Future of Energy Creates Training Opportunities at Community College of Philadelphia

Community College of Philadelphia President Stephen M. Curtis, PhD. addressed a crowd on Thursday, Nov. 15 in the Center for Business and Industry (CBI) to discuss the creation of the College’s new Energy Training Center. The center will offer post-secondary career, certificate and academic programs and work with leading companies on workforce development.

Nearly 235,000 Pennsylvanians are employed directly and indirectly within Marcellus Shale related industries. More than 70 percent of the Marcellus Shale direct jobs are being filled by Pennsylvanians.

The result of a partnership between Labor & Industry (L&I) and the Community College of Philadelphia, the Energy Training Center is the second collaboration this year between the College and Governor Corbett’s Administration. In October, the College became the first pilot site for Pennsylvania Statewide Career Coach, an online L&I career-exploratory tool that connects high school graduates and job seekers to up-and-coming careers and to the colleges and universities that offer those degree programs.

With Pennsylvania Career Coach, students can compare occupations, review salaries, and use a tool to assess whether they possess the interest and skill sets required to succeed in specific careers.

The Community College of Philadelphia Energy Training Center, led by the College’s Corporate Solutions workforce development team, is designed to serve as an education and training partner for the energy sector in the Philadelphia region, which includes refineries and other companies in oil, gas, water and renewable energy industries.

Pennsylvania is positioned as an energy hub, generating a growing demand for highly skilled workers to work in the sector and for the supply chain that serves it. The Commonwealth added 17,800 jobs in September, the second highest number in United States behind Texas.

“Our region is home to the largest refinery on the East Coast, which is adding jobs and expanding the base of businesses that work in the energy supply chain,” Dr. Curtis said. “The Center positions the College to support regional partners in identifying the skills training and education required to fill the sector’s vacant positions and increase workforce readiness. Secretary Hearthway and her staff have provided valuable support and resources, and we look forward to our ongoing collaboration.”

L&I Secretary Hearthway said, “Gov. Corbett understands the substantial benefits the energy industry brings to Pennsylvania. Under his leadership, Labor & Industry began its relationship with Community College of Philadelphia in the creation of the Energy Training Center, which will enable Philadelphia-area job seekers and employers to participate in the growth and success of the dynamic natural gas industry.”

The College is using workforce data provided by Sue Mukherjee, Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, to assess which courses, certificates and academic degrees are most likely to meet the current needs of the energy supply chain and pay family-sustaining wages. The College’s Corporate Solutions team, with the help of L&I, also has held focus groups with companies working in the energy supply chain and met with individual employers to discuss their specific needs and challenges.

“With energy jobs so readily available, leading companies need workers with specialized technical skills, as well as frontline employees equipped to handle daily tasks such as accounting, bookkeeping, sales, office management and customer service,” Dr. Curtis said. “The goal is to support the supply chain now serving energy companies and offer specialized career training that connects residents to the high-pay, high-demand career paths.»

Though still in its infancy, a number of degree and certificate programs will be available at the Center as early as spring semester. For example, the Building Science Associate in Applied Science degree will prepare students for a career in the energy conservation industry and for such jobs as energy auditor, renewable energy installer and computer energy modeler. In addition, a range of professional development courses and workshops will be offered, allowing prospective job applicants in the energy-sector to upgrade skills and earn new credentials.

New Foundation to Support Minority and Women Business Owners

National small business expert, Melinda F. Emerson, known online as SmallBizLady, launched The Melinda F. Emerson Foundation for Small Business Success (http://www.melindafemersonfoundation.org) on October 15, 2012. This foundation was established to enable more people to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams, by providing free tools, educational materials and executive education opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses.

The foundation will support entrepreneurship educators, host mentorship events and provide resources for existing small business owners to upgrade their management and leadership skills. “I really wanted to create a way to affect more small business owners,” says Emerson. She adds, “This foundation will stand in the gap for minority and women owned business owners and provide access to executive education courses like the ones that helped me learn how to be a better business owner.”

Startup Company Launches Subscription Program for Healthy Eating

Real Food Works Inc. (http://www.realfoodworks.com), which recently completed a successful 14-week pilot program, launched of its healthy-eating program last month. The firm, located in Conshohocken, PA, has created a subscription-based service that provides ready-to-eat meals that are prepared by local restaurants and delivered fresh to consumers.

