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Harrisburg University

Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

Hosted by:

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
326 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101



Sep 13
  • Registration Starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Sep 14
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Sep 15
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Lunch
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Tier 1 Sponsors
Tier 2 Sponsors
Tier 3 Sponsors

Dave Bonsick

President - Technology Council of Pennsylvania

As President and Chief Executive Officer of the Technology Council of Pennsylvania, David Bonsick leads an organization committed to enhancing the Commonwealth’s economic development and prosperity by fostering the growth of a strong technology industry.
Bonsick joined the Technology Council in May 2012 and has worked diligently in his short tenure to shape an organization that is successful at creating, attracting, growing, and retaining technology businesses in Pennsylvania. In his capacity, he is responsible for all aspects of the Council’s operations, including programming and services offered throughout nearly 50 counties in Pennsylvania and to over 220 members of the organization.

Ed Harrell

Entrepreneur in Residence, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

Successful leadership positions in start-up and turn around situations in the academic ( college/university/executive training), public (federal - foreign assistance) and private ( technology start-up companies, international business expansion) industry challenges

Board representation on early stage financial funds, instituitions and foundations and on early stage technology companies..

Pam Martin

Executive Director of the Ben Franklin TechCelerator Incubator@Carlisle

Pam Martin is the South Central PA Regional Portfolio Manager for Ben Franklin Technology PArtners and the Executive Director of the Ben Franklin TechCelerator Incubator@Carlisle. She manages programming for the incubator clients and the TechCelerator Entrepreneurial classes, held at the Incubator. Pam works with and identifies pre-revenue and growing companies in central Pennsylvania and advocates for them through the early funding process of Ben Franklin.

Pam Martin has 25 years of experience in operational management of both large and small companies. She was a member of executive team of four technology startup companies and executive for R&D and e-commerce strategy for three of the companies during growth phase.

Education: She holds a BS from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from Old Dominion University.

Michael Hund

Attorney at McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC

I represent publicly held and privately held businesses, as well as life sciences and other technology companies, particularly early-stage and emerging growth business involved in the commercialization of intellectual property and investors who acquire interests in such companies. I regularly counsel companies on compliance with federal securities laws, including exemptions from the registration provisions of such laws, licensing and transfer of technology to and from universities and other institutions. I regularly work with management teams in coping with the challenges of managing rapid growth following an investment by a venture capital fund or other third party investor. My practice covers a wide variety of corporate and securities law issues, including venture capital financing and other capital formation transactions for investors and for companies. I also handle mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, restructurings, and contests for corporate control.

I am a certified public accountant (inactive) and, prior to attending law school, worked with a large accounting firm. I served as an assistant chief accountant and as a senior attorney in the Division of Corporation Finance of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC. Prior to joining my current firm, I was a partner in two large Pittsburgh-based law firms. I am an adjunct professor at The Dickinson School of Law at Penn State where I teach Federal Securities Regulation.

Chuck Russell

Senior Partner, Collective Intelligence Inc.   |   LinkedIn

I'm a Central Pennsylvania entrepreneur focusing on Analytics, Big Data, Knowledge Management and Mobile Tech. I'm co-Founder and serve as Senior Partner of Collective Intelligence Inc, an information technology consulting firm located in Harrisburg, PA.

Prior to Collective Intelligence, I co-founded Infobuild Networks, an Internet research and collaboration company. Before Infobuild I co-founded Peak Technologies an Internet browser utility and Internet research company. Prior to Peak I started Innovative Desktop a Java server platform company who's Java Application Server technology was acquired by Peak Technologies in 1996

I live in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, with my wife Tara and our four children. I blog at

Specialties:Application of, big data and knowledge management. I love to build things...


Joe Chiarella

Founder at Colloid, LLC

It has been a pleasure contributing to the IT and software industries, initially in one Information Technology capacity or another, then in product management and eventually in business management. The first half of that time was in two large corporations, the second half was in six startups - five of which I was founder or co-founder - and for about two years I was the sole technology officer of a “startup university”.

