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Harrisburg's rebranded IntermixIT grows by blending business with technology

By 2010, Harrisburg’s Capital City Computers had outgrown its seven-year-old name and its business model. The solution: reinvent itself as IntermixIT.

"'Capital City Computers' didn’t align with our mission," says CEO Jason Abel. "We are much more than just a computer shop located in the capital city."

The rebranded company decided to focus solely on developing a suite of products and services that the average small business needs to make its technology network run efficiently.  

It worked. IntermixIT recently moved into a new 1,500-square-foot office, nearly double the size of its old space, and it continues to grow and hire.

Under the old business model, dating to 2003, computer services were strictly reactive: the company sent out a technician to fix problems. (And, as the company points out, many computer techs aren’t great at communicating with clients in a non-technical manner.)

"A large part of our rebrand was a huge effort to partner with our customers, as this type of relationship is much more than just the person they called when things break," explains Abel. "This involved us changing to a more proactive, not reactive, service model, focusing on regular preventative maintenance and documented disaster recovery plans. Our goal was to prevent problems from happening, rather than waiting for them to happen."

IntermixIT also moved to a flat-rate monthly package for all support services and products. 
 
In its expanded space, Abel is hiring for technical and marketing positions, and expects to increase the company’s Network Operations Center within the next 12 months. He's also promoting his new book, Blending Business & Technology: The ultimate small business owner's guide for finding a professional, competent, honest, considerate, on-time, fairly-priced and dependable computer consultant.
 
Source: Jason Abel, IntermixIT
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Two new Philadelphia government and academic initiatives support innovation agenda

Two new Philadelphia initiatives are underway, with related missions for supporting the city’s rapidly expanding innovation ecosystem, entrepreneurship and business development.

The City of Philadelphia's new Innovation Lab is a state-of-the-art 1,600-square-foot space modeled after the research-and-development and co-working facilities found in the private sector and academia. The lab, which overlooks City Hall, provides a central space and technology resources to host classes, meetings, workshops, hackathons and more; it will hopefully encourage collegiality, innovating thinking and creative problem solving in an atmosphere new to City government.

"The Innovation Lab serves as an important symbol to all stakeholders that we are truly in the innovation business," says City Managing Director Richard Negrin, whose office initiated and oversees the lab as part of a larger emphasis on innovation.

Meanwhile, a few miles away in West Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania has launched its Penn Center for Innovation, a new initiative to provide the infrastructure, leadership and resources needed to transfer promising Penn-developed research, inventions and technologies into the marketplace. 

"Most major universities have technology transfer practices that focus predominantly on patenting and licensing," says John Swartley, the new center’s executive director and Penn’s associate vice provost for research. "As we have become more involved in advancing technologies into the development sphere, we’ve also started to engage more and more in complementary activities such as new venture creation and corporate partnering around collaboratively sponsored research projects. What we’ve decided to do at Penn is to combine all those activities into a single organization -- to be a one-stop shop for our faculty, staff and students as well as members of the private sector."

Source: Philadelphia Office of the Managing Director and the University of Pennsylvania
Writer: Elise Vider

Latest BFTP/SEP investments support healthy eating, healthy heads and healthy bottom lines

Eleven early-stage companies, ranging from a maker of healthy chips to a social media innovator to a company that makes high-tech protective helmets, have been approved for $1.9 million in funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania

AboutOne in Chester County is a secure and private online subscription service for the management of family life, providing a location for users to conveniently enter, store, manage and share family memories (text, photos and videos) and household information (health records, possession and education records, contacts and more). The data is accessible anywhere, through any device.
 
Ajungo Holdings in Chester County enables companies to engage in social lead capture by leveraging robust granular data from social media. 
 
Bucks County’s Brad’s Raw Chips uses an advanced dehydration technology to produce a line of healthy, crunchy snacks made from raw foods such as fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds.  
 
Philadelphia’s CloudMine offers a technology platform that reduces the total cost and effort of building, deploying, and maintaining mobile applications and websites by over 60 percent. 

