Four local leaders look forward to the year ahead
Everyone starts the new year with the best of intentions. From hitting the gym to saving more, or drinking less, January is a time for new habits, new experiences, and attempts at self-improvement.
Very Local talked to Pittsburghers with big plans for 2019, both personally and professionally. Check out their very local, Pittsburgh-based New Year’s resolutions below.
Lou Castelli, Managing Director, Pittsburgh Public Theater
Lou Castelli joined the Pittsburgh Public Theater in 2018. With a year of new beginnings behind him, Castelli reflects on a year of professional and personal highlights, “Professionally, it’s been a highlight seeing so many familiar faces as well as first-time visitors attending performances at the O’Reilly. Personally, it was the opening of the Mon Wharf pedestrian and bike ramp, created by Riverlife. It’s cool that people are now able to access the Monongahela riverfront downtown.”
Castelli doesn’t plan to slow down momentum in 2019, “It’s my goal to open The Public’s doors as wide as possible to welcome in all of Pittsburgh to experience the stories we tell on our stage.” And he isn’t stopping there, “I’d also like to make it to Amazing Yoga at least twice a week.”
Erin Gatz, CEO & Co-Founder, Prototype Pittsburgh
2018 was a year of growth for North Oakland-based feminist makerspace Prototype. “One of the resolutions for Prototype in 2019 is to launch an incubator for women-owned businesses… Until now we’ve been a space for workshops and equipment use, but this will be the first time where we’re actually going to be housing these companies and conducting monthly trainings.” The inaugural incubator class includes Dump Star Media, Knee-Kini, Rabble, and Hannah Eko Consulting.
In 2019, Gatz plans to continue supporting the business women she met through a grant from the BNY Mellon Foundation in 2018. “My goal for 2019 is to continue working with those women and not let the end of this grant be the end of our partnership. Those organizations Ujamaa Collective, Black Unicorn Library and Archives Project, Flower House, and A Peace of Mind.”
Brian Gaudio, CEO, Module
Similar to the designs of the homes themselves, Module founder and CEO Brian Gaudio has just one resolution for the design startup in 2019: “Keep it simple. We want to finish the first house for our customer, for our first customer in Friendship and, delight our first customer.”
And personally, Gaudio plans to take on the Great Allegheny Passage. “I want to leave Pittsburgh on my bicycle and make it to DC on my bicycle,” explains Gaudio. “Maybe if it’s written in the news somewhere then I’ll actually do it.”
Kendyl Ryan and Dan Rodriguez, Chef/Owner, Duncan St.
In 2018, chef/owner duo Kendyl Ryan and Dan Rodriguez were finally able to open a brick and mortar location of their concept restaurant, Duncan St., of their famed Duncan St. Dinners. “We have been doing our dinner series out of our home for the past 4 and a half years and it feels really good to have a place of our own to host our dinners,” Ryan explains. “On top of that, having the shop allows us to serve sandwiches. Not only do we love sandwiches, but also, we love being able to provide a more affordable meal to everyone on a daily basis.”
In the new year, Ryan and Rodriguez hope to explore the Millvale community they’ve become a part of with the opening of their restaurant. “It has been such a welcoming, awesome community to us since we have started visiting the neighborhood, and now that we have our shop there we feel even stronger about the Millvale and our neighbors. We would love to be more active in the small business community (BAM, or the business association of Millvale) here as well,” says Ryan.
While 2018 was a whirlwind of change and activity, Ryan hopes to keep the momentum moving forward; “We have only been open a short amount of time and we are very happy and proud of the way it has been going.”