- July 8, 2020
Ask many people what their perfect job would be, and they would respond to own their own business. The idea of being one’s own boss is appealing, but the reality is that simply because a person has a valuable skill or talent, it doesn’t mean they have the knowledge necessary for running their own business.
Ask many people what their perfect job would be, and they would respond to own their own business. The idea of being one’s own boss is appealing, but the reality is that simply because a person has a valuable skill or talent, it doesn’t mean they have the knowledge necessary for running their own business. Where does the entrepreneur go when they have the passion but lack the wherewithal to fulfill their dream? Or even the small business owner who appears to have the right product or service for the right market, but just cannot seem to make it all work right?
Steve Brady would like to provide an answer. As a 20-year veteran and retired Lt. Colonel from the U.S. Air Force serving in the Space Command Operations, and holding a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the Smeal College at Penn State University, Dr. Brady would be more than qualified to hold a high position with many organizations or businesses. But this man also has his roots in the soil, so to speak, with many active years in 4-H and FFA, and a sincere heart for rural Pennsylvania, and did not want to sit on top of a company but instead help others fulfill their dreams to run their own.
His answer is the Covation Center, located at 217 West 4th Street in downtown Williamsport. It is easy to find as it located in the three-wall cul-de-sac featuring “Inspiration Lycoming,” the giant mural with hundreds of area and national notables. As Executive Director of the Covation Center, Steve Brady seeks ways to provide the tools and supports that all businesses, and especially small businesses, need to survive and succeed.
Though it is complimentary to the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, located locally at Bucknell and Lock Haven Universities, the Covation Center is more hands-on. Walk in the door and immediately visible are co-working spaces, which provide an office-style environment that is outside the home and connects with other business owners. (And at $15/day and free coffee, the price is tough to beat.) For those that need an occasional conference room, this is also provided at a reasonable cost.
But beyond the practical amenities, it is the staff assistance offered alongside that is the real springboard needed for a business owner looking to develop and grow. Steve Brady, along with Covation Director of Operations, Stephanie Desaulniers, are able to offer various education pieces that can run as short as a two-hour workshop to a ten-week training program. Stephanie has taught at the university level as well as five years of experience running her own micro-business. Thus, she has a unique blend of management techniques, teaching skills, and experience herself that is invaluable to all types of companies.
Which is one of the surprising things that Steve has discovered about the services offered at the Covation Center. It is not just entrepreneurs, but all sorts of small business owners that find help there. They have seen a real cross-section, from startups to companies such as Schindler’s Studio in Sunbury that is 110 years old.
It is wonderful to see a man of humble means make it big, but it is even more wonderful and unexpected to see a man of many accomplishments and successes commit himself to helping others. Steve Brady is just such a person, an exceptional mind combined with a wonderful heart. Stop by the Center someday soon and share a cup of coffee with Steve — it’s an investment of time that could pay great benefits for the future.