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    Wendell August Forge President to Keynote Entrepreneur’s Growth Conference

    Will Knecht, president of Wendell August Forge, will deliver the keynote address at the 15th annual Entrepreneur's Growth Conference on Friday, May 10. Presented by Duquesne University's Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on campus.

    Two days after receiving its largest order ever-aluminum tickets to commemorate the final Penguins hockey game at Mellon Arena-Wendell August Forge suffered a devastating fire that destroyed the company's workshop, office and flagship store in Grove City, Pa.

    Even though Wendell August Forge has been in business for more than 90 years, Knecht said, the aftermath of the 2010 fire has required the company to function more like a startup.

    "It turned from what could have been a very bad situation into something that has really put us on a trajectory for some exciting growth and opportunity," Knecht explained. "That's going to be the focus of my discussion. I'll talk a little about our history and the fire itself, but the balance of the talk is about what happened after the fire and the lesson in it for entrepreneurs."

    Knecht contends that being a successful entrepreneur relies heavily on the way obstacles are confronted.

    "As entrepreneurs, we face different challenges every week," he said. "It's how we respond to those challenges that gives us the opportunity to take a lemon and truly make it lemonade."

    The SBDC conference also will offer 15 workshops, a business-building networking mixer and a luncheon during which attendees will be seated with experts ranging from technology, marketing and financial professionals to an entrepreneur who appeared on ABC's Shark Tank.

    Workshop tracks are geared toward new ventures, established businesses and technology companies. Topics include marketing, public relations, strategic planning, finances and technology.

    More information is available by visiting or by calling 412.396.1633.

    Duquesne University

    Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in nine schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.