The Newsletter of the Great Valley Technology Alliance
C O N T E N T S
7 South Main Street • Suite 227 • Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
201 Lackawanna Avenue • Second Floor • Scranton, PA 18503
C A L E N D A R
2 Board member profile
2 CAN BE hosts Start Your
Own Business Seminar
3 POWER! Update
3 Entrepreneur spotlight:
schools bring software into
July 10, 2006 12 p.m.
GVTA Executive Committee
July 11, 2006 2 p.m.
STARS Alternative and
Miller Conference Room
July 20, 2006 10 a.m.
NPTI Board of Directors
Luzerne County Community
September 14, 2006 10 a.m.
NPTI Annual Founding Members
and Board of Directors*
Scranton Enterprise Center
* To be attended by all
Founding and Board Members
September 22, 2006 12 p.m.
GVTA Board of Directors Annual
2 0 0 6
The Great Valley Technology Alliance &
Northeastern Pennsylvania Technology Institute
Keystone Innovation Zones
renewed for round two
Keystone Innovation Zones
renewed for round two
The Lackawanna and Luzerne County Keystone
Innovation Zones were unanimously approved by
the Ben Franklin Technology Development
Authority for the second of four projected
rounds of funding. An important part of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s economic
stimulus package, the KIZ initiative fosters
collaboration between our region’s institutions
of higher education and a host of partners,
including economic development organizations
and private industry.
Successful outcomes from the first round of funding
include an internship program, capital and equity
investment in KIZ companies and a significant investment
in the creation of new technologies and start-up
companies in the region.
KIZ eligible firms hosted 55 interns who logged more than
7,000 hours during the first round of funding. “Through the
KIZ internship program, we were able to attract some of
our region’s best and brightest students. Due to our
accelerated growth, it is imperative that we find talented
• 55 interns logged more than 7,000
hours with firms.
• 8 interns stayed in NEPA and were
hired full time.
• $500,000 was awarded in the form of
6 Innovation Grants to College
Misericordia, East Stroudsburg
University, University of Scranton
and Wilkes University to support
the creation of new technologies
and start-up companies.
• College Misericordia received a
Starter Kit grant for $82,500.
• $2.2 million in equity and capital
investments were made in KIZ
• Two $1 million appropriations
support corporate and university
• 11 new companies established in
• It is estimated that more than
$700,000 in sellable tax credits will be
issued to companies.
• 100% of Lackawanna County KIZ
round one goals and objectives
• 100% of Luzerne County KIZ round
one goals and objectives
Highlights of the first
round of KIZ funding:
See KIZ page 4
B o a r d M e m b e r P R O F I L E
Joseph C. Valenti
GVTA Board Member
Name: Joseph C. Valenti
Education:AD, Criminal Justice, Luzerne
County Community College
Occupation:Major Account Manager,
“I was born and raised in West Pittston, and,
after working in sunny Florida for a time,
returned home in 1988 because Northeastern
Pennsylvania was where I wanted to raise my
After graduating from Luzerne County
Community College, I moved to Florida to
pursue a career in the newspaper industry.
When I returned to the area, I stayed in the
newspaper industry, but shifted my focus to
sales. I started the successful Pittston
Gazette and Nanticoke Gazette papers
and got a lot of enjoyment out of getting back
to my local roots.
In 1992 I launched MicroServe, one of the first
ISP’s in the state. MicroServe served both the
commercial and residential markets. As the
president and CEO, I had the good fortune to
play an important role in the growth of
technology in the Great Valley region.
In 1998, MicroServe was sold to PennTeleData,
and shortly afterward, I was asked by John
Augustine to become involved with Great
Valley Technology Alliance. I was excited to
continue furthering the technology-based
economy for Northeastern Pennsylvania and
I’ve been a board member ever since.
Currently, I am a Major Account Manager for
TelCove. TelCove is an Enterprise SONET fiber-
based telecom supplier providing high-end
data and voice solutions to companies and
organizations such as Geisinger, PG Energy,
Penn State University, Wilkes University,
University of Scranton and the Commonwealth
My profession and my association with GVTA
are very inter-related. I am able to meet many
great people who all have the same vision of
making NEPA a technology friendly place –
both in the education sector and private
GVTA is and has been at the forefront of
technology. Along with this, TelCove has
brought cutting-edge fiber-based SONET
technology throughout NEPA. Most recently,
TelCove, along with GVTA, was instrumental in
bringing Internet II to the area. TelCove was
awarded the contract to deliver Internet II to
the University of Scranton and Wilkes
University, and we are currently actively
involved in the Wall Street West project, so I
have been able to be in the ‘front lines’ in the
region’s economic shift.
I feel that one of the most important benefits
of being involved with GVTA is that I’ve been
able to cultivate some great friendships, both
professionally and personally. GVTA provides
an avenue to develop these relationships along
with pursuing the common good of bringing
technology to Northeastern Pennsylvania.”
