February 26, 2009

Perfect Nano-Location Exists

By: by Kevin O'Connor, CEO, Tech Valley Communications


Given the economic climate, it is more important than ever that efforts to foster economic development and growth be undertaken in a businesslike approach: coordinated, targeted and strategic, leveraging our strengths and the investments made in our regions and state to take advantage of current opportunities and to maximize future impact.

We have an opportunity to do just that with the location of a state-of-the-art computer chip packaging research center, at which scientists from IBM and the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering will conduct cutting-edge research and development. The project will create 675 high-tech jobs, including 200 at the center and another 475 among companies that will serve as essential partners.

Rather than engaging in debates that are neither useful nor productive, it is critical that decisions about this project are made in a manner that ensures maximum return on investment. Does it make good business sense to build a packaging research center from scratch - at a cost of more than $100 million - when the college's Albany NanoTech compex has the clean rooms and other infrastructure necessary? The answer, from a technical and business perspective, is obvious.

There is no question that the right location for the packaging center is Albany NanoTech. complex. This asset would then be used to drive new economic growth throughout upstate where the partner companies would be located.

This is a tried-and-true business model that is already working, as evidenced by global companies like M+W Zander and Vistec Lithography that were attracted to New York through research partnerships with Albany Nanotech, and have now located their headquarters and hundreds of jobs at the Watervliet Arsenal.

While layoffs, cutbacks and plant closings are generating headlines across the country the importance of creating hundreds of high-paying, high-tech jobs in New York cannot be overstated. That this is happening in New York is a tribute to investments spearheaded by Gov. David Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who have demonstrated exceptional vision and recognized leadership in the high-tech transformation of this state. Now is the time to continue that strategy through a businesslike approach that ensures a successful result, both today and in the future.

Kevin O'Connor is CEO of Tech Valley Communications in Albany.