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Article from Site Selection Magazine:
What Will It Take to Win CHIPS Act Funding? One region appears to have figured it out.
As states, communities and companies across the U.S. scramble for a slice of the $52.7 billion federal CHIPS (Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors) and Science Act pie, two things already are certain: America is undergoing a resurgence in semiconductor manufacturing; and there will be winners and losers.
Recent reports shed light on U.S. chipmaking trends. The Semiconductor Industry Association documented that, from May 2020 to January 2023, $187 billion in new semiconductor fabrication plants were announced nationwide. During that same period, another $9.64 billion in supplier projects were unveiled. Together, these projects stand to create over 40,000 new high-tech jobs across the country, according to SIA.
Rick Plympton, CEO of Optimax Systems in Ontario, New York, about 15 miles east of Rochester, says that his own firm has found success in precision optics manufacturing for many of the same reasons that are propelling the semiconductor sector in Upstate New York.
“We have less than 500 employees, and we have averaged 25% revenue growth for the past 30 years,” he says. “We hired 100 new employees last year, and in 2018, we doubled our factory size to 120,000 square feet.”
In 2022, Optimax announced plans to invest $20 million and create 50 new jobs as part of a business expansion in Wayne County in Greater Rochester.
“We are totally based in the Rochester area,” says Plympton. “We looked at other areas in 2017. That is when we made a conscious decision to double down and expand here.”
He says other businesses should consider the same move. “Compared to Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area, Rochester is much more affordable,” he notes. “The Finger Lakes Region is a beautiful area. When I traveled around, I did not realize how much I appreciated this region. This is a beautiful place to raise a family.”
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