Erie Management Group, founded in 2004 by Samuel P. Black III, serves today as the umbrella for a number of companies, including biodiesel maker Hero BX, medical marijuana grower Calypso Enterprises, and Prism Glass Recycling.
EMG won’t be immediately adding to that list of companies, but it is investing in a joint venture with a long-term partner.
EMG is announcing this week what it calls a “pioneering partnership” between Erie Management Group and Networking Technologies, an Erie-based technology company founded in 1998.
Networking Technologies, which has about 28 employees at offices in Erie, Cleveland and Buffalo, explains on its website that its mission is to “help people with technology, allowing them to focus on their business.”
That’s what the company has been doing for Erie Management Group for years, said Laura Guncheon, spokeswoman for EMG.
“It got to where they were working side by side with us all the time and it just made sense to solidify that relationship,” she said.
EMG won’t own Network Technologies, but it is making a financial investment in the technology firm, CEO and founder Jim Bahm said.
“It’s a joint venture. It’s not a merger per se. There is an investment being made by Sumi James-Black, and the Black family,” he said, referring to the company’s interim CEO.
“I do think it’s going to help EMG from a standpoint of enhanced IT service,” Bahm said. “It fits into Mr. Black’s philosophy of allowing companies to focus on their core business and is doing that by taking the back-office duties (from Networking Technologies).”
Bahm said he will continue to focus on working with company employees, but that many of the duties of a human resources department will be absorbed by Erie Management Group.
“That does take a lot of time. The day you start hiring employees it becomes a different job,” he said.
Bahm said he’s pleased with the arrangement.
“I am not giving up any control,” he said. “It truly is a joint venture for us to grow Networking Technologies and to be able to serve and foster growth at the same time.
Sumi James-Black.also praised the arrangement.
“Identifying innovative partnerships like Networking Technologies enables EMG to remain laser-focused on growing jobs in this community,” she said.
Both companies involved in the partnership have a history of working with local universities.
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Networking Technologies announced in February of 2020 that it would work with Extreme Networks to deploy and maintain the network inside the Gannon University’s I-HACK or Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge.
For their part, Black and James-Black recently made a $3 million pledge in support of Penn State Behrend’s Knowledge Park.