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WHO we are

Entrepreneurial Alchemy is a community initiative bringing together people, ideas and money in order to initiate, facilitate and support organic economic growth in the Greater Johnstown region.

The initiative is under the direction of Donald Bonk, owner of Good Future Innovation, LLC, and is a program of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. It is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

What we have DONE

1). Pitchfest to PiTTchfest@ Showcase of Commerce

EA led the development of the original Pitchfest @ the Showcase for Commerce in 2014 (now PiTTchfest in 2015) where local entrepreneurs from the community, and university/post-secondary schools compete for cash and prizes worth up to $10,000 annually. It is now an annual community platform for our best new entrepreneurs, much like the annual Ken Lantzy Football Game highlights our star local athletes. Tammy Barbin, Skip Glen, Ray Wrabley, and John McGrath at Pitt Johnstown, Bob Layo at the Chamber, and Linda Thomson and Michele Clapper at JARI were all key players that teamed together with EA to make it happen.

In 2015, Pittchfest grew again to include companies from Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, and Bucknell, as well as additional community applicants, each competing in separate categories for prize money and business assistance.

2). Industry & Intern Tour at Pitt Johnstown

EA developed and implemented the idea for the inaugural Industry and Intern Tour which took students from Pitt-Johnstown to visit  companies in the Greater Johnstown region during the spring and fall of 2015. This created internship and professional development opportunities for the students. This was conducted in conjunction with Pitt-Johnstown, JARI, and the Chamber. The program is now a permanent part of Pitt-Johnstown’s RealWorld Career Services Program under Bob Knipple, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Executive Director.

The goal is to introduce Pitt-Johnstown students to local companies to hear and see what they make and do. Internships may be a possibility, but it also allows local companies to share on-site knowledge and success stories with students who are now educated about the opportunities in our local economy for both themselves and their peers/friends.

Companies can sign up at any time, year round for the tours by contacting Janna Kohler (, Assistant Director of the Real World Career Program at Pitt Johnstown; here is the program website

3). EA & the Mobile App Grant: Allegheny Underground

EA acted as the lead grant writer in partnership with Pitt-Johnstown, ACRP, and the City of Johnstown, and as the project presenter to the  Community Foundation Intern Philanthropy grant board that funded the development of Allegheny Underground (, the local events mobile app and website for Johnstown/Cambria/Somerset, and beyond. It is now headquartered at Pitt-Johnstown under the direction of Professor Skip Glen and students Daniel Klein and Claire Letts.

You can download the APP for free at the Apple APP or Google Play stores on your phone by searching for AU Explorer“.

4). EA Monthly Entrepreneur Meet-Up (Open to the Public)

EA hosts a monthly Entrepreneur Meet-up in conjunction with Mike Hruska, owner of Problem Solutions, at the Idea Lab (Room 132 of UPJ’s Biddle Hall) at 6 PM on the first Monday of every month. The goal is to support and brainstorm with entrepreneurs (or would-be ones) so that each of them leaves the session with 1-3 useful/actionable ideas to help them develop and/or grow their business.

5). EA ALUMNI-EXPAT EVENTS: Professionals Reconnecting with our Region

EA hosted events in Arlington, VA (October 1, 2015), Harrisburg, PA (October 12, 2015), and Pittsburgh PA (November 11, 2015),  inviting interested business people and professionals who grew up in the region, to reconnect with the greater Johnstown, Cambria/Somerset counties region and beyond. We reached out to the alumni associations of 10 local high schools to ask them to help share the word. The Pittsburgh event had the largest crowd, with 87 attendees. We also had a presentation by AGSM, a private-equity fund based in State College, to help increase entrepreneurial investment in the region.

6). EA and the Strandquest-Simmons Entrepreneurship Program and Scholarship

EA is working directly with select High School students in the newly formed Strandquest-Simmons Entrepreneurship Program and Scholarship at the Community Foundation, to specifically offer them entrepreneur related introductions, meet-ups, internships, and long term college and career planning services.

7). EA and CAMTRAM

EA has partnered with Josh Yoder, Marketing Director at  CAMTRAM to offer Pitt Johnstown 500 1 day passes, to encourage student exploration of Johnstown. EA also developed several “Pop-Up” stores at the Pitt Johnstown Student Union in conjunction with student interns and CAMTRAN, to encourage student ridership. EA is working with Pitt Johnstown and Johnstown Mayor Janakovic to find new ways for CAMTRAM to increase student access to downtown and the Roxbury/Hospital area for increased work, internships, clinicals for nursing students, as well as dining and entertainment options.

8). Regional Private Equity Fund

Efforts are underway to develop a private equity fund in the greater Johnstown region allowing local investors to pool their funds and invest in companies with potential in the region.


Entrepreneurial Alchemy is funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is housed by the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.

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