|Etymology: From "Tech" for the high-tech industries and "Valley" for the Hudson Valley|
|Region||Upstate New York|
|Counties||Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga, Schoharie, Warren, Washington, Columbia, Montgomery, Fulton, Greene, Essex, Clinton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Ulster, Dutchess, Franklin, Orange|
|Cities||Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Plattsburgh, Kingston, Malta, Glens Falls|
|• Total||15,637 sq mi (40,500 km2)|
|• Density||150/sq mi (57/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern Standard Time)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern Daylight Time)|
|Area code||518 and 845|
Tech Valley began as a marketing name for the eastern part of the U.S. state of New York, encompassing the Capital District and the Hudson Valley. Originated in 1998 to promote the greater Albany area as a high-tech competitor to regions such as Silicon Valley and Boston, the moniker subsequently grew to represent the counties in New York between IBM's Westchester County plants in the south and the Canada–United States border to the north, and has since evolved to constitute both the technologically-oriented metonym and the geographic territory comprising most of New York State north of New York City. The area's high technology ecosystem is supported by technologically-focused academic institutions including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute.
Tech Valley grew from encompassing 19 counties straddling both sides of the Adirondack Northway and the New York Thruway, and with heavy state taxpayer subsidy, has experienced significant growth in the computer hardware side of the high-technology industry, with great strides in the nanotechnology sector, digital electronics design, and water- and electricity-dependent integrated microchip circuit manufacturing, involving companies including IBM in Armonk and its Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, GlobalFoundries in Malta, and others. As of 2015, venture capital investment in Tech Valley had grown to US$163 million. Westchester County has developed a burgeoning biotechnology sector in the 21st century, with over US$1 billion in planned private investment as of 2016, earning the county the nickname Biochester.
The name "Tech Valley", or "Techneurial Valley" as was originally used, is usually credited to Wallace "Wally" Altes, a former president of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce ("the Chamber"), while the shortened name from "Techneurial" to "Tech" was the idea of Jay Burgess. In 1998, the Albany-Colonie Chamber began using Tech Valley as a marketing name for an initial ten-county area centered on New York's Capital District to show in name the merging of entrepreneurial activity and high-tech companies in the region. Tech Valley then evolved into a 19-county region in eastern New York stretching from the Canadian-US border to the northern suburbs of the city of New York. The 19 counties were Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Orange, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Warren, and Washington. That region was 15,637 square miles, about 270 miles north-south at its longest and about 80 miles east-west at its widest. In 2010, those 19 counties had a population estimate in 2010 of 2,312,952, a 9.2 percent increase over the 2000 census; population density was 148 people/sq. mile. 51 percent of the population was female, with 48.2 percent male. 88.5 percent of the population was White, 6.2 percent Black, 4.9 percent Latino, 1.5 percent Asian, with a median age of 37.5 years.
From the inception of the name, the Chamber stated that it would not limit the label of Tech Valley to just the Capital District; rather, Tech Valley was envisioned as running from IBM's Westchester County plants and headquarters north to Saratoga Springs and west up the Mohawk Valley. Early businesses that used the Tech Valley name helped spread the word, businesses such as Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI) who used the phrase in its job recruitment material, MapInfo Corporation, Tech Valley Communications, Tech Valley Office Interiors, and Tech Valley Homes Real Estate. The first use of the phrase by a business may have been the accounting firm Urbach, Kahn, & Werlin in 1998, which put the Tech Valley name and logo on its postage meter, shortly before that the Chamber had begun instituting a new telephone greeting, "Albany-Colonie Chamber. Tech Valley. May I help you". Also in 1998, Rupprecht & Patashnick put "Made in New York's Tech Valley" stickers on all its air quality sensors for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) national monitoring network. In 2000, Tech Valley license plates became available, with three numbers and the letters TEC, for a $34.50 fee, they were the first plates in New York that had a website on them- techvalley.org.
Initially, the name Tech Valley was derided as over-enthusiastic self-boosterism, but SEMATECH's decision in 2002 to relocate its headquarters to the University at Albany, SUNY began Tech Valley's rise in the public's perception. In 2004, however, when Bill Gates was asked by an Albany Times Union reporter what he thought about Tech Valley, he responded that he had no idea where that was; two years later though, $400,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was used to fund the Tech Valley High School.
Luring a chip-fab plant
The goal of luring a computer chip fabrication plant (chip fab) was one of the earliest goals of, and reasons underlying, the Tech Valley name. The plan to get a chip fab to the Capital District predates the Tech Valley slogan. In 1997, New York set out submissions for possible chip fab sites that it could whittle to 10 sites around the state that would be pre-approved and pre-permitted for a chip plant. Years before that the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's RPI Tech Park had been visited by semiconductor companies, but they had chosen not to build. The renewed interest by the region in luring them was spurred by the research centers and training of specialists for the industry by area colleges such as the University at Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Hudson Valley Community College. Responding to the state's request for potential sites, Rensselaer County proposed the same RPI Tech Park site; Schenectady County proposed two sites, one of which was in Hillside Industrial Park in Niskayuna; Saratoga County proposed two sites; and Albany County proposed three sites, two in Bethlehem and one in Guilderland. The state ultimately decided on 13 sites it would aggressively promote, most of which were in Tech Valley. As one of the thirteen sites chosen, the RPI Tech Park site originally met little opposition from the town of North Greenbush in which it sat. As time progressed opposition grew in response to concerns about potential impacts on traffic and the environment. The RPI Tech Park site, which by October 1999 had become one of only nine sites still being marketed by the state, ended when the North Greenbush town council voted to terminate the review process. A site in Wallkill, Orange County was the first site in Tech Valley and in the entire state to receive pre-approval for a chip fab.
