Over the last couple decades, the eastern edge of New York, known as Tech Valley, has been quietly but steadily increasing its nanotech, semiconductor, bio and life sciences industries, all while fostering a collaborative environment that helps new companies succeed.
Recently, a 370-page economic impact study called “Partnering to Grow the New York Regional Nano-Cluster” reported impressive economic benefits surrounding the semiconductor industry in New York’s Tech Valley region. The report’s authors, Charles W. Wessner, Georgetown University research professor, and Thomas R. Howell, a semiconductor industry attorney, said the state’s investments and efforts to grow the industry “have been substantial, particularly in regard to employment. Indeed, the benefits for the region in terms of jobs, investments and growth have exceeded all forecasts.”
Tech Valley covers 250 miles (402 km.) of eastern New York stretching through 19 counties in the Capital Region, the Adirondacks and North Country, Hudson Valley and Mohawk Valley from New York City to the Canadian border. The area is a hub for technology companies and educational institutions that focus on everything from biotech and nanotechnology to the life sciences. With the region’s proximity to major metros like Montreal, Boston and the Big Apple, Tech Valley is ripe for new and existing companies bent on growth.
The report, which was commissioned in 2014 and released this spring, highlights the semiconductor industry’s creation of more than 9,000 jobs in the region. The report indicates between 60,000 and 80,000 jobs make up the total number of industry jobs created directly and indirectly, including more than 3,500 construction jobs.
Since GlobalFoundries first began producing commercial wafers at the Luther Forest Technology Park in Malta, New York, six years ago, the California-based company has expanded its Fab 8 facility and hired more than 3,300 people. The company, which is one of the leading manufactures of 7 nanometer chip technology, has invested more than $15 billion to construct its high-tech manufacturing complex since 2009. In 2015, GlobalFoundries took over IBM’s computer chip plans in East Fishkill, New York, and Essex Junction, Vermont. The company will produce chips for IBM until 2025.
Marcy Nanocenter at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, in Utica at the heart of New York’s Nanoelectronics Manufacturing and R&D cluster, is a 450-acre (182-hectare) greenfield site that has been developed specifically for semiconductor manufacturing facilities. The Nanocenter provides opportunities for partnerships and collaborations with household names such as Intel, Samsung, Nikon, IBM and several others. The site is the largest shovel-ready semiconductor site in the world. In 2017, Austria-based AMS opened a new 360,000-sq.-ft. (33,444-sq.-m.) fab on the site. The company invested some $2 billion and plans to hire 1,500.
The site is also home to The Computer Chip Commercialization Center, called Quad-C, which was designed as a shared-use co-location facility to enable next-generation device processing. Danfoss Silicon Power, the only occupant of Quad-C, is expected to be in operation by the end of the year with as many as 75 employees. The state has invested $100 million to upgrade and equip the facility for the German company.
Savannah King is managing editor of custom content for Conway Inc. She is an award-winning journalist and previously wrote for The Times in Gainesville, Ga. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives near Atlanta.