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  • 22 Jun 2020 7:48 AM | Anonymous

    On June 16, 2020 SWEP hosted our first ever virtual Conversation with Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. We were so delighted to have Secretary Dunn join us, especially after having to cancel our in-person Conversation in mid-March as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

    Caron Glotfelty, Director of the Allegheny County Parks Foundation, active SWEP Program Committee member, and former “Conversation” interviewee, took on the role of interviewer and opened the Conversation with a question about the impact of coronavirus on DCNR. Secretary Dunn assured the members that all the facilities that will be reopening for public use this summer are now open and ready to be enjoyed by the public (For details on what facilities are open, visit https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/FacilitiesMap/Pages/default.aspx). 

    Our conversation also touched on another pressing topic – the Black Lives Matter movement, and how DCNR is continually reevaluating and pushing forward efforts to diversify its, workforce and to assure equitable access to public lands for all citizens of the Commonwealth. Secretary Dunn mentioned one way the Department encourages the growth in diversity is through its Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps program, which offers work experience, job training, and environmental educational opportunities to young people who complete recreation and conservation projects on Pennsylvania’s public lands.

    Secretary Dunn also shared some of her personal story, and how her passion for the outdoors and exploring new places led her to pursue a biology degree and, with the encouragement of one of her professors, a career in conservation. She also shared that she feels her proudest accomplishment is her ability to build coalitions to achieve common goals, which is a great testament to the kind of leader Secretary Dunn is.

    One of her most poignant anecdotes, which I believe resonated with many SWEP members, is that self-confidence is a constant struggle for her. What she has learned about herself is that if she gives 100 percent to whatever task she has before her, that dedication and drive to do her best is freeing, and her self-consciousness takes a back seat to whatever she is trying to accomplish.

    It was such a pleasure to host this Conversation, and SWEP-Three Rivers would like to thank our Conversationalists, Cindy Adams Dunn and Caren Glotfelty, and our sponsors. We could not offer such a wonderful program without the following organizational support: Diamond Level Annual Sponsor, Geosyntec, and Sapphire Level Sponsor Arcadis, and Bronze Event Sponsors: Cosmos Technology and R2O.

    Interested in keeping tabs on Secretary Dunn’s initiatives at DCNR? See the links below!

    DCNR website: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov

    DCNR Twitter: https://twitter.com/DCNRnews

    DCNR Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/padcnr/

    PA State Parks Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/visitPAparks/

    DCNR Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/padcnr/

    DCNR YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/pennsylvaniadcnr

    Subscribe to our resource newsletter: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/Subscribetoresource/Pages/default.aspx

    SCORP

    https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/Recreation/PAOutdoorRecPlan/Pages/default.aspx

    Penn’s Parks for All

    https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/PennsParksforAll/Pages/default.aspx

    DEI statement:

    http://www.docs.dcnr.pa.gov/cs/groups/public/documents/document/DCNR_20033730.pdf

    Grants program:

    https://www.brcgrants.dcnr.pa.gov/

    State Parks & State Forests what is open map site: 

    https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/FacilitiesMap/Pages/default.aspx

    Register as a vendor to do business with the Commonwealth:

    https://www.dgs.pa.gov/Small%20Diverse%20Business%20Program/Small-Diverse-Business-Verification/Pages/default.aspx

    To certify as a small business:

    https://www.dgs.pa.gov/Small%20Business%20Contracting%20Program/Pages/default.aspx

    To complete the self-certification as a small business, women owned business, LGBTQ-owned business or Veteran-owned business, please visit this link.

    https://www.dgs.pa.gov/Small%20Diverse%20Business%20Program/Small-Diverse-Business-Verification/Pages/default.aspx

  • 4 Jun 2020 2:06 PM | Anonymous


    SWEP Three Rivers’ mission is to provide women environmental professionals, working within the Three Rivers region, a community that recognizes and supports women's leadership and career development and provides a forum to share information and ideas and promote public service within the environmental field. We recognize the pain and challenges that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, particularly Black women face in this country and in the Pittsburgh region, and that our success is made possible by the Black women who have lifted this organization up. We are angered and saddened by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others, and stand in solidarity with SWEP members, our communities, and the many organizations fighting for racial justice. We commit to amplifying marginalized voices and engaging with our members to ensure that all women feel supported by this organization. We will listen to the leaders in the fight for racial justice and identify how we as an organization, through our programs and partnerships, can live the values of anti-racism, inclusion, and appreciation for the communities that support us. Please stand with us in recognizing that Black Lives Matter. 


