Mohawk Valley EDGE News Release: Leading EDGE Awards to Honor SUNY Poly for Faceshield Production Efforts

Mohawk Valley EDGE News Release: Leading EDGE Awards to Honor SUNY Poly for Face Shield Production Efforts

Monday, November 16, 2020 - 14:46
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Mohawk Valley EDGE News Release

Five Mohawk Valley companies who are on the Leading EDGE of innovation, economic growth, and sustainability will be honored this fall when the nineteenth annual Leading EDGE Awards are presented.

The Leading EDGE Awards were instituted in 1998 to recognize companies in the Mohawk Valley who were leaders in their industrial sector and the regional economy.

This year we will pivot and host a week-long virtual celebration to honor those companies and organizations that have gone above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep the economy running and make their communities a better place.

Show your support by giving the awardees a virtual congratulations by donating to the Leading EDGE Awards campaign for a set dollar amount! Half of the money raised during the actual campaign week will be donated to the United Way and Community Foundation’s Mohawk Valley COVID-19 Relief Fund the other half will be used by EDGE to carry on our mission to strengthen existing businesses, attract new industries and talent to the region, and build a vibrant environment for companies and their employees – despite the short-term uncertainty.

Each day a different company/organization will be spotlighted by EDGE as well as our media partners on e-blasts/web/social media/radio/tv. A special gift and the award will be dropped off at each of the businesses.

This year’s honorees include:

• Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired for their innovative partnership to distribute domestically produced nitrile gloves to address the national shortage of personal protective equipment.

• Environmental Composites for their alternative manufacturing solution of advanced textiles and filtration products for N95 respirators to quickly increase the domestic production of N95 respirators in the state.

• Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce for its work with the Take out the Virus, Feed our Frontline Families, Shop Small Business Week campaigns.

• Indium Corporation for its role in establishing the CNY Manufacturers Pledge and keeping our people safe and factories running.

• SUNY Poly CGAM Face Shield Project for producing protective face shields in our Labs in the Center for Global Advanced Manufacturing (CGAM). SUNY Poly students and alumni, faculty, staff, accepted students, FIRST@SUNYPoly teams, and many others have joined in the effort! 3,362 face shields have been distributed to date.

The Leading EDGE Awards luncheon is usually held each spring, but with the current pandemic has been transformed into a virtual campaign. FOR MORE INFORMATION and to DONATE:

“As we kick off the 2020 season of giving, now more than ever it is important to think about how we create a sustainable economic future for the Mohawk Valley,” said Steven J. DiMeo, President of Mohawk Valley EDGE. “As the region’s largest economic development organization, the EDGE team manages investor funding to leverage millions in public and private funds to assist finance business expansions, identify and develop strategic sites, foster regional marketing initiatives, invest in downtown revitalization and build vibrant communities, and  pursue business attraction activities. Despite the unique challenges  caused by the  COVID pandemic, EDGE has been fortunate that several key economic development projects are moving moved forward.  

However, COVID has put more stress on private and sector funding and to maintain the region’s momentum EDGE needs to pursue additional funding resources so that it can continue its forward looking community and economic development agenda. Normally each spring, we would gather with our 500 closest friends and celebrate our region’s economic successes, but unfortunately that is not able to happen this year so we have taken our 19th annual Leading EDGE Awards virtual!  Show your support by giving these companies a virtual congratulations by donating to the Leading EDGE Awards campaign. Your dollars are an investment in the business health of our region and are critical to restore momentum.”

CABVI: Nitrile gloves, the most requested product on the planet during the pandemic, continue to be in critically short supply.  Nearly all of the gloves come from the Asian Pacific (APAC) rim. It’s not hyperbole to say the globe descended on Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and China, last spring buying everything in sight. Short supply. Long supply lines. Even longer delivery times.

America faced a crisis within a crisis, with the potential for the crisis to compound without quality personal protective equipment (PPE), according to Edward Welsh, president & CEO of the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI). CABVI announced a partnership in July partnered with SHOWA Group, the only company manufacturing nitrile gloves in the United States. “SHOWA operates a factory in Fayette, Ala., that is currently under expansion.  We’ve committed to purchasing a substantial quantity of SHOWA’s gloves, which we will package in, and distribute from, our facilities in Utica, and Syracuse.

