Pittsburgh Business Report

Maria Scapellato / 90.5 WESA

As COVID-19 continues to spread, local employers are considering how best to protect employees, customers and business operations. Eric Fair, the manager for IT and risk advisory practices at Pittsburgh-based Schneider Downs, said that many organizations are already enhancing cleaning policies at work sites and limiting business travel.

Maria Scapellato / 90.5 WESA

Infrastructure upgrades are underway in Pittsburgh to prepare the city for the next generation of wireless networks, 5G. The technology claims to be faster and better than previous iterations of digital celluar networks. Experts say 5G will be necessary to accomodate the predicted surge in mobile internet traffic, and to support the plethora of new devices on the market like smart appliances.

Courtesy of Andy Wincko

January is typically a slow month for Pittsburgh Smokehouse owner Andy Wincko, but this year he said business was good thanks in part to the film industry. 

“When they’re filming, it’s about 25 percent of my business, and that’s a lot," he said, talking about the Netflix thriller "Sweet Girl," which has been filming in Pittsburgh since last fall starring actors Marisa Tomei and Jason Momoa. "I’m basically on call for them. Whenever they want it, I deliver.”

Courtesy of Guillermo Velazquez

A new $660,000 business incubator that opened in a new second-floor space in Pittsburgh's Beechview neighborhood last fall is up and running, executive director Guillermo Velazquez said.

In the last three years, the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation has helped more than 70 small business owners get their ideas off the ground, offering help with business and marketing plans, licensing, permitting, payroll and taxes. Velazquez said the new office inside the Beechview Healthy Active Living Center on Broadway Avenue gives people a safe space to meet with experienced staff.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The Pittsburgh region will be buzzing with economic activity this year, especially for some of its biggest employers.  This year is poised to be one of growth for the economic power houses of UPMC and Highmark. After years of legal wrangling, the two entities worked out a deal last year giving most Highmark customers in network access to UPMC doctors and hospitals for 10 years.

Duquesne Light

Duquesne Light is boosting its electric vehicle offerings with new charging stations at two downtown Pittsburgh Parking Authority garages and at the utility’s Woods Run campus on the North Side.

Joey Kennedy / Handmade Arcade

The National Retail Federation reports holiday sales this season will grow between 3.8 and 4.2 percent. That’s up slightly compared to average holiday sales increases of about 3.7 percent over the previous five years. 

East End Brewing

Although summer is the peak season for tourism in Pennsylvania, industries like craft brewing are pushing revenues well into the fall. 

Michel Spingler / AP

FBI figures show a 107 percent increase from 2017 to 2018 in “Business Email Compromise” complaints, known as BEC, in the bureau’s Pittsburgh region. 

BECs occur when victims with access to company finances are convinced through phishing emails, phone calls or other methods that they are conducting a legitimate business transaction—but instead, the money ends up in accounts controlled by organized crime groups.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most popular franchises in the history of the National Football League, and vice president of sales and marketing Ryan Huzjak said the team isn't stopping at the border to attract new supporters. 

Courtesy of Fifth Season

Fifth Season, founded as RoBotany in 2016, is expanding its vertical farming business and branching out from Pittsburgh into nearby Braddock.

The company launched through Carnegie Mellon University’s Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, a business and robotics incubator. Co-founder and CEO Austin Webb said the company uses robotics and artificial intelligence technology to grow leafy greens and herbs all year round.