Director of Alfred University Center for Advanced Technology testifies at Assembly hearing
Alan Rae, interim director of the Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT) at Alfred University, was among the 27 people testifying at a hearing before the members of the Assembly Standing Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry and the Assembly Standing Committee on Small Business Monday in Albany.
Committee members of the New York State Assembly wanted to know how effective the state’s economic development efforts to support technology-related businesses in the state are. Monday, they got answers from a variety of sources, including Howard Zemsky, the commissioner of the NYS Department of Economic Development and president and CEO of NYS Empire State Development Corp., businesses, and those in the field providing services, including the Alfred University center.
The Centers for Advanced Technology, including the center in advanced ceramics at Alfred University, each receive a little less than $1 million a year to operate, but New York state industries receive a benefit far greater, according to Rae’s testimony. He noted that over the past five years, the state has invested almost $5 million in the Alfred University center, but the “total economic impact realized, as reported by industry in New York State, in working with the Alfred CACT is over $94 million, including $62 million in new revenues…. This represents a significant return on the state’s investment,” said Rae.
He noted the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, which was founded by the State Legislature in 1900, nearly 50 years before the State University of New York was created, is “recognized internationally as the premiere institution for the development of innovative technical ceramics and glass materials, as well as a resource for engineering talent to fill high-tech jobs in a number of industries, from energy and aerospace to biomedical materials and traditional whitewares.”
The advanced ceramics that Alfred University does so well are “particularly well-suited to operating in extreme environments, including exposure to high speeds and high temperatures, for applications such as aircraft turbines.”
“Ceramics and glass can be biologically and environmentally inert, and as such are suitable for use in biomedical implants, bone cements, dentistry, or certain drug delivery systems,” Rae explained. “There are technologies under development that incorporate ceramic materials to reduce vehicle weight, increase tire durability, and strengthen and thin glass for windshields, resulting in increased performance. New ceramic coatings are being developed to improve scratch resistance in the glass used in smart phones or solar panels.
“Thanks to the Alfred CACT, New York is in the forefront of supporting the growth of industries, supporting thousands of jobs across the State, at large companies like Corning Incorporated, General Electric and Lockheed Martin, as well as at smaller companies like Vader Systems, Free Form Fibers and Boston Valley Terra Cotta,” Rae added.
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