Apr/May 2018

Quarterly Newsletter— April/May 2018

Pittsburgh Chapter Newsletter April/MayPDMA Pgh

Dear Members of the Pittsburgh PDMA Community,

As I reminisce about the PDMA activities and events of 2017, I can’t help but be proud of everything that the chapter has accomplished with the help of our members, our sponsors, and a very dedicated board. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you!

You, the members and participants, have ensured that our events remain lively and interesting. Your thoughtful questions have helped our presenters and panelists to focus on what is of interest to you and to provide insight and knowledge beyond the expected. You shared your own experiences and enriched and complemented what we learned from the speakers. And you helped expand an already veritable network of product specialists and innovators. On average, we had more than 40 registrations for our events and, in total, well over 300 of you participated throughout the year. Because of frequent attendance, we were excited to add many more of you to our “Friend of the Chapter” program. Thank you!

You, our sponsors, remained strong sources of support in 2017. We were lucky to retain several long-time sponsors and gained a number of new ones. Your contributions not only validate our work, but, to a large part also enable it. You provided speakers, venues, and financial support, which helped elevate the quality of our programming. Thank you!
You, the board members, made it all happen. You sacrificed your spare time to organize great events, took care that our members stayed informed, reached out to our sponsors, engaged our local universities, kept our finances straight, and ensured that our board continues to be a high caliber team. Thank you! 

I am looking forward to a 2018 that is just as rich in interactions with all of you as the previous years have been. I hope that PDMA can continue to play an important role as a source of knowledge for you and that the network and the connections we build help you and your organizations.

Best Regards, 

Andreas Maihoefer
PDMA Pittsburgh President

Upcoming Chapter Events 
Mark Your Calendar

The Pittsburgh Chapter Programming Committee is finalizing this year's schedule of events. Here is a sneak peak of what we have planned:

  • Sustainable Design/Product Development – April/May
  • The Power of Storytelling in New Product Development – June
  • Summer Social – July
  • Product Camp – September
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Virtual Reality – October
  • PDMA Body of Knowledge Training Courses – Fall
  • Student Innovation Competition – November
  • Winter Social – December/January

Watch your email, Twitter, and LinkedIn for a detailed schedule soon!

March "ROI of Design" Event Recap


Over 50 people packed the Carnegie Mellon Integrated Innovation Institute on March 12th for the sold-out panel discussion “The ROI of Design: Using Design to Grow Your Business.”

Design experts Matt Beale, Kris Kaneta, and Randy Rossi, provided attendees with great insight into the world of design. They opened the discussion by explaining that design is more than just aesthetics. Design is the purposeful creativity and development of products and services. Design also involves empathy, ergonomics, and creating customer experiences.

The panelists then shared their thoughts and experience on multiple design topics including measuring the ROI of design, using tools and techniques that make the design process easier, how technology impacts design, and much more. Key takeaways from the discussion included:

  • With product design, ROI can be difficult to measure since you are not changing one thing related to the design. After establishing what you want to accomplish, it is important to carefully manage expectations, while systematically managing ROI.


  • We have the ability to learn more about our customers than ever before, and that information should be used to your advantage when designing new products or services. Recommended reading: “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google” by Scott Galloway.

  • Designers and engineers should work together to embrace the vision of the product. Working collaboratively, rather than in silos, can help the designer and engineer understand each other’s perspectives to improve the overall design.


  • There is a craft to industrial design. Although technology can help designers learn faster and speed processes, technology cannot replace the insight that a designer can gain from building a product by hand.

Attendees were engaged throughout the discussion and asked great questions. We would like to thank Matt Beale, President of Daedalus, Kris Kaneta, Sr. Vice President of Marketing at TeleTracking Technologies, and Randy Rossi, President of Bally Design for helping attendees gain a greater understanding of how design can impact a business.

Winter Social Event at Grist House Craft Brewery

PDMA members, board members, sponsors, and Friends of the Chapter were invited to attend PDMA Pittsburgh’s exclusive Winter Social on February 6th at the Grist House Craft Brewery in Millvale. Guests enjoyed a great selection of craft beer and a variety of finger foods while mingling in the rustic taproom with friends and colleagues (and a couple cute dogs). Before the end of the evening, Brian Eaton – one of the brewery owners – guided guests through the different areas of the brewery while explaining the brewing process and his plans for expansion. Ginny, Brian’s sweet golden retriever, tried several times to join the tour but was unsuccessfulimg5.png(not for lack of trying, though.) She used the swift action of her paw to open the door to exit the room where she wasstaying during the event, only to be sent back each time. Thank you to Brian, Ginny, and Grist House for opening the doors to the cool space for PDMA to host the Winter Social. 

