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.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware Renamed Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware is now Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware (Highmark Delaware). This change reflects Highmark Delaware’s affiliation with Pennsylvania-based Highmark Inc., (Highmark). To announce the name change, a new advertising campaign will run through August 27, and consists of cable TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, digital and outdoor messaging.

“While we’re adopting a new name, our commitment to provide our members with access to affordable, high-quality health care coverage remains the same,” said Highmark Delaware President Tim Constantine. “This name change emphasizes the wide range of resources that our affiliation with Highmark will bring to Delawareans. This is an exciting time for our company.”

To promote Highmark Delaware’s new name throughout the state, the 53-foot Highmark Direct mobile unit began touring the state this month. The expandable truck, which is used in other Highmark locations to assist with open enrollment events and screenings at customer locations, has traveled more than 150,000 miles since January 2009 and utilizes a sustainable biodiesel fuel derived from vegetable oil and animal fat by-products.

The state-wide truck tour began with an employee event at Highmark Delaware headquarters in Wilmington on July 23.

Drexel Computer Science Design Team Wins World Championship at Microsoft Imagine Cup

Drexel University computer science graduates Matt Lesnak, Keith Ayers and N. Taylor Mullen claimed a world championship in the Microsoft Imagine Cup technology design competition after their “Math Dash” game rose to the top from a field of 106 teams from 75 countries. The group, dubbed team “Drexel Dragons,” won the game design mobile category with a smartphone app that turns learning math concepts into a fun game.

“I am beyond words proud of these students,” said Dr. Frank Lee, an associate teaching professor in the College of Engineering, the co-director of Drexel’s game design program and the Drexel Dragons’ advisor. “This shows that Drexel and the game design program have produced some of the best game design and development students in the world, they have certainly earned all of the accolades they have coming to them.”

In the Worldwide Finals, which were held in Sydney, Australia, the Drexel Dragons edged out teams from Brazil, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Lithuania and Romania in advancing to the finals after day one. In the final round, Drexel’s group claimed the world title over teams from France and Hungary.

The Imagine Cup is considered to be one of the most challenging technology competitions in the computer science community. Overall, more than 300,000 students from around the world participated in the competition this year.

Imagine Cup includes three divisions: software design, game design and IT challenge. An international panel of judges from industry, media and entertainment chose the world champions after a rigorous three-day process.

The Drexel Dragons advanced through two rounds of competition, which began in the winter and culminated with the U.S. Championship in April and the team’s subsequent selection for the Worldwide Finals.

The team claims a prize that includes $8,000 and the opportunity to apply for a startup grant from Microsoft. Additionally, Microsoft will donate $10,000 to Drexel in honor of the team’s victory.

“Math Dash,” is a fast-paced game aimed at elementary-aged students, to reinforce math skill. Development of the game was part of the team’s senior design project. The group worked with area schools to field test and design the game and the group members plan to move forward with commercializing the game.

“When they started the project, the goal was to show that you can have a game that is wildly fun and addicting, while at the same time it teaches math to kids in a way the incorporates the best practices of math education,” Lee said. “They were successful in reaching both of their goals and the judges unanimously agreed.”

Select Greater Philadelphia’s 2012 Regional Report highlights Greater Philadelphia’s Large and Skilled workforce

Northern DE, Southern NJ, Southeastern PA (May 23, 2012) — With more than 3 million workers, Greater Philadelphia has the nation’s fifth largest labor force — a diverse and high quality pool that is a key factor in decisions to locate or expand businesses in the region.

The 2012 Regional Report, released today by Select Greater Philadelphia, finds that the region’s labor force has an unusually high level of education and training. In a region where over 22% of entry-level jobs required a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2010, Greater Philadelphia has the talent today’s businesses need — with over 100 institutions of higher learning that provide the right workers for industries from pharmaceutical R&D to advanced manufacturing.

“Greater Philadelphia has a high concentration of skilled workers in many industry sectors across the region,” said William Sasso, Chairman of Select Greater Philadelphia and Chairman of Stradley Ronon. “Business leaders here understand that the success of their company is ultimately tied to the top-notch people in this region.”

