The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania in Bethlehem has tapped the manager of Allentown’s manufacturing incubator to take the reins of its TechVentures program at Lehigh University.
Anthony Durante has been named manager of entrepreneurial support and will direct and develop new TechVentures incubator programs.
He is replacing Wayne Barz, who was recently promoted to chief investment officer for Ben Franklin.
In the role, Durante will coordinate and communicate facility maintenance needs of the TechVentures buildings. He will manage leasing and other business arrangements with resident companies, and monitor and document key performance indicators.
He will also lead the 13-member Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network.
Durante had been the program manager for the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center in Allentown, a manufacturing and technology business incubator run by the Allentown Economic Development Corp.
The AEDC Bridgeworks is a member of the Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network.
Chad Paul, president and CEO of Ben Franklin NEPA, said it was the work Durante did with that incubator that made him the best candidate for the job.
“He’s done a spectacular job with the Bridgeworks. He’s brought it a long, long way,” Paul said.
Paul noted that Bridgeworks’ occupancy rate increased from 35 percent to 99 percent during Durante’s tenure. The incubator earned the Economic Development Program of the Year from the PA Economic Development Association in 2015.
“We been working with [Durante] for many years. When we interviewed him it was very clear that he was right for the job,” Paul said.
When Durante takes over, he’ll be leading a tech incubator that has also been growing significantly.
Paul said TechVentures started out in an 18,000-square-foot building but has grown through several expansions to its current 129,000 square feet of incubator space.