For 16 years — 10 of which as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer — Chris led Tollgrade Communications Inc. from technology startup to public company to being recognized as one of the Best Small Companies In America by Forbes, Fortune, Business 2.0, Bloomberg Personal Finance and Industry Week. In the year 2000, sales of Tollgrade’s centralized telephone test systems reached $114 million. That year, its value on the NASDAQ exchange also reached $2 billion. For his efforts, Chris was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, as well as by the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association. Chris was also named CEO Communicator of The Year by the Public Relations Society of America.
Allison shares his passion for business as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the economics department at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. A life-long learner and passionate entrepreneur, he enjoys teaching undergraduate students about real world challenges of building a business, managing growth and becoming a leader. Allison is also a proud alumnus, and serves on the Allegheny College Board of Trustees.
Chris has also been a columnist for Pittsburgh Quarterly since the magazine’s inception in 2005. His column, “To Boldly Go” deals with the subject of innovation. For his writing, he is a two-time nominee and one time winner of the Golden Quill Award by the Pittsburgh Press Club.
Chris received an honorary doctorate from Clarion University in 2012 when he delivered the Commencement Address. He and his wife, Jane, a Clarion graduate and Clarion University Foundation Board member, were the first ever “husband-and-wife” dual recipients of Clarion doctorates.