With annual elections coming up in October, the group introduced the six individuals vying for five open seats on the MWCDC Board of Directors, and each candidate gave a brief testimony about his or her background, connection to Mount Washington and the unique perspective or vision he or she would bring to the board.
First to take the floor was Aaron Melhorn, a five-year Mount Washington resident currently living on Sycamore Street. Mr. Melhorn has operated a web development company in the neighborhood for more than two years. He hopes to use his knowledge of technology and development experience to help the board create and maintain a cutting-edge approach to technology that appeals to younger members of the Mount Washington population.
Attorney Amanda Rubio, three-year resident of Cowan Street, stepped up next. Ms. Rubio is a 2006 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law with extensive experience in architecture and engineering defense law. Because Mount Washington is the current site of private construction efforts, and presents numerous possibilities for such endeavors in the future, she said her legal knowledge in this field could help the board better understand and respond to the development going on around them.
The next candidate to speak was Kacey Wherley. Now on Wilbard Street, she has lived in Mount Washington for approximately seven years.
Ms. Wherley works as an event security coordinator by day, and spends the rest of her time running TEDxPittsburgh, a nonprofit organization which brings like-minded people together over different themes, locations or matters of common concern.
She has hosted numerous events through this organization, and promises to bring her event-planning and nonprofit management skills to the board, as well as a tech-savvy mindset that will appeal to a younger demographic.
Also from Wilbard Street, and also hoping to bring his experience to the board, candidate Robert Zilch explained he has lived in Mount Washington for a total of 35 years across two stints. Having lived in the area for so long, he believes he has a unique personal understanding of Mount Washington’s past, present and future.
Combined with his professional experience as a small business owner and City of Pittsburgh Department of Finance employee he said he could help the board take a comprehensive approach to business matters.
Absent from the meeting was candidate Paul Gitnik, whose written testimony was read by MWCDC Board of Directors President Jon Lusin. According to the document, Mr. Gitnik has resided in Mount Washington since 2008, and currently makes his home in the Trimont.
A practicing attorney who graduated from Duquesne Law School, Mr. Gitnik has held seats on various nonprofit boards over the years and has provided legal assistance and guidance to the MWCDC in the past. He would bring to the board his knowledge and experience in business law and the familiarity of having already worked with the board in pursuit of its mission and goals.
Last to take the floor was Vickie Pisowicz, the well-known “bakery lady” of Mount Washington. Ms. Pisowicz owns and operates Grandview Bakery on Shiloh Street, which she worked closely with the MWCDC to open approximately two years ago.
She holds a master’s degree in business and public policy from Harvard University, has worked in business management across the world and runs a successful business consulting firm in addition to running the bakery.
Ms. Pisowicz has lived in Mount Washington for 15 years. She said she would bring her personal passion for living in the area to serve the board alongside her business and management expertise and strong connection to the neighborhood as one of its business-owners.
At the close of the candidate presentations, Mr. Lusin reminded those in attendance that elections will be held at next month’s regular forum meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17 at the Mount Washington Senior Center on Virginia Avenue. Only MWCDC members in good standing will be permitted to vote.
For MWCDC membership information, visit www.mwcdc.org or call 412-481-3220. Membership dues are $20 or a four-hour volunteer commitment each year.