Federal, state and local officials came to Rochester Thursday to tout the progress being made at a photonics facility in the city.
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Chamber of Commerce President (and AIM Photonics Leadership Council Chairman ) Bob Duffy, and various state officials put on their hard hats, and toured a couple of floors of a former Kodak building on Lake Avenue which will be the headquarters for what is called a TAP, or Testing, Assembly and Packaging facility.
This is all part of a public-private partnership that is expected to involve more than $600 million from government and private sources. The photonics hub was announced two years ago by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden, when they said Rochester had been selected as the home for the Department of Defense-led American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics.
When the effort to make Rochester a photonics hub was announced, some politicians were talking about the potential of thousands of jobs being created.
While Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport), and other officials are not talking specific jobs numbers right now, they are talking about a gradual build-out that should attract photonics companies down the road.
“We’re going to bring in a lot of companies that will make the products that come out of this building. That’s where the jobs come from. I’m sure we will have more engineers and more optics specialists and other people who will come to want to work here. But you need to look at who already is supporting this, the universities, the companies.”
John Maggiore is Chairman of the New York State Photonics Board of Officers. He works with Governor Cuomo on this effort, and Maggiore says he's pleased with the progress that is being made.
“I’m beyond satisfied, the governor is very excited by the developments that are happening right here in Rochester; Ed White (associate vice president for Test, Assembly and Packaging), mentioned some of the work that’s already being done at some of our colleges here in the region right now so, it’s exciting, it’s really amazing, and it’s one of the best investments the state has made,”Maggiore said.
Cuomo released a statement Thursday which said that the “cutting-edge innovation and growth taking place at the AIM Photonics facility will support the creation of new jobs and opportunities for the entire region.”
Officials say that nearly $40 million of equipment for the TAP facility is either on order, or about to be ordered.
The Lake Avenue facility is undergoing renovations now and is expected to be operational late next year.