‘Shark Tank’-Style Event Identifies Products for Terminal Project

Companies pitch paint, plastic, pixels, more for possible use in construction to begin spring 2020

By Alyson Walls

Published August 30, 2019

Read Time: 3 mins


Some called it the airport’s version of popular TV show “Shark Tank.”

But representatives of nearly 130 companies who attended Pittsburgh International Airport’s first-ever Vendor Product Pitch Fair on Aug. 27 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center saw it as a one-of-a-kind opportunity to help shape the future of the region.

Vendors of building and construction supply materials in 15 different product divisions – concrete, masonry, wood, metals, HVAC, electronic safety and security, finishes, furnishings and more – had 10 minutes each to pitch their companies and products directly to the Terminal Modernization Program design team and airport staff. The event was broken up into six one-hour pitch rounds, with companies rotating in and out throughout the day.

“The format was genius and easy on vendors,” said Colleen Hamilton, principal at Art of Context, a digital signage company that has worked with the Allegheny County Airport Authority on other projects. “We appreciated having this level playing field with the other vendors, and 10 minutes felt like enough time to pitch the highlights of who we are and what we offer. From our perspective, it was actually fun.”

Products that might be involved in the construction of a new terminal and transportation complex set to open in 2023 – including roofing, doors and windows, lighting, glass, digital signage, office furniture and even eco-friendly dinnerware – were demonstrated to airport employees who would be tasked with using and maintaining the products in the new facilities.

“I think it was very beneficial to have our tradespeople involved in listening to the pitches and getting their opinions on the products,” said Rusty Hottenfeller, director of facilities and airline services. “They were appreciative of the opportunity and enjoyed being included in the event.”

Global companies like Siemens and Honeywell, smaller regional vendors and even local mom-and-pop shops all had a chance to pitch their products, which was one goal of the event.

“The opportunity to introduce ourselves to project stakeholders from both the airport and design firms was very valuable,” Hamilton said. “A project of this magnitude has so many varied stakeholders, and even though we are known to some airport staff, we felt we should meet as many stakeholders as possible to help promote what we offer.”

Vendors of building and construction supply materials in 15 different product divisions attended the event. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)

Chief Development Officer Paul Hoback said the Vendor Product Pitch Fair offered a rare chance for companies to get face to face with the design team and have their products considered for use in world-class airport facilities.

“We’ve had a lot of companies reaching out and requesting meetings, and we wanted to provide a level playing field for all,” Hoback said. “We also want to ensure that this airport will be built for Pittsburgh, using Pittsburgh products.”

The Terminal Modernization Program, which was announced in September 2017, is expected to generate nearly $2 billion in economic activity, adding nearly 11,000 direct and indirect jobs to the region.

The program, which is currently at 30 percent design completion, is expected to reshape the future of Pittsburgh International Airport by reducing long-term costs and aligning the facility with the needs of a modern passenger experience. Site preparation projects are expected to commence in October, with construction to begin in late spring 2020.

For up-to-date information on the TMP, click here.

Go to Top