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Posts tagged ‘PNC’

RMU Leading the Way in Enterprise Systems

In a world of smartphones, laptops, and tablets, it is surprising to learn that many businesses still rely on large mainframe computers. More than 70 percent of the world’s financial transactions are processed on IBM mainframe enterprise systems, says John Turchek, head of the Department of Computer and Information Systems at Robert Morris University.

In fact, “much of the data we use everyday is run through some sort of mainframe,” says RMU alumnus Michael Mihalchik, IT manager for Local 66 Combined Funds Inc., which handles benefits for members of the Operating Engineers union in Pittsburgh. Mihalchik holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from RMU, in business information systems and computer information systems respectively.

Unfortunately, many colleges and universities stopped teaching students how to manage mainframe systems 20 years ago, leaving many industries with a graying IT workforce. More than half could retire within the next four to eight years, according to Turchek. “I will let you imagine the consequences if these systems do not operate,” he said.

Enter RMU. The university revived its enterprise systems courses at the behest of local employers including Highmark, PNC, and BNY Mellon. A concentration in enterprise systems is available in all five of RMU’s undergraduate computing programs and in three of its five master’s programs.

IBM has called Robert Morris a model for others to follow and has provided the university with free use of mainframe systems for RMU students. Support from IBM has been critical to the early success of RMU’s enterprise systems program, given the expensive hardware required to teach mainframe skills. RMU has also done well to follow the advice of experts like Mihalchik, who is part of an industry advisory board that has informed the university’s enterprise systems coursework.

“We can see that Robert Morris is providing its students a solid, hands-on curriculum in mainframe instruction,” said David Brown, chief systems architect for the client service and partner technology group at BNY Mellon.

Brown suspects that within the next five years, other universities may begin providing similar training, but by then it may be too late to overtake RMU’s early action in this space. BNY Mellon is well aware of the challenge it faces in finding entry-level employees capable of managing mainframe-supported applications, so the corporation has plans to launch a mentoring program for IT workers that likely would include RMU.

Said Brown, “It’s not just BNY Mellon; it’s most of the larger, more technology-driven companies. You’re talking about the key businesses in Pittsburgh who are going to have this need.”

RMU’s Broke Little Rich Girl – Samantha Lugo ’07

BLRG TruckHometown: Manhattan, N.Y.
Current Residence: Pittsburgh (Robinson Township, 10 years)
RMU Degree: Corporate Communication, December 2007, Cum Laude
Occupation: Marketing Specialist II for PNC Bank’s corporate office
Owner: Broke Little Rich Girl, Inc.

How’d you come up with the name for your fashion truck?
The idea behind the name is…You don’t have to spend a ton of money to look like you’re completely rich!

When did you develop your passion for fashion?
I have always loved fashion. As a little girl I would design my clothes using my grandmother’s scarves. I think it’s an inherited trait, since I come from a family predominately made up of women who all have their own unique style and passion for fashion.

Tell me about the BLRG truck:
I found my truck through an online search, and I worked with close family friends, Rob and Bob, who renovated the interior and made my vision into a reality.

BLRG interior 2Do you do events?
Absolutely! I do ladies nights, bridal showers, birthday parties, fashion parties, and any event where a group of women want to get together and shop. I also participate in special events like festivals and parties that happening in and around the city.

Where can people find your truck on the weekends?
I am usually parked in the Strip District on 23rd and Penn Avenue in front of Marty’s Market. I also participate in events like festivals and parties, though, and on those weekends I keep my social media feeds updated so people know where I am and where they can find me.

What was your RMU experience like?
I enjoyed my time at Robert Morris. I met a lot of wonderful people and professors who took the time to get to know me and help me succeed. It was easy to just make an appointment with the dean to discuss my future plans. I knew that probably wouldn’t happen at another university.

BLRG interior 3What groups/activities did you belong to?
I served as an executive member of the Lambda Pi Eta communication honor society and founding member of the upcoming chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America. I was also a Dean’s Scholar, an RMU Woman of Achievement award recipient, and a member of the Pittsburgh Advertising Federation.

What are your plans for BLRG long term?
I would LOVE to have a fleet of BLRG trucks in every state! That is my long term goal.

Twitter: @BLRGInc

Interview by Valentine J. Brkich

RMU Grad Represents Pittsburgh at One Young World Conference

Katie Kirkpatrick '08

Katie Kirkpatrick ’08 doesn’t have TV or the Internet at home. But that doesn’t mean she’s not connected to the outside world.

Katie was recently one of 29 young professionals chosen to represent Pittsburgh at the One Young World forum in Zurich, Switzerland, September 1-4. She joined more than 1,300 other young professionals from around the world in this annual leadership development conference, which provides a forum for discussion on major world issues and features high-profile speakers such as South African archbishop Desmond Tutu and humanitarian/musician Bob Geldof.

