Why Happy Valley?

Happy Valley research and innovation has made its mark on global industry, and its current status as an Industry 4.0 hub is poised to change the future. 

The region’s success can be attributed to several key factors. Penn State University boasts a long history of invention and decades of world-changing research. Businesses born out of Penn State go on to further impact an array of industries, with the help of top-tier talent and leading innovators. Happy Valley’s unique entrepreneurial ecosystem ensures these trends continue well into the future. 

It all starts with Penn State…

Penn State is a Research I University with a long history of invention and progress and that plays a big role in Happy Valley’s status as an Industry 4.0 hub today. 

Penn State University tallies $968 million in annual research expenditures; is one of the top 25 U.S. research universities; and is one of only three institutions in the United States with Land Grant, Sea Grant, Sun Grant and Space Grant status. 

According to the National Science Foundation, Penn State ranks first in the country in terms of research expertise in materials science, second in mechanical engineering and materials engineering, fourth in total engineering and fifth in industrial and manufacturing engineering, placing it above other top universities around the country such as John Hopkins University, MIT and the University of California at San Diego. 

Accolades for Penn State have piled up over the years. It boasts one of the nation’s best business schools, one of the best colleges of engineering and some of the best online graduate programs. Gartner, Inc. named the Penn State Smeal College of Business’s undergraduate and graduate supply chain management programs the top in the country. Aviation Weekly recognized Penn State as a preferred supplier for talent for the aerospace and defense fields. 

The university is responsible for the development of the calorimeter, which measured metabolism in animals; the synthesization of progesterone, which led to the invention of the birth control pill; and the first long-life rechargeable heart pacemaker. In 1945, the university established its Applied Research Laboratory at the U.S. Navy’s behest, which is still serving the American defense and now industrial and educational communities. 

Just last year, Penn State University researchers disclosed 154 new inventions, received 38 patents and executed 23 technology licenses. 

Businesses born out of Penn State research shape global progress

The businesses born from Penn State research, talent and leadership have shaped the economy for decades. The organizations that have come out of Happy Valley and changed the way we live for good start to add up quickly.

In 1945, the university established its Applied Research Laboratory at the U.S. Navy’s behest, which is still serving the American defense and now industrial and educational communities.

Haller Raymond & Brown (later renamed HRB Systems Inc.) was formed in 1946 by three Penn State staff members working on a single Air Force contract. By the mid-1960s, HRB-Singer had more than one thousand scientists, mathematicians, engineers, consultants and support personnel at its Science Park offices. Today, HRB Systems Inc., is part of defense contractor Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems.

Three HRB Systems Inc. employees founded Community Energy Corp. in the 1950s and brought cable TV to the area. Community Energy Corp. evolved into C-COR Electronics Inc., which manufactures solid-state and tube amplifiers. 

AccuWeather Inc. was founded by Penn State grad Joel Myers in 1962. Today it’s one of the world’s major weather forecasters and one of the area’s largest employers, providing meteorological data to more than 1.5 billion people daily. 

Chemcut, the world’s leading developer and supplier of wet processing equipment for photo chemical milling of thin metal parts, chemical engraving of signs and nameplates, etching printed circuit boards and metal finishing, has called Happy Valley home for over 60 years. The company has received the Pennsylvania’s Governor’s Environmental Excellence award twice since 1996.

Started in a tiny garage in State College in 1966, Supelco (now SigmaAldrich) manufactured packed gas chromatography columns. Today, the company develops a comprehensive range of chromatography products for analytical chemists.

Founded by Andy Charney in 1967, Scientific Systems became a world leader in the design and manufacture of high pressure positive-displacement piston pumps for a wide variety of analytical, clinical, sample prep and fluid-metering applications. The company served customers including leading OEM instrumentation suppliers in the fields of HPLC, flash chromatography and other industries requiring precise fluid flow at high pressures. In 2017, it was acquired by Teledyne Instruments, Inc.

Minitab was started out of the Stat Lab at Penn State and assisted in its launch by Ben Franklin Technology Partners. From their world headquarters in Science Park in State College, they help companies and institutions spot trends, solve problems and discover valuable insights in data by delivering a comprehensive and best-in-class suite of statistical analysis and process improvement tools. 

Chromatography company Restek Corporation opened in 1985 and, in 1987, invented the original Silcosteel coating, “as a way to make metal as inert as deactivated glass in analytical instruments.” The coating team evolved into its own company, now SilcoTek, while Restek still specializes in chromatography.

Blue Mountain Quality Resources was founded in 1989. They design industry standard asset management products and services uniquely designed for the Life Sciences industry.

In 1997, Videon was started by coworkers in the midst of a difficult corporate restructuring, and jumped into the digital media revolution of DVDs. The company quickly went from DVDs to BluRay for LG, to enabling Sony’s GoogleTV product, to the #1 video app in Google store, to 4k HEVC video encoding appliances in 2017.  

In more recent history, KCF Technologies was founded in 2000 by a team of researchers from Penn State. The innovative company serves the manufacturing and energy sectors with the power of IIoT, saving clients millions of dollars through avoided manufacturing and energy disasters — and KCF does it all with hardware manufactured by Homeland Manufacturing, a long-standing State College advanced electronics assembling manufacturer. 

Since 2007, ultrasound technology made at TransducerWorks has helped doctors and sonographers to improve their patients’ quality of life.

Best Town in Pennsylvania, Niche, 2018

Top 15 Best U.S. Cities for Entrepreneurs to Live and Launch, Entrepreneur Magazine, 2016

No. 5 Best Summer Festivals, Livability, 2013

No. 7, The Best Places for Business and Careers, Forbes, 2018

Top Adventure Town, National Geographic, 2011

A vibrant business community guarantees industry success for years to come.

Happy Valley is home to a vibrant community of talent, business leaders and university researchers who are all collaborating in order to reach a common goal: the continual advancement and success of their customers. They understand that, in order to continue, they need to set up the right resources for future businesses and generations of entrepreneurs.

That’s why Happy Valley boasts a wealth of entrepreneurial and business resources with proven track records. Zetachron Center for Science & Technology Business Development was one of the first to create an incubator for local businesses to grow and launch. Thanks to Zetachron, Innovation Park and other incubation programs in the region, Industry 4.0 startups such as QuantumBio Inc., Salimetrics, SinoCeramics and SoftGenetics LLC have launched into the global marketplace, offering high-tech solutions to their customers.