March 6, 2022

Hey everyone! It’s Laura.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to March. Spring is less than two weeks away, and I can’t wait to enjoy the warmth on my city walks. It’s one of the many reasons I love living in the heart of Pittsburgh.

The tall buildings glistening in the sun, and the sprouts of spring flowers, remind me how thankful I am to experience each of the seasons in the Steel City. I moved to the heart of the city when I was 18 years old and never looked back. The atmosphere and waking up with the city alive and thriving around me feels too good to be true. And let’s not forget the commute to work – crossing some of the many beautiful bridges Pittsburgh is known for.

Image for blog Meet PGH Superfan Laura A bridge leading into Downtown Pittsburgh Purchased from iStockcom

Pittsburgh’s Rich Blue-collar Background

I appreciate Pittsburgh for its rich blue-collar background. As a little girl, I had the blue-collar work ethic instilled in me by both my parents, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it. My mother has worked for the Postal Office for 31 years and my father has worked at Hussey Copper Mill for 31 years.

Image for Blog Copper rolls at Hussey Copper mill in Pittsburgh PA

The Mighty M2

The machine my dad has worked on for 29 of those years is called M2 and is the most important and valuable piece of machinery the mill owns and operates. It’s worth around 5 million dollars per machine. You can imagine the weight he has on his shoulders, carefully operating it for so long. Without this machine, the mill would go bankrupt within a few weeks. With this level of responsibility comes a lot of hard work and danger if he or his coworkers aren’t careful.

In the mill, my dad is 18th in seniority; however, he has been number 1 on M2 for all 29 years that he’s worked it. This isn’t me bragging as a proud daughter (even though I am), this honor has been given to him time and time again.

Image for Blog Copper rolls at Hussey Copper mill in Pittsburgh PA

The way jobs work in the mill is once you’re on one, that’s it. In order to get off a job, you must bid for a new one if the position becomes open. With my dad getting older and the dangers on his machine escalating, my family made the decision he would bid for a different position in the mill in 2019. However, halfway through the hectic year of 2020, his higherups saw an immense decrease in the amount of copper being rolled through M2. This decrease was so alarming they pulled my dad from his new position in a storeroom and put him back on M2 because they had never seen such positive progress as they saw with him heading the machine.

My father being forced back onto this machine was alarming for my family. We were worried his health wouldn’t be able to handle working all three shifts (7a-3p, 3p-11p, 11p-7a) as he had been for the last 30 years. As his daughter, I would prefer he worked in the safety of the stockroom, but I take pride the company found him such a valuable extension of this machine. I love seeing the amount of self-satisfaction he has working the critical, but dangerous M2.

Meet My Dad!

Here’s a picture of my Dad visiting Rosie’s Workshop with his favorite product (and mine) the Pittsburgh Bridge Clock! He loves this clock becasue it’s a replica of the fillister screws used in early Pittsburgh Bridge construction. Next time you’re driving over one of the city’s bridges, the large screws won’t be hard to spot.

Image for blog PGH Superfan Laura DAlessandris's Dad at Rosie's PGH.

The Steel City is also a Copper Town

Copper is a huge part of not only Pittsburgh, but as part of the most famous landmarks in the world. For example, the copper used in the restoration that sits on the crown of the Statue of Liberty came directly from Hussey Copper!

Image for Blog The Centre Hospitalier de lUniversite de Montreal Copper from Hussey Copper Mill in Pittsburgh PA

Another claim to fame for my dad’s mill is The Centre Hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal. This hospital is the largest healthcare construction project in North America and holds the largest concentration of public art in Montreal. The outside of the hospital is made from copper and includes a pedestrian bridge connecting two buildings which is rare for the city of Montreal since the city depends on their underground transportation systems. This pedestrian bridge is covered in copper, which is again, all from Hussey Copper.

Okay, I’ve had my proud daughter moment.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I loved writing it and maybe even learned something new. Visit us in store or online anytime and check out the many ways we celebrate Pittsburgh’s rich history behind each piece.

Laura D’Alessandris

Laura is a core part of team Rosie as our Business Analyst and PGH Assistant Store Leader. Analyzing data is her superhero power and working with people is her sidekick power!

Laura is a graduate of Point Park University.

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