Economic Development in Johnstown, NY
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeffrey S. Otto
While economic success stories have seemingly become scarce on a national level, Fulton County has managed several economic development successes it can be proud of over the last couple of years.
"We’ve found that there is a lot of talent in this county,” says David Agee, President of AirJet Technologies Inc., a Fulton County-based company with its eye keenly focused on innovation and growth. “Fulton County is our home and we want it to grow."
For the past five years, AirJet’s seven-person team of highly skilled technicians and business leaders have engaged in extensive testing and research, all aimed at the creation of the AirJet Plow System, which uses powerful wind turbines to generate hurricane-force winds in order to destroy snow and ice on roadways, railroads and airport runways.
The new invention has Agee and team touring the globe to get the word out about their innovative new product, 90 percent of which is produced in New York.
The Mohawk Cabinet Co.
Another manufacturing success story exists in a local manufacturer of ice cream dipping freezers called the Mohawk Cabinet Co.
The Mohawk success story began in June 2009 when Hussmann Corp., a Missouri-based manufacturer of refrigeration units, moved its Fulton County-based freezer plant operations to Mexico, leaving behind dozens of unfilled jobs. And though the company moved on, some of the jobs it provided survived thanks to the efforts of a handful of dedicated former Hussmann employees who, in less than a year, formed the Mohawk Cabinet Co. in April 2010.
Today, the company continues to produce energy-efficient ice cream dipping cabinets, all of which are manufactured in Gloversville using American-made parts. And although it currently employs less than a dozen people, the growing company’s five-year goal is to have as many as 50 full-time employees.
International companies also have a big role to play in the Fulton County economy. FAGE USA, a Greece-based company and major international producer of Greek yogurt, bases its U.S. operations in Johnstown.
FAGE, which came to Fulton County in 2005, is planning to build an $18 million to $23 million whey treatment facility which will sit on two acres of land adjacent to the Gloversville Johnstown Joint Wastewater Treatment Facilities.
The goal of the expansion, which is set to begin in Spring 2012, is to double production. In doing so, more jobs will also be created at the yogurt manufacturer’s production plant in the Johnstown Industrial Park. The company currently employs around 115 people.
While local companies such as AirJet and Fage USA innovate internally, business leaders in Fulton County continue to promote the expansion of infrastructure in order to attract more companies to the region.
The availability of boradband and Ehternet, for example, has become an important development tool in attracting and retaining business. That expansion helps further connect Fulton County to the growing Nano science industry that is springing up around Albany and other nearby cities.
“We’ve sort of become a mini-hub within the larger rural area that surrounds us,” says Michael J. Reese, President and CEO of the Fulton County Economic Development Corp. “And in turn, that helps us create jobs.”
Read more on businesses industries in the Johnstown, NY area.