Garlow Family establishes Fayette LaunchBox endowment

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Fayette LaunchBox powered by Penn State has received a pledge of $50,000 from the Garlow Family. Penn State will make a 1:1 matching contribution to create a new endowment valued at $100,000 to support Fayette LaunchBox programming in perpetuity.

Johnathan Garlow is the president and CEO of Ford Business Machines, a family-owned technology solutions company headquartered in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from Penn State and was awarded the 2020 Outstanding Alumnus award by the Penn State Fayette Advisory Board. He has participated in the Fayette Speaker Series, which invites regional entrepreneurs to share insights and inspiration with the campus community.

“It is such an honor to be able to support local entrepreneurs at the beginning of their endeavor. Programs such as this are what will drive our community and provide career opportunities for years to come,” said Garlow. “It has always been my ambition to build up Fayette County and bring it back stronger than ever. This endowment is designed to do just that. It will also serve as a lasting legacy to the entrepreneurial spirit of the generations that came before me.”

Established in 2018, Fayette LaunchBox is a no-cost business accelerator designed to help regional entrepreneurs and University affiliates develop ideas into commercially viable products and services. Fayette LaunchBox is a joint venture between Penn State and the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council, under Invent Penn State, a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation, and student career success. Fayette LaunchBox is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative, and one of 21 innovation hubs located in Penn State campus communities across Pennsylvania.

The facility, located at the Fay-Penn Economic Development headquarters, provides 6,000 square feet of state-of-the-science flex space, including 3-D printing and light manufacturing labs, as well as a 1,500-square-foot event center that can accommodate up to 70 people for meetings, workshops, training, seminars and conferences.

“This generous endowment will be used to empower local innovators, identify promising products and services, catalyze business ideas, and promote growth and scale,” said Lori Omatick, director of development at Penn State Fayette. “This gift will encourage entrepreneurship and create real, hands-on experiences that educate and equip local leaders, enhance economic potential, and scale business growth in our region and beyond.”

Currently, donors who pledge endowments of $25,000 or more will be matched 1:1 by the University. To contribute a gift to the Fayette LaunchBox, contact Lori Omatick, director of development, at 724-430-4190 or [email protected].

This gift advances “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit