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The Millworks in Harrisburg offers 23 artist studios -- plus galleries, a restaurant and biergarten

Thirty-three artists are unpacking and settling in at 23 newly opened studios at The Millworks in downtown Harrisburg.
 
The completed spaces are a critical step in the transformation of the long-abandoned industrial building, which once housed The Stokes Millwork, into an arts, culture and food destination.
 
Construction is now underway on three galleries, an open-air biergarten, and a full-service bar and restaurant that will specialize in locally sourced food. The Millworks will also function as a live music venue.
 
Owned and developed by Joshua Kesler, the mixed-use hub is located in Harrisburg’s historic Midtown District near the Broad Street Market, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore and the Susquehanna Art Museum. Its stated mission "is a simple one: to create a regional destination which showcases Central Pennsylvania’s wonderful artistic talents as well as our region’s bountiful, sustainable agriculture. With our hyper-local approach, we look forward to being a part of Midtown Harrisburg’s renaissance, supporting local growers, local artists and local businesses."
 
Patrick Garrity, The Millworks' operations manager, says that the 160-seat restaurant and bar will open early next year.

"We are passionate about showcasing Central Pennsylvania's bountiful agriculture," he explains. "All of the dishes served at our restaurant will fully consist of local and sustainable ingredients sourced from local farms. Our menu will also change seasonally."
 
The 50-seat open-air biergarten will have a view of the restaurant, art galleries and studios. A 200-seat rooftop terrace is also planned -- it will be the city’s largest outdoor serving space. Once fully operational, restaurant and biergarten guests will be also able to watch sculptors, painters, photographers and others at work in their studios and purchase artworks at the on-site galleries.
 
Source: Patrick Garrity, The Millworks
Writer: Elise Vider
 

New GE center to focus on 3D printing as a manufacturing tool

GE is making a major investment in 3D printing and so-called additive manufacturing -- the company plans to build a research and manufacturing facility in Findlay Township, outside of Pittsburgh. The new center represents a $32 million investment over three years and, according to GE, will result in the creation of 50 high-tech engineering jobs.
   
"The new facility will be the bridge between R&D and full-scale manufacturing," explains Barbara Negroe, Additive Business Leader: GE Supply Chain. "There is a gap right now between something proven out as feasible in a lab environment and something we would feel is ready to turn over to a plant to begin full-rate production. Plants normally do not have the knowledge [when it comes to additive] or the time to stop and work through all of the issues that come with developing a new part or process."
 
GE is all-in on additive manufacturing, which uses advanced 3D printers to manufacture parts and products, one layer at a time.  The company is already using parts produced with additive manufacturing in a production aircraft engine and gas turbine.

"We use it for prototyping designs to be able to quickly review parts and fit up," says Negroe.
 
The new facility will focus on developing and implementing additive manufacturing technologies across GE’s industrial businesses and on developing a training program for GE technologists in additive manufacturing.
 
The company chose the Findlay Township location "to capitalize on the renowned academic institutions and skilled workforce in the area," explains Negroe, adding that the company already has several small projects underway with area universities and will explore further partnerships.
 
Construction is expected to begin in March and be completed by September 2015.
 
Source: Barbara Negroe, GE Supply Chain
Writer: Elise Vider

State College's Green Towers creates aquaponics-inspired home decor

Green Towers of State College is sprouting with a suite of designs intended to "reconnect people to nature and to their food."

The startup grew from a Penn State undergraduate project -- the plan was to convert old shipping containers into vertical aquaponic greenhouses (a sustainable method for raising plants and fish) that could be shipped internationally and fit tight urban locations. Unfortunately, after building a prototype, the team determined that the market demand just wasn’t there.

Instead, Mike Zaengle, who is finishing a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree at Penn State, and partners Dustin Betz, Jared Yarnall-Schane and Jon Gumble, "pivoted by shrinking the science of aquaponics to a scale consumers could manage and afford," explains Zaengle.

Today Green Towers offers "Living Furniture" comprised of self-contained ecosystems of plants and aquarium life. The Living Table, available at the company’s website and on Houzz.com, is handcrafted from Pennsylvania cherry hardwood and arrives fully assembled. Just add water, fish and seeds.

