The World’s largest roll on/roll off (ro/ro) vessel, the MV Tysla, discharged Hyundai and Kia vehicles last month during a port call at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal (PAMT)

Nearly 250,000 vehicles have been unloaded since Hyundai Motor Co. and its logistics affiliate, Glovis of America, began local operations in August 2010, said David Whene, president of Greenwich Terminals, which operates PAMT.

“We’re excited to be handling the unloading of such massive ships,” Whene said, noting that a similarly sized sister ship, the Tonsberg, visited Philadelphia in April 2011. “These ships are a sight to behold.”

“We’re always working to improve our facilities and capabilities in order to successfully compete in an increasing complex and challenging global world,” said Thomas J. Holt, Jr., President of Astro Holdings, Inc., which leases PAMT under a long-term concession with the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. “Bringing in massive ships such as the MV Tysla shows that our efforts are working, and we expect to attract additional new business in the months and years ahead.”

The MV Tysla is 265 meters long and has a cargo volume of 138,000 cubic meters. It has a capacity of 8,500 car-equivalent units (CEU). There are six fixed and three hoistable decks. Norwegian shipping firm Wilh. Wilhelmsen said the ship has more flexibility to carry high and heavy cargo, and also was built to be environmentally friendly, using nearly 20 percent less fuel than older ro/ro ships.

The vehicles that arrive at PAMT are processed at a 100-acre auto finishing facility at Pier 98 Annex at Columbus Boulevard and Oregon Avenue by the Walt Whitman Bridge. Once completed, those cars leave the facility by truck and possibly in the future by rail.

Temple University Health System now Includes Fox Chase Cancer Center

As of July 1, 2012, Fox Chase Cancer Center became a part of Temple University Health System, one of Philadelphia’s leading academic health centers, providing access to quality care through its hospitals and multi-specialty satellite facilities while supporting excellence and innovation in education and research.

“We are pleased to welcome Fox Chase Cancer Center into Temple’s healthcare enterprise,” said Larry R. Kaiser, MD, FACS, Senior Executive Vice President of Health Sciences for Temple University, President and CEO of Temple University Health System, and Dean of Temple University School of Medicine. “The addition of Fox Chase Cancer Center — one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. — solidifies Temple’s position as a leader in cancer care and translational research. It also sets the stage for exciting and numerous opportunities to grow and enhance cancer-related patient care, research and educational programs.”

“Fox Chase Cancer Center is committed to serving as one of the nation’s top comprehensive cancer centers, delivering world-class care to our patients and remaining at the forefront of scientific discovery,” said Michael V. Seiden, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Fox Chase Cancer Center. “Now, as a member of Temple University Health System, we are in a stronger position than ever before to meet the needs of current and future cancer patients.”

On December 15, 2011, Temple University Health System and Fox Chase Cancer Center signed an affiliation agreement for TUHS to acquire Fox Chase Cancer Center.

The newly official relationship between Temple University Health System and Fox Chase Cancer Center also promotes collaborative synergies between and among the physician-scientists at Temple University School of Medicine and Fox Chase Cancer Center — which will accelerate the pace of further discovery and development of the most effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The collaboration between these two highly regarded institutions will enhance their ability to recruit and retain the nation’s best researchers and clinicians, which in turn will help meet the healthcare needs of a growing patient base.

As an affiliate of Temple University Health System, Fox Chase Cancer Center will significantly expand its outpatient and surgical-care services — both within its existing facilities and through the use of leased space in neighboring Jeanes Hospital, an affiliate of Temple University Health System since 1996.

TechGirlz Aims to Develop Female Tech Leaders in Philadelphia

TechGirlz, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering girls to be future technology leaders, launched its first annual Entrepreneurship Camp in Philadelphia this month in conjunction with DreamIt Ventures and Startup Corps. The camp is designed to address the low percentage of tech start-ups (3%) that are led by women, according to the Kauffman Foundation.

During the week-long day camp at the University City Science Center, which took place earlier this month, twenty girls, ages 11 to 16, engaged in idea generation, presentation of their prototypes, and developed business plans under the guidance of some of the country’s leading startup executives, developers and graduates of the Startup Corps program.

“There is a major disconnect between the market and the tech industry today,” said Tracey Welson-Rossman, founder of TechGirlz and Chief Marketing Officer at Chariot Solutions. “Women are starting half of the nearly 10 million businesses expected by 2018, but those founding tech-based businesses are a tiny fraction. Pair with that the fact that women control 70 percent of online purchases worldwide, and the reality is mind boggling. Young girls need access to hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math education more now than ever before. And this camp is the one place they can get the experience they need to change the trend. The ideas and innovation we’ve seen from them already is incredibly exciting.”

