Philly’s TechGirlz to Expand Outreach Into Chicago

Participants in TechGirlz' 2016 entrepreneurship bootcamp present business plans at Villanova University. Photo by Maria McGeary.

Participants in TechGirlz’ 2016 entrepreneurship bootcamp present business plans at Villanova University. Photo by Maria McGeary.

TechGirlz, the Philly organization that’s connecting middle school girls to tech, recently announced that it will hire a Chicago-based outreach coordinator to reach more girls in Chicago.

The expansion to Chicago is possible because of a $125,000 grant from the global nonprofit IT association, CompTIA, particularly the organization’s “NextUp” initiative, which introduces teens to technology careers to spark curiosity and passion within them for STEM. Sound familiar? TechGirlz’ mission is exactly that.

“[There are] many more girls out there who need the inspiration TechGirlz and NextUp can provide to convince them to take a step toward a tech career,” said Charles Eaton, CompTIA executive vice president of social innovation.

TechGirlz has already reached more than 5,000 girls over the last five years here in Philly and around the world through an annual tech summer bootcamp and with TechShopz, a hands-on tech workshop. They’ve learned everything from how to design product prototypes to how to pitch before investors. Last summer, the Philly middle school girls in the entrepreneurship bootcamps presented business plans to a panel of mock funders at Villanova University. Read more »

Philly Soda Tax Draws in $6.4 Million for February, Exceeding City’s Estimate

istockphoto.com NoDerog

istockphoto.com NoDerog

The Philly soda tax brought in $6.4 million dollars in February, its second month of collections, the city announced Thursday morning. The figure exceeds Philly’s revenue projection of $5.9 million for February.

This means that so far, the Philly beverage tax has brought in a total of $12.3 million from its first two months. The tax garnered $5.9 million in collections in January, revised up from an initial total of $5.7 million. The city says totals will continue to fluctuate throughout the year due to consumption changes caused by events like holidays and weather.  Read more »

I Love My Job: Actor-Composer Turned Realtor James Sugg

James Sugg as realtor. Image courtesy of James Sugg.

James Sugg as realtor. Image courtesy of James Sugg.

Not many actors get rave reviews from the New York Times, and we’re pretty sure there’s only one such actor who now has a career in real estate.

Three years ago, Pig Iron Theatre Company‘s beloved actor-composer-sound designer of nearly two decades, James Sugg, suddenly pivoted from the alt-theater world, leaving his wildly successful and celebrated theater life behind.

How successful and celebrated was it? In 2009, Pig Iron won a prestigious Obie Award for Sugg’s performance in Chekhov Lizardbrain, “a Russian tragicomedy” about a mildly autistic botanist. A New York Times review at the time called Sugg’s performance “amazing,” “affecting,” “deeply human, simply real.” And as a composer, Sugg, who traveled the world doing theater with Pig Iron, created 17 original works including full-length musicals with the troupe. He’s racked up four Barrymore Awards for his work as a sound designer and composer. A shabby record it is not.

So what’s Sugg up to these days? He’s now a real estate agent at Space and Company, and the creative dad says he loves who he is and what’s he’s doing. Here, Sugg tells us why he made the shift and also reflects on the Philly arts scene and his time in theater.

I grew up in … Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I lived there from first to ninth grade. My family was there for 13 years. My parents worked for the Amoco oil company.  Read more »

Boeing Is Asking Pa. for $30M to Boost Delco Factory

The Boeing V-22 Osprey, one of the Delco plant’s products. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The Boeing V-22 Osprey, one of the Delco plant’s products. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Boeing is sending out an S.O.S. Last week, after Trump announced his budget proposal, Boeing workers at Delaware County’s Ridley Park manufacturing plant grew concerned that they might lose their jobs. Trump’s budget called for the production of a military aircraft produced in Boeing’s Arizona factory. Now the company is seeking a state grant to refashion a vacant industrial building at the Boeing Philadelphia complex, the Inquirer reports.

They’ve applied for exactly $30 million in state funding for the $64.9 million redevelopment project, that would transform the 23,000 space into an aircraft-modification workshop. If they don’t receive the funds the location might “be overlooked for a lucrative, job-sustaining military contract,” according to the application. Read more »

New Coworking Space Joynture Lands on South Street

Image courtesy of Joynture.

Image courtesy of Joynture.

