Week of November 11, 2002
from Site Selection's exclusive New Plant database
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Pataki, Clinton Team to Bring Scienx's 505-Employee R&D/Mfg. Facility to Upstate NYby JACK LYNE, Site SelectionExecutive Editor of Interactive Publishing ROME, N.Y. Politics, goes the ancient adage, make for strange bedfellows.
On the other hand, a major New York location decision recently made for surprisingly cordial political bedfellows.
With November's Election Day breathing down their necks, Gov. George Pataki (R) and U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) engaged in a veritable love fest in the process of welcoming Scienx's 505-employee R&D/production operation to Rome, N.Y. (www.romechamber.com)
"I greatly appreciate the governor's strong support and tireless effort to make this happen," said Clinton - who the night before hosted a fundraiser at her Washington home for H. Carl McCall, Pataki's Democratic gubernatorial challenger.
"To me, this is not about politics," Clinton continued at the project announcement in Rome.
"This is about jobs and technology." Pataki parried with equal equanimity.
"I have to thank Sen. Clinton for her aggressiveness in telling Scienx to come to Rome," he said. "Great, great job."
Clinton's presence, Pataki added, underscored his goal "to govern in the interest of all the people in the state. That means working with people whether they support you, whether they don't support you, whether they're in your party, whether they're not in your party, so long as it's in the public interest."
Clinton Met with Company in FebruaryScienx, the catalyst for this deluge of bipartisan détente, makes anti-counterfeiting security software. The company is a newly formed subsidiary of Atlanta metro-headquartered Orasee (www.orasee.com), which produces imaging software.
The image of Orasee's expansion intentions first hit New York's recruiting radar in Washington, D.C. Orasee has a Virginia office in the Washington metro, which was how Clinton first got wind of the plans to open a major new subsidiary.
The senator in February set up a meeting at her office with Orasee's top brass. Clinton pitched hard for Rome, particularly emphasizing the city's U.S. Air Force Consolidated Intelligence and Reconnaissance Laboratory.
"When I learned of Orasee's intentions to expand its company, I thought immediately of Rome Labs and dedicated myself to showing the company all that the Mohawk Valley had to offer," Clinton said.
Also a Major Draw Another major plus that the area offered was the planned Griffiss Institute for Information Assurance (GIIA). State and federal governments, along with a host of private- and public-sector groups, are supporting the GIIA, which will specialize in information security work. GIIA researchers will work in close conjunction with Bell Labs' security initiatives.
Both the GIIA and Bell Labs are located in the same business park - the 3,600-acre (1,457-hectare) Griffiss Business and Technology Park (www.mvedge.org) - that Scienx chose for its operation.
The area's research links with Scienx's work, plus the bipartisan recruiting pitch, helped send the new subsidiary on the road leading to Rome, company officials said.
"I feel fortunate we were lucky enough to find you," Scienx President Jeffrey Phelan said of the GIIA.
"The company's decision to locate at Griffiss Park comes after a consideration of other locations in the U.S., as well as the U.K. and Europe," explained Jerry Nims, chairman of both Orasee and Scienx.
"An important factor in the company's move has been the stunning bipartisan effort that encouraged the company to investigate the upstate New York site," Nims continued. "New York's focus on creating technology centers of excellence, combined with the benefits of working in proximity to the Air Force Research Laboratory, makes Griffiss the ideal location for Scienx."
Free Quarters on Converted Military BaseWith significant private-sector backing, Scienx didn't make incentives a high-priority site selection factor, according to Phelan.
Nonetheless, the company will qualify for a number of incentives at its Rome location. Scienx is eligible to apply for $1.3 million in state grants tied to job creation, and for 10 years will receive a number of state enterprise zone incentives.
The new subsidiary is also getting a free site and building inside the Griffiss Business and Technology Park. Scienx will spend $17.6 million adapting a 55,000-sq.-ft. (5,110-sq.-m.) shell building in the park. The vacant building was built with federal and state funds as part of converting the former Griffiss Air Force Base (which closed in 1995) to private use. (For more on military base redevelopment, see "A Fighting Chance" from the November 2002 Site Selection.)
Scienx will create 45 jobs with its move-in, which is scheduled for July 2003, company officials said. The 505-job projection is for a three-year period after move-in, they added.
The positions will pay well, with salaries averaging $58,975, Scienx officials said. That's particularly good news for the Rome-Utica metro, which lost almost 24,000 residents between 1990 and 1999, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Grand Forks, N.D., and Steubenville, Ohio, were the only metros during that span that lost a higher proportion of their populations.
Political Calendar Keeps FlippingWhile the project announcement's pre-election timing was a bit awkward, it was unavoidable, company officials said.
"It has to do with our partners, our customers and our business," explained Phelan. "We don't operate on a political calendar."
Nonetheless, the pages on the political calendar continued to flip after Scienx's announcement.
Several days later, Pataki gained re-election. The incumbent garnered 49 percent of Empire State votes, while McCall finished with 33 percent and third-party contender Thomas Golisano had 14 percent.
©2002 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.