Updated, 3:16 p.m.
From tours by bike, boat and bus to the iconic Kennywood Park, this group of PIttsburghers are showing off the city with historical facts and hospitality for visitors and residents alike.
As the latest Who’s Next class, these 16 honorees include lifelong Pittsburghers, those who left, only to come home, and transplants who fell in love with the ‘Burgh and want to share that love with others.
Who’s Next, presented by S&T Bank, is The Incline’s way of recognizing the city’s young leaders in a variety of fields including politics, business, food and more. Honorees are selected from nominations submitted to our staff. (P.S. Get your nomination in by 5 p.m. today for Who’s Next: Food and Drink.)
You can meet the honorees of Who’s Next: Tourism at a happy hour in their honor on May 30. Get your tickets now.
Join us as we celebrate The Incline's Who's Next: Tourism class, a group of young leaders who are showing off our city to visitors. Who's Next, presented by S&T Bank, is a monthly series honoring under-40 Pittsburghers shaping the city. Your ticket includes appetizers, beer, wine and spirits, as well as your chance to meet this talented class of Pittsburghers.
Where: Biergarten Hotel Monaco at 620 William Penn Place (Downtown)
When: May 30, 2018 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
How much: $25 for public | Free for Who's Next: Tourism honorees
Molly Burke Allwein is the digital marketing manager for VisitPITTSBURGH. There, she leads work on the organization’s website, blog and social media, as well as for marketing campaigns and community engagement efforts. Allwein is also the the chair of VisitPITTSBURGH’s 2020 Strategic Planning Committee, a group of millennial managers who are doing long-term planning for years 2023 to 2028. She’s also a licensed social worker and spends time outside of work volunteering with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania and as a facilitator of restorative justice conversations with victims of first-time juvenile offenders. Allwein is a member of the Sisters Place Friends Board and chairs the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work alumni board. Prior to VisitPITTSBURGH, she worked as a community relations associate at the Center for Victims. A graduate of Messiah College and Pitt, Allwein lives in Churchill with her husband and their three rescue dogs.
A tour guide and senior deckhand since 2016, Matt Bauman shares facts about the city during Just Ducky’s land and water tour of Pittsburgh. And others have noted his enthusiasm. “By the third trip down Grant Street, for anyone else, the quacking loses its luster. For Matt Bauman, well he's just getting started. …Keeping his energy up time and time again, Matt has the unique ability to mix our city's storied history with quick wit, and entertainment. Kids from 1 to 92 find a way to be entertained,” his nominator wrote. Bauman graduated this spring with an English degree from Point Park University, where he was a resident educator, a United Student Government parliamentarian, a WPPJ radio host and an opinion writer for The Globe. A lifelong Pittsburgher, Bauman lives in Bloomfield.
As event coordinator for Creative Nonfiction, Lauren Boehm creates and manages events from weekly and monthly workshops to planning the annual writers’ conference — a three-day event with 200 attendees. “Lauren brings great enthusiasm and energy to the task of bringing writers to an area of the city off the main tourism beat,” her nominator wrote. Boehm also recently accepted a new job as travel operations manager for Pack Up + Go, a travel agency that uses clients’ preferences and budget to plan surprise vacations. She’s also a site leader and mentor for Strong Women, Strong Girls. As a transplant from Kentucky, Boehm told The Incline that “after I fell in love with the city I began converting others.” She previously worked at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and The Education Partnership. She is an alumna of Duquesne University and lives in Lawrenceville.
Ever been to “Science After Dark,” the 21+ nights at Carnegie Science Center? Lamont Craven, the center’s program manager for adult programs is the host behind those events. He also created “Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar,” a program where pairs of scientists go to bars across the city on the same night and answer people’s burning science questions. Craven told The Incline he also has a new happy hour science event that’s coming soon. Through his work, Craven has helped to increase attendance for the 21+ nights and coordinated $15,000 in sponsorships. He’s been in his role since November 2009 and previously worked at Manchester Youth Development Center as a STEM program coordinator/educator. Craven is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He lives in the Mexican War Streets.
