City

Former Pittsburgh mayor Ravenstahl creates his own consulting firm

Ravco Consulting helps oil, gas firms




When former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl left office earlier this month, speculation swirled about who would hire a 33-year-old whose resume includes courier service account manager, a seven-year tenure as one of the youngest mayors of a major American city and the subject of an ongoing federal investigation.

Thursday, the former mayor confirmed he had started a business consulting firm catering to clients in the oil and gas industry, relying upon some of the contacts he made during his tenure in city hall.

"I had been in discussions with a variety of folks and a variety of different organizations about my future and decided my best opportunity would be in creating my own consulting firm," he said. "That's what I've done, and I'm really excited about it."

"I had multiple different people interested in working with me ... [that's] ultimately what led me to go the consulting route."

The company, Ravco Consulting LLC, was incorporated Jan. 13 and listed the Fineview home of the former mayor as the business address. Mr. Ravenstahl said his office is home-based, but that he spends much of his days meeting with his clients and "out in the field."

He declined to say who his clients are, except to say he was representing businesses in the oil and gas industry and some businesses in other sectors. But he was clear that none of them did business with the city while he was in office.

Mr. Ravenstahl had been mum about his plans post-retirement. When he announced his intention to drop his bid for re-election last March, he joked that his only plans were to coach his son Cooper's T-ball team.

He graduated with a business administration degree from Washington & Jefferson College and then was hired as an account manager for a courier service, a job he held for just a handful of months before being elected to city council at 23. Three years later, when he was council president, he inherited the city's executive office upon the death of Mayor Bob O'Connor and held the job until last year. He left office Jan. 6 when Mayor Bill Peduto was inaugurated.

Mr. Ravenstahl said his time in office exposed him to a broad range of experience that informs his business acumen.

"One of the things I have ... is a very broad understanding not just how government works but also how business works," he said.

He also said he's tapping into the network he built while on Grant Street. His firm aids other businesses by making introductions, including to "certain individuals or corporations or businesses that I've met through my work in city hall."

When then-Councilman Doug Shields proposed a ban on drilling for natural gas in city limits, Mr. Ravenstahl vigorously opposed it, a move that may have burnished his reputation in oil and gas circles.

However, he left a mixed legacy as mayor. Some have credited his penny-pinching with righting the city's financial ship. But in his last year in office, the mayor disappeared from public eye for weeks at a time and became the subject of a federal investigation, with his secretary, chief of staff and three of his police bodyguards being called to testify before a grand jury. Earlier this month, U.S. attorney David Hickton confirmed the probe is ongoing.

Still, he said the subject of the grand jury investigation has never come up in meetings with clients.

"I haven't heard anything on that front in quite some time ... it really hasn't impacted my work nor has it come up in any of the meetings," he said.

Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee. Anya Litvak contributed. First Published January 30, 2014 5:24 PM

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