Green Towers also offers "Living Interiors," customized, aquaponic-focused interior design services, and "Rotating Living Walls," a space-saving system for greenhouses that promises to double per-square-foot yields.

According to Zaengle, the company already has several commercial interior design customers, has built a large-scale aquaponic greenhouse for private use, and sold several Living Tables.

"We see a huge value in our custom interior design work," he adds. "Businesses and retirement homes have shown great interest in our work and reached out... Interior designers and architects bring us on as design consultants and have us do a custom piece around their initial design."

Green Towers expects to hire an engineer in the next six months and another designer if its custom interiors work continues to grow. And the company is developing two new products: a "Living Wall" and an urban beehive. 

Source: Mike Zaengle, Green Towers
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Call for Ideas: 4th Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest accepting entries

Are you a researcher, entrepreneur or small business in Pennsylvania (or West Virginia) focused on developing a new product or service for the shale energy space? If so, the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center has an offer you can't refuse.

Entries are now being accepted for the 4th Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest. Once again, the four best shale energy-oriented innovations, new product ideas or service concepts will win $25,000 cash and other support.

The organizers are looking for innovations that are either in the development stage or recently launched. Any idea or already commercialized product or service related to the shale energy space is eligible. Examples include natural gas or NGL utilization products and services; novel materials or chemicals to enhance performance, prevent corrosion or improve product yield; remote site monitoring technologies; well pad EH&S products or services; natural gas or NGL conversion technologies; and water management or remediation technologies.

"We continue to be amazed by the rapid pace of innovation adoption across the shale energy play," says SGICC Director Bill Hall. "Entrepreneurs along with many small businesses are playing a significant role, developing new technologies or offering existing products or services already in use in other areas. Through the contest, SGICC shines a light on the best new innovations being developed in our region."

Hall reports that last year's Pennsylvania winners are thriving.

"Optimum Pumping is continuing with mid-stream trial demonstrations and early indications are that they are going very well," he says. "KCF Technologies has had a rather significant penetration in the shale gas industry and made at least one large project sale to a field services company. TM Industrial Supply, as a result of the contest, made manufacturing changes to reduce the time required to produce their filtration product and has at least one major sale, and anticipates more."
 
The contest attracted 70 entries last year. Expecting even more this year, Hall urges applicants to submit ahead of the February 1 deadline. A panel of industry experts will choose the finalists. 

Source: Bill Hall, Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center
Writer: Elise Vider

EFE Labs boosts SE PA startups through Ben Franklin Technology Partners alliance

For many aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses, finding the money to design and prototype their ideas can be a tremendous challenge.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP) helps bridge that gap through its various programs and grant offerings, and a new alliance with EFE Laboratories will provide young companies with even more of the connections, technical expertise and financial capital they need to bring their products to market.

Led by majority owner and engineer Kip Anthony, EFE is a leading manufacturer of controllers, communication tools, medical devices, and other electrical and mechanical engineering solutions.

With 35 employees and growing, the Horsham-based lab has already helped clients obtain matching Ben Franklin FabNet (BFFN) prototyping grants.

For example, its work with SureShade has allowed founder Dana Russikoff to both expand the company's market reach, and move the design and manufacturing of its retractable boat shades back to the Philadelphia area.

Not content to simply refer clients to the BFFN program, EFE actively reaches out to growing companies facing various developmental challenges and a lack of R&D capital.

"I’m trying to make sure that, through the network and connections I have, clients receive the help they need to move their manufacturing process forward," says Anthony.

An established engineer with an MBA, Anthony understands the vital role manufacturing plays in the economy, and is passionate about sharing EFE's capabilities and experience with the larger entrepreneurial community.

"There are a lot of good people behind this," he insists, discussing how EFE's new alliance might help bring manufacturing jobs back to the region. "[There’s] a lot of shared passion, and a lot of drive and desire to succeed."

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Kip Anthony, EFE Laboratories

New midtown mural aimed at Harrisburg's youth debuts

Tomorrow's Hope, a new midtown mural to be unveiled this week, offers inspiration to Harrisburg's next generation.

