Michele Meloy Burchfield Named VisitPITTSBURGH Chairperson


Eight Board Members Elected, Officer Slate Revealed

PITTSBURGH – Michele Meloy Burchfield, founder of Blume Honey Water, was named Chairperson of VisitPITTSBURGH’s Board of Directors this afternoon at the organization’s annual business meeting at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center.

Additionally, eight new board members were officially elected, four of which were previously announced, and the complete 2023 officer slate was revealed.

“We are fortunate to have comprised such an exceptional group of local leaders and voices on our board. They undoubtedly will continue to generate positive impacts that will be felt throughout our community,” said VisitPITTSBURGH President & CEO Jerad Bachar. “I look forward to working with Michele and the entire board, including our newest members, and know that we will benefit from their vast experience and knowledge.”

“I’m honored to join the board as chairperson, and I’m very lucky to be following a great line of previous leaders,” added Meloy Burchfield. “With the unique experience of serving on the board before, during and now after the upheaval of a global pandemic, I’ve had the opportunity to witness VisitPITTSBURGH help bolster Allegheny County’s travel economy during the best of times and perhaps the worst of times. Our entire board has been very inspired by how the organization has remained invigorated and stimulated business through it all – and I certainly look forward to continuing to provide support moving forward.”

The 2023 VisitPITTSBURGH officers are:

  • Michele Meloy Burchfield, board chairperson (founder, Blume Honey Water)
  • Perry Ivery, vice chairman (general manager, The Oaklander Hotel, Marriott Autograph Collection)
  • Troy Schooley, treasurer (CEO, P3R)
  • Shannon Baker, secretary (president of PR & marketing, Gatesman Agency)
  • Meredith Meyer Grelli, immediate past chairperson (Carnegie Mellon University)

Michele Meloy Burchfield has more than 30 years of marketing/sales/sales management and distribution experience in the beverage industry. As founder and CEO of THE MBM Group in 2006, she independently created a beverage industry-focused consulting company working with clients such as FIJI Water, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Yuengling, Straub, New Belgium, Heineken and Firestone Walker to name a few. Prior to the MBM Group, Meloy Burchfield spent almost 15 years with the Boston Beer Company building the Sam Adams brand, contributing to the rise of the craft beer category. Meloy Burchfield is founder of Pittsburgh-based Blume Honey Water, a local producer of Organic Honey Waters.

The new VisitPITTSBURGH board members are:

  • Curtis Aiken, ProTech Compliance
  • Mamadou Baldé, CBRE (previously announced)
  • Allison Beckner, Omni William Penn Hotel (previously announced)
  • Jason Brown, Carnegie Science Center
  • Stefanie Cedro Mohr, Carnegie Museum of Art (previously announced)
  • Gerardo Interiano, Aurora (previously announced)
  • Jim Jen
  • Izzy Rudolph, McKnight Realty Partners

Curtis Aiken is president, CEO and founder of ProTech Compliance, offering custom technology solutions with a strong focus on healthcare and nonprofits for more than a decade. His depth of managerial, entrepreneurial and community development experience forms a foundation for business vision and executive leadership. Prior to founding ProTech Compliance, Aiken served as CEO of eSGS, where his experience and leadership allowed the company to utilize technology solutions to optimize processes for identifying, qualifying, bidding and reporting supplier diversity activity. He has also served as the director of marketing for Cameron Coca-Cola Company, where he drew on skills in management, sales operations, promotions marketing and advertising (print, radio and television) to contribute to their growth over a 12-year period. Aiken is an avid supporter of several community groups in the Pittsburgh region and also currently serves on the boards of organizations such as the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, the YMCA Metro Board, the Juvenile Diabetes Fund, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) Board, which oversees the city’s finances, and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Aiken graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Minor in Business from the University of Pittsburgh, where he also excelled as a four-year starter and letterwinner on the 1983-1987 men’s basketball team.

Jason Brown is Henry Buhl, Jr., director at Carnegie Science Center and vice president at Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. He has an undergraduate degree in physics from Hobart College in New York, an MBA, a Master’s Certificate in Educational Technologies and New Literacies, is a certified Project Management Professional® and is a former New York-, Oregon-, and Pennsylvania-certified science teacher. Brown was named a Pennsylvania STEM Ambassador in 2018 and was a member of Leadership Pittsburgh XXXVII in 2020-21. During his 11 years in the classroom, he taught high school science (physics, geology, astronomy, environmental science, Project Lead The Way), alternative education and middle school technology, as well as served as an assistant professor in the construction management and architecture programs at the State University of New York. He also spent six years as a builder and residential construction project manager with a focus on historical restoration, building science, energy efficiency and sustainable building practices, and has developed and led professional learning opportunities in the areas of technology integration, behavior management, STEM education best-practices, and the utilization of online and digital resources in instruction. Prior to his current position, Brown served as senior director of science and education and directed all operations of Carnegie Science Center’s Center for STEM Education and Career Development, overseeing all student, teacher, district and early learner programs, as well as the Fab Lab Carnegie Science Center makerspace. While he now oversees all operations of the Science Center, he is still heavily involved in exhibition and content creation as well as the development of the overall educational, operational and long-term strategy.

Jim Jen has played an active role in the growth of the Pittsburgh technology sector over the last 20 years. Most recently, as chief operating officer of Innovation Works, he led initial investments in more than 200 pre-seed and seed stage companies, guiding some of Pittsburgh’s fastest-growing tech companies. Jen also co-founded AlphaLab, one of the first accelerators in the U.S., and subsequently helped launch AlphaLab Gear, AlphaLab Health and most recently, the Robotics Factory, innovative accelerators tailored to the unique needs of their sectors. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, Jen led product and marketing for venture-backed software companies in California and also worked with consumer-facing companies in hospitality, retail, CPG and media/entertainment. As a consumer, he is an avid fan of sports and the arts, especially baseball and theatre. Jim holds a Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts in Economics and a Master of Business Administration, all from Stanford University.

Izzy Rudolph is the president and CEO of McKnight Realty Partners, a Pittsburgh-based full-service, fully integrated real estate company that develops, owns, operates and provides service for 7 million square feet of commercial real estate in the Pittsburgh region and across the country. Rudolph is responsible for the company’s national development activities including commercial and retail development, property acquisitions and dispositions, real estate investment management and sourcing new business opportunities. Since joining the company, he has led projects such as the conversion and repositioning of the iconic Downtown Pittsburgh Henry W. Oliver Building into a 225-room Embassy Suites by Hilton hotel and nearly fully occupied office tower, as well as the acquisition and transformation of the former American Eagle Outfitters headquarters in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, into The Warrendale Commerce Center, which included a film production soundstage for Netflix and a warehouse and distribution center for a Fortune 500 company. Rudolph is currently leading the redevelopment of the 1-million-square-foot, historic, South Side riverfront Pittsburgh Terminal Buildings into the mixed-use office complex called The Highline. Rudolph also serves as vice president of the Board of Directors for Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, the largest Jewish day school in the state of Pennsylvania, and he also is on the Board of Directors for the Pittsburgh Film Office, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and The Heinz History Center. Rudolph studied at the Rabbinical College of America. He resides in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Squirrel Hill with his wife and children.

VisitPITTSBURGH is the official tourism marketing and promotion agency of the Pittsburgh region. The organization is dedicated to generating business events, sports events and leisure travel.