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BFTP/NEP names its Innovation Award winners

Eight cutting-edge companies are being honored for their achievements as innovators and entrepreneurs by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP). The winners of the 2014 Innovation Awards will be honored at the Ben Franklin i xchange event, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 6at the Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University. They are:
Saladax Biomedical, Inc., Bethlehem, for entrepreneurial achievement 
Saladax develops and commercializes diagnostic blood test kits that quickly, accurately and inexpensively personalize chemotherapy drug levels for optimal results. Saladax originally planned to launch in New Jersey, but chose instead to start in Ben Franklin's TechVentures. Saladax now holds 82 international patents and employs 45. 
Viddler, Inc., Bethlehem, incubator graduate award
Viddler delivers secure, interactive media solutions for thousands of business communication, learning and publishing clients in more than 150 countries. Viddler graduated from TechVentures in September 2011 and today employs 22 at its new Southside Bethlehem headquarters.
XiGo Nanotools,  Bethlehem, product innovation
XiGo Nanotools has commercialized three table-top devices for characterizing the nature of particles -- or emulsion droplets -- in liquids using patented magnetic resonance imaging technology. Ben Franklin invested a total of $400,000 in XiGo; the company is a resident at TechVentures.
Vitrius Technologies, Wilkes-Barre, innovative application of technology 
Vitrius Technologies provides smart window systems for the residential, commercial and architectural markets. Ben Franklin invested a total of $320,000 in Vitrius, and provided financial support for sales efforts and industry-required testing. The company is now beginning to commercialize its groundbreaking products.
Cambridge-Lee Industries LLC, Reading, manufacturing achievement
Cambridge-Lee Industries, the second largest plumbing tube manufacturer in the country, recently constructed a new 195,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to produce thin-wall copper tubes for the commercial HVAC market. (For more on Cambridge-Lee, look for Keystone Edge's upcoming special edition -- it will be in your inbox on April 29.)
In addition, BFTP/NWP will honor three individuals: Senator John R. Gordner, Senator John P. Blake and former Governor Dick Thornburgh.

Last year, more than 550 tech entrepreneurs, business people, economic developers, venture capitalists, political leaders, educators, students, bankers, lawyers and accountants attended i xchange; that number is expected to grow again this year. Jeff Hoffman, veteran of seven startups, including Priceline.com, will give the keynote address. The registration fee is $65 in advance; $75 the day of the event. To learn more or to register, visit nep.benfranklin.org or ennect.com/e2331, e-mail ixchange@nep.benfranklin.org or call 610-758-5200.

Source: BFTP/NEP
Writer: Elise Vider

Taffy Activewear joins Reading's Jump Start Incubator

While working as a trainer at a Philadelphia gym, Katie Kozloff Banks was struck by how frustrating it was for her female clients sized 12-and-up to find stylish, comfortable and flattering activewear. 
She knew the market potential was huge. According to a recent piece in the Washington Post, plus-size fashion is one of the fastest-growing segments of the apparel industry with over $17 billion spent in 2012.
In 2010, Banks launched Taffy Activewear, exclusively for women sizes 14 to 24.  

"The concept is simple," she says. "When you feel good about how you look, you work out harder. Our mission is to help plus-size women feel confident about the way they look in activewear. Whatever their goal, curvy women can look stylish and attractive as they lead healthier, more active lives."
Banks works with contract designers to create products that meet her specifications; the garments are manufactured in China. With a national team of sales representatives and a contract fulfillment center in Pennsylvania, Taffy’s sales have nearly doubled every year. The clothes are sold at national retailers including Burlington Coat Factory, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. Sales via Amazon are imminent.
Now Banks is launching a companion line, Katie K Active, with an extended size range (small through 24) aimed at a higher-end market. Online pre-sales will start next month and Katie K will be available starting in March at specialty retailers, boutiques, yoga studios and department stores, including Canyon Ranch resorts. 
Banks recently moved her company into the Jump Start Incubator in Reading. For now, she is a company of one, but her goal is to build a location where she can have in-house design, sales, warehousing and shipping under one roof. 
Source: Katie Kozloff Banks, Taffy Activewear/Katie K Active
Writer: Elise Vider

Contest offers $100K for shale innovation

The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center is looking for the four best shale gas-oriented innovations, new product ideas or service concepts. The 2014 Shale Gas Innovation Competition is offering cash awards totaling $100,000, along with exposure to investors, potential partners and industry sponsors. The contest is open to researchers, entrepreneurs or small company innovators in Pennsylvania or West Virginia, or those willing to locate to either state.
"We are constantly amazed at the creativity we see from entrepreneurs who want to provide products or services," says Bill Hall, SGICC director. "What’s great about this competition is that a simple online summary is all that’s required to get started. Basically any idea related to the shale energy space is eligible -- even if it has already been commercially developed. In the past, we’ve seen applications related to natural gas utilization products/services, remote site monitoring, well-pad EH&S products or services, natural gas or NGL conversion technologies, and water management or remediation technologies.”
The deadline for applications is February 1. Finalists will be chosen by a panel of industry experts at an event in May 2014. 
Traditionally a Pennsylvania-focused event, the contest has been expanded to include West Virginia through a grant from the Benedum Foundation. This year the competition is co-sponsored by Ben Franklin Technology Partners and a wide range of partners. 
Source: Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center 
Writer: Elise Vider

Ben Franklin Technology Partners invests in 6 NE firms

Christmas came early for six northeast Pennsylvania companies with the announcement of more than $340,000 in new investments from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
BFTP/NEP is making loans to these four early-stage tech companies:
Bison Analytics, LLC, Lewisburg, $100,000 to continue developing and provide marketing support to the company’s planning and business intelligence software for small businesses. Bison will implement software enhancements, develop a sales strategy for its cloud-based product and analyze follow-on funding tactics.   
Cerora Inc., Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, $100,000 to finalize software and hardware and commercialize a cloud-based, medical-grade, neuro-diagnostic solution. Cerora is developing a portable EEG brain wave biosensor for use by non-specialists in the field. Rapid diagnosis of brain injuries and disease can lead to early and more effective interventions- yielding cost savings, improved clinical outcomes, and increased patient satisfaction for people with concussions/traumatic brain Injury, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurologic and psychiatric conditions. 
CEWA Technologies, Inc., Wyomissing, $75,000 to complete design, construct and test prototypes of a new kind of point-concentrated solar power dish that will deliver power for industrial and institutional applications at a lower cost due to its innovative shape and construction. The dish is capable of providing thermal power for HVAC, power generation, desalination and process heat applications at a cost comparable to fossil fuel-based sources of energy without government subsidy. 
Skaffl, LLC, Allentown, 50,000 to complete development of Braket, a new mobile application through which teachers and students can exchange class materials, assignments, completed homework, assessments and grades. This digital application capitalizes on the exponentially growing use of iPads in K-12 classrooms and the needs of teachers as they develop tools and curricula to enhance real-time educational interaction. 
Ben Franklin also will provided matching funds for these partnerships between higher ed institutions and established manufacturers.
Crispin Valve, Berwick and Utah State University, $8,740, to determine the flow characteristics of a new plug valve for the wastewater industry. Building on its success in the butterfly valve market for the municipal water industry, Crispin Valve is expanding into this new product line.
GenPore, Reading and Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center, $8,638 to complete work to expand and optimize operating space, including construction of new clean rooms and addition of new warehouse space, at this manufacturer of porous plastic filters. GenPore specializes in innovative and cost-effective solutions for a broad range of filtration, controlled flow, and separation applications for liquids and gases.

Source: BFTP/NEP
Writer: Elise Vider

Wanted: shale gas innovators; Reward: $25,000-plus

The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center is looking for researchers, entrepreneur or innovators with great ideas in the shale gas space in Pennsylvania or West Virginia.
SGICC announced the 3rd annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest, with a purse of $25,000 in cash prizes for each of the four best shale gas-oriented innovations, new product ideas or service concepts that are either in the development stage or recently launched. Besides cash, the winners are also promised exposure to investors, potential partners and industry sponsors.
"Any idea related to the shale gas space is eligible - even if the product or service has already been commercially developed," said SGICC Director Bill Hall in a statement. "Examples include natural gas utilization products/services, remote site monitoring, well pad EH&S products or services, natural gas or NGL conversion technologies and water management or remediation technologies."
Applications are due February 1, 2014; a panel of industry experts will choose finalists.
This year's contest has been expanded to include West Virginia through a grant from the Benedum Foundation. The 3rd Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest is co-sponsored by Ben Franklin Technology Partners, ANGA, Acorn Energy, AquaTech, Baker Hughes, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, Chevron Technology Ventures, CONSOL Energy, Chesapeake Energy, First National Bank, GE Oil & Gas, Little Pine Resources, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Praxair, Range Resources and Seneca Resources Corporation.
Source: SGICC
Writer: Elise Vider

Dyer, baker, software makers and more get BFTP/NEP $$$ support

A dyer, a baker and several software makers are among the early-stage companies and established manufacturers in the latest investment round announced by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
BFTP/NEP is making loans to these to early-stage companies: 
Colymer Industries, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, $35,000 to complete a new financial model, strategic business plan, corporate operating agreement, and assignment of intellectual property for this manufacturer of proprietary non-asphalt roofing materials.
Columbia County Bread & Granola, Bloomsburg, $28,000 to complete development of a strategic business plan that will help the company expand into new markets and raise capital as needed for its line of food products for health-conscious consumers and individuals who suffer from a variety of dietary restrictions. 
eVendorCheck,  Hawley, $81,000 to develop and implement enhanced sales strategies for the company’s web-based customer feedback system for procurement professionals.
Pivitec, LLC, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, $75,000 to continue commercialization and enhancement of hardware and software products for this developer of audio streaming and distribution products. 
PROVA Systems and Technologies, Inc., Carbondale, $60,000 to support the commercialization of a fleet management software system for small and medium-sized enterprises, and family fleets. 
TSG Software,  Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, $100,000 to support a focused sales and marketing effort in commercializing software for business cleaning services, property and facility managers, and building management contractors
These tech-based, established manufacturers and their higher-ed partners are receiving 1:1 matching funds: 
Applied Separations, Inc., Allentown,and Philadelphia University, $50,000 to develop and implement a new process and deploy equipment for the waterless dyeing of textiles for business-to-business sales to clothing manufacturers and textile companies.
Cambridge-Lee Industries, LLC, Reading and Northampton Community College’s Emerging Technologies Applications Center, $27,650 to conduct testing of  energy-efficient, micro-fin refrigeration tubes at this manufacturer of copper tubing for plumbing, refrigeration, and other commercial applications. 
Custom Processing Services, Inc., Reading and Northampton Community College’s Emerging Technologies Applications Center, $50,000 to investigate how the waste energy from a proposed thermochemical process can be used in the company’s manufacturing processes and as a potential fuel source and to determine the economics, technical, and environmental issues involved with the process. The company provides sophisticated air-jet milling, micronizing, blending, and testing of powered materials on a contract basis.
EcoTech Marine LLC, Allentown and Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center, $25,000 to implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning system with features to accommodate facility expansion and maintain quality for this maker of equipment for hobby reef aquariums. 
Georg Fischer Harvel, Easton and Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center, $50,000 to complete a sustainability analysis to reduce energy consumption by 20% or more. GFH is an international leader in thermoplastic extrusions, primarily manufacturing PVC and CPVC piping for diverse target markets in high-end applications such as microelectronics and pharmaceuticals. 
KME Kovatch, Nesquehoning and Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center, $25,000 to develop new finishing processes associated with the pumper truck and tanker truck. KME Fire Apparatus is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of custom fire and fuel tanker vehicles and equipment, and the largest privately held manufacturer of fire trucks in the nation
McGregor Industries Inc.,  Dunmore and Penn State, $15,154 to survey and test three new, more cost-competitive tread infills at this manufacturer of metal stairs, gratings, and floor plates. McGregor will also test the tread infills for material characterization and stair tread structural and slip performance.
Source: BFTP/NEP
Writer: Elise Vider

Entrepreneurs and startups will be eligible for Innovate in PA funding

The state has officially launched its new Innovate in PA program to accelerate high-wage job growth by supporting entrepreneurs and startups.
At a recent visit to Innovation Works' Alpha Lab, Gov. Corbett said, “With 98 percent of new jobs in Pennsylvania coming from startups and small emerging growth companies, Innovate in PA is a common-sense approach to economic growth. Innovate in PA’s investments will help forward-thinking companies inspired with vision to become household names, turning Pennsylvania into the next Silicon Valley.”
Innovate in PA, effective as of October 1, will offer $100 million in deferred tax credits to insurance companies in the state to raise funds over multiple years. The funds raised will be directed to the Ben Franklin Technology Development Partners, three Life Sciences Greenhouses and the Venture Capital investment program.
The governor's office said Innovate in PA is projected to create a minimum of 1,850 technology jobs, nearly 3,500 indirect jobs and more than double the return-on-investment back to the state. For every dollar invested via Innovate in PA in early-stage businesses, it is projected that $2.37 will be returned to the state in additional tax revenues.
“With Innovate in PA we offer new ways to support creative thinking and business know-how with vital investment,” Corbett said. “Every great business begins with a bold idea and we are here to give you that initial boost to propel your startups from a plan on paper to a thriving company that embodies the American dream.”
The legislature created the new tax credit program this summer to address the seed capital needs of startup companies and small businesses with the goal of supporting growth and expansion in Pennsylvania, facilitating job growth, new patents and products and increasing tax revenues for the Commonwealth. 
Source: Governor's Office
Writer: Elise Vider

