For over half a century, PennTAP has been providing an array of programming and technical assistance services that support the business communities of the Commonwealth with a focus on helping small to mid-sized businesses compete and grow. Simply put: they engage the expertise of their advisors and the resources of the University to make an impact in Pennsylvania’s business community. How can they help your business succeed? Read on?

Whether helping a business better utilize technology to be competitive; providing world class faculty, staff and students to help solve an issue; or educating business leaders about the latest tools and practices, PennTAP is here to help maximize your business. Through funding provided by federal, state and university resources, they provide most services at no cost to small mid-size enterprises. One of these services is energy assessments where a company with fewer than 500 employees can benefit from a no-cost Pollution Prevention and Energy Efficiency (P2/E2) assessment to help minimize energy costs and reduce pollution. An on-site assessment takes just a few hours, after which PennTAP follows up with a technical report summarizing conservation opportunities, project costs, available funding sources and corresponding payback periods. Senior energy engineering students often accompany the advisors on these trips, which provides an excellent opportunity for students to extend their learning experience outside of the classroom and see the inner workings of a manufacturing business first-hand.

That process alone would be of significant value to the companies participating, but PennTAP takes it a step further.

“As we develop the relationship with our client, we are not only looking for ways for them to benefit from the expertise of our advisors, but we are trying to identify other resources at Penn State that they could utilize,” Pugh says. “Connections to Career Services for recruiting Penn State students is just one example of another connection we try to make.”

Other programs offered under the energy and environment pillar include Building Re -Tuning, which is structured for school districts and municipalities who are interested in a no-cost or low-cost method of reducing their energy costs; and E3 – Economy, Energy and Environment, which helps food manufacturers define and implement strategies to reduce energy use, prevent pollution and promote productivity.

Because of their longstanding presence, many businesses are aware of PennTAP and the valuable services they offer.

“We have excellent partners across the commonwealth with economic development associations,” says Director Tanna Pugh. “We get a lot of referrals.”

For participating companies, the value added by PennTAP can be clearly calculated. Success stories featured on the PennTAP’s website praise the program for offering easy and accessible service that saves thousands of dollars in cost, as well as saving and creating jobs.

“We provide them with expertise and services they don’t have in house,” Pugh says, “And because we’re doing this at no cost to the company, we’re really adding to their efforts and trying to advance their expansion and growth.”

In addition to the energy and environment, innovation is a key focus of PennTAP’s. They act as coaches on the “The Investment,” a WPSU television show where undergraduates from any PSU campus compete for a share of $30,000 in funding. The teams form a company and present it to the judges while being filmed in front of a live audience. Twenty-five teams submitted videos for 2019, and the final six have been selected. PennTAP mentors and

coaches the teams in preparation for the two-and-a-half-minute presentation to the judges. Last year, the judges atypically gave the full $30,000 to one highly impressive team, but the amount can be distributed to various teams as the judges desire.

PennTAP is also partnered with The Learning Factory on campus. The Learning Factory “provides undergraduate engineering students the opportunity to tackle real-world problems utilizing classroom engineering design knowledge and tools.” PennTAP provides engagement opportunities with businesses in Pennsylvania, as well as needed technical assistance to help move company ideas forward. This engagement of students with businesses brings valuable benefits to both parties.

In addition to its robust programming, PennTAP offers educational opportunities through webinars, workshops and other events. PennTAP’s monthly webinars focus on various topics and, depending on the content, will draw anywhere from 30-70 participants with over 1,000 educated in 2018. Upcoming webinars include Getting Students to Engage with Your Facility—March 28; Step-by-Step Guide to DOE 50001 Ready—April 18; and Basics of Building Retuning—May 16. The online webinars and scheduled topics are available on the PennTAP website.