Surprise Visit at Babb

Yesterday, we were surprised with a visit from The Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitcher, Tony Watson.  This event was made possible by a couple very dedicated Babb employees and The Hartford insurance company.

The Hartford selected Babb, Inc. for this year’s event.  Our employees were treated to a meet and greet with Tony and lunch afterwards.  During our meet and greet, we were allowed to ask Tony questions about what it’s like to juggle a professional baseball career with family life, how to get yourself past your own mental roadblocks, and what it’s like to play minor league  vs major league ball.  After speaking with us, we were allowed to get an autograph and take a photo with Tony.

We just want to take the opportunity, again, to thank The Hartford, Tony Watson, and the Pirates for putting together a wonderful event for all of us here at Babb, Inc.

History of the William Penn Snyder Mansion

Since 1970, Babb, Inc.’s headquarters have been based in the old William Penn Snyder mansion located on, what was once, Millionaire’s Row in the Allegheny West neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  William Penn Snyder was in the iron ore development business in the Lake Superior area with Henry W. Oliver.  He was also the owner of the Shenango Furnace Company.

Built in 1911, it takes up the entire corner of Ridge and Galveston Avenues standing three stories high.  It was built in the 18th century French Renaissance style complete with ornate woodworking, marble fireplaces, detailed plaster, stained glass, and an exterior faced in Hummelstown brownstone.  The state rooms and the grand staircase in the entryway are more reminiscent of the English Renaissance style that was popular from the Elizabethan to the Georgian eras.

By the 1920s the house was vacant, but in 1930 was bought by the Knight’s Life Insurance Company who put an addition on the building in 1948.  The addition was faced with Hummelstown brownstone from the same quarry to match the original.

In 1976 the building was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The building contains some fascinating original architectural and technological advances that, at the time, were revolutionary.  It had an in house vacuum system, a working push-button elevator, air-conditioning, and a garage in the lower level containing an entrance that lead to the French style ballroom.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Designing a Healthful Diet

By:  Lynsey Bish

What exactly is a healthful diet? A healthful diet provides the proper combination of energy and nutrients. It has four characteristics: it is adequate, moderate, balanced, and varied. No matter how young or old, overweight or underweight, healthy or ill, if you keep these characteristics in mind, you will be able to select foods that provide you with an optimum combination of nutrients and energy each day.

What tools can help you design a healthful diet?

Many people feel it’s not possible for them to eat a healthful diet. They mistakenly believe that the foods they would need to eat are too expensive or not available to them, or that they’re too busy to do the necessary planning, shopping, and cooking.

Although designing and maintaining a healthful diet is not as simple as eating whatever you want, most of us can do with a little practice and a little help. Here are some tools to help get you started.

Dietary Guideline for Americans

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are a set of principles developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health to promote health, reduce the risk for chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of obesity among Americans though Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity[1].

They include twenty-three recommendations for the general population, but you don’t have to remember them all! Instead, they encourage you to focus on the following four main ideas.

Balance Calories to Maintain Weight

An important strategy for balancing your calories is to choose nutrient-dense foods (foods that provide the most nutrients for the least amount of calories). For example, skim milk is more nutrient dense than whole milk, and a peeled orange is more nutrient than an orange soft drink. At the same time, being physically active for at least 30 minutes each day can reduced your risk for chronic diseases!

Limit Fat and Sugars

Fat is an essential nutrient and important part of a healthful diet but, because fats are energy dense, eating a diet high in total fat can lead to becoming overweight. Less than 7-10% of your total daily calories should come from saturated fat, and you should try to consume less than 300mg per a day of cholesterol[2]. You can achieve the goal by replacing fats, like butter and lard, with plant oils, and replacing full-fat milk, yogurt, and cheeses with low-fat or nonfat versions.

Limit foods and beverages that are high in added sugars, such as sweetened soft drinks, cookies, and cakes. Many foods that contain added sugars often supply calories, but no essential nutrients and no dietary fiber. Sweetened foods and beverages can be replaced with those that are low in or have no added sugars. Sweetened beverages can be replaced with water and unsweetened beverages[3].

