LaunchBox Speaker Series provides guidance for businesses navigating COVID-19

NCPA LaunchBox Logo
Credit: Penn State

DUBOIS, Pa. — The North Central PA LaunchBox and Penn State DuBois Continuing Education are launching the LaunchBox Speaker Series, designed to touch upon a broad scope of industries to provide education and enlightenment during the COVID Pandemic, touching on important topics for healthcare, powder metal, education and retail. The series has been created with the help of grant money provided by North Central Regional Planning and Development Commission’s Partnership for Regional Planning (PREP).

PREP is a statewide program launched in response to budget cuts that requires shared work programs among economic development agencies. The objective of the PREP initiative is to encourage a more coordinated and efficient approach to the delivery of economic development and business assistance. The North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission coordinates the partnership as one of four core providers in the area’s PREP consortium. Targeted service providers are encouraged to identify their unique assets and business assistance competences so that the group, as a whole, can identify where any critical gaps or duplications exist.

The development of a strategic coordinated service delivery plan supports the long-term goal of a coalition-based strategy for the provision of critical economic development services. PREP features a network of trained and experienced experts who can offer assistance and resources to area businesses through activities including one-to-one counseling, specialized workshops, online training and financial incentives, meeting the needs of job creators.

Penn State DuBois offers assistance to entrepreneurs and existing businesses through its innovation hub, the North Central PA LaunchBox. The LaunchBox works with all academic areas at the campus and the Continuing and Community Education Department to partner with other local resource organizations as well.

All programs are free and can be joined in-person at the North Central PA LaunchBox in DuBois, or virtually via Zoom.

Registration for all listed programs can be completed here.

For more information, contact Lori Sabatose at the NCPA LaunchBox at [email protected] or  814-372-3020.


Wednesday, May 12 at 6 p.m."Future Trends and Innovation Opportunities for Powdered Metals," Todd Palmer, professor of engineering science and mechanics, and materials science and engineering, Penn State

About the lecture: Palmer is director of the Center for Innovative Sintered Products and works closely with many powdered-metal companies across the world and with the engineering faculty at Penn State DuBois. A number of interesting trends are evolving in the utilization of metal powders across a range of manufacturing sectors. Much of this interest is driven by the growth in additive manufacturing of metals, in which existing technologies prominently used within the powder metallurgy industry are highly applicable and in demand. Trends in both research and mid-technology readiness level technologies of interest to the powder metallurgy industry and opportunities to explore new technology spaces and applications as well as growing existing and new market segments will be discussed.  

Tuesday, May 18 at 9:30 a.m."Resistance is Futile: How to Thrive in the Midst of Unprecedented Change," Chip Madera, professional motivational speaker and HR professional

About the lecture: Never before in the history of business and industry has it been more critical to create excellent outcomes, drive results and engage the workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for organizations to reimagine new ways to operate and to redesign work practices that safely optimize performance. This session highlights the results that Madera has helped many organizations achieve through the years and his strategies for accelerating employee engagement and ultimately producing world-class results. Madera offers leaders the opportunity to learn what change is, its pervasive impact on an organization and practical strategies to navigate the tumultuous waters ahead. Leaders will explore the beliefs, behaviors and actions needed to inspire and engage others in their mission, vision and values, as well as accelerate results, increase performance and create a workplace of change readiness.

Wednesday, May 26 at 6 p.m. "Education and Innovation coming out of COVID – The role education will play in the workforce," Jim Fong, lead consultant and founding director,niversity Professional and Continuing Education Association, Center for Research and Strategy

About the lecture: Through his extensive work in research and market studies, Fong brings a unique perspective on the education field and the trends that are emerging during and post COVID-19. Fong is able to relate his knowledge to a variety of industries and help many companies develop their workforce strategy and market positioning so that organizations can take on new challenges that will emerge. What he will speak on stems out of the pandemic and how it has effected K-12 and education and training trends. The new and fast-moving economy that will have more automation and infrastructure will no longer be primarily dependent on three criteria to classify jobs, i.e. a college degree, high school degree or not having a degree, but will be better defined based on new and emerging credentials that are both economically and demographically-driven. The emerging workforce of Generation Z and young Millennials will be essential to regional business growth and they carry with them more power and influence than other generations. The employer will need to factor this into the equation to attract, maintain, develop and grow a stable and essential workforce. Higher education, as well as new credential training efforts, will be critical to business success in the region.

June 2 at 6 p.m. — "I can’t hear you through the mask! COVID Communication Concerns for the Hearing-Impaired," Marla Ball, sign language instructor, Penn State DuBois Continuing Education

About the lecture: As a sign language interpreter and instructor who has helped interpret for many hearing-impaired residents in our region, Ball will discuss how masking has been an essential part of the COVID-19 process and how, for those with hearing impairment, masking may potentially complicate emergency healthcare situations. This program will provide a new perspective for frontline healthcare providers as they encounter hearing-impaired patients and the unique issues that are created when masking is a priority and how providers can make their hearing-impaired patients more comfortable during their care.

June 9 at 6 p.m. — "Social Media Marketing During a COVID and POST-COVID Economy – for Small Business owners," Izen Lingenfelter, owner, Blue Moon Media and Marketing

About the lecture: As the owner of Blue Moon Media and Marketing, Lingenfelter works with businesses to help grow their revenue streams by utilizing modern digital media outlets. He has extensive expertise in social media marketing concepts and will share with attendees the value of utilizing websites, social media and other platforms for business growth. This webinar will help business owers understand marketing essentials using digital marketing. Izen will review some of the "dos and don'ts" of social media, the shift of users with social media, and some of the best practices to make social media an effective marketing tool for businesses.

June 14 at 6 p.m. — "Welcome to the Center for Powder Metallurgy Technology" – Metal Powder Industry Federation represented by Center for Powder Metallurgy Technology President Bud Jones of Symmco Inc. in Sykesville, Pennsylvania

About the lecture: The Center for Powder Metallurgy Technology (CPMT) merges the academic and corporate powder metallurgy (PM) worlds together with a joint goal to promote PM industry progress. This progress depends on the business community and its drive for profit, and the educational community with its dedication to research and the pursuit of knowledge. CPMT was created to help bring these two very different systems together. This presentation will provide an overview of CPMT, including its ongoing projects, scholarships and grants.