The weather may be chilly when PCMA Convening Leaders 2019 heads to Pittsburgh Jan. 6–9, but no attendee will be left out in the cold. When it comes to activities outside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center — whether you’re interested in baseball, scenery, or even the macabre — the ‘Burgh has something for you. Got a few spare hours? Here are 10 places to check out.
1197 W. Carson St., (412) 381-1665, duquesneincline.org
Take a ride up the Duquesne Incline to Mount Washington (shown in photo above) for a spectacular view of Pittsburgh and its three rivers. It’s worth the effort even in January, an incline representative assured Convene — just dress for cold weather. Opened on May 20, 1877, the Duquesne Incline was rescued and restored by a group of local residents in 1963 and has been operating ever since. The upper station houses a museum of the city’s history.
1501 Arch St., (412) 342-8152, randy.land
Artist Randy Gibson bought his house with a credit card in 1995, eventually turning it into a cathedral of curb art. Now Randy lives and works at the bedazzled home, welcoming visitors seven days a week, who marvel at the outdoor murals, house-sized map, mirror wall, and psychedelic staircase he has created with paint and found objects. No need to make an appointment, just come on by and snap the most spectacular selfies ever.
Artist Randy Gilson wanted to bring happiness to his Northside neighborhood, so he turned his house into Randyland. (Photo: Phil Scalia)
Snow might be falling in the back yard of Randyland in January, but it will still be bright as ever. (Photo: Adam Isovitsch)
372 Freeport Road, (412) 963-9552, Bob’s on Facebook
The spirit of Christmas extends from November to March at Bob’s Garage, a bar that goes all out on holiday lighting — think “Deck the Halls,” the 2006 film in which Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick square off to create the best Christmas light display. It’s all for a good cause at Bob’s, which raises money to supply holiday meals and gifts for underprivileged kids and senior citizens. We hear they serve strong mixed drinks, beer, sandwiches, burgers, and more. If you’ve arrived early for Convening Leaders, come for karaoke Saturday night.
7724 Juniata St., (412) 916-5544, trundlemanor.com
This one’s not for the faint of heart, but fans of the “Addams Family” are going to love it. Built in 1910, Trundle Manor houses “the most bizarre private collection on public display” of things floating in jars, antique taxidermy, scary weapons, old electro-shock therapy machines, coffins, and “any other thing your twisted mind will want to look at,” according to its website. Let your freak flag fly, people! Tours (of up to 15 people at a time) last 45 minutes and will either delight or traumatize. Contact proprietors Mr. Arm and Velda Von Minx for an appointment.
Mr. Arm and Velda Von Minx have amassed a large collection of the bizarre at Trundle Manor in Pittsburgh. (Photo: Trundle Manor)
115 Federal St., (412) 325-4700, email@example.com
Even in the off-season, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates offers group tours on Mondays and Fridays. The tour includes a look inside the Legacy Theater and Museum, where visitors learn some Pirates history and view memorabilia. Although the tour changes, other highlights have included the players’ clubhouse, training room, batting cages, dugout, and press box. Groups must make a reservation 10 days prior to the tour.
PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, sits along the Allegheny River on the North Shore of Pittsburgh. (Photo: VisitPittsburgh)
4016 Butler St., (412) 687-2555, belvederesultradive.com
A dance club with a message to patrons — You are beautiful — painted right on a wall, Belvedere’s welcomes everyone with its zero-tolerance harassment policy. Patrons can enjoy cheap drinks, a large beer selection, pool, darts, pinball, karaoke, and even yoga. The bar schedules a variety of themed dance parties and rock shows.
225 St. Charles Place, (412) 782-4231, bayernhofmuseum.com
When Charles B. Brown III completed his “castle” in 1982, he wanted a house that gave him a great view of Pittsburgh and the surrounding countryside. Now a museum, Brown’s mansion displays his collection of music boxes and other antique automatic music machines. It also gives winter visitors an incredible (and warm) view of the Allegheny River from its glass-walled south side. Check out the gambling hall, billiard room, and an office reached via a hidden door and secret passageway. Another hidden door takes visitors to the Secret Cave, complete with stalactites, stalagmites, and small waterfalls, before opening to the swimming pool room. Pittsburgh’s “best kept secret” offers guided tours by appointment.
