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Camp Hill company teams up with firms led by former governor

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Kim Coon is founder, president and CEO of Emerge Education, a Camp Hill-based provider of services to colleges and universities
Kim Coon is founder, president and CEO of Emerge Education, a Camp Hill-based provider of services to colleges and universities - (Photo / )

A Camp Hill-based provider of higher education services has formed a partnership with a pair of consulting firms headed by former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.

The goal of the partnership is to market risk management services to colleges and universities around the country, said Kim Coon, founder, president and CEO of the Camp Hill company, Emerge Education LLC.

Ridge's companies, Ridge Global and Risk Cooperative, are based in Washington, D.C. They offer risk advisory and insurance brokerage services. Ridge is chairman of the two firms, which operate under shared management.

"I see this opportunity with Ridge Global/Risk Cooperative to really help us grow our company," said Coon. A former Bedford County commissioner, Coon worked in the Ridge administration in the 1990s and remained friends with the former governor, who also served as the country’s first secretary of Homeland Security.

Colleges face risks ranging from active shooters on campus to students who might become embroiled in turmoil overseas, so risk management seemed a valuable service to offer, Coon said.

"I know colleges, the presidents and the provosts and the CFOs that we talk to, it's front of mind for them," Coon said.

It's a market that Risk Cooperative already has been serving, said Andres Franzetti, chief strategy officer for the company. "We have a higher ed practice and do quite a bit of work for universities."

Founded in 2014, Emerge helps small to midsized regional colleges recruit students for online programs, mostly in adult education. Clients include schools like Montclair State University in New Jersey and San Diego Christian College in California, Coon said.

"They really don’t have either the resources or they may not be as skilled at recruiting for an online student. It's different," Coon said.

The company gets a share of the tuition for every student who is accepted and enrolls, Coon said. It has 35 employees and is on track to do $5.5 million in revenue this year, up from $2.7 million in 2016.

The company also is using its connections to higher education to pitch other services, including marketing and leadership development, Coon said.

Strategic partnerships, like the one with Ridge Global and Risk Cooperative, allow the firm to add to its portfolio.

"We're marketing it and Ridge Global/Risk Cooperate are actually providing the service," Coon said.

Emerge was already working with Ridge Global to help colleges and universities market their cyber security programs, Coon added.

Emerge's other partners include Blackford Ventures LLC, an investment firm in Manheim Township, Lancaster County, Coon said. Blackford works with colleges to find alternative financing to raise capital for tuition assistance, facilities work and other needs.

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Joel Berg

Joel Berg

Joel Berg is editor of the Central Penn Business Journal. Born in Philadelphia, raised in Northern Virginia and now living in York, he's a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and the University of Maryland. Have a question or story idea? Email him at jberg@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JoelBYorkPa.

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