Judges Announced for the Second Annual Spark Bowl

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Businesses will compete for real funding at a “Shark-Tank”-like competition that DelVal will livestream on April 15.

The celebrity, entrepreneur judges for the second annual Spark Bowl have been selected. The Spark Bowl, to be held April 15 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Delaware Valley University Life Sciences Building, will have five businesses compete for awards and prize money. The selected businesses have 15 minutes to pitch their business or product to the judges, all entrepreneurs who have started or run very successful businesses. The Spark Bowl will have a limited audience and will be livestreamed. The event is organized by DelVal and the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce. 

Students will gain real-world experience by serving as business consultants for the finalists. The competition will also provide much-needed support for the local business community. Spark Bowl is a competition for entrepreneurs, innovative businesses and nonprofit organizations. Teams address social, consumer or business-oriented challenges in and around Bucks County. 

The top three businesses and the student teams working with them will win substantial prize money.  The Spark Bowl is possible because of sponsorships from Bucks County businesses and individuals.


The judges are:

Sue Lonergan
Director, Middle Market & Specialized Commercial Banking
Fulton Bank

As director of Middle Market and Specialized Banking for Fulton Bank’s commercial sales and lending teams across five states, Sue Lonergan oversees the bank’s commercial real estate, healthcare, agricultural, dealer services and middle market commercial teams. Prior to this role, Lonergan was regional president of Fulton Bank’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Division, where she led the commercial sales and lending teams and focused on growth strategies for the market. Under her leadership, Fulton Bank opened its first Philadelphia regional headquarters within the city, its first consumer financial centers in the city’s underserved neighborhoods, as well as its first mortgage loan office. Lonergan has more than 30 years of banking experience, with nearly 10 years as a commercial relationship manager for CoreStates Bank in the Greater Philadelphia market, where she served both middle market companies and small businesses. Before joining Fulton Bank, she was managing director and small business strategy and planning executive for Bank of America. In that role, she led the effort to integrate sales channels and product teams, advance referral strategies across lines of business, and improved product delivery to small businesses. Lonergan also regularly shares small business owners’ outlooks on business and the economy on Bloomberg, MSNBC, WSJ and The Street.com. She graduated from DeSales University with a B.S. in accounting. Lonergan has three grown children and resides in Bucks County with her husband. This is her second year serving as a Spark Bowl judge.

Dr. Donna Marie De Carolis
Dean of the Drexel University Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship

Dr. De Carolis is the founding dean of the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship and the Silverman Family Professor of Entrepreneurial Leadership and she initiated a pioneering approach to entrepreneurship education. Her vision is to empower all university students with the mindset that they can be entrepreneurs – by broadly defining entrepreneurship as “an attitude that incorporates innovative thinking and doing in all facets of life, career and profession.” Dr. De Carolis has championed entrepreneurship education in her various roles as associate dean, the Management Department head at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business, and as associate vice-provost for entrepreneurship education at Drexel University. Her research has appeared in professional journals and she has won numerous awards as a distinguished educator. Known throughout the Philadelphia region as a lecturer and media personality, Dr. De Carolis has contributed weekly commentaries to KYW Newsradio with commentaries appearing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Business Journal, and Forbes Online. A member of Drexel University’s Biomedical Engineering Community Advisory Board of the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, De Carolis also is a board member of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Exchange (EIX) and sits on the boards of the Barra Foundation, Faith In the Future Foundation, and the AIM Academy. She earned her doctoral degree in strategic management from Temple University and holds an MBA from Villanova University.  She is the mother of two wonderful sons, and one amazing daughter.

Michael Araten
President and CEO of Sterling Drive Ventures, LP

Former President and CEO of the popular K’NEX Brands construction toys, Michael Araten has a strong background in advanced manufacturing, global competition, entrepreneurship, joint ventures and land development. Currently, as President and CEO of Sterling Drive Ventures, Araten is responsible for all strategic and day-to-day operations of the company, which owns The Rodon Group, a highly automated injection molder supplying small parts used in over 100 industries, and SillDry, a precision engineering firm supplying flashing materials to residential and commercial customers. A member of The Rodon Group Board of Directors, Araten speaks regularly on a variety of topics including advanced manufacturing, the toy industry, and more. He’s appeared on CNBC, CNN, ABC World News, Bloomberg News, Fox Business, and numerous local and regional television and radio shows. Prior to joining K’NEX and Rodon, Araten was chief litigation counsel to Toll Brothers, Inc. as well as senior vice president and corporate counsel to O’Neill Properties Group. He serves on several corporate and non-profit Boards and chairs the Central Bucks County Chamber of Commerce. Residing in Gwynedd Valley, PA with his wife, Ellen and their two children, Araten holds a B.A. in political science from Stanford University, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. This is his second year as a Spark Bowl judge.

William R. Schutt
Founder and Former Owner of MATCOR, Inc.

William R. Schutt is the founder, former owner and Chairman of MATCOR, Inc., a 40-year-old engineering and manufacturing company serving the worldwide oil, gas, infrastructure industries and governments. A Drexel University graduate, Schutt holds seven U.S. patents and several foreign patents.  He’s been recognized by the U.S. government as one of the top experts in infrastructure corrosion and was part of a White House delegation to the Soviet Union. Schutt is certified as a NACE International Corrosion Specialist and is an ICORR Fellow of the United Kingdom Corrosion Society. In addition to numerous technical papers and lectures in more than 25 countries, Schutt has been featured in Time Magazine, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He’s appeared on national radio and television and has received numerous awards for his philanthropy, work and worldwide projects. In 2016, he received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Schutt spends much of his time with nonprofit organizations and serves or has served on the board of several organizations. A mentor to business owners, he is a talented woodworker, cartoonist and saxophone player. For over 10 years Schutt has played in the Delaware Valley University symphonic and jazz bands and is the founder of the Delaware Valley Saxophone Quartet. He and his wife live in Doylestown Borough. Schutt is the organizer of the Spark Bowl and is serving his second year as a Spark Bowl judge.


How to Watch the Spark Bowl
Spark Bowl will be held April 15 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Delaware Valley University Life Sciences Building. The event will have a very limited audience and will be livestreamed for the general public. For more information and the livestream connection, please visit delval.edu/spark. The livestream link will be posted on the website closer to the event.


About Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce
The Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce builds alliances among its members by uniting business, industry, professionals, artists and non-profit organizations. The Chamber serves as a catalyst that creates a rich business climate and improves the quality of life in the community. The Chamber is devoted to furthering the arts, humanities and welfare of the Central Bucks region. “Our business is to help your business grow!” For more, visit centralbuckschamber.com.

About Delaware Valley University
Delaware Valley University is a private, comprehensive, nonprofit university educating students with a curriculum that emphasizes and requires experiential learning. Located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia, the University offers 28 undergraduate majors in life and physical sciences, business, the humanities, and agricultural and environmental sciences; more than seven master’s degrees; and a doctorate in education. DelVal was founded in 1896 and currently educates approximately 1,980 undergraduate students, 450 graduate students and 850 continuing-education students. It is cited by the National Society for Experiential Education as having the country’s top experiential-learning program, by Princeton Review as one of the best colleges in the Northeast, by U.S. News & World Report as a top 10 college where students land internships, and by College Factual as having one of the top 20 animal science programs in the country.