Alexander Palma  [34]

West Penn Hospital

Alexander Palma [34] West Penn Hospital

Dr. Alexander Palma, a Cuban American raised in Miami, came to Pittsburgh for his residency. “The day I finished, I fully expected to have a U-Haul in my driveway to take me back South,” he recalls. (For one thing, he says, Pittsburgh’s Hispanic community is tiny.) Yet Dr. Palma fell in love with the city and currently specializes in Internal and Emergency Medicine at West Penn Hospital. Dr. Palma is an entrepreneur — he put himself through college by renovating and selling houses — who sees enormous potential in the local young business community, if we can keep the best talent from leaving. To that end, he and four friends co-founded the Baller BBQ, a charity event where young professionals socialize while raising funds to support local entrepreneurs. “The goal is to avoid that ‘brain drain,’” he says. “Mark Zuckerberg comes to CMU to recruit. Why? The talent’s here. And they’re taking it away.” The BBQ and its offshoot — the Business Bout, which seeks out the best new business ideas — are growing in size and influence annually. “The drive and energy Pittsburgh offers is awesome,” Dr. Palma enthuses, “and I’m now seeing real organic growth.”

Play Pause