A newsmaker you should know: Gifford makes it his business to promote Greensburg

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In his job as executive director of the Greensburg Community Development Corp., Steven Gifford promotes Greensburg to business and industrial leaders interested in moving their operations to the city.

He is a one-stop shop of knowledge for people interested in moving their businesses to Greensburg, said Anne-Marie Welty of Standard Bank.

When Ms. Welty first moved back to Greensburg from North Carolina, her family was interested in starting a business, and she met with Mr. Gifford about possible locations.

He not only knew the owners of vacant properties in Greensburg that were interested in renting or selling and whether the properties had been listed, but he also asked what type of business she wanted to start and what her business plan was. He told her about advertising methods used to bring in foot traffic in Greensburg and urged her to join the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and local Rotary Club to get more exposure and become part of the community.

He provides ongoing support and advice to business people on what works in Greensburg so they don't close their doors a year after opening, Ms. Welty said. "He's an amazing asset to our community."

Ms. Welty went to work for Standard Bank, which has eight Pennsylvania offices, most in the East suburbs. But she still works with Mr. Gifford in the Future Leaders of Westmoreland Museum of American Art, which promotes "new, fun ways" to get young professionals and families involved with the museum, she said.

About a year and a half ago, Mr. Gifford helped start Art on Tap happy hours, which are held at the Greensburg museum from 5 to 7 p.m. the second Friday of each month. At first, the events attracted only about 30 people, but recent happy hours have brought in more than 100 people, Ms. Welty said.

In 2000, Mr. Gifford also helped launch the free, weekly SummerSounds concert series at the Robertshaw Amphitheater in St. Clair Park in Greensburg.

On May 16, Mr. Gifford received Seton Hill University's Entrepreneurial Excellence Award.

"With fifteen years of experience in business and community development, he is a notable and well-respected community leader and volunteer. Steven's experience with the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and the Central Westmoreland Development Corporation has provided him with the skills and business contacts necessary to make a positive contribution to the City of Greensburg," university representatives stated in a news release announcing the award.

Mr. Gifford began his career as a contracted administrative assistant for the Central Westmoreland Development Corporation of the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce. He worked for nine years for the Chamber, finishing as membership director.

He has been executive director of the Greensburg Community Development Corporation since 2005. There he is responsible for grant writing, fundraising and program initiatives for Greensburg's Main Street Program, among other duties.

For more information about the Greensburg Community Development Corp.: www.ThinkGreensburg.com.

neigh_east - neigh_westmoreland

Anne Cloonan, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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