Places + Spaces

NSBE Returns to Pittsburgh for the Third Time

More than 10,000 students and professionals will attend the annual convention in 2018.

Pittsburgh and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to host the returning conference, National Society of Black Engineers, in 2018. Photo credit: JP Diroll Photography

More than 10,000 aspiring and practicing engineering professionals and students will gather at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh next year, March 21-25, for The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) 44th Annual Convention.

It will be the third time the Steel City has hosted NSBE’s convention. “The city of Pittsburgh is the first city dating back to 1975 to ever host the convention three cycles in a row,” former NSBE executive director, Carl Mack, told Pittsburgh Urban Media, adding that he hoped the convention will continue to stimulate economic opportunities for African American organizations in the area. “I saw firsthand how the city of Pittsburgh helped us support African American-owned businesses,” he said.

The event brings together students and professionals in engineering and other STEM fields, representatives of hundreds of corporate, government, academic, and nonprofit supporters of NSBE, and members of the host community, among others, said Karl Reid, NSBE’s current executive director. The annual convention is “vital to our work, which aims to move African Americans from underrepresentation to overrepresentation in engineering,” Reid said. “Countless black engineers credit their attendance at their first NSBE Annual Convention with inspiring them to become fully involved in our Society, complete their engineering degree programs, and go on to success in the workplace.”

I believe Pittsburgh is the city of choice because it knows how to cater to what is important to the client.

The last time NSBE held its convention in Pittsburgh in 2012, the event left behind more than $15 million dollars in direct spending. “I believe Pittsburgh is the city of choice because it knows how to cater to what is important to the client,” Mack said.

“This is precisely the kind of meeting group that we want to attract in Pittsburgh. We love hosting a collective group of young, driven, and smart individuals,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a statement. “And we’re expecting that some of the finest engineering-based companies in the world from Pittsburgh will be represented at the conference, including Alcoa, Bayer, PPG, and U.S. Steel.”

“We are thrilled that the National Society of Black Engineers is coming to Pittsburgh again in 2018,” VisitPITTSBURGH President and CEO Craig Davis told Pittsburgh Urban Media. “Not only does hosting this influential group have a significant positive impact on our economy, it also exposes talented, young, black professionals to our city. Hopefully, some of them will be convinced to start their engineering career here.”

The Annual Convention — themed “Ignite. Imagine. Innovate” in 2018 — showcases black students and professionals who are leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math. Attendees will hear from high-profile speakers and engage in panel discussions, workshops, networking sessions, technical and scientific competitions, and a career fair.

Each day at NSBE’s annual convention is dedicated to a particular theme, like “Inspiration and Imagination,” which will involve attendees focusing in on their goals and thinking outside the box, and “Innovation,” where NSBE will create a collaborative space for attendees to learn about the “latest state-of-the-art advancements that feed innovation around the world.” Attendees will work on “delivering new solutions to the world’s most challenging problems, and personal development.”

VisitPITTSBURGH has partnered with NSBE beyond the convention by supporting a Summer Bridge Scholarship Program during 2014 – 2016 through a grant totaling $60,000. The grant enabled NSBE to provide 142 scholarships to high-school graduates entering their freshman year at Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State Erie–Behrend College, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Pittsburgh will also play host to PCMA’s Convening Leaders in 2019. “We are so excited to host Convening Leaders in Pittsburgh that five minutes after the announcement the team started our planning,” Davis said in a statement. “PCMA attendees who have never been to our great city or who haven’t been here a while, will quickly find out why Pittsburgh is amongst the top travel destinations in the world, best food cities, and cultural district in the United States, and one of the friendliest cities. Although our historical roots are in steel, our never-quit work ethic has transitioned our region to become a hotbed for education, medicine, technology, banking, energy and, of course, tourism. We look forward to welcoming the meetings and convention leaders from around the world to Pittsburgh.”

Sarah Beauchamp