ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — If you’re from Rochester, you probably know about the Eastman Kodak Company’s long history in the community.
The company, known around the world as Kodak, was created back in 1888 in Rochester. For more than 100 years, they have provided printing, packaging, and graphic communications, among other services, for businesses across the world.
News 8’s Ally Peters spoke with Kodak’s Executive Chairman and CEO, Jim Continenza, to talk about the company’s recent growth strategies.
As the company continues to innovate and expand into new sectors, tell me about your recent growth plans
“About three-and-a-half years ago, we took a look at the business and we took a hard decision, we need to go back to our roots, and that’s really coating and layering, which is advanced materials and chemicals. And that’s what you’re seeing today,” Continenza said.
“So our long-term growth plan really comes around using our core competencies that we’ve done for 130 years, and some examples of that are, we announced a light-blocking fabric, we announced EV battery substrate coating, coating film, coating EV batteries, transparent antennas that are going on automobiles today, to help them talk to each other and use a sensor as they go on the windows. We’re able to print copper at 24,000 dpi, which is invisible, and allow us now to become a sensor inside of a car.”
Continenza said the company has also invested in Pharma and is building a reagents facility that should be done in two years.
“On top of that we’re putting a cGMP clean lab in so we continue to invest into the park and into our core competencies,” Continenza said.
He adds that Kodak is also focusing on investing in sustainable printing, using water-based inks.
“We continue to innovate plates around printing plates that are processed free, they only use water instead of chemicals to process and it’s a big growing part of our business,” he said. “We launched some new printers, including UltraStream, and putting water-based inks into packaging.”
As you head into the fourth quarter of the year, where are you focusing your efforts to continue to deliver value to your employees and stakeholders?
“It’s been a tough couple of years with the pandemic, with shortage of supplies, manufacturing and logistics, there’s a war, there’s inflation, it’s been real tough,” Continenza said. “We’ve really looked at our employees and we started every Monday with health and safety about our employees, because without them, we’re not going to make it. And we put a customer-first model in place of taking care of our customers. So when you look at the fourth quarter, we’re really talking closely with our larger customers and we’re focusing on their needs.”
Continenza adds they only win when their customers win. He says they have taken Q4 in steps, including fixing their balance sheets and re-innovating the direction they want to go.
“On top of that, then start to grow your business and then move towards profitability, all this during the pandemic. So our fourth quarter is really focused around keeping inventories up, which you can look, we’ve added a lot of inventory and going in the fourth quarter, aluminum is a great example of that,” he said. “We’ve been, again, buying safety stock on different components that we need to make. It’s a tough run right now, but we want to make sure our customers can count on us as a reliable supplier.”
Kodak has operations around the world. Why do you continue to invest in the Greater Rochester region?
“Look at the talent pool inside of Rochester, the knowledge that we have there, the 1200-acre park and the multiple buildings and assets that we’re putting back to use,” Continenza said. “Rochester has a great work base. They’re loyal, they’re smart, they’re well-educated, and they want to succeed and they like the area, they stay there. There’s so much Rochester offers.”
Continenza said they are continuing to move the business back to the U.S. because you “can compete here” and Rochester is a good place to do that.
“We have a rail system, we have our own fire department, our power system, our own waterways. It’s just a great place to be in a great place to manufacture,” he said.
You can learn more about Kodak and its efforts in our community by clicking here.