Meet Pittsburgh's 40 Under 40 Honorees for 2017

We present this year's class of 40 people under the age of 40 who are making Pittsburgh a better place.



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Video by 40 Under 40 Alum Emmai Alaquiva

 


40 Under 40: 2017
 

Pittsburgh has always been characterized as a town full of hardworking people. People who make things with their hands. People who see something broken and fix it. Inventors, innovators, philanthropists, givers. People who simply get stuff done. That is certainly true of those honored in the 19th annual 40 Under 40 list, presented by Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP. These outstanding young Pittsburghers have built a satisfying career, or found meaningful volunteer work, or started a business, or saw a need and launched a nonprofit. They might not have it all figured out, but they have something figured out, and that’s worthy of recognition.
 

 Photos at Waterfront Pump House by Douglas Duerring  |  Hair/makeup by Travis Klingler
 

Joel Acie (37)
UPMC MWDBE Projects Manager, Pensiamo, Inc.


The alphabet soup that is Joel Acie’s job title does little to showcase the importance of his work. MWDBE stands for Minority, Woman and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, and Acie is tasked with ensuring that the companies that supply UPMC are sufficiently diverse. To do that, he works closely with organizations such as the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council and the Women’s Business Enterprise Council, among others, to certify minority-owned and women-owned businesses. He also serves on Gov. Tom Wolf’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities, which helps Pennsylvania identify diverse businesses and increases the utilization of those businesses in state contracts. Acie says that this work is important whether you’re working for a hospital system like UPMC or the entire commonwealth — it grows small businesses through economic inclusion, which helps to grow communities. “We can make this a greater place to work, live and thrive,” Acie says.
 

Lacee Ecker (30)
Assistant General Counsel,
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.


Lacee Ecker arrived in Pittsburgh in 2005. “I came here as an 18-year-old,” she says. “Pittsburgh has really molded me into the person I am today.” After earning both a bachelor’s degree and a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, she took a job as counsel at United States Steel Corp. In 2016, she was hired as an assistant general counsel at American Eagle. At Pitt, she was an active volunteer; she wanted to continue that while working as a lawyer. In addition to other volunteer pursuits, she just marked her four-year anniversary with Little Sister and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. She acknowledges that there are countless worthy causes, but making an impact on one kid’s life is more of a proactive community service than a reactive one. “I really think that volunteering and focusing on kids is important,” Ecker says.
 

Danielle Crumrine  (39)
Executive Director, Tree Pittsburgh


As the executive director of Tree Pittsburgh, Danielle Crumrine has heard every tree hugger joke. But she always says, “I am a people hugger before I’m a tree hugger.” For Crumrine, trees are an issue of social justice. “When you look at our tree canopy, wealthy neighborhoods typically have more trees than neighborhoods with high poverty rates. Everyone deserves access to parks, rivers, forests, tree-lined streets,” she says. Crumrine brought that passion to her environmental work at Tree Pittsburgh when she was hired as the first employee in 2007. She has grown the organization to six full-time employees, seven part-time and others who do seasonal work through tree planting and maintenance, education and advocacy. Crumrine did not set out to be an environmentalist. While studying political science and Spanish at Duquesne University, she was volunteering with AmeriCorps when she noticed trash floating under the 10th Street Bridge. After organizing a cleanup, she joined a group now called Allegheny Cleanways, becoming board president at age 22. Tree Pittsburgh is building an office and education center in Lawrenceville, where it already has a tree nursery.
 

Michael Rubino  (32)
Visual Designer and Instructor, LUMA Institute


Michael Rubino’s creativity crosses art forms and genres. A graphic design graduate from Seton Hill University, Rubino designed the locker room mural for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has written and co-directed documentary films, including “Of Duckpins and Destinies,” which won a Mid-Atlantic Emmy award. An improv performer, Rubino was one of the founders of Arcade Comedy Theater Downtown. And he brings his creative energy to his day job as a visual designer and Human-Centered Design instructor at LUMA Institute, a company that trains and empowers people to innovate by transforming the way they work. At LUMA, Rubino shows organizational leaders from around the world how to use brainstorming, problem-solving and other techniques to encourage more people-centered offices. Rubino applies the same methods to his own life and creative pursuits. “LUMA has changed the way I work,” he says. “Put empathy first and be more collaborative. It has definitely rubbed off on me.”
 

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