In 1998, leaders from the Scranton and Wilkes Barre Chambers came together to engage the Battelle Institute on a strategic evaluation of our region. Findings, recommendations, and a formal plan of action were summarized in the Battelle Report:
Great Valley – Pennsylvania’s I-81 Technology Corridor Growing a 21st. Century Knowledge Economy in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties
Six key strategies were proposed to achieve the Report vision:
1. Information Technology Growth
Seek to develop a core competence and specialization in the area of information technology – including new media and E-commerce.Information technology has been chosen as a focus for the Great Valley region because the region already has a sizeable base of activity in the related areas of information storage, retrieval, and communications, and information processing centers.
2. Technology Infrastructure Investment
Establish a technology incubator and a regional multi-tenant facility,sometimes called an accelerator, to house growing technology companies. The region would also benefit from additional transportation services especially improved air services, an important consideration for technology companies seeking a location.
3. Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Create a world-class environment for technological innovators and entrepreneurs. This can be accomplished by providing a comprehensive range of services to support entrepreneurs and new company start-ups,and encouraging greater entrepreneurship on the part of the region’s students and citizens.
4. Knowledge Worker Retention and Attraction
Focuses on people / talent – these are the most important assets to technology-driven firms. A skilled workforce will build a strong technology driven economy. Access to courses, certificates, and degrees that enable employees to stay abreast of changes and advance their careers are extremely important. College graduates should been encouraged to stay and pursue career opportunities within the region and the region should offer sufficient opportunities to attract talent from surrounding regions, the nation and the world.
5. Enhancement of Quality of Life
The region needs the kinds of amenities demanded by younger knowledge workers, such as loft-like or studio apartment rental housing, coffee shops, outdoor cafes, gallery spaces, health clubs, and restaurants.
6. Industry Assistance
To better leverage the capabilities of the region’s manufacturing base,and build strength in its service industries including health, logistics,GIS, and other areas, it is important to foster linkages among existing industries and ensure that companies are aware of and have access to the latest technologies. The region should establish a Manufacturing Technology Network to provide a forum in which the region’s industries address common needs and share information on successful innovative practices.
In 1999, utilizing the Battelle report as a platform, and with broad support of the regional leaders of the academic, public and private sectors, the Great Valley Technology Alliance (GVTA) was formed to organize and facilitate programs which promote Northeastern Pennsylvania. The stated goal was to become a recognized leader in technology-based economic development, with particular focus on the emerging new media/information technology space.
In 2004, GVTA acted on Battelle study recommendations to form the Northeastern Pennsylvania Technology Institute (NPTI) – an entity established to provide a coordinated effort to seek support for, and facilitate organized intellectual property development in conjunction with the region’s Institutions of Higher Education. NPTI’s stated goal was to create the next generation of technology-based entrepreneurs and companies in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Following a change in leadership in 2012, a new Board was empaneled and agreed to merge GVTA and NPTI to carry on their good work – the merged entity was rebranded tecBRIDGE.