In a recently aired Business Spotlight Behrend Talks interview, Process and Data President, Joe Snyder, gives a revealing look into PDA’s history, Joe’s personal path to entrepreneurship, the importance of being located on the Penn State Behrend campus and becoming a part of Krones. This interview, which aired on January 17, 2020, was facilitated by Dr. Ralph Ford, Chancellor at Penn State Behrend.
PDA began as a 3-person small business and over the last 18 years has grown into a 42 and ½ employee, premier integration firm. Before becoming one of the owners of PDA, Joe worked in a small 3-person engineering firm – first as an engineer and then as the head of Business Development. In his years there he learned the business from the inside out and remains grateful for his experience there for it helped lay the groundwork for how he and his partners would eventually run Process and Data Automation which they founded in 2002.
When asked to offer advice to people seeking to become entrepreneurs, Joe offered that experience actually doing the work for someone else before you open your own business is very important. At some point, you are going to have to sell this idea or product to someone else so that you can grow and you must be able to prove that there is a need for it and that it can be done. The easiest way to prove that is knowing that you yourself have done it so you know it to be true.
Dr. Ford also asked about Krones purchasing PDA three years ago. Joe discussed that PDA had not been for sale at that time, so it was quite flattering when they received an initial offer. As Joe and his partner learned more about Krones and their expertise in the liquid food and packaging industry, this seemed like a good opportunity as PDA would be able to continue their work in Erie while expanding their potential customer base with the help of Krones.
Finally, the importance of moving their office to Knowledge Park at the Penn State Behrend campus was discussed. PDA had always offered internships and worked on Senior Design Programs with University students but moving to the campus allowed for the expansion of these programs and an even better designed intern program. Interns working at PDA do meaningful work and are well-prepared for life as an engineer after college. Joe estimates that over half of his current employees are Penn State Behrend graduates.
To listen to this full interview, please click here!
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