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Next week: E&I Open House and Bill Donley Talks Venture Financing for GE Week

Posted: November 15, 2013

The Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program hosts an open house Wednesday and former Tangent Corp. President & CEO Bill Donley speaks on Thursday during Global Entrepreneurship Week at Penn State
Hear William R. “Bill” Donley tell his story of securing venture financing and large-scale entrepreneurship and visit the new space at 6 Armsby dedicated to the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program next week during Global Entrepreneurship Week at Penn State. 
 
The open house at 6 Armsby will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 20. 
 
Donley’s talk will be Thursday, Nov. 21, at 2:30 p.m. at 107 ASI during Dr. Mark Gagnon’s class. Gagnon is the Harbaugh Entrepreneurship Scholar and Coordinator of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation — "E&I" — Program. 
 
The two College of Agricultural Sciences E&I Program events are part of Penn State’s Global Entrepreneurship Week events throughout the week of Nov. 17-23 for students and anyone interested in entrepreneurship. 
 
Global Entrepreneurship Week, sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation, is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators who launch startups, bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
 
Visit Room 6 in the Armsby building on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to talk about your ideas for a business startup or commercializing your research findings with Gagnon, and the folks who run the College of Agricultural Sciences E&I program.
 
Enjoy some refreshments and learn about everything going on at the college around entrepreneurship and innovation.
 
On Wednesday, at 12 p.m. during the Open House in 6 Armsby, there will be an informational session about Ag Springboard, a student business plan competition that will be held in Spring 2014. 
 
The E&I space in 6 Armsby is new for the Fall 2013 semester. Previously, there was no formal, consistently available space for students or faculty to meet with mentors or gather to talk about their start-up ideas.
 
“Now we have a space to gather and help bring some ideas into practice,” says Gagnon. “It’s a physical presence for what we’re doing.”
 
On Thursday, Donley will talk about his experience creating and leveraging value and financing in large-scale entrepreneurship. 
 
Donley, Chairman of the E&I Program Advisory Board, is a retired 31-year senior management veteran with extensive experience in global materials and services businesses. 
 
Donley leveraged venture financing from PNC Equity Partners and led a management buyout to form Tangent Rail in 2005 from its former owner RailWorks. In 2010, PNC Equity Partners sold Tangent to Stella-Jones Inc., for $165 million, increasing its value more than seven-fold and representing a 98 percent gross internal rate of return. 
 
Donley was President and CEO of Tangent Corporation, a Pittsburgh railroad industry service company, during that five-year period in which the company was independently established, added new customers and more than tripled its profitability and net income. 
 
Donley had been the president of RailWorks’ products and services group and previously worked worked for nearly 20 years with Koppers Company and its spin-off Koppers Industries, where he gained across-the-board management experience in sales, procurement, operations, strategic planning and division management. 
 
Donley earned a B.S. in forest science at Penn State in 1978 and an MBA at the University of Pittsbugh’s Katz School of Business. He retired in 2010.