CEO and lead team of Pittsburgh International Airport visit Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield

13 May 2019


Christina Cassotis, Chief Executive Officer of Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County Airport in Pennsylvania, United States, and two of her Senior Vice Presidents recently visited Sheffield to see its Advanced Manufacturing Park, including the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, the Factory 2050, and the AMRC’s Training Centre.

Picture caption (from L to R): William Beckett, Chairman of the International Trade Forum (ITF); Liz Cragg, Mistress Cutler; Sam Forster, Founder of Thinkfast Consultancy; Paul Hoback, Senior Vice President, Pittsburgh International Airport; Katherine Karolick, Senior Vice President, Pittsburgh International Airport; Nick Cragg, Master Cutler; Peter Edwards, CEO of the International Trade Forum (ITF); Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Chair of the AMRC with Boeing, and Nuclear AMRC; Christina Cassotis, Chief Executive Officer of Pittsburgh International Airport

Pittsburgh and Sheffield have traditionally been twinned as steel cities. In the last 30 years both have experienced sharp downturns in steel manufacturing and have been forced to reinvent themselves. Each of them now has a vibrant hi-tech economy closely aligned to internationally renowned universities. Pittsburgh is the home of major US corporates, including Alcoa/Arconic (mining/metals), Heinz Foods, PNC Bank, PPG Industries (paints/coatings), and Westinghouse (nuclear engineering). It also hosts major offices for Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and other technology companies.

The Pittsburgh team was keen to learn from the experiences of Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Chair at the AMRC with Boeing, and Nuclear AMRC. Since 2000 Professor Ridgway and his team have pioneered a stunning transformation of the Orgreave coking plant site, where the infamous ‘Battle of Orgreave’ took place in June 1984 between striking coal miners and police, into a world class advanced manufacturing research zone, home to companies such as Boeing, McLaren Technologies and Rolls-Royce. 

Over the last four years, under the stewardship of Ms Cassotis, Pittsburgh International Airport has nearly doubled the number of nonstop destinations, including European cities such as London and Frankfurt.  She and her colleagues were in the UK for the re-inauguration after 20 years of the nonstop British Airways flight from Heathrow to Pittsburgh, using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Pittsburgh International Airport is currently designing a billion-dollar Terminal Modernisation Programme and has recently broken ground on a 3,500-hectare Innovation Campus for hi-tech and advanced manufacturing companies.

As well as hearing from Professor Ridgway the airport lead team was in Sheffield to forge meaningful long-term business relationships. With that in mind they were accompanied during the day by William Beckett, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region International Trade Forum (ITF), Peter Edwards, CEO of the ITF, and the Master and Mistress Cutler of Sheffield, Nick and Liz Cragg.

Christina Cassotis said: “We hope to build on this visit by coming back to Sheffield and look forward to welcoming businesses from the North of England in Pittsburgh soon. The Pittsburgh region has transformed to a growing and diversified economy that includes key industries like technology and advanced manufacturing. The fact that British Airways selected Pittsburgh as one of its newest destinations really is an example of how far our region has come.”

William Beckett said “It was an amazing day and as well as witnessing the fantastic achievements of the AMRC it opened our eyes to the potential business opportunities in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania. We have already stirred interest with some of the companies in our region who welcome the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh using the new BA nonstop flights. We look forward to arranging two-way trade missions to follow up on this visit.”

The Pittsburgh delegation visit to Sheffield was arranged and hosted by Mark Ashton, Founder and CEO of Resolve Gets Results© (Resolve), a North of England-based business consultancy which helps scientific, technological, engineering and manufacturing businesses of all sizes to grow and achieve outstanding long-term results. He previously led a UK-owned textile machinery sales and service company in Charlotte, North Carolina which grew from $6 million to $20 million sales in four years.

Resolve is the official North America partner for Chamber International, the international division of West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. It has a network of strong business relationships in the US and Canada. Resolve Transatlantic helps UK companies to succeed in North America and North American companies to succeed in the UK and Europe.


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