Down to Business: CEG works tirelessly to promote region

In the advertising world, it’s called “collateral” — a brochure, postcard, Web link or tchotchke lef

In the advertising world, it’s called “collateral” — a brochure, postcard, Web link or tchotchke left behind to remind a prospective client of your product or service.

This one is full-color and slick, the size of a manila envelope, with pages that unfold to reveal more maps and talking points.

David Rooney is walking me through the piece, which is new in the Center for Economic Growth arsenal. Its goal is to sell the Capital Region as a place to live and do business by offering a glimpse of what’s here already: “small businesses and global giants”; “world-class educational institutions”; “all-season resort destinations.” There’s a screenshot of the White House blog from January that shows President Barack Obama and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt at the GE plant in Schenectady, as well as blurbs that identify Albany as “one of America’s most innovative cities” and New York as home to 56 Fortune 500 fi rms.

Inside, the region’s demographics, proximity to major markets and marquee businesses are highlighted across a two-page spread that opens to four pages on the area’s cultural and recreational amenities — complete with notations by a fictional friend scribbled adjacent to snapshots of restaurants, festivals and turn-of-thecentury homes. (“I thought of you when I saw this house!” says one.)

Rooney, now senior vice president for business development and marketing, has spent most of the past decade at the Center for Economic Growth, the business-backed group in Albany that promotes the Capital Region in this country and abroad. He’s just returned from two big industry trade shows where such advertising collateral is common currency.

What’s different about staffi ng a show booth today vs. 10 years ago? “They fully expect us to be there,” Rooney said.

Last month in Munich, Germany, the CEG — along with likeminded groups from western and central New York — attended InterSolar Europe, a three-day show billed as the world’s largest trade fair for the solar industry. Operating under the umbrella NY Loves Clean Tech, the groups promoted upstate’s research capabilities, skilled work force, shovel-ready sites and quality of life.

New York was the only state with a presence in Munich, Rooney said.

Then last week, under the banner NY Loves Nanotech, the CEG had a booth at Semicon West in San Francisco, a three-day trade show described as “the fl agship annual event” for the microelectronics industry, which encompasses not just semiconductors but photovoltaics, too.

NY Loves Clean Tech and NY Loves Nanotech — along with NY Loves Bio, NY Loves Technology and others — mimic the “I Love NY” tourism slogan that already is well-known and well-regarded, Rooney said. Each may have different economic development partners from around the state depending on its focus — Clean Tech, for instance, stretches across upstate while Bio also dips into the New York City metro area — but all are meant to convey that New York is “open, interested in having discussions” with new prospects. State economic development offi cials also participate, and National Grid, the upstate utility, often is an underwriter.

The CEG moves among the groups for various conferences and trade shows, as many as 10 in a year, as it looks to promote the region’s key industry clusters: microelectronics, the life sciences, information technology, advanced materials, renewables.

GlobalFoundries and the computer chip factory it’s building in Malta may bring attention to the region, but “we can’t be solely in one sector — and we aren’t,” Rooney said.

At the same time, he added, you always have to be watching for “what’s the next big thing.”

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