Wayne County manufacturer to expand packaging lines, add 38 jobs

Flexible packaging firm ABX Innovative Packaging Solutions plans to grow its operations in Wayne County. The company will update its existing equipment, purchase new equipment and undertake infrastructure improvements to accommodate the expansion of its green solution flexible packaging manufacturing operation.

“We offer a unique suite of flexible, sustainable packaging options for customers in consumer, healthcare and specialty markets. Flexible packaging offers exceptional environmental benefits because it uses less energy and fewer resources than other forms of packaging,” said CEO Larry Goldstein.

The Macedon manufacturer will add six new bag lines and relocate a portion of its operations to another building located at the company’s Main Street campus. The upgrades will allow ABX to better serve its customers, including a global consumer products provider of personal care and paper products that has committed to making its products 100 percent recyclable.

“These investments will support our initiatives to drive continuous improvement, higher quality and the use of post-consumer recycled resins in our products,” said company COO Jeff Godsey.

The renovation work is expected to launch this spring with target completion by the summer of 2022. ABX has committed to creating up to 38 new jobs as a result of the expansion, while 378 jobs will be retained.

Empire State Development will support the project with up to $1.35 million through the Excelsior Tax Credit program in exchange for job creation commitments. The New York Power Authority, pending approval by its board of trustees on Tuesday, is supporting the expansion with more than 2.4 megawatts of low-cost power from the ReCharge NY program. Rochester Gas & Electric, Wayne County Industrial Development Agency and Greater Rochester Enterprise are also assisting the expansion project. The total project cost has been placed at a little more than $12.2 million.

“ABX Innovative Packaging Solutions’ growth is another example of the quality workforce in our region,” Wayne County Industrial Development Agency Director and CEO Brian Pincelli said. “ABX is recognized as an industry leader and their products are critical components of our supply chain and economy nationwide. ABX CEO Larry Goldstein recognized the culture, talent, and commitment of our workforce and we couldn’t be prouder to have them here in Wayne County.”

ABX, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, creates and delivers state-of-the-art innovative flexible packaging solutions, engineered and optimized for enhanced performance. ABX has roughly 900 employees nationwide. In addition to its Wayne County location, the company also maintains operations in Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana and Wisconsin.

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Pace Electronics to expand, add 15 jobs

A site plan shows Pace Electronics' expansion plans
This image shows Pace Electronics’ expansion plans. (provided)

Electronics contract manufacturer Pace Electronics will expand its operations in the Wayne County town of Williamson and construct a new 55,000 square-foot facility. The project is expected to add 15 jobs and retain 28.

Empire State Development will assist the project with up to $250,000 in Excelsior Tax Credits. The total project cost is roughly $4 million. The Wayne County Industrial Development Agency and Greater Rochester Enterprise also will incentivize the project.

Pace has teamed with regional commercial general contractor, Taylor – The Builders, for design and construction of the expansion. The project is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.

“While we searched several areas to relocate, the decision to stay in Wayne County was driven by our dedicated long-term employees and the local workforce talent,” said Pace CEO Dawn Smith. “(With) year-over-year growth from adding new capabilities and product offerings, and most recently the acquisition of Peter Parts Electronics, we have outgrown our current facility and had to lease additional warehousing space. The new constructed headquarters will allow us the ability to advance our state-side manufacturing capabilities, warehouse all our products in one facility and give us the space required to increase our workforce.”

Founded in 1969, Pace Electronics works with clients in the medical, industrial controls, automotive and emergency lighting and safety product industries worldwide. In addition to the Wayne County location, the company, which sources electronic components from the Pacific Rim, maintains manufacturing facilities in China and Malaysia, a liaison office in Hong Kong and an additional warehouse facility located in San Diego, Calif.

“Pace Electronics chose to invest in Rochester, N.Y.’s Wayne County to capitalize on our region’s exceptional talent in the electronic contract manufacturing industry and the perfect facility to support their expansion plans,” said GRE President and CEO Matt Hurlbutt.

Pace Electronics has been named to the Fortune 500 list of the100 Best Workplaces for Women. Women represent half of the company’s workforce, while 67 percent of company executives are women. Smith has served as Pace Electronics’ CEO since 2012, officials noted.

“Pace Electronics is a leading high-tech manufacturer in the Finger Lakes region whose growth highlights the incredible innovation and talent we have in the 54th District,” said State Sen. Pamela Helming, R-Canandaigua. “My congratulations and thanks to CEO Dawn Smith and the entire Pace Electronics team for their continued investment in Wayne County. Thank you to Empire State Development, the Wayne County IDA and all those who have assisted with this project. We must do all we can to support the growth and success of our small business job creators.”

