Technological innovation drives industry advances and defines the Centre Region

Perhaps no other words define Centre County and the region as “technology” and “innovation” do.

Centre County, along with Blair and Bedford counties, is part of the I-99 Innovation Corridor; budding entrepreneurs are developed through the TechCelerator@StateCollege; technology startups find a robust support system at Innovation Park; and the Invent Penn State initiative is capitalizing on the university’s research strength in order to generate new businesses and business investment opportunities. The list goes on.

With technology and innovation so woven into the fabric of the local and regional economy, it’s not surprising that Centre County’s diverse technology companies are driving industry advances and innovation on a global scale.

Homegrown technology companies are creating breakthroughs in the medical device industry that are dramatically improving patient care. Their products and services are reducing the cost and time associated with the critical drug discovery process. Local companies are revolutionizing modern manufacturing. They are developing transit solutions for nationwide customers. They are leaders in the development of media technology and in chromatography. Again, the list goes on.

CBICC President and CEO Vern Squier said Centre County is home to numerous advanced manufacturing and technology companies that count as their clients some of the most recognizable corporate names in the nation, if not the world.

Corporations such as Sony, Intel, Samsung, Consol Energy, Constellation Energy, National Gypsum, DuPont, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and more are doing business with the area’s new generation of technology and manufacturing strength.

“Centre County’s advanced manufacturing companies might not yet be marquee names themselves, but they are creating innovative, transformative products; playing on the worldwide stage,” Squier said.

Centre County’s cutting-edge businesses are also proof that generating measurable economic impact for the region is not exclusive to large corporations. Here, smaller, but growing, companies are contributing to a healthy business ecosystem that is strengthening the foundation for overall business growth.

Squier said that having diverse, innovative companies operating here and receiving accolades within their respective industries is also an effective new business recruitment tool.

“The more we can do to highlight the businesses that are here, the more attractive the county and region become to business investment,” he noted. “A core component of our economic development mission from a recruitment standpoint is marketing the county and the region; its industry strengths. We are committed to effectively and comprehensively telling our story; that Centre County and the I-99 Corridor is an ideal location for new business investment.”

Punctuating these local success stories are the talent and Penn State research clout that also give the county and the region a competitive edge.

“Many technology companies owe their start to Penn State research and Centre County’s supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Squier said. “With Invent Penn State and other collaborative efforts, innovation and technology may play an even bigger role in shaping Centre County’s economy for the future.”

Lesley Kistner is vice president of communications and marketing for the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County.