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Collaborative Leadership Paving the way for Erie

Handheld Revolution

Mobile apps are an explosive new business. Can Erie get a piece of the action?

Heart in hand

Technological advances in heart care give us reason to celebrate

Polling in the Digital Age

A long-standing political strategy is here to stay

Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership


TECHNOLOGY eriepa.com



Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership 2014 Signature Events

4-10 5-21

Celebration of Excellence

2014 OFFICERS Dr. Keith Taylor, CHAIR Marsha Marsh, VICE-CHAIR David Tullio, SECRETARY Mike Weber, TREASURER . BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dr. Jay Badams Joel Berdine Dr. Donald Birx John Bloomstine Carl Carlotti Terrence Cavanaugh Gary Clark John Dill Mary Eckert Scott Eighmy Jeffrey Evans James Fiorenzo Charles “Boo” Hagerty Timothy Hunter Chuck Knight John Leemhuis, Esq. Jim E. Martin Bob Mazza Marlene Mosco Jack Munch Neil Parham Jim Riley Jim Rutkowski, Jr. Matthew Schultz Nick Scott, Jr. Gretchen Seth Ron Steele Tom Tupitza, Esq. Russell Warner, Esq. Scott Whalen Mary Beth Wilcher Dr. Julie Wollman Scott Wyman ERCGP STAFF Barbara C. Chaffee President/CEO

Thursday, April 10, 2014 Bayfront Convention Center

Jacob A. Rouch Vice President, Economic Development

Golf Outing

Linda C. Robbins Financial Officer

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 Peek’n Peak Resort and Spa


Fall Member Fest


Annual Meeting

Thursday, September 25, 2014 Shades Beach Thursday, November 6, 2014 Bel-Aire Clarion Hotel & Conference Center

Sponsorships are available; contact Brett Wiler at bwiler@eriepa.com for details!

August P. Schiava Vice President, Chamber

Benjamin C. Pratt Executive Director, Growth Partnership Division

Douglas M. Massey Director, Business Action Team Cathy Noble Events Coordinator Susan M. Ronto Membership Coordinator Brett Wiler Account Executive

Nadeen M. Steffey Director of Marketing and Communications Sabrina Chirco Director of Research EDITOR Nadeen M. Steffey


CONTRIBUTING Mary Birdsong John Chacona Lesley Ridge DESIGN PAPA Advertising PAPAadvertising.com ADVERTISING INFORMATION: Brett Wiler Account Executive 814 454-7191 x137 bwiler@eriepa.com




New Investors FE ATURE AR TICLE S Collaborative Leadership Paving the way for Erie by Lesley Ridge



Handheld Revolution Mobile apps are an explosive new business. Can Erie get a piece of the action? by John Chacona


Heart in Hand Technological advances in heart care give us reason to celebrate by Mary Birdsong


Public Polling in the Digital Age A long-standing part of political strategy is here to stay by Lesley Ridge


IN E ACH ISSUE Organizational Updates 6 Chamber Economic Development Growth Partnership Regional Initiative Update 9 Destination Erie Erie Ambassador Paul Brown

Erie Entrepreneurship




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Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

New Investors GOLD LEVEL

VCG Properties, LLC.

VCG Properties is an Erie, PA based development firm focused on classically styled architecture, organize retail experience and community integration. Christopher Conrad 1000 West Erie Plaza Drive, Suite 926 / Erie, PA 16505 PH (814) 459 5730 / FX (814) 459 5630 www.vcgproperties.com


Deist Industries, Inc.

Deist Industries is a leader in hauling equipment manufacturing. With decades of experience, Deist can handle all hauling and disposal questions. All products are manufactured to the highest standards of workmanship for which the company is known. Matthew Wilson 3547 Perry Highway / Hadley, PA 16130 PH (800) 233 0867 / FX (724) 253 3863 / www.bucksfab.com

Drumheller Creative

Creating integrated programs that converge all aspects of Advertising, Website Development, Branding, and PR/Social Media.

Since 1990, Drumheller Creative has been a leader in the Erie area for television commercials and videos. Drumheller produces videos for unlimited markets including retail, corporate, healthcare, industrial, political and institutional.

Skip Papa 1673 West 8th Street / Erie, PA 16505 PH (814) 454 6236 / FX (814) 464 0796 www.PAPAadvertising.com

Brad Drumheller 6005 Schultz Road / Erie, PA 16509 PH (814) 825 1817 / FX (814) 825 9208 www.drumhellercreative.com


Energy Cooperative of America, Inc.

PAPA Advertising

Canfield Auto Radiator & Air Conditioning

Canfield Radiator is the largest commercial and industrial radiator and oil cooler repair center, and new product replacement distributor in the Tri-State area. We are truly a “hands on� family business with decades of experience in the automotive industry. Nolan Canfield 15 East 18th Street / Erie, PA 16501 PH (814) 454 3865 / FX (814) 455 1485 www.canfieldradiator.com

Commercial Paving

Full service paving company from patching repairs to complete parking lots & driveways. Professional sealcoating with hot rubber crack filling; locally owned and operated. Lushie Stanley 5614 Peach Street / Erie, PA 16509 PH (814) 451 1500 / FX (814) 520 8287 www.commercialpaving.biz

Energy Cooperative of America, Inc., is a not for profit corporation, provides electricity and natural gas in NY & PA. We serve industries, businesses, colleges, municipalities, civic groups and churches. J. David Bell 1408 Sweet Home Road, Suite 8 / Amherst, NY 14228 PH (800) 422 1274 / FX (716) 932 7337 www.ecamerica.org

Erie Drive Train, Inc.

Erie Drive Train Inc. specializes in the design, manufacture and repair of drivelines and axles for the light duty, heavy duty and industrial markets. J. David Bell 3017 West 12th Street / Erie, PA 16505 PH (814) 833 8866 / FX (814) 833 9928 www.eriedrivetrain.com

Erie Explosion

The Erie Explosion are a professional CIFL Championship arena football team who plays at Erie Insurance Arena. They are owned and operated by Pro Football Erie, Inc. Team store and office is located at 901 Peach Street. Bill Stafford 901 Peach Street / Erie, PA 16501 PH (814) 790 8775 / www.erieexplosion.com


Erie Growth & Technology

Erie Film, LLC.

