Obid Team

Georgia Petropoulos

Georgia Petropoulos

Chief Executive Officer

Georgia Petropoulos is an accomplished non-profit executive in the fields of economic development and urban place management. At the Oakland Business Improvement District, she leads a dynamic organization representing the business, civic, education and medical sectors of Pittsburgh’s largest hospital and university town. Under her guidance, the organization developed successful public/ private partnerships that invested over $8 million for critical services and improvements in support of Pennsylvania’s third largest economic center.

Drawing on her background in architecture, she spearheads various design-based visionary projects such as Innovation Oakland (focused on 21st century approaches to community place making) and Oakland For All (a collaborative e ffort advocating for accessible communities).

In addition to her executive career, Georgia serves on various advisory committees and boards including Community Human Services, the Oakland Transportation Management Association, the City-County Task Force on Disabilities, and the Urban Land Institute Women’s Leadership Initiative Steering Committee. Georgia completed executive training at the Center for Creative Leadership in San Diego, California, and is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies/French Language & Literature from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters of Architecture from Washington University.

As a bi-lingual daughter of Greek immigrants, Georgia is passionate about all things culture and design and has enjoyed extensive travels throughout North America, Europe, and Africa.

Georgia can be reached at

Cate Irvin

Cate Irvin

Director of Placemaking and Activation

Cate Irvin is a sociologist, public health specialist, urbanist, and community engagement expert. She comes to the Oakland Business Improvement District from Chattanooga, TN, where she has spent the last few years working with the Chattanooga Department of Transportation on public engagement and policy development. 

Building on her public health and urban sociology background, Cate specializes in tying together place-based and health-based initiatives with detailed research to create vibrant, healthy environments with thriving local economies. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Emmanuel College, in Boston, MA. Prior to pursuing her graduate education, Cate lived in Nairobi, Kenya and worked as an HIV/AIDs relief worker. This work instilled in her the importance of equitable access to physical and mental healthcare, as well as a passion for community-based work. Fueled by these passions, Cate earned a Masters in Public Health from Tulane University. She is currently ABD for her doctorate in Urban Sociology from Tulane University. 

When not working, Cate loves to travel as much as possible. When staying closer to home, she loves exploring the city with her trusty companion, Kuja, a feisty 12-year old puggle whom she adopted while living in New Orleans.

Cate can be reached at 

Christine Grady

Director of Finance and Operations

Christine can be reached at 

Leah Friedman

Leah Friedman

Marketing and Communications Manager

Leah Friedman (she/her) is a communication and public participation professional who believes that the power of strong communities can lead to equitable, thriving, and sustainable cities. As the Marketing and Communications Manager at OBID, she strives to create connections and build awareness in Oakland and beyond through storytelling, creativity, and transparency. 

Prior to joining the OBID team, Leah earned a Bachelor's Degree in Urban Studies with concentrations in Urban Planning and Community Organization from the University of Pittsburgh. She then went on to serve in the National Civilian Community Corps where she worked on anti-poverty and disaster relief projects throughout the United States. This experience sparked an interest in urban resilience and led to a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the City of Pittsburgh's Office of Sustainability and Resilience. Following these transformative years of service, Leah became passionate about making change at the local level and went on to serve at the City of Pittsburgh for four years as the Public Engagement Coordinator for the Department of City Planning and as the Manager of the Mayor's Office of Community Affairs.

In her spare time, Leah enjoys exploring cities by way of public transit, taking care of her many plants, rowing on the Allegheny River, volunteering with local nonprofits, and spoiling her two cats. 

Leah can be reached at

Alli Knapp

Alli Knapp

Special Events Coordinator

Alli Knapp (they/them) joins the OBID team with over 15 years of experience in nonprofit operations and advocacy. They have been making an impact in the Pittsburgh region for nearly a decade of that time. 

Starting their career as a mental health advocate, Alli has served in various leadership positions with Youth MOVE National, Pennsylvania’s Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Advisory Board, Foster Care Alumni of America, PA Disability Rights, PA Youth Congress, and the PA Cares Partnership. Once arriving in Pittsburgh, Alli transitioned from a career focus in advocacy and training to operations and event management, holding positions with Peer Support and Advocacy Network’s Board of Directors, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Youth and Family Training Institute, Proud Haven’s Board of Directors, and Youth Collaboratory. 

In Alli’s limited free time, they enjoy cooking and backpacking. They are actively involved in their local neighborhood of Beechview, where they live with their partner, dog (Sirius), and two cats (Mumps and Lupin).

Alli can be reached at

OBID's Block by Block Team

From Left: Brandon Shannon, Kayla Sewell, Julie Grabiak, Carlos Velazquez; (Absent from photo: Alex Beebout)

Block By Block, a nationally recognized contractor, provides cleaning and maintenance services for the District. Our crew works seven days per week to ensure that the commercial corridor remains free of litter and debris. We collect more than 24,000 pounds of trash annually!

Of course, litter removal is just the first step in creating an attractive streetscape. Our crew also removes weeds, graffiti, illegal flyers, stickers and staples from our infrastructure. During the fall season, the crew also ensures that the leaf buildup is removed along with the typical litter and debris. The crew also uses a hot-water pressure washer to remove gum, grease, dirt and grime from all of our district’s sidewalks to give our district a special shine.

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