Throughout its pages, the 2012 Regional Report introduces readers to business executives, academics and innovators who work and live in Greater Philadelphia. Their message is clear: the location, livability, quality workforce, cost of doing business and global access, make the 11-county region an ideal place to locate a company. But they agree that the biggest factor in a company’s decision to locate or expand in Greater Philadelphia is the people that live and work in this region.

“Among this region’s greatest accomplishments and milestones, none are as great as the people behind the ideas,” said Thomas G. Morr, Select’s President and CEO.

With 101 institutions of higher learning, Greater Philadelphia has a ready pipeline of more than 85,000 skilled workers graduating each year. Greater Philadelphia’s wide talent pool — 3.1 million workers in February 2012 – enables companies to find skilled employees with the levels of education, experience and training required to operate profitably.

The 2012 Regional Report also profiles key economic sectors in Greater Philadelphia including information technology, life sciences, financial and business services, logistics and research and development activity.

For more information and copies of the regional report, visit www.selectgreaterphiladelphia.com or contact Select at (800) 221-0774.

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Contact:
Bryan Evans | +1-215-790-3831 | [email protected]


About Select Greater Philadelphia

Select Greater Philadelphia (Select) is an economic development marketing organization dedicated to attracting companies to the Greater Philadelphia region. Select assists companies interested in the vicinity by providing detailed information about the 11-county area and a one-stop connection to numerous resources that help companies make informed decisions about locating to the region. Through global marketing efforts, Select works to promote the region’s key assets to help build the area’s economy. The Greater Philadelphia region encompasses northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania. Select is a private, non-profit organization and an affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit www.selectgreaterphiladelphia.com or call 215-790-3777.

Meet Greater Philadelphia’s Workforce

May 1, 2012 — Northern DE, Southern NJ, Southwestern PA: One of Greater Philadelphia’s strongest assets in attracting new and expanding businesses is its large, diverse, and high-quality workforce. The 2012 Regional Report, released by Select Greater Philadelphia, finds that the labor force enables companies in the 11-county region to find skilled employees with the levels of education, experience and training needed to operate profitably.

“The productivity of a region’s workforce is critical as labor compensation is the single-largest factor for virtually every economic sector, constituting an average 43% of total sales,” said William Sasso, Chairman of Select Greater Philadelphia and Chairman of Stradley Ronon.

“Beyond the key factors of location, livability and the cost of doing business, area business people who move to Greater Philadelphia say that the area’s workforce was the biggest factor in their decision to locate or expand in the region,” said Tom Morr, President & CEO of Select Greater Philadelphia.

Some of the primary characteristics of Greater Philadelphia’s workforce include:

  • A high level of productivity as shown by $130,900 of gross regional product per worker in 2011, well above the U.S. figure of $114,900.
  • The 5th highest labor force among the nation’s largest metro areas, with a total of 3.16 million workers in February 2012.
  • More than 956,000 workers in management, business, financial and professional and related occupations in 2010, 33.7% of all jobs.
  • About 925,400 jobs in occupations in 2010 requiring some post-secondary education for an entry-level position; the 34% share of total employment was 6th highest among the 15 largest metro areas.
  • Almost 608,200 jobs, or 22.3% of the total, were in occupations needing a bachelor’s degree or higher to obtain an entry-level position in 2010; 6th highest among the 15 largest MSAs. In addition, 127,000 jobs required an advanced degree; the 4.7% share ranked 5th among the 15 largest metro areas.

The quality of the region’s workforce is shown by the concentrations of employment in occupational and industry clusters that require highly skilled and productive workers in 2010, including:

  • 147,000 workers in information and communications technology (ICT) occupations.
  • Almost 937,500 persons employed in creative class occupations as defined by Richard Florida, accounting for 33.1% of total regional employment.
  • 151,400 workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), 5.4% of total employment or 23.91 STEM jobs per 1,000 residents.
  • More than 1,149,000 workers in knowledge occupations as defined by the Economic Development Administration (EDA), constituting 40.6% of the total employment in 2010.
  • Nearly 446,400 jobs in the professional and business services (PBS) industry sector in 2012; more than 313,000 were in sub-sectors including scientific research and development, law, accounting, computers, scientific and technical, and management with employment concentration ratios of 1.5 or higher.