Presque Isle Designs, LLC.

Greg Ropp 129 Chestnut Street, Apt. 10 / Edinboro, PA 16412 PH (814) 873 2483 / www.eriefilmllc.com

Jenny Poff 707 West 38th Street, #172 / Erie, PA 16508 PH (814) 806 4691 / www.presqueisledesigns.com

EverStone by DeJoy

Provider Resources, Inc.

Erie Film LLC was created in 2013 by Greg Ropp (Eeriehorror Fest, The Northwestern Pennsylvania Film Office, Inc.) and John Walkiewicz, a television director and movie producer, to promote film festivals and bring film production to the region.

EverStone® is a blend of North America’s most beautiful, natural, decorative stones, combined with our proprietary epoxy resin. EverStone can be applied to almost any structurally sound interior or exterior concrete surface, or any interior wood surface that has been properly prepared. Because EverStone is hand troweled, correcting uneven, dangerous surfaces are a breeze! Debora DeJoy-Smeeding 5000 Uhlman Road / Fairview, PA 16415 PH (814) 833 3336 / FX (814) 833 1678 www.everstonefloors.com

Hospice Of Metropolitan Erie

Provider of hospice care; certified and licensed in Pennsylvania. End of life care is our only specialty; comfort is our primary focus in patient care. Karen Moski 202 East 10th Street / Erie, PA 16503 PH (814) 456 6689 / FX (814) 456 8219 www.hospiceerie.org

Presque Isle Designs, LLC focuses on delivering brand development and management services along with strategic marketing plans. No matter what the size of your business, we can help build and better position your brand for a stronger presence and competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Healthcare compliance and education/training, consulting/ fraud and abuse initiatives, investigation and prosecution/ regulatory and polrey analysis and development/medical review. Shawn Keough-Hartz 2005 West 8th Street, Suite 208 / Erie, PA 16505 PH (814) 480 8732 / FX (814) 456 5524 www.provider-resources.com

Side Project, Inc.

Side Project Inc., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and advancing charitable and philanthropic efforts large and small. We provide legal and professional support to nonprofit organizations, charitable foundations, and corporate and individual philanthropy. Jeff Fromknecht 2903 Davison Avenue / Erie, PA 16504 PH (814) 520 7544 / www.sideprojectinc.org

Sporedaddy’s Take & Bake Hand Pressed Pizza

reCAP is the brand name that makes designer caps for Mason Jars. reCAP is the world’s first and only flip top pour cap for Mason jars.

Erie’s first take and bake featuring: homemade hand-pressed dough, marinara, herb-infused oil, and basil pesto sauces. Unique specialty pies and a new twist on some of your favorites...fresh homemade pizza cooked in YOUR oven in less than 15 minutes.

Karen Rzepecki P.O. Box 110 / Wattsburg, PA 16442 PH (814) 460 3473 / www.masonjars.com

Jason Spore 5526 1/2 Peach Street / Erie, PA 16509 PH (814) 520 8411 / www.sporedaddys.com

Mason Jars Company

Tom Weber Films, LLC.

Tom Weber Films, LLC is a producer and distributor of documentaries, concert videos, artist profiles, audition videos, electronic press kits and narrative films. Tom Weber 447 East 33rd Street / Erie, PA 16504 PH (412) 370 1736 / www.tomweberfilms.com




Organizational Updates CHAMBER by August Schiava Vice President, Chamber The Chamber Division is well into the action plan for 2014. The calendar is set for our Business After Hours networking events, as well as our member Signature Events: April’s Celebration of Excellence, the Annual Golf Outing in May, September’s Fall Member Fest and our Annual Meeting in November. The very popular (public event) in July, Beer on the Bay, is also in the works. We are already looking at a date for 2015! Electronic and print investment opportunities for advertising in Currents e-newsletter, on EriePA.com and the ERIE Magazine are available. Remember too that a Dollar Volume discount for an advertising contract is available. A variety of sponsorships are also available for each of our events. You may choose to be a major sponsor through investing in the Signature Events Sponsor Package that includes all four of our member events. The membership campaign is an ongoing effort. Being a 501c3 organization, our goal is to grow our support to include as many of the businesses and organizations in the region as possible. The Chamber Division is responsible for membership and membership benefits, marketing and producing revenue to support programs, services and the staff of all three Divisions: Economic Development, Chamber of Commerce and Growth Partnership. Our mission is to provide the leadership to attract retain and expand business in the Erie region. Return on investment (ROI) is a key concern for all of our members. As an ERCGP member I encourage you know and take advantage of your benefits, discount


programs, marketing and advertising opportunities. Be engaged in the ERCGP meetings, programs and events that are most relevant to your business or organization. Your involvement and input today will drive our success in the future. Call a staff member, e-mail us, schedule a face to face! Remember to update your company and contact information and send us your stories, we understand ROI.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT by Jake Rouch Vice President, Economic Development We have all of the Hubble Telescope. Edwin Hubble was an American astronomer and a peer of Albert Einstein. However, it was Hubble’s discovery – that the universe was not static but expanding – that was considered by Einstein to be his “greatest blunder.” What does an expanding universe have to do with economic development in Erie, Pennsylvania? Well, in my mind, quite a bit. Having lived in Erie my entire life and worked with business and community leaders in the region for 20 years, one aspect that has always troubled me about many of our debates and decision-making as a community relates to a mindset that Erie is a limited sized pie. If you believe the pie is limited in size – and you have a piece of the pie – then you believe the only way for someone else to get a piece of pie or increase their volume of pie, is to take it from you or someone else who has some. If you believe the pie

is limited in size – and you do not have a piece of pie – then you believe that the only way for you to get some is to take it from someone else. This mindset is horribly limiting and utterly inaccurate. In researching this idea/concept a bit, I found this wonderful analysis: “Everything in life is expandable — happiness, misery, pleasure, pain, even time if you believe Einstein. If you think of anything as being limited and conduct your life accordingly, it will be limited. But if you understand that you can get more by opening yourself up to more, you’ll get more.” Erie needs to open itself up to more. Modern business is truly global. Customers can find you today in remote reaches of the earth at a fraction of the cost previous generations would have had to expend to even find the country or locale where that customer exists. Modern business practices are centered more and more on collaboration, crowdsourcing, and open innovation research. These practices recognize we can expand the pie more if we are working together rather than staying to ourselves. If Erie chooses to approach challenges in a more collaborative manner, then there is room for Erie’s pie to grow and the opportunity for more prosperity throughout the region. Let’s not work against ourselves. Let’s not turn our back on expanding. Let’s not commit our “greatest blunder” by refusing to recognize the pie will get bigger if we change our approach – and our attitude – and become a more collaborative economy and community. I think we all would like a bigger piece of the pie.

