DVIRC Receives $1.8+ Million to Accelerate Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation in Greater Philadelphia

The Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC) was awarded a total of $1,892,000 in Federal aid to help create advanced manufacturing jobs and foster innovation in Greater Philadelphia. The project is funded through the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a national competition administered by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

DVIRC was granted $500,000 from the EDA in addition to $375,000 from NIST, $450,000 from the DOE, $400,000 from the ETA, and $167,000 from the SBA. All investments awarded under this Challenge are designed to support advanced manufacturing activities; help grow industry clusters by strengthening connections to regional economic development opportunities; enhance a region’s capacity to create high-quality sustainable jobs; develop a skilled advanced manufacturing workforce; encourage the development of small businesses; and accelerate technological innovation.

“We were happy to provide information to DVIRC about the structure and performance of Greater Philadelphia’s manufacturing sector”, said Phil Hopkins, Vice President of Research for Select Greater Philadelphia. “The data focused on the advanced manufacturing subsectors that were covered in the proposal.”

This EDA investment supports the development of the Greater Philadelphia Transportation Equipment Cluster Advanced Manufacturing Innovation and Skills Accelerator. This project enhances and grows the transportation equipment manufacturing cluster in the region by providing focused technical assistance to companies to incorporate advanced manufacturing processes, improve networking opportunities, and facilitate market expansion activities.

Since 1988, the DVIRC has been dedicated to assisting small and medium-sized manufacturers to grow and compete effectively from throughout the Philadelphia region.

The DVIRC offers programs and services that touch every area of the manufacturing business from finding the right workforce and enhancing productivity, to finding the right computer system and setting up the best manufacturing processes. In effect, Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center brings the latest technology, methodology and practices to bear on the immediate needs of local manufacturing firms.

The DVIRC currently works with over 180 manufacturers-a-year having a documented impact of over $45 million dollars in value-added revenues for its clients. Additionally, client satisfaction ratings currently average a tremendous 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5!

EDA grants are awarded through a competitive process based upon the applicant’s eligibility, the application’s merit, and the availability of funds.

Mercer County Community College Launches Fashion Merchandising Program

A new Fashion Merchandising program is being launched at Mercer County Community College’’s (MCCC) Trenton campus this fall in the new Trenton Hall (137 North Broad Street, the former home of Home Furniture Inc.), located across the street from the current buildings at 102 North Broad Street.

This new ten-week degree program, prepares students for careers in fashion/apparel sales, marketing, buying, and merchandising. Students will learn the fashion industry from concept to consumer, as well as customer service and management techniques. Among the career tracks for graduates are retail merchandising, apparel management, and wholesale or retail buying. The program started earlier this month.

Mercer’’s Trenton Hall also houses the college’’s Fashion/Apparel Design program, now in its second year. The building provides a state-of-the-art, brightly lit sewing laboratory and spacious classrooms for computer design work. It also features a Storefront Gallery, where students will be able to display their work.

Both of these Associate in Applied Science degrees will prepare students for direct employment in the fashion industry, or for transfer to a four-year college. The curriculum, which includes art, design, computer applications, technical skills, and business applications, is in line with requirements of the first two years at a majority of undergraduate universities and art colleges that offer fashion career training. Students will develop a portfolio and complete a final project in both digital and print formats as the capstone to their degree.

Allegra Ceci, the new coordinator of the Fashion Design and Merchandising programs, says “Other fashion programs are typically focused on either the business or design side of the industry, but this program merges the two, making our students more marketable and improving their transfer opportunities.”

Ceci is excited to be on the ground floor of these new programs. A Ewing resident who has taken both credit and noncredit classes at Mercer, she earned her Master’’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and has a Bachelor’’s degree in Integrated Arts from Bard College. Ceci spent four years in fabric development for Calvin Klein and two years at Coach. She has also taught courses in marketing, visual merchandising, and textile science as an adjunct instructor at Berkley College of Business (New York/New Jersey).

Among Mercer’’s Fashion Merchandising courses are: Fashion: the Global Marketplace; Introduction to Textiles for Fashion; Principles of Marketing; Principles of Retailing; Introduction to Fashion Merchandising; History of Costume Design; and Entrepreneurship. A full list of course offerings for both programs is available at www.mccc.edu/courses/FAS.

MCCC Associate Professor Tina LaPlaca, coordinator of the Advertising and Graphic Design program, was instrumental in developing the curriculum for the Fashion Design programs. She notes that MCCC’’s close proximity to the Philadelphia and New York City markets was a key factor in deciding to establish the program in Trenton. “Our tri-state region is one of the nation’’s largest for this industry, where skilled students can find employment as assistant fashion designers, stylists, visual display artists, product and merchandise managers and fashion illustrators,” she said.

EEB Hub Seeks Applicants for Advanced Energy Retrofit Opportunity

The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) is soliciting building renovation projects that are planned or under consideration, to be considered for an award designed to incorporate an “Advanced Energy Retrofit” (AER) into the project. Eligible applicants include building owners, facility managers, tenants, service providers, architects, energy and design professionals and firms, and others.

Building renovation projects must be geographically located in Delaware, Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks and Chester County PA; or Mercer, Camden, Gloucester, Burlington or Salem County NJ. The applicant should be prepared to proceed with a renovation/retrofit project independent of EEB Hub engagement.

The EEB Hub seeks projects which are suitable sites for “test bed” demonstrations of EEB Hub-developed tools, techniques and “integrated design approach” to AERs. The EEB Hub also seeks building renovation projects that are planned or under consideration, in buildings which are smaller than 250,000 sq. ft. and are broadly representative of the commercial building stock in the ten county Philadelphia region.

Interested parties should respond by submitting a Letter of Interest (LOI) for a project engagement with the EEB Hub. Submission instructions are provided in the RFI. This is a competitive process which will serve the overall EEB Hub mission, while also supporting building owners and tenants in the region as they pursue strategies to make their buildings more energy efficient and economically competitive. Potential activities that qualify for AERO project funding at no cost to the building owner include:

  • Architectural, design and consulting engineering services;
  • Installation of advanced building technologies slated for EEB Hub demonstration;
  • Incremental reimbursement for installing AER measures recommended by the EEB Hub.

The EEB Hub will consider each project for its potential as an engagement, acting essentially in the role of “owner’s agent” and working with the project’s design professionals and contractors. Projects which meet the EEB Hub goals and promote its mission will be selected for further exploration.

If selected, the EEB Hub will design a plan and negotiate an agreement. AERO funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy will fund certain selected services, described in the RFI sections entitled “Core Elements of an EEB Hub Engagement” and “Important Limitations to the Use of EEB Hub AERO Funds”. In most cases, AERO funds will not be dispersed directly to building owners and cannot pay for (physical) building renovations (i.e., a new roof or HVAC system).

The potential benefits to building owners include improved operating cash flow, higher asset value, improved occupant comfort and indoor environmental quality, and reduced environmental impact of building operations.

Awards will be made as projects develop on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Even if the project timeline extends past the award period, or does not fit into one of the situations listed above, building owners are encouraged to submit a LOI to the EEB Hub for possible future consideration. Target buildings and retrofit scenarios may also shift in future funding rounds.

The full RFI can be found on the EEB Hub website at eebhub.org/rfps

DuPont Executives Named Among the “Most Powerful Executives in America” by Black Enterprise Magazine

William J. Harvey, president of DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers and a member of the company’s Operating Team, and Shelley Stewart, Jr., vice president of Sourcing & Logistics and chief procurement officer, have been named among Black Enterprise magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America.”

Black Enterprise magazine compiled the list after six months of researching senior executives at the top 1,000 publicly traded companies with gross revenues of at least $1 billion. Candidates were selected based on their corporate responsibilities and influence on company revenue.

Harvey is recognized as a performance-driven senior executive who delivers profitable growth in challenging global markets leveraging breakthrough products and driving highly efficient operations. He has helped guide DuPont as vice president of Corporate Strategy and as vice president and general manager of the former DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems business.

He led a major shift from a product to a market-facing approach utilizing its prominent brands, DuPont™ Kevlar®, Nomex® and Tyvek®. He also served as general manager of the Peroxygen Chemical Division at FMC Corporation. Currently, he is on the board of directors of Kennametal, Inc., a global leader in wear-resistant solutions. He holds an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business, bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, and has completed several executive management programs at the Harvard Business School.