Three of the six startups were/are in cyber security and the three product lines I architected and/or product managed have successfully protected literally a quarter of a billion computers from various cyber threats and helped generate over 300 million dollars of revenue, about $60 million in two liquidity events, and an average 400% return on investment for startup shareholders.

Currently, I am the co-founder and President of that sixth startup, Colloid, LLC which has completed R&D on the UberCrypt Framework - a new approach in cryptosystems. In June 2013, we published the math and algorithms and are actively soliciting peer reviewers.

Larry Dittman

CEO Execustar

26 years in various executive positions at AMP Inc. (now Tyco Electronics)
Former President/Chairman of an Interconnections company

Specialties:Electrical and electronics Interconnections industry

Catharene Garula

Account Executive at Flatiron Media

*Successful business development executive, passionate about cutting edge technologies

* Professional, seasoned sales manager who utilizes broad experience in online advertising, social media, mobile and traditional marketing to achieve maximum benefits and measurable ROI for clients

* Unique combination of skills to compliment and ensure sales management successes including CRM expertise, project management, training development/delivery, event planning, and professional public speaking experiences that all contribute to leading teams to excellence

Specialties:* Consultative Sales Executive
* Online Marketing Strategist
* Social Media Communications
* Executive Manager
* Project Manager
* Motivational Team Leader, Coach & Mentor
* Dynamic Communicator and Public Speaker
* Training Development and Delivery Professional
* Event Planning

Rich Hauck

Owner, Hauck Interactive, Inc.

I am an interactive designer/developer (and teacher) based out of Harrisburg, Pa., though my clients typically hail from outside markets.

I'm interested in making new contacts, but I suppose I'm a bit old-fashioned, as I only approve people I've met offline, have done work with online, or offer up something more creative than the standard LinkedIn invitation message. If you fall into this category, let's connect! :)

Specialties: Web Design, Web development, project management, interface architecture, user experience.

John Caddell

Strategic Services Executive at Nexidia   |   LinkedInGoogle+

At Nexidia, I help banks and other financial services companies use analytics to make their businesses more successful by understanding and acting on trends and patterns in their customer interactions.

Previously, in my 25+ year career, I have worked in software development, new product/market development and management

Scott Shirely

Scott Shirley is a Nonprofit Executive and Venture Philanthropist

I currently serve as Executive Director for Uplifting Athletes, a full service national nonprofit foundation serving the rare disease community of nearly 30 million Americans. I am responsible for the strategic planning of the national charter, providing leadership and vision for the organization, managing programs and operations, developing the Board of Directors and fundraising. I am an Executive Scholar from the Kellogg School of Management and have also earned my Masters of Engineering from Penn State University.

Prior to Uplifting Athletes, I held my "dream job" as a Project Engineer with Clark Construction Group in DC. I didn't envision leaving so soon, but when the non-profit I had created with fellow teammates during my time at Penn State began to take off, I knew running Uplifting Athletes full time was my new calling. We continue to nearly double in size every year and have recently taken on many exciting projects and partnerships. I have never lost my passion or desire to build things - only now I choose to build businesses and relationships for a greater cause.

Specialties: Non-Profit Management, Business Consulting, Construction Management and Professional Speaking

Pete Cafarchio

VP, Business Development

Helping organizations bring their email and file transfers into compliance, securely enable their business processes, and cut the costs of traditional document delivery.

Pete brings broad experience and keen insight in leading early stage companies through various stages of growth. He uses a combination of strategic thinking, "get-it-done" execution, and team building, to penetrate new markets and re-position existing products. Pete is well-versed in multiple departmental disciplines, understands their interdependence, and knows how to help them overcome common pitfalls as they work together.

Specialties: Business development, marketing, public relations, product marketing/management, direct and channel sales, strategic planning, team building, creative problem solving, information security, software-as-a-service, and cloud computing.