  • 17 Apr 2020 6:19 AM | Anonymous

    On February 7, 2020, SWEP members trekked through wind, sleet, and snow to Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Southwest Regional Office for an update from Department staff during our Brown Bag lunch event.

    Brian Schimmel, Local Government Liaison for DEP kicked off the meeting by introducing Regional Director Ron Schwartz. Director Schwartz provided an overview of operations and programs in the Southwest region, which covers eight counties and 494 municipalities, including Pittsburgh where the office is located. Director Schwartz outlined some challenges particular to the Southwest Region, including an increase in flooding events impacting permitting for projects across industry sectors and the institution and implementation of new e-permitting and other electronic filing initiatives, and described how the Department was adapting and rising to meet those challenges.

    Director Schwartz was followed by Dana Drake, Waterways & Wetlands Program Manager in the Southwest Region. Ms. Drake provided an overview of hot topics in her program including the establishment of the Regional Permit Coordination Office, a centralized office within DEP to support Chapter 102, 105, and Section 401 State Water Quality Certifications required under the federal Clean Water Act for pipelines spanning three or more counties and two or more DEP regions or those crossing state lines. Ms. Drake also covered recent changes to the PAG-02, General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities, which was renewed with significant updates in December 2019.

    Our third and final speaker was Kareen Milcic, Environmental Group Manager for  permitting in for the  Oil and Gas program. Ms. Milcic focused her update on the Geologic Hazard Mitigation Program administered through the Erosion and Sedimentation Control General Permit For Earth Disturbance Associated With Oil And Gas Exploration, Production, Processing, Or Treatment Operations Or Transmission Facilities (ESCGP-3) that was finalized by DEP in October of 2018. The Geologic Hazard Mitigation Plan is a new component in the ESCGP-3 and is a vitally important component of the permitting process as flooding and landslide events continue to increase across the commonwealth.

    We wrapped up the lunch with some cookies and a Q&A session, where all three speakers graciously answered questions from SWEP members. We are so grateful for the opportunity to hear from DEP in this informal yet incredibly valuable setting for our membership! We hope continue offering this event annually for our members and look forward to our next lunch with the Department.

  • 2 Mar 2020 9:28 PM | Hannah Baldwin (Administrator)

    Join SWEP Three Rivers for our next signature event, A Conversation with DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn on March 18, 2020.

    SWEP Three Rivers member and Conversation with alumna Caren Glotfelty (Executive Director of the Allegheny County Parks Foundation) will sit down Secretary Dunn to discuss her career path, her accomplishments and goals as the leader of the state’s conservation agency, and insights into success in the environmental field.

    Cindy Adams Dunn was appointed by Governor Tom Wolf to be the sixth Secretary of DCNR in 2015. Over the last two decades, Secretary Dunn has served in multiple roles at the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, including Deputy Secretary of Conservation and Technical Services; Director of the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation; and Director of the Office of Education, Communications and Partnerships.

    She is the holder of numerous awards for her leadership in conservation and has held leadership positions in a variety of environmental organizations prior to her appointment as DCNR Secretary.

    We are thrilled to host Secretary Dunn and we hope you can join in the conversation!

    Registration is limited and closes on Monday, March 9. Click here or visit our Events page to register.

    Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, contact Holly Douglas at hdouglas@cosmostechnologiesinc.com.


  • 16 Aug 2019 6:13 AM | Anonymous

    SWEP Three Rivers hosted Women, Wigle & Workwear: A Networking Event to Benefit Dress for Success Pittsburgh at the Wigle Distillery Tasting Room in the Strip District on June 13. This was our first event combining a charitable cause with program-free networking and it was a huge hit!


    Attendees were encouraged to bring gently used workwear, accessories, and toiletries to donate to Dress for Success, a non-profit with the mission of empowering women to achieve independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and developmental tools to help women thrive in both work and life. And, boy, did our attendees rise to the occasion! We packed two large clothing racks full of donated dresses, suits, blouses, and slacks, along with several boxes of toiletries and accessories. While enjoying each other’s company (and the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres), attendees also had the opportunity to meet with representatives from Estée Lauder for makeup and skincare consultations, chat with a personal style specialist from Macy’s, and peruse the selection of goodies available in the basket raffle.

