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Archive: October, 2012

POSTED: Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 9:30 AM

Wawa stores in Philadelphia's PA, NJ, DE suburbs and VA mostly open, but Shore and upstate PA stores remain shut. Open and shut Wawa list here (9:15 AM Tuesday).

POSTED: Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 9:22 AM

Gov. Jack Markell this morning thanked Delaware residents for cooperating with coastal evacuations and keeping off the roads yesterday. Highlights:

We were fortunate to escape the worst of the storm

We have a lot of roads closed in the coastal areas. We have 40,000 homes... without power... mostly in New Castle County [where more than half the state population of 900,000 lives]

POSTED: Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 9:12 PM

Impact 2012, the 20th yearly conference of what is now PACT, the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (formerly Rob McCord's Eastern Technology Council and the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group/MAC Alliance), kicks off next Wednesday, Nov. 7, and Thursday Nov. 8, at the Ritz-Carlton. More information here.

Panelists and speakers include national and regional investment, tech and media figures: AOL founder Steve Case, Vanguard Group chief executive F. William McNabb 3ed, ex-Gov. Ed Rendell, QlikTech boss Lars Bjork, Edison Ventures general partner Michael Kopelman, Comcast's Robert Pick and Genacast's Gil Beyda, Greg Driscoll of Blaschak Coal, Tim Wallace of iPipeline, Robert Carr of Heartland Payments, and Fox Sports' Joe Buck, among many others; and dozens of presenting companies -- tech firms like OneTwoSee, healthcare firms like Galleon Pharmaceuticals, energy firms like Graphene Frontiers, and many more.

What's the point? Ask Ned Moore, who in 2005 presented at the predecessor conference, connected with Safeguard Scientifics, and raised the capital that enabled him to expand his Portico Systems until it attracted a buyout from McKesson Health Soltuions last year for $90 million; he's back this year, presenting as the boss of Clutch Holdings. Or Matt Gillin, who presented in the early 2000s as boss of eCount, later sold to Citigroup for a reported $220 million, enabling him to diversify in Philly's financial-tech community.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 4:32 PM

Just in time for Mischief Night: TV newsman Dan Rather, backed by the AXS TV network owned by Pittsburgh native Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theaters, Broadcast.com), plans an expose on Pennsylvania's own Hershey Foods and the decline of Hershey, Pa., once "The Sweetest Place on Earth," to run on AXS TV - the former HDNet - Comcast Channel 897 in Center City - at 8 pm EST tonight. 

Rather's "How Sweet It Was" will bash Hershey for its foreign exchange students-as-workers scandal and the demise of the company's iconic Hershey factory (now slated for demolition) as Hershey jobs move to Mexico. The segment won't take up Hershey's long relationship with Pennsylvania's elected attorney generals, starting with the first one, LeRoy Zimmerman.

Separately, Comcast's self-described "consigliere" David L. Cohen is the subject of this profile in the Washington Post, which outlines his clout as boss of a Washington lobbying operation bigger than that of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, in furthering the cause of Comcast's 40% operating profit margins and its mergers.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 4:08 PM

Like other big storms, Hurricane Sandy will likely be followed by a drop in retail spending, home-buying, and small-business activity, greater than the quick jump in plywood, flashlight and bottled-water sales. But as repairs proceed next year, utility and Shore improvements will boost depressed Northeast construction employment, and "reconstruction may create an opportunity to usher in new and updated technologies," writes Beata Caranci, economist at Canadian-owned TD Bank, whose US base is in Marlton.

Reconstruction will also be an opportunity to implement streamlined construction laws passed recently by GOP leaders in Congress and the states, says Frank Rapoport, Berwyn-based partner at New York law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and counselor to contractors who support "public-private partnerships" (P3), a way of outsourcing lengthy government construction to private contractors and financiers, by "sharing" user fees -- like road tolls -- once the road is built, instead of charging taxpayers to pay for the road.

Under a "P3" law signed by Gov. Corbett last summer, Pennsylvania has convened a committee of pro-development "rockstars" -- Aqua America chief executive (and Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau chairman) Nick DeBenedictis, construction manager Ronald Drnevich, banker Michael Murchie, Laborers leader Ryan Boyer, State Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-Bucks -- who'll be fielding applications. Maybe to add toll lanes on I-95, a second deck on the Schuylkill Expressway, a tollbridge on US 422 over the Schuylkill, and other projects to be funded from future tolls instead of borrowed money and taxpayer annuities. The system "streamlines" building by cutting back on change orders, fee disputes and other common delays, "because contractors work fast when they're not yet getting paid,." says Rapoport.

POSTED: Monday, October 29, 2012, 10:03 AM

DuPont Co. has shut its headquarters and labs in and around Wilmington, Delaware, where Gov. Jack Markell has ordered cars off the road and neighboring Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware are also under states of emergency.

But the company's industrial plants in the wide path of Hurricane Sandy remain open. "Facilities in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island are on alert," the chemical maker says in this brief statement. UPDATE: Monday night the company said 7 of its works will be shut Tuesday.

Ready for clean-up, too: "The DuPont Integrated Emergency Response Team is staged in North Carolina and is ready to respond with personnel, equipment and supplies once the storm passes."

POSTED: Monday, October 29, 2012, 5:21 PM

Wawa's 24-hour gas stations and markets in New Jersey, the Philadelphia area, Delaware and Maryland will close this evening. The stores were among the few to remain open (and fueling) at the Delaware Shore and other hard-hit areas. Statement here.

POSTED: Monday, October 29, 2012, 5:14 PM

Meeting with reporters in a Rehoboth Beach hotel, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell summarized damage from hurricane Sandy:

- Delaware 1, the state's main north-south road, cut by storm surge yesterday between Rehoboth and Dewey Beach.

About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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