Steve Zylstra

If Steve Zylstra likes a challenge, he certainly found one when he took the job as president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center.

Zylstra came to the helm of both organizations in 1999, not long before the tech industry began its slide, the air began to leak from the dot-com balloon and the telecom industry started to flounder.

Undaunted, he pushed the membership group in fiscal 2001 to offer 134 programs and events that attracted some 10,000 attendees. The council also released its State of the Industry Report, a 110-page tome that crunches and collates a mountain of data about the region, its technology industry and the impact of high tech on the local economy. And it bolstered its capabilities in influencing public policy on behalf of its membership.

Zylstra was instrumental in attracting both the State Science and Technology Institute’s and the National Association of Seed and Venture Fund’s annual conferences to Pittsburgh.

As a member of the executive committee of the Pittsburgh SciTech Festival, patterned after the International Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, he has brought the Council’s resources to bear to ensure a successful inaugural event next spring.

We wonder what he’ll be able to accomplish in boom times.

Ray Marano