Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to speak at Fall commencement
Penn State Greater Allegheny’s fall 2013 commencement will be held on Thursday, December 19 at 7 p.m. in the Wunderley Gymnasium on the campus. Chancellor Curtiss E. Porter will preside as diplomas are conferred to students receiving baccalaureate and associate degrees. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will be the keynote speaker.
Fitzgerald took office on January 3, 2012. According to the Allegheny County website, he worked on the campaign to change the form of government in Allegheny County. In 1999, he ran for one of the district council seats on the newly-formed County Council and was elected to represent a district that included suburban municipalities and city neighborhoods. He held the seat for twelve years and was elected as Council President four times before leaving to run for the office of County Executive.
As County Executive, Fitzgerald is focused on economic development of the region and job creation. He works with companies on a weekly basis to address the issues that are priorities to them in growing and being supported in the county. That focus includes making the airport better, ensuring that the public transit system is reliable and sustainable, and providing a climate where a skilled workforce is a key component of the region’s growth.
Fitzgerald’s interest in making government more effective and efficient began with the consolidation of row offices when he was on Council. It has expanded to include a top to bottom review of county departments and functions by the County Manager and direction to make changes to ensure that county government is responsive to taxpayers and protects their interests.
Fitzgerald grew up in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield-Garfield neighborhood. He earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a business minor from Carnegie Mellon Universtiy. He started a small business, Aquenef, which provides water treatment equipment and services for industry in the Western Pennsylvania region. He and his wife, Cathy, a pharmacist, live in Squirrel Hill. They have eight children.