The Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering demonstrates one of its key values, collaboration, by sustaining a close working relationship with industry. The Industrial Advisory Council is made of representatives from companies in the local region, some of whom are Wilkes alumni. The council meets regularly to provide guidance and input to help the department ensure that its programs are properly preparing students to be the engineers needed by employers of today and tomorrow. The input the department receives from the council is critical in keeping the department programs strong, rigorous, and relevant. The council helps the department to facilitate such experiences as faculty and student opportunities for research, independent study, senior projects, open houses with industry representatives, internships, and employment.
- Actively participate and provide comments, feedback and suggestions on academic issues (especially related to the ABET accreditation criteria).
- Assist in the ABET self-study and evaluation of the department’s activities.
- Provide curriculum feedback.
- Serve as an advisor and consultant to the department in matters related to present strengths, weaknesses, and long-term goals and potential.
- Provide strategic consultation, professional networking, information exchange, and resource development to assist the department achieve its goals.
Robert Bohn, Chair of IAC
Gerald A. Ephault, MBA, RTTP, has relevant experience in the manufacturing, technology development and transfer, economic development and educational sectors spanning more than 50 years. He served as Regional Manager of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Lehigh University, for 24 years during which he managed $88 million of project activity. Activity at Wilkes University included 42 project activities and $4.5MM in project funding with Faculty and Students. He also served as Chairman of the Advisor Board to the Engineering & Physics Department for 12 years. His undergraduate degrees are from the University of Scranton, and MBA from Marywood University. He is a Registered Technology Transfer Professional (RTTP) with the Alliance of Technology Transfer Professionals. He is a member of the Association of Technology Managers (AUTM).
Administered a portfolio of private sector-academic technology advancement and implementations within 300 projects representing $18,817,626 in BFTP/NEP funds and $109,028,192 in total project investments.
Established and coordinated technology development & transfer projects at 11 universities and colleges with faculty/student engagements for applied research. Total of $19,932,253 achieved in financial support to the 11 institutions of higher education. Advocated formation and served on-advisory boards (as established) seven business incubators. Served as President & CEO of the Center for Research & Economic Development a 501 c(3) subsidiary of East Stroudsburg University. Served as a founding member of the 501 c (3) organizations: Pennsylvania Alliance for Research & Technology; Great Valley Technology Alliance; Great Valley Technology Institute; TecBRIDGE.
BFTP/NEP Technology Transfer Project Results
- Projects: 300
- Combined Investments: $109,028,192.00
- University Investments: $19.932,253.00
- Jobs Created or Retained: 10,304
- Products Commercialized: 122
- Processes Implemented: 92
- Start-up Companies: 52
- External Capital Raised $19,932,253
Wilkes University Transfer Project Results
- Projects: 219
- Micro-Grants to Clients: $11,701.44
- Pledges: $325,000.00 in cash and two (2) equity pledges
- Business Started: 65
- Existing Business Assisted: 141
- Mentoring Hours: 7,953
- Jobs Created: 88.5
- Jobs Retained: 515
- Capital Secured: $4,055,542.00
- Commercialization: 64
- Incubator Tenants Supported: 23
- Intellectual Property: 36
- Royalties Received: $1050.00
- Pro-Bono Services Value $126,299.00
- 2019 Two Mountains District, BSA: Armed Forces Day Honoree
- 2019 Pennsylvania Senate Citation: Military & BSA Service Recognition
- 2014 TecBRIDGE: Wm. McNally “Mentor of the Year Award”
- 2014 APKCFEE “Advocate of the Year Award”
- 2012 Wilkes University Division of Engineering & Physics “Outstanding Service Award”
- 2012 BSA, Lowwapaneu Lodge Order of the Arrow “Vigil Honor”
- 2012 American Legion “Square Knot Award”
- 2009 Scranton Chamber of Commerce: “Small Business Advocate Award”
- 2008 BSA, Northeastern Pennsylvania Council “Silver Beaver Award”
- 2005 Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance: Luciani “Regionalism Award”
- 2005 Leadership Lackawanna: “Leader of the Year Award”
- 1989 County of Lackawanna Transit Authority “Board Member Service Recognition”
- 1989 Pennsylvania Senate Citation- UNICO Service
- 1988 UNICO National Scranton Chapter “Past President Award”
“Students are assisted to establish “growth mindset” and “learning mindset” so that an entrepreneurial approach is applied to each activity.“
Biju has more than 25 years of progressive engineering experience and a solid background in Research and Development, Engineering, Innovation, New Product Development, Testing, Technical Standards, Validation, Regulatory Compliance, Sporting Goods Manufacturing, Composites Manufacturing, Defense and Construction fields. In his current role at Gentex Corporation, Biju is involved in multiple defense helmet programs for US Government agencies as well as international customer base.
Biju is a graduate of North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND with a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is an active member of multiple ASTM committees and NJ SAMPE Chapter.
- Composites manufacturing
- Materials technology
- Additive Manufacturing
- Blunt Impacts
- Co-author/inventor of multiple patents and publications.
Biju Mathew is an engineering professional with a keen interest in defense personal protective industry focusing on helmets, composites, ballistics, blunt impacts, advanced manufacturing technologies, additive manufacturing, automation and applications of lean six sigma processes. He enjoys coaching and mentoring new professionals.
