By Mark Dovi, Point Park News Service:
Once word got out that President Obama was going to be making a stop in Pittsburgh on Thursday, October 13 for the White House Frontiers Conference, I immediately contacted the press office at the White House. In similar fashion to the presidential debate, I had to supply them with all sorts of information about myself in order to apply for the pre-approved media credential.
After the screening process was conducted by the United States Secret Service (USSS), I received an email the day before the event confirming my spot at the conference.
The Frontiers Conference, which was held at the Jarod L. Cohen University Center on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus, focused on building U.S. capacity in science, technology, and innovation, and the new technologies, challenges, and goals that will continue to shape the 21st century and beyond.
With only hours until the visit, I had to make sure I had everything planned out to get the best story. I arrived into Oakland around noon that day, hours before the motorcade was scheduled to arrive. There were armed officers, medical personal and members of the military waiting to greet me as I turned onto Forbes Avenue.
With helicopters buzzing ahead, I felt some chills due to the immense security detail already in place without the President even on the ground yet. After getting checked passed through multiple security checkpoints to gain access into the center, I received an alert from the White House notifying me that Air Force One officially touched down at Allegheny County Airport and that President Obama was on his way.
The 24-car motorcade buzzed into the city and got the President to Carnegie Mellon within a matter of minutes. “The Beast”, the name of the car that carries the President, pulled under a white tent and the sides were closed to add another layer of security while the President exited the car into the center.
He was greeted with some officials from the school, as well as some students that were going to be making remarks before the President.
The program began as the president of Carnegie Mellon introduced President Obama to a packed room of doctors and technology experts.
When the President began his speech, he shared his love for the city and how he is always excited to make a stop in the Steel City. President Obama spoke about the technological advances that Carnegie Mellon as he commended the breakthroughs they have made with the driverless Uber car and medical breakthroughs.
After his speech, the President joined in on a panel discussion alongside leading doctors in medicine and science.
The program lasted just over two-and-a-half hours. At the end I had the honor to be able to shake hands with the President and thank him for making his stop here in Pittsburgh. He replied, “I love coming here. It’s always such a warm welcome.”
The Secret Service whisked him to the awaiting motorcade back to the airport. With many supports and fans outside trying their chances on seeing POTUS in person, the President waved to the crowds as his armed escort led him back to Air Force One.