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Arbr Studios expands Rochester space

High-end furniture maker Arbr Studios has expanded its operations in the city of Rochester.

The company has moved into a renovated 40,000-square-foot facility on Lyell Avenue at Canalside Business Center. The space formerly was occupied by renowned artist Albert Paley until his retirement in 2019.

Arbr Studios last year secured an international contract to supply its expert cabinetry and millwork products, which provided momentum for the company’s expansion.

“Our move to Albert Paley’s former studio was both strategic and poetic. After working with Albert for the last few years on various projects and recognizing how well suited the space would be for our growing business, it just felt right to consider relocating and continuing the creative legacy within these walls after his retirement,” said Arbr Studios COO Daniel Fallon.

Empire State Development will provide Arbr Studios with up to $400,000 in Excelsior Tax Credits in exchange for job creation commitments. Arbr Studios expects to hire up to 26 new employees and retain 19 employees. The total project cost was roughly $1.3 million. Monroe County, Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. and Rochester Gas and Electric also assisted with the expansion.

“The tax credits provided by Empire State Development, as well as help from Monroe County, Greater Rochester Enterprise and Rochester Gas and Electric, definitely made the decision easier to make,” Fallon said. “We are proud to represent Rochester as a destination for creative entrepreneurial job creation.”

In addition to the new Rochester facility, Arbr Studios operates a location in the town of Leroy, under the name Icon Design. That facility serves as the exclusive manufacturer for the Wendell Castle Collection. Arbr Studios was founded in 2012 as Zeller Woodworks and manufactures high-end furniture and cabinetry.

“The abundance of exceptional industrial design professionals available here made Rochester the right choice for Arbr Studios’ expansion,” said GRE President and CEO Matt Hurlbutt. “Companies like Arbr Studios are also putting Rochester on the map for the high-end millwork fabrication industry.”

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HYZON to expand Honeoye Falls facility, add 100 jobs

Hydrogen mobility and clean energy company Hyzon Motors Inc. — which last week announced plans to go public through a merger with blank-check firm Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corp. in a deal that values the fuel-cell truck startup at $2.7 billion — on Thursday said it plans to expand its U.S. headquarters in Honeoye Falls.

The expansion is expected to add 100 jobs in the next three years.

“Not only does HYZON Motors’ expansion mean 100 new high-tech manufacturing jobs in Monroe County, but we are also investing in the future green economy,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “Through the support of Empire State Development, HYZON Motors will manufacture the next generation of hydrogen fuel cells for heavy and medium-duty commercial vehicles. New York is proud to partner with companies like HYZON Motors that are building on our efforts to keep our state ahead of the curve, strengthen our economy and create a cleaner and greener post-pandemic future.”

The next-generation fuel cell supplier will renovate 78,000 square-feet of existing building space on Quaker Meeting House Road where the company will manufacture fuel cells for heavy- and medium-duty commercial vehicles. HYZON Motors first established its U.S. operations in 2020 in Honeoye Falls.

The company has developed hydrogen fuel cell stacks that can provide up 150kW of power, and expects to launch fuel cell systems capable of 300kW in 2022. HYZON touts the fuel cell ability as a rival to traditional diesel-powered trucks on both performance and driving range.

Craig Knight
Craig Knight

“HYZON Motors is excited to announce our plans to build out a substantial manufacturing facility in the Rochester area, aided by great support from Empire State Development, Monroe County and Greater Rochester Enterprise. HYZON will be manufacturing industry-leading fuel cell systems that have been proven in heavy trucks deployed internationally and commissioning zero-emission trucks with zero compromise for fleet operators,” said HYZON CEO Craig Knight.

Empire State Development is assisting the company with its fast-track growth by providing up to $1.6 million through the Excelsior Tax Credit program. Monroe County and Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. also are assisting with the project, officials said.

The total project cost has been estimated at nearly $8 million. Now underway, construction on the renovated facility is expected to be completed in April.

“HYZON Motors joins a growing list of companies tapping into the depth and breadth of skilled talent in the Greater Rochester, N.Y., region to support a broad spectrum of energy innovations from fuel cell development to energy storage. In Rochester, HYZON Motors can access fuel cell development and manufacturing expertise to support the production of hydrogen fuel cells for commercial vehicles,” said GRE President and CEO Matt Hurlbutt.

