40 Under 40: 2016

Meet our 2016 class of 40 Pittsburghers Under 40 who are changing our region – and the world – for the better.



(page 6 of 11)


 

Marteen K. Garay   [33]
Director of Entrepreneurship Programming, Urban Innovation21


Meet Marteen K. Garay and the first thing she’ll tell you is that she’s from New York.

“I do this to build a connection,” she says. “I know what it’s like to live, to stomp and stand for your city.”

Since arriving here in 2010, Garay has been doing that for the ’Burgh, from the Homewood Children’s Village, Coro Pittsburgh and the Harambee Ujima Association and its cultural festivals.

With a master’s degree in public policy and management from CMU’s Heinz College, she also received the school’s Otto A. Davis Award for upholding racial and social justice in her everyday work.

She is director of entrepreneurship programs at Urban Innovation21, where she works to develop business opportunities to underserved and disadvantaged communities. The goal is equitable solutions that make certain that Pittsburgh’s journey into the new century includes every community.

Garay recently was honored with the 2016 ATHENA Young Professional award. The New Yorker now calls herself something more … a proud Yinzer.  

If I had a second chance ... I would have picked up playing the saxophone. I learned how to play clarinet in elementary school ... but dropped off in college. I can imagine myself playing backup in a jazz band and like a hole-in-the-wall kind of bar.
 

Amanda Filippelli   [30]
Owner & Founder / Mental Health Specialist / Editor-in-Chief, Parity Health Service


Amanda Filippelli’s initial goal in life was to repair the lives of persons with mental illness. But she soon discovered that first she’d have to fix a broken mental health system. The flaws in the bureaucracy have been evident at every level, even inspiring U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) to sponsor a sweeping reform bill.

At the local level, Filippelli already was on the case. In 2014, she founded Parity Health Services, which pairs education with treatment, providing tutoring services alongside mental health counseling. For people leaving the mental health care system, Filippelli’s firm provides individually tailored follow-up care.

Her spare time includes lobbying Congress for mental health reform, especially to ease the stigma that still surrounds mental illness.

You’d be surprised to know ... I’m terrified of bridges, even though I’m from the city of bridges ...
 

Duane Binion   [30]
Co-Founder of True T Entertainment | Kelly Strayhorn Theatre


Acting isn’t always about a stage, and melodies don’t always have to come out of a trombone.

Duane Binion is an actor and accomplished trombonist, but seven years ago, at age 23, he decided to put in the performance of everyone else’s life: he started a program called True T.

It provides HIV and STD testing and prevention, as well as unique safe spaces for at-risk youth. Soon enough, he would be the associate producer at Pittsburgh’s Kelly Strayhorn Theater, known for its judgment-free atmosphere for patrons of all ages, races, religions and gender identities.

After growing up without a male figure who reflected his identity as a LGBTQ youth, Binion has become determined to address the lack of positive male role models for other kids.

You’d be surprised to know ... I am actually a huge WWE/WWF wrestling fan and have been since the late ’90s. WWF is actually what inspired me to pursue a career in the arts as I was always so amazed by their acting and ability to entertain.
 

Bill Viola Jr.   [39]
President, Kumite Classic Entertainment Corp.


Pittsburgh often is credited as the birthplace of a self-defense discipline known as Mixed Martial Arts.

Bill Viola Jr. is the author of the book “Godfathers of MMA,” which chronicles the life of his father, Bill Sr., and explores the world of martial arts as first developed west of the Alleghenies. The younger Viola is known internationally for his work in the martial arts industry, founding the highly regarded annual Kumite Classic in 1999.

He also was named to the U.S. Karate Hall of Fame in 2005 and was the winner of the Willie Stargell Pittsburgh MVP Award in 2011 for his work training youth in martial arts programs.

He currently is head instructor at his family’s Allegheny Shotokan Karate studio, founded in 1969, and he is the founder and producer of the Pittsburgh Fitness Expo.

The biggest thing I ever had to overcome ... In 1999, I was in a car accident that ended my competitive martial arts career. Going from world champion to watching on the sidelines was complete culture shock, but the injury was actually a blessing. In rehab, I found my true passion, being a sensei (teacher). Seeing my students succeed is more rewarding than any title I won.
 

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