Friday, April 5, 2013

Q & A with Famous Pittsburgher - Barbara McNees

Famous Pittsburgher: Barbara McNees--new  Downtown resident!

Company & Role:
President, Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce
What does your organization do?
The chamber advocates in Harrisburg and Washington DC for business climate improvements to enhance our region’s competitiveness, encouraging employers to invest and grow here.
How long have you been doing what you do?
I began my current position January 1997.
How long have you lived in Pittsburgh?
I grew up in Western Pennsylvania and left after college. I moved back to the region in 1980. We moved downtown in January.
What is your favorite thing to do in Downtown Pittsburgh? Why?
We enjoy all the activities in the cultural district and try to take advantage of all the performing arts. And, it goes without saying we attend the professional sporting events.

What is your favorite Downtown restaurant?
That’s a tough question. Depends on what we are in the mood for.  With all the new restaurants, we really like to make sure we try them all. Italian is usually our top choice and Valozzi’s is a great addition, but the diverse menus at Meat and Potatoes and Nine on Nine are favorites too.
At Valozzi's: Photo by, John Altdorfer
Talk a bit about your favorite Downtown Pittsburgh Experience or Memory.
I started coming to Downtown Pittsburgh from Rochester on the train with my Mother most Saturdays when I was growing up. We would go to all the department stores; pick a great place for lunch. I started at a young age really loving Pittsburgh. I feel truly blessed to be in a position to be part of the revitalization of the city and the region.

Tell us one thing about Downtown that has surprised you.
The new demand for residential living that has taken off in the last few years. It was always part of the plan to make Pittsburgh a vibrant downtown, but has happened much quicker than I would have imagined. The other thing that surprises others is that you can walk anywhere in downtown Pittsburgh in 10 or 15 minutes.  I really enjoy walking to work.

What is one great idea you have to make Downtown Pittsburgh better?
I would like to see smaller circulator buses as part of the transit system. We did a study a number of years ago on either electric or natural gas vehicles that provide linkages to bus stations. This would keep the larger buses on the outer rim of the city.

Describe Downtown in 3 words.
Beautiful, safe, and now vibrant.

Photo by, Anastasia Farmerie

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