This editorial article is a part of State of Local Tech Month of Technical.ly’s editorial calendar.
In 2019, Sheetz announced that it’d be setting up shop in the East Liberty hub because the company’s leaders wanted in on the Steel City’s rising tech scene. Now, two years after acquiring the 20,000-square-foot space in 2021 as the first tenant in the new Bakery Square Four office, the facility is up and running.
Joined by business leaders, members of Pittsburgh’s tech community and a gaggle of elected officials, the company this week commemorated a space that its leaders hope will be used to identify new business opportunities and develop technology that can be used to better serve customers.
“Our mission at Sheetz is to create a business that puts the Sheetz as we know it today, out of business,” said Emily Sheetz, VP of strategy and IT. “The expansion of our office space at Bakery Square will allow us to further develop, test and implement transformative products and services that will help Sheetz meet and surpass customer demand for the ultimate one-stop-shop.”
A Sheetz spokesperson did not immediately reply to Technical.ly’s request for details on what type of innovation projects would be developed at the office.
The building houses currently 70 employees, 40 of whom are IT workers and data scientists. Due to the office space’s proximity to institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh the hope is to one day take advantage of the recruiting pool the universities and their graduates have to offer. (Google is also right next door.)
The Altoona-headquartered company has worked closely with the Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC) throughout the development process. PTC President Audrey Russo told Technical.ly the company’s commitment to Pittsburgh is a boon not only for the local tech industry, but for the city as a whole.
“It’s just another example of a large, large company that wants to have a presence where there’s talent, and where they’re closer to an urban core,” Russo said. “They’re very committed to Southwestern Pennsylvania [and] they like being … close to the talent. And they like being part of the innovation culture.”
The region can also benefit from new job opportunities at the company. One area where there’s already been potential, Russo said, is in the company’s participation in Apprenti, PTC’s apprenticeship program which allows members of the Pittsburgh technology community to diversify their teams by training, developing and retaining employees through the partnership.
“What Emily said while she was in here is that it’s important for her to have a diverse workforce,” Russo said. “They have 25,000 employees across the state, so it’s really important for them to be more at the forefront of innovation.”
Sheetz also announced a $5,000 donation to Pittsburgh Parks Conservatory as a sign of its commitment to the region.Atiya Irvin-Mitchell is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
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