The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) has announced the promotion of Wayne K. Barz to Chief Investment Officer. Barz has served as Ben Franklin’s Manager of Entrepreneurial Services since 2000, having overseen the expansion of Ben Franklin’s incubator facilities from 18,000 square feet to 129,000 square feet.
In his new role as Chief Investment Officer, Barz will direct Ben Franklin’s Enterprise Development group, which has the primary responsibility for identifying early-stage firm and established manufacturer client investment and support opportunities, and managing relationships with each client. The group also executes on Ben Franklin’s mission to continue improving the region’s business-technology infrastructure by catalyzing business incubation, university and college centers of excellence, and angel investor networks, among other initiatives.
The Enterprise Development group is comprised of four regional managers and an incubator manager in BFTP/NEP’s 21-county service area. Barz will also lead the Solutions Network, which has responsibility for identifying, qualifying, and directing Ben Franklin’s business and technical advisors, and third-party prospective client reviewers.
In his previous position, Barz managed Ben Franklin TechVentures, which was selected by the International Business Innovation Association as Incubator of the Year in both 2001 and 2012. In that position, he provided direct strategic business development assistance to more than 150 firms, facilitated investor introductions, developed new business opportunities, and helped recruit outside resources and management team members.
Barz assisted clients in raising $175 million in follow-on investment and in generating $28 million in 2018 revenues. He serves as a board observer at six BFTP/NEP client companies. As the leader of the Ben Franklin Business Technology Incubator Network, Barz provided mentoring and developmental assistance to 12 other incubators in northeastern Pennsylvania. This network is among the largest incubator networks in the U.S.
Before coming to Ben Franklin, Barz was the Director of Industrial Development for the Allentown Economic Development Corporation (AEDC). He managed the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center small business incubator and the Allentown Enterprise Zone program. Prior to that, he worked at the Urban Research and Development Corporation, at which he directed many of its economic development projects.
Barz earned an MBA, Management of Technology, and a BS, Economics, both from Lehigh University. He completed a Lehigh University vSeries Certificate in Entrepreneurship and the Mergers and Acquisitions course of the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts.
Barz has served on myriad economic development, technology infrastructure, and community boards over three decades. Currently he is the board president and a finance committee member of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley; a board member and past President of the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund; and a board member for the City of Allentown Enterprise Zone Committee. He was the chairperson of the Science and Technology Committee of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation and a member of the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center Advisory Committee.
He earned the Lehigh University MBA Alumni Award for Entrepreneurship in 2012.
Barz is a frequent speaker at numerous events, including presentations for the International Business Innovation Association, the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association, the Creating Pennsylvania’s Future Summit, the Lehigh Valley Engineering Council, the Iacocca Institute’s Global Village, and many others. He conceived, developed, and taught a course, Building the High-Tech Start-Up, at Lafayette College from 2010 through 2018. Via Pennsylvania Business Report