April 24 2020

Week in Review: April 20 – 24, 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:


ABC News 10: National Grid assisting local business converting to make medical equipment

Market Watch: National Grid, CEG Help Cohoes-Based PVA Repurpose its Business to Manufacture Critical COVID-19 Equipment   

The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire: National Grid, CEG Help Cohoes-Based PVA Repurpose its Business to Manufacture Critical COVID-19 Equipment

Times Union: VentureB event rescheduled


Big data from RPI says local COVID-19 cases could peak at end of May if social distancing remains

“A big-data expert at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has developed a computer model that predicts coronavirus cases in the Capital Region will peak on May 29 – if social distancing measures are still largely in place.

Professor Malik Magdon-Ismail said he is confident in his prediction because it combines hundreds of separate models for how the virus can play out, rather than relying on just one theory.”

Schenectady backpack maker Tough Traveler now producing face masks for COVID-19 response

“A factory best known for its backpacks and duffel bags has started selling face masks by the thousands for people to wear when they venture into the public.

Tough Traveler Ltd. on State Street started producing simple non-medical masks just over a week ago.”

Snapshot: Albany Can Code helps P-TECH students learn coding from home

“Students in the Capital Region BOCES Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program West Campus are learning coding from Albany Can Code through virtual lessons offered each week.”

Colonie company gets FDA approval to make emergency ventilators

“PVA of Colonie received fast-track approval from the federal government late Friday to start making special emergency-use ventilators to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The company, which normally makes devices for the electronics industry, switched gears to make the medical devices as states like New York ran low on ventilators needed in hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients.”

Sign Maker Whose Work Is In Adirondack Park To Make Signs For Yellowstone National

“An area maker of custom wooden signs, whose work can be found in Warren County outdoor facilities and parks, recently secured a contract to make signs for Yellowstone National Park’s historic Lake Lodge.

Malta resident Jim Thomson, owner of custom wooden sign company Adirondack Jim’s, will make signs for the lodge, which was built in 1891 and is undergoing a $19 million makeover. According to Thomson, it was well-known Montana historical architect Ken Sievert who recommended he be chosen to make the interior and exterior signs for the lodge.”

Area Distilleries Switch To Making Hand Sanitizer To Help Prevent COVID-19 Spread

“With the coronavirus pandemic gripping the nation, using hand sanitizer is one of the strong recommendation of health agencies around the globe.

To help bolster supplies locally, some businesses have turned completely away from their normal mission and are making sanitizer.”

46,912 submit unemployment claims across Capital Region

“Across the seven-county Capital Region, 46,912 people filed initial claims for unemployment insurance in the four weeks ending April 11.

That’s roughly one out of nine people who held jobs at the end of February. But the actual number unemployed is higher, perhaps significantly higher — many newly jobless people have been unable to submit claims because state computers are overloaded, and some likely have not even tried.”

What a regional approach to reopening New York’s economy could look like

“Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced that New York state will look at reopening the economy on a regional basis, depending on the curve of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ll make reopening decisions on a regional basis based on that region’s facts and circumstances about the Covid virus,” Cuomo said during a press conference in Buffalo.”

COVID-19 crisis help is on the way, Schumer tells Capital Region Chamber members

“Capital Region business owners watching their bottom lines hemorrhage red ink got a message of support and optimism from the state’s senior U.S. senator Tuesday.

Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said during a video conference held by the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce that he knows they’re hurting, but more help is coming for small to mid-sized businesses.”

Prime Group to build 6-story headquarters in downtown Saratoga Springs

“Prime Group Holdings, the largest private owner of self-storage units in the United States, wants to build a six-story corporate headquarters on Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs.

Founder and chief executive Bob Moser plans to construct a $25 million-plus office building that will include a restaurant, ground-floor retail and two stories of underground parking.”

Core Tech moves ahead with Saratoga County expansion

“George Hubschmitt and Core Tech Industrial Corp. will start construction of a $1.7 million expansion at its Ballston factory this month amid growing demand for equipment at power plants.

