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Former Steeler Andy Russell, Multigenerational Expert Deliver Keys to Succeed at Entrepreneur’s Growth Conference

Would-be entrepreneurs, owners of businesses looking to move beyond the million-dollar mark, technology gurus and those looking to land government contracts or launch products will find a full day of solid advice, networking opportunities and inspiration at the ninth annual Entrepreneur’s Growth Conference on June 7.

The event, presented by the Duquesne University Chrysler Corporation Small Business Development Center (SBDC), will provide more than 25 workshops and a trade show on the Duquesne campus. The two keynote speakers are Andy Russell, former Pittsburgh Steelers great who segued into investment banking, and Brenda Vester, vice president of business development for Lee Hecht Harrison, a company focused on career management and leadership consulting.

Russell, who wore black and gold from 1963 to 1976, is now a managing partner at Laurel Mountain Partners, a merchant banking firm that specializes in acquiring and consolidating solid waste companies, and Liberty Waste Tire. The seven-time Pro Bowl player with two Super Bowl rings certainly impressed football fans during his playing years and likewise has proven himself in the business world. Russell, the founder and former chairman of Rea, Rea and Zappala Inc., a Pittsburgh-based investment banking firm, will share his insights during his lunchtime talk, From Accomplished Athlete to Global Entrepreneur: How Andy Russell Found Success after the NFL.

“Looking back on it, I now understand just how lucky I was to have the opportunity to play in the NFL, in that it gave me the opportunity to seek out entrepreneurial opportunities rather than being forced to work for someone else,” said Russell. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

In the morning session, Vester will discuss an issue that cuts across all industry lines and all ages, Understanding and Using Multigenerational Differences for Your Competitive Advantage.

The business-building event also will include expert-led workshops geared to those launching new ventures, established companies, technology growth, and management and profit-building strategies, such as:

  • Flying Solo: Managing and Growing a One-Person Business
  • E-Marketing to the masses: How to Find, Capture and Keep Customers with the Latest Online Tips and Techniques
  • Getting Hitched: How and Why to Grow Through Mergers, Acquisitions and Strategic Alliances
  • Moving Beyond a Million: Techniques and Ideas to Take Your Business to the Next Level
  • Humans Resources: The 10 Trickiest HR Issues and How to Tackle Them
  • Winning Ways to Successful Product Launches
  • Ask the Investors Panel: A Q&A Session with Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors
  • From Certification to Contracts: How to Secure County, State and Federal Government Contracts for Minority, Women and disadvantaged Entrepreneurs.

“The lineup of workshops is outstanding and features some of the most important topics in business today. Our workshops are tailored to a wide-range of entrepreneurs, from those launching a new business to business owners taking their million-dollar venture to the next level. With more than 500 attendance, it is the largest event of its kind in the region and attracts a virtual who’s who in Pittsburgh’s business community,” said Dr. Mary T. McKinney, director of the SBDC and organizer of the event.

The event will feature representatives from more than 40 organizations at the Business Building Trade Show.

Additionally, Bioblast, a free networking event for those involved in southwestern Pennsylvania’s life sciences community, will follow the conference from 5 to 7 p.m.  in the Duquesne Union. Pre-register for Bioblast with the Pittsburgh Technology Council at events@pghtech.org or 412.918.4229.

Registration for the Entrepreneur’s Growth Conference, $119 until June 1, includes discounted parking, continental breakfast, lunch and all event activities. Half-day registration, walks-in, lunch and student rates also are available.

For more information and a full agenda, visit www.egc.duq.edu or call 412.396.6233.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.