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Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania Hosts iXchange 2019

By Colin McEvoy on May 22, 2019

Seth Mattison, an internationally renowned expert on workforce trends, delivered the keynote speech at the Ben Franklin iXchange on May 21. (courtesy photo)

Seth Mattison, an internationally renowned expert on workforce trends, delivered the keynote speech at the Ben Franklin iXchange on May 21. (courtesy photo)

A total of 11,407 jobs exist in the state of Pennsylvania because of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP).

That was among the messages at the organization’s annual iXchange event on May 21, where R. Chadwick Paul Jr., President and CEO of BFTP/NEP, presented the results of a statewide independent study on the organization’s impacts in Pennsylvania from 2012 to 2016.

According to that analysis, the state received a total of $386 million in additional tax receipts as a result of Ben Franklin investments in client firms, and Ben Franklin returned $3.90 in additional state tax revenue for every $1 invested in the program.

“Ben Franklin truly earns its reputation as a job creation factory,” Paul said.

BFTP/NEP works to create and retain highly paid, sustainable jobs by linking early-stage technology-based firms and established manufacturers with experts, universities, funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation.

Paul cited several Ben Franklin early-stage clients that have become regional job creators, including Signallamp Health, LLC (40 jobs since 2016), Micro Interventional Devices (22 since 2011), Cernostics, Inc. (18 since 2010), and U.S. Specialty Formulations (11 since 2014), which recently moved into a new, larger space in Allentown.

In 2018 alone, Paul said several of Ben Franklin’s established manufacturing clients had created new jobs, including Freshpet (87), Bazzini, LLC (17), and Highwood USA (17). The jobs BFTP/NEP creates are in industries that pay annual salaries of $79,364, which is 52 percent higher than the average salary in Pennsylvania, Paul said.

Held at Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center in Bethlehem, the iXchange event drew an attendance of hundreds of technology entrepreneurs, business people, venture capitalists, economic developers, and regional influencers from Ben Franklin’s 21-county service area.

The event included two executive networking sessions, the presentation of six Innovation Awards, and a keynote speech by Seth Mattison, an internationally renowned expert on workforce trends, generational dynamics, and business strategy, who discussed the challenge of bringing together disparate generations to achieve organizational goals.

Mattison said leaders must develop and maintain a work environment in which freedom, trust, and experimentation are not only embraced, but encouraged. For future-focused organizations to succeed in the new age of the networks, he said, a bold approach to leadership is needed.

“Each generation has its own unique story,” Mattison said. “The strongest organizations and communities are those that have multiple generations represented. When you take the wisdom and perspective that can only be acquired by years of being on the battlefield, and combine that with the innovative spirit of younger generations, magic can happen.”

The Innovation Awards were be presented to six recipients, companies, or organizations that have achieved business success through Ben Franklin funding and assistance, have helped others to achieve success, or have improved their organizations through innovation.

Three of the six award winners come from the Lehigh Valley, including the Bethlehem-based TRuCapSol, Whitehall Township-based Dynalene Inc., and Bethlehem-based Forge3, Ltd.

TRuCapSol won the Innovative Application of Technology Award, which is bestowed upon a company that strongly demonstrates a “break-the-mold” approach to integrating new or existing technology into its business. The company applies a patented materials process to high-value active ingredients to encapsulate them to form micron-sized capsules.

Dynalene Inc. received the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award. The company is an established international leader in the development and manufacturing of heat transfer fluids for industries including fuel cells, solar and geothermal energy, HVAC, plastics and chemical manufacturing, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and food.

Forge3, Ltd., which offers the insurance industry’s leading website and digital marketing platform, won the Incubator Graduate Award. The honor recognizes a company that best demonstrates successful Ben Franklin business incubation, from the development of the product concept to graduation from the incubator.

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