Cloudnexa in Philadelphia is a next-gen cloud management solutions leader for business and government, allowing clients to move and manage their applications in the cloud with streamlined managed services capabilities.

CRO Analytics in Bucks County offers a unique platform for the life science industry, providing efficient access to reliable benchmarking, key driver analysis and predictive analytics. This unique system gives clinical trial sponsor organizations and service providers the power to adapt their management mid-trial, assess and address functional area performance, enhance alliance management and improve research oversight, making clinical research better, faster and less expensive.

Defend Your Head in Chester County has developed a patented soft-shell, protective helmet to significantly increase the protective abilities of existing sports helmets and reduce head injuries on the field. Market launch is scheduled for late summer.
 
Dynamic Energy Solutions in Chester County provides comprehensive energy solutions including solar power, combined heat and power, and energy efficiency audits to help businesses and institutions maximize the return on their energy investments both environmentally and financially. 
 
Bucks County's Grassroots Unwired offers a software platform built specifically to support the "offline" efforts of non-profit organizations, boosting contributions and membership.
 
SETVI in Delaware County offers a mobile sales enablement platform.

Vy Corporation in Chester County is a software company specializing in shape detection services for the medical imaging market. 

Source: BFTP/SEP
Writer: Elise Vider

JOBS 1st Summit focuses on building a 21st century workforce

Leaders and innovators from Pennsylvania's business, education and public sectors will convene to tackle the challenges and complexities of developing a 21st century workforce at the state's first JOBS 1st Summit, set for August 25 through 26 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. 

Among the highlights will be "The Game Changer: Energy = Jobs for Pennsylvania" (1 p.m. August 25), a conversation between Governor Tom Corbett and T. Boone Pickens, who built one of the nation’s largest independent oil companies. The pair will discuss the state’s energy policy and how it is preparing its citizens for energy jobs now and in the future.

"Make it in PA" will be a panel discussion focused on bringing manufacturing jobs home through innovation, targeted reshoring and talent development. Other conference topics include developing talent, enhancing employer involvement, using technology to foster the intersection between work and learning, and building targeted talent pipelines for older workers, people with disabilities, veterans and former prisoners. 

"Having a workforce ready to tackle the jobs of the 21st century is critical to the overall health of our economy," says Gov. Corbett. "The JOBS 1st Summit will build on our efforts to align education, training and technology with employer needs."

Source: PA Department of Labor & Industry
Writer: Elise Vider

Scranton's Net Driven puts the pedal-to-the-metal, keeps growing

Growth continues to accelerate at Net Driven -- the company is now parked in new downtown headquarters at the Scranton Enterprise Center

Patrick Sandone founded the company, which offers digital marketing solutions to the automotive industry, with three employees in 2007. Since then, Net Driven has doubled in size every year; today it employs more than 60. The new 15,000-square-foot office is about three times the size of the company’s previous space and big enough to accommodate continued growth.

"We fully renovated the office space, which is now reflective of our technology-driven, Google-esque culture," explains Sandone.

The market for Net Driven’s proprietary website and Internet marketing platform is independent automotive businesses who need help competing with big-box retailers. 

"We now have clients in all 50 states, every Canadian province and a few foreign countries," says Sandone. "And this year, we’ve signed more clients each month than we sold in our entire first year combined." 

To keep up with the strong growth, Net Driven expects to hire at a rapid rate, creating as many as 50 jobs within the next year. The company is also continuing to develop products with a strong focus on service centers and new-and-used car dealerships, while releasing new software and software-upgrades on a monthly basis for its clients. 

"Keeping ahead of the technological curve helps our clients to remain competitive, which in turn keeps them utilizing the Net Driven platform to grow their business," he adds. "Our goal is to help independent automotive businesses thrive."

Net Driven's revenues have grown by 3,000 percent in the last five years; Sandone’s goal is to double revenue year-over-year. In acknowledgement of that growth, the company recently received a Governor’s Impact Award for Entrepreneurship

Source: Patrick Sandone, Net Driven
Writer: Elise Vider

Philly's Project Liberty hosts four digital media startups

Four digital media startups are learning how to turn words into money at Philadelphia's Project Liberty Digital Incubator

Interstate General Media (IGM), publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer, hosts the program. It is operated by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Since its launch in January 2011, Project Liberty has graduated 10 companies that have gone on to raise over $9 million in financing.