The firm’s currently serves nine counties in Greater Philadelphia region (including Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Chester and Bucks counties in Pennsylvania; and Mercer, Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties in New Jersey). The company plans to branch out to other metro areas in the near future.

Real Food Works grew out of a desire by its founder to help people who want to eat a healthy diet but don’t. The basis of the meals is a food pyramid that is primarily plant-based, relying heavily on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Meat, fish, dairy, oil, salt and sweeteners are kept to a minimum; no processed foods are included in any of the meals.

“Real Food Works is a journey to improved health through better eating,” explains Lucinda Duncalfe, a veteran entrepreneur who has founded and run a number of venture-capital-backed technology companies in the Philadelphia region, including ClickEquations, TurnTide and Destiny Web Solutions. An avid healthy-eating “foodie,” Duncalfe saw the opportunity to bring the benefits of eating a healthy diet to other busy professionals through a unique technology-enabled business model.

“Everyone wants to eat better, but it’s hard,” Duncalfe explains. “The key is to tilt the scale and make it easier to eat healthy food than it is to eat unhealthy food. We do that by offering amazing restaurant dishes, re-imagined to meet our stringent nutritional guidelines, delivered right to your door.” The company identifies increased health, additional energy and weight loss as three primary reasons to eat a healthy diet.

Real Food Works selects local restaurants and works with them to create and prepare meals that meet stringent nutritional guidelines. These expert chefs use the downtime in their restaurants to cook meals that are delivered fresh to consumers once a week. By using the slow periods in a restaurant to prepare the food, Real Food Works is providing its business partners with a new revenue stream, helping to support the local economy as well as bringing health benefits, such as weight loss, to its customers.

Participating restaurant partners of Real Food Works include: Trattoria Totaro, Conshohocken, PA; Miss Rachel’s Pantry, Wine Thief Bistro and Earth’s Elements Foods and Products, all located in Philadelphia, PA; Eat Your Heart Out Edibles, Turnersville, NJ; Su Tao Cafe, Malvern, PA; and The Gypsy Saloon and Stella Blu, both in West Conshohocken, PA.

“I was looking for a way to expand my business and bring in more clients. Working with Real Food Works allowed me to efficiently grow. I’m able to focus on the food and they handle the program and customers. It’s also encouraged me to create new dishes or tweak things that I already have on my menu to be more healthy,” says Vince Totaro, of Trattoria Totaro.

The 14-week pilot provided more than 1,700 meals to charter members who ate and critiqued the meals. Many of the charter members have reported positive results, from more energy to weight loss.

“Even though my motivation to stay healthy has always been high, I was not doing enough. Now it all feels manageable. I’m getting restaurant-quality meals in the comfort of my own home and I feel better, sleep better, and have lost weight after just a month on the program. I wish I had done something like this years ago,” says Fiona Dias, Chief Strategy Officer of online shopping website ShopRunner.

Gabe Weinberg, CEO of search engine DuckDuckGo agrees, “I signed up for Real Food Works mainly to add some healthier food to my diet and to help me shed a few unwanted pounds. I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed the food — it’s super high quality, and so easy to sustain the program. The materials they supply have helped me learn more about my diet, and I’m already halfway to my weight goal. I like it so much I’ve talked everyone into my office into signing up, too!”

Investor Corner

Over 60 Select Greater Philadelphia Investors joined David and Rhonda Cohen at their home to welcome the newest companies Select has helped locate in the region. Select Greater Philadelphia was thrilled to honor the following newly locating companies at the event:

  • Adminovate Inc.
  • Alencon Systems, Inc.
  • CarGroup Holdings LLC
  • Claremont Industries
  • Consulate of Finland
  • Digna Biotech
  • FreshDirect
  • Gardner Denver, Inc.
  • Mark Group
  • Meta Biomed
  • Micel Films
  • NewQuest
  • Nova-Comm Strategy Group
  • PaceControls
  • PhlexGlobal
  • ProSim
  • Renmatix
  • Seed Philly
  • Specops Software USA, Inc.
  • Swedish Orphan Biovitrum Inc.
  • U-Touch

Thank you to Comcast and David and Rhonda Cohen for hosting a memorable reception.

