Academic & Non-Profit Sector EDC Faculty

Steve Fafel
Portfolio Manager, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA

Session: Small Business Development & Entrepreneurshp Panel Discussion
Steve is passionate about startups, innovation, and technology and has a varied an unique 20 year background in technology startups, software development, leadership, product management, and projects on a small and large scale. Steve was the Chief Delivery Officer for Frontstream, a solutions provider for nonprofits and fundraising organizations. Prior to Frontstream, he was CEO of GiftWorks and led the company through its acquisitions by Frontstream. Steve is based in Lancaster, PA where he lives with his wiife and four children.

 

Julie Fitzpatrick

Assistant Director, Pennsylvania Downtown Center

Session: Community & Neighborhood Development

Julie's responsibilities include providing technical assistance to local communities for a wide range of economic development and planning services, and providing staff support on program development. Since she has been with PDC, Julie has been involved with a variety of projects in communities all over the commonwealth. She has facilitated a community visioning process in communities such as: Bloomsburg, Collegeville, Johnstown, Manheim, Vandergrift and Millersville. Other projects have involved developing Regional Downtown Revitalization Strategies in communities in Dauphin and Schuylkill counties, along with a Tourism Infrastructure Plan for the Route 6 Heritage Corridor. Lately, Julie has been working in communities that are outside of the DCED funding cycle to provide guidance and support in developing work plans and strategic planning activities. Julie joined PDC in January 2005 as an intern and became the Special Projects Coordinator in March 2005. Julie has a master's degree in Community and Regional Planning and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and Anthropology, all from Temple University. Her previous non-profit experience includes volunteering with WITF, Central Pennsylvania's public television and radio station, Mulberry Arts Studio in Lancaster, and the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County. She currently serves on the board for the Pennsylvania Community Forests Council.

 

Bill Fontana
Executive Director, 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. 

 

Victor Rodgers
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. 
 

Michael Unruh
Director, Shippensburg University Small Business Development Center
Session: Small Business & Entrepreneurship Development Panel Discussion

Mike is the founding director of the Shippensburg University SBDC and has been with the Center since it opened in January 2007. Mike was an entrepreneur in the construction industry with over ten years of small business management experience before moving into the university setting. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from James Madison University and a Doctorate from the University of Delaware.


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