The latest cohort features four innovative companies.

ROAR's mission is to reduce the incidence of assaults against women with fashionable safety accessories and a crime awareness mobile application. The company is engineering a safe alternative to traditional personal defense weapons that disorients an attacker, alerts family and friends, calls for help and cannot be used against the wearer. ROAR is also launching a mobile application tthat allows users to gain a better sense of their surroundings.

ProfessorWord helps students learn vocabulary as they read online by curating content from top-quality sites and pairing that content with tools to help students learn words in context as they read.

I’m Sorry to Hear is an online community and review site that provides funeral planning and educational tools to consumers researching funeral establishments and related products and services. Touted as "the TripAdvisor of funeral planning" for its efficiency in finding and comparing providers with a custom review platform, it is also a consumer advocacy tool.  

SETVI is a mobile sales enablement platform that creates a more efficient sales process, allowing organizations to close more deals and increase sales revenue. 

Over a six-month period, the companies will receive support including free office space, advising services and an opportunity to explore a business relationship with IGM, one of the largest media companies in the country. 

Source: Project Liberty
Writer: Elise Vider

Canadian and French startups come to Philly for first Digital Health Accelerator class

Two overseas companies are establishing a U.S. presence in Philadelphia as part of the first class at the University City Science Center's new Digital Health Accelerator (DHA).

Seven companies were chosen from a pool of 69 applicants to further develop their online, mobile and software solutions to healthcare problems. Each will receive up to $50,000, professional mentorship, and introductions to a variety of key healthcare stakeholders including insurers, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and research institutions located in the Greater Philadelphia region, with the goal of getting their products into the hands of potential customers. 

During the 10-month program, companies will also become members of the newly launched Innovation Center @3401. The DHA is co-located with DreamIt Ventures

The inaugural DHA class includes the following startups:

Biomeme, a DreamIt Ventures 2013 graduate, uses their technology to transform a smartphone into a mobile lab for advanced DNA diagnostics and real-time disease surveillance, identifying targets by their specific molecular signatures.
 
Curbside Care is the "Uber for healthcare," coordinating on-demand house calls via mobile and web-based applications. Their platform bridges a market of fragmented supply and untapped demand by connecting off-shift MDs and NPs to patient users in real time.
 
Fitly, another 2013 DreamIt Ventures graduate, is a mobile app that helps busy people personalize healthy meals from delicious recipes in five minutes or less, and then delivers the fresh ingredients to their home for as little as $5.99/serving.
 
Keosys, based in France, is an established European leader in medical imaging software solutions, helping physicians efficiently deliver the most accurate diagnosis in radiology, nuclear medicine and molecular imaging practices.
 
Life Patch is a small, non-invasive, real-time temperature monitoring system that allows parents to track their child’s temperature from anywhere in the world using any smart device.
 
Pulse Infoframe, a Canadian firm, enables specialty physicians, administrators, pharmaceutical companies and researchers to collaborate to continuously improve quality and cost of patient care through a software platform called HealthIE and a powerful Realtime Clinical Business Intelligence toolset.
 
UE Lifesciences offers innovative, affordable and easy-to-use medical devices for breast cancer screening.
 
The DHA is supported in part by funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Discovered and Developed in PA (D2PA) program.

Source: Jeanne Mell, University City Science Center
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Point.io sets up shop in Philadelphia's Innovation Center @3401

"For decades, companies have been locking down all of their information," explains Point.io's Ron Rock. "Suddenly, thanks to the cloud and mobile, companies need to make all of this information available anytime, anywhere, on any device, even ones they don't own."

His company offers a patent-pending technology that dramatically reduces development time for mobile applications, allowing clients to leverage existing information assets while insuring data is accessed securely. 

