Pittsburgh Robotics Network Welcomes Two New Leadership Hires

May 6, 2024 | Announcement, News, Press Releases

Press Release
For Immediate Release

Pittsburgh, PA – May 6, 2024 – The Pittsburgh Robotics Network is proud to announce the addition of two key positions to its leadership team: Patrick Joyal as the Director of Strategic Engagement and Phoebe Gerst as the Director of Partnerships. These essential hires will strengthen the organization’s mission of fostering the growth of the robotics, autonomy, and artificial intelligence sectors in the region.

Patrick, previously the Southwest Region Director for the Office of Governor Josh Shapiro, brings a wealth of experience in community engagement and policy advocacy. In his new role, Patrick will focus on enhancing the visibility of Pittsburgh’s robotics cluster to local, state, and federal policymakers, ensuring the community is in prime position for sustained investment and equitable economic growth.

“Throughout my career, I’ve learned that your mission is only as strong as the people you help and the communities you build,” said Patrick. “Last century, Pittsburgh’s steel and manufacturing economy gave my family, and many like them, a sense of pride and a shot at success. Now with the PRN, I look forward to carrying on that legacy, and supporting the next generation of Pittsburghers in our new economic drivers: robotics and AI.”

Phoebe joins the Pittsburgh Robotics Network from Gecko Robotics, where she was instrumental in optimizing business development operations and supporting complex sales cycles by forging consultative and collaborative relationships. As Director of Partnerships, Phoebe will aim to develop deep, meaningful connections with national and international partners, foster corporate collaborations, and help companies engage with new customers to enhance their commercial achievements.

“Pittsburgh boasts a distinctive and diverse robotics community, globally renowned as a top center for advancing autonomy across multiple industry markets. The opportunity to directly impact the growth and commercial success of our region’s robotics companies is incredibly motivating,” remarked Phoebe. “I look forward to applying my skills in strategic business development and partnerships to connect this business community to increased opportunities for growth from around the world.

“As the Robotics Capital of the World, we are uniquely positioned to harness the transformative potential of robotics, autonomy, and AI. By intentionally investing in the commercial growth of these businesses, we not only drive innovation forward across multiple industries, but also will secure a significant economic advantage for the region. The Pittsburgh Robotics Network is committed to fostering an ecosystem that provides expanded opportunities for robotics and AI businesses, ensuring a prosperous future for all. Patrick and Phoebe are key to the growth and success of our organization’s ongoing work, and I look forward to seeing them find impactful ways to better engage new and existing stakeholders,” stated Jennifer Apicella, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Robotics Network.

With Patrick’s expertise in policy and community engagement and Phoebe’s background in business development and strategic partnerships, the Pittsburgh Robotics Network is well-positioned to support the region’s dynamic ecosystem of robotics, autonomy, and AI businesses.

For more information, please contact Ryan O’Shea, Communications and Engagement Manager, at [email protected]

About the Pittsburgh Robotics Network

The Pittsburgh Robotics Network is dedicated to the growth and promotion of Pittsburgh’s robotics companies and research institutions. It serves as a platform for connecting members with the resources and relationships needed to succeed and innovate, positioning Pittsburgh as a global leader in robotics technology.