It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that we reflect on the sudden passing of the Chairman of our Board of Directors, Mark C. Schneider. Mark succumbed to injuries that he suffered as the result of a bicycling accident in Maryland on July 29th, 2012. He passed on with family and friends at his side.
Though he made many contributions and played many important roles, his most valued and treasured was as friend. Mark was so much more—personally and professionally—than a Board member to us at 10,000 Friends. He was a successful businessman, real estate developer, civic leader, volunteer, fundraiser, champion, mentor, and boss. Mark spent so much time working with us that he almost seemed a co-worker as well. Mark joined 10,000 Friends’ Board of Directors in 2002. He left the Board briefly to consult on our signature and most successful project, the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI). He then rejoined the board and became chairman in 2010. Mark’s leadership, vision, ideas, and influence can be felt in everything that we do.
Mark led the effort to craft the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI) with PennDOT. PCTI has resulted in $85 million dollars invested in over 50 communities around the Commonwealth. The concept, which he began on the back of napkin during a flight home from a fact-finding mission in Atlanta with our SW Director Grant Ervin, continues to grow and evolve as several counties and metropolitan planning organizations adopt the program locally and adapt its principles and investment strategies. Today, everyone who walks through the urban campus of Point Park University or over the Hanover Street Bridge linking the Borough of Pottstown and North Coventry Township, bikes from the Conemaugh River to Diamond Square in Blairsville, or drives the roundabout in Rochester or 12th Street to Union Square in Erie, will see, share, and understand Mark’s vision for Pennsylvania’s communities.
Mark was the living embodiment of everything that we worked for and stood for—a true champion & ambassador for smart growth and the benefits of livable, walkable communities. Mark was instrumental in connecting the work and message of 10,000 Friends with elected and business leaders throughout Pennsylvania. He made numerous connections, convened a multitude of meetings with leaders, and helped build coalitions and partnerships that last until this day—and which will continue to thrive.
Mark got his start working in Pittsburgh’s North Side as a community organizer, getting to know residents and community leaders and helping them solve local problems. A civic visionary and later a real estate developer, he is best known for his work creating two incredible developments, Summerset at Frick Park and Washington’s Landing, that are as successful as they were improbable—exemplary examples of brownfield reclamation, mixed use, and traditional neighborhood development. He chaired Pittsburgh’s Stadium Authority and served on the Sports and Exhibition Authority, leading the development of PNC Park (home of the Pittsburgh Pirates), Heinz Field (home of the Pittsburgh Steelers), and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center (the first LEED certified convention center in the world).
Fourth River Development, Mark’s company, has projects that he led currently underway in Erie, Lancaster, Burgettstown, and the Manchester neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
Mark’s life and work reflected his essential confidence & optimism regardless of any difficulties and disappointments. Despite huge systemic challenges to our work, and the imperfect actions of governments to address them, Mark still believed that radical positive change was possible, that the struggle was noble, even fun, and that better days were not only within reach but definitely would be realized.
To Pennsylvania—and his home town of Pittsburgh—Mark was a giant, and to 10,000 Friends he was our champion ambassador. Our lives are a little better for his contributions to them, and we are much better people for having known him—that is why his influence will continue to grow and grow over time.
Mark Schneider had the vision, leadership, determination, energy, intelligence, and warm-hearted human spirit to build great communities and change the built environment in Pennsylvania through his work in real estate development, voluntary civic service, and advocacy through 10,000 Friends. We celebrate Mark’s life, are inspired by him, and are profoundly grateful to have known him.
At 10,000 Friends, we are about creating great communities. We are fond of saying that great communities do not happen by chance. And in Pennsylvania, great communities don’t happen by chance—they happen because of people like our friend, Mark Schneider—a great Friend of Pennsylvania. Thank you Mark.
IN HIS OWN WORDS: See videos of Mark discussing 10,000 Friends’ work, his projects, and Smart Growth.
10,000 Friends Board Chair Mark Schneider on Why Smart Growth Is Important
Harnessing Diverse Leaders with Common Interests: The Role of 10,000 Friends Board of Directors
The Important Role Partnerships Play in Developing Community Transporation Programming
Smart Growth Development - Washington's Landing Pittsburgh, PA