University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Somerset Trust Company Entrepreneurship Program

A hallmark of the Pitt-Johnstown experience is providing out-of-class opportunities that give our students real-world experience and professional connections with community leaders in the region.

Through the Somerset Trust Company Entrepreneurship Program we are creating a robust and systematic means for identifying, educating, and nurturing entrepreneurial talent among our students and connecting them to resources to support their aspirations. These students will graduate with entrepreneurial vision and skills that will help them in their careers or that may lead them to be innovators, inventors, or new venture founders.

One of the strengths of the entrepreneurship program is the network of community partners who are supporting the program. Known as the Allegheny Innovation, partners include Lift Johnstown, the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, Young Professionals of the Alleghenies, Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI), Goodwill Industries of Conemaugh Valley, the Small Business Administration, and local entrepreneurs, investors, and consultants. The goal of the group is to contribute to local economic development by systematically matching investors with entrepreneurs.

The program has a variety of elements, including Pitt-Johnstown’s development of an entrepreneurial talent pipeline and physical space (the Cook Family Idea Lab) for idea/product development through which student entrepreneurs can compete for investment support. A gift from the Somerset Trust Company was made to Pitt-Johnstown in 2015.

We would like to acknowledge the individuals and organizations who have played integral roles in the expansion of our entrepreneurship program:

  • Somerset Trust Company
  • Phyllis Bandstra, CEO - Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley
  • Dr. Joel Bezek - Opthalmic Associates
  • Skip Glenn, Assistant Professor of Management - Pitt-Johnstown
  • Mike Kane, Executive Director - The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies
  • Mike Hruska '00, CEO - Problem Solutions
  • Nikolaus Hruska, Partner - Problem Solutions
  • Mike Kovatich, Operations Manager - MDR Global Systems, LLC
  • Eileen Melvin, CEO - UMF Medical
  • Jesper Nielsen '09, Owner & CEO - Croyle-Nielsen Therapeutic Associates, Inc.
  • Howard M. Picking III, Board Chair - Concurrent Technologies Corporation
  • John Polacek, COO - JWF Industries
  • Leah Spangler, CEO - The Learning Lamp
  • Linda Thomson, President - Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI)
  • Dr. Raymond Wrabley, Professor of Political Science & Social Sciences Division Chair - Pitt-Johnstown