LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus has appointed a manager to implement entrepreneurial services at a local facility designed to host startup companies. Mark Scaccia, a Greensburg resident with a long track record of industrial innovation and leadership, began his role earlier this month.
The Fayette LaunchBox is a flex-space area for local entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into commercially viable products and services. Fayette LaunchBox is operated as a joint venture between Penn State and the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council under the Invent Penn State program, which provided grant funding to launch 21 innovation hubs across the Commonwealth. Scaccia will coordinate efforts to generate a variety of services and funding for Fayette LaunchBox tenants.
“With the Penn State Fayette campus and capabilities, our LaunchBox, and Fay-Penn, we’ve got a state-of-the-art business startup framework,” said Charles Patrick, chancellor and chief academic officer at Penn State Fayette. “Mark will spearhead the additional business support components we’ve been developing to give our local entrepreneurs more of the amenities they need to be successful.”
“I’m looking forward to some groundbreaking work to develop a true entrepreneurial system both on campus and in the community. The intent is to build companies that can sell goods and services throughout the world.”
— Mark Scaccia, Fayette LaunchBox
Scaccia is a Penn State graduate with a degree in electrical engineering. He previously was employed in the energy industry, heading numerous projects that developed pioneering technologies.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me,” said Scaccia. “I’m looking forward to some groundbreaking work to develop a true entrepreneurial system both on campus and in the community. The intent is to build companies that can sell goods and services throughout the world, and we’ve already got a leg up with two dedicated individuals hard at work doing just that.”
Seth Caton, a Uniontown native, was the first LaunchBox tenant. His three companies are already selling information technology services and a patent-pending “Wishbone PDW” arm brace for small sidearms to improve shooting accuracy.
“It’s been a great experience here,” said Caton. “Fay-Penn built this wonderful space geared toward creativity and collaboration, and has worked with me to move my businesses forward. Penn State engineers shared their expertise to begin prototyping a design to be manufactured using 3D printing and high-strength plastics.”
Kristy Clements, originally from Connellsville, is a principal at Resonate Learning, the other current tenant in the LaunchBox. Her company designs and develops computer-based training, interactive user manuals, apps, games and simulations for both government and commercial clients.
“LaunchBox is invaluable to an entrepreneur like me,” said Clements. “It’s ideal for collaborating with other business owners to share ideas and work together on common problems all small businesses face. Having all the resources that Penn State and Fay-Penn bring to the table is an added bonus.”
Bob Shark, Fay-Penn’s executive director, discussed future direction for the LaunchBox under Scaccia.
“Mark’s role will be crucial in moving the entrepreneurial focus forward, not only in Fayette County, but also for the surrounding counties that are in Penn State Fayette’s service area,” Shark said. “We have a lot of great plans on how to accomplish that, but until now, we haven’t had the dedicated personnel to put those plans into action.
“The LaunchBox facility and associated programming we’ll be implementing will be a boon to our idea generators here, so that they can create viable commercial enterprises out of their new concepts. It’s another tool for us to diversify and grow our economy here.”
For more information about the LaunchBox and how it can help startup businesses, contact Scaccia at 724-430-4111 or [email protected].