Employment numbers are on the rise in the Pittsburgh region and the city’s creative sector continues to welcome talented people from across the country, as well as the world. From video games to fine art, meet some of the new faces in Pittsburgh and get their perspective on what drew them to our city.
Harley Baldwin White-Wiedow, VP of Design, Schell Games
Harley Baldwin White-Wiedow was working in the San Francisco area as a lead designer at 2K when she plotted her next career move. The goal? Schell Games.
While she had never been to Pittsburgh, she jumped at the chance to work with industry darling Jesse Schell and the game designers coming out of his renowned entertainment technology program at Carnegie Mellon University. She interviewed during the spring and was sold—both on Schell’s work in transformational gaming and on Pittsburgh, a city transformed.
“It feels like there’s a renaissance happening in Pittsburgh and right now is a great time to enjoy it,” says White-Wiedow says who declared the city “amazing” after her first 24 hours in town.
Earlier this June, she started her job as vice president of design for Schell Games on the South Side.
“One of the things I find very inspiring is the architecture around me, and Pittsburgh just gives and gives when you’re talking about the buildings and the bridges, even the houses,” White-Wiedow says. “There’s so much rich development around that it’s very exciting.”
She and her family will explore the city’s neighborhoods before deciding where to buy a house, although she’s initially looking at Squirrel Hill. Her husband, a stay-at-home dad, hasn’t been to Pittsburgh yet but is taking her word for it and doing a lot of research on his own.
Among the pluses? She points to the cost of living and the “very friendly and real” people. “I think it will be a better place to bring my kids up,” says the mother of three. “From kindergarten to college, the educational opportunities are spectacular.”
In her new role, White-Wiedow says she’ll work with Schell’s team on game designs that improve daily lives, whether that’s a fitness app on a smartphone or the digital applications of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
Anthony Monahan, interactive creative director, Brunner
When Anthony Monahan first moved to Pittsburgh, he made it his mission to explore every park in Allegheny County as he trained for the Pittsburgh Marathon. He also went paddleboarding. And kayaking. And mountain biking. All the activities that were a hassle to do living in New York City for the last 15 years.
Monahan, who loves Pittsburgh’s outdoorsy options, is renting near North Park with his wife (see below) and son while they decide where to buy. Now the interactive creative director at Brunner, he’s settling in for the long haul.
“The whole time we were in New York, we were always thinking about the next place we were going to move,” he says. “Now, it’s taking us so long to find a place to live because we’re going to be here for a long time.”
One good sign, he notes. Brunner has a lot of long-time employees who are still happy in their positions, a nice change from New York’s advertising culture where employees rotate through jobs every few years.
And he gives the agency kudos for accommodating employees’ personal time and understanding the work-life balance.
“But the actual work isn’t any different than New York,” Monahan notes. “They’re still trying to do great work, and the clients still have the same questions and the same issues.”
Monahan is Brunner’s first employee to work across more than one of the company’s businesses. He’ll be bringing more digital work to the Brunner side, while working with the digital clients at B*WORKS. He is also eager to work with BHiveLab, Brunner’s innovation incubator.
Outside of work, Monahan’s been hunting down vegetarian dining choices. So far he’s drawn to kid-friendly joints like OTB Bicycle Café at North Park Boathouse, Double Wide Grill and Salt of the Earth. Which brings us to his wife, who is also pleased with the food scene…
Bridget Monahan, designer and researcher, MAYA
Bridget Monahan spent much of her adult life living in places outside of Pittsburgh, yet she continued to track media coverage of her hometown. So when she and her husband Anthony moved to Pittsburgh over the winter, it was a carefully weighed decision.