Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Harvey Stenger talk at a economic-development news conference at the Greater Binghamton Airport on Dec. 5.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Stenger appointed co-chair of Regional Economic Development CouncilTweet
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday appointed Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger as co-chair of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council (REDC), making the announcement during a stop at the Greater Binghamton Airport. Stenger, who has served on the REDC since January, replaces Cornell University President David Skorton in the role, and will serve with co-chair Tom Tranter, president and CEO of Corning Enterprises.
Cuomo and his Strategic Assessment Team were in Binghamton to get an update on the successes the region has experienced from the first year of economic development funding through the New York State Consolidated Funding Application. The Southern Tier REDC was awarded $49.9 million in the first year, which has been used to start 55 separate projects resulting in the retention of 1,075 jobs and the creation of another 1,385 jobs. The projects have also leveraged $132 million in additional funding for the region.
“Leadership is very important in this process and makes all the difference,” said Cuomo. “We’re here today looking at what we did with the first round and we’re very excited about what you’re doing here.
“You have the history, geography, diversity, great universities, advanced manufacturing, a great rural community – all the assets,” Cuomo added. “Now you have the leadership and energy to take the Southern Tier higher than ever before. I’m just along for the ride.”
Stenger, who served with Tranter as emcee for the governor’s visit, expressed his firm commitment to the REDC. “I’m ready to go and will do the best I possibly can to make the Southern Tier a very important part of the state.”
Stenger and other dignitaries accompanied Cuomo on a hybrid bus tour to BAE Systems following the news conference, then the REDC presented its priorities for the next round of funding to Cuomo’s Strategic Assessment Team. The team, which has been touring the state to meet with all 10 of the REDCs, will make the decisions on the next round of funding. The Southern Tier REDC is competing for three awards of up to $25 million in capital funds. Each region is also eligible for up to $10 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business.
“Our council has built a vision to try to capitalize on the unique assets of the Southern Tier,” Stenger told the team. “The goal for a vision is to decide where we’re going to go and how to get there, so we set five objectives and will frame our conversation around them.”
Stenger said the council identified a large range of projects, narrowed them down to 24 priority projects and matched them to the following five strategic objectives:
• Energy efficiency and renewable energy technology
• Transportation industry … next generation technology and advanced manufacturing
• Healthcare 2020
• Revitalize the rural farm and forest-based economy
• Economic development backbone, including community revitalization, infrastructure development for shovel-ready sites, business and technology development, tourism and waterfront development, and workforce development
The projects, which range across all objectives and will have major impact on each county in the region, were agreed to unanimously by the council. “We had more than twice as many applications this time,” said Tranter, “but when it came down to prioritization, it was unanimous on the part of the council on those being the priority projects.”
“We had to sit back and remember that we’re not funding projects, we’re funding the region’s future and that’s spread across all of the counties in our region,” Stenger said. “These 24 projects will have an impact of 3,300 new jobs and the retention of 850 jobs,”
Binghamton University plays an integral role in three of the 24 REDC project proposals put forth for the second round of funding. Each project will help revitalize the region and solidify it as a major player in smart energy research.
The three projects, which will bring new jobs, new technology, a new building downtown and a promise of a brighter future to the Southern Tier region, are:
1. a Southern Tier High-Technology Incubator
2. funding to pursue a hybrid electronic propulsion system
3. funding to expand the capabilities of the Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center (S3IP).
Each of the three projects has a unique connection to the region, business and Binghamton University.
“It’s impressive that under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s leadership the Regional Economic Development Council has been given the ability to suggest projects like these, which will help our region’s families and businesses improve their job opportunities and create unique ways to do business in New York,” said Stenger. “It’s exciting to be a part of the REDC and the governor’s plan to reshape the state’s approach to regional economic development. Helping New Yorkers succeed in business and find quality jobs is fundamental to the mission of the REDC. Most of all, it’s important that the REDC has been able to collaborate on a variety of ideas that will bring vital resources to the Southern Tier.”
Additional information on the three projects:
1. The Southern Tier High Technology Incubator, to be located in downtown Binghamton, will provide a unique entrepreneurial ecosystem for emerging high-technology companies in Greater Binghamton, fostering innovation, commercialization and job creation through collective efforts among academic, industry and government partners.
The incubator will create 229 construction jobs as it is built, and will provide space for 12 new high-tech companies, as well as industrial and academic partnerships in the areas of healthcare, energy-efficient technologies, and systems integration and packaging.
2. Funding for HybriDrive® Solutions, one of seven prime business areas within BAE Systems that is headquartered out of Endicott, N.Y., will help BAE Systems become a force in an untapped area. The HybriDrive® Series propulsion system is the leading hybrid electric propulsion system for hybrid transit buses across North America and Europe. BAE’s new HybriDrive® Parallel propulsion system is aimed at the heavy vocational commercial truck market (Class 6-8 refuse, dump, construction), where no viable hybrid electric propulsion systems currently exist.
Funding for HybriDrive® Solutions will:
• Provide the ability to bring HybriDrive® Parallel to market via hardware demonstrations with actual fleets of trucks.
• Provide the ability to merge hybrid electric propulsion technology with compressed natural gas engine trucks — a first in the industry.
• Ensure high-tech engineers remain in the region. With Binghamton University’s graduate-level mechanical engineering and electrical engineering combined program of study, this will create a pipeline of local talent for BAE Systems.
• Reinforce the reciprocal nature of the BAE Systems–Binghamton University relationship to spur new paths for testing and integration, and foster a collaborative approach toward technology problem solving.
3. Endicott Interconnect Technologies and the Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center currently partner in the development of new, thin and flexible substrate materials for advanced electronics that span flexible displays and imaging systems.
An investment in new technology will result in competitive manufacturing capabilities, new jobs for engineers, technicians and manufacturing associates, and increased revenue of $10 to $20 million, while positioning the Southern Tier for enhanced interaction with leaders in the growing nano-scale technology field.