Three Leaders Receive Top Honors in Pittsburgh Smart 50

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Executives of Aesynt, Universal Stainless and Tollgrade recognized for innovation, impact, sustainability

Smart Business magazine recognized three top executives for innovation, impact and sustainability in the region during its inaugural Smart 50 Awards event in Pittsburgh Nov. 19.

“The top honorees in these select categories are visionary leaders in the region who have energy and passion, taking innovation to the next level and are truly making a difference in the community,” said Dustin S. Klein, publisher of Smart Business, a publisher of 14 regional business publications including Smart Business Pittsburgh. “They have gone above and beyond what it takes to effectively build and lead successful organizations that have a strong impact on the community and the greater region.”

Edward Kennedy, who joined Tollgrade Communications as CEO and president in 2010, earned the Innovation award. Within his first year, he launched Lighthouse, the company’s flagship offering for the smart grid market, to diversify Tollgrade’s product portfolio. Deployments and revenue from smart grid sensors doubled in 2012 and 2013. Last year, the company was recognized as the market share leader in its technology category.

Aesynt Inc. CEO Kraig McEwen, who joined the former McKesson Automation as CEO in November 2011, earned the Impact award. Aesynt has launched more new products in the past 12 months than in the previous four years combined. The new products are designed to reduce medication costs for health systems while increasing quality.

Dennis Oates, Chairman, president and CEO of Universal Stainless, was honored for Sustainability. He has refocused the entire company on a relentless pursuit of best-in-class lead times, on-time performance and customer responsiveness.

The judging panel defined each of the categories as follows:

  •     Innovation as an action that creates or improves upon finding new ways to execute old established ways, preceded by a vision and building culture around it.
  •     Impact as a way to measure results of innovation, including growth and revenue, employment, and giving back to the community.
  •     Sustainability or business continuity as the ability of an organization to be built for the long haul, a combination of innovation and impact.

Keynote speaker Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference, put the awards in context by sharing the region’s economic successes of the last several years. He noted that more people are working in southwestern Pennsylvania today than ever before and that the unemployment rate for the region is below the national average at 5.2%. Yablonsky also reminded the audience that Pittsburgh is listed as among the most livable cities, best places to visit, and happiest cities, as well as earning recognition as a top region for younger professionals to live and work

WPXI lead meteorologist Stephen Cropper and Dustin Klein of Smart Business shared emcee duties and presented the awards to all 50 honorees.

A full list of the honorees and profiles of each are available online at:

The awards ceremony was held at the Marriott Pittsburgh City Center in downtown Pittsburgh, and was presented by Chase and sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Fragasso Financial Advisor, the HDH Group, Clark Hill and the Marriott Pittsburgh City Center.

To receive a nomination form for the 2015 awards program, or to learn more about the Smart 50, please contact: Meredith Rankin at mrankin(at)sbnonline(dot)com, or 440-250-7023.

About the Smart 50 Awards
The Smart 50 Awards recognize the top executives of the 50 smartest companies in the region for their ability to effectively build and lead successful organizations. Eligible “Smart 50” nominees must lead organizations that are either headquartered in the region where the awards are being presented or have a physical presence.

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Paul Furiga

Dustin Klein
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