BARAK, a community arts group, commissioned Megan Davis, a co-founder of  Sprocket Mural Works, to "speak a message of empowerment to youth as the future leaders of our city."

Davis designed the 16-by-16-foot mural at Third Street Studio and painted it with help from Philadelphia artist Jacintha Clark and about 25 neighborhood children ages eight to 18. The mural faces the UMC Neighborhood Center and the children depicted in the mural have all taken part in the Center's programs.

"Public art should reflect the community it adorns, and this mural is meant to speak specifically to the children of Harrisburg," says Davis. "It's a dynamic place to grow up in, and this message is meant to empower our young ones toward a brighter future."

Davis co-founded Sprocket with Jeff Copus and Liz Laribee. The citywide mural project works with neighborhoods, artists, organizations and government agencies to create vibrant community murals across the city, and to tell the stories of its rich mural history. The mission is to increase community pride and civic engagement in Harrisburg through united creative action.

Davis says the new mural is the first in a series of collaborations.

"Our goal is to act as a natural hub and gathering place for the people and elements needed to carry out these projects," she explains. "We are identifying walls, meeting artists, gathering supplies and cultivating partnerships in the community." 

Tomorrow’s Hope, located at 1725 N. Third Street will be unveiled at 4 p.m. Sunday, September 14. A panel discussion about the mural is set for 2 p.m. at the Midtown Scholar (1302 N. Third Street). 

Source: Megan Davis, Sprocket Mural Works
Writer: Elise Vider
 

The arts 'Create Influence' at new downtown Lancaster sculpture

A new 60-foot sculpture in downtown Lancaster proclaims that the arts "Create Influence." The installation, commissioned by the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design for its new Art Garden, was designed by New York-based Anderson Newton Design and will be dedicated on September 2.

The school acquired the corner property adjacent to its main building on North Prince Street in 2012 and embarked on a community engagement process to shape its design. Since then, the college has planted a grove of Yoshino cherry trees, installed seating and tables, and connected utilities to the green space, which has been used for convocation events and class activities.

The concept for the installation emerged when Gail Anderson, a nationally-acclaimed designer and recipient of the prestigious AIGA Medal, visited PCA&D and conducted a listening tour with staff, faculty and students. In conversation with school President Mary Colleen Heil, Anderson observed, "What you really do here is create influence." And the concept was born. 

Working with partner Joe Newton, Anderson developed an inventive piece that combines typography and lenticular imagery. The message of the sculpture appears differently, depending on the position of the viewer.  

"PCA&D has a long history of leading and supporting innovative and entrepreneurial arts-based initiatives," says PCA&D spokesperson Mary Stadden. "Create Influence clearly reflects PCA&D's mission and vision, and is the newest addition to the college's outdoor art collection, which includes the nightly show of lights on PCA&D's facade and the Poetry Paths mural in its exterior portico."

Create Influence was installed in July by Benchmark Construction of Ephrata Township and will be formally dedicated at a free public event, 1 p.m. Wednesday, September 2.

This fall, PCA&D is also unveiling Steinman Lofts on West King Street, nine new student apartments for 26 incoming freshman that feature adaptive, transformative and creative re-use of empty, upper-floor spaces above existing businesses downtown. 

Source: Mary Stadden, PCA&D
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

BFTP/NEP announces latest funding round

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania's (BFTP/NEP) has pledged $620,000 in support of regional economic development. The funds will go towards developing and growing early-stage tech companies, helping manufacturers apply new technology and achieve industry leadership, and fostering a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.

Ben Franklin has also announced the following investments, provided to companies in the form of loans.

CEWA Technologies, Wyomissing
Ben Franklin Investment: $350,000
This company hopes to complete design, construction and prototype testing of a new kind of point-concentrated solar power dish. Their product should deliver power for industrial and institutional applications at a lower cost due to its innovative shape and build.

Good Vittles, Hamburg
Ben Franklin Investment: $56,000
This company aims to complete the development and implementation of its exclusive technology to support its e-commerce marketplace for specialty foods. Good Vittles' two e-commerce portals serve as direct distribution channels, connecting food suppliers with professional chefs and individual consumers. Suppliers will use the company's proprietary packing process to maintain freshness while employing cost-effective shipping methods.