Ken serves as the Regional Manager for Ben Franklin Technology Partners where he oversees investments in a portfolio of 47 companies in Northeastern PA. Each year this group of companies generate in excess of $500MM in revenue creating good family sustaining jobs in the region. As important, for every $1 Ben Franklin invested in these companies, they return $3.90 in tax revenue back to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 2019, his clients raised $23 million in capital.
For more than a decade at Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Ken has supported early stage technology companies and connected manufacturing firms to college and university resources supporting process improvement and product development projects. Ken Okrepkie’s career blends a variety of experiences from higher education to the world of the entrepreneur. He started his career at the University of Scranton ultimately serving as Assistant Dean of Admissions followed by Junior Achievement of Northeastern Pennsylvania where he held the position of President leading an organization that teaches life skills and the American free enterprise system to 12,000 young people a year. Ken then transitioned to founding member of an internet start-up company, CollegeRecruiting.com, where he led the sales and strategic initiatives. Prior to Ben Franklin in 2004, he joined the Great Valley Technology Alliance, now TecBridge, as a Vice-President.
He is credited with creating the Lackawanna and Luzerne County Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) Program that generates more than $2 million each year for technology companies in the region, now totaling $24 million since the inception of the program. In support of regional economic development and local nonprofits, he has served the community as Chairman of the Boards for SLIBCO- the Scranton Chamber’s Economic Development arm, Great Valley Technology Alliance (now TecBridge) and Scranton Tomorrow, an organization that is leading the revitalization of downtown Scranton. Mr. Okrepkie also Chaired the Hazleton-based CAN BE Business Incubator for CAN DO Inc.,along with serving on all five Business Incubator Boards in the region and the Scranton Area Foundation’s Board of Governors. He has been both commissioner and/or coach for girls’ basketball and soccer in the Abington youth programs and coached his daughter’s high school girl’s soccer team at Holy Cross High School.
A graduate of The University of Scranton, Ken holds an undergraduate degree in marketing and a master’s degree in human resources. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at The University of Scranton's Kania School of Management. He teaches in the Entrepreneurship program and has been inducted into their chapter of Sigma NuTau National Honor Society.
- 2018 | CAN DO Chairman’s Award
- 2017 | Pennsylvania Technology Acceleration Leader of the Year by Accelerate PA
- 2017 | Johnson College Commencement Speaker
- 2016 | Wilkes University Allan P. Kirby Center Mentor of the Year recipient
- 2013 | TecBridge Bill McNally Mentor of the Year Award
- 2008 | NEPA Business Journal “Top 20 Under 40 Business Professional”
“BFTP/NEP makes seed investments in early-stage technology companies, funds innovation in established manufacturers, and supports clients with in-house experts and a network of proven technical and business resources. We help companies create and retain highly paid, sustainable jobs by transforming technology into commercial success and economic prosperity.
Our Three-Pronged Mission
- Develop early-stage technology-based companies
- Help established manufacturers to be more competitive through technology
- Invest in innovative community-wide initiatives that foster a supportive business environment for high-growth companies.
BFTP/NEP works with companies on an enterprise-wide level to enhance their entire way of doing business, providing them with investments, proven technical and business expertise, college and university resources, networking opportunities, and a well-respected endorsement in the follow-on funding community.“
Jonny Perloff is currently a design engineer for Spinal, Trauma and Robotic Navigated Custom Surgical Instruments for the Customs Engineering Group at the medical device company Globus Medical. He has been with Globus since 2008 designing and developing medical device implants and surgical instruments. In his first seven years at Globus he worked in the Spinal Implant Product Development Group where he was responsible for the development and product launch of three spinal implant product lines and surgical instruments. These product lines were carried through from concept to full production products. Product lines included: Thoracolumbar Lateral Plate System, Fenestrated Pedicle Screw System, and an Expandable Lumbar Interbody Fusion Spacer. Through the development of the product lines twelve patents were filed and processed.
Since 2015 his role has been with the Custom Engineering Group and is responsible for the design and development of custom surgical instruments for surgeons in the Spinal, Trauma, and Robotic Navigated Surgical Field.
Prior to his experience in the medical device industry, he was a mechanical design engineer for product development in both automotive and consumer product industries.
Jonny holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Minors in Physics and Business Management from Wilkes University. He has been an active member of the Wilkes Alumni mentor program and the Industrial Advisory council.
The Ornamental Design of Basilar Invagination Implant (Transarticular Washer)
- D631,966 – 2/1/11
LATIS® Expandable Lumbar Interbody Fusion Spacer System
- 9,044,342 – 6/2/15
- 9,278,008 – 3/8/16
- 9,480,573 – 11/1/16
- 9,655,737 – 5/23/17
- 9,980,822 – 5/29/18
- 10,085,844 – 10/2/18
- 10,485,674 – 11/26/19
AERIALTM Interspinous Fixation System
- 9,622,793 – 4/18/17
- 9,974,575 – 5/22/18
- 10,136,926 – 11/27/18
- 10,548,647 – 2/4/20
- East Stroudsburg University | Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.
- University of Scranton | Master’s degree in Human Resources.
- HR professional since 1996.
- Joined GENTEX Corporation in 2006 as the Human Resources Manager.
“The primary purpose of the Human Resources Manager in our Pennsylvania location is to serve as a senior level Human Resources Business Partner in the management of employee relations, cultivating a high performance culture, assessing and coaching talent for GENTEX Corporation and to ensure that the activities of the Human Resources function contribute to and support the operational goals, culture and values of the organization.“