Rutgers –Camden Chancellor Named President of International Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities

Rutgers –Camden Chancellor Wendell Pritchett has been elected President of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), an international organization of universities in large metropolitan areas that seek to help advance their host communities.

Pritchett, 48, will serve a one-year term as leader of CUMU. He succeeds John Christensen, Chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, in the role of CUMU President.

“I am delighted that Wendell Pritchett will succeed me as President of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities,” says Christensen. “I have worked with Dr. Pritchett on the CUMU Executive Committee over the past two years and know he is a consummate voice for metropolitan institutions and passionate about the work we do in partnership with our communities. CUMU will thrive under his leadership and I wish him all the best in this new role.”

“I am honored to serve as President of CUMU, which is an extraordinary organization of universities and colleges dedicated to applying their intellectual and human capital toward helping America’’s cities grow and thrive,” says Pritchett.

“Rutgers– Camden is committed to becoming, and becoming known as, a national model for civically engaged universities. I look forward to working with the members of CUMU to develop new best practices, and to bringing those ideas back to southern New Jersey and the Delaware Valley.”

Founded in 1990, the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities is comprised of approximately 70 institutions that recognize a shared mission to apply their educational, research, and service efforts to enhance the communities in which they are located. CUMU promotes the development of university-community engagement concepts that will advance metropolitan planning, cultural enrichment, the improvement of schools, and the preparation of civic leaders.

As Chancellor, Pritchett has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Rutgers– Camden Campus, reporting directly to the Rutgers President, since 2009. He has responsibility for the daily administration of an institution that enrolls 6,500 students in 35 undergraduate programs and 25 graduate programs at the Master’s and Ph.D. levels. The southernmost of three regional campuses that comprise Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers –Camden is located across 40 acres in Camden’’s University District, in the very heart of the metro Philadelphia region.

In 2010, Pritchett instituted a comprehensive civic engagement initiative at Rutgers– Camden, including the creation of an Office of Civic Engagement that is seeking to incorporate civic learning into coursework and faculty research. The initiative has increased the number of Rutgers –Camden students, faculty, staff, and alumni who participate in meaningful efforts to advance Camden neighborhoods, families, and organizations.

Pritchett is a member of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, appointed to that role by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter in 2011. Additionally, Pritchett co-chairs the World Class Greater Philadelphia Initiative of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and serves on the boards of the Cooper Health System and the CEO Council for Growth.

Pritchett serves as a professor of history and law at Rutgers –Camden. He has written two books and numerous articles on topics relating to urban history and policy, particularly in the areas of housing, race relations, land use, and economic development: Brownsville, Brooklyn: Blacks, Jews, and the Changing Face of the Ghetto (University of Chicago Press 2002) and Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City: The Life and Times of an Urban Reformer.

Pritchett received his B.A. from Brown University in 1986, his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1991, and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997.

Renmatix Opens State-of-the-Art R&D Facility in Greater Philadelphia Region

Renmatix, the leading manufacturer of cellulosic sugars for bio-based chemical and fuel markets, marked the opening of a new research and development center in the Greater Philadelphia Region on September 24th. The multi-million dollar R&D facility serves to accelerate Renmatix’s exploration of new sustainable feedstock sources, assist downstream customers in their transition to cellulosic sugars, and further enhance the economics of the Plantrose™ process to produce the lowest cost sugar intermediates for renewable materials.

In August, Renmatix announced a joint development agreement with Waste Management to explore the viability of using Renmatix’s water-based technology to produce industrial sugars from post-consumer urban waste, including food scraps, construction debris, and paper. The new technical center, equipped with an experienced research staff of chemistry, biology, and process experts, will lead the analysis of urban waste streams, and more than 50 types of sustainable biomass that are available around the world, as future feedstocks for the Plantrose process.

Renmatix’s Plantrose process uses supercritical water — a state in which water acts as a solvent — to economically and efficiently deconstruct a wide range of non-food plant material in a continuous reaction to extract cellulosic sugars. Cellulosic sugars, derived from non-food plant material, are the building blocks of plantrochemicals (petrochemicals made from plants) and the emerging bioeconomy.