Adrianne R. Holmes has spent her career working with clients to create events of all sizes. Since 2016, she’s been the conference services manager at the University of Pittsburgh, where she works with clients, contractors and facility staff on a variety of events from national and international conferences to trade shows and more. She told The Incline that the role has given her a “strong sense of civic responsibility.” Homes also founded Phoinix Premier Events in 2009 and plans events from fundraisers and galas to luncheons, bridal and baby showers, weddings and more. Before working at Pitt, she worked in sales and events at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and in various events roles at the August Wilson Center including as director of scheduling and external events. Holmes told The Incline that two of her favorite quotes are “A life without cause is a life without effect” (Barbarella) and “It always seems impossible until it's done” (Nelson Mandela). She’s a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania and lives in the North Side.
An avid traveler, Andrea Karkhanis brought her experience in market research to VisitPITTSBURGH in 2016. As the director of marketing research, she leads the organization’s research including analysis of travel and tourism information, industry trends and stats. She also creates economic impact reports and more. “Andrea understands what has, what does, and what WILL bring conventions and tourists here,” her nominator wrote. Prior to VisitPITTSBURGH, Karkhanis worked in market research at PNC Bank and at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Outside of work, Karkhanis loves to run, garden, craft and travel. Her best travel memories include hiking to the top of Volcan de Agua in Guatemala, where she roasted a marshmallow over lava rocks, as well as climbing the Echo Canyon trail at Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Ariz. and seeing the tea and spice gardens in India. Karkhanis is an alumna of Robert Morris University and lives in the North Hills.
In 2013, Nicole Moga launched Boat Pittsburgh, a pontoon boat rental based in Sharpsburg that allows customers to explore Pittsburgh’s three rivers. She also works as operations manager for Tree Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that focuses on tree planting, care, advocacy and education. Moga moved to Pittsburgh from Ohio in 2001 to attend college, fell in love with the city and never left. “I'm so proud of how much progress the people of Pittsburgh have made (in that time) to welcome visitors and invest in legacy assets like our riverfronts, sports teams, institutions and neighborhoods,” she told The Incline. Her nominator said: “Nicole identified a void in the tourism market and was gutsy enough to start her own business. She deserves the recognition and kudos.” Moga previously worked in community development for the Community Technical Assistance Center and Troy Hill Citizens, Inc. and as a graphic designer for Amber Products and Travelhost Magazine. A graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Moga lives in Troy Hill.
For Hannah Roth, the Gateway Clipper is family. Her great-grandfather started the business and her father is a third-generation owner of the fleet. Roth joined the family business in 2011 and has added responsibilities over her tenure. She’s currently the director of sales, a role she took on in March 2017, where she leads the sales department and sets the budget and goals. Roth also oversees the private events team. Outside of work, Roth volunteers with Riverlife and spends time traveling with family and friends. She is a graduate of Duquesne University. Roth and her husband, Brad, live in Fox Chapel with their daughter, Ellery, and dog, Stella.
Correction: This post has been corrected to reflect Roth’s current job duties.
As public relations and social media director, Nick Paradise manages all things Kennywood — from media requests to the park’s social media and more. Paradise joined Kennywood’s staff in 2015. He led the campaign for the grand re-opening of Noah's Ark in 2016, which included coverage from out-of-state news outlets. A self-described news junkie, Paradise began his career as a TV reporter in Yakima, Wash. and Savannah, Ga. He credits his time away from the Pittsburgh region for giving him a greater appreciation of what the area has to offer. Outside of work, Paradise said he spends most of his free time “trying to keep up with my sons, 6 and 3.” He is also a deacon for Hebron Church in Penn Hills and the volunteer board chairperson at St. James Fellowship. Paradise is a graduate of Penn State University and lives in Monroeville.
Inspired by biking tours through European cities, Valentina Scholar created Bike the Burgh Tours in 2015 and the next year, Walk the Burgh Tours. Passionate about daily walking and urban biking, Scholar told The Incline that the bike tours closed a gap in Pittsburgh tourism and promote healthy, green and sustainable recreation and transportation. “The addition of walking tours then only came natural, as not everyone feels comfortable on a bike but is still interested in getting to know the city,” she told The Incline. Originally from the Italian Alps, Scholar moved to Pittsburgh after living in Europe and New York City. “I was so surprised of the rich history and culture the city has to offer that I decided to study and share it with people in a different and sustainable way: on bikes and by foot,” she said. Scholar is also an an adjunct German instructor at Chatham University. She’s a graduate of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany, and Universitá degli Studi Roma Tre in Rome. She lives in Greenfield.