U.S. Specialty Formulations, LLC, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
U.S. Specialty Formulations will complete the set-up, staffing and cGMP-approval process to produce sterile injectable pharmaceuticals for the medical community. Millions of Americans require specialized and custom-compounded drugs, and the current infrastructure is insufficient. As an FDA-registered outsourced manufacturer, USF will employ advanced quality and manufacturing controls to comply with new, more stringent federal quality standards.

Ben Franklin is also investing in the following established manufacturers, providing 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner.

Bosch Rexroth Corporation, Bethlehem
University Partner: Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

This Lehigh Valley manufacturer of motion-control equipment aims to develop and implement a process to automate data collection, driving process improvements and enabling predictive maintenance for machining centers throughout the company.

Fidelity Technologies Corporation, Reading
College Partner: Northampton Community College's Emerging Technology Applications Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

Fidelity will develop superior tactical electric power generator technology, primarily for the U.S. Department of Defense. These new generators meet a need for compact, reliable, fuel-efficient and fuel-flexible generators in the field.

Hydro Recovery LP, Blossburg
University Partner: The Pennsylvania State University
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

The company will further develop and optimize the economic extraction of useful materials from residual "frac" water used in natural gas wells. Hydro Recovery's process converts the used water into a Hydraulic Stimulation Fluid (HSF™) that can then be reused. This process eliminates the need to transport wastewater over long distances, will save millions of gallons of freshwater each year, and eliminate discharge of treated water into waterways.

Palram Americas Group, Kutztown
University Partner: Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $12,500

This manufacturer of polycarbonate and polyvinyl chloride plastic sheets will complete the development of standard operating procedures to maximize efficiency. These standards will enhance safety and reduce both direct and indirect costs, leading to improved competitiveness and customer satisfaction. 

PMF Industries, Inc., Williamsport
University Partner: Pennsylvania College of Technology
Ben Franklin Investment: $23,000

The company aims to optimize the electrical consumption of its largest motors -- energy consumption represents a significant cost of manufacturing. PMF provides contract manufacturing services with an emphasis on flow forming -- producing metal parts that are cylindrical, conical, or contoured with precise control of wall thicknesses. Customers include the aerospace and energy sectors, as well as users of precision pressure vessels. 

Suburban Testing Laboratories, Inc., Reading
University Partner: Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $3,500

This Reading company will define current and future facility requirements for the installation of a new, centralized walk-in incubator room. Suburban provides environmental, product and water testing and analyses for both industry and municipalities. 
 

Philadelphia's Lingua.ly grows globally with its language-learning technology

Lingua.ly, a Philadelphia ed-tech startup, has launched WebApp, a tool to help teach language through the open web. 

Founded in 2011, Lingua.ly offers cloud-based language learning technology that provides learners with a free dictionary and platform to look up words in English, French, Spanish, Arabic or Hebrew. 

The new platform expands Lingua.ly's services to schools and other educational institutions that are looking to provide innovative ed-tech offerings for language students and bilingual learners attending school in a second language.

The app goes beyond traditional translation and dictionary services and assesses skill level behind the scenes, recommending fresh content and practice exercises personalized for the individual. It also includes new gamification features, such as a words- collected leaderboard and practice-session tracker to reward power users and encourage additional vocabulary searches.

"Lingua.ly’s WebApp enables schools to incorporate new, sophisticated technologies, which reinforce language learning in a more effective way through real world content from the Internet," explains CEO and co-founder Dr. Jan Ihmels.

The Android version of the app was released in early April and was downloaded more than 100,000 times in the first month alone. The iOS app is launching this summer, along with optimization for tablets and extension support for additional browsers. This fall, Lingua.ly plans to roll out support for new languages and higher order language elements, such as grammar.

The company is also expanding its reach through a new relationship with the largest textbook maker in Israel, The Center for Educational Technology (CET). In Septermber, CET will offer WebApp technology to its one-million-plus language learners in the country’s public school system. Lingua.ly is also examining expansion into new markets such as Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, Russia, China, the E.U. and U.S. schools via pilot programs this summer.

