September 30, 2013

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will host the 35th Annual Celebration of Growing Small Businesses Friday, Oct. 11, at 8 a.m. in the Slifer Room of the Country Cupboard Restaurant in Lewisburg.

Speakers include C. Alan Walker, a 1966 Bucknell graduate, who is the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development; Margaret Miller, daughter of Charles Coder, founding director of the Bucknell SBDC; and Steve Stumbris, director of the Bucknell SBDC.

"The SBDC is honored to be celebrating 35 years of helping small businesses in the region," said Stumbris. "As it was when Charles Coder first expressed a vision for connecting the University with the region, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving in our communities and at Bucknell, and especially, at the intersections and interactions of the two.

Two local business owners will be featured as success story clients of the center, describing the paths they took from idea to business startup and growth. Attendees will hear of other initiatives sparking the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation at Bucknell and the region.

Three awards will be presented. The Small Business Person of the Year Award recognizes sustained business success and an ongoing commitment to economic prosperity in central Pennsylvania. The Innovation in New Product Development Award honors excellence in new product development and exemplary collaboration with the College of Engineering at Bucknell.

The Charles H. Coder Entrepreneurial Award is given in recognition of sustained leadership in the ecosystem of entrepreneurship at Bucknell and in central Pennsylvania. The award will be presented by Keith Buffinton, Dean of the College of Engineering at Bucknell.

Registration is required by Oct. 8 as seating is limited. The registration fee is $15; veterans may register at no charge. To register, visit, call the SBDC at 570-577-1249 or email

From its origins in 1978 as a program initiated by Mechanical Engineering Professor Charles H. Coder to connect his students with local industry to its standing today as an accredited member of a nationwide network of almost 1,000 Small Business Development Centers, the Bucknell University SBDC has had a transformative and sustained positive impact in the business community of central Pennsylvania.

Coder served as director of the SBDC from 1989 to 1998, following his retirement from the mechanical engineering department after 32 years. He was honored with Bucknell's Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1966, and the Tasker Bliss Medal for excellence in education and student mentorship from the Society of American Military Engineers in 1988.

The Bucknell SBDC has been helping businesses Start, Grow, and Prosper for 35 years in Union, Northumberland, Juniata, Montour, Perry and Snyder counties. The center provides education, information and consulting to entrepreneurs just investigating a market opportunity and developing a business plan, as well as to existing businesses seeking to innovate, grow, and sustain. Each year the Bucknell SBDC helps more than 30 entrepreneurs achieve their dream of starting their own business. In the past five years, businesses assisted by the Bucknell SBDC have grown their sales by almost $40 million and created more than 400 jobs.