The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors has announced the retirement of R. Chadwick Paul, Jr. as President and Chief Executive Officer. Paul has served since 2002 and will retire effective July 1, 2020.
During Paul’s 18-year tenure as President and CEO, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners Pennsylvania network has been internationally recognized as an extraordinarily effective technology-based economic development engine, and the northeastern center has been a consistent statewide standout in job creation and retention. Between 2002 and 2018, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania created 10,590 technology-based jobs in client companies and retained 23,167 jobs. According to an independent study by the Pennsylvania Economy League, these jobs are in industries that pay an average of $79,364 annually, which is 52% more than the average non-farm wage in Pennsylvania.
From 2007 through 2018, BFTP/NEP worked with 3,411 client companies in its 21-county service area. Clients raised more than $1,559,700,000 in follow-on funding over those years.
Chad Paul led the expansion of Ben Franklin’s Bethlehem incubator facilities from 18,000 square feet to 129,000 square feet. He conceived, identified funding for, and executed on the renovation and expansion of Ben Franklin TechVentures® (BFTV), which was recognized twice by the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) as Incubator of the Year. The InBIA is the world’s leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship.
“The creation and expansion of Ben Franklin TechVentures was Chad’s singular vision and is among his most brilliant accomplishments,” said Jan Heller, chair of BFTP/NEP’s Board of Directors. “He is a true visionary.”
BFTV is a much larger successor to the Ben Franklin Business Incubator, which was established in 1983 and was among the nation’s first business incubators. BFTV provides resident companies with the support of an experienced incubator staff, the synergy of working in proximity to other early-stage companies, rental costs lower than market rates, flexible floor planning to accommodate specific needs, and access to Lehigh University’s facilities, equipment, faculty, and student resources. These factors combine to greatly enhance incubator resident companies’ probability of success.
A total of 44 firms called Ben Franklin TechVentures home last year, employing as many as 170 people. Since 1983, Ben Franklin’s incubator has graduated 69 successful companies, together grossing more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue and creating more than 6,900 jobs.
BFTV has earned an abundance of recognitions under Chad Paul’s leadership, including a Pennsylvania Economic Development Association Project of the Year award. With a photovoltaic solar array on its rooftop and Lutron’s energy management and light-harvesting technologies integrated throughout the building, BFTV2 received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. It won first-place national honors in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Challenge Contest.
BFTP/NEP also expanded the Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network under Paul’s leadership and acquired the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center (BRTC). The Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network brings together incubator managers in northeastern Pennsylvania to exchange ideas and information, work collaboratively, and share guidelines that are in accordance with InBIA standards. Through this network, BFTP/NEP leverages its incubator experience throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. The Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network is now 13 members strong and one of the largest incubator networks in the nation.
“We are truly grateful for Chad’s 18 years of outstanding leadership,” added Heller. “His legacy will be the many new technologies that improve the human condition and the regional companies and workers who will continue to benefit from his work for years to come.”