Innovation Park Welcomes Agency with a Goal of Seeing Students SucceedPHEAA Grows Into a New Space, Just in Time for the Spring Semester

One of the newest additions to Innovation Park, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is one of the country’s premier student aid organizations. Offering loan servicing, aid processing, and other types of assistance for college students, PHEAA operates beyond the state level as American Education Services and FedLoan Servicing nationwide. Created in 1963, PHEAA was founded by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and today provides its services to millions of students attending thousands of schools.

People of the Park: Tony De Luca Uses Pie as a Platform to Fight MSTony De Luca is the senior director at Siemens PLM Software, one of the more recent tenants to join Innovation Park, and already he says that the company is noticing the great difference Innovation Park makes within their work community, by, instead of isolating it, expanding it.

“In our previous office location we were isolated in a single tenant building aside a residential neighborhood,” he says. “It’s great to now be part of a community of professionals where we can interact, whether it be waiting in line at a food truck or looking forward to participating in future park events.”

De Luca and his peers are actually using these newfound connections in an interesting way—to support a worthy cause in a fun (and admittedly tasty) manner.

Every month, Ben Franklin Technology Partners hosts a networking luncheon at Innovation Park. The November event, held on November 16, featured an introduction by Dr. Barry Scheetz of his business, Elixsys Group, LLC. A new tenant of the Tech Center Incubator, Elixsys Group is a waste remediation technology company that is tackling the major global problem of coal fly ash.

Fly ash contains huge amounts of incredibly valuable resources, including metals and rare earth elements (REEs). Currently, the U.S. relies mainly on foreign sources for REEs, with China controlling 95% of the market. Massive ash containment areas have been building up for decades. But Elixsys has developed a patent-pending process of leaching the valuable resources from fly ash that is holistic, safe, and environmentally friendly. The technology can also be used on any other metal-containing source, like bottom ash, metal slurry, or contaminated soil.

When Rick Hall worked for a national‑based company that sold mobile LED light towers, the type used in outdoor situations like construction sites and large parking lots, he heard from frustrated customers who weren’t happy with the product—the towers weren’t durable for long‑term use and didn’t cast enough light. With a Penn State degree in agricultural and biological engineering, Hall knew there was a better way to create bright lights that not only saved money, but also reduced the harmful emissions produced from traditional lighting sources.

Find out how Hall is revolutionizing the industry.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners Hosts 11th Annual TechCelerator Pitch Event and Award Ceremony

On Tuesday, December 6, the TechCelerator at State College wrapped up its 11th session.

After 10 weeks of classes and one-on-one mentoring sessions, the five start-ups presented their business ideas to a panel of judges and their peers with the hopes of winning $10,000 to further their projects.