Irish tech company to relocate HQ to Montgomery County, PA

Dublin, Ireland-based Afilias Inc., a technology company ranked as the world’s second largest domain registry, is relocating its headquarters to Horsham, PA, in order to connect to their growing customer base in the U.S.

“We’ve long had a strong US presence,” said CEO Hal Lubsen in a Philadelphia Business Journal article. “More of the company’s shares are now owned by Americans, and our executive group is increasingly becoming American.”

The recent cut in U.S. taxes was also a draw for the company.

Afilias stated that the relocation will not affect current customers or vendors.

Other companies in the region, such as JPMorgan Chase and GSI Health are also expanding and relocating, reflecting the growth happening in businesses throughout Greater Philadelphia.

Chester county-based Kimberly-Clark to receive $150M upgrade

Manufacturing company Kimberley-Clark announced that their Chester County, PA-based plant will receive $150 million in updates.

The facility, which currently employs 600 workers, will be receiving a natural gas-fired power plant and infrastructure upgrades. The updates are expected to be completed within the next three years.

“Kimberly-Clark continues to fulfill its commitment to reinvesting in our U.S. business,” said Adrian Poretti, vice president of supply chain for Kimberly-Clark North America in a Philadelphia Business Journal article. “So far this year, we’ve announced investments in three of our North American mills, including here in Chester, making important improvements to support our overall growth.”

The plant produces numerous products, including Scott toilet paper, Huggies, and Kleenex, all of which gets distributed throughout North America.

Kimberly-Clark benefits from being based in Greater Philadelphia because of its strategic location at the heart of the northeast corridor, which is globally connected through robust infrastructure, the region’s extensive supply chain, and distribution networks.

University of Delaware to study microbes for biofuel production

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded the University of Delaware a $1.5 million grant which will be used to study microbes for biofuel production.

A group of bacteria called clostridium, which can be found in low-oxygen environments, produces compounds that can be useful to makers of biofuel.

“The biology or the microbiology of complex systems is a very interesting field, and there is a lot of activity in it here at UD,” said Unidel Eugene du Pont chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware Eleftherios Papoutsakis in a Delaware Business Now article. “We hope that we will see even expanded activity in that field because it brings together so much from various disciplines, from chemistry to biology to microbiology, imaging, computational biology; they’re all important areas and growth areas in science and technology, which makes this exciting.”

The ultimate goal of the study is to create more environmentally friendly fuel.

This kind of progress bolsters Greater Philadelphia’s status as a top city for life sciences; in 2017, Philadelphia was ranked number five on JLL’s list of top regions in the nation for life sciences.

BET begins construction on $200M mixed-use development

BET Investments broke ground on the $200 million mixed-use development being constructed in Montgomery County, PA, last month.

“Residential rents at the Promenade are expected to set the top of the market for Montgomery County when the project is finished,” said BET Investments Chairman Bruce Toll in a Bis Now Philadelphia article.

The development, which is estimated to be completed by 2020, will include retail space and 402 residential units.

Other development projects in Montgomery County include the KoP Mall’s new expansion and a recent apartment boom in the area.


Image courtesy of BET Investment.  

Rowan ranked sixth fastest growing college in U.S.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Almanac of Higher Education 2018-19 ranked New Jersey’s Rowan University as the 6th fastest growing university in the U.S.

The university has doubled its enrollment within the past 12 years, with a total of 19,000 students enrolled for the 2018-19 academic year.

On the heels of this ranking was a top spot in Money magazine’s best schools for your money. Rowan came in at #182 in the U.S.

Rowan has also recently been named a top national university; in 2017, U.S. News & World Report released their top universities in the U.S., ranking Rowan in several categories, including 19th for engineering, 90th for best public institutions, and 171st overall.

Rowan is one of nearly 100 colleges and universities in Greater Philadelphia that is producing a pipeline of unmatched talent into the region’s workforce.

Philadelphia moves forward with global identity project

Last January, the Brookings Institution chose Philadelphia as one of four regions in the U.S. that would be a part of a project that would don them with a unified identity in order to make them more globally competitive.

The most recent step forward in the process was the search for a consultant; Philadelphia is the only city out of the four to seek out a consultant for the project.

The chosen group was Brownstein, the oldest communications agency in the city, which won the job out of 18 applications for the City’s RFP.

“Their written proposal was excellent,” said Sylvie Gallier Howard, first deputy commerce director in a Philadelphia Business Journal article. “This stage of the process is research and discovery — not much is graphic design — and they had a detailed proposal in terms of how they would do research and perception analysis, and learn about what Philadelphians, and people nationally and internationally think of Philadelphia.”

The end goal of the project will be to create a unified global identity that will catalyze Greater Philadelphia on the international stage.

132 companies in Philadelphia Metro Area make Inc. 5000

A total of 132 companies located in Greater Philadelphia made the Inc. 5000, a list that ranks the U.S.’s fastest growing companies.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, nine companies from the region made it to the top 500.

Wilmington, DE-based HomeStar Remodeling was the fastest growing Philadelphia Region company on the list, coming in at #53 with an increased growth rate of 4,923%.

One of the fastest-growing companies in the region is SimpleTire, based in Bucks County, PA.  The company connects tire suppliers to installation centers across the U.S. It ranked #419 on the Inc. list, with a 1,197 percent revenue growth over the past three years. SimpleTire stated that it expects to hit $500 million in revenue by the end of the year.

Other regional companies include Mount Laurel-based Solvix Solutions, Conshohocken-based Andus Health Benefits, and Newark-based TecsPlus.

High speed SEPTA rail line moves forward

The $1 billion extension of the Norristown High Speed Line recently took a step forward.

SEPTA issued a request for proposals for a developer earlier this month.

According to Montco Today, the extension is intended to ease congestion in Upper Merion during peak travel times. Another main goal is to link together King of Prussia, Center City and University City, Greater Philadelphia’s three biggest employment centers.

Construction on the extension is slated to commence in 2019, with a projected completion date of 2023.

Image courtesy of Montco Today. 

Penn and Johnson & Johnson partner on healthcare innovation

JPOD will soon be Philadelphia’s newest networking hub.

It was born out of Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s JLABS to support healthcare startups. The first one to launch in the U.S., called [email protected], will be hosted at UPenn’s Pennovation Center.

“There is a remarkable synergy between the Pennovation Center and the JLABS vision,” said Craig Carnaroli, Executive Vice President at Penn in a Philadelphia Business Journal article. “[email protected] is another strategy and implementation tool to help build a Philadelphia regional base of successful innovation.”

The partnership is expected to give entrepreneurs access to the global market and accelerate product development specifically geared towards patients and consumers.

“This new regional resource will help translate and advance science and discovery while lowering business, financial and operational obstacles so that companies in the Greater Philadelphia Region can do what they do best, focus on science and bringing innovative solutions to patients,” said Penn Vice Provost for Research Dr. Dawn Bonnell.

Pennovation is one of over 65 co-working spaces, incubators, and accelerators located throughout the 11-county region.

Port of Paulsboro receives $1.5M for improvements

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration granted the Port of Paulsboro $1.5 million for water infrastructure improvements.

The project, facilitated by South Jersey Economic Development District, is projected to create 150 jobs and produce $10 million in private investment through the installation of a new water main.

According to NJBIZ, the “construction of this water line is critical to port operations and will facilitate the development of an additional 150 acres of land for businesses that trade, ship, process or distribute maritime cargoes and products.”

The Port of Paulsboro is one of four in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Image courtesy of Holt Logistics.