Stewart is recognized as an industry leading chief procurement officer who also is an industry leading business executive and progressive change agent. He has been a tireless advocate for the procurement profession and a strong believer that the broad-based experience and skills that a procurement and supply chain professional can gain prepares his or her well to add value at the executive level. He also is a leader in advancing the field of supply management and its perception as a major contributor to a company’s profitability.

Stewart is on the board of directors of Cleco Corporation and has recently been appointed to the U.S. Department of Commerce National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise. He is chair of the visiting board of directors at Howard University’s School of Business, vice chair of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), a member of the Northeastern University Corp. and president of the board for The Boys and Girls Club of Trenton/Mercer County. Stewart holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of New Haven and both a bachelor’s and master’s degree of Science in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University. He is co-author of “Straight To The Bottom Line™: An Executive’s Roadmap to World Class Supply Management,” (J.Ross Publishing).

The selection criteria and comprehensive profiles of the 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America is available in the September 2012 issue of Black Enterprise magazine, a monthly business, investing and wealth-building resource for African Americans since 1970.

Wharton Alum Launches Venture-Backed Company in Philadelphia

Seva Call, a new company that instantly connects consumers in need of service to high quality service professionals, is now available for use in Philadelphia. Seva Call President Manpreet Singh graduated with an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 2009.

“It’s such a great feeling to bring my company to Philadelphia, since I got so much of my business knowledge here,” says Singh. “I’m proud to offer a solution to Philadelphians who need service help. Students and professionals are often too busy to make…the countless calls necessary to find the right professional…” do you need the extra periods?

Consumers with service needs navigate to http://www.sevacall.com and enter their location, availability, and a brief description of their service need. Seva Call’s algorithm connects the consumer to up to three service professionals who can best help based on proximity, consumer ratings through sites such as Yelp and Google Reviews, and social interactions on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Seva Call is ready to connect consumers in Philadelphia to more 12,000 local professionals in 50 different industry categories, including categories such as computer repair, plumbing, and even auto glass repair.

In November of 2011, Seva Call raised $1.3 million in Series-A funding from angel investors and venture capitalists. The company plans to release free iPhone and Android apps before the end of the calendar year.

Virtua Looks to Transform Comprehensive Healthcare in South Jersey

Over the past decade, Virtua has transformed itself into a leading force in comprehensive healthcare with hospitals in South Jersey located in Berlin, Marlton, Mount Holly, Voorhees; Health & Wellness Centers in Washington Township and Voorhees; and a new one to be completed later this year in Moorestown. But beyond the bricks and mortar at Virtua’s largest construction in Voorhees last year, patients, families and staff were at the heart of the design.

As one of the area’s largest employers with more than 8,000 clinical and administrative personnel and more than 1,800 physicians serving on the medical staff, the organization has created an indelible mark on communities in South Jersey and throughout the region. Central to Virtua’s transformation was the development of the Virtua Voorhees campus, the region’s largest healthcare construction project in the past eight years.

Last year, Virtua Voorhees hospital on Route 73 replaced an old hospital that reached its capacity and lacked the ability to accommodate future technology and improved workflows. The vision was to create a healthcare campus that would be able to meet healthcare needs for decades to come.

Part of that vision included leveraging some of region’s top healthcare organizations, with known strengths for the benefit of Virtua’s patients. In a unique strategic partnership with CHOP — the renowned Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia — the physicians providing pediatric care at Virtua are members of the prestigious CHOP medical team through The CHOP at Virtua Pediatric Program. Also, in collaboration with the Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program, the Virtua Health and Wellness Center opened at the Voorhees location. The new space brings together a comprehensive listing of oncology services all in one location.

How did this all start? In December of 2002, Virtua was looking to acquire land to build its state-of-art replacement hospital in Voorhees Township. Available land was identified along the Route 73 corridor, which took a few years to sort out due to multiple owners involved.

Virtua broke ground on the Voorhees campus around 2008, just as many began to feel the effects of the recession. With the stock collapse of 2008 and a poor bond market, the organization was tasked with figuring out how to move forward with the $500 million project after already putting up steel and investing $100 million dollars. Fortunately, in May of 2009, Virtua was able to oversell bonds to pay for this project, even during the economic downturn.

