Photonics Companies Investing $1.6B In Rochester, Creating More Than 1,400 Jobs

Two leading photonics companies, Avogy and Photonica, will invest $1.6 billion and create more than 1,400 new high-tech jobs in Rochester, NY. The investment comes on the heels of the $600 million Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation announced in July 2015 by Governor Cuomo and Vice President Biden at SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Rochester-region facility at Canal Ponds.

Rochester photonics
Gov. Cuomo announces Avogy’s and Photonica’s $1.6 billion investment in Rochester, NY. (Credit: Office of N.Y. State Governor Andrew Cuomo)

“This marks a transformative moment for Rochester that will fuel economic growth, create jobs and further secure this region’s place as the photonics capital of the nation,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “By bringing this proven nanotechnology-driven economic development model to Rochester, we are attracting big businesses and building a thriving 21st century economy. Major investments like this are driving our momentum as we ensure that the economic resurgence continues in Upstate New York.”

Under Phase I of the innovative partnership between Photonica, Avogy and SUNY Poly on behalf of New York State, the two companies will locate their advanced development, prototyping, and early manufacturing operations at Canal Ponds’ cleanroom facilities, with a Phase II placement of manufacturing operations at the Eastman Business Park. Both companies will locate headquarters and business operations at SUNY Poly’s recently announced photonics headquarters and technology accelerator at Legacy Tower.

Combined under Phase I, Avogy and Photonica will invest more than $1.6 billion over five years and create and support more than 1,400 new high-tech jobs. The companies join dozens of academic, government, and industry partners from across the country led by SUNY Poly to secure the nation’s leadership in emerging technology research, development, and manufacturing.

In Phase I, Photonica will create and support 400 new jobs in Rochester, including facility operations at Canal Ponds and Eastman Business Park, additional supplier companies, and co-located industry partners. The total project investment of $700 million over the next five years includes $35 million by the state to purchase equipment and upgrade infrastructure and cleanroom space at Canal Ponds and Eastman Business Park.

Also under Phase I, Avogy will move operations to Rochester from Silicon Valley. The company has developed industry-first high efficiency low cost power electronics technology that are smaller, lighter, more reliable, and with significantly less energy usage. Its products have both commercial and industrial uses and include breakthroughs on portable charging devices, in-home power management, and future applications in data centers and electric vehicles.

Photonica currently has business operations around the world and is a leader in next-generation visual and display technologies with applications ranging from virtual reality devices UltraHD resolution and large video displays and televisions, flexible and curved video displays, 3D displays, consumer mobile devices, and to military and national defense and mass consumer and business markets. The company currently works closely with the Navy and Air Force as well as leading consumer electronics and semiconductor manufacturers.

Avogy will scale up production of its current technologies with high volume manufacturing in Rochester and will employ nearly 400 workers with an average salary of more than $80,000 within the first five years, and its suppliers and high tech business partners will generate more than 600 additional support jobs. Total project investment of $950 million includes $40 million by the state for necessary tools and infrastructure upgrades at Canal Ponds and Eastman Business Park to support advanced manufacturing.

“We are thrilled that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s laser-like focus on upstate New York, and Rochester in particular, continues to catalyze significant innovation-based investments that will lead to jobs, unmatched research, development, and commercialization opportunities, and complement the inspiring educational offerings of SUNY Poly as key drivers of New York State’s high-tech ecosystem,” said Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, SUNY Polytechnic Institute President and CEO. “This announcement is proof positive that it is in fact a new day in Rochester, with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s strategic investments enabling economic growth, creating a strong photonics-based foundation for a regional ecosystem that will be very soon be the envy of the world.”

“We are extremely excited about the partnership with New York State that not only expands our long relationship with SUNY Poly, but leverages the state’s incredible research, education, and cultural assets in a region that is the nation’s photonics capital,” said Sutherland Ellwood, Photonica’s Chairman and Chief Technology Architect. “I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in driving 21st century models for investment in the technologies that will redefine how we live, work, and do business.”

“We are excited to become a part of the world-class photonics and power electronics consortium, due in large part to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vision that is making New York State, and Rochester in particular, a high-tech haven for companies like Avogy, and we look forward to tapping into the area’s highly skilled workforce to push the boundaries of innovation,” said Dinesh Ramanathan, Avogy CEO and President. “As a leader in the manufacture of both commercial and industrial power electronics, we are eager to move manufacturing operations from Silicon Valley to leverage the photonics and power electronics hub and benefit from the unique model for high-tech growth in New York State.”

Finger Lakes Forward

This transformational investment complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million state investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The state’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest in the region and leverage well over $2.5 billion to support up to 8,200 new jobs.

Since 2012, the state has invested more than $3.4 billion in the region to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing.

Relocating or Expanding Your Business In New York

Considering New York for your company’s relocation or expansion project? Check out Business Facilities’ New York Incentives and Workforce Development Guide.