“The supply will expand. The supply line is the 1100 miles between Fayette and Utica. We cut delivery time from months to a few days. Our All American workforce of blind employees and their sighted peers will ensure the product reaches customers quickly.

“That is how we will defeat the spread of COVID-19.  CABVI stands at the tip of the spear.”

ENVIROMENTAL COMPOSITES: “Due to the large volume of calls received from companies globally at the onset the COVID-19 pandemic, it became apparent that the primary source of raw materials for the mask segment of the PPE industry was woefully under capacity to address what would become a critical world-wide shortage,” said Stephen Copperwheat, President of Environmental Composites. “In addition, a large share of domestic mask and raw material manufacturing had left the US over the last few decades leaving this country extremely vulnerable. In response, Environmental Composites set out on a mission to not only develop an alternative textile material and process that would augment and address these shortfalls in capacity of current technology but in addition supply a material that is fully domestic, and where possible, produced within the boundaries of our home state. It is with great pride that we are on the verge of achieving that goal.”

GREATER UTICA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: “When the pandemic started hitting our region, we knew our #1 goal had to be to help as many businesses stay open as possible,” said Meghan Fraser McGrogan, Executive Director of the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce. “We are so proud of the initiatives we have launched in the past 9 months.  We were able to creatively work with partners like Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy, the Community Foundation, Saranac, Mohawk Valley EDGE, Oneida County Tourism and our fellow area Chambers to collaborate and present meaningful programs that made a big impact.  Of the initiatives we can measure like Take out the Virus and Feed Our Frontline Families, the Chamber helped inject over $195,000 into our local businesses, and helped put over 3,800 meals on the tables of area frontline workers and their families.  Programs like Shop Small Business Week also encouraged and inspired local consumers to think local and support small businesses when they make their purchasing choices.  We are so proud to receive recognition for these initiatives, especially from such an integral community organization like Mohawk Valley EDGE.”

INDIUM CORPORATION: “As Utica’s Technology Company®, we had a corporate responsibility at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of our employees, the stability of our community, and the essential supplies of our customers,”said Ross Berntson, President & COO of Indium Corporation. “We’re proud of our alliance with local manufacturers, awed by our employees’ response to community initiatives like TAKE-OUT the Virus and Feed our Front Lines, and deeply humbled by this recognition.”

SUNY POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE: Dr. Michael Carpenter, Associate Professor and Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, said, “We are honored to receive this recognition from Mohawk Valley EDGE for our efforts at SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Global Advanced Manufacturing (CGAM), in which we produced and distributed more than 3,400 face shields to Oneida County, SUNY Upstate Medical, SUNY Downstate Medical, the Neighborhood Center, and Clark Mills Fire Department. We are incredibly proud to see our students, faculty, staff, accepted students, alumni and FIRST@sunypoly teams come together to help mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting the health of these front-line workers in our community and beyond who play a critical role in keeping us safe and society moving forward.”

EDGE thanks its sponsors for continuing to support its mission by contributing to this event. Investments in EDGE support the business health of our region and are critical to restoring regional momentum. Whether you live here, work here, or do both, you have a vested interest in seeing the Mohawk Valley region thrive.

PLATINUM SPONSOR: Bond, Schoeneck & King

GOLD SPONSORS: Adirondack Bank, Bank of Utica, Berkshire Bank, Community Bank, KeyBank, M&T Bank, National Grid, NBT Bank, NYSTEC, Oneida Indian Nation

SILVER SPONSORS: Exyte, First Source Federal Credit Union, Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, March Associates, The Fountainhead Group

BRONZE SPONSORS: Adjusters International, Assured Information Security, Bergmann, C2C Construction Solutions, Cathedral Corporation, Express Employment Professionals, Gaetano Construction, Gilroy, Kernan and Gilroy, Herkimer College, Masonic Medical Research Institute, Ramboll, Utica College

MEDIA PARTNERS: Townsquare Media and WKTV

About Mohawk Valley EDGE:
Mohawk Valley EDGE (Economic Development Growth Enterprises Corporation) provides coordinated economic development programs that assist businesses to locate, grow and prosper in Oneida and Herkimer Counties.


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Media Contact: Jennifer Waters,, 315-338-0393