“The Voorhees hospital is special because it was built with the patient totally in mind,” said Rich Miller, CEO of Virtua. “We went around the country to look at how hospitals were built and we’ve seen hospitals with pianos and mosaics and all kinds of things. I don’t think that is a particularly good way to spend healthcare dollars, so we made sure that didn’t happen here.”

Virtua Voorhees was designed by the people who would use the facility including patients, employees, physicians, and family members. The organization spent more planning time than normal to come up with a facility that would ultimately serve patients and staff members like never before.

“We put pedometers on nurses to see how many steps they were taking; we gave patients Polaroid cameras to tell us what works and what doesn’t work; and we didn’t use outside consultants,” said Mike Kotzen, Executive Vice President of Population Health at Virtua. “We depended solely on our internal team, even throughout the whole process of designing the move itself and transporting all of the patients.”

There’s a movement behind this employee engagement at Virtua. The organization adopted a program launched in 2000 called the STAR Initiative. It provides Virtua’s diverse employees with a tried and true blueprint for ensuring quality care and achieving patient satisfaction. It also provides a foundation for the culture, so team members know exactly what’s expected of them and can set appropriate milestones throughout their development.

University City Science Center Launches Satellite Quorum by EEB Hub at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia

The University City Science Center is expanding its successful Quorum program to The Navy Yard in Philadelphia in partnership with the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub). Satellite Quorum by EEB Hub at The Navy Yard pilot programming will begin on October 3, 2012.

“By launching Satellite Quorum by EEB Hub at The Navy Yard we’re establishing another node or connection point in the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” says Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA, President & CEO of the University City Science Center. “Entrepreneurs have a key role to play in helping EEB Hub reach its goal of reducing energy consumption. We want to help spark further innovation and connections that support EEB Hub’s goal and increase the diversity and vibrancy of the region’s startup scene.”

Quorum, a strategic initiative of the Science Center, unites the region’s entrepreneurship and innovation communities and offers programming to connect entrepreneurs to investors, advice and resources. Since Quorum launched in May 2011, 10,000 people have attended more than 200 events, programs and meetings at Quorum at 3711 Market Street. The pilot Satellite Quorum by EEB Hub at The Navy Yard will be the first expansion of the Science Center’s “clubhouse” for entrepreneurs.

During the six-month pilot program, the Science Center will develop and implement four Quorum programs at The Navy Yard targeting the energy efficiency building technology sector, which is the focus of the EEB Hub’s efforts. The series will kick off on October 3 with an Angel Education program that will provide information about opportunities in the sector to Angel investors.

“The Science Center is a proven convener of the entrepreneurial community by developing programming that attracts the right mix of stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” comments Dr. Henry C. Foley, Executive Director of the EEB Hub. We know that the Satellite Quorum by EEB Hub at The Navy Yard will be a great addition to the EEB Hub’s mission of reducing energy consumption in the commercial building sector while also growing the green tech and clean tech entrepreneurial community in Greater Philadelphia.”

The EEB Hub is located at The Navy Yard which the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) has successfully developed as a Clean Energy Campus that continues to attract new businesses. John Grady, President of PIDC and a champion of Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial community adds, “The Satellite Quorum by EEB Hub at The Navy Yard will be a fantastic complement to our citywide efforts to leverage emerging technology sectors into new businesses locating and growing in Philadelphia. We welcome the Science Center and their successful Quorum Program to The Navy Yard and look forward to working with the EEB Hub and the Science Center to continue to make The Navy Yard a center of energy innovation and entrepreneurial activity.”

All Satellite Quorum by EEB Hub at The Navy Yard programming will take place in Building 101, the temporary home of the EEB Hub. When the retrofit of Building 661, the future headquarters of the EEB Hub, is completed, Satellite Quorum by EEB Hub at The Navy Yard and all other EEB Hub programming will move into that building.

For more information about the Angel Education program on October 3 go to http://sciencecenter.cal.basecampbusiness.com/node/232670.

New Online Tool Helps Planners and Partners Target Projects with Greatest Impact

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) has launched an interactive web mapping tool to help planning partners, potential project sponsors, and local officials understand how new project proposals can support — and be supported by — prior investments.

