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Falcinelli named top SUIT in Lehigh Valley

Dale Falcinelli

Over the past 30 years, Dale Falcinelli has had a hand in many of the Lehigh Valley's business successes. He’s sat on the boards of over two dozen companies, advised hundreds of CEOs and has made Lehigh’s VENTURESeries program a nationally recognized entrepreneurial powerhouse.

But one of his proudest moments came this past week, when the regional business community honored Falcinelli, the John C. Swartley Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship and chair of the VENTURESeries program, with the 2008 SUITS award for management consulting.

The event, now in its second year, honors Lehigh Valley business professionals who “demonstrate real horsepower in their service industry,” says the SUITS Web site. Falcinelli was nominated for the award by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

It’s an honor Falcinelli doesn’t take lightly. For more than three decades, he built a reputation as one of the area’s premier advisors to emerging growth company entrepreneurs before turning his full-time attention to Lehigh and its MBA program.

“Countless area companies would not be here today but for Dale’s gentle guidance. Countless others would not have soared so high,” says Frederick J. Beste III, founder and CEO of Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds, who introduced Falcinelli at the event. “He’s a one-man economic-development machine.”

Falcinelli now shares his craft with professionals enrolled in VENTURESeries, an executive-level certificate program that features the largest collection of corporate entrepreneurship coursework of its kind. Components of the program are also part of the Lehigh MBA’s corporate entrepreneurship concentration.

The program offers an unusual amount of insight in venture creation and has quickly earned a national reputation among the entrepreneurship community. Falcinelli has even been invited to talk about corporate entrepreneurship and Lehigh’s VENTURESeries program at such distinguished business programs as The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

VENTURESeries plays a significant role in Lehigh’s entrepreneurial infrastructure, which spans all four colleges and several research centers at the university. Lehigh has also built a network of regional partnerships and is considered the linchpin for the Lehigh Valley’s small business development efforts.

Ben Franklin is a strategic partner in that effort. Since 1983, the organization has provided resources to help start almost 350 companies—and creating over 9,300 jobs in the process. Their assistance has also helped companies located throughout eastern Pennsylvania retain more than 17,000 jobs.

“Dale is consistently looking for ways to support our businesses, providing help that repeatedly exceeds our expectations,” says Laura Eppler, director of marketing at Ben Franklin. “His conviction and commitment to help our clients is unmatched. He really is a true catalyst for developing and growing the region’s technology economy.”

The 2008 SUITS award particularly recognized the contributions Falcinelli made before he stepped into the classroom.

“So many of us have invested our time and energy into making the Lehigh Valley a hub for innovation and a dynamic place to do business,” says Falcinelli. “To be honored by my colleagues and friends in this way is really meaningful.”

Award nominees must demonstrate excellent quality of service, commitment to innovation, energy and expertise, as well as proving that they generated significant savings for clients.

"Dale's keen judgment, boundless enthusiasm and ability to make you feel as though you are the most important person in the world make him a perennial favorite among students and executives alike,” says Mary Theresa Taglang, director of graduate programs with Lehigh’s College of Business and Economics. “We are fortunate to have his talents at work here at Lehigh."

The Lehigh Valley SUITS awards program supports the efforts of Equi-librium, a non-profit foundation that offers equine-assisted services to individuals with special needs. The foundation primarily services Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton counties in eastern Pennsylvania.

--Tom Yencho

Posted on Monday, March 24, 2008

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