Welcome Nulife Glass – NY’s First CRT Recycler

Nulife Glass Furnace in Kent, England

Nulife Glass Furnace in Kent, England

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

This past year, I had the pleasure of working with UK-based  Nulife Glass, and particularly owner and founder Simon Greer, as they established their first U.S.-based operations and introduced their ground-breaking recycling technology to North America.  The following is their story of US expansion with links to information about their unique technology.

Project Background:

Nulife Glass, a highly specialized recycling company based in Manchester, England has developed a unique method to recycle the leaded glass found in Cathode Ray Tubes, or CRT’s (glass components commonly found in older style televisions and computer monitors). This technology is the first of its kind, and has yet to be used in the U.S.

A growing market awaits Nulife, as its technology solves a rapidly growing problem in the electronics recycling industry. Sweeping changes in flat screen technologies have made most CRT products obsolete, causing glass waste materials to accumulate in massive stockpiles. Previously, CRT glass was recycled with relative ease into new CRTs; but today, there are nearly no new CRT products being manufactured. CRT glass contains lead oxide; Nulife’s proprietary technology extracts the metallic lead from the glass which is immediately ready for re-sale to the metal markets and the remaining recycled glass can safely be used in other products.

Project Problem:

Nulife was looking to bring its new technology to the North American market with three to four locations geographically dispersed, one being in the Northeast. The company was drawn to the Buffalo Niagara region due the opportunity for an allocation of low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority (NYPA). The recycling process uses an electrically heated furnace which consumes a large amount of power, making this Nulife’s most expensive overhead cost. They are also a steward of the environment and green technology. The company practices this ideal in every aspect of its recycling process when possible, making hydropower extremely attractive. Nulife also needed to find a building suited to their manufacturing needs and in a location that could easily access a supply of CRT Glass.

Project Solution:

The largest hurdle to the project occurring in Buffalo Niagara was the company’s ability to navigate state regulatory agencies. Because Nulife’s technology is new and the first of its kind in the U.S., New York State’s regulatory bodies needed to evaluate the potential impact of the company’s operation. With BNE’s help, Nulife was able to move forward with their project, as the company demonstrated that its recycling process would have no negative effects on the environment. BNE also provided assistance with site selection, access to incentives and professional service providers.

The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, the county’s Department of Economic Development and the Town of Sheridan also played important roles in site selection and assisted the company with the permitting process for their new facility.

Nulife will invest $3.7 million to renovate a 50,000 square foot manufacturing plant in the Town of Sheridan where they will create 25 new jobs.

Read about Nulife’s road to New York : http://www.ce.org/Blog/Articles/2013/April/World%E2%80%99s-First-CRT-Recycler-Coming-to-New-York.aspx

Read about Nulife’s technology: http://www.waste-management-world.com/articles/print/volume-13/issue-2/features/ray-of-light-for-crt-recycling.html

Continuing the Conversation with Canadian Businesses

by Tony Kurdziel, Business Development Manager

During the month of October, BNE has maintained a busy schedule in southern Ontario. During the first week of the month, we attended the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show (CMTS.ca) in Mississauga, Ontario. Over two days, we had conversations with several dozen companies and came away with a handful of in-depth meetings that could germinate into new investment opportunities in our region. At the very least, this show provided a great opportunity to meet with companies across a wide spectrum of industry, and from across almost all provinces. As with all trade shows, it is largely a matter of “working the floor” and aggressively seeking companies that might have a business reason to locate in western New York.

On October 10, we attended the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) Canada East- Fall Seminar in Toronto. In addition to the the educational component of this event, we were able to network with the approximately 50 real estate professionals in attendance. These events are a great opportunity for us to keep the southern Ontario real estate community thinking about Buffalo Niagara when one of their clients decides to expand to the U.S. Hopefully these casual discussions will someday lead to inbound referrals for our locally-based developers and real estate brokers.

Prior to the SIOR event, we also had individual meetings with southern Ontario companies that are considering investment in our region. Again, more promising activity that is being driven by the strong Canadian dollar and our targeted marketing efforts.

This month Canadian Manufacturing.com also featured two Canadian companies that expanded their businesses accross the border in Plenty of Perks for Canadians Mulling Move to NY as a result of a visit we hosted in September.

A decade of hard work – and it’s just the beginning

by Tom Kucharski, president & CEO, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

A recent article in Buffalo Business First, “Steelmaker picks Buffalo for new $102M plant,” says it all: Another win for Buffalo – after more than a year of courting and negotiations by a coalition developed through Buffalo Niagara Enterprise.