Thursday’s announcement complements the state’s actions to advance the development of large renewable energy projects. The state’s climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York state recovers from the pandemic. Through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is working to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emissions electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy-wide carbon neutrality.

“The Village of Honeoye Falls is excited to be the new World Headquarters and Global Engineering Center of HYZON Motors. Purchasing and renovating a 78,000-square-foot building on Quaker Meeting House Road, HYZON Motors will utilize regional supply chains and localized manufacturing while taking advantage of the strength of knowledgeable, local experienced personnel,” said Village of Honeoye Falls Mayor Rick Milne. “Creating up to 100 new skilled job positions in our community is not only a great benefit to our village but to the Rochester/Monroe County region as well. This development also strengthens the clean-green energy initiatives of our region and the state of New York. Fuel cell development and manufacturing belongs in Honeoye Falls and we are thankful that HYZON Motors chose our community to locate its headquarters.”

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GRE accepting applications for Economic Gardening program

Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. is accepting applications for its expanded Economic Gardening program. The program is designed to accelerate business growth across the Greater Rochester region.

Nearly 200 companies have participated in the program to date, creating 1,625 new jobs and revenue growth of more than $340 million.


“We know that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, accounting for 15 percent of the companies and 40 percent of the job growth,” GRE President and CEO Matt Hurlbutt said in a statement. “GRE’s Economic Gardening program connects participating business leaders with the resources they need to generate increased revenue, create new jobs and thrive.”

The program serves private companies throughout the nine-county region and is the only one of its kind in New York state. It is designed to provide local companies with sophisticated, tailor-made technical assistance focused on improving sales and marketing efforts to drive revenue growth.

The program is offered at no charge to participating companies. All program costs are supported by ESL Charitable Foundation, GRE, Monroe County Industrial Development Corp., Rochester Area Community Foundation and the William and Sheila Konar Foundation.

“The GRE team has a long record of success bringing this national program to businesses in our region,” said Howard Konar, a trustee of the Konar Foundation. “The Economic Gardening program helps local businesses get the assistance they need to grow and we are pleased to support it.”

Participating companies must be for-profit and privately held, headquartered and operating in the Greater Rochester region, with between $1 million and $50 million in annual revenue. Companies must employ 10-99 people, demonstrate growth in employment and/or revenue for at least two of the past five years and provide products or services to markets outside of Rochester. Minority and women-owned business enterprises are encouraged to apply.

“We have doubled our investment in this program to ensure that entrepreneurial minority- and women-owned businesses can benefit from all that it offers to help them grow, create new jobs, and use all forms of marketing and social media more effectively,” said Simeon Banister, vice president of Community Programs at RACF.

Participating companies will work with a strategic research team to develop a plan to accelerate their success. Research teams are provided by the National Center for Economic Gardening, a national organization dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship.

“GRE runs one of the premier programs in the country, building Rochester’s economic future, one local company at a time,” said Chris Gibbons, the founder of the National Center for Economic Gardening.

Research teams will perform focused research to help companies:

• Identify qualified sales leads and tap into new and growing markets
• Leverage social media to connect with customers
• Improve online marketing efforts with search engine optimization and website analysis
• Analyze employee temperament to build strong management teams

“The Economic Gardening program is an innovative and highly effective tool that helps emerging businesses grow in Greater Rochester at no charge to them,” said MCIDC Executive Director Ana Liss. “The Monroe County Industrial Development Corp. is pleased to support this important business retention and expansion platform.”

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ProAmpac breaks ground on expanded facility

ProAmpac, a flexible packaging manufacturer, has broken ground on construction of its Rochester Collaboration & Innovation Center, an $8 million, 25,000-square-foot expansion of an existing facility on Manitou Road in Ogden.

The center is slated to open in spring 2021.

A rendering of ProAmpac's $8 million expansion in Ogden.
A rendering of ProAmpac’s $8 million expansion in Ogden.

The innovation center will focus on packaging development and design and also will host regional and global consumer packaged goods companies and vendors for events and training. ProAmpac had considered building the innovation center out of state but chose to expand at its current location with support from New York state. As a result of the expansion, the company has committed to hiring up to 40 new employees.

“Innovation is the key factor in making flexible packaging the fastest-growing segment of the expanding global packaging industry, which is forecast to exceed $1 trillion by the end of next year,” said ProAmpac CEO Greg Tucker. “The benefit of having all of our application testing, prototyping and short run pouch production under one roof is that a customer can arrive with a packaging design issue and leave with printed, prototype samples. Our new facility will compress the design timeline significantly.”

