The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 29, 2013

A new twist for Showcase

CMU, Pitt participation appropriately adds ‘depth’


The Tribune-Democrat

— When the “father of showcase” passed away in February 2010, many lamented that it wouldn’t be long before Johnstown’s annual business and industry gem would fade away.

Not so.

Area leaders vowed that Showcase for Commerce, a legacy of the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha, would not fall by the wayside.

And so far, despite several years of an uncooperative and troubling economy, the spotlight has continued to shine brightly on this spectacle.

In fact, another first will debut this year when Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh join the May event.

“One of western Pennsylvania’s great strengths is its educational and research institutions like the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, the exhibition’s congressional sponsor. “During the Showcase, CMU and the University of Pittsburgh will spotlight the way our region innovates and creates its own future by developing next-generation technology that creates jobs and boosts economic growth.”

It makes sense. For the past several years, we’ve applauded just that as our area’s fine universities and colleges have teamed up with our businesses and industries to adapt workplace technology and to train workers to meet the challenges of a changing high-tech marketplace. 

“I think the idea was to kind of group the two universities together and show what they’re doing,” said Showcase Chairman Ed Sheehan, president and CEO of Concurrent Technologies Corp.

CMU will highlight companies that are developing products to help military and heath care professionals.

As detailed in a report last week by our Dave Sutor, three organizations will represent Pitt: Center for Military Medicine Research, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and UPMC Center for Innovation in Restorative Medicine. The centers work together to develop advanced heath care treatments for military personnel and the general population.

How appropriate since a primary focus of Showcase is on our defense industries.

More than 150 exhibitors and 2,000 attendees are expected.

Among them will be U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, who in January filled the 12th Congressional District seat long held by Murtha. Rothfus has vowed he will continue to be a part of Showcase, now in its 23rd year.

We urge area residents to put this event on their calendars, too, as a day is set aside for public inspection. It will also give them an opportunity to join us in thanking the volunteer area business and industry leaders who spend countless hours putting this jewel together.

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