(Posted October 11, 2004)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Thomas Kepple, Juniata College president, will dedicate the Bob and Eileen Sill Business Incubator, part of the Juniata College Center for Entreprenuerial Leadership, at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 16 in the newly renovated JCEL offices in the former Alfarata Elementary School at 419 14th St. in Huntingdon.

"The dedication of the Sill Incubator is a milestone in Juniata's mission to become an active partner in the success of Huntingdon, Huntingdon County and surrounding counties," Kepple says. "This facility will be a beacon for our students who can get hands-on experience at building businesses, as well as an economic development engine for Huntingdon as entrepreneurs from the college and the community base their ventures here."

The ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. with opening remarks by President Kepple. After Kepple's remarks, the building will be accepted in a series of speeches by Demetri Patitsas, a sophomore from Huntingdon who is the student representative on the JCEL boad of directors; Marlene Burkhardt, associate professor of business and information technology; John Hille, vice president for advancement and marketing and chair of the JCEL board; Rick Peltz, representative of the Appalachian Regional Commission; and George Klaus, representative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Both Bob and Eileen Sill will speak before cutting the ribbon to dedicate the incubator, which will be followed by a lunch for visitors. Bob Sill, a native of Altoona, Pa. is a 1959 graduate of Juniata College. Eileen, also an Altoona native, is a 1957 graduate of the college.

The Sills, residents of Yardley, Pa. outside Philadelphia, retired from the Bob Sill State Farm Insurance agency. They started their business careers as owners of the Sill's Family Campground. They also are founders and board members of Jeff King's National Property Inc.

"This school has brought so much talent into the world that we felt this business incubator was a perfect way to help the students at the College and the people of Huntingdon County," Bob Sill says.

The incubator also is supported by grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The incubator is a two-story, 5,400-square-foot facility that was originally built as a classroom addition to the Alfarata elementary school. Ultimately, the rest of the Alfarata structure will be renovated to provide student housing.

The incubator is unique in that it offers a variety of services depending upon the needs of the entrepreneur. The incubator can be used in three modes: dedicated, hotel and virtual.

The "dedicated" mode offers services, storage, office and assembly spaces for tenants who need resources on an ongoing basis.

The "hotel" mode offers tenants access to all the services of the incubator, but provides no actual dedicated physical space. Tenants will reserve services and space as needed on a temporary basis and pay a usage fee.

The "virtual" mode allows businesses throughout central Pennsylvania to access the services of the incubator without being physically present in the facility.
The incubator also offers state-of-the-art business technology throughout the facility, including Smart Boards, presentation projection, video and audio teleconferencing and high-speed Internet connections.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.