Erie Growth & Technology

GROWTH PARTNERSHIP by Barbara Chaffee President/CEO, ERCGP On Tuesday, January 21st the Growth Partnership held a CEO Roundtable presentation by the four University Presidents and the Erie School District of their White Paper: The Path Forward – A Statement on the Future of our Region by the Leaders of Erie’s Universities. The Erie Regiona l Education and Training Consortium has been in existence for over two years and as we were working through the challenges and opportunities before us we identified that there were two initiatives that needed to take place prior to moving the list of recommended consortium initiatives forward. The Erie School District redesign recommendations and the four universities collaboration on a path forward for the region. The ERCGP contracted Tim McNulty of Carnegie Mellon University to facilitate a day long retreat on July 31, 2013 with Dr. Gamble, Dr. Taylor, Dr. Wollman, and Dr. Birx, one member of each of their teams as well as Dr. Jay Badams, Ben Pratt and Barbara Chaffee of the ERCGP to begin work on this vision. Tim has served in a variety of economic development posts under Pennsylvania Governors Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker, then moved on into support roles at Carnegie Mellon in cyber security, energy and the Provost’s office before assuming his current job of Associate Vice President for government affairs, acting as an advocate for the university on the federal, state and local

levels. We are grateful for Tim’s insight and help throughout this process. To our collective knowledge, this is the FIRST TIME in history that our four universities have come together to map out a vision and a path forward for the region. You may access the full white paper: The Path Forward: A Statement on the Future of our Region by the Leaders of Erie’s Universities at: www.eriepa.com The four initiatives to launch Erie towards a brighter future are: • Collaborate to develop new industries • Partner to build strengths in the emerging technology areas that will generate opportunity for the region • Accelerate collaboration to promote an improved quality of life across all Erie communities • Establish the Erie Regional Education and Training Consortium Our next steps are: • As a first step we will be formalizing our collaboration as a Council of University Presidents • We will move quickly to convene key faculty and administrators at our institutions to develop a blueprint for moving these ideas forward • The Erie Regional Educational and Training Consortium will be meeting this February to begin work • The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership will explore grants from national and regional foundations, in addition to funding opportunities through federal and state government

Keep up to date with all of our organizational happenings at eriepa.com. eriepa.com

CHAMBER COMMITTEE 2014 John Leemhuis Jr., Quinn Law Firm – Chairman Will Collins, Northwest Insurance Services Andrea Lorman, Arvite Technologies, Inc. Susan Moore, DWM Decision Associates LLC Adam Nelson, Edward Jones Investments Jon Patsy, Marquette Savings Bank Robert Schriefer, Evans Capital Management, Inc. Matthew Schultz, John V. Schultz Co. Ann Scott, Erie Insurance Group Pat Wachter, Loesel-Schaaf Insurance Agency

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE 2014 James Rutkowski Jr., Industrial Sales & Manufacturing Co. – Chairman John Bloomstine, Insurance Management Co. Casey Bowes, Finish Thompson Inc. Gary Clark, Stonebank Management LLC Harvey Downey, NaviTek Group, Inc. Jack Munch, Baldwin Brothers, Inc. P.C. “Hoop” Roche, Vistage Erie Thomas Tredway, Erie Molded Plastics, Inc.

GROWTH PARTNERSHIP COMMITTEE 2014 Thomas A. Tupitza, Knox McLaughlin Gornall and Sennett, P. C. – Chairman Jay Badams, School District of the City of Erie Joel Berdine, GE - Transportation John C. Bloomstine, Insurance Management Co. John W. Cline, Sunburst Electronics John R. Elliott, Economic Development Corp. of Erie County Jody Farrell, Tungsten Creative Group Boo Hagerty, UPMC Health Plan Timothy Hunter, McInnes Rolled Rings Candace Littell, Candace Littell LLC Marsha Marsh, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services Dale and Lynn McBrier, Little Caesars William F. McCarthy, Stairways Behavioral Health Marco Monsalve, McManis and Monsalve Associates Mark H. Raimy, Welders Supply Co. Nick Scott Jr., Scott Enterprises David M. Tullio, Custom Engineering Co. Mary Beth Wilcher, Erie Federal Credit Union



Erie Growth & Technology


Who is Peter J. Smith & Company, Inc? by Ben Pratt, Executive Director of the Growth Partnership

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you the new lead consultant of Destination Erie: A Regional Vision, Peter J. Smith & Company, Inc. Peter J. Smith & Company, Inc. (PJS), is a full service urban planning, urban design, economic development and landscape architecture consulting firm with seven professional staff. Their offices are located in Buffalo, NY and Fort Erie, ON. PJS has focused, for almost thirty years, exclusively on municipal and public sector work and are experienced in dealing with a wide variety of community planning and development issues. For their work they have received in excess of sixty-five professional awards in the last decade, including first prize for excellence in Urban Design from the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) for the Abu Dhabi Public Realm Design Manual, UAE. Their most recent award is the national 2013 Smart Growth and Sustainable Planning Award from the American Society of Consulting Planners for their revitalization strategy for Downtown Glens Falls, NY. Peter J. Smith & Company, Inc. are specialists in waterfront communities and tourism development and are very familiar with the Greater Erie region,


