The Face of Manufacturing in Rochester
Following the theme of small business and manufacturing, it’s worth noting that the Rochester region in particular is exceedingly strong in these categories. Especially in the market segments of advanced manufacturing, photonics, and energy, upstate New York reigns.
According to the Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE), a regional economic development organization, this region is not only poised for growth, but is fortunately situated geographically, historically, and technologically. According to the GRE website, the 12 million people in this area enjoying economic and other attributes that enable and facilitate the kind of growth that nearly all communities are seeking.
The area is already home to some of the world’s finest brands, household names such as Kodak, Harris, Xerox, and Bausch + Lomb. Not yet as well known, other companies are springing up in important areas that are producing new products and technologies as well as proving to offer infrastructure capabilities that will enable other companies to develop their products and processes.
Advanced Manufacturing is a discrete market segment within manufacturing that covers a broad spectrum of capabilities. Common to all of them are the elements of precision, engineering, and high quality manufacturing. Rolling all of these together in a large number of small companies in this region makes for a foundational capability that is both very high in value, and long-lasting. It’s available to clients globally, producing export value here as well as attracting talent from an international level. This diverse workforce brings with it unique innovation prospects and border-bridging connections beneficial to both trade and education. That then circles back around to produce more innovation, more investment, and more business.
What is referred to as Photonics, the application of the science of light, calls upon decades of Rochester core development. Applying this regional core competency to new applications in new markets is propelling the region to prominence in several ways. 50 percent of all optics degrees are conferred by the University of Rochester (Reference). A wide variety of engineering, manufacturing, and machine builders in the area are instrumental in driving and supporting the photonics industry. Large and world class research operations, such as the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, operated for the US Department of Energy, are here. Many of the supporting service companies for such precision and advanced manufacturing organizations are likewise based in the region.
Another key industry segment that is blossoming here, and has been for years, is Advanced Energy. Not only the more recognizable solar and wind power systems, but also fuel-cell and battery and energy storage systems are headquartered and supported locally. Dozens of private businesses, Industry associations such as NY-BEST, and governmental organizations with their requisite funding and not-for-profit structures and resources are here providing key capabilities and partnership opportunities to leverage one another’s assets and capabilities for the advancement of new and optimized technologies.
Taken together these three example industries, with their corresponding infrastructure organizations, educational resources, and research roots offer a strong footing and the promise of a bright future. As they are manufacturing in nature, they bring what tend to be higher paying, longer-lasting jobs, and are often self-sustaining in the pay forward patent and intellectual property development that takes place.
Producing the goods that we will utilize, and that will also support the development by others of additional technologies in additional products, makes this region healthy and full of potential. Optimation serves many of these high technology manufacturing and research organizations, and participates in the community of support that continues to enable and advance the regional market.
With an abundance of natural resources, a well-educated workforce, a long and strong history of manufacturing, this area continues to press forward with new advances and a positive future. We at Optimation are proud to be a part of it and look forward to our collective future.