Phlexglobal Expands Operations in Malvern, PA

Phlexglobal, a global provider of document management solutions and support services, has increased its employee headcount by 300% at its new Malvern offices near Philadelphia in just one year.

The company opened its Philadelphia office with only 18 employees. Since then, customer demand has risen sharply in the US allowing the business to expand its Malvern workforce to over 60 employees.

The US office has even seen prominent members of staff transfer over from the company’s UK headquarters, including Toni Lakin, Phlexglobal’s business development manager who initially joined the Philadelphia office for a one-year period and has now secured her long stay visa to remain in the US.

Stella Donoghue, managing director, commented: “It has been a fantastic year for us in Philadelphia; we have tripled our workforce and doubled the amount of space we have to work in and store our records. The business has grown considerably in the last year, primarily due to the success of our PhlexEview eTMF solution with US pharma clients.“

“We owe thanks to the folks at Select Greater Philadelphia who presented us with the necessary intelligence, business connections, and available opportunities enabling the expansion of our operations in the Greater Philadelphia Region,“ added Donoghue

The Malvern site, which provides a base for Phlexglobal’s resource solutions and operations task force, started life as an 800 square ft. office which also housed its new records centre, securely storing live TMF documents for Phlexglobal clients across the United States. Within eight months of opening, the records centre outgrew its space and has since been expanding to 2,000 linear meters.

Phlexglobal will work with The Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) and other local organizations as it continues to grow in the region. CCEDC promotes a competitive edge for companies like Phlexglobal by cultivating workforce talent, leveraging business partnerships and fostering collaboration in Chester County.

Toni Lakin, business development manager, added: “We pride ourselves on our delivery of innovative, flexible and adaptable technology and resource solutions and know that we can continue to deliver that due to the great teams we have here and globally. Philadelphia has been the perfect location for our US base due to the concentration of pharma and biotech companies based here, highly skilled workforce as well as ideal working and living conditions.“

Philadelphia Business Journal Names Wistar Institute Chief Life Science CEO of the Year

In recognition of his life-long determination to bring scientific discovery to benefit humankind by engaging with life sciences partners along the spectrum of academia, industry and government, and his leadership of The Wistar Institute, the Philadelphia Business Journal named Russel E. Kaufman, M.D., Life Sciences CEO of the Year on Oct. 4th.

Kaufman is president and CEO of The Wistar Institute, an independent, non-profit biomedical research center and first National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Since joining Wistar in 2002, Kaufman has grown the Institute’s scientific enterprise and significantly raised its international profile by recruiting top-notch scientists, developing new biomedical research centers and expanding research programs and facilities. During his tenure, Wistar laboratories have contributed eight candidate technologies to the development pipeline, including vaccines for HPV and HIV, small molecule inhibitors of genes implicated in a variety of cancers, and a prototype screening test for very early detection and diagnosis of lung cancer, among others.

Kaufman also guided the Institute toward its first major building project in 35 years which will ensure its future at the forefront of cancer research and vaccine development. In 2012 the Institute broke ground on a $100 million, seven-story research tower that will enable Wistar to expand its research operations, recruit new scientific faculty and pursue collaborative biomedical research in emerging areas of science. In addition to his administrative leadership of Wistar, Kaufman maintains an active research program at the Institute, investigating the genetics of blood diseases and cancer.

Kaufman has been a pace-setter for the growing life sciences industry in the greater Philadelphia region, serving as co-chair of the Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Congress, and on the board of directors for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; the CEO Council for Growth; the Council for American Medical Innovation; the University City Science Center; BioAdvance – Biotechnology Greenhouse Corporation of Southeastern Pennsylvania; Neuland Laboratories in Hyderabad, India; on the advisory board for Osage Venture Partners; and on the scientific advisory board for Pappas Ventures.

