Three Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) clients presented on their companies and the support they received from BFTP/NEP to more than a dozen members of the Pennsylvania House Majority and Minority Policy Committees and the PA House Appropriations Committee.
The event was held on Thursday, September 5 and was cohosted by Representative Marcia Hahn, Chairman Donna Oberlander (House Majority Policy Committee), Chairman Mike Sturla (House Minority Policy Committee), and Vice Chairman George Dunbar (House Appropriations Committee). Guests also toured the Ben Franklin TechVentures incubator/post-incubator, winner of two International Business Innovation Association Incubator of the Year awards.
Ben Franklin client/alumni presenters included:
Dr. Sam Niedbala, Chief Executive Officer
CryoConcepts LP, Bethlehem
Dr. Sam Niedbala is a co-founder of OraSure Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSUR), a leader in point-of-care diagnostic tests and specimen collection devices and one of the earliest and most successful clients of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Starting in the Ben Franklin Business Incubator, OraSure developed the first over-the-counter rapid HIV test, went public, and now employs 454 worldwide, including 256 in Bethlehem.
A Lehigh professor and serial entrepreneur, Niedbala has been a mentor, leader, and catalyst of the regional technology ecosystem for decades. His current venture, CryoConcepts LP, recently purchased OraSure’s cryosurgical systems business. The Histofreezer® brand will accelerate CryoConcepts’ introduction of a new generation of cryosurgical products to global professional and consumer markets and will also create and retain jobs in the Lehigh Valley.
Catherine Bailey, Senior Advisor / Former President
Rea.deeming Beauty, Inc., Bethlehem
Rea.deeming Beauty manufactures the award-winning elliptical-shaped beautyblender® makeup applicator. Combining an innovative design and technologically sophisticated material, the applicator allows for line- and streak-free application. It has gained wide market acceptance in both the professional and consumer markets.
BFTP/NEP invested in the company in 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018 for plant design, operations support, and improvements in production capacity and efficiency. BFTP/NEP linked Rea.deeming with Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center to enhance its production and fulfillment capabilities to meet steep increases in demand. The result was a productivity increase of 30%.
With five employees in 2012, the company now employs 138. The firm has increased revenue by more than 500% over the last five years. Rea.deeming Beauty won Lehigh Valley Business’ Fastest Growing Company in the Lehigh Valley award three years in a row, 2015-2017.
Nick Gilson, Chief Executive Officer
Gilson Snow, Winfield
Gilson Snow is a snowboard, ski, and apparel manufacturer that designs bases in an innovative and proprietary way to provide an enhanced and unique “feel” on the mountain. Applying aeronautical engineering concepts, Gilson snowboards and skis have a three-dimensional base that is faster, stronger, and more flexible than traditional products, storing more energy for the “pop” that is sought by snowboarders. The company merges the woodworking heritage of rural Pennsylvania with the precision of modern technology, all with a demonstrated commitment to environmental sustainability.
Reddyyeti ranks Gilson as the #1 snowboard brand and Wired ranked it Snowboard Gear of the Year in 2015. The firm has also earned accolades from Snowboard, Outside, and Bloomberg Businessweek.