The Community Investment Index (CI2) maps the concentrations of recent place-based investments and on-the-ground features that contribute to sustainable communities across southeastern Pennsylvania. DVRPC mapped nearly 100 types of place-based investments and developed composite scoring “heat map” datasets for seven topic areas, including economic development, transportation, environment, affordable housing, planning activities, and more.

“Successful applications for discretionary funding increasingly require applicants to demonstrate their ability to leverage the requested funding by building on other local planning or investments,” said Barry Seymour, DVRPC Executive Director. “By using CI2 to link planning and grant-making, planners will be able to target the projects that will be most competitive for funding and have the greatest local-area impact.”

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), DVRPC’s initial partner on this work, has used this project’s mapping to support three successful discretionary funding applications to date. “It is our hope that other agencies, planners, and grantmakers can use CI2 to help make key decisions on future projects across southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Seymour.

To learn more and use the interactive map, visit: http://www.dvrpc.org/ci2/.

New Investments to Grow Manufacturing Jobs

Low-interest loans approved by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) will help three manufacturers in Allegheny, Bucks and Philadelphia counties to expand and create at least 124 new jobs.

“Governor Corbett is committed to putting Pennsylvanians back to work through investing in our workers and partnering with job creators,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker. “The low-interest loans approved today mean three Pennsylvania manufacturers will have the resources needed to continue growing and creating jobs in the state.”

PIDA approved $4.76 million in low-interest loans for three projects that will result in the retention of 433 jobs and the creation of 124 new manufacturing jobs. The three companies will make additional private investments totaling $7.87 million.

“Under the governor’s leadership, we’ve recently seen the largest increase in manufacturing jobs in the state since 1991,” Walker said. “Continued support of our state’s manufacturers will result in a strong economy and more jobs for Pennsylvanians.”

In 2012, PIDA has approved $26.3 million in low-interest loans that have resulted in $66.2 million in private investment and supported 2,099 jobs.

PIDA provides capital for building acquisition, construction and renovation work, primarily for manufacturers, industrial developers, research and development firms, agricultural processors and employers looking to establish national or regional headquarters in Pennsylvania.

In Bucks County, PIDC approved the expansion of Eastern Manufacturing Inc., which manufactures catalytic converters for automobiles. The company will acquire and renovate a 102,482-square-foot building adjacent to its current facility in Langhorne. The expansion project is expected to result in 40 new jobs and the retention of 100 existing positions. Eastern Manufacturing will receive a $2 million, 15-year loan at 1.75 percent which will result in an additional $3.7 million of private investment. The sponsoring agency is the Bucks County Economic Development Corporation.

In Philadelphia County, Medical Products Laboratories Inc., a contract dental products manufacturer, will construct a new, 27,027-square-foot manufacturing/warehouse facility to connect two existing structures in Philadelphia. The three joined structures will create a state-of-the-art manufacturing and research and development facility that will result in 34 new jobs and the retention of 143 existing positions. Medical Products Laboratories will receive a $1.2 million, 15-year loan at 1.75 percent which will result in an additional $1.8 million of private investment. The PIDC Financing Corporation is the sponsoring agency.

Select Greater Philadelphia Announces Plans to Publish GROWTH Magazine

Select Greater Philadelphia has partnered with Journal Communications, publisher of economic development guides, to develop GROWTH: Business Success in the Greater Philadelphia Region. The publication will be distributed to national and international business leaders considering Greater Philadelphia for a business location, site selectors, key economic development and government partners, and at national and international trade shows, foreign trade missions, and major events.

The 1st edition of GROWTH, due to launch around February of 2013, will feature Greater Philadelphia’s extraordinary “eds and meds” capacity and the great work being done all across the region. Other articles will shine a spotlight on the region’s quality of life amenities, such as a strong healthcare sector, natural beauty and a vibrant arts and cultural scene.

The publication will also include original photography and articles focusing on the assets that give the region an advantage for attracting and retaining jobs — a talented and plentiful workforce, solid transportation system and industrial infrastructure.

GROWTH: Business Success in the Greater Philadelphia Region is supported by area businesses through advertisements. To learn how you can be a part of this effort, contact Matt McWhorter at [email protected] or 615-957-8347.