TechGirlz is designed to give girls in 6th-8th grades a week of hands-on technology experience as well as a chance to develop business ideas under the mentorship of local entrepreneurs and developers. The goal is to get girls more interested in technology and start-ups early on to change the gender statistics in the IT industry.

Walmart Foundation Grants $500,000 to Support Summer Jobs for Youth in Philadelphia

The Walmart Foundation provided a $500,000 grant to the Philadelphia Youth Network, Inc. (PYN) via its 2012 Summer Youth Employment Initiative. This grant will fund 320 paid summer work opportunities for low income, disengaged youth, including out-of-school youth as well as those in the public care system (homeless, fostered, abused, adjudicated). In addition to 150 hours of paid work experiences, participants will receive a range of educational and supportive services designed to address barriers to success in school and work. Philadelphia Youth Network is the managing partner of WorkReady Philadelphia.

In its sixth year, the initiative, a collaborative effort by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce with TD Bank, and WorkReady Philadelphia and their partners, encourages regional companies of all sizes to change the life of a young person by providing a paid internship.

To date, more than 5,000 students have taken part in this important initiative with over 100 companies and organizations. This year alone, 1,114 students are taking part in this program. For participating organizations, the costs are minimal. Each position costs the employer roughly $1,670, which includes intern salary and program administration. For six weeks, the interns work for at least 20 hours a week per week Monday through Thursday and attend professional development programs on Fridays.

“We are grateful to the Walmart Foundation for their investment in Philadelphia’s youth. This infusion of dollars, coupled with local funding, has helped Philadelphia to bring the number of WorkReady Summer youth employment opportunities from a projected low of 4,800 to over 5,600. Just as importantly, the Walmart Foundation dollars are enabling WorkReady to pilot an expanded summer program for a critical population. Research conducted through this project will shed light on best practices that can be incorporated into future WorkReady programming,” said Stacy E. Holland, PYN’s President and CEO.

This grant is part of a three-pronged, $20M investment the Walmart Foundation is making to enable low-income children to enjoy smarter, healthier and more productive summers. The grants will help expand nutrition, learning, and employment programs for elementary, middle, and high school students in 350 local communities throughout the 2012 summer months. The grant PYN is receiving comes via Brandeis University, which is serving as the National Program Office for the summer jobs component of this larger initiative. Philadelphia is only one of seven cities funded by this program; others include: Phoenix, AZ; New York, NY; Hartford, CT; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; and Los Angeles, CA.

The issue of youth employment has drawn recent attention from the White House, which released a report in early June 2012 from its Council for Community Solutions. The report concludes that there needs to be increased collaboration between governments, grant makers and nonprofits to get young people educated and prepared for jobs.

“Summer is a critical time for the continued health and development of our nation’s youth,” said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation. We know that providing access to job opportunities and skills training during the summer months will allow students to return to school healthy, prepared and ready to succeed. By working closely with Philadelphia Youth Network, we can help kids have better summers and ultimately, better lives.”

WorkReady Summer programs began on July 2 and run through August 10.

Spirit Airlines Joins Philly International Airport’s Family of Carriers

Spirit Airlines, whose mantra is “liberating consumers from high fares,” has announced it will begin daily nonstop service between Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) beginning in April 2013. Spirit is the 3rd new airline this year to announce it will introduce service in Philadelphia. Virgin America and Alaska Airlines joined the Airport’s family of carriers in April and June, respectively.

Based in Miramar, Florida, near its Fort Lauderdale hub, Spirit operates more than 200 daily flights to over 50 destinations in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. In May 2011, the airline began serving Dallas Fort-Worth, where it has rapidly expanded operations. Philadelphia is the 21st city Spirit has announced it is adding at DFW and the 6th this month alone.

Spirit Airlines (NASDAQ: SAVE) operates a fleet of Airbus 319, 320 and 321 aircraft. The airline has a heavy Latin America / Caribbean presence. Its international network includes 4 cities in Colombia, 2 cities in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. It also has flights to Guatemala, Peru, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Haiti, Panama, Aruba, Mexico City, Saint Thomas and Saint Maarten.

First-in-the-World Technology Innovation Brings Smart Grid into Philadelphia Train Stations

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) unveiled its ground-breaking recycled energy and optimization project last month. The pilot project captures the braking energy of its trains on the Market-Frankford Line and will integrate that power into the regional electric grid. The new technology demonstrates a first-in-the-world achievement for public transit, and truly showcases the potential of the smart grid.

