Rochester, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - Governor Andrew Cuomo announced 1,400 jobs were coming to Rochester. But those jobs are far from guaranteed.
Cuomo came to Rochester Wednesday to announce two photonics companies would have a presence in Rochester at Legacy Tower, Eastman Business Park and Canal Ponds Park. The companies are Avogy, which makes battery components, and Photonica, which makes displays. Avogy is relocating from Silicon Valley.
"You have a company from Silicon Valley. Just think how amazing that is," said Cuomo. "If I had said a couple years ago we're going to attract companies from Silicon Valley to Rochester, somebody would have said you got to watch that governor, there's something funny in his drink."
The governor's press release said each company would create 400 jobs and there would be 600 direct support jobs, which were not specified.
When asked, the Avogy CEO said the company only planned to have 200 employees over the next five years. A source in state government said the CEO didn't include manufacturing jobs. Avogy has 48 workers right now.
The Photonica CEO would not stop to answer reporter questions after the governor's event.
"In two words? Sounds ambitious," said George Conboy of Brighton Securities.
Conboy said both companies appear to be very small, privately backed firms. That means there's not much publicly available about their finances. Conboy said each firm has technology they hope will one day lead to large-scale manufacturing.
"I think it's a case of hoping to develop these companies into larger organizations that will have operations in manufacturing here," said Conboy. "But as of today, these are comparably small organizations."
The state is betting a combined $75 million on Avogy and Photonica, in the hopes they become a success and create jobs.
"Could very well happen, but I really think it means we have to look after the fact and see if these companies and the politicians deliver on the promises that they're making at their press conference," said Conboy.
Avogy chose Rochester in part because it's a designated photonics hub. But much of what attracted the company already existed here.
"You have university that does excellent work, the facilities that we are looking for are here in Rochester. The overall environment was just conducive for us to come here and put everything together," said Dinesh Ramanathan, CEO and president of Avogy.
Avogy hopes to move to Rochester within six to nine months.
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