Founder, B.O.B. Project
Where I Grew Up: Penn Hills
My Neighborhood: Churchill Valley
Education: Pharmacy Technician Certificate
Resident Since: 1966
I met a great group of people, a very diverse group of people, and despite our differences we all got along really well because we had a common goal.
Shawn O'Mahony is a man who likes to plant seeds. They may take the shape of plants, flowers, trees and vegetables, but their impact grows far beyond the plot in which they sit.
Born and raised in Penn Hills, Shawn moved to Washington D.C. in 1987 to pursue his career in pharmacy. But after ten years, like many in Penn Hills, he returned to care for his aging parents.
Soon after his return, he began to involve himself in gardening and beautification projects around Penn Hills, a passion that he shared with his father, Bob.
"Initially I got into volunteer work with the Penn Hills Community Garden which became the largest raised-bed garden in Western Pennsylvania. Through that project I met a great group of people, a very diverse group of people, and despite our differences we all got along really well because we had a common goal."
A small project in the community garden soon grew into something bigger.
"I created a small community herb garden where everyone could contribute herbs, take care of and then pull from as they needed, and I guess that's how the B.O.B. Project started."
Only in its second year, the B.O.B. Project - named after his father and stands for "Bringing Out the Best" - has made a significant impact on not only the landscape of Penn Hills, but on its residents, most notably the students of the Penn Hills School District.
"We started by working on little roadside gardens on Duff and Long Road, and then we got all the schools involved building four different gardens at the schools."
Students at each school now have new ways to get their hands dirty thanks to O'Mahony and his group. A flowerbed and raised gardens were constructed in the courtyard of the new elementary school. At the middle school, students grow plants from seed in the restored greenhouse and then replant them in their new hay bale garden or ship them off to the Tribe Garden at the high school which features ten raised garden beds and a classroom sitting area. The students, themselves, played a significant role in the construction of the gardens.
Shawn loves Penn Hills' proximity to transportation routes like I-376, Rt. 28 and the Turnpike and how easily he can get to Pittsburgh's new restaurants and shopping districts. Locally, he favors the crab bisque at Flowers in the Attic and the fresh ingredients used at Frankstown Wood Fired Pizza.
B.O.B. Project shows no signs of slowing either, "We're creating workshops at the Lincoln Park Community Center, working with Fresh Harvest to make fresh produce more accessible in the area, talking to the Animal Rescue League Wildlife Center to possibly get some programming for the schools, and some murals may be in the works."