“We have a lot of business coming in during the fourth quarter,” said Hubschmitt, founder and co-owner of the Saratoga County engineering and manufacturing company.”

How Jason Packer found customers with a quick pivot during the pandemic

“George Hubschmitt and Core Tech Industrial Corp. will start construction of a $1.7 million expansion at its Ballston factory this month amid growing demand for equipment at power plants.

“We have a lot of business coming in during the fourth quarter,” said Hubschmitt, founder and co-owner of the Saratoga County engineering and manufacturing company.”

Cree to start building Marcy chip fab

“Semiconductor manufacturer Cree is planning to start construction of its $1 billion silicon carbide power electronics chip factory outside Utica.

The project, which is getting $500 million in state funding, is being built on land controlled by the real estate arm of SUNY Polytechnic Institute of Albany, which has its Utica campus nearby. Cree plans to start pouring the concrete foundation and building floor slabs now so the factory will be completed by the spring of 2021.”

Albany’s Capital Center becomes certified film-production facility

“The Albany Capital Center is now a certified film-production facility, meaning any production filmed inside the ACC is eligible for an Empire State Film Production tax credit, the center announced Tuesday.

The ACC joins the Times Union Center as certified film facilities in the Capital Region. To qualify, the ACC needed at least 7,000 square feet of production space.”

Tourism officials eye reopening economy in Adirondacks under regional approach

“Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism officials on Tuesday announced a plan to transform the way they market the Adirondack region as the state lifts its “New York on PAUSE” social distancing restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Getting the economy back on track is the ultimate goal. Many businesses are currently closed, or their services have been scaled back. For Adirondack communities, that means opening the region back up to tourism, which has been on hold for more than five weeks. And that will require a new tourism strategy.”

Initial jobless claims fell by more than half in Capital Region

“The number of people filing initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits fell by more than half in the five-county Albany-Troy-Schenectady metropolitan area, the state Labor Department reported Thursday.

Claims for the week ending April 18 fell to 5,909 from 12,174 a week earlier. Still, last week’s claims were nearly 13 times the 465 claims filed during the same week a year earlier.”

Capital Region bankers looking forward to making more SBA loans

“Local Capital Region bankers say the $484 billion stimulus package that Congress was set to approve Thursday can’t come soon enough.

That’s because many of their customers that were trying to get emergency loans through the first, $2.2 trillion stimulus package that Congress passed were left out since the $350 billion set aside ran out in two weeks.”

Skidmore entrepreneurs first at Freirich Business Plan Competition

“Amid a global health emergency, the Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition at Skidmore College broke new ground in its 10th anniversary year by hosting its final round virtually.

Established in 2010 by Ken Freirich ’90, CEO of Health Monitor Network, with the intent of fostering entrepreneurship and creativity across all majors and disciplines at Skidmore, the “Shark Tank”-like competition has grown into one of the preeminent business competitions among liberal arts colleges nationally.”

Art Omi remains open despite criticism

“Some Ghent residents are questioning why Art Omi’s sculpture park remains open despite the statewide closure of public gathering spaces, but the town says it will not close the private park.

Art Omi has drawn a number of complaints, said Ghent Town Supervisor Michael Benvenuto, who said he has spoken with Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett about the issue.”

The hottest new product from Albany region distillers: Hand sanitizer

“Doug Estadt of Capital Distillery was up until 2 in the morning last weekend producing alcohol, eventually falling asleep on a couch at the Albany distillery.

But like hundreds of distillers across the country, Estadt wasn’t making gin, whisky or bourbon — he was making hand sanitizer.”

Incentive package prompts Quad/Graphics to bet on Saratoga

“n $9.3 million incentive package convinced Quad/Graphics to consider upstate New York over its home state of Wisconsin for a potential $45 million investment in two printing presses.

“Competition for this was pretty fierce,” said Dennis Brobston, president of Saratoga Economic Development Corp.”

Summer of unknowns

“For Dave Menter, summer in Lake George is a time when thousands of tourists come to town and occupancy rates at his family’s hotels jump to 95% or higher.

That was before the world was introduced to Covid-19.”

Funding Partners