Aadam Soorma spends his weekends driving a bus of visitors, from as far away as Arizona and Canada, around Pittsburgh as a tour guide for Porter Brewery Tours. During the tours, Soorma stops at three breweries, makes recommendations and asks questions. During the week, he works as the lead strategist for Whom Creative, a company he founded in June 2017 that focuses on content development and storytelling for hospitality brands. Soorma moved to Pittsburgh in 2012 to attend Carnegie Mellon University and has embraced the city — even making black and gold Air Jordan sneakers an unofficial part of his tour guide uniform. “Pittsburgh is so welcoming and friendly, it only made sense for me to get into hospitality and be friendly right back,” he told The Incline. A graduate of CMU and Ohio University, Soorma lives in Lawrenceville.
Kyle Southerlin’s first taste of the tourism industry was a part-time job driving a hotel shuttle while attending Point Park University. He loved sharing his knowledge about and passion for the city and the job led him to his career. Southerlin is currently the general manager of the Ace Hotel Pittsburgh, where he works to create a space for visitors and residents to “experience the genuine hospitable side of the city,” he told The Incline. He’s been the general manager, leading events as well as the hotel, since 2016 at the Ace. “Kyle consistently provides programming that gives the people of Pittsburgh a forum for expressing themselves — through their art, music, charitable ventures and genuine love of the city,” his nominator wrote, adding that thanks to his background in musical theater, Southerlin has an ability to make awkward situations more bearable. Prior to the Ace, he worked at multiple hotels including roles as general manager at Springhill Suites Pittsburgh North Shore and at the Courtyard Marriott Canfield-Youngstown. A graduate of Point Park, he lives in Robinson Township.
Ashley Steckel directs and manages the print and digital advertising for VisitPITTSBURGH’s publications and websites as the advertising sales director, a role she’s had since 2013. Her first job at VisitPITTSBURGH was as the partnership development coordinator where she was part of the social media team and led e-communications with partner organizations. “She demonstrates every day what it takes to make Pittsburgh so very livable and friendly,” her nominator wrote. In 2014, she was among Destination Marketing Association International’s “30 Under 30.” Steckel is vice president of the THRIVE Board of Literacy Pittsburgh and a member of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Young Leaders Committee and United Way Women’s Leadership Council. She previously worked as program coordinator for the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University and as a retail marketing assistant for Fifth Avenue Place. Steckel is a graduate of Allegheny College and Duquesne University. She lives in Ross Township.
Philip J. Weber is passionate about local history. “He is equally comfortable talking about the development of urban neighborhoods, Pittsburgh's whiskey-soaked history, and the Gilded Age lifestyles of wealthy East End residents like the Fricks,” his nominator wrote. Weber, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is both a docent at The Frick Pittsburgh and a tour guide at Wigle Whiskey. He’s worked at The Frick since 2011 and has had several roles and a range of responsibilities from helping to create exhibits to leading tours to maintaining the grounds and facilities. At Wigle, Weber joined as a tour guide in 2016 and leads tours of the distillery and barrelhouse, providing a history lesson to guests. Weber is a graduate of Duquesne University and lives in Squirrel Hill.
Anna Weltz leads public relations for the Laurel Highlands Visitor Bureau, the tourism agency for Westmoreland, Somerset and Fayette counties. She oversees media relations, communications and other outreach efforts for the bureau and is currently planning a tour of the Laurel Highlands for 130 members of the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance Media Marketplace in September. In 2016, she worked with Nemacolin Woodlands Resort to host ABC’s The Bachelorette. She’s been in her current role since 2015. Previously, Weltz was the executive director of the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce and communications manager for Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Weltz is also a member of the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial and is on the marketing committee. She is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Weltz lives in Laughlintown with her husband and their two daughters.
Hana Zoufalik was part of the management team that opened fl.2 at the Fairmont Pittsburgh and now serves as general manager of the restaurant. “She's always looking to ensure approachability, but push the envelope with trying new things for up-and-coming foodies and beverage enthusiasts to experience in their own hometown. Hana continues to cultivate talent from within and ensure exposure to the food and beverage scene throughout the region and country,” her nominator wrote. Zoufalik has more than 15 years of experience in hospitality, with a focus on food and beverage, and was previously the bar manager at the Ace Hotel Pittsburgh. While studying at Kent State University, Zoufalik was an intern at the Malton Hotel in Ireland to learn about hotel and restaurant management abroad. A graduate of Kent State, she lives in Ross Township.