Professional Development
AI / Leadership / Universities

Pittsburgh Power Moves: SWPA New Economy Collab hires board members for federal project

Plus, Duolingo brings on a healthtech expert and CMU looks internally for its director of machine learning.

Pittsburgh skyline at dawn, April 2024 (Danya Henninger/
From building out boards to leading emerging technology research, leadership shakeups hit Pittsburgh again this month. 

Federal funds currently flow into the region via the Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The coalition behind its local implementation just welcomed four new board members to the team. Plus, a longtime Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) professor got promoted to director of its machine learning department, and more. 

Find details on the region’s latest Power Moves below the chart, our monthly look at the state of the local tech skills.

SWPA builds out its board to support regional economic dev

The Southwestern Pennsylvania (SWPA) New Economy Collaborative formed as an 11-county effort to grow the robotics scene. Now, it's building out its board to do just that. 

The group recently welcomed four new members: Gecko Robotics’ Troy Demmer, Victor Mrockowski from Total Production Solutions and Re:Build Manufacturing, Danielle Proctor of Advanced Construction Robotics and Agility Robotics’ Damion Shelton. 

“These new board members bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise and guide the Collaborative’s efforts in increasing economic productivity, job growth and advancing the adoption of robotics technology in southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Ben Pratt, chief economic competitiveness officer at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, which administers the collaborative.

Organizations formed the coalition under the Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. It’s a federal, $1 billion effort to boost economic growth post-pandemic. 

Healthtech leader joins Duolingo board

Mario Schlosser, cofounder of healthcare technology startup Oscar Health, now serves Duolingo as an independent board member. He still works as Oscar’s chief technology officer 12 years since its founding. 

Schlosser brings previous experience as a social gaming company’s co-creator to the mobile learning platform. He simultaneously serves on the boards of the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Information Technology, Tech:NYC and the Guiding Council of One Mind At Work.

CMU appoints a new head of machine learning

Zico Koulter moved from professor to director as Carnegie Mellon University tapped him to lead its Machine Learning Department

Koulter has worked in CMU’s computer science school for more than a decade, during which he made machine learning a major topic of his research. wp

“In this moment, the research happening in the Machine Learning Department is influencing and will continue to influence the direction of artificial intelligence,” Koulter said. 

Before academia, Koulter spent several years in the tech industry. He worked in artificial intelligence research at engineering company Bosch and as a data scientist for enterprise AI firm 

More Power Moves:

Companies: Gecko Robotics / Duolingo / Advanced Construction Robotics / University of Pittsburgh / Carnegie Mellon University / Economic Development Administration
Series: Power Moves

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