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Rochester, NY - is it doomed?


An interesting reading that I thought I'd share with you...

Here's the internet link:

Below is the article:

Rochester: Smug no more
Marquee firms pay high price
for complacency


"I want to make Rochester the best city in which to live and work."

ROCHESTER, N.Y. "It's been a busy year," says Carol Silver Elliott, CEO of Career Development Services, a job placement centre located a few doors from George Eastman House, the world-renowned film and photography museum.

And it's going to get busier, with Eastman Kodak Co.'s recent announcement of plans to cut its local workforce by as many as 3,000 jobs.

Last summer, Kodak said it would close a Rochester plant that churns out its trademark yellow film boxes, shifting 900 jobs outside the United States to save on labour costs.

In the past two decades, Kodak has already cut its Rochester workforce by two-thirds, shedding almost 40,000 jobs in the city of its birth.

Xerox Corp. and Bausch & Lomb Inc., the other members of this upstate New York city's so-called "Big Three" manufacturing employers, have also made deep cuts in their local workforces.

All three giant firms, victims of complacency arising from the near monopolies they enjoyed at the zenith of their fortunes, have been struggling for several years to beat back low-cost foreign competitors, and more recently some technological threats to their flagship products.

(Dan) Snip. Please don't quote full articles.


In the late 1800's the Esterly Reaper Works in the town I work in was the second-largest manufacturer of grain harvestors, behind John Deere. In 1892 the company packed up and moved to Minneapolis, where it went bankupt. Following its departure, a number of other local businesses folded - the brickyard, the paper mill, and the wagon works. The city lost a significant number of people and didn't reach its 1890 population again until 1950.

Cities grow or contract by the businesses located there. Very few are entirely abandoned when industry leaves. It sounds like the people of Rochester understand this, but may still be a bit confused. They need to cope with the changes look forward.


I don't think Rochester is doomed. The city just needs to realize they need to crawl before they run. This whole Fast Ferry deal is a great idea, but they moved ahead with the execution way too fast. When the ferry launches, the Port of Rochester will still be under construction, there will be a lack of public transit to get downtown, and a general lack of things to do in the immediate area of customs. Rochester, seeing the opportunity, just went big. Kind of like the New York Mets... They buy the big free agents and expect a championship, when in reality, a good farm system is the key to developing a great team.

But seriously, Rochester's initiatives with optics, photonics, digital imaging, biotech, and fuel cells will be rewarded eventually. The city is totally focused on job growth and bringing the people back to the city.

Some good things going for Rochester:

• Ranked Number 1 by "The Metropolitan New Economy Index: Benchmarking Economic Transformation in the Nation's Metropolitan Areas" with more patents issued per 1,000 workers
• Technology hot bed for optics, photonics, biotech, fuel cells, nanotechnology, digital imaging and health imaging
• Rochester was selected by the National Science Foundation to become the home of the Center for Electronic Imaging
• The Center for Excellence in Photonics and Optoelectronics at Rochester contributes to New York’s role as leader in photonics, optics and fiber optics
• Ranked 3rd nationally in degrees conferred in mathematics, physical sciences and biology according to Places Rated Almanac
• Ranked 5th nationally in degrees conferred in engineering according to Places Rated Almanac
• Ranked 12th nationally in degrees conferred in computer and information services according to Places Rated Almanac
• Ranked 6th according to Places Rated Almanac and Forbes magazine as one of top metro places with best education opportunities
• Ranked 7th nationally in higher education degrees earned per capita according to Places Rated Almanac
• Ranked 6th among metro areas in the New Economy Index measuring degrees granted in science and engineering
• High-tech manufacturing is largest source of employment in region, accounting for 25% of all non-farm jobs

Rochester has a lot of smart people hanging out, but the key is keeping those smart folks in the city. Most of the college graduates have a tough time finding a job in Rochester and move to markets with more opportunities. I could talk forever about this city, so if anyone wants to chat about it, give me a holler.