March 02, 2012

High-tech Center In Canandaigua Receives Designation That Could Lead To Jobs

By: Tom Tobin, Staff Writer

Source: Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Canandaigua’s high-tech, nanotechnology manufacturing center has gained a critical international designation that will allow it to compete for huge U.S. military contracts and other high-level commercial work.

The Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center of Excellence in Canandaigua, which is the former Infotonics Center, has successfully completed the International Organization for Standardization’s 9001:2008 registration process.

The ISO designation by the Geneva, Switzerland-based agency, STC Center executive director Paul Tolley said Thursday, is essential when competing for major high-tech jobs in the center’s core enterprise of developing and manufacturing micro-electrical mechanical systems.

New jobs will be the result, Tolley said, at the STC Center and other Rochester-area businesses supporting the high-tech workers. Tolley said it is difficult now to put a number on the potential job creation.

“When I first came here, we were working four or five days a week, 10 hours a day. Now, we’re up to more days and more hours. My goal is to make this a 7-day, 24-hour operation, and the ISO designation is step toward that,” Tolley said.

Products manufactured using nanoscale technology are used by the military and military contractors for such items as ultra-sensitive bomb-detecting sensors or night-vision goggles.

The Department of Defense, in modernizing the military, is looking to the American computer chip industry and related manufacturers to develop and produce these and other items.

Tolley said the ISO designation comes at the right time. “Timing is absolutely critical. This is happening right now.” The military contracts may be let in the next couple of months, and the STC Center is now able to compete. “We’re in the game now,” Tolley said.

The STC Center is part of the Albany-based College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, which is developing a network of high-tech manufacturers and research-and-development entities in western New York and the Hudson Valley.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the “Thruway corridor” of high-tech businesses will allow New York to compete for the sophisticated chip work that now routinely goes to California, other states or overseas.