Have you ever wondered who brings the party? Want to know the right person to know? Does that person give you Déjà vu? This list who tells you who they are.
For the second year running, I’ve applied facial recognition to the my photo archive to find the most photographed people in Pittsburgh. What makes this list unique is you can’t buy your way on – you have to be seen out. Also, to keep it fresh, once you’re on the list you’re retired running again.
2016 Data Pool: 9,300 photos, 7,300 faces, 513 named, in 700 events.
Anna is the definition of chic. She is a stylish model and elegant vocalist without the rock star attitude. On top of that, she compliments those skills with being a fashion consultant at Boutique La Passerelle. Her personality is the beat to themed events.
Anton & Rachel Miriello
In 2016, Anton and Rachel tied the knot in the most nefarious wedding you could imagine. Their league of evil gathered in Braddock’s unkempt theater to wish them the worst in their villainous affairs… And that’s as normal as it gets for them. They own Trundle Manor, a labyrinth of oddities, robots, and taxidermy. As far as damned souls go, you won’t find a more eccentric pair. You can pay fanfare to the ghoulish Pittsburgh royalty at hot rod and goth events; or you can just visit them at their house.
Todd & Dorna Javadi Palcic
Todd and Dorna have hearts the size of the Allegheny. Being seen is not even on their mind as they support causes from charities to non-profits. They even open their home to fundraiser for City of Asylum, Pittsburgh Promise, and the American Refugee Committee. They could live anywhere, but call the Mexican War Streets home where they raise their two kids. Professionally, Todd is on the forefront of Pittsburgh’s real estate revival where he has many projects including Lando Lofts. I’ve hung out with Todd many times outside of events and asked him about their philosophy. His words are simple, “Contribute to communities small and large; we’re all in this together.”
Ilana is the managing director at Alphalab Gear in East Liberty. There she advises young entrepreneurs with hardware startups. She is a skilled negotiator that finds unique ways for everyone to win. I’ve had the privilege to cover her program for four years. That’s where I learned of her real super power: community. Ilana reaches out and builds a vast community by attending pitch-fests, hack-a-thons, and even opening up her own space for outside events. When a startup needs help, and they inevitably do, it’s that community she established that is there to help.
There is only one word in my mind to describe Josh: Transformative. Empathy is his super power. When he sees us hurting, he images a blueprint to fix it. Though it may just be a rough sketch, he fills in the details as he goes. No fluff here. Josh is an activist rebuilding our city. Don’t worry about first impressions, he understands second chances. This year he holds the record for being photographed at the widest range of events. Art crawls, neighborhood meetings, and even weeding at the community farm. When you see him out, thank him for all the work he does.
Mark Flaherty & Mary McKinney
Mark and Mary have hit the scene pretty hard this year. Impressively, they always have a new outfit to wear to each of gala. Their professional credentials could fill a book, however I want to focus on which events they support. Mark looks for events that unify and connect different culture. Events that incorporate art, music, and theatre are must goes for him. Good examples are the Quantum Theatre Q-Ball, Attack Theatre’s One Night Stand, and Cultural Trust Gala. Mary looks for events that showcase compassion. Her TED Talk would totally be on the Power of Gratitude and Acceptance. This should come as no surprise as she is an avid Yoga practitioner. Together, they’re having a blast that’s hard not to notice when you meet them.
Wow! Natalie is a ninja. She came out of no where. She biked everywhere. Her sense of humor is weird. But, I assure you she’s funnier than most people we know. She was a fellow at Healthy Ride, but now she rules as the Communications Director at Green Building Alliance. As you can probably ascertain by her roles, she’s great at meeting people and seeing the best in them. Her tl;dr: Natalie is determined to conquer Pittsburgh with one smile at a time.
Mike is addicted to the latest technology. The problem with that is you always have to be searching for the next thing. And Mike does. Mike was seen at the most technology events in Pittsburgh. He speaks to a wide arrange of people from students to CEOs. I originally met Mike when he was Program Director of Alphalab. I had actually had long hair back then! He left for a short stint at Google, and now he’s Operations Director over at Alloy 26. If you’re looking for someone that finds the latest and greatest in technology before others. Talk to Mike.
Vivien just moved to Pittsburgh but she is making waves. Her super power is sharing goals. As commander and chief of Riverlife, she brings organizations together to revitalize the river fronts. What’s fascinating about Vivian is the scope of events she attends: Fundraiser, openers, and backyard barbecues. If you told her there was no fast track to networking, she’d start her own railroad company and build one. I suspect she’ll become one of Pittsburgh’s best collaborators in record time.
Nina (Pronounced Nine-Ah) hawks art from the back of vans. And Most Wanted Fine Arts. And Unblurred. Well, technically, they’ve moved on from their Penn Avenue MWFA space. Nina is now a nomadic artist trader. In the Pittsburgh arts scene, she is a super connector. She has about everyone’s phone number and at least one work of art from them. Aside from Casey Droege, Nina is the one you call when you’re looking for a unique piece for your own collection. Lastly, she is seen most at community events with the guy she is married to…
All American Art Hero, Jason Sauer, will crash directly into your world. His art is part car part ballistic missile when he gets them up to speed. Life is a demolition derby for this character. I’m not quite sure when the derby begins or ends. He’s a multi-talented threat with a real estate background and construction background. Not only can he knock the house down, he can rebuild it, make it better than before, and decorate it with post-modern graffiti. Damn, he loves Pittsburgh. I see him at all the events supporting community farms to art openings.
Renee is one of the most generous people you’ll meet. She mentors at Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteers at the Children’s Hospital, and sits on a variety of boards. Instead of making bank as a corporate lawyer she has dedicated her career to women and impoverished individuals in need. She serves as the Executive Director of Laurel Legal Services, Inc. Renee can be seen at galas and soirees that support the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, DePaul School for Hearing and Speech, and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Sara is a political powerhouse reshaping the landscape in South Western Pennsylvania. Her primary focus is empowering women through New Voices Pittsburgh and She Runs SWPA. She is on the streets, at art openings, and making cameos on podcasts around the region. She’s even organized events such as the Steel City Code Fest. If you’re looking for someone who has one of the most diverse set of friends, it’s her. I’m sure with as much love as she’s pouring into the community she’ll have no issues running to be State Representative for District 21.
Chad doesn’t deserve to be on this list. He’s not a even person. He’s a god damn cyborg. He’s modified his body to sense electricity, open doors, and more. This bio-hacker extraordinaire doesn’t stop there. His robotic resume includes being President of HackPittsburgh, Produced over eight Maker Faires, and Board Member of Nation of Makers which just spun out of the White House initiative. He is a machine. If you have a chance to meet with him, destroy him before he becomes Skynet.
Zack is one of the most genuine people you’ll meet. He was a successful account that changed career because he felt he could help more for people in need. As the Executive Director of Repair the World: Pittsburgh, he coordinates a group of fellows every year that go out and assist other non-profits with volunteer goals. His ability to collaborate and share is one of the reasons 412 Food Rescue, which shares their office, was able to deliver 1.5 Million pounds of food to families in need.
Did we miss someone, or want to say congrats?
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Data Notes: Bill Peduto, Rich Fitzgerald, and the Solomon family were not included. They pretty much share the lifetime achievement award for most seen.