Advisor-in-Residence services adds expertise for early-stage manufacturers

ALLENTOWN, Pa., August 1, 2016 – The Allentown Economic Development Corporation announced today that it was adding Advisor-in-Residence services to its business incubation program at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, and that Martin Gilligan of Martin & Associates would be the first consultant to begin assisting its incubator clients.

Mr. Gilligan will be providing guidance on drafting contract terms and conditions, non-compete agreements, warranties, and other technically intensive documents. He will be visiting Bridgeworks on a monthly basis and clients can sign-up for a one-hour appointment with him in advance of his visits. Mr. Gilligan will also provide some document review services in between visits, communicating with clients via email. Bridgeworks clients can also hire Mr. Gilligan independently for services that go beyond the scope of his contract with AEDC.

“We are very excited that we are able to continue expanding the services that we offer our clients as part of the business incubation program,” said AEDC Program Manager Anthony Durante. “Giving our clients access to experts who can advise on a variety of business and technical topics is an invaluable service for their startup.”

“Often a company will approach their legal counsel requesting to have a contract drafted,” explained Durante. “When a lawyer is charging several hundred dollars per hour and essentially starting from scratch, the legal bills can become substantial very quickly to the detriment of a startup company. By employing the services of someone like Mr. Gilligan, incubator clients get a solid draft document put together at a reasonable fee that only needs a quick review by a lawyer. Plus, some of the initial guidance is at no cost since it is part of the services that AEDC provides to its incubator clients.”

AEDC has been testing out the new Advisor-in-Residence service over the past few months to see if clients would benefit from it. So far, the clients have taken advantage of the new opportunity being afforded to them.

“Our company has benefited from the new Advisor-in-Residence services in several ways,” said Tyson Daniels, president of Polymer Contours Inc. “For instance, we were able to review the integrity of the documents that form the foundation of our customer relationships. Additionally, we were able to draft three contracts while seamlessly tying them together with our existing documents, strengthening the fabric of our organization.”

The expertise and knowledge that Mr. Gilligan brings to the incubator is impressive. His consulting firm offers guidance on contracts, business formation, documenting intellectual property, and merger and acquisition transactions. Mr. Gilligan’s industry experience spans aerospace, military, energy technology, and mining. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Juris Doctorate, both from Loyola-Marymount University in California.

“I literally came off the farm and throughout my education and business career was the beneficiary of mentors, teachers, supervisors, and professionals who spent time and energy helping me to succeed because they saw that I wanted to be good at what I did. I want to play that same role now,” explains Mr. Gilligan. “Normally being cash-challenged, early stage companies may be tempted to ignore warning signs or ignore problem areas until they are faced with a serious problem which forces them to address the problem. When I see young companies struggling with what I consider to be problems with obvious solutions, it reminds me of all the trials I went through as a company owner, manager, and professional. The solutions are only obvious after someone points them out or you learn them the hard way.”

“We already have seen how an advisor’s expertise can be beneficial to our incubator clients,” said Durante. “If we can create a platform where some of those initial conversations can happen at no cost to the client, hopefully, we can head off some challenges that startups encounter. Entrepreneurs often don’t have the know-how or funding to have these kinds of conversations at the outset; we can facilitate that as part of our programming.”

Durante added that he’d like to add a few more Advisors-in-Residence over the course of the next year. AEDC is careful with vetting potential advisors, and most come via referrals from current advisors or consultants. Mr. Gilligan was referred to AEDC though Stephanie Olexa, one of the incubator’s current advisors and a local angel investor.

“When someone we trust and hold in high esteem makes a referral, we pay attention. This has allowed us to build a pool of highly valuable advisors and mentors to assist our entrepreneurs. The growth that our client companies are experiencing proves that mentoring is the most valuable and effective piece of our program,” concluded Durante.


About the Allentown Economic Development Corporation

The Allentown Economic Development Corporation is an independent nonprofit organization, in a private-public partnership with the City of Allentown, whose mission is to improve vacant and underutilized properties in order to create an environment where manufacturers and other companies can flourish throughout their lifecycle, from launch, to rapid growth, and onto long-term success and profitability. By doing so, AEDC is able to advance the economic vitality of Allentown and the Lehigh Valley through job creation and business growth.

Over the course of its 27-year existence, the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, founded in the refurbished Mack Trucks Plant 4A in 1989, has helped launch more than 70 companies in Allentown that have created more than 325 jobs. It is a member of the Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network. Today, the Center is home to ColdEdge Technologies, The Colony Meadery, County Seat Spirits, HiJinx Brewing Company, JH Plastics, LightLab International Allentown, MTS Ventures, Polymer Contours, and Zzyzx Polymers.

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