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Clarkson University Opens Damon Hall Advanced Manufacturing Incubator
Clarkson University's historic Damon Hall will be the future location for several local manufacturing businesses and start-up companies in Potsdam, N.Y., and the North Country.
The University celebrated the Damon Hall Advanced Manufacturing Incubator grand opening this week with representatives from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), National Grid, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the New York Power Authority, CITEC, representatives of elected officials and other partners, including LC Drives, the incubator's first tenant.
Renovations to Damon Hall began in summer 2016 to provide advanced manufacturing businesses access to the state-of-the-art technology and amenities they need.
LC Drives CEO Russ Marvin said his company is building the next generation of electric motors in Potsdam, which will be shipped around the world to markets such as marine propulsion, wind turbine generators and pumps.
"What we're doing today is bringing in a new technology that is making motors dramatically smaller, making them lighter, more efficient, and ultimately lower cost than the one you have today. So at least for the larger machines, there is no reason not to be using these new motors," Marvin said.
Across Clarkson's Peyton Hall, Old Main, and now Damon Hall, 93 percent of available spaces are being leased by startup or small companies, proving the demand for this type of space in the North Country. To date, Clarkson's Shipley Center for Innovation has created 147 business startups with 382 active projects currently in the pipeline from across the North Country region.
"We talk a lot about developing an economic development ecosystem, and part of that is being out there and actually talking about innovation and our start-up companies. Developing a product seems like a challenge, and yet, if you've got a good idea, a support system exists right here at this hub, radiating out from Clarkson University to help you grow that idea," said Clarkson University President Tony Collins. "The numbers speak for themselves in terms of what the hub has done."
"By creating a start-up campus in downtown Potsdam, Clarkson University, together with their local, state and federal partners, has accomplished a win-win scenario," said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a letter read at the event. "Together they are supporting the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs and building the region's economy by growing companies right here in the North Country."
Clarkson will continue to collaborate with leaders in regional economic development on the next phases to revitalize the downtown campus.
"The NBRC facilitates projects that revitalize and modernize essential infrastructure, increases affordability and access to high speed telecommunications, stabilizes and reduces energy costs, and positions the Northern Border Region as an attractive and supportive place for creative and entrepreneurial people as we see here today in the opening of this grand facility," said Ann Thane, director of local government services for the New York Department of State, who spoke on behalf of NBRC Federal Co-Chair Mark Scarano. "NBRC's acceptance of the application was in part due to Clarkson's continued success in incubating new technology companies through its Shipley Center for Innovation and other centers of entrepreneurship at Clarkson. LC Drives, Clark Scientific and NexID are great examples of homegrown startups that provide jobs and resiliency to downtown Potsdam and St. Lawrence County."
"National Grid is excited to be part of the revival of the Clarkson University downtown campus. The company's support of the downtown business incubator concept has a long history," said Richard Burns, Manager, Community & Customer Management at National Grid. "National Grid provided in 2005 a $50,000 Main Street economic development incentive to help launch Clarkson's first incubator at Peyton Hall. Today's ribbon cutting marks a new chapter with a $300,000 Brownfield Redevelopment incentive for the renovations at Damon Hall. The company also constructed a major electric upgrade to provide capacity for LC Drives' operations. National Grid's economic development investments benefit the local communities we serve by bringing commercial activity back -- and jobs with it -- to downtowns across the state."
Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, New York, Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.
Photo caption: From left to right: Tricia Wilson of New York Power Authority, Rich Burns of National Grid, Dylan Broomfield of LC Drives, Debbie Swyka of LC Drives, Director of the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship Erin Draper, Executive Director of the Shipley Center for Innovation & Director of Corporate Engagement Matt Draper, Clarkson University President Tony Collins, Garrett Kopp '19 of Birch Boys Chaga, Nigel Shepherd of LC Drives, Russ Marvin of LC Drives, Sue Merrill of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's office, Ann Thane of New York Department of State, and Clarkson Vice President for External Relations Kelly Chezum.
[Photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/damonhall-incubator.jpg ]