In 2002, the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) began to tout its proposed tech park, to be named the Luther Forest Technology Campus, as a site for a chip plant. It would be there that GlobalFoundries, a spin-off of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), decided to build a $4.2 billion chip fab, ground breaking was in July 2009. The State of New York gave nearly $1.4 billion in cash and tax incentives, the largest such package in state history. New York's incentive package was the same as that offered by Russia, China, and Brazil; though it was not the deciding factor it meant that any region not offering the package was out of contention for the fab. The deciding factor on picking Tech Valley was the $5 billion College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute and the resulting "high-tech ecosystem" put in place during Governor George Pataki's administration.
Tech Valley Chamber Coalition
The Tech Valley Chamber Coalition is an organization that is made up of 24 local chambers of commerce from 19 counties of Tech Valley. Those 24 chambers represent over 21,000 businesses, schools, and organizations that employ more than 531,000 workers. It was formed in June 2002 and manages the Tech Valley Portal, and publishes an annual publication called Images of Tech Valley.
The 24 local chambers are-
Organizations that use the Tech Valley name
- Tech Valley Communications (1999)
- Tech Valley Homes Real Estate (2001)
- Tech Valley Angel Network (2001)
- Tech Valley Chamber Coalition (2002)
- Tech Valley Technologies (2003)
- Tech Valley Office Interiors (2005)
- Tech Valley High School (2007)
- Tech Valley Talent
- Leadership Tech Valley
- Tech Valley Center of Gravity (2012)
- StartUp Tech Valley (2013)
- Tech Valley Game Space (2014)
- FIRST NY Tech Valley Regional Robotics Competition (2014)
- Tech Valley Machine Learning, Data Science, and AI Meetup (2016)
- Tech Newbies in Tech Valley Meetup (2017)
- NetSquared Tech Valley (2018)
- "About Tech Valley". Tech Valley Chamber Coalition. Archived from the original on 2008-11-03. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- Larry Rulison (July 10, 2015). "Made in Albany: IBM reveals breakthrough chip made at SUNY Poly". Albany Times-Union. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
- Keshia Clukey (June 27, 2014). "Better than advertised: Chip plant beats expectations". Albany Business Review. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
- "Fab 8 Overview". GLOBALFOUNDRIES Inc. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
- Freeman Klopott, Xu Wang, and Niamh Ring (September 27, 2011). "IBM, Intel Start $4.4 Billion in Chip Venture in New York". 2011 Bloomberg. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
- "Venture Investment - Regional Aggregate Data". National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
- John Jordan (January 2016). "$1.2 Billion Project Could Make Westchester a Biotech Destination". Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
- Steve Ditlea. "Westchester's Unexpected Powerhouse Position In the Biotech Industry - Four years after our initial look at Westchester's biotech industry, the sector has gone from fledgling to behemoth". Today Media. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
All around, there are signs of a Biochester bloom:
- Eric Anderson and Larry Rulison (September 20, 2009). "Obama nods to Tech Valley". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- Wallace Altes and Lyn Taylor (March 2008). "Tech Valley turns ten". Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- "Digging for developers". Albany Business Review. March 27, 1998. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- David Orenstein (March 11, 1998). "Region hopes to make a name for itself". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- Jo-Ann Johnston (October 7, 1999). "Tech Valley Image has winning edge". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- "Tech Valley Update". Albany Times Union. April 5, 1998. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- "Tech Valley Update (Cont'd)". Albany Times Union. August 9, 1998. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- "New on Tech Valley roads". Albany Times Union. January 23, 2000. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- Richard Parezpea (July 19, 2002). "Albany no longer a secret in high-tech chip world". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- Alan Weschler (April 21, 2006). "Region rich in business history". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-11-04.
- Larry Rulison (August 11, 2006). "Tech Valley High wins funding commitments". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-11-04.
- David Orenstein (December 11, 1997). "State hunting for chip-fabricating sites". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- David Orenstein (January 15, 1998). "8 sites proposed for new computer chip plant". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- David Orenstein (March 5, 1998). "Local sites touted for chip plants". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Laura Lee (June 12, 1998). "Review of chip plan on track". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Michele Morgan Bolton (March 5, 1999). "Public sees two sides to chip plant". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Michele Morgan Bolton (October 15, 1999). "Board rejects chip plants". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Keri Mattox (July 27, 2009). "Region still in chip-fab market". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Kenneth Crowe III (May 30, 2002). "Saratoga County pushes tech park". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Chris Churchill (September 27, 2009). "Cranes & Scaffolding". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- Larry Rulison (October 6, 2009). "Region bested Russia, Brazil for fab". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- "Tech Valley Chamber Coalition". Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on May 4, 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-28.