The company currently employs nine and is closing a funding round intended to double the R&D team size and strengthen its marketing capacity. 

Source: Kim Cox for Lingua.ly
Writer: Elise Vider

New on Campus: Drexel's Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships

A long-vacant corner in West Philadelphia is the new home of the Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships at Drexel University

Drexel re-developed the site with the help of a $10 million gift from the Dornsifes.

"As the venue for Drexel's research, practice and scholarship, the Dornsife Center will offer space for community outreach activities developed and delivered by the University’s participating colleges and schools, such as a free law clinic, health and wellness center, community education programs, arts collaborations, architectural design-build studios and engineering demonstrations,” the university said in a statement.

The center is located on a 1.3-acre site at 35th and Spring Garden streets. The university partnered with Philadelphia’s BLTA Architects to renovate three existing vacant buildings that formerly housed an elementary school and two administrative buildings. The site also includes an 1850s mansion that has been named Lindy House as a tribute to Philip B. Lindy, a philanthropist who secured the property for Drexel and was an active participant in the renovation.

The Dornsife Center was designed to support the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods and create a space for the Mantua, Powelton Village and Drexel communities to interact and share with each other. The newly renovated buildings provide a range of flexible spaces appropriate for individual counseling, group meetings and workshops, large gatherings and hands-on innovation.

Source: Drexel University
Writer: Elise Vider

New PA-based trade group advancing "the Business of 3D Printing"

Just like the Internet in the '90s and home computers in the '80s, 3D printing -- itself already more than 25 years old -- is neither fad nor hype. 

Now a new trade group, the 3D Printing Alliance,  is convening "The Business of 3D Printing," a June 18 conference in Harrisburg intended to look at how this $2 billion market can drive business in Pennsylvania.

"3D printing is one of those unstoppable forms of innovation that is already and will continue to transform manufacturing and a lot of other industries,” says Michael Antonucci, an Alliance managing partner. 

Additive manufacturing technology, 3D printing’s formal moniker, "is most commonly used for designing physical models, prototypes, patterns, tooling components, and production parts in plastics, metal, ceramics, glass or other composite materials," says Tom Palisen of the state's Department of Community and Economic Development.  It is used in industries including consumer products and electronics, automotive, medical and dental devices, aerospace and military markets. Emerging industries include the oil and gas sector.   

"From a pure application standpoint, 3D Printing has had the most traction to date with development of prototypes, and that's been the main driver for many, many years," says Antonucci. "It's moved well beyond prototypes now and it's all about getting innovative new products to market quicker, with less reliance on outsourcing and offshoring."    

3D printing proponents believe that additional applications are virtually limitless, especially as early patents expire, leading to a proliferation and reduction in the price of equipment. It took 20 years for the 3D printing industry to reach $1 billion and an additional five years to reach $2 billion; it’s on track to reach $4 billion by 2015, reports Bob Fiori, also an Alliance managing partner. By 2017, the market set to reach $6 billion worldwide. 

The 3D Printing Alliance, based in Downingtown, was formed last year to support the 3D printing industry throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Its mission is to commercialize innovation and drive economic growth centered on 3D printing through membership, workshops, events and other services. 

Source: Michael Antonucci and Bob Fiori, the 3D Printing Alliance; Tom Palisen, DCED
Writer: Elise Vider
 

PA businesses -- large and small, east and west -- to be honored with ImPAct Awards

An array of Pennsylvania companies -- everything from ABEC Inc. in Bethlehem to Zook Motors in Kane -- are finalists in the 2014 Governor’s ImPAct Awards

For the second year, the awards are aimed at celebrating "companies and individuals who are investing in Pennsylvania and creating jobs." The awards will be given at a May 30 luncheon at Hershey Lodge.

The finalists paint a picture of the Pennsylvania economy -- they range from small businesses to vast enterprises, startups to long-established companies, represent geographic diversity and come from a wide array of sectors. Where else would you find Webster’s Bookstore and Café in State College nominated in the same category as financial services giant Vanguard in Valley Forge?

The PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) led the process for nominations and selecting finalists. Two panels of judges from different parts of the state chose the 50 winners. Any size company is eligible, as long as they have significant operations in Pennsylvania and have been in business for at least one year. 

The awards will be given in five categories: Community Impact to a company that exemplifies the tenet of "doing well by doing good"; Entrepreneur Impact to recognize leadership via creativity, innovation, managerial ability, leadership skills or turnaround; Export Impact to a company that has significantly increased its export sales and number of new foreign markets since 2011; Jobs First, to recognize consistent job growth and retention; and Small Business Impact to a growing firm of 100 or fewer employees. 

Source: DCED and Laura Eppler, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Philadelphia's Shenandoah Studio grows thanks to mobile gaming

On a Friday in 2010, Eric Lee Smith got his first iPad. By Monday, he was ready to quit his day job and launch a studio to develop mobile games.
 
Smith, along with Jeff Dougherty, Pat Ward and Nick Karp, founded Philadelphia's Shenandoah Studio in 2011. In 2012, Shenandoah launched "Battle of the Bulge." The game was an instant hit, both in terms of sales and critical reception, and remains a strong seller. "Drive on Moscow" followed in 2013.
 
Today, Shenandoah is located in Philadelphia's Good Company incubator, employs 13 and is preparing to launch a new game, "Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein," next month. "Gettysburg: The Tide Turns" is halfway through the development process; they hope to launch it by July, the 151st anniversary of the battle.
 
Smith comes from a long background in startups and game development, both old-fashioned board and electronic, and says that everyone at Shenandoah is a gamer.

"It’s a small market, but it’s kind of us," he says. "We know how to reach these people."

Besides the games it has developed, Shenandoah has another 12 games in its portfolio as a publisher.
 
Demand for mobile gaming continues to explode. The challenge is keeping up with constant change, a situation Smith compares to the early days of the Internet itself. Shenandoah specializes in so-called turn-based games, as opposed to real-time games where the action never stops.

"Real time games focus on tactics, coordination and skill," he explains. "Turn-based games focus on strategy. You have time to think and play. And you can play without being on the clock or online."
 
All of Shenandoah's games so far are for Apple products, but the company is planning to expand to other platforms. Smith also hopes to expand to three development teams by the end of the year, adding another five positions, and to follow up with a fourth team, essentially doubling the size of the company.
 
Source: Eric Lee Smith, Shenandoah Studio

Writer: Elise Vider
 

Allentown's Gonzo Pockets offers modern material for an ancient sport

Lacrosse, an ancient game, is getting a high-tech boost from a specialized material developed by a pair of LAX-playing brothers in Allentown, Pa. The sport is a fast-growing phenomenon with ancient origins, tracing back to Native American culture; some accounts date it back as far as 1100 AD. 
 
Lou and Desi Gonzalez founded Gonzo Pockets in 2013. Their Gonzo Mesh, which makes it easier to string lacrosse sticks and overcome the inconsistencies created by weather, is sold at more than 100 specialty shops across the United States and Canada. 
 
"We collected a lot of feedback from people," says Lou. "Changes in the weather, such as what happens when the mesh is wet, what happens when the weather is really hot and dry, affect the accuracy of the player's throws. We invented a product that takes away all of that. It gives you the consistency you want regardless of conditions."
 
The Gonzalez brothers were high school and collegiate lacrosse stars and Lou represented Spain in the World Games in 2006. Lou founded the Lehigh Valley Skyhawks Academy where the brothers provide coaching, training and development for youth lacrosse.  
 
Gonzo Pockets is a tenant at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center (the incubator was recently profiled in Keystone Edge). The young company has already generated $150,000 in revenue over an eight-month period. Gonzo partner Tom Schmitt estimates that they should reach the $400,000-to-$450,000 range over the next year or so, based on demand and current performance.
 
"We expect to be able to help Gonzo Pockets think through the process of adding additional products to their offerings over the next few years that will help them continue along a strong growth path," says Anthony Durante, economic development specialist for the Allentown Economic Development Corporation.
 
Source: Anthony Durante, AEDC
Writer: Elise Vider
 
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