We will be hosting the next social event this summer, but we have not yet selected the location. Watch for details via email, Twitter, and LinkedInsoon. We hope you will be able to join us! 

Student Innovation Competition Recap

PDMA sponsored a Student Innovation Competition in November 2017 as part of Pitt and CMU’s Global Entrepreneur Week. The competition was held on Pitt’s campus and featured eight teams – four undergraduate and four graduate teams from the University of Pittsburgh and CMU. Each team pitched their great ideas/projects in front of a panel of judges and an intrigued audience. The four winners received cash prizes from PDMA as well as access to local companies who donated their time and expertise to mentor the teams. 

Thank you to all of the teams that participated in the competition, including, Four Growers, DisSolves, Hillside Hydro, Evize, FRED (A Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics), Steeltown Retractor, Talk Me Up, and Optipik.
Congratulations to the winners:

First Place

  • Undergraduate Team: Four Growers (Pitt)
  • Graduate Team: Steeltown Retractor (Pitt)

Second Place 

  • Undergraduate Team: Hillside Hydro (CMU)
  • Graduate Team: FRED (Pitt)
Thank you to the following corporate sponsors for their generous donations: Bally DesignBrunnerCadenceCamposDaedalusDiamond KineticsFox Rothshield, LLP.H2R CPAMylan, and Smart Hammer Innovation

Body of Knowledge Professional Development Program

PDMA Pittsburgh will be introducing an exciting professional development training program, known as the PDMA Body of Knowledge (BoK), this fall to the Pittsburgh community. 

The BoK is a comprehensive program that covers the fundamental principles of product development and management. It has been built over the years by hundreds of contributors and can be applied to a wide range of industries. As a result, PDMA has decided to offer this content as a Professional Development Program for our community.

This training will be especially helpful to new product development professionals, managers, and members of product development teams that want to gain a greater understanding of new product development and management. Course topics, also referred to as Knowledge Areas, will focus on fundamental principles that facilitate successful product development and product management across a broad range of industries and individual organizations.

  1. Strategy
  2. Portfolio management
  3. New products process
  4. Culture, organization, and teams
  5. Tools and metrics
  6. Market research
  7. Life cycle management

PDMA Pittsburgh would like your input about the BoK Professional Development Program to gauge interest levels and ensure we are structuring the training to meet your specific needs.

We would appreciate it if you could please take a few minutes to complete this short survey.

Start the Survey

Founder Institute Helps Entrepreneurs Take Ideas to the Next Level

“The PDMA Pittsburgh community includes innovation-seeking corporate practitioners, academics, service providers and entrepreneurs. We think the Founders Institute is an important new addition to our community,” commented Andreas Maihoefer, PDMA Pittsburgh President. 

Have you always wanted to start your own business? Do you have a great business idea and want to take it to the next level? Have you started a company but don’t know how to get funding? 

Pittsburgh has an organization that can help. The Founder Institute is the world’s premier startup launch program for talented entrepreneurs.

Serial entrepreneurs and Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business alumni, Randy Eager and Greg Coticchia, recognized that people in the very early stages of developing business ideas or a company needed assistance getting to the next stage. After many months of research and consideration, they launched a chapter of the Founder Institute in Pittsburgh in January. 

The Founder Institute has 170 chapters in 60 countries and uses proven methodology that helps aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs grow their ideas and businesses. The program combines structured and rigorous curriculum, access to mentors, hands-on experience on how to run a company, and opportunities to grow your network. The organization focuses on founders instead of ideas. If you are talented and motivated to do the work required to build an enduring tech or tech-enabled company, they want to hear from you. This includes aspiring founders with a full-time job, solo founders, teams, and founders of established companies that are pre-funding.

The 14-session program beings on April 10th, and the Founder Institute Pittsburgh Chapter is accepting applications up to April 8th. The program fee is $999. The application process includes a Predictive Admissions Assessment (benchmark personality test) that the Founder Institute uses as the main criteria for evaluating applicants. After completing the assessment, you will find out if you are suited for the role of a founder. 

The Founder Institute, in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Technology Council, is offering several scholarships. The only criteria to qualify is that you must be a PTC member. 

Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to take your idea or business to the next level.

Learn more and apply now! 


Please email pghpdma@pdma.org if you have any
comments, questions, or suggestions for PDMA Pittsburgh.