Point.io recently moved from King of Prussia to new digs at the Innovation Center @3401, a partnership between the University City Science Center and Drexel University. The 17,000-square-foot facility includes a collaboration space for more than 50 tech entrepreneurs and freelancers. Point.io is the first mid-size company to move to the center, which opened last month.

"We made the move to be part of the new high-tech innovation scene in [West Philadelphia]," says Rock. "I like to say it takes a community to raise a company, and here at 3401, we have all of the ingredients for success. Most importantly, we get access to an amazingly talented group of young professionals/students/co-ops who would not be available in any other location. Plus, it's just plain fun. The energy and the overall vibe are inspirational and energizing."

Point.io was founded four years ago in King of Prussia, but had no commercial success. Rock and his team joined in January 2013 and "recapitalized, rebranded and re-architected the technology into where we are today." In their first 15 months, he reports, they were primarily focused on cleaning up the technology and refining market positioning. Last quarter the company experienced significant bookings with several clients, including a contract with a Fortune 100 client.

Rock expects that over the next year, Point.io will add eight to 12 new employees to its current workforce of 13. He also hopes to add interns and co-op students, and significantly grow revenues.  

"Today we are selling in healthcare, financial services and communications industries," he adds. "We will be expanding across multiple segments, but with an increased focus on front-end customer engagement and marketing solutions." 

Source: Ron Rock,Point.io
Writer: Elise Vider

Carnegie Mellon computer magic used to understand autism

Autism is a mysterious condition. Ssome, like talk show host Jenny McCarthy, wrongfully say it is caused by childhood vaccinations and others blame environmental factors, but a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University has shown that genetics outweigh environmental risks.

Kathryn Roeder, a professor of statistics, and her team sifted through data provided by 3,000 Swedish subjects, including autistic individuals and a control group, in what the university is calling "the largest study of its kind to date."

"Most of the risk for autism comes from gene variations that we all have," explains Roeder. "We all have some of the bad variants, but the question is if you have enough to put you over the edge."

For example: some people are predisposed to being tall, some people are short. Whether you end up on either end of the spectrum depends upon your ancestor's genes, not upon whether your parents had you at a young or older age.

While it was previously accepted that autism might be caused by a variety of factors, for many years it wasn't known if nature (genetics) or nurture (environment) were more responsible for it's progress. Roeder says this particular study was powerful because it drew from a broadly sampled population, allowing results to be more ironclad than they would if participants were sought out specifically based upon risk factors for autism, which might skew the results.

In the study, published in the journal Nature on July 20, Roeder's team tried to better understand the genetic map of the condition so that scientists may pick out more specific risk factors in the future. It’s Roeder’s hope that the team’s research may lead to the development of a genetic risk score, so people can take a test to determine their particular risk for autism.

Additionally, she says the research methods employed could be used to learn more about other mysterious illnesses including schizophrenia.

"I am sure they are going to try this method right away," she says of her fellow scientists studying the mental disorder.

Writer: Elizabeth Daley
Source: ?Kathryn Roeder, Carnegie Mellon

Pittsburgh chapter of 85 Broads announces grand rebranding, becoming Ellevate

The Pittsburgh chapter of the global organization 85 Broads recently announced the organization's transition to a new name and branding identity. The entire organization is now called Ellevate. It features a more modern look, along with additional tools and resources for its chapters across the globe.

Ellevate Pittsburgh made the announcement at a recent networking event held at Savoy along with Young Professional Women in Energy to benefit Special Spaces Pittsburgh Metro.

"We decided to use the opportunity to share the news of what exactly changed with the organization with the crowd of members and nonmembers at the event," says Kristina Martin, events assistant for Ellevate Pittsburgh. "It was an educational opportunity. We brought fliers and promotional pieces, our president addressed the crowd and we answered guests questions."

Ellevate is an organization for female "trailblazers" who want to advance in their careers and lives surrounded by likeminded women who can relate and help them reach their goals. The organization was designed to provide women with a global network. Ellevate has more than 40 regional chapters and campus clubs in 130 countries.

