By Austin Vaught
Contributing Writer 

MWCDC members get to hear from candidates seeking board positions


The Mount Washington Community Development Corporation’s (MWCDC) annual board candidates’ forum was last Thursday at the Mount Washington Senior Center and residents heard from eight of the candidates hoping to fill six board seats this October.

Board nominees Anthony Asciolla, Curt Conrad, Patrick Cornell, Kevin Kerr, Jean Novak, Greg Panza, Brett Robinson, and Tom Tighe each spoke for two to three minutes about their backgrounds and how they plan to contribute to the MWCDC.

First to speak was Mount Washington resident Anthony Asciolla. Mr. Asciolla currently works as a building code official in Baldwin and said code enforcement goes hand-in-hand with community development. His career provided him with extensive experience working with city officials as well as the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The next speaker was Curt Conrad. Mr. Conrad has been a Pittsburgh resident since 2012 and recently became a Mount Washington homeowner earlier this year. Mr. Conrad has experience working with nonprofits and specializes in housing security, neighborhood development, and economic justice. He currently serves as the Chief of Staff to Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor.

Patrick Cornell, a Maryland native, is a budget analyst for the City of Pittsburgh. Mr. Cornell cited his background in finance as something that he can contribute to the MWCDC. While he hasn’t worked with a nonprofit in a financial capacity, he currently helps three city departments manage their budgets. Mr. Cornell has lived in Pittsburgh since 2008. He moved from Shadyside to Mount Washington in 2015.

Kevin Kerr formerly worked as the Chief of Staff for Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce Kraus before becoming a greenlight hub manager for Uber. He spent much of his career focused on community development projects in south Pittsburgh neighborhoods. If elected, Mr. Kerr hopes to leverage his connections with civic leaders and government entities to support the mission of the MWCDC. Mr. Kerr purchased a home in Mount Washington earlier this year.

The next speaker was Jean Novak, a long-time resident of Chatham Village in Mount Washington. Ms. Novak is a director at the Pittsburgh-based law firm Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky. She specializes in employer-employee relations and works extensively with schools and local government.

Greg Panza served as a MWCDC staff member for seven years before transitioning to a career in real estate. As a result of his time spent with the MWCDC, Mr. Panza has established relationships with several city officials and community stakeholders.

Mr. Panza also helped raise more than $700,000 in grant funding, organized multiple fundraising events, and produced over $25,000 in beautification projects. Additionally, more than 80 percent of Mr. Panza’s real estate business is in the Mount Washington market.

Brett Robinson is a Pittsburgh native and the president at Terra Building Group, a residential development firm. Mr. Robinson actively participates in the MWCDC’s Economic Development Committee as well as the Builder’s Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh. He has over 30 years of experience working in multiple areas of construction and development.

The last speaker was Tom Tighe. Mr. Tighe’s family has lived in Mount Washington since the 1890s. He assisted in founding many community assets including the Grandview Social Club of Mt. Washington and the Mt. Washington Hall of Fame. Over his career with the Operating Engineers, he has also helped to solicit and administer several million dollars in federal grant funding.

Board nominee Chris Kail did not attend the meeting. Mr. Kail is the director of marketing and a shareholder at Legend Financial Advisors, Inc. as well as an adjunct professor of marketing at Duquesne University. Mr. Kail has long history of working with nonprofits across the city including the Northern Allegheny Chamber of Commerce, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the American Cancer Society.

The board elections will take place at next month’s community forum meeting on October 20 at 7 p.m. Only MWCDC members are eligible to vote in the board election. The meeting will be held at the Mount Washington Senior Center on Virginia Avenue.

According to the MWCDC bylaws, members must attend the meeting in order vote.

MWCDC memberships are free for Mount Washington residents. Residents must sign up for a membership by September 20 to be eligible to vote. Membership registration may be completed by logging on to:


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