Through Collaborative Innovation — a unique process for accelerating the development of new packaging — ProAmpac pairs its own product-development teams with a customer’s group, and then builds prototypes at its Design and Sample Lab (DASL). DASL will be headquartered in the new CIC, said Chief Commercial Officer Adam Grose.

“ProAmpac has become recognized as the go-to source for sustainable packaging solutions,” Grose said.

As many consumer products brand owners make sustainability a top priority, ProAmpac has become “their top resource for sustainable flexible packaging,” Grose said.

“ProAmpac’s continued commitment to expanding its operations in Monroe County will serve to boost the local manufacturing sector, provide jobs and strengthen the regional economy by helping to create a more sustainable community for generations to come,” said Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler.

The expanded facility will become the permanent home for LEAD ProAmpac Academy, offering customers and employees twice-a-year training in extrusion, lamination, printing, sustainability, and other flexible-packaging technologies.

“We’re delighted ProAmpac, a leading manufacturer of flexible packaging, chose to establish an innovation center in the Greater Rochester New York region, leveraging our community’s extensive packaging expertise and world-class R&D resources,” said Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. President and CEO Matt Hurlbut.

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Rochester doesn’t make Amazon’s list of finalists

amazon_logo_rgbAmazon announced a list of 20 finalists for its ‘HQ2’ project, and Rochester did not make the list.

The ecommerce giant announced last year it planned to invest $5 billion in a second headquarters in North America. Jurisdictions throughout New York state bid on the project. Rochester and Buffalo joined forces to submit a proposal that touted the region’s dynamic site locations, information on the region’s existing and evolving innovation ecosystem and background on the area’s more than 60 colleges and universities.

New York City, Albany and Syracuse also submitted proposals for the $5 billion investment the online shopping giant has said it expects to make in the winning region. New York City was the only New York location to make the list of finalists.

“While this news is certainly disappointing, we’re proud of the comprehensive proposal we put forth on behalf of Buffalo and Rochester. The joint collaboration between Buffalo and
Rochester has been an inventive exercise in big picture, regional thinking focused on the attraction of new capital investment and jobs in Western New York,” said Matt Hurlbutt, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. and Tom Kucharski, president and CEO of Invest Buffalo Niagara, in a joint statement. “By linking efforts, the combined Buffalo-Rochester Metro Corridor offered a sophisticated, robust and compelling proposal that showcased the talents of our 2.2 million people and our extremely livable communities.”

The 20 finalists are:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Indianapolis
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Montgomery County, Md.
  • Nashville
  • Newark
  • New York City
  • Northern Virginia
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Raleigh, N.C.
  • Toronto
  • Washington, D.C.

“In Rochester we should all be proud of the proposal we put together, and the fact that we were viewed as a contender for the selection of the new Amazon Headquarters by national experts is a testament to Rochester’s growing economy and quality of life,” Mayor Lovely Warren said. “I would like to thank all of our partners who helped put together a compelling proposal, and together we will continue to explore every possible avenue to create more jobs and bring economic opportunity and equality to our citizens.”

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, “fully participating in this process will help our community better compete for other global employers and jobs in the future, regardless of the end result. Our region likely scored highly on much of Amazon’s core selection criteria, particularly when it comes to our highly-skilled workforce and world-class colleges and universities. We can and will use those assets as opportunities to attract even more jobs and investment here moving forward.”

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said that while he thought the region would make the top 20 or 25 and he was disappointed to hear it hadn’t, he didn’t think anything went wrong.

“I’m very proud of our submission. We put a great submission together, one I’m very proud of, one that really reinforced the strengths of this region,” Duffy said at a press gathering Thursday, noting that the proposal would be kept confidential. “Obviously Amazon was looking for larger metro areas, and one of the things I believe was going to be a deficit for us from the start was the international travel connections.

Duffy said the region has much to offer and Rochester has a number of companies already that do business with Amazon.

“I played sports my whole life,” Duffy said. “I find that in sports and in life, if you do your very best, you put forth your very best effort, you might not always win, but you feel pretty good about what you did.”

Duffy said the team that put together the proposal learned a lot and the process reinforced the strengths and pride we have in Rochester.

“I think it’s also put us on the radar for other companies already,” he added. “We sat with companies as recently as this week, which is a pretty exciting opportunity for us. We’re going to roll our sleeves up and go back at it.”

Duffy said the region has much to offer, including its affordability, a sentiment echoed in the statement from Hurlbutt and Kucharski.

