Mt. Lebanon resident Matt Smith became president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce in June 2015. Previously, Matt represented the 37th Senatorial District serving in the Pennsylvania State Senate. A Bethel Park native, Matt is active on several boards, including the Allegheny County Airport Authority, Jeremiah’s Place, Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
Monday, January 25
I begin the day at 5:30 a.m. with a workout at Club Cycle on Mt. Lebanon Boulevard and make it home in time to have breakfast with our kids before they head out to elementary school (Delaney and Emerson, our daughters) and pre-school (Jameson, our son).
Next up is our weekly 9 a.m. Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce staff meeting and 11 a.m. meeting of senior staff at the Allegheny Conference (the Chamber is an affiliate of the Conference) with our CEO Dennis Yablonsky. We will go over what’s up for the week ahead and review what’s transpired in the previous week. We have so many balls in the air regionally, as well as in D.C. and Harrisburg. It’s necessary to communicate regularly to make sure we are all on the same page.
Lunch is at the Rivers Club in One Oxford Centre with Steve Alschuler, a member of the Allegheny Conference’s Regional Investors Council—the public and private sector leaders from the region who make up the Conference’s membership. Steve recently heard me speak at a Leadership Pittsburgh event on the importance of early childhood education investment, and we are following up on a discussion.
Meeting in the evening for dinner at Poros in Market Square with Jake Pawlak and Dan Alwine, two of my former staffers to catch up and hear how things are going in their new ventures outside of Harrisburg.
Tuesday, January 26
Begin the day with another workout, this time a P90x routine called “plyometrics.”
Meet with Mid-Atlantic director of the Consumer Energy Alliance to catch up on the work that he is doing in southwestern Pennsylvania to support energy development and investment.
The afternoon consists of catching up on emails, planning for the rest of the week and developing the Chamber’s advocacy strategy for this year.
Wednesday, January 27
Breakfast at Pamela’s in Mt. Lebanon with a former constituent from my days in elected office and to catch up on some of the efforts I’m now leading at the Chamber. I always love a good opportunity to stop by the Mt. Lebanon location of one of Pittsburgh’s favorite diners.
Back in the office for a discussion with a member of our Regional Advocacy Coalition of Chambers (RACC). The RACC is a voluntary alliance of local chambers of commerce throughout the 10-county Pittsburgh region. The RACC advocates at all levels of government on issues that are important to improvement of the region’s economy.
Attend the Pittsburgh Business Times “Book of Lists” reception at the Rivers Casino. Evening events like this are great opportunities to maintain and build upon relationships which I started during my political career and that continue to be important in Chamber advocacy work on behalf of the region.
Thursday, January 28
Grab a morning coffee at Uptown Coffee in Mt. Lebanon and head into the office. Uptown is a great example of a local business doing great things in the community and investing in itself.
In the office to meet with Brandon Mendoza, the Chamber’s government affairs manager, who does a lot of our work at the local and federal levels.
The evening is taken up by my responsibilities as the assistant coach of the third grade Markham Elementary School girls’ basketball team. This is now my third year of coaching many of the same girls, and it is great to see their progress.
Friday, January 29
Friday begins with a board meeting for Jeremiah’s Place, a crisis nursery that provides a safe haven of respite for children and families during times of crisis. It is a wonderful resource for our community and a one-of-its-kind in western Pennsylvania. I am proud to be a small part of this venture. All the credit, however, goes to its three founders—Dr. Tammy Murdock, Dr. Lynne Williams and Eileen Sharbaugh—as well as Executive Director LouAnn Ross.
Later in the morning, we have our weekly update call with CompetePA, a coalition of businesses and organizations representing more than half the private sector employment in Pennsylvania and a group that wants to see the Commonwealth compete successfully for new jobs and investment. The Chamber helped to start the coalition in 2005, and it has taken the lead on many of CompetePA’s policy goals. We recently accomplished a longstanding policy goal with the elimination of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax in Pennsylvania, effective January 1, 2016. The tax served to tax businesses twice each year—for both business income and receipts, which wasn’t attractive to businesses looking to locate or grow here. We were very pleased to see the tax eliminated, once and for all.
Friday night is always pizza night for our family. There are several great options in the South Hills, but we usually get A’Pizza Badamo in Mt. Lebanon.
Tonight the Markham Elementary girls’ basketball team plays “under the lights” at 8 p.m., so we will head to Hoover Elementary School in Mt. Lebanon for the game.
Saturday, January 30
On Saturday mornings, I usually try to go as early as possible to Club Cycle to get the workout out of the way.
At some point on Saturday, I will stop in Rollier’s Hardware—family owned and operated (three generations going on four)—in the heart of Mt. Lebanon to pick up necessary things for the house. If you can’t find it at Rollier’s, chances are you won’t find it anywhere else.
In the evening, my wife and I head out to dinner with friends at Cucina Bella in Bridgeville—one of our favorite local establishments and owned by my friend Carmen Pirain.
Sunday, January 31
Taking my son Jameson to a bowling birthday party for one of his friends at AMF Mt. Lebanon Lanes. I hope he is a better bowler than his father.
Home for Sunday night television. I watch The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth on Showtime. It’s a real-time political reality show produced by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann (of Game Change and Double Down fame) on the 2016 presidential election, and it provides fascinating, behind-the-scenes views of the election.