Institute of Politics

Elected Officials Retreat - 2014

The eighteenth annual Elected Officials Retreat examined the topic of “Collaborative Leadership: The Power of Public, Private, and Nonprofit Partnerships.” The retreat attempted to identify collaborative leaders who created successful public, private, and nonprofit partnerships, both within and outside of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The opening session of the Retreat featured a panel discussion moderated by David Ruppersberger, who served as the director of joint economic development initiatives for both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The panel included Tim McNulty of Carnegie Mellon, Audrey Russo of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, and Byron Kohut, the director of energy programs at Westmoreland County Community College. This panel highlighted ways in which collaborative leadership has helped to grow certain sectors of the region’s economy. Following the opening panel was a panel of state legislators, who commented on the ways in which collaborative leadership has led to important projects within their districts and across the state.

After dinner, key players in the formation of Strategy 21 presented on the creation and impact of the initiative. It was a forward-looking public private partnership between the Allegheny County commissioners, the Allegheny Conference, the City of Pittsburgh, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. This partnership, unique at its time, resulted in the completion of a number of major development initiatives that are integral to our economy and our community today. The Carnegie Science Center, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Convention Center, the Heinz History Center, and other key projects are all featured in the Strategy 21 proposals, which date from 1985 to the early 1990s. Rick Stafford moderated a discussion between the panelists that provided some background information on the partnership. In his closing remarks, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald helped connect the Strategy 21 program with today’s county and regional development initiatives.

On Friday, the Retreat examined the use of public private partnerships across various sectors. It began by looking at intergovernmental cooperation and partnerships in the areas of environmental policy and shale gas development with Barry Rabe, a Brookings Institution fellow and the director of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Then, Timothy Weston, a partner at K & L Gates with years of experience at the state government level, discussed public private partnerships in Pennsylvania. To close, Lisa Schroeder from RiverLife led a discussion about how to create a culture of partnership and collaboration in our region.

Coleman Award Winners

Please note that the titles and organizations listed reflect the position held by the awardee when he/she received the award.

  • Edie Shapira, president, board of directors, The Pittsburgh Foundation
  • Rick Stafford, distinguished service professor of public policy, Carnegie Mellon University

Materials