When SEPTA’s trains brake at each stop to load and unload thousands of Pennsylvania passengers, the kinetic energy of the train is converted into electricity. But like many transit agencies across the country, without a method to capture that excess electricity, it could not be stored and used at a later time.

Energy storage has proven to be a solution for capturing regenerative braking to provide supply savings. It has also been proven that energy storage can provide support to the electric grid through the frequency regulation market. But these two approaches have never been brought together into one technological innovation that creates a recurring economic value.

SEPTA successfully launched the fulfillment of a new smart grid solution that captures the regenerative braking energy of trains through a large scale battery storage system and will deploy that energy as virtual power into PJM’s wholesale power frequency regulation and energy markets.

“Through this pilot project, SEPTA will become even more energy efficient, which will help control operating costs — benefiting both customers and taxpayers. We’ve made our system cleaner, greener and more efficient in recent years — things like replacing traditional diesel buses with diesel-electric hybrids and installing energy-efficient lighting at stations, facilities and offices,” said Joe Casey, General Manager at SEPTA. “These measures are helping us control costs in tough economic conditions — and making us a better neighbor in the communities we serve.”

SEPTA launched the pilot project in partnership with Viridity Energy, a smart grid technology firm that specializes in electric market integration. Saft was selected to provide the design, manufacturing and commissioning of its Intensium Max20 P System, a battery energy storage system (ESS). Envitech Energy, a member of the ABB group, was selected to provide power controls, power conversion and system integration using its ENVISTORE TM System. With these partner technologies and Viridity Energy’s VPower™ software optimization system, the train’s regenerative braking energy is being transformed into virtual power that will provide significant energy savings and new energy revenue to support SEPTA’s progressive sustainability goals.

Viridity Energy’s VPower™ optimizer enables the simultaneous process of regenerative capture, regulation performance, and energy market participation by selecting which market to participate in based upon market pricing, battery state of charge, and availability of regenerative energy from the trains.

“We are excited to be a part of this groundbreaking achievement,” said Audrey Zibelman, CEO and President of Viridity Energy. “In a smart grid world, two-way digital information exchange opens up new horizons. This project truly showcases the potential of that smart-grid world, particularly as it applies to the transportation industry. By harnessing the regenerative braking power of the trains and empowering SEPTA to become a virtual power generator that can provide valuable and environmentally responsible service to the electric grid, we can fulfill the promise of interconnected systems on the grid and behind the meter responding dynamically to reliability and economic signals to strengthen the grid.”

Secretary of Health Presents Excellence Awards to Nursing Home Facilities in Montgomery, Philadelphia Counties

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Eli. N. Avila visited two nursing home facilities yesterday to present the state’s inaugural “Awards for Excellence in Health Care Compliance.”

“One of our goals is to change how we demonstrate quality assurance in Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Avila. “In reviewing our role, we realized we were missing positive reinforcement, which led to this award recognizing facilities that have shown excellence in meeting state regulations.”

The Department of Health licenses and oversees 713 nursing homes statewide, conducting approximately 5,000 inspections annually, including licensure and certification surveys, follow-up surveys and complaint investigations.

Facilities receiving the award were required to have no state citations over the last three calendar years based on annual health survey inspections. All department-licensed nursing homes were eligible for the award and did not need to apply to be considered.

Dr. Avila’s first visit yesterday was to The Meadows at Shannondell, in Audubon, where he presented the award to Nursing Home Administrator Dan Freed.

“It is extremely exciting to know that our staff is being recognized for the outstanding care that they provide to our residents,” said Freed. “Their steadfast commitment to deliver exceptional, compassionate care to every single resident is what makes us a truly special community.”

The second visit was to the Pennsylvania Hospital Skilled Care Center, in Philadelphia, where Dr. Avila presented the award to Nursing Home Administrator Kathy Magnes.

“For years, Pennsylvania Hospital has taken great pride in maintaining a deficiency-free skilled nursing facility,” said Magnes. “This achievement has been accomplished through the dedication and devoted care that the skilled care team members provide each and every day and we are honored to have our efforts recognized.”

Science Center CEO Joins Team Pennsylvania Foundation Board

Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA, president and CEO of the University City Science Center in Philadelphia, has been elected to the Team Pennsylvania Foundation Board of Directors.

Established in 1963, the Science Center is the oldest and largest urban research park in the United States. Graduate organizations and current residents of the Science Center’s Port business incubators have created more than 15,000 jobs that remain in the Greater Philadelphia region today and contribute more than $9 billion to the regional economy annually. Dr. Tang is the first president in the Science Center’s 49-year history to have not only led a company through venture funding and an initial public offering, but to also serve as a senior executive with a large life sciences company as it acquired and integrated smaller start-ups.

