The 60's saw some changes in the small staff of four.
The Convention Bureau, under the leadership of Charles Shaffer, spun off from the Chamber of Commerce in 1963 after 28 years and, as part of that arrangement, Mr. Shaffer soon retired. John Besanceny then joined the Bureau as its Executive Director.
Also in the 1960s, the Tourism Promotion Agency (TPA) Matching Funds program was launched by the state legislature to provide 50/50 matching grants to tourist promotion agencies throughout the state. This program is still in place today. In 1969, this program gave $24,602 to the PCVB to lure conventions and tourists to the city. Today this grant comes in at almost a million dollars—how things have changed in less than 40 years!
Staff at the Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau were involved in the ongoing discussion and eventually the establishment of Sunday liquor sales in the hotels in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, a major coup at the time.
On April 1, 1968, Robert Imperata joined the staff of the Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau. Mr. Imperata retired on September 1, 2007 after almost 40 years of service to Pittsburgh''s tourism and convention industry. He will be missed.
Robert P. Imperata, then and now:
From 1950-1969 the growth of Pittsburgh''s Tourism Promotion Agency was widespread—from staff changes to state grants, much progress was made in this tourism industry, leading to it being named the second biggest industry in the state of Pennsylvania, following only Agriculture, an honor the industry still holds today.
Other Important Events in the 1960s
- 1960: Pittsburgh hosted Major League Baseball's World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates going seven games against the New York Yankees. The series ended with second basemen Bill Mazerowski''s dramatic ninth inning home run. The final score: Bucs 10, Yankees 9.
- 1961: The Civic Arena was opened. This facility was later named Mellon Arena and has become the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- 1963: On November 23, President John F. Kennedy was shot during a parade in Dallas, TX.
- 1968: Bill Strickland opened Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on Pittsburgh''s North Side.
- 1968: The Thunderbolt rollercoaster made its inaugural run at Kennywood Park.
- 1969: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon on July 21.