Rochester Photonics Hub

Rochester will be the site of a new integrated photonics manufacturing innovation hub for the United States. Read WXXI News' coverage of this major economic development initiative and what it means for you and the region.

In the latest WXXI Business Report, the new leader of AIM Photonics talks about his hopes for how that organization can spur economic development and jobs in the Rochester area.

Plus, Visit Rochester has a new campaign designed to make travelers and local residents feel safe during the pandemic when they visit local attractions; and f ind out how LiDestri Food and Drink is making a big commitment by distributing hand sanitizer throughout the region.

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AIM Photonics, the public-private partnership which has roots in Rochester, is getting a new leader.

Michael Cumbo has been named the new CEO for the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), to succeed Michael Liehr in that role.

Cumbo is a Rochester native, having previously worked in companies that include Eastman Kodak and Bausch + Lomb. Most recently he was vice president for optics at Zygo Coporation, a Connecticut-based company which designs and develops electro-optical systems and high-precision optical components.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI news

Ed White, who helps oversee the so-called TAP, or test, assembly and packaging facility, gave reporters a tour of the progress being made at the Rochester operation on Monday.

Crews have been working on it for months, bringing in specialized tools and other equipment. There are just a couple of dozen people working in that building now, although that may increase if the AIM Photonics effort continues to attract new customers.

When state and federal officials first talked about making Rochester a photonics hub a few years ago, some political leaders talked about the potential for it creating several thousand jobs.

Empire State Development

IDEX Health & Science, a photonics manufacturer, has officially opened its new ‘Optical Center of Excellence' in Henrietta.

The facility is located on John Street, and officials say it will support the company’s life science, semi-conductor, and defense businesses.

Empire State Development, New York’s economic development agency, says that IDEX had considered moving its operations out of the state.  But now, they say that IDEX is retaining 186 jobs and creating at least 34 new positions.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

A Colorado-based company is the winner of the first round of New York State’s Luminate NY competition.

The announcement was made Thursday at a demonstration event held at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.

Alex Crichton

Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held Wednesday on an expansion project at a former Kodak building on Lake Avenue, that now houses ON Semiconductor, which develops and builds sensor devices.

It's a company that Senior Vice President Mark Goranson says was considering moving its technology to a factory in Japan.

But getting AIM photonics here to cost-share the facility, plus incentives from the state, kept the company in Rochester.

State officials say that tool installation has begun on schedule at the AIM Photonics Test, Assembly and Packaging (TAP) facility in Rochester.

They also say that work on that photonics operation on Lake Avenue, near Eastman Business Park, is forecasted to come in $3.2 million dollars under budget.

This is all part of a more than $600 million effort with the federal government putting in $110 million  and the state and private sector among those entities that are making up the balance.

New York State has committed $250 million toward the project.

The New York State Photonics Board took more steps on Friday toward trying to attract more photonics manufacturers to come to the Rochester area. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo had announced during his State of the State address in January that he wants to allocate $30 million toward attracting photonics companies to the region.

On Friday, the photonics board endorsed that move. Vincent Esposito is the Regional Director for Empire State Development in the Finger Lakes.  He says this is all about creating more jobs for this area. 

Luminate NY, the state-funded competition designed to help startup companies in the optics, photonics and imaging industries in Rochester, announced the first 10 finalists chosen on Wednesday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says the inaugural class includes optics, photonics and imaging start-ups, which were selected after pitching ideas to an advisory panel comprised of industry experts. The list includes two non-U.S. companies; 7 out-of-state companies and 3 Rochester companies.

The 10 selected finalists include:

Empire State Development

A local high tech company is adding jobs. Empire State Development says that ON Semiconductor is planning to grow operations at its Lake Avenue facility at the Eastman Business Park.

It will expand its current test and assembly operations creating up to 34 jobs over the next two years, and the state says the expansion will also help retain 185 jobs.

ON Semiconductor’s facility is also home to the local photonics Testing, Assembly and Packaging or “TAP “ facility, which leases space from ON Semiconductor