Summer 2021

PDMA Pittsburgh Summer 2021 Newsletter cover

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Pittsburgh PDMA Community,

With fall fast approaching, it is an exciting time for the PDMA Pittsburgh Chapter. In September, we will be hosting our first in-person event since early 2020, and I could not be more thrilled about it. On September 16th, we will meet at the Carnegie Museum where we will have docents guide us through the latest exhibition – Extraordinary Ordinary Things. This is a great opportunity to appreciate the power of design to turn even the ordinary into something extraordinary. We will have a panel of designers discuss the exhibit and their experiences in design. It will be a great September night to join the product design community.

We are also proud to be a sponsor of ProductCamp Pittsburgh – a free “unconference” that will held in October. If you are wondering what an “unconference” is, I strongly encourage you to check out the website and consider attending the event.

In November, we are looking forward to learning about Pricing for Value for new products and services. This is a topic that is not always discussed, but pricing is critical to success and profitability, so learning about pricing research techniques can be extremely beneficial. Eric Whetstone and Brian Witt from AMG Research will present some of the experiences and techniques used to understand customer value and customers’ willingness to pay for value.

The year will end with a December social event where we will relax and network with other product developers and managers. We have not decided on the venue yet, but we know one thing – it will be fun! 

I hope to see you at our upcoming in-person events!


Chip Chomyn
President, PDMA Pittsburgh Chapter

Board of DirectorsWelcome New Board Members

We are excited to introduce three new PDMA Pittsburgh Board Members who are valuable additions to our Programming Committee

Rachel Nolan is currently the team lead for the product management team as well as a Sr. Global Product Manager for Patient Interface in the Sleep and Respiratory Care division of Philips. While her education is in biomedical and materials engineering, she has spent her career in product management for a variety of medical devices include ventricular assist devices, wearable defibrillators and now CPAP masks for sleep apnea treatment. She excels at bringing her technical background into product development by being a translator of fuzzy customer wants and needs and turning them into product requirements the development team can act on.

Tom Salapow is the Executive Director of R&D for MSA, leading a team of over 350 people in MSA design centers located in Pittsburgh, California, Germany, France, U.K., China, and Brazil. Tom’s previous roles at MSA include Global Business Director and Engineering Director for the Fixed Gas and Flame Detection business, which included the oversight of the global business and leadership of people and teams in the U.S., South America, Germany, China, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Tom has also served in many other Marketing and Engineering leadership roles, and also as a Project Manager and Design Engineer in his 29 years at MSA. He has experience in engineering, product development, project management, business strategy, portfolio development, leadership, and global business management.

William C (“WC”) Weaver, III, is currently a Senior Global Product Manager at Philips working in Sleep and Respiratory Care. Philips, based in the Netherlands, is a leading health technology company focused on improving people's health and well-being. WC has over 25 years’ experience in market analysis and research, strategy, voice-of-customer and product management. All of his experience since receiving his MBA is in the medical device space, both disposables and capital equipment, and he has worked for Fresenius, Bard (now Becton Dickinson), Hill-Rom and Philips. WC holds the New Product Development Professional designation.

Our three new Board Members 'hit the ground running' and have already made valuable contributions to enhance the Pittsburgh Chapter.

Upcoming EventsUpcoming PDMA Pittsburgh Events

We have a full schedule of events planned for fall and winter 2021.

If there is a topic that you would like the Pittsburgh Chapter to consider for a future event, please send an email to

August 24 - October 12 (every Tuesday)
Fall Body of Knowledge Training Program

Night at the Museum
Extraordinary Ordinary Things Exhibit and Panel Discussion

October 16
ProductCamp Pittsburgh (sponsor)

Pricing New Products/Services for Value (Week of November 8)
Student Pitch Competition - CMU, Duquesne, and Pitt (Week of November 15)

Winter Social Event

To view a full list all PDMA global events, log on to

Get to Know the PDMA Pittsburgh Board Members

About UsWe would like you to get to know who is working behind the scenes to bring you the valuable educational programs throughout the year. Each month, we will highlight one PDMA Pittsburgh board member on our website and on LinkedIn. You’ll learn some fun and interesting facts about them, including, where they work, their favorite product development books, advice they would give new product developers, and much more. You may even learn what superhero they would want to be if they could be just one. This could get interesting!

Watch for our first featured board member – Chip Chomyn, PDMA Pittsburgh President – this month on the PDMA Pittsburgh website and on LinkedIn.

