Vegetarian supplements

GNC has expanded its vegetarian line of products, bringing to more than 100 the number of herbal and animal-free products it offers.

The company is latching on to a trend among consumers to prefer vegetarian items when they have a choice.

GNC cites research indicating a growing number of consumers — estimated at 12 million in the United States — identify themselves as vegetarians. Research also indicates many consumers at least occasionally order a vegetarian item when dining out.

“We’re continuing to expand our vegetarian offerings because we recognize that many vegetarians rely on supplements to maintain a healthy diet, and we want to give them a one-stop shop with a wide selection to meet their individual needs,” says Karla Willman, GNC’s vice president of public relations and communications.

The company will kick off a national advertising campaign next month to promote the products and help consumers more easily identify them. How to reach:

BIG initiative

Computer networker and Web site developer CyBerJaz has completed work on an economic development Web site for Beaver County and the surrounding region.

The site, designed to showcase Beaver County to companies considering relocation or development of commercial sites, was developed for the Beaver Initiative for Growth. It features available properties, work force and transportation data, local success stories, information on efforts to improve the information infrastructure in Beaver County and links to regional resources.

“It became apparent to us that more and more businesses are using the Internet as the primary means to find suitable locations for business relocation or expansion,” says John Gallo, BIG’s executive director.

How to reach: BIG,; CyBerJaz,

Telework exec heads association

Tim Kane will probably feel right at home heading up an international association from his Pittsburgh headquarters. Kane, president, CEO and founder of Kinetic Workplace, a Pittsburgh-based provider of telework, hoteling and virtual office solutions, has been elected president of the International Telework Association & Council.

Kane’s company has been involved in helping nearly 100 organizations implement telework, hoteling or virtual office solutions. He founded Kinetic Workplace in 1993 and has been an ITAC board member for four years.

ITAC drives the growth and success of work independent of location by studying, developing and recommending tools, techniques and processes that promote the benefits of telework. How to reach: Kinetic Workplace,

Set the record straight

If you’re looking for a way to document the history of your business, the Sen. John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center might be able to help.

The center is offering an Oral History Service, a new enterprise program designed to produce additional income for the center by providing oral histories for individuals who want to preserve family history and businesses seeking to document company history.

The center has hired Barry Alfonso, a professional oral historian and journalist, to conduct interviews and do the background research necessary to produce oral histories.

The process takes about a month, and includes research by the center to prepare for a taped interview. The service is being offered at an introductory rate of $695, and includes a pre-interview consultation and research, a three- to four-hour interview by a professional historian, three bound books containing the transcribed interview, including photos, and a place in the history center’s permanent collection. How to reach: Sen. John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center,

Construction buildup?

Despite lackluster predictions about the economy, at least one local company is expecting a bullish year.

Ray Steeb, vice president and general manager of Turner Construction Co.’s Pittsburgh office, says his company is anticipating a 20 percent growth rate this year.

“We expect to see a continuation of growth in the institutional field, smaller commercial and governmental construction,” says Steeb. “Clearly, school construction, both in public schools and college and university projects, is going to remain strong.”

Although he doesn’t see much new office development Downtown for some time, Steeb does expect some major renovation work there.

North Side flash

Hipwell Manufacturing Inc. is bringing light –and jobs — to its North Side plant.

Hipwell has acquired the flashlight division of BMG, a New England-based manufacturer that has shifted its attention to cosmetic container production.

Hipwell, founded in 1887 and acquired by five local business people last September, manufactures flashlights for Duracell Corp. and TruServe Corp., a supplier to independent hardware retailers.

The company expects to increase the number of employees by 25 percent. It employed 20 when BMG was acquired last December.

In this corner …

A Pittsburgh public relations executive is going international.

Jack Horner, president of Jack Horner Communications Inc., has been named chair of the Worldcom Public Relations Group’s marketing committee for the Americas region.

The Worldcom Group is the world’s largest network of independent public relations firms, with 92 members in virtually every major market in the world. Each firm retains local ownership, but can work with other Worldcom partners on public relations projects ranging from gathering tips on a region to cooperating on major marketing campaigns involving multiple agencies on several continents.

Horner is charged with spreading the word about how the Worldcom group combines the advantages of local, independent public relations firms with the worldwide access associated with multinational PR shops. How to reach: Jack Horner Communications Inc.,

Maglev meetings

The Maglev project is shifting into high gear.

Meetings to gather information for an 18-month environmental impact study will be held throughout 2002.

Maglev technology allows vehicles to travel on elevated guideways at speeds of up to 300 mph.

The Pennsylvania High-Speed Maglev Project is a 47-mile maglev line connecting Pittsburgh International Airport, Downtown, Monroeville and Greensburg, with multimodal stations at those locations.

The line, which could transport passengers from Greensburg to Pittsburgh International in 28 minutes, is planned to be operational for 2006. The cost is expected to be $2.6 billion.

Public meetings are scheduled for this month Downtown, Greensburg, Monroeville and in the airport corridor. Exact locations and dates have yet to be finalized. How to reach: Maglev,