having completed the Pennsylvania S e a w a y Tr a i l S c e n i c B y w a y Management Plan and are currently completing an evaluation for the City of Erie, PA, Comprehensive Plan. When asked “Why do you want to take on the Destination Erie, Regional Plan for Sustainable Development project?” Peter J. Smith, principle and founder of PJS, response was: “It is our belief that the ‘Destination Erie’ plan is the most significant guiding document the County will prepare. The future character of Erie hinges on the quality of the Vision and Sustainability Plan, the understanding of the economy, heritage and culture of the community and the transparent public engagement process and ‘buy in’. In addition to the technical aspects of regional growth and change, our vision and sustainability planning projects always address community character and design. Our approach is to build on the four pillars of community: social, cultural, economic and environment and, combined with a comprehensive public outreach strategy, we develop a real vision and direction that is expressed through a concept futures plan. Implementation steps and a comprehensive policy plan are clearly outlined and expressed in a clear and readable document.”

We look forward to working with PJS, and are excited with the depth of experience, regional connection, and enthusiasm they are bringing to Destination Erie. Be sure to stay connected by going to planerieregion.com to learn more!






Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership


Paul Brown A 10 Year Alumni by Nadeen Steffey


Paul moved to Erie from Indianapolis in 1994 with his wife, Kathleen, an Erie native. He has since retired from practicing law and is enjoying many aspects of living in Erie, including participating in the Fall, 2004 Erie Ambassador program with Kathleen. Paul learned of the program through some of its graduates and sensed it would be an interesting opportunity to learn more about the city and area.

Kathleen they probably would not have relocated to the Erie area. She commented that “Paul and Kathleen were perfect Ambassadors representing Erie to Mike and me. Recognizing that we had a seven year old child at the time, they emphasized area schools, parks and family activities. This was a very important factor which led us to choose Erie over our other options”.

Paul’s interests are broad, encompassing local business and government, infrastructure, entertainment and cultural programs, the structure of non-profits and area real estate development. He was pleased with the Ambassador program which addressed all of these topics. “The modules focused on presenting pertinent information in an interesting and informative way. The interaction was professional but fun.”

Paul noted in our talk that he enjoys outdoor activities, from boating to skiing and that the Erie area “has it all”! He and Kathleen also take advantage of the many music offerings in the region and he said the Ambassador program provided a good baseline knowledge of the great variety of activities available here.

Now, as graduates of the program, Paul notes that he and Kathleen are able to answer questions about the area and provide credible information for visitors and prospective residents. “We do not attempt a ‘hard sell’ but merely relay our own experiences and what we have learned that is applicable to their particular situations.” Cathy Noble, ERCGP event coordinator, noted that had she and her husband, Michael, not met with Paul and


Paul and Kathleen enjoyed all the Ambassador modules and found the information about non-profits particularly enlightening. He suggested that the program include a tour of the Erie Art Museum as “it is an interesting local asset.” Paul emphasized that based on their very positive participation experience and subsequent use of the program content, the couple will continue to encourage others to be Erie Ambassadors.



JULY 26, 2014

BEGINNING MAY 1ST www.eriepa.com/beeronthebay EER ON THE BAY . BE E Y.B





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*Tickets will be available for purchase at the entrance to Liberty Park on the day of the event. General Admission $40 | VIP $55 | DD $20 designed by:

for more information: www.eriepa.com/beeronthebay | (814) 454.7191 x123 eriepa.com



Erie Growth & Technology

Collaborative Leadership Paving the way for Erie by Lesley Ridge

Last month, Mayor Joe Sinnott was sworn in for his third term as Erie’s mayor and former Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper began her post as county executive. Below is a Q&A on their vision for Erie and those initiatives needed to see the region grow. In your opinion, what’s the 30,000 foot view on how to move Erie forward? KD: There’s unrealized potential within our community and a lot of people are working hard to make Erie a place where our kids don’t have to move away. I think that’s really the goal - to have a community where there are opportunities for people to stay here. JS: My vision from the very beginning was to make Erie a community that was always moving in a positive direction. We have a good, synergistic economic development


team, we’ve focused on creating better neighborhoods and home ownership opportunities, and improved safety facets to make our neighborhoods safer by getting rid of many systemic problems we’ve had. Is there a current initiative or something on the horizon that would help bring more success to the area? KD: There are a few key projects and collaborations. The Innovation Collaborative, for instance, looks at our entrepreneurial ecosystem to find gaps so entrepreneurs have a greater opportunity to be successful in Erie County. Bayfront development is key. We’ve come a long way over the last 20 years, but there’s much more to be done collaboratively to make it successful. Other things include the Inland Port Project, which would bring many jobs to this community and become a game changer for the economics in this community, as well as Destination Erie.


Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

JS: One of my top priorities for my last term is bayfront development and the GAF site; we must find opportunities that pull it together and make it a destination point. Continuing to repair our neighborhoods that are aged and in disrepair is also important for our success. And downtown. We started with Union Square, and are continuing talks with potential partners to revitalize the downtown to get people back to using it more. With the recent decision regarding CRIZ, what are steps that each of you are taking in your respective roles and what can the business community to do move forward to lay a foundation for more funding opportunities? JS: CRIZ is by no means dead. We had great feedback from Harrisburg and I think we will be very viable in future rounds. In the meantime, we are looking at different infrastructure grants to consider as well that would help business and the community.

KD: We must bring all of the work that’s been going on behind the scenes together cohesively. As the county executive, I want to be certain that at the end of the year we have a solid plan to implement over the next several years. These work groups have brought in some great ideas, but we have to make sure that those who are accountable for different aspects of this plan follow through. JS: One of the things that was very important to me with Destination Erie was that we had not only the buy-in from different facets of the community, but the participation. We wanted this to be a product of a diverse group of leaders within the community so we’d have a shared vision going forward. Too many of these studies are done and then don’t go anywhere. My goal is that this will be a piece that moves us forward. The $1.8 million federal grant designates our community as a “sustainable” community. What does that mean, and how does that recognition impact Erie?

