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Tech Valley is a marketing moniker for the eastern part of the US state of New Yorkmarker. It includes the Hudson Valley and Capital Districtmarker, along with portions of the Mohawk Valley and North Country. Originated in 1998 to promote the greater Albany area as a high-tech competitor to regions such as Silicon Valleymarker, it has since grown to represent the counties in New York between IBM's Westchester Countymarker plants in the south and the Canadianmarker border to north. Tech Valley encompasses 19 counties.

History

The name "Tech Valley", or "Techneurial Valley" as it was originally used, is usually credited to Wallace "Wally" Altes, then president of the Albany-Colonie Regioinal Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber), while the shortened name from techneurial to tech was the idea of Jay Burgess. In 1998 the Albany-Colonie Chamber began using the Tech Valley as a marketing name for a ten-county area of New York's Capital District to show in name the merging of entrepreneurial activity and high-tech companies in the region. From the beginning the Chamber stated it would not limit the label of Tech Valley to just the Capital District, it was envisioned as running from IBM's Westchester County plants and headquarters north to Saratoga Springsmarker and west up the Mohawk Valley. Early businesses that used the Tech Valley name were instrumental in spreading the word, businesses such as Albany Molecular Research Inc (AMRI) who used the phrase in its job recruitment material, Mapinfo, Tech Valley Communications, Tech Valley Office Interiors, and Tech Valley Homes Real Estate. The first use of the phrase by a business may have been the accounting firm Urbach, Kahn, & Werlin in 1998 which put the Tech Valley name and logo on its postage meter, shortly prior to that the Chamber had begun instituting a new telephone greeting "Albany-Colonie Chamber. Tech Valley. May I help you".Also in 1998 Rupprecht & Patashnick put "Made in New York's Tech Valley" stickers on all its air quality sensors for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) national monitoring network. In 2000 Tech Valley licence plates became available, with three numbers and the letters TEC, for $34.50 fee, they were the first plates in New York that had a website on them- techvalley.org.

Though at first the name, Tech Valley, was derided as over-enthusiastic self-boosterism, SEMATECH's decision in 2002 to put its new plant at the University at Albany, SUNYmarker began Tech Valley's rise in the public's perception. In 2004, however, when Bill Gates was asked by an Albany Times Union reporter what he tought about Tech Valley, Gates responded that he had no idea where that was, two years later, in 2006, $400,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was used to fund the Tech Valley High Schoolmarker.

Luring a chip-fab plant

The goal of luring a computer chip fabrication plant (chip fab) was one of the earliest goals, and reasons behind, the Tech Valley name. The plan to get a chip fab to the Capital District predates the Tech Valley slogan. In 1997 New York set out submissions for possible chip fab sites that it could whittle to 10 sites around the state that would get pre-approved and pre-permitted for a chip plant. Years before that the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutemarker's RPI Tech Parkmarker had been visited by semiconductor companies, but they had chosen not to build. The renewed interest by the region in luring them was spurred by the research centers and training of specialists for the industry by area colleges such as the University at Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Hudson Valley Community Collegemarker. Responding to the state's request for potential sites Rensselaer County proposed the same RPI Tech Park site, Schenectady County proposed two sites, one of which was in Hillside Industrial Park in Niskayunamarker, Saratoga County proposed two sites, and Albany County proposed three sites, two in Bethlehemmarker and one in Guilderlandmarker. The state ultimately decided on 13 sites it would aggressively promote, several were in Tech Valley. As one of the thirteen sites chosen, the RPI Tech Park site originally met little opposition from the town of North Greenbushmarker in which it sat. As time progressed opposition grew in response to concerns about potential impacts on traffic and the environment. The RPI Tech Park site, which by October 1999 had become one of only nine sites still being marketed by the state, was terminated by a vote of the North Greenbush town council voted to terminate the review process. A site in Wallkill, Orange Countymarker was the first site in Tech Valley and in the entire state to receive pre-approval for a chip fab.

In 2002 the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) began to tout its proposed tech park, to be named the Luther Forest Technology Campus, as a site for a chip plant. It would be there that GlobalFoundries, a spin-off of Advanced Micro Devicesmarker (AMD), decided to build a $4.2 billion dollar chip fab, ground breaking was in July 2009. The state of New York gave nearly $1.4 billion in cash and tax incentives, the largest such package in state history. New York's incentive package was the same as that offered by Russiamarker, Chinamarker, and Brazilmarker; though it was not the deciding factor it meant that any region not offering the package was out of contention for the fab. The deciding factor on picking Tech Valley was the $5 billion Albany NanoTech complex at the University at Albany and the resulting "high-tech ecosystem" put in place during Governor George Pataki's administration.

Geography

Tech Valley is a 19 county region in eastern New York stretching from the Canadian-US border to the northern suburbs of the city of New Yorkmarker. The 19 counties are Albany, Clintonmarker, Columbiamarker, Dutchessmarker, Essexmarker, Franklinmarker, Fultonmarker, Greenemarker, Hamiltonmarker, Herkimermarker, Montgomerymarker, Orangemarker, Rensselaer, Saratogamarker, Schenectadymarker, Schohariemarker, Ulstermarker, Warrenmarker, and Washingtonmarker. The region is 15,637 square miles; it is about 270 miles north-south at its longest and about 80 miles east-west at its widest.

Demographics

Tech Valley has a population estimate in 2005 of 2,222,767, a 3.8 percent increase over the 2000 census. The population density is 137 people/sq. mile. 51 percent of the population is female, with 48.2 percent male. 88.5 percent of the population is White, 6.2 percent Black, 4.9 percent Latino, 1.5 percent Asian. The median age in Tech Valley is 37.5 years.

Tech Valley Chamber Coalition

The Tech Valley Chamber Coalition is an organization that is made up of 24 local chambers of commerce throughout the 19 counties of Tech Valley. Those 24 chambers represent over 21,000 businesses, schools, and organizations that employ more than 531,000 workers. It was formed in June 2002 and manages the Tech Valley Portal, and publishes an annual publication called Images of Tech Valley.

The 24 local chambers are-

  • Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce,
  • Adirondacks Speculatormarker Region Chamber of Commerce,
  • Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce,
  • Bethlehemmarker Chamber of Commerce,
  • Chamber of Schenectady County,
  • Chamber of Southern Saratoga County,
  • Colonie Chamber of Commerce,
  • Columbia County Chamber of Commerce,
  • Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce,
  • Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
  • Greater Greenwichmarker Chamber of Commerce,
  • Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce,


  • Greene County Chamber of Commerce,
  • Guilderlandmarker Chamber of Commerce,
  • Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce,
  • Mechanicvillemarker/Stillwater Area Chamber of Commerce,
  • Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce,
  • New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce,
  • Orange County Chamber of Commerce,
  • Plattsburghmarker-North Country Chamber of Commerce,
  • Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce,
  • Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce,
  • Ulster County Chamber of Commerce,
  • Whitehall Chamber of Commerce.


Organizations that use the Tech Valley name

  • Tech Valley Communications (1999)
  • Tech Valley Homes Real Estate (2001)
  • Tech Valley Angel Network (2001)
  • Tech Valley Chamber Coalition (2002)
  • Tech Valley Technologies (2003)
  • Tech Valley High Schoolmarker (2007)


References




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