Building a strong life sciences workforce for the region is another important priority for Kaufman. In an average year, approximately 100 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists train at The Wistar Institute. Wistar-trained investigators can be found among the leaders in every field of biomedical science. In addition, Kaufman champions Wistar’s Biotechnician Training Program, a joint curriculum developed by The Wistar Institute and Community College of Philadelphia which prepares community college students for new career opportunities as research technicians in biomedical research laboratories at the region’s many academic institutions and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Pace Controls Wins Esteemed GPCC Small Business Award

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) announced the winners of the 2013 Excellence Awards Honoring the Region’s Small Businesses last month. This is the most esteemed honor bestowed on small businesses in the Greater Philadelphia region.

PaceControls, which won the category for Technological Excellence of the Year, develops and manufactures eco-smart, easy-to-install energy-saving HVACR solutions for a wide variety of commercial, industrial and residential heating, cooling and refrigeration equipment. They are committed to saving energy and cash in a way that improves the environment by reducing carbon emissions and lowering wasteful energy use. PIDC worked with PaceControls to lease office space at The Navy Yard, which is a growing center of activity for commercialization of and deployment of energy efficient building systems and technologies.

“The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is honored to recognize the small businesses that are moving our region forward,” said Chamber President and CEO Rob Wonderling. “These winners’ inspirational stories and successes reflect the entrepreneurial culture that is Greater Philadelphia and highlight the impact that small businesses have on our regional economy.”

Nominated by their peers throughout the 11-county region, the awards are presented in 10 categories. One of these awards went to Pace Controls — a company that Select Greater Philadelphia helped to locate to the region with the help from city, state and economic development partners.

In addition to the 10 award categories, the Visionary Award is given annually to an outstanding company in the region that continues to thrive and support the small business community and its contributions to the Greater Philadelphia economy. This year’s Visionary Award will be presented to AlliedBarton with the support of Stradley Ronon.

The regional business community is invited to join the GPCC as current and past Excellence Awards winners, event sponsors and business leaders celebrate the 2013 winners at the 30th Annual Excellence Awards celebration at the Hyatt Regency at Penn’s Landing on Thursday, November 15. The celebration features a cocktail reception, dinner, and networking.

To see a full list of awardees, please visit http://www.greaterphilachamber.com/event/3010/30th-annual-excellence-awards.

Pennsylvania Bio Acquisition Creates New Pennsylvania Life Sciences Institute

Pennsylvania Bio and Philadelphia Works, the former Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, announced an agreement on October 12, under which Pennsylvania Bio will acquire the Life Science Career Alliance (LSCA), a subsidiary of the Philadelphia WIB.

“By supporting the workforce development mission of the LSCA, Pennsylvania Bio continues to advance its mission of making Pennsylvania a global leader in the life sciences”

The acquisition results in the creation of the Pennsylvania Life Sciences Institute, a not-for-profit charitable organization and new affiliate of Pennsylvania Bio with the purpose of increasing the strength of Pennsylvania’s life sciences and healthcare industries by maintaining and improving the workforce through training and development.

The Board of LSCA approved moving activities to the Pennsylvania Life Sciences Institute on August 2nd. Philadelphia Works then approved the release of assets to the newly formed Pennsylvania Life Sciences Institute.

“By supporting the workforce development mission of the LSCA, Pennsylvania Bio continues to advance its mission of making Pennsylvania a global leader in the life sciences,” said Vincent Milano, president and chief executive officer of ViroPharma, Inc. and chair of the Pennsylvania Bio Board of Directors. “Moreover, as the biopharmaceutical industry continues to evolve and rely more heavily on a model of third-party partnerships for medical research and development, the Pennsylvania Life Sciences Institute has the opportunity to assist in training the life science workforce of the future.”

Mark Edwards, president and chief executive officer of Philadelphia Works added, “This acquisition marks an important milestone in the decade-long history of the LSCA. Their work in career awareness and identification of industry training trends advanced alignment of the workforce system in the five southeast counties. The network and brand equity of Pennsylvania Bio allow the LSCA workforce mission to expand from its focus in Southeastern Pennsylvania to a state-wide initiative.”

“Pennsylvania Bio is proud to execute this transaction with Philadelphia Works because of the potential it offers the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Christopher P. Molineaux, president of Pennsylvania Bio. “With a strengthened and advanced workforce, the Pennsylvania life sciences and health care communities have the opportunity to be world leaders in medical innovation and life sciences job retention. Most important, our workforce will be better trained to fulfill the unmet medical needs of patients.”