Consume more Healthful Foods and Nutrients

  • Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Each day, try to eat a variety of dark-green, red, and orange vegetables, along with beans and peas.
  • Make sure that at least half of all grain foods (breads, cereals, pasta, and so on) that you eat each day are made from whole grains.
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, which include milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soy beverages.
  • When making protein choices, choose protein foods that are lower in solid fat and Calories, such as lean cuts of beef or skinless poultry. Try to eat more fish and shellfish in place of traditional meat and poultry choices. Also choose eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
  • Choose foods that provide an adequate level of dietary fiber as well as nutrients of concern in the American diet, including potassium, calcium, and vitamin D. These nutrients help us maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce our risks for certain diseases. Healthful foods that are good sources of these nutrients include fruits, vegetables, beans and peas, whole grains, and low-fat milk and milk products[1].
  • Follow Healthy Eating PatternsThere isn’t a healthy eating pattern that everyone should follow. The best recommendation made in Dietary Guidelines is designed to accommodate diverse cultural, ethnic, traditional, and personal preferences that still fit into your food budget. MyPlate.gov is free for everyone to help find a healthy eating style and build it throughout your lifetime. MyPlate will focus on helping you make healthy food and beverage choices and include all five food groups. It’s about making small changes to create a healthier eating style.

    Overall, the Goals of the Dietary Guideline are to promote health, reduce the risk for chronic diseases and improve nutrition and physical activity.


[1] Abou-Samra, R., et al. 2011. Effect of different protein sources on satiation and short-term satiety when consumed as a starter. Nutrition Journal 2011, December 23(10):139.
[2] Thompson, Janice, Melinda Manore, and Linda A. Vaughan. The science of nutrition. Boston: Pearson, 2014. Print.
[3] 2010 Dietary Guidelines. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 June 2017

Employee Spotlight: Ashleigh Sager

What is your role here at Babb, Inc.?

I was recently hired at Babb, Inc. as the HR Manager. 

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

I am a sleep walker and sleep talker.

What’s your favorite part of working at Babb, Inc.?

The best part about working at Babb is the focus on the overall wellness

What or who is your spirit animal and why?

A bird because they can see everything from up high, they get around quickly and they seem to have no agenda.  They do what they want.

What is your favorite place in the world?

The best in world is my house with my husband, Joe and my son, Blake Paul.

What have you recently binged on Netflix?

I recently got hooked on The Crown, which is a biographical drama about the life of Queen Elizabeth II. The first season is focused on the period from her marriage to Prince Phillip to being crowned Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.

What color crayon would you be and why?

I would be an orange crayon. It’s bright. It stands out. It’s more unique than most other colors.

If you could be any animal what would it be and why?

I would be one of my cat. They eat better than I do, sleep all day and get away with murder. 

Day of Clean Up 2017

This morning, our employees were fortunate enough to be able to help our friends at Allegheny West clean up our neighborhood again.  About 20 employees took time out of their busy day to help pull weeds, dig up plants, and plant new flowers in the garden at the corner of Western and Brighton Roads.  For three hours we worked tirelessly to create a welcoming and beautiful garden area.

Babb Gives Back is a community outreach program that allows our employees to get involved with our local community.  The Day of Clean Up with Allegheny West began three years ago and has continued to be successful.  Giving back to our community and local non-profits is important to us.  The positive impact this program has on the lives of others and our employees is something we feel passionate about and will continue to keep giving back.

5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Cyber Attacks

By:  Lynsey Bish

This is the digital age, where retail infrastructure is quickly transitioning form credit cards to one-click shopping. What is not so clear is the personal risk and exposure each consumer takes when we go online to buy a shirt. How can we protect ourselves?  First, a few key facts:

  • Computer Hackers are here to stay.
  • Hackers are getting more sophisticated at penetrating company’s firewalls.
  • The global aggregate information website Intelcrawler.com states that there are currently six retail merchants dealing with cyber-attacks.
  • Companies will not let the public know about a cyber-security breach until there is factual evidence of a breach.

