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VP of Research Bahgat Sammakia leads a tour of the Center of Excellence for William C. Dudley, the 10th president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, after a meeting with the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
NY Federal Reserve President William Dudley visits campus
July 13, 2016Tweet
William C. Dudley, 10th president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, made the rounds in the Greater Binghamton area in early July, including a visit to campus where he met with President Harvey Stenger, co-chair of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council (STREDC), as well as the REDC itself.
“I was impressed by his knowledge of the Southern Tier and his concern for our economic success,” said Stenger. “We didn’t discuss any specific opportunities. His visit was more of a fact-finding one so he could learn more about STREDC initiatives and the economic revitalization efforts we have under way in the Southern Tier. Knowing what we have accomplished and what we are planning for the future will help him in his position as well.”
The STREDC’s presentation followed the Southern Tier Soaring theme of the region’s award-winning Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) plan to build an advanced economy, and showcased the collaborative initiatives of the Binghamton, Corning and Ithaca areas.
REDC members, including co-chair Tom Tranter, president of Corning Enterprises, reviewed the URI’s four pillars:
• Grow the Greater Binghamton Innovation Ecosystem
• Invest in advanced manufacturing
• Transform our food and agriculture industry
• Promote the Southern Tier’s innovative culture
The plan is building off of current strengths and strategically investing in certain components, said Tranter, who noted that, since 2012, the state has invested $3.19 billion in the Southern Tier, drawing companies to places like Johnson City and Corning.
Baghat Sammakia, vice president for research, spoke about the growth in enrollment Binghamton University has experienced in the past few years. “And we’ve started the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and are building a new campus in Johnson City,” he said. “We expect it to transform Johnson City.
The University is a big player in the region in terms of economic impact, Sammakia added. “Our annual expenditures of over$600 million result in an economic impact of over $1 billion to the state.”
Sammakia also noted that, in terms of our students, one of the comments we always receive is that when they’re hired, they come ready to work. “That’s because of the way we conduct our research,” he said. “About 10 percent of our total research expenditures come directly from industry, so many of our students already to work in applied research.
“At any time, we’re actively working with about 200 companies, and at the same time, they hire our students,” he added. “In addition, five years ago we were not the lead on any federally funded center and today we have four (the New York node of the manufacturing innovation institute for flexible hybrid electronics, the North East Center for Chemical Energy Storage, the Developmental Exposure Alcohol Research Center and the Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems).”
The presentation covered projects completed in Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung and Tompkins counties, then focused on University projects.
Steve Czarnecki, associate director of the Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center (S3IP), gave an overview of the center and its work with other universities and partner companies in four broad areas: electronics packaging, energy harvesting and storage, data center efficiency and flexible electronics.
“Investments in this innovative technology will drive the regional economy,” Czarnecki said, “but also allow this region to have a national impact.”
Czarnecki said that, according to S3IP’s partner companies, the center has contributed $1.23 billion in economic impact, with more than 830 new jobs created and 1,218 jobs retained. “In terms of a taxpayer return, that about a 40 to 1 ROI,” he said.
Mark Poliks, director of the Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM) and professor of systems science and industrial engineering, spoke about the CAMM, its clean rooms and its manufacturing capabilities. “We can create multiple layers of coatings on substrates. One is working with Corning on its Willow Glass that is thin and flexible,” he said. “This allows us to work with companies in New York state and all over the world.
“We also lead the New York node of NextFlex, the flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing institute, that brings us to the national level, working very closely with the Department of Defense on very thin electronics,” he added. “The flexible hybrid initiative is about putting very thin chips on very thin substrate and we’re is about to start our first NextFlex project.”
When Dudley asked where the Southern Tier is in its innovation process – and can that progress be evaluated – Tranter said this is a time for optimism.
“If people in our communities were ever looking for a time to be hopeful and optimistic…That time is now,” said Tranter. “Put us all together and we are in the top five of the country for number of patents, we have commercialization and innovation, our school systems are good, we have a low cost of living and a lot of comparative advantages that we offer that others don’t. We are together and we are soaring.
“There’s private sector progress like Corning, and results are very demonstrative,” he said. “We’ve got more on the shelf ready than we’ve had in many, many years. The pipeline is excellent so from our perspective we’re doing very well.
“The public sector is newer in what they’re doing,” he said. “Education has a long history of innovation and with federal research funding, etc., our commercialization continues.
Mary George Opperman, vice president of human resources at Cornell University and member of the REDC, said that the Southern Tier is working on the development of its identity as a region. “We’re moving in that direction because we want to be able to explain to the rest of the state that we have very unique opportunities here,” she said. “We don’t want to homogenize this region; we want to create a narrative that explains that. We have an immediate challenge, but we have weapons.”
“I’m interested in knowing where the challenges are and what we can do to support you,” Dudley said.