Local nonprofits like the Pittsburgh Foundation and Pittsburgh Promise sent representatives to the forum, as did local corporations like PNC Financial Services Group, Federated Investors, UPMC, K&L Gates, and Alcoa. Katie was one of two representatives sent by Bayer, where she works as a communications representative.

Back in the early spring, Rebecca Lucore, executive director of Bayer Foundation and the developer of the One Young World Pittsburgh Partnership, wanted to increase the number of delegates from the city in an effort to try to draw the forum to Pittsburgh for 2012. She thought Katie was an ideal candidate because of her “commitment to the community and to developing those around her.”

The River Limmat

“We knew that she would really benefit from the kind of dialogue the conference provides,”  says Lucore. “and that she would bring that experience back here and use it in influential ways.”

Originally from Johnston, Pa., Katie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Robert Morris University with a double bachelor’s degree in communications and English. She also played on the women’s soccer team from 2004-07. This past April she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from RMU’s School of Education and Social Sciences.

And she couldn’t have been more excited to be selected for this unique opportunity.

“The world is becoming more of a global society and marketplace,” she says. “I wanted to hear perspectives from other young people from other countries who are also motivated and inspired to change the world.”

Within the first few hours of arriving in Zurich, Katie, who tweeted about the event via @KatieKirkpat, knew this was going to be a life-changing experience.

“You could feel the energy in the room and the potential power to make the world a better place.”

One of her favorite presenters was Jamie Oliver, star of the BBC’s “The Naked Chef” and the Emmy Award-winning “Jamie’s Food Revolution” (ABC). Oliver gave a presentation about the importance of nutrition literacy.

“People need to know about the importance of good nutrition,” she says. “Here at Bayer they teach science literacy to benefit people in the same way. The importance of educating our youth, the future generations and leaders of tomorrow, really hit home with me.”

Zurich streetscape

Without a doubt she says the most valuable part of the trip for her was the relationships she established with other people across the world.

“I have already connected with them,” she says. “Right now I’m talking with around 15 who are already starting projects.”

The Pittsburgh delegation was also there to push to have the city named as the host site for the 2012 gather

“I thought that I was inspired before I left,” says Katie. “But the inspiration I feel now is greater than I could ever imagine.”ing. Thanks to their efforts, the The Burgh beat out Johannesburg, South Africa, for the third annual conference, which will take place October 18-22, 2012, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Oh, and by the way…a correction to what I wrote earlier: Katie does own a television; it’s just not connected to anything.

“I haven’t had cable in three years,” she says. “But I might break down, eventually.”


Written by Valentine J. Brkich

Katie’s global adventure is the kind of life-changing experience we want to make available to all RMU students. Please help us make this possible by donating to the President’s Fund for Engaged Learning.

A Night to Remember at RMU

It was a cold, damp, gloomy evening in western Pennsylvania. But at Robert Morris University, it was one of the brightest, warmest nights in the school’s history.

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, close to 350 distinguished guests converged at the RMU campus in Moon Township for a special, three-pronged celebration marking the university’s 90-year anniversary, the opening of the brand new School of Business Complex, and the official announcement of the Changing Lives, Building Futures capital campaign. This celebration was a long time coming, and it was one that even Mother Nature couldn’t put a damper on.

The new School of Business Complex was the focal point of the celebration. As guests arrived they were escorted by students to the building, an 18,000-square-foot, LEED-certified facility that will serve as a high-tech learning laboratory for RMU students and a valuable resource for the business community at large. Inside, the guests got the chance to check out some of the building’s state-of-the-art technology, including the Interactive Learning Module in The ATI Center, the trading room inside the PNC Business Center, and the telepresence room inside the United States Steel Corporation Videoconferencing and Technology Center.

Video: RMU’s new School of Business Complex

The evening’s program was led off by a welcome from RMU President Gregory G. Dell’Omo who spoke of RMU’s impressive transformation over its 90 years and its important role in the transformation and strengthening of the region’s economy. Dr. Dell’Omo was followed by Richard J. Harshman, chairman, president, and CEO of Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI); James E. Rohr, chairman and CEO of PNC Financial Services Inc.; Susan M. Kapusta, Ph.D., general manger of community affairs and president of the United States Steel Foundation Inc.; Gary R. Claus, managing director of The Jade Group and vice chair of RMU’s Board of Trustees.

Another one of the evening’s speakers was David J. Malone, chairman and CEO of Gateway Financial and chairman of RMU’s Changing Lives, Building Futures campaign. Under Malone’s leadership, and despite a recession, RMU was able to raise $36 million thus far toward its goal of $40 million. One of the evening’s highlights was when Claus surprised Malone by presenting him with the inaugural David J. Malone Volunteer Service Award.

“This was a memorable evening for Robert Morris University,” said Jay T. Carson, RMU’s senior vice president for institutional advancement. “It was great to see the many benefactors, from so many different levels, all gathered together to show their support RMU’s mission and vision. Without them, none of this would have been possible, and we are truly grateful.”


Written by Valentine J. Brkich