Rainwear, pure air, advanced batteries and more: Innovative companies receive Ben Franklin $$$

Makers of green electrical generators, hospital air purification systems, rainproof materials and advanced batteries are among the innovative companies that have received a total of almost $325,000 in new investments from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Four early-stage companies received loans. They are:
EthosGen LLC in Wilkes-Barre received $115,000 to continue commercialization efforts for its proprietary on-site, alternative-energy, waste-heat-to-electrical-power generator that produces electricity from sustainable and renewable sources. 
LifeAire Systems, LLC  of Allentown got $40,000 to conduct a series of test programs to validate the effectiveness of its air purification technology in a hospital setting, and expand marketing efforts for selling the units to in vitro fertilization laboratories. 
Map Decisions, a resident at Ben Franklin TechVentures in Bethlehem, received $13,200 to identify resources for marketing and sales support to help commercialize its field information management software system. Map Decisions’ software platform replaces outdated methods of data collection such as paper forms, cameras, video, spreadsheets and hard-to-use, expensive professional GPS units.
Zero Rain, LLC in Mildred received $50,000 to begin operations to apply a new, proprietary chemical to natural fabrics and finished apparel that makes them water-repellant and resistant to stains and odors. The treatment works on all natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, wool, and cashmere. 
In addition, these established manufacturers were awarded 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based manufacturing innovation:
Alpha Packaging of Bethlehem, a maker of plastic bottles and jars primarily for the nutritional, pharmaceutical, personal care, housewares, consumer chemical and food and beverage markets, was awarded $48,000?to work with Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center to implement practices and install equipment to reduce its energy consumption by 20%.

East Penn Manufacturing Company in Lyon Station received $48,000 to develop a complete analysis of front-end considerations in support of the company’s new advanced battery products. Partnering with The Emerging Technologies Application Center at Northampton Community College, East Penn, the largest manufacturing employer in Berks County, will address packaging, transport, storage, safety and precautions in materials handling.
Precise Graphix of Emmaus, a designer, fabricator, and installer of interior décor, signage and store fixtures, was awarded $10,300 to work with Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center to improve its production layout and optimize its job cost analysis process. The analysis will lead to more effective scheduling utilization and increased profitability, as well as an improved layout of the manufacturing operations to streamline process flow.
Source: Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA
Writer: Elise Vider

SG America relocates to Wyomissing, with up to 20 new jobs

After joining SG America about a year-and-a-half ago, General Manager Ray Suhocki assessed the Japanese company's operations in rural Minnesota and posed a question: "If we’re going to expand long-term, where do we want to be?"
Now, SG's search has culminated at a 25,000-square-foot plant in Wyomissing where, on a recent day, Suhocki was overseeing unpacking, deliveries, machinery inspections and hiring. The plant makes air-to-air heat recovery and desiccant dehumidification components used in commercial and industrial air handling systems.
Suhocki expects to create up to 20 new jobs at the plant by the end of the year in production, logistics, assembly and engineering.
A variety of factors went into the relocation decision. Primarily, Suhocki says, "I was looking for longer term structural cost reductions." Also in the soup: population density, a ready labor pool, a pipeline for trained workers (he cites the engineering programs at Penn State Berks County), good air access to Europe and Asia and, especially, ready access to suppliers such as sheet metal shops, laser cutter and machinists. Berks County offered them all, he says, lauding the "long tradition of industrial activity." He also praises the Greater Reading Economic Partnership for its help.
SG's parent company is Seibu Giken, which has manufactured heat wheels for over 35 years. The company opened a U.S. sales office in 2001 and began manufacturing in Minnesota in 2008. 
Source: Ray Suhocki, SG America
Writer: Elise Vider

