Working in Center City Philadelphia, Angelo J. Valletta, was familiar with the work of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners and the work of its Northeastern Pennsylvania offices in Bethlehem.
With his work he has spent a great deal of time in the Lehigh Valley and got to see firsthand the work that BFTP/NEP was doing with early stage companies and existing manufacturers.
So when he heard of the opportunity to take over leadership of the organization with the pending retirement of R. Chadwick Paul, Valletta was determined to get the job – so much so that he kept putting off other possible leadership posts as he was waiting to hear back from Ben Franklin’s search team.
“It really dovetails in with my skills in nonprofits, financing and technology, being that I’m an engineer by training,” Valletta said.
In his career he served as Northeast managing director, business development and strategy for a global financial technology organization. He also worked as senior vice president and US Chief Information officer for EVO Payments International; senior vice president and chief information officer for SUN National Bank and vice president and chief technology officer for MRM/Legion Insurance.
Most recently leading a faith-based community foundation where he helped people with high net worth make investment or create endowments based on their passions and personal mission, he said the mission-driven nature of Ben Franklin was also a big appeal.
“I’m at the point in my career that I want to help businesses and the commonwealth grow,” Valletta said.
Passionate about the work that Ben Franklin performs in the community, Valletta said he has already dived head first into the job, even though he doesn’t officially start until Jan. 4.
“Over the last 30 days, I have navigated through the individuals who work here,” he said. “We do great work in this organization and the people…at Ben Franklin are some of the smartest, most caring and hard-working individuals I’ve ever met.”
He’s also been impressed by many of Ben Franklin’s clients and program graduates, noting that many of the companies that came up through the Ben Franklin system – OraSure Technologies of Bethlehem for example – are now stepping forward to come up with tests and vaccines and other technology to help navigate the current pandemic.
“Just a couple of Sundays ago I was at home and had CBS News on and all of a sudden the president [of OraSure] came on and I thought, ‘we helped fund that.’ It put chills up my spine,” he said.
So the work that Ben Franklin helps other companies do, and the jobs they create is a very rewarding way to spend his time, he said.
While ultimately Valletta will be president and CEO of BFTP/NEP, he gets to take on the role slowly. Chad Paul is staying on through the end of March and will continue with the board of directors, so Valletta will have his guidance as he learns the operations of the organization.
“Being able to leverage Chad’s knowledge and experience…that’s a blessing,” Valletta said.
As he begins the role he will work with Paul and the board of directors to learn the strategic initiatives of the organization and use that to help grow jobs by investing in Eastern Pennsylvania.
“What I see is a nice strategic plan that we’ll be able to move forward and build on that,” he said. “I want to make sure we keep fostering that growth from an organizational perspective.”
Ben Franklin board chair, Jan Heller, said she was excited to have Valletta on board.
“We are thrilled to welcome Angelo Valletta as Ben Franklin’s new president,” she said. “He brings deep leadership experience, background in multiple sectors and functions, and an ambitious, positive approach that will continue to drive Ben Franklin’s excellence.”
Valletta earned many awards for professional excellence and community service, including the Red Cross of Eastern PA Anita Lockwood Leadership Award; Temple University Alumni Diamond Excellence Award; Bank Systems and Technology Elite 8; Smart CXO Magazine Top 10; Computerworld Premier 100 Elite IT Leader Award; and CIO of the Week by TechTarget/SearchCIO.com.
He currently serves on the Eastern PA Red Cross Board of Directors; on the Temple and Columbia Universities mentoring program committee; and as the founder of the Louis A. Valletta Endowment at Temple University.
Valletta earned an MBA in Management from Philadelphia University and a BBA in Computer Information Systems from Temple University.
He also holds Information Technology Infrastructure Library and Project Management Professional certifications.
Valletta lives in the Greater Philadelphia area with his wife, and plans to relocate to the Lehigh Valley.n