Greater Philadelphia attracts industries requiring skilled workers because of its high levels of educational attainment. In 2010, 32.9% of the residents 25 years and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher, fully five percentage points above the U.S. figure, while 13.1% had advanced degrees compared to the U.S. share of 10.3%.

And the pipeline of educated workers in the region is large — during the 2009/10 academic year, colleges and universities in Greater Philadelphia awarded 85,700 certificates and degrees, 79% of which were bachelor’s or higher.

Complementing its highly skilled workforce, the region’s attractive quality of life is shown by the more than 43,700 persons that were employed in arts and culture occupations as defined by New England Foundation for the Arts in 2010.


Media Contact:
Bryan Evans | 215-790-3831 | [email protected]


About Select Greater Philadelphia

Select Greater Philadelphia (Select) is an economic development marketing organization dedicated to attracting companies to the Greater Philadelphia region. Select assists companies interested in the vicinity by providing detailed information about the 11-county area and a one-stop connection to numerous resources that help make informed decisions about locating to the region. Through global marketing efforts, Select works to promote the region’s key assets to help build the area’s economy. The Greater Philadelphia region encompasses northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania. Select is a private, non-profit organization and an affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit www.selectgreaterphiladelphia.com or call 215-790-3777.

Select Greater Philadelphia Name among the Nation’s Top 10 Economic Development Groups

April 26, 2012 — Philadelphia, PA: Select Greater Philadelphia was named by Site Selection Magazine as one of the nation’s top 10 economic development groups of 2011. The organization was honored at the Industrial Asset Management Council’s Spring 2012 Professional Forum at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas, on Monday, April 23rd.

“We are delighted to receive Site Selection Magazine‘s designation as one of the Country’s top economic development groups,” said Tom Morr, President & CEO of Select Greater Philadelphia. “Site Selection Magazine covers the economic growth programs across the nation so this recognition from the publication is very meaningful.”

Local economic development groups were ranked according to four objective categories: new jobs, new jobs per 10,000 residents, new investment amount, and new investment per 10,000 residents. They were then judged on more subjective attributes, among them innovation, leadership and customer service.

“This recognition follows the successful hosting last Fall by Select Greater Philadelphia of the best-attended Industrial Asset Management Council event ever held,” said Tom Morr. “Thanks to everyone’s hard work, leadership and support, Greater Philadelphia’s economic development marketing effort is gaining traction and achieving results.”

Select has worked with businesses, foundations, individuals and government partners to help locate 77 companies to the region with 3,329 direct jobs forecasted by 2014. 21% of these jobs are in the Information and Communications Technology sector and 17% are in Life Sciences. The direct jobs attracted by Select have an average salary of $83,000. In addition, collaborative business attraction and regional marketing efforts have resulted in a $637M annual direct increase in the area’s Gross Regional Product.

Greater Philadelphia has a labor force with an unusually high level of education and training. In a region where over 22% of entry-level jobs required a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2010, Greater Philadelphia has the talent today’s businesses nee — with over 100 institutions of higher learning that provide the right workers for industries from pharmaceutical R&D to advanced manufacturing. Approximately 33% of residents 25 years and older in 2010 had a Bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the U.S. figure of 28%.


Media Contact:
Bryan Evans | 215-790-3831 | [email protected]


About Select Greater Philadelphia

Select Greater Philadelphia (Select) is an economic development marketing organization dedicated to attracting companies to the Greater Philadelphia region. Select assists companies interested in the vicinity by providing detailed information about the 11-county area and a one-stop connection to numerous resources that help make informed decisions about locating to the region. Through global marketing efforts, Select works to promote the region’s key assets to help build the area’s economy. The Greater Philadelphia region encompasses northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania. Select is a private, non-profit organization and an affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit www.selectgreaterphiladelphia.com or call 215-790-3777.