When Happy Valley started making national news in rankings, many of its accolades were around lifestyle. The area was named “Least Stressful Town in the U.S.” by Psychology Today in 1988 and since then has been heaped with praise for safety, health, walkability, music scene and adventure culture.

More recently, recognition has reflected the innovation and resource-rich ecosystem available to businesses. Livability.com named it one of the best cities for entrepreneurs, with statistics on venture capital deals and how much funding business owners received from SBA and 7(a) loans. Personal finance company ValuePenguin named State College as a top city for new students to launch their careers and Best College Reviews calls it “one of the smartest towns in America.”

Here’s what one local company—Xact Metal, located in Innovation Park at Penn State—has to say about its experience growing in Happy Valley.

Competitive, Low-Cost Ecosystem

Juan Mario Gomez, CEO of Xact Metal, says, “We have access to the university, students, faculty and outstanding resources — we have a world-class 3-D printer right at our doorstep. It would be difficult to have this same level of success without this proximity and access to Penn State.”

From a talent perspective, Gomez says, “I have found that people who live in Happy Valley like living here and want to stay here. There is a huge amount of talented, hard-working people who are committed to making our company succeed. I don’t know if it would have been as easy attract the same amount of talent in a larger city.”

“I have found that people who live in Happy Valley like living here and want to stay here. There is a huge amount of talented, hard-working people who are committed to making our company succeed. I don’t know if it would have been as easy attract the same amount of talent in a larger city.”

The area’s history as a manufacturing mecca means world-class suppliers and producers are within an hour’s drive. Overall, it’s a competitive, low-cost ecosystem made of hard-working, adaptable professionals who love what they do.

“It’s so easy to get people here. Not just people, but good people. People that honestly want you to succeed. Combined with the work culture of students and fully-invested faculty, the work culture has an energy and optimism that nurtures success.”

“Before starting Xact Metal, I thought about moving, but I quickly found the culture so favorable, I asked myself, ‘Why would I move?’ Anywhere I would go, I wouldn’t be set up to be this successful.”
The highways into Happy Valley, “these great highways,” as Gomez calls them, are like arteries that connect it to key areas of the Northeast and the world. “It’s so easy to get people here. Not just people, but good people. People that honestly want you to succeed. Combined with the work culture of students and fully-invested faculty, the work culture has an energy and optimism that nurtures success.”