IPart keeps its funding rolling to assist tech startups secure federal grants

Once again, Pennsylvania's Innovation Partnership (IPart) has scored funding in a challenging environment, in order to "assure Pennsylvania's small technology companies that its programs will continue to assist them in generating winning, fundable federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) proposals."
Director Kelly Wylam says that IPart secured a $95,000 Federal State and Technology Partnership (FAST) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The funds were contingent on successfully raising a dollar-for-dollar match from the IPart membership: Ben Franklin Technology Partners, University City Science Center, Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA, Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine, BioStrategy Partners, the Innovation Transfer Network, Ben Franklin Venture Investment Forum, Drexel University and Temple University.
With $190,000 in hand for the 2013-14 fiscal year, Wylam says that IPart can provide training, assistance and review of proposals and micro vouchers and micro grants to help small companies defray the costs of preparing winning proposals.
The potential return-on-investment is high. Wylam notes that in fiscal 2012-13, IPart assisted about 25 companies, two of whom have already received phase 1 federal awards of $250,000 each. Subsequent phases offer money in the millions. Since IPart's inception in 2003, the program, administered by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, has conducted 505 technical reviews and 92 SBIR/STTR federal awards have been granted, totaling over $25 million.
Despite a drop in federal/state funding, Wylam says, "we have not missed a beat here." For a very small amount of money, she adds, "We're helping [Pennsylvania's tech startups] have a better chance of winning these dollars and moving their technologies forward."
Source: Kelly Wylam, IPart
Writer: Elise Vider

Small is big: PA businesses rack up accolades in National Small Business Week

The 50th annual National Small Business Week starts Monday and a group of Pennsylvania businesses, businesspeople and development centers are being cited for their contributions to the Commonwealth’s economy and their commitment to their local community and region.  
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) National Small Business Week Awards recognize small businesses on a variety of levels including growth of employees, increase in sales, sound financial performance, response to adversity and community contributions.
The big enchilada is Zeigler Bros of Gardners, which was named national exporter of the year, the top SBA award for exports. (See accompanying story.)
Elsewhere in the SBA’s Philadelphia district, the Widener University SBDC  in Chester won accolades for excellence and innovation, also picking up a regional award covering Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC and West Virginia. Gresham's Chophouse  in Hawley was named Eastern PA’s family business of the year and David Wise II, owner of G.S. Madison  (owner two 1-800-GOT-Junk? franchises) and BOXAROO  in Reading was named small businessperson of the year.
Across the state, Pittsburgh SBA district winners were: Clarion University SBDCGuy Chemical Company of Somerset, exporter of the year, and Jonathan Miller of Dimples LLC in Ashville, which makes software to save printer ink and toner, as young entrepreneur of the year.
The Widener SBDC and Zeigler Brothers will be in Washington DC on June 21 to receive their awards. 
Source: Pennsylvania SBDC 
Writer: Elise Vider     

New Berks County KOZ offers tax breaks, highway access and high visibility

Two-hundred-and-six undeveloped acres hard by the Morgantown exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike are ripe for development as a brand-new Keystone Opportunity Zone.
The KOZ designation is one of the state's major economic development tools and is credited with creating or retaining more than 43,000 jobs since its inception in 1999. Companies inside zones are eligible for tax reductions or abatements affecting an array of state, county and local taxes.
These include the PA corporate net income tax, capital stock and foreign franchise tax, personal income tax, sales and use tax for purchases consumed and used by zone businesses, mutual and thrift institution tax, bank and trust company shares tax and insurance premium tax. On the county and local side of the ledger, potential tax breaks include earned income and net profits and property taxes. Projects located in a KOZ are also given priority consideration for assistance under state community and economic development programs as well as community building initiatives.
The new KOZ at the New Morgan Business Center in tiny New Morgan Borough offers 10 years of tax breaks and is part of a much larger planned mixed-use development that will eventually include residential and commercial uses. The site is known locally as Grace Mines and is part of the old Bethlehem Steel mining operation, says Pamela Shupp, vice president at the Greater Reading Economic Partnership, which is charged with marketing the new KOZ. The Partnership is at work on electronic and print marketing materials and informing its network of site selectors and industrial real estate interests about "this brand new piece of inventory with all these incentives attached to it," Shupp says.
The most likely prospects, she adds, are advanced manufacturers with needs for heavy infrastructure and highway access or corporate headquarters, who can benefit from the site's high visibility from the Turnpike.
Source: Pamela Shupp, Greater Reading Economic Partnership
Writer: Elise Vider

