Innovation was the theme of Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ annual iXchange event of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Attendees gathered virtually for the May 18 event which included the presentation of six innovation awards to tech start-ups, established manufacturers and individuals who have helped the organization advance the tech economy of northeastern Pennsylvania.
One of the winners was Peter Molinaro, CEO and President of Berks County-based Adhezion Biomedical. He received the Frederick J. Beste III Partnership Award, which is given to an individual whose “strong vision, dedication, and commitment helped Ben Franklin’s technology partners achieve their goals.”
Angelo Valletta, President and CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, tied his opening remarks to the event’s theme: “Innovators; Past, present and future” — stating that innovation is central to the work of Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
“We increasingly see the importance of innovation to accelerate growth, mitigate the downsides of that growth, address crises and improve the human condition,” Valetta said. “Innovation and technology also create high-paying jobs that support family wealth.”
He added that over the past two years, Ben Franklin’s clients have applied technology quickly and effectively to solve problems.
“From biotechnology companies developing vaccines and tests to telemedicine providers facilitating distance medicine to learning platforms enabling homeschooling and much more,” said La Valette, adding that by creating and By keeping good jobs, Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ clients are the foundation of a strong regional economy.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners invests in and supports businesses to create and retain jobs, and promote technology-based economic growth in northeast Pennsylvania, according to information on the organization’s website.
Valletta said that since its inception in 1983, the organization has generally been among the top 5% of most active investors in the United States.
“In 2021 alone, we’ve worked with nearly 400 businesses and helped our clients create or retain more than 7,300 jobs in northeast Pennsylvania,” he said.
The Innovation Awards are given annually to companies or individuals who, with funding and assistance from Ben Franklin Partners, have succeeded in business and helped others succeed or improved their business. through innovation, said Wayne Barz, Ben Franklin Partners CIO.
“In all aspects of his 18-year relationship with Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Pete Molinaro has been a productive, ardent and generous resource. He has served on the Ben Franklin Board of Directors since 2003 and has helped form, house and introduce Ben Franklin’s Greater Reading Medical Device Group, which seeks to create synergy in Berks County to grow this lucrative industry,” Connie Faylor, Regional Director, Greater Reading Reading Berks/Schuylkill Ben Franklin Technology Partners, said while presenting Molinaro with the Frederick J. Beste III Partnership Award.
She added that along with her entrepreneurial and corporate background, Molinaro brings deep experience in medical devices and biotechnology, and led Surgical Specialties Corp. and Adhezion Biomedical, both of Reading. She said he offers his time, energy and expertise to advise and guide clients of Ben Franklin and other entrepreneurs.
Molinaro said he saw the value of Ben Franklin Technology Partners on the community.
“And in many cases, I’ve actually seen the networking resources and know-how of Ben Franklin’s team to turn outdated, inefficient manufacturing processes into state-of-the-art systems and even dreams into realities. “, he said accepting the award.
Molinaro has served as Ben Franklin’s representative on the Greater Reading Economic Partnership Steering Committee, on the boards of Tower Health and the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, and on various boards and committees with the universities of Alvernia, Albright and Penn State.
Here are the other Innovation Award winners:
• The Entrepreneurial Achievement Award was given to MXTR Automation, Williamsport, Mickey Locey, co-founder, president; Joe Mauro Founder, Director of Product Development.
• The R. Chadwick Paul Jr. Incubator Graduate Award went to US Specialty Formulations LLC, Bethlehem, Dr. Kyle Flanigan, Founder and CEO.
• The Product Innovation Award was given to American Paper Bag, Sugar Notch, Ian Robson, founder.
• Innovative Application of Technology Award went to Tower Products Inc., Easton, Rick Principato, CEO.
• The Manufacturing Achievement Award was presented to United Gilsonite Laboratories, Dunmore, David Jolie, vice president of manufacturing and distribution.
Following the presentations, attendees had the opportunity to engage in discussion forums with innovators, including three Ben Franklin clients, including two past Innovation Award winners.
The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeast Pennsylvania is part of a four-center economic development initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.