"Ellevate uses the term 'women trailblazers' to describe females who are driven and dedicated," says Martin. "These women want to make leaps and bounds and land on top in their respective fields. They want to propel forward, so they devise a plan for how they’re going to do just that."

Membership includes women of all ages and in all professional stages.

"Membership is across the board," explains Martin. "We attract everyone from high school and college students to senior level professionals. You’ll find there’s an energy you can’t fake here and the women you meet genuinely wish to share advice, help make connections and lend a hand."

Beyond the fresh name, the new Ellevate also features new membership levels, an updated website, new promotional materials and updated methods and capabilities for communication to aid local chapters in better informing the public about Ellevate and what the organization can do for its members.

"The organization has added a new category called ‘entrepreneur’ to keep up with the times and cater to the ladies of 2014," says Martin. "The updated look of the website and the ability to feature local members on the website are also bonuses."

For 2014-15, Ellevate Pittsburgh is hoping to hit the ground running with its new branding and introduce some innovative programming including skill share sessions, a second story slam, a daylong unconference, and one-on-one sessions with experts in various fields.

"More than that though, we truly want to bring together women in the name of fun and empowerment, and I mean that," says Martin.

For more information, follow Ellevate on twitter: @EllevatePIT

Writer: Liz Miles
Source: Kristina Martin, Ellevate

BFTP/NEP has busy July, announces another batch of funded companies

In addition to last week's slate of funded companies, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania's (BFTP/NEP) has announced the following investments, provided to clients in the form of loans.

Cerora Inc., Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem
Ben Franklin Investment: $150,000
This investment will go towards the development and commercialization of the company's first product, Cerora Qumpass, a cloud-based software as a service medical-grade neurodiagnostic solution. The company's MindReader is a portable electroencephalogram (EEG) brain wave biosensor that measures the electrical activity of the brain. It combines cutting-edge advancements in EEG design with cognitive and voice-based data streams, all integrated with software to provide real-time, objective neurodiagnostic information in the field. The rapid diagnosis of brain disease and injuries can lead to early and effective intervention with resulting cost savings, improved clinical outcomes and increased patient satisfaction. There are currently no affordable, portable and accurate neuro-diagnostics available to physicians, nurses, first responders and trainers for use in real time.

Map Decisions, LLCBen Franklin TechVenturesBethlehem
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
This loan will help provide sales, marketing, product development and customer service support. Map Decisions produces infrastructure asset and work management software, and provides field mapping and data management services. The company's secure, cloud-based mobile platform is designed for state and local governments, utilities, oil and gas, transportation, and construction industries. Map Decisions helps organizations increase operational efficiency, improve customer service, reduce compliance risks and decrease operational costs. 

Orbweaver Sourcing, LLC, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000
Orbweaver aims to complete development of a bill-of-material authoring tool as a module in a cloud-based software solution for electronic circuit board manufacturers. Current sourcing and procurement models in the electronics manufacturing industry are highly inefficient. Orbweaver's software platform will allow for more well-negotiated terms with suppliers, thereby reducing costs and increasing productivity for clients.

Pivitec, LLC, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem
Ben Franklin Investment: $21,100
This developer of audio streaming and distribution products will continue commercialization and enhancement of hardware and software products. Live performances in theaters and houses of worship require a variety of approaches to provide performers the ability to hear their own performances as well as cues. Wired systems currently in use require extensive cabling, limiting performers' movements, and have limited audio source reception. Pivitec uses wireless mobile devices as interactive controllers for its network devices to address these problems.

PROVA Systems and Technologies, Inc., Carbondale
Ben Franklin Investment: $40,000
This infusion will support the commercialization of PROVA Systems' Fleet Genius® PRO, a fleet management software system for small- and medium-sized enterprises. The software integrates PROVA's plug-and-play fleet management monitor that links with its cloud-based SAAS application to collect, monitor and analyze the performance of vehicles and drivers. PROVA's system enables proactive management of vehicles using data derived from their usage patterns and collected from on-board computers. Fleet Genius PRO can reduce fleet operations costs by more than 60 percent versus current technology, and, in many instances, pays for itself in less than a year. 

