Next Generation Manufacturing & Workforce Development

Several innovative programs have been or will be launched in Western New York designed to enhance and improve the talent pool for regional employers, especially manufacturers, for years to come. These new workforce development programs bolster training efforts available at community colleges as well as the vocational programs offered through Buffalo Public Schools and Erie 1 BOCES.

Here are the workforce development programs that will be game-changers for manufacturers relocating to Buffalo Niagara.

Dream It, Do It WNY’s (http://www.didiwny.com/) mission is to introduce middle and high school students to careers in manufacturing and they’ve been successfully doing so for several years. Its goal is for more young students to choose education paths that will guide them into skilled trades and other critical support roles necessary for advanced manufacturers. Ideally, it will result in a deeper talent pool as these students graduate through the system. Dream it, Do it WNY encompasses school districts, colleges and manufacturers in Erie, Niagara, Allegany, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.

Already underway, and projected to increase in size and scope over the next five years, is the Buffalo Manufacturing Works. The facility will “provide technology solutions to companies across the manufacturing industry through world-class engineering support, research and design, training and strategic services” (http://buffalomanufacturingworks.com/). The Manufacturing Works is partially funded by a $45 million investment by New York State as part of the “Buffalo Billion” pledge from Governor Andrew Cuomo and will help manufacturers to research and innovate new products, improve productivity through “process excellence,” develop new export markets for their products and cultivate a highly skilled workforce.

Currently in the planning phase, the Regional Workforce Advancement Center (http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2013/05/02/manufacturing-training-center.html) will open in Buffalo thanks to additional investment from New York State. This facility will be exclusively focused on workforce development, especially the replacement of thousands of baby boomer employees who will retire over the next several years.

These are exciting times for the next generation of skilled workers as well as adults looking for new opportunities in tomorrow’s manufacturing jobs.

 

When it Comes to High Tech, Buffalo Manufacturing Works

While not the flashiest of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiatives, Buffalo Manufacturing Works has the potential to be one of the most effectual of them all. Originally dubbed the Buffalo Niagara Advanced Manufacturing Institute, Buffalo Manufacturing Works will soon become a pillar of the region’s manufacturing sector, providing technology solutions to companies across the industry through world-class engineering support, research and design, training and strategic services. Over the next five years, $45 million will be invested in facilities, equipment and engineering staff creating a state-of-the-art institution for the benefit of WNY manufacturers.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Buffalo Manufacturing Works is that it creates a major new asset for existing WNY manufacturers while simultaneously creating an incentive for BNE to market to potential attraction targets. In an era where companies across the board are cutting back on research and development budget lines, the opportunity to leverage this great asset will be a significant draw for growing manufacturing firms. Few other locations provide companies with such an advantage.

Resulting from several in-depth focus groups and research, three primary technology areas will dominate Buffalo Manufacturing Works: flexible automation, materials and testing, and processing and fabrication. Columbus, Ohio-based EWI, North America’s leading engineering and technology organization, will operate the institute. The member-driven not-for-profit was selected to operate the Buffalo initiative based on its 30 years of success in central Ohio. Three additional key local partners are involved: the University at Buffalo providing access to early-stage fundamental research and academic facilities; Insyte Consulting assisting with improvements to process and operational productivity; and the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara helping companies identify new markets and export opportunities.

As manufacturing shifts ever more towards highly technical and advanced practices, this investment will prove integral in continuing the Buffalo Niagara region’s great legacy as a nucleus of manufacturing innovation.

Click here to read more Buffalo Manufacturing Works from the Buffalo News.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

Our Power Is On!

Living next door to one of the world’s Natural Wonders as well as two Great Lakes, it’s easy for us to forget that water is a precious and often scarce commodity in other parts of the country as well as all over world.

Thanks to our renewable water resources, Buffalo Niagara is uniquely positioned to offer low-cost hydropower to companies that are seeking to locate or relocate in the United States. Electricity can be a large portion of production costs to manufacturers, and these energy costs are projected to rise in the coming years, particularly as the global economy rebounds from the Great Recession and competition for electric grid capacity rises.

In the past few years, BNE has seen an increase in companies exploring Western New York specifically because of hydropower. Because we can offer not only cheaper utility rates but also a great labor force and an abundance of colleges and universities, you can see why we are an intriguing place for a variety of high-tech manufacturers.

The New York Power Authority has been an excellent partner in our pursuit of securing new jobs for the region. They are receptive to our requests for assistance and provide a multitude of services to those companies we introduce to them. The BNE values that partnership as well as New York State’s hydro-related programs. They are indeed a point of pride and we promote them as one of the many reasons a company should choose to locate in Buffalo Niagara.

by Tony Kurdziel, Business Development Manager

Career Experience Programs Benefit Local Companies and Students

The University at Buffalo (UB) is doubling down for the second year of its highly successful Life Sciences Career Experience Program. Run through UB’s NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS), this experiential learning program offers full-time UB graduate and undergraduate students the chance to work for Buffalo Niagara life sciences companies in a variety of positions, at no cost to the company. Due to the success in its inaugural year, UB has expanded the program beyond life sciences, creating the Advanced Manufacturing Career Experience Program in conjunction with UB’s Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI).

UB is currently accepting job postings from companies interested in participating; postings must be received by UB no later than September 26. Click the following links to submit postings for each program: Life Sciences and Advanced Manufacturing.

Last year, fourteen local life sciences companies submitted job postings, leading to the placement of 21 students, working 12 hours per week over a 12-week period. Ryan Downey, Director of Quality Assurance at QuaDPharma, was thrilled with his company’s participation in the program:

“Businesses have a difficult job these days finding candidates that can provide value while at the same time fitting well within an organization’s team dynamics. Internships have always been a great proving ground to satisfy this need, but newer, smaller organizations need to accomplish this and be very careful with working capital. The program through UB effectively removes the cost barrier.”

The leadership at QuaDPharma was so impressed with two of their interns that they have hired those individuals following the conclusion of the UB-sponsored program. Downey said these students “have proven to be conscientious, motivated and focused,” just the qualities they were seeking in employees.

The program is open to full-time UB students of any major, so companies may submit postings for positions in any role: business, marketing, manufacturing, information technology, support, quality control, engineering, or lab sciences.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

We All Scream For Ice Cream!

by Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager

Cornell University’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences’ Department of Food Science has undergone a major two-phase renovation project. Its Stocking Hall now houses an impressive dairy processing plant, teaching winery, product development kitchen, conference center, two floors of research facilities and a brand new dairy bar. The Buffalo Niagara Enterprise (BNE) staff recently traveled to Ithaca and toured the 10,000 sq. ft. facility that contains impressive pilot-scale equipment for use in research, teaching and extension. Cornell produces milk, yogurt, pudding, cheese and its popular ice cream. In fact, the university worked closely with Perry’s Ice Cream in Akron on the design and layout of the new ice cream facility.

During the tour, we learned that Cornell has 160 cows on site that are utilized for various processes. They are also researching and testing to increase the shelf life of milk from 7 to 21 days. Who knew that milk is 85% water?

Cornell’s Dairy Processing Plant

Cornell’s Dairy Processing Plant

Cornell’s fully automated plant is a resource to New York State businesses for research and product development. They offer incubator space and programs, a state-of-the-art lab for product testing and development, and a wine lab. Their Extension Programs also assist business owners in producing safe, healthy and wholesome foods. They offer a variety of programs from wine and beer to milk and dairy; fruits and vegetables; entrepreneurship and small scale processing; food safety, sensory analysis and many others. For further information visit: http://foodscience.cals.cornell.edu/extension

If You Ask Me, the ASME Conference was Incredible!

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

This summer, engineers from around the world convened in Buffalo at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ (ASME) annual conference on advanced manufacturing and design. As one of the world’s premier mechanical engineering conferences, a record-number (nearly 2,000 participants) was treated to four days of technical sessions and networking opportunities, while enjoying some of the nicest weather Buffalo summers have to offer.

The significance of our hosting this important conference cannot be overlooked. Usually reserved for larger American cities (like Portland, Chicago and Washington, DC), it was through the efforts of University at Buffalo’s Dr. Venkat Krovi and his team that ASME was convinced that Buffalo was the place to be in 2014. Dr. Krovi, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, served as the General Conference Chair, while UB provided funding as Host Sponsor.

To make it even more special, ASME incorporated its inaugural Advanced Design & Manufacturing Impact Forum, a four-day event highlighting the opportunities and potential of the latest advanced manufacturing solutions available.

While the conference and forum are geared towards those with engineering degrees (which doesn’t include me), I was thrilled to take in several sessions. In particular, I enjoyed those focused on how additive manufacturing is improving the manufacturing and design of biomedical devices, and another on the growing opportunities for academia/industry collaboration.

One thing is clear: the Buffalo Niagara region, once a mecca for advanced manufacturing, remains highly influential in this critical industry and key assets like UB are leading the way.

Kudos to ASME, Dr. Krovi and UB for executing an excellent conference; I hope you enjoyed Buffalo as much as I enjoyed my participation!

New York’s High Tech Corridor

Click here for Academic & Industry Asset Maps

Click here for Academic & Industry Asset Maps

By Tony Kurdziel, Business Development Manager

In November 2013, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of a clean-energy research campus on 90 acres of land along the Buffalo River calling this initiative the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub @ RiverBend. At the same announcement, SORAA and Silevo were named as the first two tenants. Recently, SolarCity announced plans to get into domestic gigawatt-scale PV cell and module production (via acquisition of Silevo) that would further transform Riverbend.

Why New York? Partially because we have invested in developing properties such as Riverbend and the 1,250 acre development site , WNY STAMP. But more moreover, we are home a number of important assets that support a high-tech corridor, including:

  • Existing Fabs –IBM, Global Foundaries and multiple development sites created with the semicon industry in mind – STAMP, Marcy, Luther Forest
  • Top semiconductor industry suppliers like ASML, AMAT, TEL, Praxair, Edwards Vacuum
  • Rare infrastructure, especially low-cost, highly reliable hydropower and affordable, plentiful  process water
  • Deep connectivity with regional universities that support R&D and workforce needs
  • Six AAU universities across the New York state
  • Public-private partnerships, with more than $20 billion invested across New York by major players in the industry
  • Federal and state representatives that strongly support the semiconductor industry

If you are attending Semicon West, July 8-10 in San Francisco, CA, stop by booth #2411. The New York Loves Nanotechnology team will be there to discuss the region’s resources and advantages.

 

Buffalo to Host Leading Design Engineering Conference

asmelogo (3)

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

Late this summer, Buffalo will play host to one of the USA’s flagship conference for Design Engineering, the ASME 2014 International Design & Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE 2014). The conference takes place August 17-20, 2014 at the Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center in downtown Buffalo.

The University at Buffalo played a pivotal role in attracting this conference to Buffalo, with Dr. Venkat Krovi, UB Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, serving as the Conference’s General Chair.

Even more exciting, ASME has decided that Buffalo is the ideal venue to premier a new program to be co-located with IDETC/CIE 2014: the Advanced Design & Manufacturing Impact Forum. This four-day event will highlight opportunities that help participants realize the full potential of advanced manufacturing solutions. Impact Forum attendees will participate in leading-edge conversations on emerging technologies, applications, and solutions required to compete in the global advanced design and manufacturing marketplace.

ASME has identified Life Sciences & Medical Devices as one of eight highlighted program topics for the Impact Forum, featuring new/novel devices, materials, global manufacturing and biocompatibility. The Impact Forum will include an exhibit hall where companies will have the opportunity to draw the industry’s attention to their latest innovations. The Impact Forum has an impressive program of speakers across the eight topic areas.

The final day of the conference/forum (Wed. August 20) will feature a Career Fair, providing an excellent opportunity for companies and job seekers to connect.

I hope to see you there!

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.