KD: I think one of the keys is working together - city, county, and all municipalities. We’re as successful as our neighbor; if there’s a win for Summit or Fairview, for example, it’s really a win for Erie County. We really need to think of ourselves as one region. We aren’t competing against each other we’re one, strong unit.

KD: Sustainability isn’t just about the environment; it means that we in Erie County and this region can sustain and grow no matter what hits us. So, for example, if a major employer leaves this area, or there’s some sort of natural disaster, we would have the framework to solve our own problems. It also helps us secure more funding opportunities.

Is there any game-changer, be it an industry or shift in mentality, that will take us over these hurdles?

What are some of the ways you see the business community and government fostering public/private partnerships, specifically those that would help local businesses grow?

JS: I think to assign it to any one industry or project is the wrong approach. We must focus on long-term economic opportunities, like the airport expansion, as they arise and not miss them. You can’t assign the evolution of a community to one game-changer; there is no single silver bullet. It must be a holistic change. We’re moving in that direction. KD: I think some of the younger people who have come into the community are willing to take risks and have a positive attitude and are willing to work together. We can’t rely on one industry, so we must make sure we have a diverse economy for success across the region. Destination Erie is heading into the third phase of the project. What is the role you see your respective offices playing throughout its implementation?


JS: We’ve helped businesses get grants over the years. Conversely, I think the business community has operational experience to offer government. I’ve worked with different members throughout my tenure on operations that needed some business flavor with great success. Our business community is very accessible and want to see our community thrive. KD: There are a lot of economic development organizations the county has a direct tie with and they’re out every day working with the business community to find viable opportunities for growth, so we’ll continue to support that in any way we can.

Erie Growth & Technology

What do each of you see as your role in promoting Erie and what do you think the greater community can do to help?

Business Banking

KD: As county executive, it’s a perfect fit for me to go outside of Erie County. It’s important Pennsylvanians know we’re here and open for business. I see myself as being a true ambassador to Erie and working in any way I can to help local businesses be successful. Another thing we’re looking at is how to be more proactive in the digital world - via our website and social media - and making sure people can find the information they need to start or grow business here. JS: The real trick is getting people to come and experience Erie for themselves. I think businesses and the general population are great advocates as well. So many visitors have had positive things to say about not just what we have in Erie, but the people within our community. That’s what makes Erie great.

No matter what your business demands, Northwest delivers.

If we had a crystal ball and could look ahead to 2020, how would you describe Erie in three words? JS: Pride, accomplishment, and evolution.

20 offices to serve you in Erie County Northwest Direct: 1-877-672-5678 • www.northwestsavingsbank.com

KD: Collaboration, vibrant, and welcoming.


Member FDIC


Hammocks At Millcreek June 19 The 5:00 – 7:00 PM

4500 Hammock Drive, Erie, PA

July 17 eriepa.com

WICU/ WSEE 5:00 – 7:00 PM

3514 State Street, Erie, PA 15


“Steve Weiser, a classically trained musician who is the executive director of the Erie Chamber Orchestra, doesn’t have a background in programming or science, but he shares the motivation that animates many app developers: a desire to make something cool.”


Erie Growth & Technology

Mobile apps are an explosive new business. Can Erie get a piece of the action?


by John Chacona

You are invited to consider the wonder with which you greeted your first mobile app—if you can. You early adopters may be digging back to 1997 and the game of Snake on your Nokia phone. You might call those early calendar, calculator and ring tone editors an app, too, if you’re ancient enough to remember the mobile phones that were limited to making calls and sending text messages. That all changed with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. Almost overnight, your phone became a tool to produce videos, track your personal budget, and if you were a prominent politician in New York state, torpedo your career. Apps are so ubiquitous and so embedded in the 21st Century lifestyle that it’s fair to call the device in your pocket or purse not a mobile phone nor a smartphone, but an app-phone.


Despite the fact that many of the most popular apps are available free of charge, global revenue from paid apps is a $25 billion business, according to Gartner Inc. Much of this is run through the Apple Store and Google Inc.’s Play store, where you can find more than a million apps written by countless developers worldwide. Still, this is a very young industry that’s growing at a dizzying rate, 68 percent last year. Can our area get a piece of the action? It can, and it has. Right now, there may be dozens of app developers at work in the Erie area. Some are at large corporations writing proprietary apps, some are the digital equivalent of basement inventors, and some are working at a pair of downtown web studios.


Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

Brian Tobias Amick is the founder and creative director of Werkbot, which he describes as a “digital consultancy that is focused on solving business problems through design and development.” Most of the work of Werkbot is Web-based, and apps are a small part of his business, perhaps only 15 to 20 percent of revenue. Still, Amick expects that to grow. To date, Werkbot has concentrated on a portion of the app market that you never see on the iTunes Store or Google Play. Call it the business-to-business app. The latest is a custom iPad app for sales for representatives of a large manufacturer of paper plates. Where the representatives–200 of them–once carried thick, three-ring binders with sales sheets of the company’s extensive product line, these are now in digital form on the app. When a product is added, dropped or changed, the change is made to the app, and the reps download the updates. “It helps sales run smoother and eliminates part of the ordering process, too,” Amick explained. A block away from Werkbot’s Renaissance Center offices in the shadow of the Erie Insurance Arena is Epic Web Studios, a website design, social media, search engine optimization and development firm that David Hunter, Epic’s managing partner, describes as “located but not limited to Erie, PA.” Epic’s signature app, developed for the Erie Otters hockey team, is aimed at the consumer market. It enables fans to get live game-day stats and scores, view the team roster, player and team statistics, and it is available on both the iTunes Store and Google Play. Hunter described the app as very successful, but added that he came to app development with a degree of skepticism. “An app should be used when it’s triggering the function of the device that’s running it, or if it’s using a lot of data,” he explained. “Most of the people who contact us about an app actually want a mobile website with responsive design.”


For that reason, Hunter said that apps are a small part of his company’s business, less than 10 percent, “because I talk clients out of them,” he said, adding, “our core competencies are elsewhere. I think we should push people to be power users of technology, and apps are sometimes a way of converging things for the least common denominator, dumbing things down.” Both Hunter and Amick acknowledge that Erie’s relatively low cost of living gives this area a cost advantage over traditional tech centers such as the San Francisco Bay area or New York City. But both say that it isn’t always easy to get app developers to locate here. Amick suggests that Erie is not alone in this. “Good app developers are hard to find, no matter where you are.”

