PEDA - Pennsylvania Economic Development Association

Bridging the Gap Between Economic Development, Academia & Business

  • 03/31/2014
  • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
  • Online Webinar (Log-in credentials will be provided to registrants in advance of the session.)


  Bridging the Gap Between Economic Development, Academia & Business

In a competitive marketplace, students, businesses and colleges are all looking for ways to connect and gain a distinct advantage.  In 2006, the Innovation Transfer Network (ITN) was launched in an attempt to leverage intellectual capital by bridging the gap between economic development, academia and the business community.  Over the course of these past seven years, ITN has attracted over $3 million to Central Pennsylvania, including an investment of $500,000 in new technology products and services and $5,000,000 in leveraged capital.

This session will demonstrate how collaboration between economic development, local colleges, universities and the business community can lead to the creation of jobs, accelerated company growth and the engagement of intellectual capital across a region’s academic landscape.  Best practices and case studies of collaboration between students, companies, and entrepreneurial faculty will be discussed.

Who should attend?  Professionals who will benefit from this session will come from a broad range of backgrounds to include those who work for or with the business community, colleges and universities (small and large), entrepreneurs and innovators, investors and venture capitalists, developers of technology, business incubators, etc.  Those who count business development among their professional responsibilities will also benefit as presenters utilize real world success stories to illustrate how collaboration between businesses and institutes of higher education can benefit their communities.

Jill Edwards is the Executive Director of the Innovation Transfer Network, a virtual technology transfer program sponsored by the Commonwealth of PA supporting 16 colleges and universities in the Harrisburg/Lancaster/Reading PA region. She graduated Magna cum Laude in Foreign Languages from Millersville University. She has had an extensive career in the banking industry, during which she held positions as a small business lender, headed up a community banking group and served as the head of Human Resources, Marketing and Security for a start-up bank.

Ms. Edwards has also had 16 years’ experience in economic development, particularly in entrepreneurial development. She served as the Director of Small Business Incubation Programs for the York County Economic Development Corporation, and, while there, held leadership positions in the Pennsylvania Incubator Association. She has freelanced in economic development, doing grant writing for a variety of regional economic development organizations. She has served as a business reviewer for the Ben Franklin Technology Partnership, conducted training programs for the York Chapter of SCORE and has acted as a mentor for the Athena PowerLink Business Advisory Council.

She also serves as the Executive Director of Ben Franklin Venture Investment Forum, whose mission is to promote entrepreneurship in Pennsylvania by assisting entrepreneurs in their preparations to seek private equity and providing training in various financial topics to emerging growth companies.

Richard Dennis is currently the President of Die-tech. Die-tech is a 40 year old, second generation, family owned precision metal stamping company dedicated to stamping ideas into reality and leading their customers to success.

Die-tech’s current success is due to Richard’s strategic vision of diversification into medical and automotive markets, adoption of lean operating practices, and innovation in the engineering and management of progressive dies.

Richard asked the Innovation Transfer Network (ITN) to coordinate a brainstorming luncheon at his facility. The company was expanding aggressively into the healthcare sector and wanted to better understand market trends, particularly in medical devices. ITN identified and coordinated a meeting with several faculty from both Penn State College of Medicine and Lancaster General Health. The session was a precursor to an event Die-Tech was attending to meet with select medical industry companies in order to pursue new revenue channels.

Subsequent to that meeting, he mentioned that a purchase order was pending as a direct result of ITN’s market intelligence meeting with faculty. His company closed $100,000 of additional revenue attributable to ITN, and the following year his company generated an additional $1 million in the revenue pipeline, thanks to the collaborative efforts of ITN.


  • is Currently a Member of the Board of Directors of MANTEC -  a private, non-profit, resource center for manufacturers in South Central Pennsylvania.
  • had formerly owned Leaderplate – a private electroplating company specializing in    continuous coil plating of tin and solder alloys.
  • Served as the Chief Radio Operator of ODA-316, 10th Special Forces Group.
  • And earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation and Park Management from The Pennsylvania State University.

Richard’s eclectic background and varied interests have made him a driving force for innovation and change in all aspects of his life.

Mark Kraenbring serves as CIO of the APAK Group, provider of innovative and effective solutions in the areas of process control, data collection & visualization and production efficiency.

ITN’s conversations with APAK turned into an MBA class project at Lebanon Valley College under the direction of Joel Kline. Deliverables included a theoretical model of an HR application of APAK’s software, and a market feasibility study of that product. 

The hand-off of deliverables has taken place. The company has added this new dashboard to its product line for sale to its customers.

This session is recognized by the Pennsylvania Economic Development Institute and by the EDP certification program of the Northeastern Economic Developers Association (NEDA).

Attention Certified Providers: This course is approved to provide 1.5 organizational PDUs (Entrepreneurship) as explained in the Guidelines for Certification of Economic Development Organizations issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and in the Institute’s Policies and Procedures.

*Note: We reserve the right to reschedule or cancel this offering.  In the event of a cancellation, a refund will be provided to registrants.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server or newer

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software