Team Pennsylvania Foundation is a non-partisan charitable non-profit created in 1997 to bridge the gap between government and the private sector and allow both sides to partner for the betterment of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Team PA is the only statewide private/public organization where the Governor serves as co-chair of the board of directors and has representation from the four legislative caucuses.

Led by a public/private board co-chaired by the Governor and John D. Moran Jr. of Moran Industries, Team PA helps state officials overcome the barriers to effective governance and positive change. The Foundation facilitates good government by providing strategic consultation, financial support, and access to an independent private sector sounding board to vet and validate ideas that build a better Pennsylvania.

“I am honored to serve on Team PA’s board. This model for public-private partnerships aligns well with the outlook and mission of the Science Center as we work to support Pennsylvania’s innovation economy,” Tang says.

Prospects Looking Up for Southeastern PA Refineries

Efforts by concerned business leaders, workers, and federal and state officials over the past several months have in part resulted in improved prospects for three southeastern Pennsylvania refineries. Sunoco announced last year that it would close its Marcus Hook, PA refinery by the end of 2011, and then its large Philadelphia refinery by July 2012 if a buyer was not found. Shortly thereafter, Conoco-Phillips announced plans to close its Trainer, PA refinery. Since that time the potential for continued operation of the three refineries has improved.

According to a US Department of Energy report released in February 2012, these three refineries represented 50% of total east coast refining capacity in August 2011. There was concern that their closure would lead to large declines in the supplies of refined products such as fuel oil, diesel fuel, and gasoline, followed by price spikes.

PBF’s Delaware City, DE refinery, which was closed by Valero in 2009, reopened in November 2011. Delta Airlines announced in April 2012 that its subsidiary Monroe Energy would purchase Conoco’s Trainer refinery and begin producing jet fuel, gasoline and diesel there in fall of 2012. In June 2012, Sunoco announced that the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, would purchase its Philadelphia refinery and expand its operating capacity.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett unveiled a state-subsidized deal last week to save jobs in the oil and petrochemical industry by providing $15 million to support Braskem America Inc.’s takeover of a portion of Sunoco’s Marcus Hook refinery. Here, Braskem will produce polypropylene, a key ingredient used in the production of many types of plastic products.

The remaining uncertainty is over the future use of the part of Sunoco’s Marcus Hook refinery not acquired by Braskem. A recent evaluation of the facility performed by IHS Global Insight released in late June recommends that it be reconfigured as a multi-purpose energy and industrial park. The study found that the three uses with the highest market potential are shale-based dehydrogenation to produce propylene; natural gas liquids processing; and as a storage terminal for refined petroleum products.

The Delaware River has long been one of the major crude oil import centers in the US, with the incoming oil serving as the feed stock for the region’s large chemical manufacturing sector. As recently as 2009, there were 6 operating oil refineries along the river, so the prospect of the imminent closure of three of them would have significant, negative effects on the regional economy. If all three refinery initiatives move along successfully, the number of retained and restored jobs could return close to the level it was before 2009.

NextStage II Fund Receives $1.5 Million from Commonwealth Financing Authority

The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) approved a $1.5 million investment in NextStage Capital II LP (NextStage II), a $25 million fund based in Greater Philadelphia. NextStage II, which has an extensive portfolio of companies in the region including TicketLeap.com, Agilence, Vizinex and others, will make 15 to 21 investments with an average target of $500,000 to $2 million per investment. Through this relationship, the CFA investment will result in an additional $15 million of private venture capital investments for Pennsylvania companies.

The CFA, through the New Pennsylvania Venture Capital Investment Program, has approved $5.5 million investment to help two early-stage companies grow and create jobs in Pennsylvania.

“Governor Corbett is committed to providing entrepreneurs and new companies with the start-up capital needed to grow their businesses and produce jobs,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker. “These investments will provide early-stage technology companies with the venture capital and equity financing they need to jump-start their businesses and create new jobs.”

The New PA Venture Capital Investment Program generates significant private equity investment by requiring the venture capital firm to provide a match of three dollars into Pennsylvania companies for every one dollar in state funding. With this investment, the CFA has now committed $50.4 million of the $60 million available to venture capital partnerships for investment in Pennsylvania-based technology-oriented entities.

Based in Audubon, Montgomery County, NextStage II is an early-stage venture capital fund being organized with the objective of investing entirely in seed and early-stage software and technology-enabled services (software as a service) stage companies. The fund will focus on investments in the state’s northern and central regions, and in Philadelphia.

The New PA Venture Capital Investment Program is a catalyst to increase the availability of venture capital investment in Pennsylvania early stage and “seed” companies. The program is administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development, under the direction of the CFA.