     

    Through the generosity of basket raffle donors and our signature sponsor, Monaloh Basin Engineers, and our attendees, we were able to donate hundreds of items and $1,961.00 in cash to Dress for Success Pittsburgh.  Dress for Success was ecstatic to receive such a large donation from our SWEP Three Rivers membership.  The donations will make a real impact on the lives of local women on their journey to financial independence and will provide empowerment to achieve their career goals.


    Thank you to all our sponsors, volunteers, and attendees for making this event a success!

    Photos by Kaitlyn Leigh Roth.

  • 19 May 2019 10:45 PM | Anonymous

    On Saturday, April 27th, SWEP members participated in the first public service event of 2019, hosted by the Allegheny County Department of Parks.  This event kicked off the new initiative Park Steward Program at North Park. Thirteen volunteers from the SWEP Public Service Committee and other members attended.   The group was tasked with removing invasive plant species and restoring a natural habitat along one of the trail heads near the North Park Ranch House. After a morning of hard work pulling up and digging out vegetation, the volunteers created massive piles of weeds.  It’s amazing what a group of determined, passionate people can accomplish in one morning! After the hard (and fun!) work, the group was treated to a pizza party by the Park Rangers as a thank you.


    Two SWEP members, Kristen Schawalder and Hannah Baldwin, signed up to become Park Stewards at North Park, committing to 24 hours of service each year.  They will be coordinating and overseeing their own groups of volunteers to remove invasive species. The goal of this initiative is to restore and protect the natural ecosystems by removing invasive and non-native plant species to provide for the return and growth of native plants and habitats. The Park Rangers coordinate with the stewards and provide management plans to guide these conservation efforts.  


    This event was a great way to give back to the community parks and meet others in the SWEP Three Rivers Chapter.  If you missed this event, we hope you can make it to the next one in the Fall! More information to come!


    Interested in learning more about the Park Steward Program?  Please visit the Allegheny County website for more information:  https://www.alleghenycounty.us/parks/rangers/park-stewards-program.aspx

    To find out more information about SWEP Three Rivers, please visit our website: https://swep3rivers.org/

  • 22 Apr 2019 9:52 PM | Anonymous

    Since the founding of SWEP Three Rivers in 2017, our Board Members and Committee Chairs have worked together with our members to build a strong foundation. In April 2019, we held our inaugural election to further formalize the leadership and structure of the organization. We are pleased to announce the results of the election, including the following women as our officers for 2019-2020:

    The By-Laws and Budget were also adopted by our members and are available for viewing on the Members page of our website (login required--please email us if you need assistance). The development of these was informed by our experience and interactions with all our members over the last year and a half at events, online, and in the community, and they are consistent with an approach we believe will advance the mission of SWEP Three Rivers. 

    The 2020 election will be held with an open nominations process beginning in late 2019. Please keep this in mind if you are interested in joining the leadership of the organization. In the meantime, please contact one of our Committee Chairs if you would like to become involved.

  • 9 Jan 2019 4:35 PM | Anonymous

    SWEP Three Rivers is proud to welcome Dr. Audrey J. Murrell, University of Pittsburgh, as an honored guest at our upcoming event, Mentorship, Women, and the Workplace Culture on January 25, 2019. Dr. Murrell is a professor of business administration and holds secondary appointments in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and Pitt’s Psychology Department. 


    Image Source

    Dr. Murrell has been recognized by the Mayor's Citizen Service Award from the City of Pittsburgh, the SBA Minority Business Champion of the Year, the University of Pittsburgh Student Choice Award, the “Women of Distinction” award from the Girls Scouts of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Susan B. Anthony “Women of Vision” award from the Women’s Leadership Assembly, and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public and Community Service Award from the University of Pittsburgh.

    In December 2018, Dr. Murrell authored an article on Forbes titled "The New Wave of Women Leaders: Breaking the Glass Ceiling or Breaking the Glass Cliff?" We encourage you to check out the article to hear Dr. Murrell's perspective on the pathways and barriers to women’s advancement into leadership positions.

    If you are interested in learning more about mentorship and cultivating a workplace culture of inclusivity, please join SWEP Three Rivers and Dr. Murrell on January 25, 2019 at the University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration. Registration is $10 for SWEP members and students and $20 for non-members. Seating is Limited. Click here to register.

  • 8 Oct 2018 2:34 PM | Anonymous

    SWEP Three Rivers celebrated its one-year anniversary with the fourth in our series entitled “A Conversation With…” The SWEP Board developed this signature event to help brand our new organization. Collectively, the Board determined that our first year would feature women leaders in our region who are changing perceptions, building bridges, and transforming the region. The conversations proved to be thought-provoking and wildly successful to raise awareness about SWEP Three Rivers.

