Penn State Small Business Development Center names new director

February 09, 2009

Environment, energy are areas of new leadership’s expertise

University Park, Pa. — The Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has named Heather Fennessey as its new director. Fennessey, who has worked with the center for eight years, is an award-winning environmental specialist who has assisted more than 300 businesses and organizations reduce their energy consumption, obtain grants and loans for energy upgrades, and meet environmental and Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance requirements. Fennessey has served as interim director of the center since September 2008 and replaces Donna Holmes, who now works in the banking industry.

In its first 10 years, the Penn State SBDC, part of Outreach’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, has consulted with more than 1,200 entrepreneurs in Centre and Mifflin counties to help them start or improve their small businesses. Fennessey plans to build on the center’s impact through strategic community and University partnerships. “Through these partnerships, our business and environmental consultants will not only be able to help local businesses survive the current recession, but they will also be able to help them to thrive for years to come,” said Fennessey.

Fennessey’s many recognitions include national Energy Star awards and, as part of a team, an American Small Business Development Center State Star award. She and SBDC colleague Denise Bechdel were included in Pennsylvania Business Central’s 2008 Top 100 List that recognizes individuals, in the publication’s 16-county region, who fuel economic development. Prior to Fennessey’s work with the SBDC, she was a consultant for the National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence, where she provided technical and business management support for pollution prevention, waste management and remediation projects with the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and NASA.

The Penn State SBDC is located at 3 Keller Building on Penn State’s University Park campus. For more information, visit or call (814) 863-4293.

Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is part of a nationwide network of more than 1,000 centers. The Penn State SBDC provides free business assistance to small firms and business start-ups in Centre and Mifflin counties, enabling them to compete and grow in today’s highly competitive global economy. For more information, visit Penn State SBDC is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 80 countries worldwide.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009