Out of the box thinking: Reading's Boxaroo rents eco-friendly moving containers

In the why-didn't-I-think-of-that category comes Boxaroo, a Reading startup, with the simple and brilliant notion of renting reusable, eco-friendly, wheeled moving containers. 
Founder David Wise, a serial entrepreneur, got the idea from client surveys at his 1-800-GOT-Junk? franchises in Pennsylvania and Ohio showing a demand for an alternative to cardboard boxes. Wise quickly determined that no one is Pennsylvania was offering this service. 
Wise settled into the Jump Start Incubator, run by the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center, last summer, and secured a $210,000 Small Business Administration loan to refine and test the idea, establish a marketing and business plan and acquire an initial supply of 800 boxes. 
Boxaroo began business in earnest last month. The company drops off their freshly-cleaned plastic crates at the site a customer is moving from and picks them up at the new location once them move is complete. The crates themselves make moving faster and easier, Wise says, because they neatly stack four-high and move like dollies.
Since they can be rolled rather than hoisted on and off trucks, they reduce potential for injuries and make operations faster and more efficient for moving companies, which is turning into a key market, Wise says. Residential do-it-yourself movers are also responding.
Boxaroo has three-and-a-half, full-time-equivalent employees, several warehouse and storage facilities and three trucks to serve its initial market from Scranton and Wilkes-Barre south to Allentown, Reading and Lancaster. TV ads will start appearing in Scranton-Wilkes-Barre in mid-April. 
Source: David Wise, Boxaroo
Writer: Elise Vider

PA is hot among site selectors and a new tool heats things up even more

We may not mess with Texas, but Pennsylvania ranks third in new facilities and expansions – and first in the Northeast – according to the prestigious annual rankings published last week in Site Selection magazine
The 2012 Governor's Cup went to the Lone Star State, which led the nation with 761 projects in 2012. (The publication counts private-sector projects that meet one or more of these criteria: a minimum $1 million investment, creation of 50 or more new jobs or construction of new space of at least 20,000 square feet. Equipment upgrades, additions and construction jobs don't count.)
Ohio was second with 491 projects and Pennsylvania was next with 430 in the national rankings. Ranked by region, the Keystone State's 430 easily beat the number-two state, New York, which came in at 119. In new manufacturing, Pennsylvania had 130 projects, compared to New York's 26; in manufacturing expansion, the Commonwealth's 97 beat the Empire State by 49.
Site Selection was also upbeat about Pennsylvania in a January profile assessing the impact of the energy sector on the state's economy. 
With such fertile ground for new and expanded commercial ventures, new features on Team PA's SiteSearch website are well timed. The site now includes heat maps that provide a visual representation of demographic statistics. The new business search allows for queries of businesses statewide by geography, type, number of employees and annual revenue.
"The enhanced functionalities of PA SiteSearch puts more information at the fingertips of site selectors or company officials looking to locate to, or expand their operations, in PA," says Matt Zeigner of Team PA. 
The race is on for 2013.
Source: Site Selection magazine
Writer: Elise Vider

RPA Engineering grows at its new Wyomissing headquarters

RPA Engineering rang in the New Year at a new Wyomissing headquarters after outgrowing its old building nearby. The new quarters, a 12,000-square-foot, converted carpet showroom and warehouse, offer the growing firm more functional space and a convenient location, says CEO Richard Aulenbach.
RPA covers all of the major engineering disciplines and is experiencing increased demand in the pharmaceutical, industrial, energy and health care sectors that it serves.  "We've been on a track of continued growth," says Aulenbach, who founded the firm in 1989. RPA employs more than 100 and Aulenbach anticipates adding 10 or more new positions in the next six to nine months.
Much of the growth potential comes from health care, a relatively new market for the firm. Aulenbach sees tremendous opportunities with clients such as The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. RPA is also expanding with national clients based outside Pennsylvania, such as a current prospect in Houston. "This is a new level we are rising to," Aulenbach says.
The company is also growing its portfolio of services. It is developing a management tool for health care facilities that would optimize decision-making by incorporating certain facility investments into business operations. And RPA recently launched a major initiative to expand its commissioning and qualification (C&Q) services. C&Q services are tools used by companies to ensure project success and regulatory compliance during the building design and construction phase.
"We are deepening our knowledge and honing the skills necessary to ensure that our engineers are equipped to deliver buildings and building systems that meet today’s commissioning and qualification requirements, while expanding our range of commissioning and qualification services,” Aulenbach explained in a July statement.
Source: Richard Aulenbach, RPA Engineering

Writer: Elise Vider
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