    Our first conversation in September 2017 was a great success and we set the bar high with Arletta Scott Williams, Executive Director of ALCOSAN. Arletta is the first woman and the first African American to serve in this position - leading what is arguably the most important environmental organization protecting the health of our rivers. SWEP Three Rivers would like to thank Arletta for sharing her wisdom with us at our inaugural event and congratulate her on 20 years as Executive Director of ALCOSAN.


    Our second conversation featured Cheryl Moon-Sirianni, District Executive, PennDOT District 11. In this role, she is the first woman to oversee what could be one of the most challenging transportation networks in Pennsylvania. Cheryl brought to life the immense responsibility that rests upon PennDOT and the importance of the transportation network to our region’s quality of life.

    For our third Conversation we took it to the Park! Allegheny County’s North Park that is to learn about the Allegheny County Parks Foundation and its dynamic Executive Director, Caren Glotfelty. Her words of wisdom with the capacity crowd of women and men included getting involved with professional groups and taking on new challenges. Caren, a well-known environmental advocate spoke passionately about the serious environmental issues facing our region and gave us great advice as to how we can make a difference.

    SWEP Three Rivers had a great first year of interesting and inspiring conversations and our fourth speaker, Christina Cassotis, helped us close out our first year on a high note. Christina is literally transforming the aviation industry in our region. As the first woman CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority (ACAA), she is changing the face of “Pittsburgh’s Airport” through a leadership model that demands accountability. Christina came to ACAA with the mandate to affect change. She did that by challenging people to think differently about the airport and the market forces that influence the aviation industry. Her message that the old way of operating just doesn’t work resonated with her team and the region. Based upon the numerous awards given to the Pittsburgh International Airport, Christina and her staff, plus the continued growth in passengers, after three and a half years in Pittsburgh, it is safe to say that her approach works.


    With the Terminal Modernization Program (“PITransformed”), Christina is leading an effort to modernize Pittsburgh International Airport and build a community space that will welcome travelers in a much more sustainable and enjoyable way. This exciting project will recreate “Pittsburgh Airport” to meet the demands of today’s travelers and maximize its market potential. Inefficiencies will be eliminated to improve passenger experience and operations, but the vision is to create a community atmosphere within the airport.

    One such effort is the plan to build a Sensory Room at Pittsburgh International Airport. As Christina said, the airport must work for everyone, and this effort will make the airport more accessible to those who may be overstimulated or overwhelmed by travel or the airport experience. The concept of a sensory room came from one of the airport’s own through the CEO Suggestion Box that Christina instituted. The idea was submitted from one of the heavy equipment operators who has a son with autism. He wrote a detailed letter about sensory issues, which affects children and adults, and included a picture of the room at Dublin Airport explaining that there is currently no airport in the United States that has such a facility. Taking concept to reality, the Airport Authority Board voted at their September meeting to start construction. Christina praised this effort, especially the fact that he identified a best practice and conducted the research to benchmark the concept. She noted that this demonstrates airport personnel are excited about their airport community and are eager “to open up the world for people with sensory processing disorders.”


    In addition to the Terminal Modernization Program and internal airport improvements, Christina is also advancing the ACAA’s relationship with local environmental groups, including the Montour Run Watershed Association. While she admitted this work was not her area of expertise, she emphasized the importance of sustainability in how the airport modernizes its infrastructure, energy needs, and relationship with surrounding communities. In some regards, Pittsburgh still must combat stereotypes of abandoned smokestacks, despite being a hub for technology, health care, and clean energy. She recognized early on that Pittsburghers believed the airport was important and had a vested interest in having it work well—which means it must modernize along with the city and region. Of all her accomplishments since arriving in Pittsburgh, Christina is most proud of the development of the team as they work together to advance the vision of transformation for Pittsburgh international and the region.

    SWEP-Three Rivers would like to thank our Conversationalists and our sponsors. We could not offer such a wonderful program without the following organizational support: Platinum Sponsor, ALCOSAN, and Gold Sponsors: JMT; and Civil and Environmental Consultants, Inc.; Silver Sponsor: SGS; Bronze Sponsors: Babst Calland; Eholdings; Moody and Associates; Hull, Inc.; Test America; and Collective Efforts.

