Panelists tout tech benefits at breakfast

A panel to discuss the economic, transportation and developmental implications of the booming technological research movement in the Capital District met on Wednesday, July 30.

The Guilderland, Bethlehem and Colonie chambers of commerce hosted a Tech Valley panel breakfast, Wednesday, July 30, at the Century House in Latham featuring a number of local speakers.

Mike Tucker from the Center for Economic Growth, County Executive Mike Breslin, and Ray Melleady from the Capital District Transportation Authority spoke about the University at Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Building, the Vista Technology Park and Advanced Micro Devices.

"It was fantastic, and very well attended," said Kathy Burbank executive director for the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce. "The group of people there were ranged from commercial real-estate developers, to town board members, small business people, banks and large businesses. It was truly representative."

"It opened the dialogue between the small business chambers and the community," said Marty DeLaney, president of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce. "It was a great first step."

She said many people are interested in what benefits "Tech Valley" can bring and some are worried about commuter traffic and housing.

Many small business owners asked about how they can take advantage of the emerging "Tech Valley" and how they can position themselves to be ready for it when it reaches its full potential.

DeLaney said "Tech Valley" extends "from the Tappan Zee Bridge to the Canadian border and everything in between."

Breslin spoke about how the county plans to harvest the potential of a local boom in high-tech industries.

He spoke primarily about creating jobs and the use of the Empire Zones program and the Al Tech Loan Fund.

The fund helped get Albany Molecular started 14 years ago, Breslin said, and now they are a hugely successful company.

He said Empire Zones such as those in downtown Cohoes and North Green Island have seen tremendous growth as a result of the program.

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