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June 12, 2009 - 5:39pm

Genesee County not out of the running for high tech jobs

posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, gensee county.

Genesee County may be losing out on the big Yahoo! data center deal, but that doesn't mean the county isn't out of the hunt for high tech jobs, according to GCEDC spokesman Chad Zambito.

Zambito told WBTA today (audio) that there are two big projects, with one being a strong possibility, that could get started in the western part of the county.

"Hydropower has been very important for us,'  Zambito said. "We've got two sites here in Genesee County that fall into the hydropower zone. It's about three-and-a-half cents a killowatt an hour. It's been a big difference right now. It's the only thing we're seeing moving is high tech looking at hydropower."

Also today, I e-mailed Zambito and asked him for his thoughts on why Yahoo! apparently picked Lockport over Genesee County.  Here's his response:

Our understanding is that an official announcement has not been made. That being said, we would certainly be happy to have them in the region but would obviously be disappointed to see Genesee County passed by. In comparison, the possible site in Niagara County may benefit from more industrial development as compared to our Green Field sites here in Genesee County.

Bea McManis
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In comparison, the possible site in Niagara County may benefit from more industrial development as compared to our Green Field sites here in Genesee County. Somehow I don't see Yahoo as 'industrial development'. It would fare much better in a Green Field site. Their headquarters in Sunnyvale is hardly industrial. If Genesee Co. can attract other high tech business, they will fit quite well in a Green Field site. http://www.glasssteelandstone.com/BuildingDetail/700.php
Peter O'Brien
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How is hydropower high tech? Its been around for centuries and there has been no real new innovations in the turbine for a long time. Bea, do you realize the kind of internet connection a yahoo site needs? The infrastructure will come a lot cheaper the closer you get to a big city. Sunnyvale is in the heart of silicon valley. It is extremely industrial. Unfortunately your view of industrial is heavy industry and big smoke stacks.
Bea McManis
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I lived and worked just a few miles from Sunnyvale, in the heart of Silicon Valley. So, I'm well aware of the landscape and infrastructure. No, my view of industrial is not heavy industry and smokestacks. I do know that server farms require a great deal of electricity and that hydropower is the answer for them, even though the technology is not high tech. If by 'industrial' you mean a plethora of dot.coms then you are right. They are squeezed in there like sardines. That concentration produced problems that are unheard of here. The utilities have a hard time keeping up with the demand, both for business and residential. Rolling black outs occur on a daily basis. Doesn't matter which company, they are all effected. Fortunately, I lived near a hospital and was included in the grid that did not suffer the blackouts. My company, on the other hand - just three blocks away - did. Sunnyvale was no exception, When was the last time you were in Sunnyvale? When was the last time you experienced the problems associated with being in that area? Genesee Co., in comparison, would be perfect for their needs. On a personal note, in the heart of Silicon Valley, I could NOT get a cable connection to my home because they can't keep up with the demand. T1 lines are at a premium. I lived there. I worked for a dot.com. I visited the sites in Sunnyvale often, including Yahoo. When I looked around, I could see Genesee Co. as the perfect site for this type of business. I may be an unabashed Genesee Co. booster, but I'm not apologizing for it. Hopefully, others will follow and see Genesee Co. as the place to settle.
Peter O'Brien
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I work at MKS Instruments in Rochester. We build power supplies for the semi-conductor industry. Our biggest customer is Applied Materials in silicone valley. When we are operating at full capacity, brownouts occur often. I know what that is like. Lockport makes much more sense than Genesee county for them because of the trunk lines in Niagara Falls. Dotcoms are light industry but still industry.

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