It’s safe to say that this problem isn’t going anywhere so here are a few tips to stay ahead of any hackers with the desire to steal your information

1. Change Passwords Regularly

Keep a habit of regularly changing your passwords, once a month should suffice. As for choosing a password make sure they are long enough that only you can decipher/remember what they mean. Coming up with obvious passwords such as your birthdate or initials do not pass muster. Be creative and make your passwords strong by using random combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols that have no connection to you or your family.

If you’re having a tough time remembering all your passwords choose a secure password management service that stores encrypted passwords, like LastPass.

2. Set Up Credit Card Alerts

Most banks and credit card companies have real time notification services that allow them to contact you in the event of a purchase deemed “unusual.” A text notification is an excellent system to know what’s going on with the card at all times.

Some credit card companies even let you set parameters for text notifications. This way a lunch in your area can fly under the radar, but a purchase on the other side of the country will ask for your permission to confirm that it’s actually you making the purchase.

3. Subscribe To Identity Protection

What hackers’ malware does is maneuver its way into private files, grab your credit card and personal information, and sneak out. There are numerous Identity Protection companies who will monitor your credit cards, Social Security number, and other data for a fee. LifeLock is one of the more popular companies that offer identity theft protection.

4. Think Before Biting Into Data

Phishing attacks are one of the most common ways users get hacked. That email from your favorite retailer may look legit but once you click on one of the URLs, you could land on a hacker’s infected web page. Do not click on links you aren’t sure about. Be wary of USB devices claiming to charge you cellphone or other devices. They can poison you with malware or suck up all your personal data.

 5. Keep Your Private Information Private.

Unfortunately, there is a constant threat to your personal data whether you are on the go (cell phone, wallet, and laptop) or at home (PC, home phone). Take extra provision in giving information to unsolicited callers. The more you communicate, the more they learn. Many con-artists make calls to unwitting consumers and are able to smoothly trick the listener into thinking that they are an authorized vendor.

A simple rule: do not provide your passwords or personal information to unsolicited callers. When searching new websites, to ensure its security, make sure there is a closed lock symbol at the bottom right of the screen.  Web addresses that begin with “https” are generally secure, and if you click on the lock symbol on the bottom right, it will display the same “https” address.

Stop. Think. Connect.

The biggest advantage you can give yourself against cyber-attacks is to raise awareness of cyber risk.  Homeland Security has a national public awareness campaign, “Stop. Think. Connect.” that is aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online. Stop.Think.Connect. has an online toolkit that provides resources and guides for Social Media, Cybersecurity while traveling, and discussion topics about Cybersecurity with kids, identity theft, and internet scams.

Protecting yourself online may seem like a daunting task, but by following the five easy steps it becomes simple. You don’t have to be a computer expert to take measures to stay safe online.

Spring Activities Around Pittsburgh

This past Sunday, thousands participated in the Pittsburgh Marathon and half marathon.  Racers from all over the world took to the streets of Pittsburgh to show us all that dedication, perseverance, and endurance can get us all across our personal finish lines.

But, if you are suffering from the post marathon blues, or are just looking from some great ways to get out and active in the Pittsburgh area, we have curated a list of great opportunities for you to do just that.

Kayaking, North Shore Location

Do you like to kayak or want to try something new?  Located right next to PNC, you can rent a solo or tandem kayak, and spend an hour or two exploring to the sights along the Allegheny River, from Point State Park to Washington’s Landing.

Yoga in the Square

If you like yoga or are interested in beginning, Yoga in the Square might be right for you.  Every Sunday morning, starting May 28th, local yoga instructors take turns leading an hour long yoga class that yogis of all levels will enjoy.

Skydiving Over Pittsburgh

Looking for an adrenaline boosting thrill?  Then skydiving is definitely for you.  At Skydiving Over Pittsburgh, you will get to experience a tandem skydive with a seasoned professional while getting the most amazing aerial views of the Steel City.

Moraine State Park

Sometimes it’s great to get out of the city and spend some time in nature.  Moraine State Park offers a plethora of outdoor activities that will delight you and your friends and family.  From biking and picnicking along a beautiful trail to spending the day on the water swimming, fishing, or boating, there is something for everyone at Moraine State Park.