Spring 2024

Dear PDMA Pittsburgh Members and Supporters,

I am honored to address you as the newly elected President of the PDMA Pittsburgh Chapter. It is with great enthusiasm that I embark on this journey, and I am eager to contribute to the vibrant community that makes our chapter unique.

While my personal background may not be in product development per se, my passion lies in working with organizations to help them bring their products to fruition. Over the years, I have witnessed the power of collaboration and innovation in shaping successful ventures.

As we step into the future together, my vision for our chapter is clear. I am committed to expanding the exposure of the PDMA Pittsburgh Chapter, ensuring that our local community becomes a hub for product development excellence. Our strength lies in the diversity of experiences and backgrounds within our membership & community, and I am dedicated to creating an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive.

Cultivating a culture of creativity, continuous learning, and collaboration is crucial to our success. I believe this will be the driving force behind our accomplishments. Together, let us embrace this spirit and create a community that not only excels in product development but also serves as a source of inspiration for others.

Additionally, I see tremendous potential in building bridges between our region's product companies, spanning startups to enterprise corporations. By fostering connections and collaborations, we can propel the growth of our local industry and create a network that extends beyond geographical boundaries.

Moreover, I am excited about the prospect of strengthening ties with other PDMA chapters. There is immense value in learning from each other, sharing best practices, and collectively elevating the standards of product development. Let us leverage the wealth of knowledge within the PDMA network to enhance our capabilities and contribute to the broader community.

In closing, I extend my gratitude for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading our chapter. Together, let's embark on a journey of growth, innovation, and collaboration. I am confident that the PDMA Pittsburgh Chapter will reach new heights under our collective leadership.

Thank you, and here's to a successful and impactful term ahead!

Warm regards,

Alex Trader

President, PDMA Pittsburgh Chapter

Welcome New Board Members

We would like to welcome the newest members of the PDMA Pittsburgh Board of Directors. We look forward to each of them bringing new ideas and enthusiasm to the chapter.  

Crystal Smith, Director: Product Management Center of Excellence (PM CoE) at enGen 

Crystal is an innovative business leader and motivator with a performance history of creating breakthrough results across business verticals. As the Director of the Product Management Center of Excellence (PM CoE) at enGen, Crystal spearheads business development, product innovation, and strategies to drive cutting-edge product solutions and transform organic business growth. Her analytical expertise enables her to utilize quantitative/qualitative user insights, identify trends, and present key findings to strategize growth roadmaps and enhance product positioning. Crystal is focused on developing effective business solutions and enhancing organizational initiatives in a fast-paced environment.

Mark Williams, Lead Client Partner at OpenArc, LLC.

Mark has more than two decades of experience in Technology Consulting Sales, regularly exceeding multi-million-dollar sales quotas by creating long-standing customer relationships that are built on mutual value and trust. He has a long track record in consultative selling, problem-solving, and "quarterbacking" complex deals, often involving third-party providers and business partners. Mark is currently the Lead Client Partner at OpenArc – a software application development company based in Pittsburgh. He focuses on building strong relationships and connects clients with OpenArc’s team of elite software developers, UI/UX designers, and market experts who take on your most complex technology and communication challenges.

Chris Wilmer, Associate Professor and William Kepler Whiteford Faculty Fellow, University of Pittsburgh

Originally from Canada, Chris acquired a B.A.Sc. degree from the University of Toronto’s Engineering Science – Nanoengineering program. Coming to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Northwestern under the mentorship of Prof. Randall Q. Snurr, he took an interest in the American way of developing new technologies – through entrepreneurship. As a student, he co-founded, NuMat Technologies, which develops commercial gas storage solutions using MOFs, for which he was named to the Forbes Top 30-Under-30 list in Energy Innovation. In his current role at the University of Pittsburgh, he directs the Hypothetical Materials Lab, whose research focuses on advanced uses of porous crystals, such as in developing artificial noses or storing oxygen. His lab recently spun-out Aeronics, which manufactures inexpensive oxygen storage containers for people (and pets!) with decreased lung function. In his ample spare time (that is a joke), he is the managing editor of Ledger, the world's first scholarly journal focused on blockchain research, the technology that powers Bitcoin (that is not a joke).

Adam Wynne, Director of Commercial Software Development at ARMADA Supply Chain Solutions 

Adam is a serial intrapreneur experienced in launching IoT products and internal startups. He has over fifteen years of technical leadership expertise in building and optimizing teams and processes by introducing new tools, methods, and departmental alignment. He has a track record of developing innovative strategic initiatives and mobilizing resources that push organizations forward. As the Director of Commercial Software Development at ARMADA, he leads the architecture, technical design, build, test and release efforts for ARMADA’s commercial technology solutions. He also provides technical oversight across ARMADA’s commercial applications, prioritizing the product development strategy in accordance with product roadmaps, continuous innovation, and product delivery schedules.