The Bayernhof Museum houses a world-class collection of music boxes and other antique automatic music machines, as well as other big surprises. (Photo: Adam Isovitsch)
St. Anthony Chapel
1704 Harpster St., (412) 998-4401, saintanthonyschapel.org
Visitors to St. Anthony Chapel might be stunned to find more than 5,000 holy relics — some dating back to before 500 AD — housed here. In the 1800s, Catholic priest Suitbert Godfrey Mollinger bought the relics from churches and monasteries in politically chaotic Europe. Among his acquisitions, it is believed, were remains and possessions of Jesus and Mary, as well as those of apostles, martyrs, and saints — including a tooth from the chapel’s namesake, Saint Anthony of Padua. The relics are displayed in more than 800 gold and jewel-encrusted reliquaries.
3339 Penn Ave., (412) 621-1268, clementemuseum.com
Housed in historic Engine House 25, the museum is dedicated to baseball legend and noted humanitarian Roberto Clemente. Sure, it has the world’s largest exhibited collection of baseball artifacts and memorabilia related to Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates, but you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy your visit. You’ll also find art, literature, photographs, and exhibits that help explain the racial and cultural prejudices Clemente and others faced in the 1950s. And if that’s not enough reason to visit, there’s Arriba — the museum’s owner Duane Rieder has turned his winemaking passion into an on-site wine bar. The museum is open by appointment and offers group tours.
The Clemente Museum exhibits baseball artifacts and memorabilia related to Roberto Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Photo: Duane Rieder Gallery)
Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning
4200 Fifth Ave., (412) 624-6000, nationalityrooms.pitt.edu
Housed in the Cathedral of Learning, a national historic landmark, the Nationality Rooms are a group of 30 classrooms that were designed to represent the cultures of various ethnic groups that helped build the city of Pittsburgh. The first classrooms — the Scottish, Russian, German, and Swedish rooms — were dedicated in 1938, while the most recent room, representing Korea, was dedicated in 2015.
The Ukranian Room, part of the Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning, represents a reception room of an 18th Century Ukranian noble family. (Photo: Nationality Rooms)
Sherrif Karamat, President and Chief Executive Officer
Sherrif Karamat, CAE, is President and Chief Executive Officer of PCMA. Karamat also serves as President of the PCMA Foundation and Publisher of Convene magazine.
As CEO, Karamat leads the vision, mission and promise for PCMA’s global family of brands. Karamat serves the greater business events industry as a prominent business architect, enabling our community to become a catalyst for economic and social progress, organizational success, and personal and professional development.
In his previous role as Chief Operating Officer, Karamat led the development and implementation of PCMA’s new vision: driving global economic and social transformation through business events. In addition to his responsibilities at executive level, Karamat also directed streamlining of PCMA’s content creation and delivery channels into one organization. He oversaw partnership, business services, membership, business development and technology teams.
As part of PCMA’s growth strategy, Karamat has led a major data intelligence program and played a key role in the 2017 acquisition of Incentive Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP).
A leader in the business events industry, Karamat previously served as Vice President of Business Sales and Services for Toronto Convention & Visitors (Tourism Toronto). He has served on various boards and is currently a director on the Destination International Board of Trustees.
Karamat is a life-long learner. In addition to completing his bachelor’s degree and Masters of Business Administration from York University in Toronto, Canada, he has completed postgraduate certificate programs at Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. At Harvard Business and Law School, he completed a program on strategic negotiations for senior executives and a program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one on data intelligence and big data.
Robert Haas, Chief Administrative Officer
Robert Haas is responsible for PCMA’s IT, human resources, data and finance departments as its first Chief Administrative Officer. He utilizes data, content and personalized experiences to help PCMA better understand its members’ needs and develop an audience-focused strategy.
Haas has more than 15 years of database marketing, product development and consulting experience from working in business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries. He understands how innovation, research and technology intersect and evaluates what is leading edge versus cutting edge.