The demand for coworking space in Philly hasn’t let up, and one new player in the local shared-workspace market is expanding Philly’s coworking perimeter: Joynture has set up shop at 417 South Street, right in the bustle of popular establishments like Fat Tuesday, Jim’s Steaks, and the TLA.

Perks for members at the 23,000-square-foot location include the usual unlimited coffee and beer on tap, free Wi-Fi, and bike room. But the space has some distinguishing characteristics in addition to its novel location. The space’s first floor will feature a retail Pop Up Shop, a brick-and-mortar setup for e-commerce companies looking to sell products for a limited time. Bigger brands that might be apprehensive about opening a location on South Street can use the space for a weekend or two to see if they can drive traffic there, Joynture co-founder Kyle Riggle told Philadelphia magazine. Read more »

10 Philadelphia Area Billionaires on Forbes’ 2017 “Richest” List

Clockwise from upper left: Richard Hayne, Josh Harris, John Middleton, Brian L. Roberts, and Richard Yuengling Jr. Photos by AP except Middleton file photo.

Clockwise from upper left: Richard Hayne, Josh Harris, John Middleton, Brian L. Roberts, and Richard Yuengling Jr. Photos by AP except Middleton file photo.

Forbes just released its annual ranking of the richest people on the planet and the list hasn’t changed much from last year, at least for the billionaires tied to the Greater Philadelphia area. Overall, the rich are still rich, though some like President Donald Trump have dropped more than 200 spots. Here are the Philadelphia-area billionaires on the 2017 list and what Forbes had to say about their source of wealth.  Read more »

J.C. Penney to Close These Three Philly Area Locations

Image via Flickr.

Image via Flickr.

J.C. Penney on Friday unveiled a list of the 138 department stores nationwide that it will shutter in the next few months, and three Philadelphia area locations made the list.

J.C. Penney store locations at the King of Prussia Mall, the Philadelphia Mills Mall, and at Willow Grove Park will all be shut down possibly as soon as June, the company said. Most affected stores will begin liquidation sales on April 17th.

The J.C. Penney location at Rio Grande Plaza in Rio Grande New Jersey, off of the Garden State Parkway near Wildwood, also wasn’t spared. Read more »

Neil Smit Bows Out As Comcast Cable CEO

Image courtesy of Comcast.

Image courtesy of Comcast.

After seven years as Comcast Cable CEO, Neil Smit will step down from the role on April 1st, and he’ll be replaced by Comcast Cable executive Dave Watson, the company announced on Monday.

In a statement Smit cited injuries he sustained from his previous career as reasons why he’s changing positions. And approaching 60, the executive said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his family. Before entering the corporate world and working in leadership at companies like Charter, AOL, and Nabisco, Smit was a Navy SEAL, serving as a member of SEAL Team Six. Read more »

Trump’s Budget Proposal Leaves Delco Boeing Workers in Limbo

The Boeing V-22 Osprey, one of the Delco plant's products. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The Boeing V-22 Osprey, one of the Delco plant’s products. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

As President Trump plans massive cuts across the federal government to fund defense, his new spending wish list leaves one local factory in limbo.

According to the Inquirer, workers at Delco’s Boeing Corp. war helicopter factory and division headquarters may be out of jobs next year.

The plant has already experienced layoffs, with the potential for more this spring, Mike Tolassi, president of the United Aerospace Workers Local 1069, told the InquirerRead more »

I Love My Job: Widener University President Julie Wollman

Image courtesy of Julie Wollman.

Image courtesy of Julie Wollman.

When Julie E. Wollman was inaugurated as the 10th president of Widener University in 2016, she also became the university’s first female president. With more than 25 years in higher education, Wollman has developed a strong understanding of the enduring value of education and of a college degree. And Widener surely isn’t her first go at leadership: Before making her way to the Chester-based school, which enrolls more than 6,400 students, Wollman was president of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. During her time there, she established Porreco College, a satellite campus in Erie, Pa. that offers associate degrees and certificate programs. She’s also held leadership positions at a handful other schools across New England. In this interview, Wollman reflects on her own schooling and tells us a principle she’s championed at Widener. And with a new administration in the White House, Wollman discusses leadership, Betsy DeVos, Sanctuary Campuses, and why she didn’t sign the letter from university presidents to Trump, which criticized his immigration order. Wollman also tells us how she likes to relax and the most important books she’s read recently.  Read more »

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