Meet the individual subsequent for NEXTpittsburgh

John Rhoades is not afraid of going back and forth.

He said the people who ventured on these sidewalks laid a foundation stone on which to build.

Rhoades sees not only his ancestors as trailblazers for his success, but also the founder of NEXTpittsburgh and her employees. NEXTpittsburgh is an online publication about the people of Pittsburgh and what is happening in the city.

Rhoades bought the media company from Tracy Certo, who started it in March 2014.

Rhoades took over January 1st. The terms of the contract were not disclosed.

“Whether it’s a walk in the park or a bike ride through the city, I think a lot about how we are still walking the same paths as so many people before us who have built the communities and institutions to which we belong,” he wrote on the NEXTpittsburgh website introducing himself as the next owner and publisher.

The team that Certo built in NEXTpittsburgh is very special, Rhoades told the Tribune Review.

“And I want to continue building on this treasure in the city of Pittsburgh,” he said. “I take this responsibility seriously.”

Courtesy Nick Certo

Washington’s Landing’s Tracy Certo launched NEXTpittsburgh in 2014, an online publication about the people of Pittsburgh and what is happening in the city.

Rhoades reached out to Certo through a broker about a possible sale in August. Rhoades’ partner Melanie von Trapp inspired him to go to a media company, he said. Rhoades spent a year and a half looking for a potential company to buy.

He said he was skeptical at first because the media profession was going through challenging times.

“But the more I looked at it, the more I became aware of the importance of the media. I believe in this website and saw the potential to continue using this company for the city of Pittsburgh,” he said. “I want to make sure the great work the team is doing to tell the stories of our community continues.”

Rhoades said he was looking for “a business that I could really put my heart into. It’s been a long journey, he said. “But NEXTpittsburgh feels perfect.”

As a native of Pittsburgh, he cares a lot about the city and the people who live here.

Rhoades grew up in Squirrel Hill and then moved to Edgewood. He currently lives in Polish Hill, which he described as a “hidden gem”, adding that NEXTpittsburgh is “an institution”.

Even in this crazy year, we haven’t seen this coming.

– NEXTpittsburgh (@NEXTpittsburgh) December 29, 2020

According to a press release, Certo started NEXTpittsburgh as a platform to share stories about the people and ideas that are driving the city forward, and as a guide for exploring the area, from new restaurants and tech startups to social initiatives and events. The publication encourages readers to become more involved in their community.

NEXTpittsburgh has grown. In 2020, the company said it had more than 2.1 million visitors to the site, up from 1.8 million the previous year.

The timing was right for a change, said Certo, who is committed to making the transition go smoothly.

Rhoades’ background includes public policy and entrepreneurship. He worked as a lawyer with United Way of Southwestern PA before moving into the private sector and helped found The Beauty Shoppe, a cooperating company.

When asked what is going to happen next for him for Rhoades, he said the following will be an addition to the foundation that already exists. He didn’t want to mention anything in particular, but said that there are opportunities for growth. He plans to learn from Certo and her team over the next few weeks.

Certo said she will now have time to get back to her roots in photography and writing. She also plans to travel as soon as it is safe to do so. She said she couldn’t remember a time when she went on a trip without her laptop and always kept in touch with her company.

Like Rhoades, Certo values ​​the people who came before her and who led her. Her parents and grandparents are from Pittsburgh. She lived in many other places, but “Pittsburgh kept calling me home,” she said.

Without the loyal journalists who always believed in the product, she couldn’t have done what she did, she said.

Certo also paid tribute to those who provided advice and mentoring, and especially the people who had the confidence in them to start a media company.

She took entrepreneurship courses and networked to create a panel of individuals who are passionate about the business.

“NEXTpittsburgh has been the best ride of my career,” said Certo, who lives on Washington’s Landing, which is suitable for kayaking, paddling and biking.

She said she planned to explore new paths, trails and waterways. Maybe she’ll pave the way again for someone like Rhoades.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a contributor to the Tribune Review. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062,, or on Twitter.

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