SOUTH SIDE (KDKA) — In a non-descript office on the second floor of the Southside Works main square, Amazon quietly set up a corporate office in August.
With no outside markings it was almost hard to find the place Tuesday when the company invited local dignitaries and the media to an event to say, “We’re here!”
But no fanfare is needed for the work that the Seattle based company has tasked its new Pittsburgh office with the responsibility of overseeing.
Calling on the talents of the best coming out of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, Amazon has 50 bright minds at work already, with more staff to come.
Bill Kaper is the Pittsburgh General Manager.
“We have Amazonians here working in technical roles like Alexa, machine translation, and Amazon web services,” he said.
Kaper says his people handling Amazon Web Services “have more than 80,000 authors, sellers and developers in Pennsylvania growing their businesses and reaching their customers on Amazon.”
Severin Hacker, a CMU graduate and the CTO of language instruction startup Duolingo, chose to base his company in Pittsburgh.
“It’s exciting to see Pittsburgh becoming a tech hub of its own,” he said. “We have Google, Uber, and now Amazon and startups like Duolingo.”
Hacker is running Duolingo on Amazon Web Services, which is why he’s excited to see the service put down stakes in Pittsburgh.
“AWS has allowed Duolingo to grow from 0 to 150 million users, becoming the largest education app on both iOS and Android,” he said.
The machine translation department is building technologies to use computers to translate content into different languages. While a few cubicles away, the Alexa team is coming up with the next vision of what your Amazon Echo can do for you.
The new Amazon office has 50 employees right now.
Amazon’s Teal Pennebaker says, “We have openings right now on amazon.jobs for 13 more,” Amazon’s Teal Pennebaker said. “We expect to hire dozens in the next few years.”
But she points out that “these jobs are all highly technical. They are in mechanical translation, Alexa, and web services.”
Those job openings at Amazon in the local office are posted on Amazon.jobs/Pittsburgh.