Social Capital Council

The SCC was created to offer young, active Pittsburgher’s interested in sustainable community development and social enterprise a new, creative outlet to network and create social capital.

The GTECH Social Capital Council is a cadre of energetic and socially conscious rising leaders  who actively support and promote GTECH through the staging of formal fun and meaningful events among their peer networks.  The Council affords individuals a way to be directly connected to GTECH’s work as well as receive notoriety for their leadership and contributions. 

Please Meet the Partners:


Sara Thompson

Andrew ButcherSara Thompson is a Landscape Architect, Planner and Urban Designer for Pashek Associates Ltd, focusing on community revitalization and sustainable design. She is also the main contributor and manager of the company’s blog and facebook page, writing articles ranging from rain gardens to redevelopment trends. Since moving to Pittsburgh seven years ago, Sara has volunteered for the Animal Rescue League, Parks Conservancy, the Treevitalize Program, and PTAG.


Chelsea Burket

Chelsea Burket Chelsea is working as the Community Development Strategist for Fourth Economy Consulting by day, and putting down roots in the East End by night. She serves on the Wilkinsburg Community Art + Civic Design Commission and volunteers as a Tree Tender. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh last fall, she was attending graduate school in Michigan. Chelsea enjoys cooking, folk music, her cats, and spending time with family.

Jordan Pallitto

Andrew ButcherJordan Pallitto, a management consultant with The Hill Group,  is passionate about community development, civic engagement, and volunteers for a number of organizations in the region including serving as a board member for the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County (affiliated with The Pittsburgh Foundation) and the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project. He is a graduate of Leadership Development Initiative XV, a program of Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc., and earned a BA from Allegheny College and an MS from Carnegie Mellon University.


Laura Smous

Andrew ButcherDirector of Interactive & Brand Strategy: As lead strategist at W|W and head of the interactive team at W|W, Laura holds a BS in Computer Information Systems and International Business and a BA in Germanic Studies from Indiana University. Laura’s professional experience includes working for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and as Director of Technology at Valparaiso University.

Jon Pastor

Andrew ButcherJon Pastor is the CEO and Founder of two Pittsburgh start up internet companies: Rent Jungle  and Community Elf. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Jon was a manager at McKinsey & Company, Microsoft and Google. Jon holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA from Case Western Reserve University.


Brandon Hochstetler

Andrew ButcherBrandon moved to the Pittsburgh area in October 2008. He works as a bond trader at Federated Investors and serves as a board member of local nonprofit, New Sun Rising. Brandon is interested in organizational & strategic planning, and facilitating collaboration between the non-profit and business communities.

Julia Thrower

Julia ThrowerJulia brings nearly a decade of experience in industry to the Council, including past positions at GE, Boeing, and Bombardier. Julia holds an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is currently pursuing her MBA at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. As a native of the Pittsburgh area, Julia is passionate about the region’s long-term economic growth and vitality, and is excited to be a part of GTECH’s work towards increasing the area’s sustainability.


Diane McMahon

Diane McMahonDiane is committed to building a more sustainable world through system change and grassroots efforts. She is currently the Chief Development Officer at Community Human Services, President of the Board of the Thomas Merton Center, and Vice President at Northside Common Ministries. Diane earned a Ph.D. in sociology with a concentration on non-profit administration and leadership, and she believes that above all, social capital is rooted in relationships that can help improve the quality of life for all.

Tyler Haak

Tyler HaakTyler Haak is a building systems specialist for The Trane Company, focusing on system efficiency, building automation, and life cycle evaluation for energy consumption and associated operational costs in the commercial market. During the past year in Pittsburgh, Tyler has also been active as the project leader and co-chair for The Green Building Alliance Emerging Professionals group. Tyler has been interested in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems for some time, and officially entered the movement in 2009 when he graduated with a Masters Degree of Science in Energy & Atmosphere Engineering from Stanford University. He is eager to see what the Scc will be able to produce for Pittsburgh in the coming year.