    SWEP – Three Rivers is looking forward to 2019 and continuing the conversation with the goal to diversify our speakers and present new opportunities to network and build relationships. Please visit our website to learn about upcoming events!
  • 12 Sep 2018 4:48 PM | Anonymous

    The Allegheny County Airport Authority (ACAA), which manages Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) and Allegheny County Airport (AGC), has a vision to transform Pittsburgh’s airports to reflect and serve the community, inspire the industry, and advance the region’s role as a world leader. Prioritizing communities and the surrounding environment is key to achieving this vision. In 2018, the ACAA won the Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) Environmental Achievement Award for outreach, education, and community involvement for its “Outside the Fence” program. Through this program, it has partnered with the Montour Run Watershed Association to address abandoned mine discharge elimination on airport property. This is one of several efforts that propel the ACAA toward its vision and demonstrate to the community that it has become a leader in sustainability and natural resource management, education, and outreach programs.


    Photo Credit: Allegheny County Airport Authority Flikr

    The ACAA is also pursuing the development of an on-site airport microgrid to lower energy costs and enhance the resiliency of energy service using natural gas and solar electricity. Natural gas has been produced on-site since 2016 but is not currently being used to directly fuel airport operations. The envisioned microgrid could generate and distribute a substantial proportion of the energy needed by the airport and its tenants.

    Major renovations at PIT - known as the Terminal Modernization Project (TMP) - will begin next year and continue through 2023.  Announced by the ACAA in September 2017, the TMP will position PIT as an industry leader in airport design, operation, and management, with updated facilities that will provide best-in-class passenger experiences while reducing long-term costs.  Before any construction can begin, every “i” must be dotted, every “t” must be crossed, and every wetland must be delineated.  Much work is needed to ensure that the TMP will minimize any impacts on the surrounding environment and local communities. 

     The existing airport consists of Airside and Landside terminals connected by a train. Space is not laid out to efficiently accommodate current airport operations, with long moving walkways, baggage transportation between terminals, and outdated security checkpoints adding expense to the airport’s operation and time to travelers’ journeys.

    The Terminal Modernization Program consists of the following:

    • Replacing the existing Landside terminal with a new three-level, 632,000-square-foot Main Terminal attached to the existing Airside Terminal that includes:
      • Ground Level:  Airline and Airport support, baggage operations, explosive baggage detection systems, Federal Inspection Services and building utilities;
      • Concourse level:  Airline and passenger functions related to check-in, security screening checkpoint, domestic baggage claim, and concessions; and
      • Mezzanine level:  ACAA administrative offices and conference space.
    • Refurbishment of the existing Airside Terminal concourses
    • A six-story garage connected to the Main Terminal addition by two pedestrian bridges. The garage structure will house 4,500 public parking spaces as well as rental car counters, pick-up, and return, and the ground transportation center (GTC)
    • Separate rental car quick turn-around (QTA) facility
    • Cell phone lot and a paved commercial vehicle staging lot
    • New roadway system to support the new terminal complex

    A Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) was prepared by ACAA to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the TMP pursuant to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The Draft EA included an analysis of reasonable alternatives, potential environmental impacts, and mitigation measures, as deemed appropriate. This document was available for public review through April 2018 and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in May 2018.  The Draft EA concluded that no significant environmental impacts will be caused by the TMP. Alternatives considered enhancing the existing terminals, replacing the garage and constructing the International Arrivals Facility only, and the selected TMP. The selected TMP was determined not to result in any significant environmental impacts and to best achieve the ACAA’s customer service and financial objectives.

    Today’s world is shaped by shifting economic, social, and environmental forces – and at its heart lies the need to achieve sustainable development.  Every stage of the construction process has a measurable environmental impact; from the manufacturing of building materials and the transportation of those materials to the building site, to the construction process itself and the final waste removal and disposal processes that follow the completion of the project.  Environmental professionals, contractors, and design firms will be working in a collaborative effort with the ACAA to reduce those impacts while designing new infrastructure, energy production and distribution systems, and buildings. 

    We hope you’ll join us at our next event, A Conversation with Christina Cassotis, CEO Allegheny County Airport Authority, to hear about her leadership of the ACAA and the exciting developments at Pittsburgh’s airports. The event will be held on September 25, 2018 at 8:00 am at the DoubleTree Green Tree (500 Mansfield Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15205). Please visit the SWEP Three Rivers website for event details and to register by September 12.

    Article written by Cindy Zuch, with contributions by Shaena Berlin Ulissi and Amanda McNally.

    Sources: 
    Terminal Modernization Program (including concept photos)
    Pittsburgh International Airport News Releases
    Microgrid Knowledge
    Pittsburgh International Airport

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