Haas will leverage data to determine best practices in business events and how the industry can drive global economic and social transformation.
He previously served as PCMA’s Chief Innovation Officer. He joined PCMA as Vice President of Business Development and Data Intelligence. His previous roles include Senior Vice President of Strategic Product Development and Marketing at Scranton Gillette Communications Inc. and in direct response marketing for Tribune Direct.
He has a bachelor’s degree in international business from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin.
Mona Cotton, Chief Business Officer
As Chief Business Officer, Mona Cotton leads the Business Development, Client and Member Services, and Business Services teams. She has more than 20 years of business leadership experience in the areas of partnership, sponsorship, business development, media publishing and business services.
Cotton, a PCMA leader for more than 15 years, takes a strategic approach to transforming PCMA’s client relationships and business opportunities. Her role at PCMA is to facilitate connections between business-to-business organizations and business-to-consumer operations, identifying opportunities to fuel economic and social progress and success for PCMA and its members, customers and clients.
While she has watched as business events shifted from logistics to engagement, Cotton said the value of relationships remains steadfast in the industry.
Prior to PCMA, Cotton led and supported various sales efforts at the National Association of REALTORS, Airborne Express (now DHL) and Fox Associates, a Chicago-based magazine representative firm. She received a bachelor’s degree in marketing and advertising from Indiana University.
Michelle Crowley oversees regional brand development, content outreach and innovation as PCMA’s first Chief Growth & Innovation Officer. She is responsible for regional and revenue development in the Americas, Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions. In addition, Crowley is responsible for education and product development.
She leads PCMA’s global growth strategy by evaluating and identifying how the organization can deliver value to its members through new and existing business models, education programs and new products.
Crowley began her career at PCMA and continues to work with global travel brands, build strategic relationships and partnerships with key markets, and design year-round engagement campaigns. She has held various positions at PCMA including Vice President for Global Growth and Business Transformation.
Crowley is 2019 MBA graduate of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She received her bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Meredith Rollins, Chief Community Officer
As PCMA’s first Chief Community Officer, Meredith Rollins leads the community engagement team.
The team delivers programs and services that strengthen the connections between PCMA members, facilitate knowledge sharing and advance the network of professionals in the global business events industry. Her key areas of responsibility include community and chapter engagement, research, social impact and volunteerism. She remains Executive Director of the PCMA Foundation.
Rollins joined PCMA in 2007 and held roles in project management, global development and account management with the PCMA partnership program. She was Director of Strategic Development for the Association for Corporate Growth, a global community for middle-market M&A business leaders from 2012 to 2015. Rollins became Executive Director of the PCMA Foundation in 2015.
Rollins received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Gina Meier, Director, Human Resources
Gina Meier is Director of Human Resources for PCMA, a position she has held since 2006. She is responsible for helping PCMA execute its vision of driving global economic and social transformation through its human capital.
Her responsibilities including professional development, culture, talent development, employee integration and employee engagement.
Meier began her human resources career in 1999 as human resources manager for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide LLC, now a subsidiary of Marriott International Inc. She previously worked as director and manager in Starwood’s housekeeping division.
Meier received a bachelor’s degree in hotel/motel administration and management from Eastern Illinois University.
Bruce MacMillan, Chief Marketing Officer
Bruce MacMillan is responsible for PCMA’s global brand development and marketing strategies as PCMA’s Chief Marketing Officer. He leads the marketing, events and print and digital teams, which includes Convene magazine.
MacMillan has more than 30 years of experience in the global business events and tourism industry and has worked with business enterprises on every continent. His past leadership roles include CEO of VisitDFW, a regional consumer content marketing venture, CEO of Meeting Professionals International and CEO of Tourism Toronto.
He developed and led Vancouver, B.C.’s successful national bid for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. MacMillan also runs BANDWIDTH consultancy, advising destinations on event sales and marketing strategies and served as consortium consulting partner in the Destinations International DestinationNEXT global initiative.
MacMillan has received numerous awards including twice being named one of the Top Twenty most influential people in the global MICE industry.