Paul Benninghove

Senior Digital Strategist - Tattoo Projects

In my career I’ve been fortunate enough to do many jobs from design to project management to business development and product design. I’ve been a part of the entire life cycle of both companies and products and enjoyed every minute of it. I have a passion for startups and the adrenaline and excitement of growing something new and usually different. With several startups under my belt and design, specifically interactive, as a focus always I feel I bring a unique mix of creative and reality to any team I get to work with.

Specialties: Interactive Design, Project Management, Business Development, Sales Process, Brand Positioning, customer engagement.

Past Companies: MudBrick Creative (Founder, Biz Dev), LightHammerFX (Founder, Game Design), iCepts Technology Group (Lead Design), AMP Inc (eMerce Team).

Published: USA Today, Central Penn Business Journal, 3d World Magazine.

William Craig

President - WebPageFX

William, with his 17 years of experience in the Internet marketing industry, has gained extensive knowledge of all phases of Internet services and strategy: information architecture, systems development life cycles, Internet advertising, ecommerce, user interface design, conversion rate optimization and search engine optimization, his current area of expertise. William's background in scientific computing and information architecture provided the foundation for CrawlerFX, a proprietary search engine for SEO, which contributed to WebpageFX's perpetual ranking as the #1 SEO Agency in the US, as ranked by Under William's leadership in 2012, WebpageFX was name by Inc. Magazine as one of the 5000 fastest growing companies in the US and the 29th best employer to work for in Pennsylvania. In the last 12 months, William’s Internet marketing strategies have helped WebpageFX increase their customers online revenue generated by over $40,000,000 dollars.

Chris Ridenour

CTO LISNR   |   LinkedIn

Chris Ridenour is a Cincinnati native and life-long developer. Outside of the small branching into the mechanical world (with a degree in Mechanical Engineering), Chris has pursued his passion for technology in school, free-time and work. During his undergrad, Chris worked as a software developer inside Procter & Gamble's GBS Innovation group. After graduating, Chris joined Rockfish Digital, one of WPP's premier interactive agencies. During his time at Rockfish, Chris worked with a team of developers to build mobile and web applications for some of the world's biggest brands. After participating in the Startup Bus in March of 2012, Chris made the decision to join Lisnr full-time as CTO to lead the product team. Outside of work, Chris stays very active in Cincinnati's thriving startup community. As the organizer of the Cincinnati Web/Tech Drinkup, Startup Weekend Cincinnati and CincyPy, Chris gets a chance to interact with much of the technical talent in the city and is working with a team to advance the Startup Cincy initiative.

Nikki Pfahler

CCO LISNR   |   LinkedIn

Nikki Pfahler splits her time between the business and creative worlds, at her happiest when she’s doing both. As a self-taught designer and marketer, she enjoys doing freelance work for local small businesses, startups and non-profits. Nikki is passionate about participating in the startup community, and contributes time to the local initiative StartupCincy, co-organizes Startup Weekend Cincinnati and serves on AIGA Cincinnati’s board as Startup Chair.

JohnPaul Bennett

Founder @

JohnPaul Bennett is co-founder of, where we help entrepreneurs and companies connect with software developers. Before jumping into the world of software, he helped Subway and Domino's Pizza open new stores in Shanghai, China. JohnPaul is more than happy to help and listen to those interested in starting a business.

Sam Coyl

President and CEO, Netrepid   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Sam Coyl is the President and CEO of Netrepid, a provider of enterprise-class technology solutions including hosted cloud services, colocation, data backup and infrastructure management. Since founding Netrepid in 2004, Sam has led the company on an evolution from being a wireless technology provider to an enterprise IT firm, through the acquisition of three other technology companies, and on the completion of projects for nationally-recognized companies like Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, BAE Systems, and Geisinger Health Systems.

In addition to managing the daily operations of Netrepid, Sam also serves on the Business Advisory Board for East Pennsboro School District, the board of the Harrisburg Academy, and as an advisor to the Murata Business Center. Sam has a BS in Business Administration from Regis University.

Chuck Russell
Ben Donahower
Steve Infanti
Josh Smith
Rich Krott

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