“Our region boasts a number of key differentiators, including well-documented affordability, low operating costs, ease of travel—via bicycle, public transit, or automobile—extensive access to leisure/lifestyle activities, dynamic development site locations, an existing and evolving innovation ecosystem, 60-plus colleges and universities and a central location within the internationally significant U.S./Canada community,” Hurlbutt and Kucharski said.

Duffy, commenting on future plans, noted Apple’s announcement this week to build a new campus and add up to 20,000 jobs. He said “there is nothing we don’t go after when we hear about it.” Duffy also said he believes Amazon may have future opportunities that the region may benefit from.

“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon Public Policy. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”

Amazon evaluated each of the proposals based on the criteria outlined in the request for proposals to create the list of 20 HQ2 candidates that will continue in the selection process. In the coming months, Amazon will work with the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information, and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate the company’s hiring plans as well as benefit its employees and the local community. Amazon expects to make a decision in 2018.

Hurlbutt named permanent leader of GRE

Matt Hurlbutt
Matt Hurlbutt

Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. interim president and CEO Matt Hurlbutt has been named as the organization’s next president and CEO.

Hurlbutt has worked in the Rochester area for more than 25 years, and before taking on the role as interim president he served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for the economic development organization. He joined the organization in 2008 as managing director of business development, following a career at RochesterWorks Inc., where he served as executive director.

“Matt has the depth and breadth of experience critical to advancing GRE’s mission to attract new businesses and new capital investments to the Greater Rochester, N.Y. region,” said search committee chair and GRE vice chairman Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester. “With his strategic vision and proven track record of success, the committee is confident that Matt is the right person to lead GRE.”

Hurlbutt was named interim president and CEO in May when former President Mark Peterson announced he would leave the post the following month for a position as the president and chief executive of Intersect Illinois, a startup, nonprofit that serves as the lead business recruitment and marketing organization for Illinois.

“It is with great excitement that I accept my new role as president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise, an organization I am truly passionate to serve,” Hurlbutt said in a statement. “I am honored to be selected for the position and am committed to our continued success in recruiting and retaining top-notch businesses in the Greater Rochester, N.Y. region.”

During his time as interim president and CEO, Hurlbutt led GRE’s joint bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. Hurlbutt also was instrumental in attracting OFD Foods LLC to the region. The freeze-dried food manufacturing company plans to build a 42,000-square-foot production facility in Henrietta to serve its East Coast and Midwest customers, creating some 30 jobs.

“It takes superior business acumen and economic development expertise to serve as a trusted adviser to company leaders looking to relocate or expand to our region,” said GRE chairman Anne Kress, Monroe Community College president. “Matt has a unique combination of deal making and strategic planning expertise. We are looking forward to his continued leadership of the organization.”

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Senior PGA Championship expected to have a $41.8 million economic impact

Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. is projecting the 2019 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club will have a $41.8 million economic impact on the region.

A study published by GRE also predicts more than 350 temporary jobs will be created to support the influx of spectators.gre

In addition to temporary jobs and spending at local businesses, the estimate includes state, local and federal taxes.

In 2023, Oak Hill is to host the 105th PGA Championship for a record-tying fourth time.

To see GRE’s economic impact analysis of the tournament, visit RochesterBiz.com/srpga.

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email [email protected].

Mark Peterson leaving GRE for new post


Mark Peterson, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc., is moving to a new position as the president and chief executive of Intersect Illinois, a startup, nonprofit that serves as the lead business recruitment and marketing organization for Illinois.

Peterson will leave GRE on June 11 after serving for 12 years, eight of those years as its leader, GRE said. Matt Hurlbutt, GRE’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, will assume leadership responsibility for the organization.

“Matt Hurlbutt has been effectively leading GRE’s business development team for the past eight years,” said Anne Kress, Monroe Community College president and GRE chair.

“He is well-suited to serve as GRE’s interim president and CEO while we assess the best strategy for the organization’s long-term growth,” she said.

Peterson joined GRE in 2005 as managing director of investor relations after serving as president of Bishop Kearney High School. Peterson had worked for former GRE leaders Dennis Mullen and Michael Finney. He was named interim president and CEO in 2009 when Mullen resigned to become upstate president of the Empire State Development Corp.

In 2009, Peterson told the RBJ that his background was working with boards in the non-profit sector: “My first love, and my first work, was college and university fundraising. I’m a fundraiser by training,” he said.

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(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email [email protected].