Rhapsody in Rochester

From the Desk of the Editor in Chief

We get invited to numerous economic development tours, and we try to get to as many as we can.

Our recent visit to Greater Rochester reminded us that most locations are not standing still—they are busy reinventing themselves. As expected, the friendly towns and scenic lakes of Upstate New York were pleasing to the eye. But the real eye-opener was the scope and diversity of the economic activity.

Our tour began at Barilla’s huge plant in Avon, where we saw a fully automated food-processing line extruding, cutting, drying and packaging some of the 100,000 tons of pasta that is produced at the plant annually. A rail spur brings grain from North Dakota and Canada directly to the plant, where it is offloaded into silos housed in a 10-story-high structure that looks like a standard box of ziti.

A few hours later we were taking a hydrogen-powered Chevy Equinox prototype for a test drive at General Motors’ Fuel Cell Activities Center. We are pleased to report that we didn’t blow up, the vehicle was incredibly quiet, and the exhaust was water vapor. (For a full report, visit our blog at businessfacilities.com.)

Next, we were treated to a virtual tour of Kodak’s 800-acre Eastman Business Park, which boasts prime available industrial space complete with its own energy supply. Soon after, we were looking at some world-class optics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, just a part of Rochester’s sprawling higher-ed complex. Later, we indulged in some tasty samples from the region’s up-and-coming vineyards.

We thought we had seen everything, but when we got home we realized there still was one more gem to admire—a CD of Gershwin’s masterpieces, performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Bravo, Rochester!

Jack Rogers