Some secrets are intentional, some not. In my trip to Rochester, NY, I uncovered three secrets that shouldn’t be. First is the NY State Solutions Fairs. This really wasn’t a secret to me since I’m the program manager for the agreement that’s executing them but most people, even in New York, don’t know about them. High Tech Rochester (HTR) hosted the most recent Solutions Fair at the Eastman Business Park on April 23rd. Forty companies and 15 technical resources showed up for a 4 hour speed dating session. I don’t know that exact number of matches that were made but one of them was actually between two companies, facilitated by the technical resource at Alfred University who happened to know both and recognized they could complement one another. Ah, the power of networking.
The HTR event was the most recent in a series that was piloted about a year ago to facilitate active technology matching between manufacturers and the wealth of technology resources in the state. The latter category includes many organizations funded by NYSTAR, the Division of Science Technology and Innovation within New York’s Empire State Development organization, to be technology experts including Alfred University’s Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology, Cornell University’s Center for Materials Research, Rensselaer Polytechic Institute’s Center for Automation Technologies and Systems and the New York State Center of Excellence Smart Systems Technology and Commercialization Center (STC), among others. There’s work done before the event to make some initial matches between a company’s needs and technical resources resulting in a set of interview recommendations for the companies, but once they’re in the room, all the resources are fair game for a conversation and engagement. NY MEP facilitates the follow-up between the companies and resources to see what happens. This one was a high-energy event with lots of connections and positive conversations.
The second secret is the Eastman Business Park (EBP) itself. A 1,200 acre technology center and industrial complex located at the old Kodak Park site, it offers a variety of possibilities for new and existing manufacturers including land, buildings, and office, lab or manufacturing space with services including self-generated utilities, access to rail service and technical and development services. Of particular interest (to me, at least) is Kodak’s Innovation and Materials Science Institute (IMSI) and its links to the Park. IMSI is “a group of academic and business leaders coming from all major areas of the innovation economy - including sustainability, clean technology and energy efficiency / independence - who are focused on leveraging innovation as means to promote economic growth, with a concentration on materials science.” The particular materials and technologies they focus on include thin films, coatings, imaging and specialty chemicals. As you might expect, those are the ones that Kodak’s business thrived on for years. While Kodak used them mostly for imaging, films and emulsions have so many uses beyond that that it boggles the mind (but that’s another blog). In addition, EBP is positioned to become a major biofuels center. This part of New York state has lots of agricultural acreage that can be the source of the necessary raw materials (along with nearby areas that could access the site by rail) and EBP already has an on-site bio-refinery. So if there’s a company (existing or nascent) out there whose technologies align with those, Eastman Business Park might just be the place for you.
This is the case for three companies that were the subject of a radio interview by WRVO of Oswego for upcoming story on manufacturing (but that too is another blog). Kodak, by the way, for those of you who didn’t know, STILL makes and sells large quantities of film. For some applications, it’s the preferred solution of choice.
The third secret is the Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center (STC), formerly the Infotonics Center in Canandaigua. It’s now part of the SUNY-Albany’s College of Nanoscience and Engineering and focuses on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The 11,150-square-meter, state-of-the-art facility has lots of certified cleanroom space for its foundry services and a dedicated MEMS and optoelectronic packaging facility. They can handle prototype, pilot, low- and mid-volume manufacturing for aerospace, biomedical, communications, defense, and energy applications. STC is one of four Trusted Foundries for CMOS post-processing and one of two for integration of Trusted IC with MEMS, and is also accredited for trusted aggregation, packaging, and assembly services. So again, if there’s a company out there in need of these services, STC may be the place for you.
I guess I am doing a little matchmaking of my own.