Skaffl, LLC, Allentown
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000
This company will complete the development of Skaffl, a new mobile application through which teachers and students can exchange class materials, assignments, completed homework and grades. This digital application addresses the growing use of tablets in K-12 classrooms and the needs of teachers as they develop tools and curricula to enhance real-time educational interaction. There are no other applications that address these needs comprehensively while also being simple to use for students, teachers and administrators. 

Susquehanna Mining Solutions, Shavertown
Ben Franklin Investment: $150,000
SMS will design, construct and begin operation of a four-million-gallon-per-day pilot facility for the recovery of minerals and clean-up of water from acid mine drainage. The company's process produces clean water and harvests iron oxide, while utilizing accessible geothermal energy as the power source for material processing operations. Once completed, the patented technology will be commercialized for large-scale use.

XiGo Nanotools, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
Thanks to this funding, this manufacturer of patented products that rapidly measure the wetted surface area of nanoparticles and droplets using magnetic resonance technology aims to complete software enhancements, allowing expanded sales. Nano-particles are minute; they typically have diameters that are 1/1,000th the diameter of a human hair. Nanoparticle properties are key predictors of material performance in many industrial applications, including energy, electronics, ceramics and pharmaceuticals, and currently there are no other efficient measurement methods. XiGo's new Acorn Drop is a product extension of the company's initial product, the Acorn Area, and measures the drop size of emulsions.

Ben Franklin also announces the following established manufacturer investments. Ben Franklin provides 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based manufacturing innovation in established manufacturers.

Cambridge-Lee Industries LLC, Reading
College Partner: Northampton Community College's Emerging Technologies Applications Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $22,350
Cambridge-Lee will conduct controlled testing to optimize their manufacturing process for copper tubing, helping the company enter new markets and capitalize on market growth. Copper tubing is used in plumbing, refrigeration and other commercial applications. The process improvement will increase throughput and reduce energy costs.

Georg Fischer Harvel, LLC, Easton
University Partner: Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $10,000
This company aims to complete a sustainability analysis to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent or more. GFH is an international leader in thermoplastic extrusion, primarily manufacturing PVC and CPVC piping for a diverse set of customers. Energy costs are a top manufacturing expense, so cost savings in this area will yield a significant competitive advantage.

BFTP/SEP closes the fiscal year with $6.6 million invested in 37 companies

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania closed their books for the fiscal year 2014 with some big numbers.
 
BFTP/SEP announced it had approved $6.6 million in investments in 37 companies across the region.
 
Eight deals totaling $2.4 million were in the physical sciences (four in energy infrastructure, one in engineered electronics, one in energy water infrastructure, one in consumer products and one in sustainable technology).
 
Seventeen deals totaling $2.3 million broke down to seven in software-as-a-service, three in web services, three in infrastructure-as-a-service, two mobile, one gaming and one regional initiative.
 
Life sciences accounted for $1.9 million over 12 deals: four digital health and diagnostics, three diagnostics, three medical devices or biomaterials, one consumer medical products, and one medical imaging and dental tech.
 
Geographically, the deals broke down like this: Philadelphia County, 16; Chester County, seven; Montgomery County, six; Bucks and Delaware counties, four each.
 
Sixty-eight percent of the companies are new to BFTP/SEP; the remaining 32 percent received  follow-on investments.
 
Source: BFTP/SEP
Writer: Elise Vider

Wayne's Independence LED Lighting declares $10 million giveaway for Energy Independence Month

Wayne's Independence LED Lighting is celebrating its namesake holiday all month with a $10 million giveaway program to small businesses.

The maker of LED tubes and LED fixtures will cover up to $10,000 per business for the first 1,000 that register this month. Services include a cash-for-clunkers buy back on fluorescent tubes (when replaced with LED lighting), a lighting savings analysis, manufacturer-direct pricing, zero-cost financing and free installation.

Independence moved its manufacturing from China to Pennsylvania in 2010 in order to increase quality assurance, reduce transportation costs and improve delivery time to its customer base, concentrated between Washington, D.C. and New York City, says CEO Charlie Szoradi.

