With a little help from our referral partners...

With a little help from our referral partners...

This Monday evening April 24th at The Coterie downtown (click here to register), PowerLink honors 27 individuals who have made a unique impact through their involvement with PowerLink. In today's blog, we celebrate 3 of the 27 honorees who represent PowerLink referral partners. Referral partners introduce us to, and connect us with, prospective business owners and entrepreneurs that may benefit from a PowerLink program. We are grateful to ALL of our referral partners and look forward to welcoming new partners in the years to come...
Aaron Aldrich, Bridgeway Capital
Aaron Aldrich, Bridgeway Capital: As part of our development years and growth years, Bridgeway Capital, founded by Mark Peterson, grew up side by side with PowerLink during almost the same 25 years. But the reason we are honoring Bridgeway Capital’s Aaron Aldrich is that he personally got involved when one of our PowerLink companies needed help. About a year ago, the owner of a local technology company, that helps day care employees get trained and certified in 50 states, sent a plea to PowerLink and Bridgeway. Her PowerLink board year had ended. She was on her own. And then her revenue inexplicably started to decline. Aaron rallied a few consultants from Bridgeway, PowerLink brought PowerLink advisors and we orchestrated a turnaround… together. Since then Aaron has gotten approval for Bridgeway to be a Referral Partner and help finance PowerLink fees so that more PowerLink companies can afford a PowerLink Advisory Board now and into the future. Thank you, Aaron! 
Tony Palamone, IUP SBDC
Tony Palamone, Indiana University of Pennsylvania SBDC Director: When the eMagnify program at Seton Hill University closed in 2015, Tony Palamone and Ellen Ruddock, Director of the IUP Center for Family Business were the first Directors of economic development organizations (IUP Eberly School of Business) to consider PowerLink’s new offer.

The governing board of PowerLink which needed to pivot again, decided that exclusive licensing of the program to a single organization was not allowing enough clients to utilize the PowerLink advisory board program. So in October 2015, they voted to offer non-exclusive licensing and delivery of PowerLink Advisory programs through two recruiting events per year and 31 Referral Partners. They also voted to be gender inclusive to allow us to serve all small and emerging companies through our Referral Partners. This change would also allow us to serve in 27 counties in Western Pennsylvania.

A veteran economic development executive and an admitted out-of-the-box thinker, Tony’s SBDC was the first to recruit his clients to receive PowerLink Advisory Boards. His first recruit was a manufacturing company holding an exclusive patent to an energy-saving system for banks. PowerLink recruited an Executive-in-Residence (facilitator and board chair) and a PowerLink Advisory Board for PowerLink’s first male client in April of 2016. The owner's company has already doubled in size, found seed funding, built a sales system and proposed their first multi-million-dollar project. Tony serves as an advisor on this board and feels that PowerLink is an important partnership for his second stage growth companies. Tony’s support has helped PowerLink gain entrĂ©e to other SBDC programs in Western Pennsylvania (University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Clarion with discussion pending with the Duquesne University and Gannon University SBDC’s). Thank you, Tony! 

Bernie Puzzuole, PAACC
Bernie Puzzuole, President and CEO, Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce: Another out of the box thinker, Bernie led the first Chamber of Commerce to agree to offer the PowerLink Advisory Board Program to their members. This chamber is one of the most active, largest chambers in the region and was willing to host two recruiting events per year to attract PowerLink Advisory Board candidates. A lawyer by training, having received her law degree from Duquesne while working as a full time 2nd grade teacher for 16 years in Mingo Junction Ohio, Bernie originally joined the chamber to network with other businesses. After serving as PAACC’s Board Chair, the PAACC Executive Director, Sally Haas (a passionate advocate for entrepreneurship in her own right) died suddenly and eventually Bernie agreed to take over as the President and CEO in 2011. Bernie’s chamber sits in the heart of one of the most vital growth corridors in the region and PowerLink began accepting applications from PAACC members in 2016. We now have 24 PowerLink Advisory Board clients underway and 3 of them are from Bernie’s chamber.  Bernie’s commitment has helped us with program commitments from the Monroeville Area Chamber of Commerce (just launched in April 2017), the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce, and Chamber Choice – an affiliation of 78 Chambers of Commerce across the state – as well as commitment from Vision Benefits of America, our first corporate sponsor of our Chamber sales bootcamps. Thank you, Bernie!