Ben Franklin Technology Partners names 2020 Innovation Award winners

Last year’s iXchange at Zoellner Arts Center in Bethlehem. PHOTO/FILE –

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania announced the winners of this year’s Innovation Awards.

The Entrepreneurial Achievement Award went to OPTiMO of Bloomsburg and its founder, Michael Miguelez. The company delivers IT solutions to legal, corporate and government clients nationwide. Starting with two staffers 10 years ago, OPTiMO now has a staff of 68 and has doubled its revenue in the last five years.

The Incubator Graduate Award went to ChannelApe of Scranton and its COO, Jason DePietropaolo. The company is a modern warehousing and fulfillment company that has built a fulfillment network used by some top direct-to-consumer brands such as Rothy’s and Allbirds.

Signallamp Health Inc. of Scranton and co-founders Drew Kearney and Andrew Goldberg, won the Product Innovation Award. For healthcare organizations, Signallamp expands capacity, improves quality, and generates new net revenue. SLH serves more than 25,000 patients across seven health systems, dozens of group practices, and ten states.

The Innovative Application of Technology Award was awarded to SOLO Laboratories Inc. of Kutztown and its CEO, Lindsay Sokol Szeiko. SOLO Laboratories has manufactured custom prescription orthotics for podiatrists and medical professionals since 1983.

Ben Franklin invested $44,500 in SOLO in 2019 and connected it with Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Research to increase facility capacity and identify process improvements and additional quality measures. After implementing the recommendations, SOLO enhanced fixtures, improved efficiency, and realized a reduction in lead times of 14%.

The Manufacturing Achievement Award went to Effort Foundry in Bath and Charles Hamburg, CEO and William Easterly, president.

Effort Foundry is a supplier of high-integrity steel castings for the pump, power generation, and military industries.

Working with BFPNEPA and Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center the company significantly increased its bottom line from 2018 to 2019, increasing last year’s employment by 5% to 81.

The Frederick J. Beste III Partnership Award went to Eugene Lucadamo, the retired director of industry research engagement at Lehigh University in Bethlehem.

The awards, presented to the businesses and individuals who have achieved success through Ben Franklin funding and assistance, helped others to achieve success, or improved their businesses through innovation, will be presented at the iXchange event May 12 at Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center in Bethlehem.

The purpose 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 northeastern Pennsylvania.