January & February Event Recaps

Women In Bio Panel Discussion 

Over 50 professionals and students joined the Pittsburgh chapters of PDMA and Women In Bio (WIB) for our first event of the year – “Career Paths in Product Development and Management for Life Science Professionals.” Our amazing lineup of women panelists discussed how they got into their roles and provided great insight into a day-in-the-life of someone working in product development and management. They also provided great information and advice for anyone interested in a career in product, including: 

  • The role that you want (or think you want) may not be the one you get.
  • Find a mentor and research certifications. 
  • It’s about who you know. Networking can open doors to new career opportunities. 
  • Building on your past experiences can be more important than your formal education.  
  • Soft skills make a difference.  
  • Good communication skills are a must. You should be able to understand things from the customer side, as well as the technical side. 
  • You need to influence others to try to make a product successful. 
  • You cannot change who you are working with, so if you are not happy or feel that you are not being respected or heard, you have a choice. You can either deal with it or leave. 

We would like to thank our panelists - Chelsea Merkel, Yelina Kim, Lindsy Bartoleit, and Linda van Roosmalen - for providing great insight into career paths in product development and management. Thank you to Andrea Ruttenberg for moderating the panel discussion. We would also like to extend a special thank you to WIB for co-sponsoring and hosting this incredible event.  

Robotics Factory Happy Hour Event

We kicked off our 2024 Happy Hour schedule in February with a sold-out event at the Robotics Factory in Lawrenceville. This networking event gave attendees a special look inside the facility and the opportunity to learn what they do to create, accelerate, and scale robotics startups in the Pittsburgh region. Special thanks to the Robotics Factory for hosting the event and providing an informative tour.  

We are currently working on the full 2024 Happy Hour event schedule. We are talking to many different innovative companies in the Pittsburgh area who are interested in sponsoring our events. Watch your email, LinkedIn, and X for more details soon.  

Remember to register early for the happy hours to ensure you get a spot.

Mark Your Calendar - 2024 Upcoming Events

March 20th Panel Discussion: Innovation’s Impact on Product Management 

Join us on March 20th for an engaging product management panel discussion at The Sheetz Business Office. Our five expert panelists will discuss how product management approaches have changed as companies deliver innovative products, services, and solutions.

The panelists include:

  • Karin Gregory, Product Management at Sheetz
  • Brian Shyu, Director of UX at Hexagon
  • Erika Green, Distinguished Product Manager at Dick's Sporting Goods
  • David Rush, Director of Product Management at Pantheon
  • Nate Mancine, Director of Solution Marketing at LeanTaaS

This event will be moderated by Mary Beth Green, Chief Innovation Officer at Sheetz.

We hope you can join us for this informative evening of product innovation conversation. Register today!

Download the event flyer

for more information.

April Company Showcase Event

We will be meeting at Aurora Innovations on April 24th for a fun evening of networking and product development talk. Registration is now open. Reserve your spot today!

May Happy Hour Event 

We will be teaming up with Thoughtform for our May Happy Hour event. 

Summer Events 

Summer is shaping up to be awesome. We are exploring a factory tour, happy hours, AI and more.

Fall Body of Knowledge Training - September 9th - October 22 (every Tuesday)

Registration is open for the Fall 2024 Body of Knowledge professional development training. We have 10 seats available so be sure to register early to reserve your spot. 

November - Student Pitch Competition 

The annual PDMA Student Pitch Competition will be held during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November 2024.

Stay tuned for more information. Watch your email, X, and LinkedIn for more details soon. Log on to pdma.org to view a full list of all PDMA global events.

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors, Supporters, and Partners

Our sponsors, supporters, and partners are the best! We have such a great network of companies who are committed to helping PDMA Pittsburgh grow the local product development and management community. The support we receive allows us to provide valuable learning opportunities and social events throughout the year. 

Check out the incredible companies below. They have great products and services that you may need in the near future.


Acrospire Brewing Company

Applied Marketing Science (AMS)

AMG Research

Bally Design

Berner International

Beyond the Table Research


Campos Inc.

Carnegie Mellon University

Catalyst Connection


Duquesne University

EnSo Consulting


Fox Pest Control


Kopp Glass

Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh



New Western

Philips Respironics

Pittsburgh Innovation District

One Valley

Robotics Factory



University of Pittsburgh Big Idea Center

University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute

Women In Bio

Check out our sponsorship flyer to see how you can contribute to our vibrant community. We have many different levels of sponsorships, and there are many different ways you can support the PDMA Pittsburgh Chapter. Contact Mark Williams, PDMA VP of Outreach, via email: markw@openarc.net

Please email pghpdma@pdma.org if you have any