Since then, he adds, the company has increased its line from about 12 products to over 1,200, and has sold LED lighting to Fortune 100 companies such as Morgan Stanley and Metlife; its wares have also been used to outfit over 25 Navy ships.

Independence cites data showing that with over 2.3 billion fluorescent tubes in American ceilings, the advantages of making the switch are extraordinary. Over the 20-year life of LEDs, the savings would be $331.2 billion and 3.7 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide. Replacing other bulbs could double that savings.
 
The company employs about 50 people across management, sales and production, and Szoradi anticipates significant hiring as Independence explores expanding production with sister manufacturing in California, Canada and Mexico.
 
Source: Charlie Szoradi, Independence LED Lighting
Writer: Elise Vider

County Seat Spirits is the Lehigh Valley's first modern distillery

County Seat Spirits, the Lehigh Valley’s first distillery since Prohibition, is joining the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, with plans to begin manufacturing aged and un-aged whiskeys, vodka, gin and rum upon licensure.
 
"We are very excited to have the Lehigh Valley’s first distillery choose Allentown and the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center as the location to launch its venture," says Scott Unger, executive director of the Allentown Economic Development Corporation (AEDC). "Craft spirits fits perfectly in the niche we have developed, that includes a craft meadery -- The Colony Meadery -- and a microbrewery, HiJinx Brewing Company."

(For more on Bridgeworks, check out this feature in Keystone Edge.)
 
"The Lehigh Valley is already home to some of the region’s finest bars, restaurants, sports venues, attractions and microbreweries," adds County Seat Spirits co-founder Anthony Brichta. "Yet, the Lehigh Valley doesn’t yet have a distillery to call its own. County Seat Spirits will fill that void."
 
"The market for high-quality spirits is strong and should remain so for the foreseeable future," explains John Rowe, County Seat’s other co-founder. "The timing is right for us to get established in a growing industry and to be part of the revival of craft distilling in Pennsylvania."
 
Rowe and Brichta will spend the next few months navigating the licensing process at both the federal and state levels, while purchasing equipment and fitting out their space at the center. The company hopes to be licensed by the end of the year so that it can begin production at Bridgeworks. Plans also call for a tasting room, open to the public on weekends for distillery tours, cocktails and direct sales. Their initial market will be local bars and restaurants, says Brichta.
 
Pennsylvania has a long history of distilling dating back before the Revolutionary War. However, all of the Commonwealth’s distilleries were wiped out during Prohibition. In 2005, Philadelphia Distilling became the first Pennsylvania distillery since the 1920s. A 2012 change in state law made it easier for small distilleries to operate, and since that time a number of successful operations have been launched throughout the state.
 
Source: Anthony Brichta, County Seat Spirits and AEDC
Writer: Elise Vider

Construction begins at Philadelphia's Comcast Innovation and Technology Center

Passersby at the 1800 block of Arch Street in Center City Philadelphia can now watch the tallest U.S. building outside of New York and Chicago emerge from the ground -- construction is underway at the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center.
 
Bala Cynwd-based builder L.F. Driscoll is constructing the $1.2 billion, 59-story tower, a joint venture between media giant Comcast and Malvern’s Liberty Property Trust. It is the largest private development project in the history of Pennsylvania.
 
The new building is conceived as an urban, vertical response to the suburban-style, spread-out campuses of other media companies such as Google and Amazon. Comcast says the tower will be "a dedicated home for the company’s growing workforce of technologists, engineers and software architects."
 
The structure, designed by architect Lord Norman Foster, will include over 1.3 million square feet of office space, a 222-room Four Seasons Hotel, studios for two television stations, restaurants, space for local technology startups and direct links to public transit. 
 
In announcing the start of construction earlier this month, Liberty said that Comcast will occupy about 74 percent of the building’s office space, and that completion is expected in the first quarter of 2018.
 
Source: Liberty Property Trust and Comcast Corporation
Writer: Elise Vider
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