Please join us Tuesday March 28th at 4pmPT/7pm ET as we continue to provide the resources to help you create and build your own business and career through emerging technologies.
Welcome to PITA!
PITA is the Pittsburgh Innovation and Technology Alliance. Are you a student, just starting out after school or a seasoned professional with a healthy entrepreneurial spirit and an overwhelming interest in emerging technologies such as Sustainable Energy, Transportation, Project Funding, Computing, Logistics, Education, Media, the Arts, Food, Health, Economics and much, much more? If you have a thirst for knowledge and could benefit from some guidance about your future, then we encourage you to join us. PITA will help participants by focusing on what is important to them and offers experience, connections, and knowledge. An important PITA goal is to discover and encourage new and exciting technologies that will help keep our planet safe and healthy for all future generations.
At PITA you will experience a community of like-minded people and opportunities to build camaraderie with those who can help you develop your goals from preparation all the way through presentation. And, if you are one of the fortunate ones with a great idea and a strong commitment to see your idea through fruition, you can meet other participants who can help you in protecting, funding, developing and bringing your idea or product to market. PITA could become your place to realize your dreams. Join us and become part of the conversation!
NO, this isn't the same as Shark Tank, although there will likely be a significant number of potential investors and developers who are always looking for their next challenge and fresh faces.
About our Guest Speaker Aaron Zolbrod, President and Founder of The Health Store:
Over 15 years ago, upon returning from Albuquerque, New Mexico to my roots of Western Pennsylvania, I was looking for a career change. I put my resume on monster.com, which was the premier website to do that in 2007. I got a call from a man who wanted me to come work with him selling individual health and Medicare Insurance. As he explained, there were over 40 million Americans who had no insurance and around that same number on Medicare at that time. As a person who had already been in sales for 10 years, I said to myself, "that's a huge number of people to market to'" and I took him up on the offer.
It turned out that the company utilized what are called "captive agents," which means those who sign on agree to only sell that particular company's products, in this case individual and Medicare Advantage Plans. The plan benefits and premiums weren't competitive, and the company did not have a good reputation as far as their sale's tactics. The first commandment of sales in my opinion is you have to believe in the product(s) you're offering. Without it, success is impossible. I left the company very quickly upon my discovery. However, they trained me well many on many of the nuances and regulations of health insurance and Medicare. I also realized what a huge need there was for someone to educate people on the differences in types of plans and help them choose one that fit their health care needs and budget.
At that time the business of selling health and Medicare plans was almost exclusively done, and still is for the most part, out of the trunks of cars and at people's dining or kitchen tables. That felt dirty to me and couldn't see myself making a career doing business like that. I then asked myself, "why is there a home and auto insurance agency on practically every block in towns or cities all over the country and literally no one with brick and mortar locations offering health and Medicare, especially when every American needs it? I also knew I didn't want to be a "captive agent." I needed to be a one stop shop and represent every competitive health, Medicare Supplement, Part D, and Advantage Plan company in the market in order to provide unbiased advice. I took a leap of faith, found what I thought would be a good location in the old Coal and Coke town in Connellsville, Pennsylvania and The Health Insurance Store was born. Not long after I opened the doors I wrote my Mission Statement. Today, it remains unchanged and reads as follows: "I built The Health Insurance Store on a few simple concepts: Treat everyone with respect. Be honest. Work hard. And help anyone who walks through the door even if it doesn't result in a commission. Agents at The Health Insurance Store will never give advice based on how it affects their paycheck. Our only concern is doing what's best for your health care needs and budget. Once you obtain a policy from us, we will assist you in any way we can by answering your questions, taking care of problems, or handling any issues that may arise as long as you remain a client."
On April 1st, 2008 The Health Insurance store started as a one man operation. I had a desk, a phone, a computer, and a $100 fax/copier/printer combo. We now have 15 employees and three office locations in Western PA; Connellsville in the Laurel Highlands, Forest Hills in the Pittsburgh area, and Erie. The agency is licensed in over 20 states. As of today we have helped over 20,000 people choose their best health or Medicare coverage options.
As I continued to get support from these communities, especially Fayette County and beyond, and as financial success followed, it became extremely important to me to give back. In 2016, I formed a 501c3 nonprofit whose main mission was to help lift kids out of generational poverty and dependence. One Voice One Community today offers after school and summer programs for kids from 6th to 12th grade. We accomplish our goals with mentorship, love, and education. Up until just recently, the program has been funded almost exclusively with profits from The Health Insurance Store. As we continue to grow with the lofty goal of helping hundreds of kids annually, we have started partnerships with local government agencies, other non-profits, private businesses and local organizations, including our local college, Penn State Fayette County. Other than raising my own kids, I consider this possibly the most important endeavor of my life.
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The city of Pittsburgh has always been on the cutting edge of technology and was an early pioneer in the Industrial Revolution. Throughout the city’s history, one industry in particular made it possible for the United States to become the strong nation that it is. That industry is Steel and it created opportunities for other industries such as construction, transportation, energy, farming, manufacturing and many others that we still depend on today.
But don’t let the image of hard-working men and women moving molten vats of lava hot liquid metals in a dark factory be your perception of this magnificent place where the three rivers meet and sports are almost a religion. Pittsburgh is one of the greatest educational hubs in the world with numerous Colleges and Universities such as the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, and Duquesne and boasts some of the country’s leading medical, science, philosophy, arts and culinary staples (have you tried the Pierogies or Pretzels?) that represent a great cross section of the U.S. and the world.
The Federal government has just facilitated a new relationship in developing new technologies between the city of Pittsburgh and the European Union. PITA plans to be a vital part of that conversation, and we believe it will help bring your ideas forward on a global platform.
Our PITA gatherings are currently only on-line but we hope to have in-person sessions soon!
NOW...You might be asking yourself “How much is all of this going to cost?” The simple answer is: ATTENDANCE IS FREE! We plan to provide PITA to everyone both in person as well as online live and later provide recorded playback of our sessions that can be replayed any time online from our library. The PITA library could also be useful to groups such as Veterans, Schools, Seniors and Students and foster support for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) which is an important foundation to our global competitiveness.
WHO can you expect to see and hear at our weekly PITA gatherings?
The producers of PITA have a long and extensive history of connections throughout the world so meetings will feature some of the biggest “game changers” in Emerging Technology. You can expect to meet pioneers and innovators in Big Data and Super-computing, Media and Entertainment Technology, Energy, as well as serial disruptors across a broad spectrum of technology and culture. As a participant, you can have the opportunity to meet and chat with legends you have only read about.
Here is how to JOIN US at our next gathering!
Live and In-Person will take place at the UPMC LEMIEUX PENGUINS TRAINING CENTER as well as College/University Technology Incubators across the U.S.
You will be able to register for our next session here!
STREAMING Link: Click the register button above and fill out the Eventbrite form.
We will send you the Zoom link prior to the start time.
You will need to have the Zoom App on your computer!
If you are interested in sponsoring upcoming PITA events,
Please note: Both On-Line and In-Person sessions are both free. However, since In-Person sessions are very limited in capacity and take place in a very restricted facility, we will take reservations on a first come – first served basis.
"RECORDING NOTICE: This online event enables an attendee to participate through a personal device's microphone and/or camera. An attendee may elect not to participate through use of a microphone and/or camera by turning that/those devices off during the session. The election of an attendee to use a microphone and/or camera constitutes a release and waiver of rights in the capture of the attendee's image, likeness, and/or voice for the exclusive use of Pittsburgh Innovation and Technology Alliance (PITA) and Paul Allen and Associates."
Due to current Covid-19 restrictions, we will be following the latest CDC recommendations for public gatherings.