GVTA offers chance to be a part of NEPA’s “new economy”
C A N B E b u s i n e s s s e m i n a r
Dozens of local entrepreneurs turned out for a Start Your Own Business Seminar
hosted by CAN BE and Penn State Hazleton on May 31.
CAN BE, an acronym for Community Association for New Business Entrepreneurship,
and Penn State Hazleton presented the free seminar to help area entrepreneurs learn
about the ins and outs of starting their own business. Local business experts and
successful entrepreneurs offered insight and advice on a number of important
aspects to new business creation including marketing, financing, legal structure and
“The great turnout we had for the seminar proves that the entrepreneurial spirit is
alive and well in Greater Hazleton,” commented CAN BE Director Jack St. Pierre.
“This was a one-of-a-kind event for anyone aspiring to start their own business…a
perfect opportunity to gather information from experts in new business
development and also network with established entrepreneurs.”
The seminar was highlighted by featured speaker Suzanne Mulvehill, MBA president
of Profit Strategies, a consulting firm in Lake Worth, FL, and an entrepreneurial
specialist. Mulvehill’s book, Employee to Entrepreneur – The Employee’s
Guide to Entrepreneurial Success, discusses methods budding entrepreneurs
can use to make the shift from employee to employer.
Entrepreneurs in attendance also received a tour of CAN BE’s business incubator, the
Greater Hazleton Business Innovation Center located in Valmont Industrial Park.
CAN BE, a nonprofit division of CAN DO, Inc., operates the business incubator
program. It was created to help local entrepreneurs turn their ideas into ventures
that will become successful firms able to function on their own and establishing
new business and industry in Greater Hazleton. Companies that “graduate” from an
incubator program have the potential to create new jobs, commercialize new
technologies and strengthen the local economy.
Visit CAN BE online at canbe.biz for information on how you can get your new
CAN BE hosts Start Your Own Business Seminar
Event highlights Greater Hazleton’s Business Incubator
Representatives from CAN BE’s Start Your Own Business Seminar are, seated, from left; Dr.
John Madden, campus executive officer, Penn State Hazleton; Suzanne Mulvehill, MBA,
keynote speaker; Ruth C. Hughes, director, Wilkes University Small Business Development
Center; Jack St. Pierre, director, CAN BE; Robert J. Moisey, chairman, CAN DO.
Standing, from left; Christopher J. Haran, president & CEO, Great Valley Technology
Alliance; William Magnotta, Community Banks; Anthony Dixon, Esq., partner, Rosenn,
Jenkins & Greenwald, L.L.P.; Charles J. Pierce, business consultant, Wilkes University Small
Business Development Center; Dennis Moore, CPA, principal, Parente Randolph; Joseph
Zeller, Luzerne County Office of Community Development; Gerald Ephault, regional
manager, Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Terry Malloy, director of Commercial Services,
The Legacy Bank; and Robert Maximowicz, business finance specialist, NEPA Alliance.
E N T R E P R E N E U R s p o t l i g h t
There’s a company in Hazleton that is playing a key role in educating children across
the country…and the world.
K12Software.com, a subsidiary of Education Technology Services, LLC, has been
selling educational software to schools since its inception in 2002. The Hazleton-
based company offers thousands of products in all grade ranges and subject areas
from hundreds of software publishers, such as Adobe, Microsoft and Texas
“With tightening school budgets and plenty of players in the educational technology
market, it can be a pretty rough space to try to compete,” said Education Technology
Services Founder and CEO Paul Shershen. “However, we’ve been able to leverage
technology to multiply our efforts and compete with many older, well-established
companies. We now have customers in all 50 states and over 20 countries
worldwide. And, we’ve been able to do it all from our office in the Markle Building
in downtown Hazleton."
Set to surpass the $1 million revenue mark this year, the 3-employee company uses
its website as its primary marketing tool to attract customers and generate sales.
Some of the strategies they employ are Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine
Optimization (SEO). PPC refers to buying ads on search engines that appear when a
user types in one of the company’s purchased keywords. SEO is the practice of
optimizing a website so that it ranks higher on the results that search engines such
as Yahoo! and Google generate.
“PPC advertising can work well depending on the type of competition that’s out
there, but it does require at least some management and tweaking as you go along.
Some companies even do this on a daily basis. The key is to find the level at which
you maximize your return on investment and don’t end up overspending,” said
Shershen. “SEO is a practice all websites should do on an ongoing basis. Since search
engines keep optimizing how they rank data, you must continue to educate yourself
and stay on top of the new rankings.”
Another tactic K12Software.com employs is email marketing. Email marketing is
arguably the cheapest, most efficient way to attract new customers and maintain
relations with existing customers. While there are legal regulations that concern the
sending of unsolicited email, there are many ways to use email as a marketing tool
other than buying a list and blasting out a large number of messages.
It’s easy to have a newsletter sign-up on your site, which you could use to send
product information on a monthly basis and further promote your services. “It
always surprises me that more traditional brick and mortar businesses like retail
stores and restaurants don’t have an email sign up at the counter. I can’t think of a
better way to advertise directly to someone who already has an interest in my
The education market is very finite and well defined, consisting of about 100,000
schools nationwide, which makes growing market share a continual challenge for the
company. “We do our best to market efficiently and obtain new customers. Once we
have a new customer, we service their initial order well, promptly handle any service
issues that arise and maintain contact on a regular basis so we make sure that they
remember us the next time they’ve got some budget money earmarked for the types
of products we carry.”
Future plans for the company include the possibility of venturing into other areas of
the educational software industry. “Educational software publishing is an area we’d
really like to explore. We’d be looking to create software programs that teach math,
reading, keyboarding, etc. Since we already have the customer side of the equation
lined up, we feel this would be a complement to our business.”
K12Software.com helps schools bring software into the classroom
P O W E R!u p d a t e
The Scranton POWER! Chapter welcomed more than 120 young and young-
thinking professionals to the Scranton Club on May 25 for our May POWER!
Outage featuring former U.S. Sanofi Director of Marketing and current Director
for Vaxserve, Joseph Collins.
Collins discussed his experiences with Sanofi and their commitment to making
Northeastern Pennsylvania a better place to live, work and play.
The crowd enjoyed delectable foods and refreshing beverages provided by the
Scranton Club. The Marko Marcinko Jazz Quartet provided toe-tapping
entertainment. The event was sponsored by LR Costanzo.
Marketing Expert electrifies Scranton POWER
Chapter continues to bring young and
young-thinking professionals together for informational
and networking events.
Keep an eye open for future Scranton POWER
William C. Reed (Co-chair)
Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Donald Webster (Co-chair)
Software Engineering Associates
Robert Moisey (secretary)
CAN DO, Inc.
Robert Kelly (treasurer)
Myers, Breir, Kelly
Innovation Center @Wilkes-Barre
Scranton Chamber of Commerce
Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business
Scranton Chamber of Commerce
Wolery Associates, Inc.
Coronel Management Group
Lew Dryfoos III
Ben Franklin Technology Partners
Community Medical Center
Northeastern Pa.Technology Institute
Jennings and Zale, L.L.C.
Kristopher B. Jones
The Pepperjam Network
Berkshire Asset Management
Dr. Michael MacDowell
Diversified Information Technologies
A. J. Munchak
Lackawanna County Commissioner
Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce
CAN DO, Inc.
Joint Urban Studies Center
Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce
Quad 3 Group, Inc.
Penn Summit Tubular, LLC
Dr. Ann Pipinski
Rosenn, Jenkins and Greenwald
Fidelity Deposit and Discount Bank
Gregory A. Skrepenak
Luzerne County Commissioner
Diversified Information Technologies
Torres & Tower, LLC
Great Valley Technology Alliance:Who we are, and what we do...
The Great Valley Technology Alliance is a regional partnership of colleges and universities, businesses, economic development
groups and governmental agencies working together to improve the educational, technological, and entrepreneurial future of
Northeastern Pennsylvania through innovative programs, strategic direction setting, and creative thinking.
K I Z u p d a t e
KIZ’s renewed for funding
(continued from page one)
people. To date, we’ve hired six students permanently,” said Kristopher Jones, CEO,
The Pepperjam Network.
Capital & Equity Investment:
In Northeastern Pennsylvania, young companies are experiencing early-stage
investment. More than $2.2 million found its way to KIZ companies. This equity
investment provides start-up firms with the cash needed to bring their product to
market and establish a customer base.
A first of its kind for Northeastern Pennsylvania, four colleges and universities
received 6 Innovation Grants in the amount of $500,000 to create new technologies
or foster the birth of start up companies. The awards were matched dollar for
dollar by each institution, resulting in the region realizing a $1 million investment in
technology-based economic development. The grant was made possible by the
collaborative efforts of the Lackawanna, Luzerne and Pocono Mountains KIZs.
KIZ companies are applying for sellable tax credits. Initial projections anticipate
more than $700,000 in sellable tax credits will be distributed to local KIZ
companies. The maximum award is $100,000. “I anticipate our tax credit to be
relatively small. However, it will cover my rent and the majority of next year’s
utilities. For a small business, this is extremely valuable as I can focus my capital
resources on more important items like marketing my firm and attracting
customers,” said Jack Reager, Blackout Design.
The KIZ is an excellent example of regional collaboration working to strengthen
Northeastern Pennsylvania’s economy.
As the program enters its second round of funding, we look forward to its
continued success. For more information on the KIZ initiative contact Ken Okrepkie
at 570-408-9810 or email email@example.com.