Ben Franklin News

550+ Attend Ben Franklin ixchange

Former Governor Dick Thornburgh Was Among Award Winners

On Tuesday, May 7th, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) hosted its annual ixchange at the Zoellner Arts Center on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem. More than 550 technology entrepreneurs, business people, venture capitalists, economic developers, political leaders, and regional influencers from Ben Franklin’s 21-county service area attended.

After an executive networking session, the ixchange began with a video entitled The Entrepreneur, which illustrated BFTP/NEP’s support of early-stage firms. The video was produced by JP2 Films and The Focal Range, and will be available online shortly in the Video section of this website.

Chad Paul, President and CEO of BFTP/NEP, was the ixchange emcee. He started the program by describing how the ixchange theme, “This is Going to be Big,” applied in many ways to the evening’s events. Keynote presenter Jack Hoffman founded, whose celebrity spokesman used that tagline. It also applied to the eight Innovation Award winners, each of whom has succeeded through his or herown drive, focus, and passion. “This is Going to Be Big” also applied to the Ben Franklin Technology Partners.

“In 1983, then-Governor Dick Thornburgh saw the potential when he launched the Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Partnership. Governor Thornburgh was right,” said Paul. “Year after year, Ben Franklin continues to successfully leverage Pennsylvania’s investment, creating and retaining highly paid, sustainable jobs and delivering outstanding return on investment to the Commonwealth. Senator John Gordner and Senator John Blake have continued to support us through Innovate in PA, also with the inspiration, ‘This is going to be big!’”

This was the twentieth year presenting Ben Franklin annual Innovation Awards. The following companies and individuals were honored:

Entrepreneurial Achievement
Saladax Biomedical, Inc., Bethlehem
Kevin Harter, President and CEO

Incubator Graduate
Viddler, Inc., Bethlehem
Donna DeMarco, Co-Founder

Product Innovation
XiGo Nanotools, Bethlehem
David Fairhurst, Executive Vice President

Innovative Application of Technology
Vitrius Technologies, Wilkes-Barre
Patrick Son, CEO and Founder

Manufacturing Achievement
Cambridge-Lee Industries LLC, Reading
Andrea Funk, CEO

Special Achievement
Senator John R. Gordner
Senator John P. Blake

Governor Dick Thornburgh
Governor Thornburgh was recognized with a standing ovation.

Jeff Hoffman delivered the keynote address. A seasoned veteran of seven start-ups, including the highly successful internet company, Hoffman spent years traveling the globe and identifying the best practices of top entrepreneurs and business leaders in every sector. In his dynamic presentation, Hoffman shared techniques that increase innovation and operational efficiency for both early-stage and established companies in today’s markets.

Using colorful anecdotes and lessons learned from some of the world’s most profitable companies, he shattered the myths of the old school of business management. Hoffman presented new rules for success. He provided attendees with an immediately actionable list of tasks and tools that they can use to dramatically improve their organizations and increase their odds of sustainable prosperity.

Next year’s ixchange will be held in May 2015.