Press-Republican

Local News

February 26, 2014

Clinton County transportation-manufacturing cluster initiative underway

(Continued)

One future possibility is to have a meeting where potential suppliers could learn what it takes to become a supplier for Bombardier or Nova Bus.

Long-term goals include involvement of the area’s academic institutions to make sure skills for the required workforce are taught. 

It would also be necessary for government officials to be engaged.

GREATER VOICE

Jim Tooley, head of Industrial Strategy for Nova Bus, said he sees three ways that collaboration on development of the cluster would help all of the companies involved, including his. 

One would be to attract suppliers that presently don’t have a local presence. That would help with the anchors’ supply-chain-management issues and, in some cases, could increase the U.S. and New York content percentages that are required for most municipal contracts.

To include even more companies in the cluster, Tooley said, would help all the firms in recruitment of employees with specialized skills. 

People might be more willing to locate here if they see there are multiple opportunities for employment and eventual advancement, he said.

Tooley said a true cluster also gives a greater collective voice when it’s time to advocate for support from government officials on the state and federal levels. 

“In these three avenues, collaboration (among) these companies can only help us in the future,” he said. 

LENGTHY PROCESS

Silverman said that, as more companies see the initiative making progress, it is likely they would also want to participate.

When those potential suppliers become aware that there are two or three anchor manufacturers, it makes relocation to this area more attractive, as they could sell more product and pay less to ship it.

Grasso said creation of this cluster gives the area a regional theme to build upon.

“Creating this cluster is true economic development,” he said.

Silverman said it’s important to understand the process will take a number of years to come to fruition, but if you don’t start, it can’t ever happen.

“It’s quite exciting to see what’s happening in Plattsburgh.”

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

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