Ben Franklin Technology Partners iXchange honors innovation – Reading Eagle

Innovation was the theme for the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s annual iXchange event.

Attendees gathered virtually for the May 18 event that included the presentation of six innovation awards to early-stage technology companies, established manufacturers and individuals who have helped the organization advance the technology economy of northeastern Pennsylvania.


One of the winners was Peter Molinaro, CEO and chairman of Berks County-based Adhezion Biomedical. He received the Frederick J. Beste III Partnership Award, which is presented to an individual whose “strong vision, dedication, and commitment have helped the Ben Franklin Technology Partners accomplish its goals.”

Angelo Valletta, president and CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, tied his opening remarks to the theme of the event — “Innovators; Past, Present and Future” — saying innovation is essential to the work of Ben Franklin Technology Partners.

“More and more we’re seeing the importance of innovation to accelerate growth, mitigate the downsides of that growth and address crises and improve the human condition,” Valetta said. “Innovation and technology also create highly paid, family wealth-sustaining jobs.”

He added that over the course of the last two years, Ben Franklin clients have applied technology quickly and effectively to address issues.

“From biotech companies developing vaccines and tests to telemedicine providers facilitating remote medicine to learning platforms allowing instruction at home and so much more,” Valletta said, adding that by creating and retaining good jobs, the clients of Ben Franklin Technology Partners are the foundation of a robust regional economy.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners invests in and supports companies to create and retain jobs, and encourages technology-based economic growth in northeastern Pennsylvania, according to information on the organization’s website.

Valletta said since its inception in 1983, the organization has typically been among the top 5% of most active investors in the U.S.

“In 2021 alone, we worked with close to 400 companies and helped clients create or retain over 7,300 jobs in northeastern Pennsylvania,” he said.

The Frederick J. Beste III Partnership Award was presented to Peter Molinaro, CEO and chairman of Adhezion Biomedical during the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s annual iXchange. (PHOTO COURTESY BEN FRANKLIN TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS OF NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA)

The innovation awards are presented each year to companies or individuals who, through Ben Franklin Partners funding and assistance, have achieved business success and helped others achieve success or who have improved their businesses through innovation, said Wayne Barz, Ben Franklin Partners CIO.

“In every aspect of his 18-year relationship with the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Pete Molinaro has been a productive, ardent and generous resource. He has served on the Ben Franklin board since 2003, and helped form, host and presented to Ben Franklin’s Greater Reading Medical Device Group, which seeks to build a synergy in Berks County to grow this lucrative sector,” Connie Faylor, regional manager, Greater Reading Berks/Schuylkill Ben Franklin Technology Partners, said in presenting the Frederick J. Beste III Partnership Award to Molinaro.

She added that with his entrepreneurial and corporate experience, Molinaro brings deep experience in medical devices and biotechnology, and has led Surgical Specialties Corp. and Adhezion Biomedical, both of Reading. She said he volunteers his time, energy and expertise to advise and guide Ben Franklin clients and other entrepreneurs.

Molinaro said he has seen the value of Ben Franklin Technology Partners on the community.

“And in many instances I have actually seen the networking resources and knowhow of the Ben Franklin team in transforming out-of-date, inefficient manufacturing processes to state-of-the-art systems and even dreams into realities,” he said in accepting the award.

Molinaro has served as the Ben Franklin representative on the Greater Reading Economic Partnership Steering Committee, on the boards of Tower Health and Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, and on a variety of boards and committees with Alvernia, Albright and Penn State universities.

The following are the other innovation award winners:

• The Entrepreneurial Achievement Award was presented to MXTR Automation, Williamsport, Mickey Locey, co-founder, president; Joe Mauro founder, director of product development.

• The R. Chadwick Paul Jr. Incubator Graduate Award was presented to US Specialty Formulations LLC, Bethlehem, Dr. Kyle Flanigan, founder and CEO.

• Product Innovation Award was presented to American Paper Bag, Sugar Notch, Ian Robson, founder.

• Innovative Application of Technology Award was presented to Tower Products Inc., Easton, Rick Principato, CEO.

• Manufacturing Achievement Award was presented to United Gilsonite Laboratories, Dunmore, David Jolie, vice president of manufacturing and distribution.

Following the presentations, attendees had the opportunity to participate in chatrooms with innovators that included three Ben Franklin clients, including two former innovation award winners.

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania is part of a four-center economic development initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

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