Featured Image: Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff touring the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center.(photo provided by the Allentown Economic Development Corp)
Husband of Vice President Kamala Harris meets with local manufacturers and business owners
Allentown, Pa. — May 5, 2021— On Wednesday, May 5th, 2021, the Allentown Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) hosted the Second Gentleman, Douglas Emhoff, to tour the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center. The visit was the first appearance by Emhoff as part of the “Getting America Back on Track” tour in support of President Biden’s $4 trillion infrastructure plan. Emhoff was joined by Congresswoman Susan Wild and Natalie Cofield, Assistant Administrator for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Women’s Business Ownership. The group toured the manufacturing facility, met with incubation clients LightLab International and The Colony Meadery, and held a roundtable discussion with small business owners.
The building tour was led by AEDC Executive Director, R. Scott Unger, who discussed the impact of the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, AEDC’s small business incubation program, and the organization’s mission to support urban manufacturing. “We are delighted to host Second Gentlemen Emhoff at AEDC’s Bridgeworks Enterprise Center,” said Unger. “It is a great opportunity to highlight the significant impact our manufacturing entrepreneurs make in terms of job creation and innovation in Allentown and the region.”
Second Gentleman Emhoff first visited LightLab International Allentown LLC, where he spoke to owners Michael Grather and Tracey Silvert about the company’s photometry and testing. Grather and Silvert toured the group through the suite while reviewing their testing equipment and procedures. Emhoff’s second visit was with The Colony Meadery, a manufacturer of honey-based alcoholic beverages. The Meadery has been a client of AEDC’s Bridgeworks incubation program since 2013. Co-owners Greg Heller-LaBelle and Mike Manning walked the government officials through the Meadery’s tasting room and into their adjoining manufacturing space. Heller-LaBelle and Manning explained mead manufacturing techniques and the fermentation process.
The visit concluded with a roundtable discussion on the impact of the American Rescue Plan’s relief efforts on local businesses. The event, held in the Bridgeworks coworking space, featured six local small business owners who joined the conversation led by the three government officials. The participants included Dr. Kyle Flanigan of US Specialty Formulations, Emilio and Melissa Oma of Las Brasas Restaurant, Emma Ville of A Storybook Party and Rebecca Migdal and Andy Laties of Book and Puppet.
Bridgeworks Incubation Program Manager David Dunn worked closely with Flanigan of US Specialty Formulations in securing financing for his company through AEDC’s Urban Made program. Dunn stated, “It’s tremendous to see our loan recipient and friend, Dr. Kyle Flannigan, as a part of the roundtable discussion. The event was an opportunity for the Biden Administration to put boots on the ground and talk to small businesses face to face about the issues affecting their recovery from the COVID pandemic.”
At the conclusion of the session, Second Gentleman Emhoff conducted brief interviews with media and posed for photos before departing the Bridgeworks facility. “In our roles at AEDC, we talk every day about the impactful work done by our local manufacturers,” said Erin Hudson, Marketing and Communications Specialist. “Today, we had the honor of sharing that directly with the White House Administration. It was a pleasure to host Mr. Emhoff and his team here at Bridgeworks.”
About Allentown Economic Development Corporation Allentown Economic Development Corporation is an independent nonprofit organization, founded in 1979, whose mission is to make Allentown the best place to start and grow a manufacturing business. AEDC is committed to advancing the economic vitality of Allentown and the Lehigh Valley through its three core initiatives; Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, Urban Made, and Urban Sites, programs focused on assisting manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and businesses to grow, receive the support they need, and find a home in Allentown. More information can be found at http://allentownedc.com/
The Bridgeworks Enterprise Center was founded in the refurbished Mack Trucks Plant 4A in 1989. Over its 30-year existence, the Center has helped launch more than 65 companies in Allentown and helped create over 625 jobs. Today, the Center is home to AEDC’s offices and 11 manufacturers including Amorphic Tech Ltd., ColdEdge Technologies, The Colony Meadery, County Seat Spirits, HiJinx Brewing Company, JH Plastics, LightLab International Allentown, MTS Design and Manufacture, Polymer Contours, TRuCapSol, and Binah Winery. In addition to manufacturing suites, the Center offers coworking space and Flex office space of various sizes. Flex offices are available to clients within and outside the incubation program.
Information Provided By:
Erin M. Hudson
Marketing & Communications Specialist
Allentown Economic Development Corp.