Annual Report 2017

From the Director’s Desk

2017 was another banner year for PennTAP. The metrics by which we measure our impact on Pennsylvania businesses, local communities, and Penn State students demonstrate that PennTAP continues to fulfill its mission. In many ways, the work we do can be categorized into the three Es:

Economic development

We are able to show businesses a clear path to reduced operating costs by improving the energy efficiency of their buildings. This frees up capital that can lead to reinvestment in the community through the creation of new jobs. We also help with the creation of new businesses and expansion of existing companies through general technical assistance, as well as prototyping and product development at the Learning Factory.


We offer students ways to gain real-world experience through participation in site assessments that help Pennsylvania businesses save money, as well as through involvement in Learning Factory projects. We are equally committed to educating members of the communities we serve, through workshops and webinars on a number of topics.


We are dedicated to mentoring student and community entrepreneurs as they pursue their dreams. We provide opportunities for them to succeed through participation in programs, including the Inc.U competition for students and the Invent Penn State Innovation Hubs for community entrepreneurs.

PennTAP fulfills its greatest potential when we are able to help Pennsylvania business grow and succeed, all while providing Penn State students with the opportunity to gain out-of-classroom experience to help them successfully transition into their post-graduation careers. If you’d like to talk to a PennTAP representative about how we can help you improve your business, please call us at 814-865-0427. We’re here to help!

Tanna Pugh, PennTAP Director

PennTAP 2017 Impact Data

PennTAP impact data
Counties served 37
Economic benefits $5.1 M
Jobs created or saved 25
Penn State students engaged 442
Individuals educated 806
Client cases 147
Client satisfaction 4.7/5

PennTAP Highlights 2017

Clip art of light bulb with dollar sign, monitor with graph, and an easel with pie chart

Energy and Environment Services

This team helps Pennsylvania companies conserve energy and reduce waste in their manufacturing facilities, lowering energy-related costs and increasing profits. They perform services including pollution prevention/energy efficiency (P2/E2) on-site assessments; economy, energy, and environment (E3) events; and training in building re-tuning (BRT), energy management systems (EnMS), ISO 50001, and Superior Energy Performance (SEP).

2017 Highlights

  • PennTAP’s Energy and Environment Team performed a total of 79 P2/E2 on-site assessments, E3 events, BRT sessions, and EnMS trainings throughout Pennsylvania.
  • PennTAP clients implemented P2/E2 projects that provided more than $4.3 million of economic benefits. With these projects, they reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 1.8 million kWh of electric use annually, as reported by clients. This is equivalent to the amount of carbon sequestered by 1,208 acres of forest in one year.
  • In the spring, PennTAP hosted a BRT Facility Operations Workshop, resulting in a total of 108 registrants. The workshop featured a variety of sessions on BRT and Building Operator Certification (BOC) concepts, formal in-class BOC training and technical discussions, success stories, and practical walk-throughs. A total of 98 CEU certificates and 27 BOC maintenance certificates were awarded to workshop attendees.
  • PennTAP engaged, coached, mentored, and educated more than 100 Penn State undergraduate and graduate students, collaborating with Penn State faculty and staff to give engineering students the opportunity to gain practical experience in the manufacturing sector. This academic collaboration has ensured the long-term success of both the Penn State students and the manufacturers. Additionally, Penn State students volunteered at PennTAP to learn about energy efficiency and the manufacturing world prior to their graduation, providing them experience and education they can use to build their résumés.

Learn more about our Energy and Environment Services

Innovation Services

This team helps individuals, start-ups, and small to midsized businesses with technical assistance, product development and prototyping, engineering design, and networking with University, government, and financial organizations.

2017 Highlights

  • The Inc.U student-run company competition had another successful year, culminating in the 2017 episode of “The Investment” television show, with six finalists competing for $30,000 in awards. The winning company, Reflexion Interactive Technologies, has demonstrated continued growth, and is now working collaboratively with Penn State concussion researchers. After efficacy trials are completed, the company intends to begin marketing its products to the K–12 school market.
  • PennTAP’s involvement with the Penn State Learning Factory continued to grow in 2017. A total of 21 companies were given an opportunity to collaborate and sponsor teams of students to work on engineering design projects. More than 100 students worked and engaged with Pennsylvania companies throughout the year.
  • The PennTAP/U.S. Economic Development Administration (USEDA) University Center collaborated with the Invent Penn State Innovation Hub initiative by advising new and existing Innovation Hub coordinators and working with student entrepreneurs through presentation coaching, business acumen training, and new product and prototype development. A new series of resource webinars provided students and Innovation Hub participants insight into areas related to resource location, technical assistance, and funding availability.

Learn more about our Innovation Services


Reflexion Interactive Technologies

Reflexion representative speaking at Invent Penn State event

“Reflexion would not be where we are today without PennTAP and Inc.U and the different resources they’ve been able to give, both financially and also through the mentorship they’ve provided. They’ve helped me continue and not give up my dream but to stay focused and stay oriented on protecting the next generation of athletes.”

—Matt Rhoda, Reflexion Interactive Technologies

Tech Cast

This is a photo from the Tech Cast energy assessment.

“I would like to thank the entire PennTAP team for performing a well-organized, valuable energy assessment event. The assessment teams were very knowledgeable and were also a pleasure to work with. We were able to utilize the report as a baseline to help drive continuous improvement activities in an effort to reduce our environmental footprint. Thank you and job well done!”

—Shawn McKinney of Tech Cast

Success Story

Tech Cast realizes nearly $10,000 in annual savings

Tech Cast, a foundry in Myerstown, Pennsylvania, contacted PennTAP for their assistance with improving the energy efficiency of their facility. PennTAP completed an energy audit with assistance from students from the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences as well as eight members of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The team assessed lighting, boilers, pipe insulation, process ventilation, and the use of compressed air, additionally identifying an opportunity to reduce the solid waste stream of used aerosol and propane cans.

By implementing the PennTAP recommendations to upgrade their lighting, repair compressed air leaks, and install insulation, Tech Cast has saved 479 MMBTU of energy annually, equivalent to $6,500 in savings. In addition, by using a single cylinder tank and reusable spray cans, Tech Cast reduced their solid waste generation and realized additional savings of approximately $3,000 per year.

Learn more about our project with Tech Cast

Read more success stories