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Student Start-Up Manufacturer, EcoTech Marine, Utilizes Pennsylvania Incentive Programs To Expand In Lehigh Valley

EcoTech Marine, a manufacturer of advanced technology products for the aquarium industry, founded by three c students in 2003, is expanding at a newly designed 36,465 square foot facility at 999 Postal Road, Suite 100, in Allentown, Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.

The firm said it currently employs more than 50 individuals. A need for more space caused EcoTech to relocate from a 4,000-square-foot facility on Southside Bethlehem to its 36,465-square-foot space located near Lehigh Valley International Airport. Company officials said its new facility, more than eight times the size of its original space, allows EcoTech “to continue its impressive growth trend, while also promising to bring new jobs to the region as it enables increased in-house product assembly and manufacturing, spurring the Lehigh Valley economy.”

“The last 10 years have been filled with challenges, achievements, rapid growth and new product introductions,” said Patrick Clasen, co-founder. “We have evolved quickly and, while we’re proud of what we’ve achieved, we know it is just the beginning.”

“EcoTech Marine’s journey is a great example of what can be accomplished when you have a great idea, the drive to move forward, and the resources to grow and create jobs,” Gov. Tom Corbett said. “Over the course of a decade, the company has grown from a three-person start-up to a successful small business with sales of over $12 million and international sales of more than $4 million.

“The commonwealth has been instrumental in making this company what it is today,” Patrick Clasen, Director of Finance at EcoTec said. “It is because of the state’s belief in college students with a crazy idea to make waves in aquariums that we are a success."

After discovering the commercial potential of this school project, the founders approached Lehigh’s Small Business Development Center for assistance in advancing their business. The company received support from the Department of Community and Economic Development, which included Keystone Innovation Zone funding and three Ben Franklin grants.

EcoTech also utilized additional commonwealth resources including the Pennsylvania Export Financing program, the Lehigh University Industrial Resource Network and the Pennsylvania Export Network. In addition, using the services provided through the PA Export Network, the company developed a distribution network of more than 26 distributors in 40 countries with approximately 30 percent of sales being international.

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