SyracuseCoE partners win $1.9 million in federal awards to accelerate cluster

SyracuseCoE today announced an initiative to accelerate growth of the Central New York industry cluster that manufactures systems to control temperature and environmental quality in a wide range of applications.

The Advanced Manufacturing for Thermal and Environmental Control Systems (AM-TECS) initiative is supported by nearly $1.9 million awarded competitively by five federal agencies. AM-TECS will be conducted by a team of seven institutions and organizations, led by Syracuse University. The team includes CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CenterState CEO), the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY), NYSTAR, CNY Technology Development Organization, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), and Onondaga Community College. The effort is supported by an additional $1.3 million in matching funds provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Empire State Development, CenterState CEO, and MACNY.

The federal awards were made competitively through the 2012 Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. Economic Development Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology; the U.S. Department of Energy; and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and Small Business Administration. The SyracuseCoE team won one of 10 projects awarded nationally from 55 applications.

“This massive federal investment is great news for Central New York and will serve as a catalyst for job creation and further private investment,” says Senator Charles E. Schumer. “I am thrilled that the Economic Development Administration and the other participating federal agencies have invested nearly $1.9 million in this program, which aims to harness Central New York’s strengths in education, technology development and high-tech manufacturing to create jobs.”

“America was built by New York’s manufacturing,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says. “Our manufacturers powered our economy through the 20th century and will be the key to fueling our economy in the 21st century. It’s time to see ‘Made In America’ again starting right here in New York. When we harness the full potential we have right here in Central New York, we can spark more growth in clean-tech and high- tech manufacturing by strengthening our businesses and attracting new businesses with our highly skilled, highly trained workforce, and create more family-supporting jobs right here where we need them the most.”

The AM-TECS initiative originated from the new approach to economic development established by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2011. Ten Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) across the state each developed strategic plans based on local strengths and opportunities. The plan developed by the CNY REDC targets strengthening of the region’s existing industry strengths, including advanced manufacturing and clean energy and environmental systems. Through a competitive review process, the CNY REDC plan was judged to be one of four “best plans” in the state, earning the state’s top award of more than $103 million for projects, including $3.3 million in investments that are leveraged in the AM- TECS project.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adam states, “We congratulate the Syracuse University-led team on this award, and we are pleased to be their partner in this endeavor, further supporting and advancing the manufacturing industry that is critical in Central New York and across the state. Governor Cuomo believes our best opportunity for the growth of the manufacturing sector lies in strategic partnerships combining the technology strengths of our universities with the production and marketing expertise of our manufacturing community. By leveraging the resources of our ESD/NYSTAR network and by providing a 10 percent state match to the federal award, we are helping provide the tools necessary for economic growth.”

Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA, adds, “NYSERDA congratulates Syracuse University and its partner organizations on being chosen as an award recipient in the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. NYSERDA is proud to provide funding for this project given that manufacturing is the backbone of our local economies. So that this sector may expand in New York, Governor Cuomo has stressed innovation in technology working through public-private partnerships that will stimulate the economy, create jobs and train a skilled workforce.”

AM-TECS will build on Central New York’s long-standing strengths in thermal and environmental control systems by accelerating technology development, workforce training, and export opportunities for more than 30 existing small- and mid-sized manufacturing firms throughout the region. The award underscores both the collaborative strength of the lead partners and the region’s strong potential— based on its deep talent pool, knowledge centers, and vast manufacturing experience—to support the successful transition of existing companies to an advanced manufacturing cluster model.

Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO, states, “We have a goal of doubling this region’s exports in the next five years, diversifying our economic base, increasing private investment and creating new jobs. This grant will help us reach these goals by directly supporting export assistance to businesses as outlined in the CenterState Metropolitan Export Initiative. Critical to a successful implementation of this initiative is our ability to target and capture the compelling international growth markets for environmental systems businesses. We look forward to working with the CNY International Business Alliance and thank our partners at MACNY, the SyracuseCoE and Syracuse University for their support and collaboration in the successful application.”

“From the Erie Canal to the Syracuse Center of Excellence, Central New York has a long legacy of pioneering innovations designed to meet the needs of our community, region and world,” says Syracuse University Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “The significant support shown for the Advanced Manufacturing-Thermal and Environmental Central Systems Cluster Accelerator—by multiple agencies and partners—affirms both the immense wisdom of building on our long-standing historic strengths and the immense power of cross-sector engagement to drive economic prosperity.”

“The Manufacturers Association of Central New York is excited to be a part of this grant to support the thermal and environmental control systems cluster in Upstate New York,” says Randy Wolken, president of the association. “We at MACNY strongly believe that introducing new advanced manufacturing materials and processes to New York state companies in this cluster will certainly aid in accelerating the cluster’s growth and vitality.”

Robert Trachtenberg, president and CEO of the CNY Technology Development Organization, thanked the SyracuseCoE for its leadership in putting the collaborative project together, adding, “Along with our partners on the project, we will be addressing the needs and opportunities for the 30-plus small- and medium-sized enterprises involved in thermal and environmental control systems in Central New York. We will work to accelerate job creation through focused assistance, including innovation engineering growth services, introduction to emerging technologies and manufacturing processes, and continuous improvement and quality systems.”

Cornelius B. Murphy Jr., president of SUNY ESF, says of the collaboration, “SUNY ESF is proud to be part of the SyracuseCoE /Syracuse University-led AM-TECS initiative. The initiative focuses on a vital economic development opportunity within our region. SUNY ESF, along with the Manufacturers Association of Central New York and our project and industry partners, will provide an AM-TECS training and externship program, as well as a Regional Advanced Manufacturing Symposium and Career Exposition. Our goal is to foster career exploration and development that supports Central New York’s AM-TECS industry. We appreciate the leadership of SyracuseCoE/Syracuse University, our project partners, and our regional collaborators. Linking our region’s public, private, and educational resources is key to ensuring near- and long-term economic vitality.”

Onondaga Community College Interim President Margaret M. “Meg” O’Connell says, “The Small Business Development Center at Onondaga Community College has been providing assistance to small businesses in Central New York for more than 26 years. We are pleased to be a part of this project, recruiting and engaging disadvantaged start-up and existing businesses into the cluster.”