Director of Strategic Initiatives, Pennsylvania Downtown Center
Session: Community & Neighborhood Development
Bill Fontana began his tenure as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC) on May 1, 2000. He is responsible for the management and implementation of services for PDC - the statewide non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and support the vitality of Pennsylvania’s downtowns and traditional neighborhood business districts. Mr. Fontana brings more than 33 years of increasingly responsible experience in planning, business district enhancement and community redevelopment to PDC and its members. Prior to joining PDC, Bill served for 2 ½ years as Executive Director of the Rahway Center Partnership, a New Jersey special improvement district. While there, he also served as Chairman of the Rahway Historic Preservation Commission.
Mr. Fontana worked on redevelopment efforts in western Pennsylvania from 1977-1995. This included time with the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County, the Allegheny County Department of Planning and the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development. He served in many roles during those seventeen years including: Commercial Revitalization Coordinator, Enterprise Zone Coordinator and Senior Planner, working in more than 20 municipalities within the County. He was a part of the public/private partnership that helped to lay the groundwork for the quarter-billion dollar Waterfront project that spans the communities of West Homestead, Homestead and Munhall.
Bill holds both a Bachelors Degree and a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Pittsburgh. His planning experience is varied and extensive ranging from work on multi-municipal federal and state empowerment and enterprise zone plans, to municipal comprehensive plans, to sub-municipal redevelopment plans and business district revitalization plans.
Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center State Director
Session: Small Business & Entrepreneurship Development
Ernie is an experienced manager/owner of a computer integrated manufacturing training center and agribusiness. He has management experience with three Small Business Development Centers and start-up managerial experience with a psychiatric health services program for a division of Geisinger Medical Corporation. Ernie has more than 25 years of management experience and earned his MBA from Penn State University.
Managing Director, Seedcopa
Session: Public Sector Financing - Federal Programs
Sherwood serves as Seedcopa’s Managing Director. Seedcopa is a private, non-profit organization created over 35 years ago to help small business get the money they need to start, grow, and expand their businesses. In this capacity, he oversees a staff of 6 professionals; interacts with banking partners throughout Pennsylvania and Delware; manages the partner relationships with numerous State-Wide Economic Development Agencies; and is responsible for the enhancement of Seedcopa’s process and menu of financing services. He is proud of Seedcopa’s history and its staff, with 85 combined years of dedicated government lending experience
Sherwood joined Seedcopa in 2007 as a Relationship Manager to further expand its SBA 504 loan program and to develop SBA and USDA facilitation services for banks looking to enter the Government Loan arena. Since that time, the organization has added new State loan programs to its offering as well. During those 10+ years at Seedcopa, over 375 loans across all programs have been approved. Borrowers have committed to creating over 4,800 local jobs through these Federal and State economic development loan programs.
Prior to joining Seedcopa, Sherwood spent over 20 years in the banking industry, acquiring experience and developing skills in Commercial Banking, Retail and the Investment departments. For most of those years, he’s served as a dedicated Government Loan lender, developing an extensive network of business associates and centers of influence. He enjoys many national and local guest-speaking invitations each year, covering the key aspects of SBA and other Federal and State government loan programs.
Associate Provost for Workforce Development, Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC)
Session: Workforce Development
Victor oversees all departments under workforce development to include: healthcare, adult education, industry skills and services, public serivce center, and continuing education and corporate training. Previously, he was the assistant director for continuing education and workforce development at Guam Community College (GCC). Prior to GCC, Victor held the position of Direct Services Director of the Mid-East Commission, where he was responsible for managing workforce investment programs in Beaufort County, NC, and Older Worker retraining programs in an additional 23 counties. Victor is a U.S. Nav veteran, also served as a manager and HR specialist focused on training and professional development activities earning a prestigious award for excellent in human resource programming.
A native of New York who grew up in North Carolina, Victor earned a master's degree in business administration and a master of arts in business communications and holds a bachelor of science in human resources management.