By Garry Douglas | Photo by Jessica McCafferty
The recent announcement by SterRx in Plattsburgh, coming on the heels of the recent Nova Bus announcement, was unexpected to all of us, but especially to the employees.
One of the reasons to have a strong Chamber is a readiness to respond to such developments and assist with what may and can come next in all respects. In this case, we met with SterRx executives the day after the announcement, obtaining first-hand information and beginning an active collaboration that continues on two possible fronts.
First, the company has engaged with us very actively in current efforts to find a buyer committed to continuing the SterRx operation here. And we, in turn, secured the highest levels of support and engagement from Governor Hochul and her administration. That included a recent visit by Empire State Development President Hope Knight and her team to tour the two sites, receive a full briefing from the company and thoroughly discuss ways that ESD can and will assist with current marketing, help to beat the bushes for prospects and support for any potential buyer. The visit also included a meeting with a prospective buyer who happened to be on site that day.
We have also joined with other partners such as the State Labor Department and the Regional Workforce Development Board in stand-by planning should a transition not be achieved by late October. All possible assistance will be marshaled for the employees in terms of other employment opportunities, possible training and various forms of support.
And we simultaneously continue our active collaboration with Nova Bus on an international marketing effort that is eliciting at least possible interest in the operation as well as from others who want to know more about our cluster for other potential, smaller transportation equipment operations. We are ready for a high profile presence at the American Public Transportation Association Expo in Orlando in October — an immense and timely gathering of national and international transportation equipment makers held every three years.
Stay tuned as both efforts continue at full steam while we also work with several of our existing manufacturers on substantial growth plans for the year ahead.
This special effort by the Chamber is on-going and more will be known in the coming weeks.
Onward and upward!
Garry Douglas is president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce.