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Hi all -- we've been through Beacon a few times, and are considering moving to town....if this economy ever lets us. But for now, we're still on the West Coast, where I'm focused on cleantech and renewable energy.

Part of what I do out here is advise a cleantech forum that helps start-up companies in green building materials, renewable energy ideas, etc. And when you talk to those entrepreneurs, they always hope to expand to the East Coast, since that's where they feel their market is.

Now that I've been to Beacon a few times, it seems to have it all - a great community, easy highway access, an airport (admittedly Stewart has few passenger flights right now but I was thinking more about freight) and a good mix of industrial and commercial land.

So...is their any concerted effort to entice these firms to set up in Beacon? This isn't just dreaming at this point - there are real companies getting funded, even in this economy, and while their first production facility is often here in California, they'll be looking to expand.

I've tried contacting Mayor Gold and the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp., but to date no response. (And seriously, no knock to Mayor Gold or HVEDC -- they're probably a little busy)

But does anyone in BCN-land know of any effort to attract these opportunities to Beacon? Does Beacon even have the right mix of industrial and commercial real estate to make it work? Are there potential tax incentives? Let me know!

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Check out http://www.sustainhv.org and contact the ED Melissa Everett. There is a sizable amount of folks in the area interested in promoting a green economy, though more knowledge-based versus industrial — as far as I know (which is where my interest is) — but I have met some involved in solar, for example.

You might also try Marie-Celeste at Hudson Valley Green Drinks: www.hvgreendrinks.org. Again, more knowledge-based.
BWB - here are two places to look. First, check out a href="http://johnhall.house.gov/" target="_blank">Congressman John Hall's site./a> Beacon is in his district and he's worked hard to bring green tech into the region. In particular there is a solar panel manufacturer coming to East Fishkill very soon. I would also check out the Pattern for Progress site. They are a kind of economic development think tank that looks regional solutions for a nine county region here in the lower and middle Hudson Valley. They wrote the strategic plan for Stewart Airport and are a very interesting resource for information about the region. Recruiting more green-tech is high on their list as well.
Part of what I do out here is advise a cleantech forum that helps start-up companies in green building materials, renewable energy ideas, etc.

Part of what you do out there? I can't quite grasp what advising a cleantech forum entails. What exactly is a cleantech forum and what are your qualifications that they pay you to advise them? In what capacity did you contact Mayor Gold or the HVEDC? I doubt they would be too busy to reply to a legitimate inquiry from someone representing possible future businesses, green, purple or otherwise, that are considering Beacon as a possible location.

Please name for us folks in BCN-land three or four companies that, assuming our mix is right, you feel would potentially consider a move to a place like Beacon. (Also, I believe your results will be more accurate if you do the research regarding tax incentives, etc. yourself, rather than rely on this forum. Just a helpful suggestion!)
To be clear, I can't speak to Sustainable HV or its ED too much, because I haven't been involved with them, nor do I know her. I've heard from good sources she's been trying to do worthwhile things, and I don't think her background necessarily need reflect poorly on that.

I have attended Green Drinks frequently, mostly in the city years ago and several times here in the HV over the last couple of years (they have chapters around the world). Yes, they are strictly a social group, created to bring "green" folks together. This is important in any field. The one in the city is by far a better meeting of folks, but at both you'll find tech folks and product folks and marketing folks and design folks and advocates, consultants, architects, etc.

Regardless, both of these groups could be good places to meet "legitimate" people and get a feel for what's happening in the area. But as with any hot, growing industry, you'll find your snake oil hawkers, speculators and dilettantes (Lord knows, I've ran across them).

Charlene Vesuvius said:
I like the caution about "entrepreneurial" talk involving words like "green" and "sustainability". Dan's post about Green Tech seems to point toward legitimate efforts, however. Yet I am amazed at the kind of new age cottage industries that have grown up as offshoots of this movement that involve repackaging concepts with new labels. I read about Scott's recommendations, for example. Hudson Valley Green Drinks seems like a social -- get together for cocktails -- site used by different folks trying to bring business to their consultancies -- all labeled "green" in some way. Sustainability Hudson Valley maybe a wonderful organization but it was started and is run by psychologists who used to lead training sessions -- not tech folks or product folks. Its executive director has an online PHD. She was trained in counseling at a dormant quasi-spiritual institute. She charges for speeches on the Eco Speakers Circuit and has a Career Counseling practice in Kingston, charging folks who want to change their lives through the magic of Green Jobs. So I'm skeptical and cynical about these re-packaging traditional support business as new ventures for a new age.
Thanks for the feedback! And please forward on any further resources you see.

As for Floor One's comment on seeing this rhetoric before, this is true. But the reality is that capital is flowing into the sector out here in California (and not into many other sectors!), and those firms will want to expand into other markets. It may have meant big promises but no payback to date, but that may have more to do with competition among development corps/cities/etc of potential eastern sites for this than it has anything to do with greentech (especially building materials) not being real. It's a very competitive market...

As for Mark's comments, my background comes from 15 years of capital formation for start-up ventures, with the last 3 spent on environmental/"green" startups. So I could probably name you a dozen easily (certainly the three I've spoken to the PA economic development authorities about). Beacon would certainly be an ideal location for the eastern operations of a renewable energy firm I'm under contract with out here right now as we grow into other markets (That would entail hiring 3 people at least)....but I don't think that's what you're really seeking. And again, I'm not knocking Mayor Gold or the HVEDC at all -- I'm sure plenty of "legitimate" calls and emails get shunted off to other folks and things just fall between the cracks. Being mayor of a city in an economic climate like this likely means responding to business development ideas - crazy or not -- gets to be priority #10 not #1. And let me be clear -- I'm not looking to get paid, in case you think I'm some "consultant" coming to steal your money.

I'm aware of tax incentives around renewable energy, Empire Zones, etc, but that essentially narrows it down to NY State...so what makes Beacon an opportunity within NY state? That's what I'm soliciting here. Seen from another part of the country or world without the experience of living in that community, relying on publicly available info on tax incentives, Newburgh may seem like an even better choice. Is it?

In short, if your first response to anyone seeking info on your community is to say "prove to me what you can bring here first", it sounds like you're off to a bad start.

As for Charlene's comments, point well taken. I agree the terms "Green" and "Sustainability" have been beaten all to crap over the past few years. I have a simple approach to people who come to me to help them raise capital for their "green" idea -- does it have measurable impact on the environment, and is it cheaper than or equal in price to the "brown" product it's replacing? If the answer is no to both those questions, they'll have a hard time of it. And the companies I referenced above would be the ones who can answer yes to both those questions -- which is likely how they got funding in the first place. It's a cruel world out there for entrepreneurs!
Well, this simple to solve, and I think the mayor reads these , too, which is great. (Once again, Mayor Gold, if you are reading, I make no bones with you on this at all! Feel free to comment here or send me an email directly, which I think you can do from this site.)

Floor One: Tell me what you think I should bring to you from entrepreneurs looking for a place to build an East Coast operation. I don't think a public bulletin is a good forum to mention names of venture funded firms currently exploring their options, but I could give you ideas as to what types of business they're in.

Don't forget, these firms out here 2500 miles away in California have already evaluated options once themselves...out here. And there is competition for this business from communities out here too. I grew up in a place back east wracked by chronic unemployment, so trust me, I know your concern and I know the heartbreak that comes with these initiatives failing. But that can't mean you just stop looking for options and selling Beacon, right?
Sounds like what you really want to know is what tax incentives Beacon can offer and how competitive Beacon is willing to be with those incentives.
It's not always about tax incentives - location and infrastructure are very important too. If it were all about tax breaks, there would be no business at all in California.

Oh -- and my goal was to have a discussion about it too!
BeaconWannbe,
Call me on my cell phone 845-249-5571. I am interested!
Steve Gold
Wannbe wrote:Seen from another part of the country or world without the experience of living in that community, relying on publicly available info on tax incentives, Newburgh may seem like an even better choice. Is it?

In short, if your first response to anyone seeking info on your community is to say "prove to me what you can bring here first", it sounds like you're off to a bad start.


So, Wannbe, you are implying that you would be influenced by the reception you receive from a private citizen on a local message board. Sounds highly professional. Let me apologize to Mayor Gold and my fellow citizens right now--Hope I haven't blown Beacon's economic future. And all I was asking is, let's see the barest minimum of your credentials. Like, your name. Your title. A few companies you've advised in the past.

Anyway, ball--your court. Please say hello to Mayor Gold for me.
Thanks, Mayor Gold. I'll be in touch next week!
There are potentially a couple of locations which would be incredibly appropriate for companies which have a sustainability mission. the waterfront area is currently being considered for a Transit oriented development project and if the zoning is done right an office building which was built to LEED standards could certainly find tenants who would want their employees to have access to transit,views,sailboats,and a place which has a long history of commitment to the environment. It would also help create a more equitable tax structure in a fairly diverse community, and avoid an over reliance on retail uses which would disrupt a developing downtown. There are also brownfield sites with existing buildings which could be reused and be the most responsible and cost effective uses for those sites.They also have empowerment zone and brownfield incentives from the state and are adjacent to a fiber optic hub. A big percentage of the buisneses actually opening up in the hudson valley are 'green' due to a good workforce, infrastructure and existing affordable locations, as well as the fact that the decision makers in those firms want to work in beautiful enjoyable place. That is plenty of incentive.

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