Siemens Smitten with Pittsburgh

By DaParma, Ron | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 3, 2008 | Go to article overview

Siemens Smitten with Pittsburgh


DaParma, Ron, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Siemens AG is making quite a name for itself in Western Pennsylvania.

So much so that the giant international conglomerate is now the second-largest Germany-based employer in the region, with more than 2,100 employees at seven operating companies, working in more than 44 locations -- from small offices to major plants.

That's second to only Bayer AG, whose Bayer Corp. operations in Robinson, and its rapidly expanding Medrad Inc. manufacturing and research facilities in Allegheny and Butler counties, collectively employ about 2,900, according to figures from the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.

In addition, Siemens continues to be in expansion mode, with at least one Downtown-based unit promising to add 550 jobs in the next three years and eyeing headquarters residence in a landmark office building there.

"They are a world-class company, a conglomerate that has lots of different divisions, most of which manufacture things," said Dennis Yablonsky, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. "They employ thousands of people in the state and they are expanding."

Across the state, Siemens has about 8,500 employees at 57 locations.

"We've found that Pittsburgh is the kind of place that's very open to European companies coming in and investing," said Jack Bergen, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Siemens USA in New York.

Bergen is quite familiar with the attributes of the region's industrial heritage having been part of a team headed by Michael Jordan, the former Pepsi executive brought in to right the sagging fortunes of the venerable Westinghouse Electric Corp. in the early 1990s.

In fact, Siemens' first major entry into the Pittsburgh area was its acquisition of Westinghouse's Power Generation business for $1.53 billion in 1998, now called Siemens Power Generation.

In the time since, it's completed four other local acquisitions, including Marshall-based US Filter in 2004; ASI Robicon and Downtown Pittsburgh-based Wheelabrator Air Pollution Control Inc. in 2005; and S/D Engineers Inc. of the Strip District in 2007.

The Pittsburgh region's ability to turn out a productive and well- educated work force has been an attraction for Siemens, Bergen said.

"Certainly, the tradition of Pittsburgh being an industrial city that goes back well over a century has produced a culture that has helped companies like Siemens find good workers," he said. "Also, we're an engineering company, and you've got great universities for that in Pittsburgh."

Based in Munich, Germany, Siemens is a 160-year-old company, with 400,000 worldwide employees and sales that totaled $96.6 billion in fiscal 2007.

It's businesses here and elsewhere focus on three major segments: industry, health care and energy. Additional employees from its information technology services group are based in the region and serve operations in each of those areas.

Its largest segment here is Siemens Power Generation, employing about 1,070 at five locations. That includes the former Wheelabrator business, now known as Siemens Environmental Systems and Services, which employs about 500 workers at 41 Smithfield Street and 40 24th St. …

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