May 8 2020

Week in Review: May 4 – 8, 2020


Stay up-to-date on business and economic development happenings in the Capital Region with the CEG Economic Development Week in Review. Don’t miss out on the developments that are transforming the region by following us on:


Rockefeller Institute: Economic First Responders: Three Ways Economic Development Organizations Mitigate the COVID-19 Economic Crisis

Troy Record: Rensselaer County forms committee for COVID-19 efforts  

Times Union: COVID-19 Corner: Collaboration is key in response efforts in Rensselaer County


Focused on the future, this Troy startup is hiring dozens of workers

“The Covid-19 crisis has not slowed growth plans for the health care tech startup Levrx.

The company plans to grow its staff from about 30 people to about 60-80 people in the next year, according to co-founder and executive chairman Vikash Agrawal. Levrx is also currently expanding its headquarters in downtown Troy.”

Service industry looks to future

“The food service industries must change as states across the country plan to reopen businesses, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said in a conference call Friday.

One Fair Wage, a national campaign focusing on raising the wages of tipped and subminimum wage workers, hosted the call in partnership with NowThis and The Appeal for the discussion, which took place on Facebook Live.”

Making a living as an artist was hard; now it’s harder

“Local artists, accustomed to making a living outside the mainstream, have found themselves cast even farther to the margins during the COVID-19 crisis, with work drying up and questions rising on when it will return.

Kennedy Coltey of Glens Falls, a tattoo artist who also sells drawings and paintings, has been out of work since March 21, when her shop — Unique Arts Studios on Broad Street in Glens Falls — closed. Her boyfriend, Jason Yard, also works there, and he has been unable to get through to the Department of Labor to file an unemployment claim. Coltey’s initial claim was denied because of trouble filing as an independent contractor, so she’s refiling.”

Pandemic sends consumers to farms, local butchers, packing plants for beef, pork

“When it comes to raising, processing and selling beef and pork in a pandemic, Capital Region farmers and processors are finding out that smaller may be better.

“We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of new customers,” said Adam Tripp of Locust Grove Smokehouse and Country Grocery in Argyle.”

Albany Can Code is expanding its efforts to build digital job skills

“Albany Can Code is moving its digital literacy classes online and expanding access in upstate New York.

The workforce development effort is forming partnerships in the Capital Region and Hudson Valley in order to offer its classes through county career centers.”

Regeneron will start human studies of coronavirus antibody cocktail next month

“Regeneron Pharmaceuticals will start human testing of an antibody cocktail in June that the company sees as a path to potentially treat or prevent Covid-19.

“We are working in parallel to have large-scale quantities available by late summer,” Regeneron president and chief executive Len Schleifer announced Tuesday.”

BelGioioso’s new Glenville cheese plant up and running

“BelGioioso Cheese has completed its new  $25 million, 100,000 square-foot cheese manufacturing plant in Glenville.

The plant’s completion was announced this week by LeChase Construction Services, the project’s construction manager.”

SUNY Poly receives $1.9 million in research funding

“UNY Polytechnic Institute announced Wednesday that faculty researchers have been awarded more than $1.9 million in state and industry funding for a variety of projects into clean energy, quantum computing and power electronics.

The funding was awarded through a matching investment program run by the state’s Center for Advanced Technology in Nanomaterials and Nanoelectronics that is located at SUNY Poly. Industry companies involved include Magnolia Optical Technologies, SAVD Solar, Indium Corp., Glauconix Biosciences and others.”

Will NYC lose people to upstate over virus?

“Consider this exercise: Take population shifts from the past two decades — which correspond with big, life-altering events like 9/11, the Great Recession and Hurricane Sandy — and merge them with an annual out-migration model for New York City.

The result? A scenario in which in which some 250,000 Big Apple residents might be expected to move upstate following the coronavirus pandemic.”

Tourism Board, HDC hold overlapping meetings on businesses

“Owners of tourism-centered businesses found an unexpected scheduling conflict Monday.

The Hudson Development Corporation’s full Emergency Business Task Force met via Zoom for its weekly meeting at 5 p.m., the same time as the emergency Tourism Board meeting, which was announced on April 28.”

New York’s reopening will be slow. What does that mean for businesses with PPP?

“Denise Dubois shut down both Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness locations on March 18 and furloughed all of her 95 employees except for one, their marketing manager.

While closed, Dubois has been deep cleaning the spas, expanding their online store and doing Facebook Live events. She was able to get a Paycheck Protection Program loan during the second round of funding through the Bank of Greene County.”

How these Albany region startups are dealing with the Covid-19 crisis and planning for the future

“The startup Vara Safety was ready to launch nationwide retail sales of its mounted handgun safe when plans were halted by the Covid-19 crisis. The week its network of gun dealers was supposed to begin selling the safety device, the country shut down.

Now, the company has to wait before the product can be sold in gun shops throughout the country, said Christine Tate, Vara Safety chief operations officer.”

Latham Pools expands senior leadership team

“Latham Pool Products has appointed a former director of KPMG’s technology consulting practice to serve as chief information officer.

Kaushal Dhruv, who started his career with Philips Lighting before spending 16 years with Big Four accounting firm KPMG, joins a team that is focused on building the world’s largest pool manufacturer into a $500 million business in the next two years.”

UAlbany researcher wins federal grant to create COVID-19 test

“Ken Halvorsen, a senior research scientist at the University at Albaany’s RNA Institute, has won an undisclosed amount of federal funding from the National Science Foundation to develop a rapid coronavirus test.

Halvorsen will be working at the Wong Lab at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and at the state’s Wadsworth Center on the project, which will develop an RNA-based test for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The project is expected to take two to three months instead of what would normally take one or two years.”

Local breweries win awards in state beer competition

“Mad Jack Brewing Co. in Schenectady and C.H. Evans Brewing/Albany Pump Station in Albany won a gold medal for their joint-effort Stomping Grounds India Pale Lager in the New York State Craft Beer Competition, sponsored by the New York State Brewers Association. Unified Beerworks of Malta also won a gold, for its Right Time and Place hazy pale ale.

The awards were announced in an online event Thursday night (5/7), based on a judging on March 14 in Rochester. Because of then-current state limitations on the size of gatherings, judges were able to taste beer in 12 of 25 categories. The brewers association said 135 entries were submitted.”

Funding Partners