That’s another $102 million in new development and an estimated 172 jobs with great salaries and benefits. Success breeds success, too, and there’s widespread optimism that Buffalo Niagara’s future looks brighter than most people thought possible – most, but not our team at BNE.

For years, we’ve known that Buffalo Niagara’s got all the hallmarks of the greatest places to live and do business and for more than a decade, we’ve been laying the groundwork for today’s success.

Working with our investors and our public and private economic development partners, we’ve built coalitions of business leaders, elected and appointed officials, academics, researchers and entrepreneurs to develop strategies for business attraction.   Governor Andrew Cuomo and Empire State Development Corporation, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, County Executive Mark Poloncarz and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, Mayor Byron Brown and the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Visit Buffalo Niagara are just a few of the many elected officials and partner organizations we work with to bring about the change necessary to move our economy forward.

From Silicon Valley to the United Arab Emirates, businesses are expanding and relocating here because we offer everything they need to succeed: a skilled and dedicated workforce, highly competitive commercial real estate, low-cost energy, research and development partnerships, proximity to numerous major North American cities and a vast array of networks for imports, exports and cross-continental shipping.

Buffalo Niagara is once again developing a reputation as a world-class region that’s competitive for businesses and attractive for employees.  But we’re up against some pretty tough competition including some of the largest cities in the country and the fastest-growing global hotspots. Continued success will take more than just “being in the game.”  Capitalizing on this momentum will require even more focus on long-term growth and continued economic diversification.   It will demand teamwork, and a unified regional approach.

That’s why BNE will keep working hard to build relationships, bring people together, and tell our great story to the outside world.

We’re proud of the work we’ve accomplished with our partners and we look forward to many more articles about Buffalo Niagara’s continued resurgence – the result of visionary planning, input and insight from a variety of stakeholders, and meticulous and consistent coordination.  Exciting things are happening in Buffalo Niagara again, with even brighter days ahead of us.

Check out these other recent success stories to learn more about why businesses like Geico, Yahoo, Greenpac and Alpina are relocating and expanding here – and if you’re interested in learning more about how the region can benefit your company’s expansion, relocation or startup, contact us today.

Building the Business Case for Buffalo Niagara

by Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager

Since Alita’s plan to build a $102 million factory in Buffalo was announced earlier this week, we’ve been asked repeatedly, “What enticed them to Buffalo?” Some people seem surprised that we don’t mention the quality of life in the region as a central factor. Hundreds of man hours went into the competitive assessment and due diligence process for this project. The cost of doing business from electrical rates, labor, logistics, and cost of living all played key parts in the evaluation.

In a recent interview with Ali Hosseini, Alita president and CEO, Business First reported Hosseini said that building in Buffalo was “probably 25 percent” less expensive than Houston.

Recently companies like Yahoo, Alpina, Muller Quaker Dairy, Welded Tube, and Fed Ex all made their decisions to locate in our region based on the business case, testimony to the fact that the Buffalo Niagara region was once built for business and this remains true today. As Ward Thomas, president and CEO of Sentient Science – an advanced manufacturing company that just recently relocated to Buffalo Niagara from Idaho – said:

“We believe we can make more money faster, we can grow faster, we can hire people – and we can participate in the economy – faster by being here in Buffalo than any other city in the country.”

So what role does quality of life play in these decisions? In the due diligence process, that’s the cherry on top. It’s part of the reason we have a such great and productive workforce and why once we get companies and people to move here they –and their families – never want to leave. Buffalo Niagara:: Where Life Works

A Super Resource for Buffalo Businesses

Center for Computational Research

Center for Computational Research

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

The Center for Computational Research (CCR), a leading high performance computing center, is just one of the many assets located in the University at Buffalo.  Traditionally, CCR is seen as the computational backbone to much of the fundamental research conducted at UB,  but it is also an integral partner to the region’s business community – providing them with a competitive advantage.  Local companies are welcomed and encouraged to work with UB faculty, CCR staff and benefit from the center’s computing expertise to advance their business and research capabilities.  In fact, economic development is built directly into the CCR’s mission statement, namely to  “Foster economic development and job creation in Western New York by providing local industry with access to advanced computing resources, including hardware, software and consulting services.”   Indeed, this is made clear by CCR’s Director Dr. Tom Furlani, who adds “As a native of WNY, I am especially committed to help spur economic development in the region by working with local companies to leverage high performance computing to more rapidly advance their innovation and reduce development cycle time.”

Numerous local companies are already  collaborating with CCR, including recent BNE ‘win’ Sentient Science.  Click here to watch a short video on Sentient’s decision to relocate its headquarters to Buffalo,  as well as the critical role CCR played in the decision.

What makes the CCR so valuable is how it allows  businesses to utilize an incredibly expensive resource, in this case high performance computing, only when needed.  Rather than tying up precious capital in expensive fixed assets, CCR’s industry partners are more able to invest in other vital aspects to their business: talent and innovation.

Many of CCR’s industrial partners are supported through the New York State High Performance Computing Consortium (HPC2), a partnership between New York’s advanced network (NYSERNet) and three supercomputing centers: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations, Stony Brook University/Brookhaven National Laboratory’s New York Center for Computational Sciences, and UB’s CCR.  In the three years  of HPC2 existence, more than 30 industrial companies, representing all three regions (Western New York, Capital District and Long Island) have made and continue to make use of Consortium resources.

With more than 100 teraflops (trillions of operations per second) of compute capacity and 600 terabytes of high-performance storage, CCR provides industrial partners with access to advanced computing infrastructure as well as faculty and computational scientists with expertise in simulation based engineering and science.  In addition, CCR has a computer visualization laboratory with a tiled display wall, which allows teams of scientists to study high resolution images and data collaboratively in a comfortable setting.

Specific ways in which the CCR partners with industry include:

  • Provide the WNY and NY State industrial community with access to state-of-the-art high performance computing (HPC) resources (hardware, software and consulting services) to help foster economic development.
  • Work directly with NY State industry to help them utilize HPC resources to improve their productivity, develop new products, and provide them with a competitive advantage.
  • Provide the WNY research community with access to high performance computing resources in order to facilitate their research and in so doing increase the volume of externally funded research dollars coming to WNY.

Around the Region: Genesee County

by Tony Kurdziel, Business Development Manager

Muller Quaker Dairy in Batavia, NY

Muller Quaker Dairy in Batavia, NY

The BNE team recently got an guided tour on all of the latest developments in Genesee County, courtesy of our partners at the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC). During the course of the day, we toured five of the GCEDC’s commerce parks including the emerging “mega-site” in Alabama, NY, known as the Science Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park or STAMP (see http://www.gcedc.com/index.php/wny/ for full details).The unique infrastructure assets at this site, combined with its central geographic location, represents a rare opportunity for the Buffalo and Rochester metro areas: leveraging our collective academic and technical expertise in effort to bring the semiconductor industry to western New York. This is a project worth monitoring, as this massive endeavor is really picking up momentum.

In terms of current success, we were also afforded a tour of the new Quaker Muller yogurt factory, located inside the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. It was heartening to witness the leading-edge production process and to learn and interact with the new employees that Quaker Muller has added this summer. For those interested in the remaining land sites at the Ag Park, simply follow this link: http://www.gcedc.com/index.php/site-selectio/genesee-valley-agri-business-park/

Ready for our tour...

Ready for our tour…

Throughout the course of the day, we also visited the GCEDC’s available development sites in the towns of Pembroke, Batavia, and Bergen. We also toured the new flex office/industrial space at the Masse Place Gateway, right inside the Batavia’s rapidly evolving downtown. For the uninitiated, the City of Batavia offers a tremendous mix of unique shops and restaurants. Well worth a trip from the surrounding counties of western NY, and that’s not even counting the other attractions in Pembroke and LeRoy, and Darien!

Check out more data about Genesee County here, or if you are interested in learning more about what to see and do in Genesee, visit http://www.visitgeneseeny.com/.

Business Incubators – A Western NY Invention

by Tony Kurdziel, Business Development Manager

A recent post by Chris Finn, BNE Research Manager, detailed the accolades enjoyed by University of Buffalo’s Technology Incubator. However, most people do not know that business incubators* are a western New York invention. In 1956, Massey Ferguson announced it was closing its 850,000 square-foot tractor factory in Batavia, NY. The Mancuso family ultimately purchased it, and Joseph Mancuso started the daunting task of filling the facility with new business. Since there was little chance of another single tenant leasing the entire facility, Mr. Mancuso divided the building for many users, and provide multiple forms of support for the small companies that might fill the space. Now run by Mr. Mancuso’s son, Tom, the Batavia Industrial Center is a hub of grassroots economic development in Batavia, with a mix of “traditional” heavy industry, high-tech office users, craft manufacturers and fine arts.

Perhaps because of the legacy started by Joseph Mancuso, western New York is blessed with nearly one incubator in every county. For entrepreneurs that are looking to take their concept “out of the garage” and into larger production space, or for Canadian companies that are looking to test the U.S. market, our regional incubators offer tremendous variety, value and opportunity. Here, by county, is a list of different facilities in our region. Please explore them and find the incubator that suits your business.

Chautauqua:

Technology Incubator at Fredonia

http://incubator.fredonia.edu/

Erie:

University of Buffalo Technology Incubator

http://www.research.buffalo.edu/stor/incubator/

z80 Labs

http://www.z80labs.com/

Genesee:

Batavia Industrial Center (discussed above)

http://www.bic4biz.com/

Niagara:

Harrison Place

http://www.harrisonplace4biz.com/

*We used the National Business Incubator Association’s definition of business incubator to select these facilities for feature. “Business incubators nurture the development of entrepreneurial companies, helping them survive and grow during the start-up period, when they are most vulnerable. These programs provide their client companies with business support services and resources tailored to young firms. The most common goals of incubation programs are creating jobs in a community, enhancing a community’s entrepreneurial climate, retaining businesses in a community, building or accelerating growth in a local industry, and diversifying local economies.”

Former Industrial Land Now Ready for Future Growth

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

A few weeks ago local photographer Jim Cavanaugh (no relation – yes, our last names are really spelled differently) took some new aerial images of Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park, an urban commerce park on reclaimed waterfront land in Buffalo, NY. It was the perfect day and the photos are amazing. Looking at them I recalled images Peter Cammarata and Dave Stebbins, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC), previously shared with me that show the transformation of the site.

This is an incredible brownfield redevelopment story made possible by the tremendous vision of BUDC and both public and private investment. I hope you enjoy the photos below of the Union Ship Canal transformation into the Ship Canal Commons – now an attractive  park with a waterfront access for employees of the business park as well as residents throughout the Buffalo Niagara region.

Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park today!

Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park today!

Union Canal before transformation.

Union Canal before transformation.

Founded in 1899 , the Buffalo and Susquehanna Iron Company. In 1910 this was sold to Hanna Furnace Co.

Founded in 1899 , the Buffalo and Susquehanna Iron Company. In 1910 this was sold to Hanna Furnace Co.

Ready for the Future of Manufacturing

by Matthew Hubacher, research specialist

Over the past two decades the economy of Western New York has diversified a great deal.  In fact, the regional economy looks more like that of the nation as whole now more than ever.

Manufacturing is no longer the dominate sector of the regional economy, but it remains a critical sector, employing over 51,000 workers and generating approximately $6.3 billion in gross regional product.  Community colleges and other workforce training centers do an excellent job in giving production workers the foundation of knowledge and the skills they need to begin a successful career in manufacturing.  In fact, a recent study by the Center for an Urban Future shows that community colleges in Western New York have higher graduation rates than the state average.

In order to ensure manufacturing remains strong in the region, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council recently recommended the creation of a worker training facility specifically dedicated to manufacturing.   The facility will provide training opportunities focused on hard-to-fill job categories and support local manufacturers “up-skill” their workforce.

Thanks to the leadership of the WNY Regional Development Council and the support of Governor Cuomo, Buffalo Niagara is making the necessary investments to ensure manufacturing remains a strong sector of the regional economy for years to come.

Sentient Science recently relocated to Buffalo, NY. Hear their thoughts on the area’s workforce readiness and ability to meet future needs in manufacturing:

View Video (3.34 min.)

Steve Davis Talks About Tapecon’s Medical Device Business

by Alan Rosenhoch, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

Steve Davis, Vice President of Tapecon

Steve Davis, Vice President of Tapecon

Headquartered here in Buffalo, NY, and in business since 1919, Tapecon is a highly technical and specialized printing and converting company. Through the years, Tapecon has positioned itself as an industry leader in niche markets with unique value propositions and technologies. It has achieved this through a mix of in-house services – driven by experienced and innovative employees -matched with manufacturing platforms that deliver superior products. Five generations of family ownership have proven to be nimble, open to change and invested in innovation.

Tapecon currently focuses on Medical/Medical Device, Industrial OEM, Electronics and Military/Aerospace markets. Long-term vendor and customer partnerships are paramount. Products include:  single-use medical diagnostics, printed electronics, custom converted functional parts & shields, product identification, and other printed markings. Tapecon’s services platform includes: in-house industrial & electronics engineering, commercialization services, validation services, graphic design, prototypes, and supply chain maximization. Their mix of competencies drive value for their customers.

Tapecon is ISO 9001:2008 & ISO 13485:2003 Registered, and cGMP Compliant.

Steve is a passionate advocate for operational continuous improvement, and has worked to create and sustain a progressive culture of change and innovation within Tapecon. He graduated from Clarkson University in 2001 with a Bachelors in Engineering and Management & MBA in International Business at St. Bonaventure University. In 2005 Steve returned to Buffalo to join Tapecon Inc. as a Manufacturing Engineer.  He was promoted to Director of Manufacturing in 2007 and again to his current role as Vice President in 2009.

I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Davis a few questions:

Q. Tapecon offers the ability to work with a client’s concepts. Who are some of your clients and what have been your most unique projects?

A. We are an extension of our customer’s design and manufacturing process.  We help our customers design, grow, and improve their products.  3M Medical and GE Healthcare are a couple of key clients. We have had a strong partnership with 3M for over 40 years. tapecon featured products

As part of our expansion project we worked with 3M on various improvements and process validation to improve process capability across their product lines.

Q. How has a Buffalo Niagara headquarters, the local manufacturing industry, and our workforce affected Tapecon’s success?

A. Our location offers value from a sales and logistics standpoint by allowing quick access to different regions by air or ground.  Our airport is convenient in bringing customers in or getting our sales staff out with competitive rates. The open communication among manufacturers in our region has promoted shared education of best practices and allows us to compete more effectively as a region.

Q. With Tapecon customers in numerous industry sectors; how much of your business is concentrated in the medical/medical device sector?

A. About 35% and growing. 

Q. Was targeting the life science industry always part of your business plan?  If not, how did you identify it as an opportunity for growth?

A. Not always.  In 2011 we took a strong look at the industries we were serving and put a strategy in place to target more in the medical and life science industries.  We have produced single use medical diagnostics for many years but saw the opportunity to grow within the industry using our full capability.

Q. Tapecon’s medical products fall under the advanced manufacturing umbrella as well. Advanced manufacturing has a long rich history in Buffalo Niagara, as does Tapecon. The industry has evolved with time and Tapecon has been able to stand the test. What would you say are the key factors that have sparked Tapecon’s growth over the years and ability to shift directive?

A. I think that over the years we have learned to focus on strong partnerships and collaborations with vendors and customers.  As our customers’ needs change we adapt and change with them to continue to add value.  Open collaboration and a team approach are core values that drive this.  Change is a constant at Tapecon and all of our employees expect it and participate in the change.

Q. What collaboration work, if any, do you (Tapecon) participate in with other local institutions or companies?

A. We are an active member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and participate with the Manufacturing Council which hosts educational events and local factory tours. We also help support the Dream It Do It campaign lead by the BNP.  We also support the Niagara Frontier Industry Education Council by hosting teacher tours and participating in career fairs aimed at raising awareness of careers in advanced manufacturing.

Q. The life sciences and advanced manufacturing industries in Buffalo Niagara today are drawing a young professional, smart and creative workforce. What do you think Buffalo Niagara has to offer this distinct workforce both personally and professionally?

A. There are a lot of opportunities for professional development through programming and networking from a variety of organizations.  Educationally we have it all – from certification programs to degree programs.  There are so many options to take advantage of, it’s just a matter of keeping up with it.  From a personal perspective when I need to balance my life it isn’t hard given all of the different festivals, music, sports, cultural diversity and natural resources in the region.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Q. What Life Sciences organizations, events, campaigns, or community outreach do you personally or professionally participate in, at what level, and why – if any?

A. I graduated from the UB Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership  (CEL) Core Program in 2011 and am now an active board member in the alumni association (CELAA).  I enjoy helping to engage all of the entrepreneur spirit in the area.  The High-Tech CEL program is aimed at early stage and Life Science companies and is a great resource.  The collaboration is what makes the innovation come alive.   I also enjoy attending the Life Sciences Commercialization Lecture Series and recently participated in the Innovation Center open house, which was excellent.

Q. What is your outlook for the growth of the Life Sciences industry, in Buffalo Niagara over the next 5-10 years?

A. That depends a lot on how the commercialization process occurs for the research capacity that is being developed here, as well as how you define successful growth.  Funded research won’t bear economic fruit without a market or without good product and process development.  Tapecon is just one company locally that plays a role in the “extension” of a concept through to a scalable manufacturing process that meets quality standards.  The commercialization process, intellectual property, and ultimately the sustained jobs need to stay and grow in Buffalo Niagara to consider the investments successful for our region. I’m optimistic that we can pull it all together.

Interested in learning more about Tapecon? Register to attend a tour on May 9 hosted by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

Click to learn more about Advanced Manufacturing and Life Sciences in the Buffalo Niagara region.