“Global revenue from paid apps is a $25 billion business.” Still, the jobs are out there and they pay very well. A search of the jobs website Indeed.com shows more than 2,500 jobs for developers in Pennsylvania. All pay more than 50 thousand dollars per year and half of them promise salaries of more than 70 thousand dollars. Those numbers alone should attract more people to the field. But there are some app developers who get involved because simply they love to tinker. Steve Weiser is one of them. Weiser, a classically trained musician who is the executive director of the Erie Chamber Orchestra, doesn’t have a background in programming or science, but he shares the motivation that animates many app developers: a desire to make something cool. In Weiser’s case, something cool was an app for his orchestra that offers access to the season schedule, a listing of musicians, profiles of guest artists and the ensemble’s history. “It operates like a glorified

Erie Growth & Technology

brochure in some ways,” Weiser says, but unlike brochures, it can be updated at will and is always available. An app also costs a lot less than a brochure, an important factor for a bare-bones arts organization.

“The kid practicing his scales upstairs or playing her favorite videogame in the other room might be the author of the next Angry Birds.”

Weiser may not be a programmer, but like many musicians, he has been a computer enthusiast since he got his first iMac, a Bondi blue model, as a freshman at Temple. As a percussionist, he deals in patterns, patterns that are expressed in numbers. Perhaps not surprisingly, math was among his strongest subjects in school, and so programming came relatively easily. “I found that I picked up stuff very quickly . . . and being able to see patterns really worked in programming,” he said.

they identified musicians as having the skills needed for the job told Weiser. So even now, the kid practicing his scales upstairs or playing her favorite videogame in the other room might be the author of the next Angry Birds.

His success points to new app developers arriving at programming by non-traditional routes. A soloist who appeared with the orchestra that she was recruited for a programming position at Apple, Inc. because

And he or she might just write that app right here in Erie.




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ERIE Entrepreneurship

contributed by Liz Wilson Director of Marketing & Communication, Ben Franklin Technology Partners

When I tell people that Ben Franklin Technology Partners has been investing in technology startups and small manufacturers for more than thirty years, someone usually asks, “What do you mean when you say technology - is that just software, computers, or new apps?” The short answer is a tech-product is one that is not easily duplicated and can be protected in some way - either through patents, trademarks, encryption, or just plain old “secret sauce.” Since I’ve been with Ben Franklin, I’ve had the privilege of meeting countless numbers of talented, gutsy entrepreneurs. Many of them came to us through our BIG IDEA Business Plan Competitions, or in this region, through our Erie Innovation Fund, which is a partnership with the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority. I wish I had the space to highlight all the folks in our portfolio, because they deserve a huge round of applause. But here’s a quick glimpse at some of our recent investments in Erie-based entrepreneurs and their tech-companies. If you’ve seen car insurance commercials on TV, then you know that the latest trend is to target the “safest” drivers by using telematics (the car communicates information about your driving habits). Using this information, Dr. Jeff Stempora, CEO of Advanced Insurance Products and Services, has developed advanced proprietary actuarial models, insurance risk scores, software applications, and support services that offer greater predictive power to insurance companies. Plagued my chronic allergies? Robert Schultz/CEO and his team at Direct Allergy provide a turnkey service to primary-care doctors for testing, diagnosis, and treatment of patients who suffer from all types of allergies. The service is especially important to those FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

in underserved rural areas, who can’t always make the trip to a specialist. Thousands of in-home medical equipment distributors across the nation must love Jim Noland and his company, Conduit Technology. They have developed patent-pending software that allows users to complete all the clinical documentation required by insurance providers to purchase medical equipment for use in the home. No more piles of files! Are your maintenance technicians constantly climbing ladders to replace burned out lighting? The team at Green Lighting LED™ has 30 years of lighting technology experience. The company supplies innovative LED lighting products, bulbs, and technology to consumers in commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential applications. If you are familiar with the automotive industry at all, then you know that the design for brake systems hasn’t changed much since the days of the Model-T. Aaron Lewis, with Lewis Designs LLC is in the process of shaking that up with his innovative spherical brake designs that perform more efficiently, improve control, and meet the stringent federal motor safety standards.

TM Filtration, a Division of TM Industrial Supply has been located in Erie, PA for 35 years. You may have even seen a story about them in the local newspaper regarding Erie’s own water filtration equipment. Carl Steiner and his team are now designing industrial filtration equipment that can be used to serve the ever-expanding Shale Gas industry. Last, but not least, many of you know Dan Bensur from his creative agency. In 2006, he and his team started MDot, a wireless loyalty and coupon processing company that went on to win the Amazon Startup Challenge in 2010 and was later acquired by InMar Holdings. Let me wrap up by saying, all entrepreneurial activity is great for a community. If you are starting a restaurant, retail business or you want to do contract manufacturing or website development, there are a variety of traditional sources of capital such as bank loans and local/regional/state economic development funds available to help you. Contact the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, and they can point you in the right direction. If your plan is to get into a new market with your own proprietary tech-product or device, let’s talk.

Erie Growth & Technology


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“Research, new techniques and groundbreaking technologies in cardiac electrophysiology are advancing at a breathtaking pace.” FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

Erie Growth & Technology


“Improving outcomes in a meaningful way for our patients is the highest priority,” says Jay Patel, MD, a cardiac electrophysiologist at St. Vincent Health Center and willing volunteer of the American Heart Association. “If we can find technology to do that, we will work towards securing it.”

research. No matter where a new device or technology is developed, the community benefits in the long run. Our division does strive to keep money in the affiliate region and in 2013, UPMC Pittsburgh received 6.5 million in research funding.”

Re searc h, new tec hniq ue s and g round break ing technologies in cardiac electrophysiology—the studying, diagnosing, and treating of the electrical activities of the heart—and other cardiovascular specialties are advancing at a breathtaking pace.


