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PDP Staff Spotlight: Aaron Sukenik

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Meet Aaron Sukenik, Vice President of District Development. He joins the PDP to continue the important work that we do to advance investments, policies, programs, and projects that improve the quality of life and enhance economic activity in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Get to know Aaron! Read our Q&A ⬇️

What drew you to the PDP?

The challenge as much as the organization! PDP is a well-managed, widely respected organization, taking pride in its impact. However, the challenges that Downtown faces coming out of pandemic are real. Only by identifying risks and opportunities and intervening early on those, will we ensure that Downtown sustains and grows.  Playing an important role in community and economic development interventions to support Downtown is what drew me to PDP.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Disclaimer: I’m only in week three! Right now, my typical day still consists of getting up-to-speed on existing projects with our staff, reviewing project-related plans, contracts and budgets, and meeting with stakeholders, including consultants, contractors, peer organizations, funders, local government partners, property owners, and many more.

What are you most excited to do in your role?

I’m most excited to jump in and help advance some current projects like the 6th Street outdoor dining corridor, the Downtown Activity Dashboard and some upcoming mobility and infrastructure projects. I’m also excited about the evolution of current District Development work that is on the horizon – stay tuned!

What is your favorite thing about the PDP?

My new co-workers, of course! Also… I love being within an organization that drives mobility, placemaking, economic development programs and projects AND clean and safe services! I have been in various leadership roles in local government and community development, but never a hybrid that integrates the core functions of both.

What are your favorite things to do Downtown?

Go to the Holiday Market, Three Rivers Arts Fest, and the fountain at Point State Park with my daughters.

Favorite restaurant in the neighborhood?

Gaucho Parilla

Words to live by? Favorite quote?

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” – Winston Churchill

Tell us three things most people don’t know about you

I’ve been involved in community development since I was a kid! When I was eight, I lived across the street from a city playground in disrepair. I was swinging on the entry gate and a rusty fence latch went through the side of my face.  Twenty-four stitches later, my mom took up the challenge of forming a “Friends of the park” group to advocate for much needed renovations and repairs.  I was put to work stuffing and licking envelopes!

If I’m out of the office for a day in April-June or Sept-October, chances are I am fly fishing somewhere remote without cell phone reception.

I love music, have travelled all over to many concerts and festivals over the years, and am a very mediocre guitar player.

If you had one piece of advice for someone new to Pittsburgh, what would it be?

If you are able, take a self-guided bike tour of Downtown and the many neighborhoods!  It’s a great way to get to know the city at street-level.

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