Justine Kasznica

Andrew ButcherJulia Kasznica is an attorney, adjunct professor, and the Executive Director of the Innovation Practice Institute (IPI) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Although not native to Pittsburgh, Justine is committed to Pittsburgh’s economic development, and is actively involved in a variety of entrepreneurial and community outreach endeavors. She serves on the Board of the MIT Enterprise Forum and the Board of the Yale Club of Pittsburgh, and serves on the Advisory Committee for Park, a program of The Sprout Fund. Justine obtained her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law-Camden in 2006, and her B.A. in Political Science from Yale University in 2003.

Google – Community Affairs

Google - Community AffairsGoogle’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.


Emily Bayer

Emily BayerA Pittsburgh native, Emily is interested in her hometown’s marriage of progress and tradition. She is tasked daily with blending big-picture thinking and attention to detail into marketing and event strategies. She also tweets about anything that strikes her fancy at @EBsays.


Rebecca Gilbert

Rebecca GilbertRebecca is a Carnegie Mellon fund raiser and the founder of two companies: Yummy Plants, a start-up internet community providing education and support for plant-based food choices, and RJG Translations. She is an advocate of the Pittsburgh Public Market, locally grown organic produce and farmers markets. Rebecca serves on the Board of The Penn Club of Western PA. Before becoming a gift officer at CMU, Rebecca was a Market Analyst for Milliken & Company, a MarketMaker for FreeMarkets, and a stockbroker with UBS. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and her MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.


Brandon Warshaw

Brandon WarshawBrandon is a client consultant with the Nielsen Company. He works exclusively with P&G to drive the success of their existing brands and launch exciting new CPG products. Brandon joined BASES after completing his law degree at Case Western Reserve University. Prior to that he worked in law and federal government in Washington D.C., and earned his undergraduate degree in Political Economy from Tulane University. Brandon and his wife live in Cincinnati, Ohio, with their dog, Macaroni. They are excitedly expecting their first child, a boy, in December.


Ernest Blackwell

Ernest BlackwellErnest is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. He currently serves as a Publishing Representative for Pearson Education, a multi-billion dollar company in education. In 2009, Ernest was selected from over 35,000 applicants nationwide for Teach for America to join corps of recent college graduates, committing to two years of teaching in underprivileged public schools. He was a part of the first inaugural cohort of corps members placed in Wilmington, DE. While in TFA, Ernest made significant gains in his classroom. His third grade students scored in the top 10 percentile and received a commendation from U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan at a ceremony in Washington D.C. Ernest graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science and English from Duquesne University in 2009. In 2011, he completed his Masters in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. 


Drew Lessard

Drew LessardDrew joined Direct Energy in February 2011 as US products manager and has a passion for sustainability, community development, and the outdoors. Since moving to Pittsburgh in February 2008, he has become involved in a number of local organizations, including Venture Outdoors as a prospective Board member, and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy as a Volunteer Crew Leader and Urban EcoSteward. In addition to the energy sector, Drew has worked in logistics, boutique consulting in chain retail, and has also made an attempt at entrepreneurship in car-sharing. He holds an MBA in Sustainability from Duquesne University, as well as an MA and BA in Economics from Boston University.


Benson Gabler

Benson GablerBenson has spent the last ten years studying and implementing different approaches to to environmental management, specifically around corporate sustainability. In 2009, he returned home to Pittsburgh to manage PNC’s sustainability program, which focuses on lowering the company’s impact on the environment and educating its stakeholders on environmental issues. In addition, Benson serves on the Board of Directors for Construction Junction and The Outdoor Classroom, and the steering committee of Champions for Sustainability. He has previously worked on sustainability issues at Stonyfield Farm, GreenBlue Institute, and Braungart Consulting. He holds a BA from the University of Virginia, and a MBA and a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) from Yale University.


Danny McElhinny

Danny McElhinny


Erin Molchany

Erin Molchany



Chris Gassman

Ernest Blackwell


Drew Chelosky

Rebecca Gilbert



Matthew Ciccone

Matthew Ciccone



Questions or Comments? Please contact [email protected]