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Delaware Valley University announces judges for fourth Spark Bowl Competition


The judges for Delaware Valley University’s (DelVal) fourth annual Spark Bowl, a “Shark-Tank”-like competition, have been announced.

Spark Bowl will award thousands of dollars in prizes to area small businesses on Nov. 16. Doors open at 5 p.m. to give area entrepreneurs and small businesses an opportunity to network, and the Spark Bowl event takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. in DelVal’s Life Sciences Building.

The competing businesses will have 15 minutes to “pitch” their idea or product to the judges. The five finalists have been selected and represent the following industries: food, management software and applications, indoor farming, and baby products. Last year’s Spark Bowl winners walked away with a total of $21,000 in prizes.

As part of DelVal’s experiential learning program, advisors from the DelVal Small Business and Entrepreneur Center work with DelVal students who serve as business consultants for the competitors. The winning student teams will also be awarded prize money for their efforts. Spark Bowl is hosted by the University, the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce, and Start Up Bucks. The competition is possible because of sponsorships from Bucks County businesses and individuals.

The judges for DelVal’s fourth annual Spark Bowl are:

•Michael Araten, president and CEO of Sterling Drive Ventures, a family office that owns, among other things, The Rodon Group, founded in 1956. Rodon is a highly automated plastics injection molder, with a focus on small parts, used in over 100 industries.

Sterling Drive Ventures’ latest venture is SillDry, a company that sets the standard for window and door flashing in residential and commercial environments. Prior to Sterling Drive Ventures, Araten was the president and CEO of K’NEX Brands.

•Susan Lonergan, director of middle market and specialized banking for Fulton Bank’s commercial sales and lending teams across five states. She oversees the bank’s commercial real estate, health care, agricultural, dealer services and middle market commercial teams.

Lonergan has more than 30 years of banking experience. In a prior role, she regularly presented about small business owners’ outlook on business and the economy on Bloomberg, MSNBC, WSJ and The

•Blair Rush joined the C&N team as Southeast Region president in July 2020 at which time C&N acquired Covenant Bank. He joined the Covenant Bank team in April 2016 as president and chief operating officer. He has had a 43-year career in banking.

Rush enjoys serving on numerous boards and committees. Presently Blair serves on Delaware Valley University’s Board of Trustees, Central Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors and several others.

•William (Bill) Schutt has been featured for his business and technical achievements in TIME Magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer and many other publications, and has appeared on national radio and television. He has received numerous awards for his work and worldwide projects and in 2016 received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Delaware Valley University.

Schutt is a former member of the Delaware Valley University Board of Trustees. He serves on Drexel University’s Close School of Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and on Drexel President John Fry’s Leadership Council. He spends much of his time with nonprofit organizations.

For information on Spark Bowl visit

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