Workplace center to cater to careers

Professional growth curriculum planned

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Business psychologist Rex Gatto is fascinated by how people learn.

With a new venture at Point Park University, he hopes to help local business professionals develop new skills at various points in their career.

The longtime Mt. Lebanon resident has been named executive director of the university's new Center for Management Excellence, which will offer workplace education for entry-level positions, middle management and executives.

The curriculum will include webinars, workshops, assessments, training, coaching and a certificate program that can be applied toward a degree. When describing the center's business model, Mr. Gatto often repeats the name -- Center for Management Excellence. He wants you to remember it.

"This is a very exciting time because we are customizing the Center for Management Excellence to meet the needs of people within the workplace, and we realize those needs continue to change," he said.

Three workshops are planned to launch at the end of February, focusing on change in leadership, teamwork and collaboration, and strategic planning. The offerings will be further developed based on the needs of participants.

"We want to support people [at] all levels within their career," he said. "We are not pulling workshops off the shelf."

The program enjoys a prime location in the Downtown business nucleus, Mr. Gatto said, and in time, he imagines local business professionals could visit the campus for a morning workshop session and return to work by noon, for example. The team also is gathering speakers within Point Park and beyond for an upcoming lecture series.

Mr. Gatto is a lifelong learner himself.

Formerly a music educator at South Hills Catholic, now Seton-La Salle, Mr. Gatto also holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Duquesne University, a master's degree in counseling psychology from Norwich University in Vermont, a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh and education certificates. He is a nationally certified psychologist and licensed professional counselor.

In the early 1970s, he played trumpet in the U.S. Army, a skill he cultivates even now with daily practice and in church performances.

Mr. Gatto's private practice in Mt. Lebanon, Gatto Associates LLC, has offered similar services, including training programs to businesses, individual assessments, counseling and organizational analysis for almost 30 years.

Founded in 1984, Mr. Gatto's team has provided services to various companies and organizations, including Heinz, Bombardier, FedEx, UPMC, the FBI, Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and several universities in Pittsburgh.

In nearly 30 years as a business psychologist, the Internet has fundamentally changed the way he works. These days, assessments can be completed via the Internet. More employers are conducting interviews through Skype. Even coaching managers and executives can be accomplished online, he said.

With a foot in both worlds, Mr. Gatto said he tries to be progressive but still values face-to-face interaction.

Mr. Gatto and his wife, Mickey, who is an English as second language instructor at Point Park, have lived in Mt. Lebanon for 35 years. Their son settled there, too, and their daughter and her husband live in the South Hills.

Molly Born: or 412-263-1944.


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