Pittsburgh Businessman Gives $250K to Point Park’s Rowland School of Business to Kick Start New Sales and Innovation Center Thursday, August 19, 2021
"Point Park has a long tradition of combining academics with practical experience. This center brings that educational philosophy to the forefront, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
The Rowland School of Business at Point Park University is building a new sales and innovation center thanks to a $250,000 gift from businessman and attorney Michael P. Pitterich.
The Michael P. Pitterich Sales & Innovation Center is currently under construction on the main floor of West Penn Hall, which is home to the Rowland School of Business, and will be completed in Fall 2021. The center will support Rowland’s bachelor’s degree in marketing and sales.
The physical space will encompass 1,300 square feet and feature three office-sized simulation spaces, a conference room space and a technology-enhanced training room. Video capturing will be done throughout to allow for enhanced feedback and evaluation, and the technology also will allow for virtual experiences.
“Rowland already maintains dozens of meaningful partnerships with businesses around the region, and the Michael P. Pitterich Sales & Innovation Center will only serve to strengthen those ties,” said Steve Tanzilli, J.D., dean of the Rowland School of Business. “We are operating with a goal of making the center a direct connection between our students and the region’s business community. Mike’s generous gift puts us in a position to hit the ground running.”
By gifting such a significant sum of money to Point Park, Pitterich said he is fulfilling the wish of his father.
“My late brother and I do not have sons, and our father wanted to ensure there would be a legacy to the Pitterich name,” he said. “Certainly, there’s more to it than that, though. Point Park has a long tradition of combining academics with practical experience. This center brings that educational philosophy to the forefront, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Pitterich, a Pittsburgh native who grew up in the South Hills, also views this as a contribution to help improve a city and region he loves. Nearly 20 years ago, he opened the Altar Bar in the Strip District, an early pioneer in supporting live music in the city. Through Altar Bar, he became familiar with Point Park, whose sports, arts and entertainment management program is embedded in many areas of the local music industry.
Altar Bar’s 15-year run ended in 2017, shortly after Pitterich underwent a liver transplant. That experience led him to create the Michael P. Pitterich Foundation, which supports the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute’s research and development on liver transplants.
Pitterich currently owns three companies – Col-Fin Specialty Steel, Union Drawn Steel and Beaver Valley Heat Treating.
“The Pittsburgh region is very important to me, and I view this center as a new community asset,” he said. “While the center will help train Point Park’s students, it also will expand the University’s ability to assist organizations like Pittsburgh Hires Veterans and the University’s own Women in Industry.”
The center will support Point Park’s focus on career-readiness as it provides the tools and facilities to offer training that involves simulated interactions, including sales calls, mock interviews and other role-playing experiences, said Dorene Ciletti, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the marketing and sales program.
“The ability to integrate theoretical knowledge with practical application opportunities is vital in effectively preparing students and positioning them to be day-one ready to contribute to an organization,” she said. “Simulation also can enhance existing skillsets, so the opportunity to practice and refine through use of the center can be beneficial for organizations seeking to support their staff and clients through practical application.”