Funding some of that research is what the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) do. Combined, they are currently funding over 2,000 studies and trials across the nation. In addition they make it possible for physicians and hospitals to learn about advances in the cardiology and stroke fields through numerous professional conferences, seminars and webinars each year. Gina Klofft, Division Director for AHA/ASA, says, “The association is committed to funding cardiac and stroke


Procedures that eliminate the need for fully opening the chest cavity are highly desirable. One such kind of noninvasive technology is the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement or TAVR. This procedure replaces openheart surgery by allowing the surgeon to position a new, expandable valve with a catheter into the impaired valve without the damaged structure having to be removed. According to Patel, the standard four to six hour openchest procedure can be reduced to 60 to 90 minutes of non-invasive surgery. TAVR is particularly designed for those patients who are not candidates for standard procedures due to their age or condition. Another new and non-invasive technology available today is a new type of defibrillation device. For more than three decades now, any pacemaker/defibrillation unit had leads


Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

that were threaded through the veins from the embedded power pack to the heart. Problems could crop up with the leads, however, and replacing them required more surgery. Also, some patients could not tolerate the leads traversing their veins and had to have the wires outside their bodies. Now, a new subcutaneous implantable cardioverterdefibrillator, or S-ICD, is available. This system carries the signal from the power pack to the heart directly under the skin (subcutaneously) where it attaches outside the heart near the sternum (breastbone). This new system reduces the number of leads to one and greatly improves access to the lead if repairs are needed. Other technologies are improving the detection and treatment of heart arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms), too. The FDA approved one type of device in 2012 and others are in the works. Most center on allowing practitioners to map—in real time—the specific focal sources or “rotors” that cause the incorrect electrical impulses that throw off the heart’s normal beating. Once found, energy can be applied to the tissue (called ablation) to prevent the rotor from sending the impulse. Dr. Patel says that the procedure increases the successful cure rate to 80%, a ten percent increase over earlier techniques.


Atrial fibrillation or AF, a type of arrhythmia, often puts people at a higher risk for stroke. AF increases the possibility of blood clots forming, especially in the left atrial appendage, where sluggish blood tends to eddy and clot. Blood thinners are typically prescribed to prevent clot formation. For those who cannot tolerate blood-thinning medicine, cardiac surgeons oftentimes perform surgery to tie off the appendage. Soon, a new device will allow for a minimally-invasive procedure called left atrial appendage occlusion. The device will make it possible for the cardiac electrophysiologist to affix a barrier, via a catheter, to close off the appendage without major surgery. The technology should be available by the end of 2014.


In an attempt to reduce the number of heart related hospitalizations and create more stability for people in their everyday life, science is getting the patient involved in self-management. Currently in trials is a two-part device that monitors the amount of pressure in the left atrium of the heart to help patients track and adjust—with the guidance of a physician—their own medication on a daily basis. A sensor is implanted in the heart and the patient uses a handheld portable device to retrieve information


“To fund the research, programs and local outreach, the local division conducts fundraisers like the Open Your Heart annual campaign, the Heart Walk and the Heart Ball.” from the sensor. The patient can then—through electronic pharmacy software—receive directions for altering medication or making lifestyle adjustments. One new piece of technology will give physicians more tactile feedback while doing catheter ablations. Using 3-D anatomic mapping and special spring-loaded catheters, cardiac electrophysiologists will be able to tell when they are applying too much or too little pressure on heart tissue. “When your hand is at the other end of a three or four foot catheter, you have difficulty telling if you are implementing the procedure appropriately,” says Dr. Patel. “The new device will give us a greater sense of how best to proceed.”


New technological bells and whistles won’t guarantee quality patient care, however. That’s where the American Heart Association steps in to guide hospitals in best practices for various areas of cardiac and stroke care. Get With The Guidelines is a program for hospitals, physicians and staff that is a structured plan of evidencebased steps that institutions must take from the time a patient walks through the door until he or she is released. Each facility that participates in the program reports all activities, which is collected and evaluated. The institution is then rated on their performance in each category of guidelines, based on benchmarks reached. Gina Klofft says the goal is perfect patient care. “It has been proven that when medical professionals utilize the most up-todate treatment guidelines, patient outcomes improve,” she comments. Insurance providers are on board, too, offering incentives to the institutions that participate in the Get With The Guidelines program. Another AHA initiative, called Mission:Lifeline, focuses on improving outcomes for people who have heart attacks outside of the hospital. Like “Guidelines,” it offers organized benchmarks of care for first responders,

Erie Growth & Technology

e m e rg e n c y ro o m s , re f e r r i ng a g e n c i e s a n d t h e c o m m u n i t y. “Mission:Lifeline benchmarks for the professional are similar to those in Guidelines, but it can also be as simple as reminding people to call 911 rather than driving themselves to the ER,” says Klofft. Through both of these programs and other educational and outreach activities, the local division of the AHA and ASA touches the lives of more than 20,500 people in this area each year. To fund the research, programs and local outreach, the local division conducts fundraisers like the Open Your Heart annual campaign, the Heart Walk and the Heart Ball. This year’s Heart Ball on February 22, will be celebrating its 19th year. The event typically attracts more than 400 attendees and offers a gourmet dinner, musical entertainment and live and silent auctions. The evening also features an “Open Your Heart” presentation that marks the end of the annual campaign and highlights the story of a local child who is living with heart disease.

Heart Ball


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Entertainment: Tennessee Back Porch

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According to Klofft, funds raised during the 2014 Heart Ball will help the Erie division of the American Heart Association continue its mission which is to build healthier lives free from cardiovascular diseases and stroke. “Our goal this year is $400,000,” she comments. The Heart Ball helps the community celebrate the success that the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association has achieved. With their commitment to support the creation of new technology, it may be safe bet to say that our hearts are in good hands.


