[May 2006] – Ben Franklin Technology Partners BFTP Innovation Award is presented in eight categories, to companies or individuals who have achieved business success through Ben Franklin funding and assistance, have helped others to achieve success, or have improved their business through innovation. Each award recipient represents a person or company that exemplifies achievement in that particular category.
The purposes of the innovation awards are to congratulate winners on their success and achievement, to highlight the effectiveness of the Ben Franklin program, and to inform entrepreneurs and established manufacturers about the resources that are available to them in northeast Pennsylvania.
The 2006 Northeastern Pennsylvania Innovation Awards winners are:
Innovation Award for Entrepreneurial Achievement
The company that best exemplifies the quintessential entrepreneurial spirit: a combination of ingenuity, hard work, and innovation that has resulted in the creation of a successful and growing business venture.
Gregory J. Shemanski, President, Custom Processing Services, Inc., Reading
Custom Processing Services reduces larger particles into smaller ones while retaining the original physical properties of the materials, in a process called micronizing. A manufacturer of cosmetics, for example, might add micronized sunscreen to its product so the cosmetic could provide UV protection without changing its performance. Custom Processing incorporated in 1998 with a strong management team and a sound business proposition. Ben Franklin provided seed capital to support marketing, to develop and refine the business plan, and for other functions. The investment also funded work with Penn State Berks to perform failure mode effects analysis and test the company’s specialized process system, both of which are critical given the high precision standards in the particle reduction industry. The firm reached break-even after just six months of operations, and has enjoyed double-digit expansion of revenue every year since. Custom Processing now employs 30 people and has purchased two manufacturing facilities in Berks County.