PDMA Body of KnowledgeFall Body of Knowledge Training Begins August 24

Strengthening your foundational product development and management knowledge is just as important as focusing on the latest technologies and trends. PDMA Pittsburgh’s Body of Knowledge Training gives you and your team the opportunity to focus on core concepts, classic tools, and proven methodologies that can help you effectively advance your product development projects, resolve issues, and overcome challenges. 

The eight-week fall training session will be held in-person at Beyond the Table Research in Sewickley, PA. This allows for a more interactive and collaborative learning experience. The first class begins on August 24th and will be held every Tuesday through October 12th. Register before August 8th to receive the discounted registration rate. Become a PDMA Member, and you’ll save even more.  

One participant from the Spring 2021 class gave the following recommendation that summed up the sentiments of the class:

“I have many years of industry experience as well as academia, so I can see both sides. From an advanced product management standpoint, there is a lot to gain from this training, and I would recommend it. A lot of the course material was familiar, but it opened my eyes to different tools that I could take even further. I would also recommend the training to new product developers as well. I feel like it will launch them faster into their role.” 

Space is limited so be sure to reserve your spot today! Log on to to learn more. Download the Body of Knowledge flyer to share it with your colleagues and friends.

PDMA Member Registration BoK Discount

If you are a PDMA member or if you join PDMA, you can take advantage of the discounted registration rate for the Body of Knowledge training. You’ll save money, and you’ll have access to all of the other benefits that membership offers. Learn more and join today!

Data Science for Product ManagementData Science Event Recap

We welcomed CMU Distinguished Service Professor David Steier as our featured speaker during our June Innovation Forum. This virtual event attracted more than 30 product development professionals who wanted to learn why product managers should care about data science.

The field of data science is emerging due to faster computers, better algorithms, and vast quantities of data. A data scientist’s job is to turn data into insight. Product managers can greatly benefit from this insight.

David discussed some common reasons products fail, from building the wrong product to missing critical market segments. Product developers can use data science to make better-informed decisions during different decision points in the product life cycle, including:

  • Customer segmentation
  • Forecasting customer demand
  • Identifying buying patterns
  • Pricing optimization
  • Allocating marketing spend
  • Analyzing and responding to customer feedback

There are many different data sources available to provide more insight into these key decision points. These data sources range from customer purchasing patterns and customer demographics to marketing campaigns and social media posts.

David also reviewed different types of data science-based products and shared specific examples to illustrate how they were being used and if they were successful or not.

We would like to thank David for being our featured speaker and clearly communicating why product managers should be using data science during the product development process to make better-informed decisions. If you are interested in viewing a recording of the virtual event, you can find it in KHUB on

Product Camp Pittsburgh2021 Pittsburgh ProductCamp Update

PDMA Pittsburgh is a proud sponsor of the fourth annual ProductCamp Pittsburgh. This year’s event will be held in-person at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Headquarters in Coraopolis, PA on Saturday, October 16, 2021.

ProductCamp is a free, full-day event that is filled with presentations, discussions, and workshops that cover a wide range of product development, innovation, and marketing topics. You'll learn best practices, share insights, and make connections with top minds in the local product community.

If you have not previously attended ProductCamp Pittsburgh, make this year your first. You’ll be glad you did. Log on to to learn more and register today.

Product Camp PittsburghProduct Development Book and Movie Reviews

With so many thought-provoking books and movies that focus on different areas of product development, we will be writing book and movie reviews throughout the year so you know which ones provide valuable insight and which ones may not be worth your time.

You’ll find the new book and movie reviews under the Resources tab on the PDMA Pittsburgh home page. Log on to read the first book review – “What’s Your Problem?” by Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg – to learn why this book is a must-read for innovators.


MSA LogoSpecial Thanks to MSA

We would like to extend a special thank you to MSA for being a Platinum Sponsor of the Pittsburgh Chapter. MSA has been a sponsor for many years, and their support has allowed us to bring you the valuable programs and events each year. 

Established in 1914, MSA Safety Incorporated is the global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of safety products that protect people and facility infrastructures. Many MSA products integrate a combination of electronics, mechanical systems and advanced materials to protect users against hazardous or life-threatening situations. The company's comprehensive product line is used by workers around the world in a broad range of markets, including the oil, gas and petrochemical industry, the fire service, the construction industry, mining and the military. MSA's core products include self-contained breathing apparatus, fixed gas and flame detection systems, portable gas detection instruments, industrial head protection products, firefighter helmets and protective apparel, and fall protection devices. 

If you would like to learn how you can become a PDMA Pittsburgh sponsor, contact Alex Trader, PDMA Pittsburgh VP of Outreach, at  

Download our sponsorship flyer to learn more.

Please email if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for PDMA Pittsburgh.
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