use office space.  

However, we do know that nothing replaces human interaction. Real time. In person. The nuances, the accidental collisions that yield innovation, the nano second moments when you learn from a colleague, a leader, or a customer something that transforms your understanding of your product and service or tightens the relationship you never were fully aware of until that very moment. 

You cannot schedule these moments. They are not timed. And they are part of what unlocks our own perspectives. We miss this. We might not want to resume the same regimen, but these connections are what makes a team, makes a community and fortifies an ecosystem. 

It’s the energy, the igniting of being a part of something greater than we are, which has causal effect. That is why we continue to celebrate via Tech 50. 

Together, we knit a mighty weave which gets conveyed to the world.

While we held Tech 50 virtually, I was inspired by the rapid-fire pivots our member companies and Tech 50 finalists and winners made over these last nine months. This compelled the PTC to pivot one of our Tech 50 categories by adding a “Top Pivot” category.  

Most of us had to make drastic changes in a seemingly unsurmountable time frame. This year’s Top Pivot finalists pivoted to not only save their businesses, but save others as well. We saw the engagement of CEOs and founders flex their civic muscle by actively engaging a multitude of issues that immediately impacted our region, including fundraising for computers in schools, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, wi-fi connectivity and volunteering for 412 Food Rescue. 

In this issue, you will see the highlights of the companies and leaders who were finalists and winners. Get to know them. We want all of us to know what innovation is occurring here. Just as we love our sports teams, love our companies. Together, we knit a mighty weave which gets conveyed to the world. As we look to 2021 (which I am thrilled to look towards), we are going to plan to celebrate a 25th year of Tech 50, hopefully in person, but we will most definitively celebrate. 

Read the entire Tech 50 2020 Issue of TEQ: