Press-Republican

Columns

December 8, 2013

Business 'clusters' can boost economy

Last month, The Development Corporation (TDC) hosted a meeting skillfully facilitated by Howard Silverman, president of the CAI Global Group headquartered in Montreal, of local transportation manufacturers and some of their suppliers.

The purpose was to discuss how best to continue to develop Clinton County’s aerospace/transportation equipment cluster.

What exactly is an industry cluster, you ask. Good question. Harvard professor Michael Porter coined the term industry cluster in his 1990 book “The Competitive Advantage of Nations.” The term is often misused to describe companies with similar interests, needs and competencies that locate close to one another.

A true industry cluster, however, is more than that. A true industry cluster is comprised of a vertically and horizontally integrated value chain consisting of manufacturers, suppliers, vendors and distributors intertwined with economic-development organizations, academic institutions, research facilities and workforce-training organizations.

As an aside, let me say that I’ve never really liked the word “cluster,” it’s seems like an unsophisticated word to use to describe a sophisticated concept. For me, the word “cluster” brings to mind a description of the rollout of Obamacare. When you think about the value chain that comprises an industry cluster, the word “synergistic” comes to mind; it better describes the nature of an industry cluster, why they form and what their advantages are.

But, hey, who am I am to criticize a Harvard professor’s choice of words?

An industry cluster initiative is a tool to help govern a region’s economic-development and recruitment efforts. It’s an industry-led effort to further the development and success of, in our case, aerospace/transportation equipment manufacturing. The creation of an organized network of economic partners, with the common goal of improving performance and competitiveness, will help strengthen the cluster, help companies grow, and create and retain good jobs.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg World in palm of our hands

    A newsroom workshop made writer Susan Tobias realize how far technology has come since she started working at the Press-Republican.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mulholland_Jonathan.jpg Running tips to get you in top form

    Different limb lengths, tighter muscles, stiffer joints, prior injuries all play role in determining your running style, Jonathan Mulholland writes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • clute_cropped.jpg When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walace_Jolene 7-12_cropped.jpg Let these tips on planting trees take root

    You may think that digging a hole and plopping the tree in will suffice, and it will if you only want the tree to live a short time, columnist Jolene Wallace writes.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • amy_ivy.jpg Is it time to plant? Not yet

    All we can do is wait and see how things get through, columnist Amy Ivy writes.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time