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“We see ourselves as historians, capturing public opinion as it exists at one moment in time.” FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

Erie Growth & Technology

Public Polling Digital Age


Over the last two election cycles, technology and the digital world have taken center stage at every level from small, local elections to presidential primaries. Campaigns use multiple avenues like social media, websites, and email blasts to reach voters. Another method - public polling and phone banking - has been a long-standing part of any political strategy and has proven it’s here to stay. Many of these practices transition from campaign season to year-round endeavors to satisfy the 24/7 news cycle and society’s demand for up-to-the-minute information. In fact, one local organization is making its mark on the map to capture public opinion and is proving to be a force to be reckoned with here in Erie’s backyard. The Center for Applied Politics began in 2009 within Mercyhurst’s political science department and Dr. Joe Morris, a professor at the university. A year later, the program conducted its first poll during the midterm elections, focusing on the race between then-incumbent


Kathy Dahlkemper and challenger Mike Kelly in the 3rd Congressional District. Currently in its fourth year, the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics (MCAP) has grown exponentially. What started as a small operation out of the Hammermill Library, now resides in the Center for Academic Engagement, a $10.5 million facility, with 31 interview stations and state-of-the-art software for data collection and statistical analysis. The center uses three programs - votemapping.com, Survey System, and a statistical analysis program, SPSS - to select a random, representative sample population, record survey respondents, and analyze the data. When running at full capacity, MCAP can process up to 96 interviews in one, three-hour shift. Additionally, these programs allow the center to target as broad or as precise audiences as needed.


“We can set target populations based on ethnicity, age, gender, geographic area - something that was virtually impossible 20 years ago,” said Morris. “We see ourselves as historians, capturing public opinion as it exists at one moment in time.” Additionally, the center has become an integral part of academic life for some students. Throughout the year, over 100 students volunteer at MCAP across multiple areas of study including political science, sociology, and chemistry. In fact, all interviews are conducted by student volunteers or those enrolled in a particular course. After a year of interviewing, students have the option to participate in more in-depth work within the center. Students that have been on board longer than one year are responsible for training new volunteers or help manage the sampling process or write the surveys. “Mercyhurst has a long history of providing students with excellent classroom and intellectual development,” said Morris. “Over the course of the institution’s life, we’ve picked up a focus of providing students with meaningful pre-professional experience to help pursue whatever career they choose.”

“Mercyhurst has a long history of providing students with excellent classroom and intellectual development.” Specifically, the center allows students to apply classroom theory through active participation in various research methods, develop stronger communication skills, and gain valuable experience year-round as opposed to a condensed summer internship program. The Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics is also unique in the way they conduct polls. Frequently, other polling programs like Franklin & Marshall or Quinnipiac University, conduct broad surveys and cover multiple topics. Conversely, Dr. Morris sees value exploring one issue in-depth to more accurately understand public opinion. “The questionnaires are designed to help the public understand itself and where they stand on specific issues,” said Morris.


Dr. Morris and his colleague Dr. Rolfe Peterson frequently discuss hot topics happening within the Erie community and across the Commonwealth. The goal? To identify areas of interest that will become increasingly important over the next several months. The center has conducted polls on hydraulic fracking, cyber bullying, gun violence and mass shootings, the economy, and presidential primaries. This spring, the center will conduct two polls: one on the legalization of marijuana and a second with registered voters in Erie County. And the thoroughness of the center’s approach is paying off. MCAP polls have been featured in the news on a state and national level including Pittsburgh PostGazette, Scranton Times-News, CNN, CQ Roll Call, NPR, and Politico. The polls conducted by the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics also have strong implications for the health and vitality of the Erie community, our businesses, and current leadership. In 2011, MCAP partnered with the Erie Community Foundation for an Erie County Social Capital and Civic Engagement Benchmark Study as part of the Erie Vital Signs Project. The study gave Erie residents an opportunity to see where Erie County stands at a particular point in time and in comparison to other cities. “For government to function efficiently and to have true economic development, we must have a high level of social capital,” said Morris. “The way MCAP has an impact is by providing that kind of information to elected officials, business owners, community leaders, and the general public.” Morris discussed the possibility of doing a survey every few years to determine where Erie needs to go and provide decision makers with useful information regarding economic trends, consumer behavior, and public opinion patterns. “Mercyhurst is an academic institution, nonpartisan and unbiased, and we reflect that in our surveys,” said Morris. “It’s our hope that these polls spark conversation in our community, that people read the findings, think about it, and start talking about how to improve Erie.”

Erie Growth & Technology

Keypad Polling Equipment Rental The Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership (ERCGP) uses TurningPoint response technology to create interactive presentations. Speakers simply go online to www.turningtechnologies.com and download the free intuitive polling software (which integrates with PowerPoint and other familiar programs) to pose questions to groups. Participants use handheld keypads, which you can rent from the ERCGP, and results are instantly displayed and gathered in detailed reports for further analysis. Features like detailed reports, data slicing, demographics, on-the-fly polling and competitions make TurningPoint the premier solution for assessment delivery and data collection.


ERCGP Member Rental Rate 1-100 Keypads = $125 101-200 Keypads = $200 Non-Member Rental Rate 1-100 Keypads = $250 101-200 Keypads = $325


• Keypad Rental is on a 1st come 1st serve basis. • All lost keypads will result in a $30 charge/keypad • A signed rental/use agreement will be in place when you sign out the keypads

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PERMIT # 298 Erie PA

208 East Bayfront Parkway Suite 100 Erie, PA 16507

February 27

Business After Hours is a members only networking event of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership.

5:00 – 7:00 PM Bostwick Design Partnership 2631 West 8th Street Erie, PA

Contact Cathy Noble at (814) 454-7191 x146 or cnoble@eriepa.com for more information.

March 20

5:00 – 7:00 PM Presque Isle Downs & Casino 8199 Perry Highway Erie, PA

April 24



5:00 – 7:00 PM J.H. Bennett Moving & Storage 1705 Raspberry Street Erie, PA

Profile for Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

ERIE Magazine - February-March 2014  

The February-March issue of the ERIE Magazine highlights mobile apps, who is designing them in the area, and other technology advancements a...

ERIE Magazine - February-March 2014  

The February-March issue of the ERIE Magazine highlights mobile apps, who is designing them in the area, and other technology advancements a...


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