Just about twelve years ago, my husband and I moved to Pittsburgh knowing no one, with no plan. I know I’ve mentioned it before, being a transplant, but I may not have mentioned that we were young, perhaps a bit dumb, looking to start our life together somewhere new, somewhere we could call our own. After a few months here, a mix of pieced-together nannying jobs and long bouts of Golden Girls rerun marathons, I lucked into an interview at a small non-profit Downtown, and the rest, as they say, is history. Soon, I was an employee at AIA Pittsburgh, and it has been my home ever since.
Working for AIA Pittsburgh has been a gift. As my life has shifted and changed, so too did the work I did for the organization. Starting there, knowing very little about the city, my work introduced me to Pittsburgh’s history, to its story, via the built environment.This lens will forever be a part of how I see this place, what I now consider my family’s hometown. As I had my first, then second, then third child, I was able to stay connected through my work with Columns to the progress that was being made, to the neighborhoods being revitalized, to the stories being built and created all around.
But sometimes, even a good thing must come to an end. Sometimes we realize we have a higher calling and need to follow that, to make a leap towards something new, and that’s what I’ll be doing. A few years ago, my husband and I began experimenting with making our own bacon from scratch. You may recall a talk I gave about this at PechaKucha Night? Well, over the past year we have been building interest, building our experience, refining our processes and our cure recipes, and as of this month, we will be moving into a commercial kitchen space to become licensed to produce and sell our small-scale bacon here in Pittsburgh. I realize it’s a bit of a departure but sometimes a big change is needed. (And we make the tastiest bacon you’ll ever encounter. Truly. We’ve got a lot of faith in our product.) If you feel so inclined, go look up The Bacon Rebellion of 1709. That’s us.
As I step away, a familiar and highly capable person will step in to replace me at the helm of Columns. You may recall a Maya Haptas working for AIA Pittsburgh about a decade ago? Well, she’s Maya Henry now, and she will be taking over my duties. With a graduate degree in Historical Preservation and Planning from Cornell University, along with experience working with Main Street programs here in the city, you’ll find her to be a well informed voice.
Thank you for a great decade, filled with design awards and dossiers, with insight into materials and architectural movements, with meetings filled with heated discussions and brainstorming. Thank you for giving me a peek at the work architects do, to continuously strive to show how and why design matters, how pushing ideas and technologies and expertise can impact not just one client but a whole neighborhood or town or region.
And maybe if you see a lady slinging bacon at your local farmers market next summer, you’ll come over and say hi.