Dateline Pittsburgh for 01/01/12

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Associations & Organizations

The Better Business Bureau of Western PA hired Michelle Hickey Cerminara as dispute resolution specialist; Kathy Geiger, information specialist; and Caitlin Vancas, public relations director.

Investment Services

Mark C. Yanni joined Yanni & Associates Investment Advisors LLC as an associate.


Ryan Sciullo, vice president with CBRE Investment Properties Private Capital Group, joined the board of directors of Three Rivers Adoption Council.


Seegrid Corp. hired Jack Mason as senior electrical engineer; Sana Ali as applications engineer; and Brian Aldridge, senior systems administrator.


Steven R. Little, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering, was awarded the 2012 Young Investigator Award from the Society For Biomaterials. The award annually recognizes outstanding achievements in biomaterials research within 10 years following his terminal degree or formal training. Mr. Little is assistant professor and Bicentennial Alumni Faculty Fellow of chemical engineering, bioengineering, immunology and The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the Swanson School.

Randall Brand -- director of UPMC's Gastroenterology Malignancy Early Detection, Diagnosis and Prevention Program and a pancreatic cancer expert -- will be the 2011 recipient of the national Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research's First Annual Moore Memorial Award. Agi Hirshberg, president and founder of the foundation, said this award represents the foundation's passionate commitment to finding a cure for pancreatic cancer. Dr. Brand's research studies focus on the early detection of pancreatic cancer and pancreaticobiliary disorders. He specializes in the care of individuals at high risk for developing the disease.

Uhuru Hotep, associate director of Duquesne University's Michael P. Weber Learning Skills Center and the Robert and Patricia Gussin Spiritan Division of Academic Programs, received a Men of Excellence award from the New Pittsburgh Courier. A co-founder of the Duquesne Project for Academic Coaching through Tutoring, Mr. Hotep is also a consultant to the Kwame Ture Leadership Institute. With the help of grants from the Alkebulan Foundation, he created The Johari Sita: The Six Jewels of African Centered Leadership, the nation's first African-centered, leadership-fellowship training program.

Employees at First Commonwealth were recognized for high levels of service to the community: John Garrison, vice president and loan services operations manager, was honored with the Golden Tower Award; Kimmie Cavrak, accountant, and Craig Coon, business banker, were recipients of the Spirit of Community Service Award. The Golden Tower Award recognizes the critical role many First Commonwealth employees play in making communities better places for their families and neighbors. Each quarter, two employees receive the Spirit of Community Service Award, which recognizes a high level of community commitment by employees.

Robert Fragasso -- founder, chairman and CEO, Fragasso Financial Advisors -- received the Fred Rogers Good Neighbor Award at Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania's Spirit of Enterprise Award. Junior Achievement annually celebrates Pittsburgh business people and organizations whose extraordinary efforts have enriched their communities. Honorees have exhibited strong leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit, and adhere to a high level of ethical principles.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Medicaid population, John Lovelace, president of UPMC for You, was awarded the Joy Wheeler Leadership Award by the Medicaid Health Plans of America. UPMC for You is the fastest-growing Medical Assistance program in Western Pennsylvania and was ranked the No. 1 Medicaid plan in Pennsylvania and No. 10 in the nation by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Mr. Lovelace is program chair for MHPA, is vice chair of the MHPA Center for Best Practices and chairs its Health Insurance Exchange Work Group and its Task Force on Serious Mental Illness.

John Robinson, registered nurse for Amedisys Hospice Care, was named the Caregiver of the Year in Hospice by the company. Mr. Robinson, who has been employed by Amedisys for three years and has worked as a health care professional for more than 10 years, was nominated by his peers at the local Amedisys care center in Monongahela. The Caregiver of the Year Award was presented to Robinson for having the utmost respect for patients and their families; positively influencing patients and families; promoting patient independence; demonstrating sterling observation skills; being knowledgeable of patient care and competency in personal care skills; proving to be flexible toward assignments; and functioning as a contributing member of the home care team to achieve patient positive outcomes.

Helen Hanna Casey, president of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, was awarded an honorary doctoral degree at Carlow University. As president of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, the fourth-largest full-service real estate company in the United States, Ms. Hanna Casey rose through the ranks from an entry level position as sales associate in 1975 to manager, regional vice president, then to her current role of leading more than 4,700 sales associates and employees in 131 sales offices across Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and New York.

Erroline Williams, director of professional development and corporate outreach in Duquesne University's School of Leadership and Professional Advancement, was named one of Pittsburgh Professional Women's 2012 Women of Integrity award winners. The Women of Integrity award is presented to four Western Pennsylvania businesswomen each year. Awardees have balanced career and civic responsibility, and share their success by mentoring others and supporting their communities. Ms. Williams designs, develops and implements various professional training programs, workshops and seminars for corporations and nonprofits through the Center for Leadership Development. She also manages and designs the Foundations of Successful Leadership Program for Duquesne's administrative staff. Ms. Williams also manages the SLPA's executive certificate in financial planning program and introduced the CFP Alumni Community in 2008. She embraces the vision of the program as not only educational but as offering valuable networking opportunities and collaborations.

David Hackam, a pediatric surgeon and scientist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, received a Hartwell Biomedical Research Collaboration Award for 2011, which will provide funding toward his goal of developing an artificial intestine. Dr. Hackam -- 2008 Hartwell Investigator collaborating with John March, 2007 Hartwell Investigator and associate professor of biological and environmental engineering at Cornell University -- will receive $543,571 in direct costs from The Hartwell Foundation over three years to pursue their proposal for the "Generation of an Artificial Intestine for the Treatment of Short Bowel Syndrome in Children."

Dateline Pittsburgh appears every Sunday. To propose an item, send information to Natalie Hill, Dateline Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222; or email to . Photos submitted for the print edition version of this column may be sent via email in JPEG format, 170 DPI, to . Photo size should be an 8- by 10-inch or 4- by 5-inch head shot at 170 dpi.


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