Governor Cuomo Announces AIM Photonics manufacturing facility to be located in Rochester's Eastman Business Park at ON Semiconductor

December 14, 2016

For Immediate Release: 12/14/2016


State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor


Independent Site Selection Process Saves Taxpayers at Least $10 Million

Selection Moves AIM Photonics Initiative Forward to Establish Finger Lakes as National Leader in High-Tech Photonics Industry

Key Component of "Finger Lakes Forward" – Region’s Successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative Blueprint to Grow the Economy and Create New Opportunities

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state-of-the-art AIM Photonics Manufacturing Facility will be located in Eastman Business Park in Rochester at ON Semiconductor. The facility will be used to test, assemble and package chips that use photons in place of electrons for increased performance of semiconductor circuits. The New York State Photonics Board of Officers met today and unanimously recommended the new site.

First announced by Governor Cuomo with Vice President Joe Biden in July 2015, the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics will help secure the nation and region’s leadership in emerging technology research, development, and manufacturing. Optics, photonics and imaging is one of the three industry clusters identified in "Finger Lakes Forward," the region’s successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative blueprint to grow the economy, create jobs and drive opportunity.

"The selection of ON Semiconductor further cements the Finger Lakes’ position at the forefront of the photonics industry and as a national leader in this emerging, high-growth field," Governor Cuomo said. "With a long history of spearheading technological innovation, Rochester is delivering on a bold vision to revitalize the regional economy and jumpstart 21st century growth. It’s clear that our strategic investments in next generation industries are paying off – delivering high-paying jobs and driving the Finger Lakes forward."

In September 2016, Empire State Development hired an independent site selector for the TAP facility to create a more efficient process at a lower cost to taxpayers. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, one of the world’s leading commercial real estate advisory firms, conducted a thorough review and evaluation of potential site locations based upon criteria and specifications developed in coordination with the United States Department of Defense and other key stakeholders. This independent process will save taxpayers tremendously, with at least $10 million in savings from original cost estimates pending final negotiations and approvals.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Using an independent, third party site selector allowed for the evaluation of multiple sites in the Greater Rochester region before Eastman Business Park was selected for the TAP facility. The new TAP facility will help secure the Finger Lakes leadership role in emerging technology research, development, and manufacturing and is further proof that the future shines bright for photonics in Rochester."

The site selection process recommended ON Semiconductor, located in Building 81 at Eastman Business Park, based on its existing infrastructure, including a clean room; regional accessibility; and the fact that it had the highest “quality” score based on factors such as building functionality, operational needs and real estate terms. ON Semiconductor is also likely to meet the required project timing and has the ability to leverage significant existing building and system infrastructure. It is also located at the Eastman Business Park, which is a priority strategic site identified by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. An environmental review will be conducted by Empire State Development and the site is expected to be approved by the Empire State Development Board of Directors at a later date.

Bill Schromm, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at ON Semiconductor, said, “With energy efficient semiconductor expertise across a wide range of applications, ON Semiconductor is very familiar with the semiconductor processes and facilities required for manufacturing high performance power conversion, wireless, connected, and imaging solutions. Our Rochester operations at the EBP facility incorporate the design, wafer fabrication, assembly, packaging, and testing of imaging components and we have a unique, on-site infrastructure in place, including process engineers and technicians, cleanroom facilities technicians, maintenance technicians and an HSE specialist, to help support the implementation of the TAP center. Coupling that with existing, available cleanroom space, we believe we offered a strong solution for a fast, efficient and safe enablement the TAP facility. We are honored to be selected as the site where the industry’s expertise and partnerships will come together to drive integrated photonic solutions. We also look forward to identifying additional technical and business areas to collaborate with AIM/Photonics to help grow these emerging technologies locally and attract additional businesses and talent to the area.”

New York State Photonics Board Chairman John Maggiore said, "With its operating clean room facility that meets the technical and timing needs of the initiative, as well as its central location at Eastman Business Park, ON Semiconductor presents the strongest opportunity for the success of AIM Photonics. This public affirmation of the ON Semiconductor site comes after a rigorous, transparent process and the recommendation is clear. Today’s announcement is a major step toward progress in this high-growth, innovative industry, and will generate economic activity in Rochester and throughout the state."

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO and AIM Photonics Leadership Council Chairman Bob Duffy said, “I am thrilled with the selection of ON Semiconductor as the location for the AIM Photonics TAP facility. This is the cornerstone of the AIM Photonics investment in Rochester and will make us a center for packaging for the wafer and semiconductor industry not only in New York State, but potentially across the country and abroad. I thank Governor Cuomo for New York State’s $250 million investment and all of our AIM Photonics partners for their work in making this possible. Today is a great day for Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.”

Senator Charles E. Schumer said, "The AIM Photonics Testing, Assembly, and Packaging facility will now become a job-creating reality right here in Rochester. This facility, that originally housed the R&D and cleanroom manufacturing space where Kodak pioneered the semiconductor image sensors that made digital cameras, imaging satellites, and countless other cutting edge digital imaging technologies possible, will now once again incubate the next revolutionary photonic breakthrough: photonic integrated circuits. This facility situated on Eastman Business Park’s doorstep, offers the U.S. Department of Defense and our government, industry, and academic partners exciting capabilities, infrastructure, and capacity to draw the best minds to and from Rochester to figure out how to manufacture low-cost integrated photonics that will power the devises and technology we will all depend on in the decades to come. It will simply be the only facility of its kind in the U.S. and will be at the center of it all."

Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter said, "The selection of ON Semiconductor’s Rochester facility as the site for the nation’s only Testing, Assembly and Packaging facility is a pivotal moment for our community and our effort to get the photonics institute online. I’m especially proud that this one-of-a-kind facility will be calling the nation’s most impressive industrial park home. This decision will give leaders at the TAP facility on-site expertise while helping Eastman Business Park attract new businesses and continue to grow. The three-year effort to bring a photonics manufacturing institute to Rochester has allowed Monroe County to lead the world in photonics research and build the most advanced and innovative workforce anywhere. This announcement will begin an exciting new chapter for our region."

State Senator Joe Robach said, “In addition to being excited about the further development of photonics in our region, I am pleased to see the continued rebirth of Eastman Business Park, which is both a historic facility in Rochester and now houses a variety of businesses and industries that are important to Rochester’s economic future.”

Mayor Lovely Warren said, "I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to job creation and the growth of the photonics industry in Rochester. This investment will bring new life to Eastman Business Park and help us make our neighborhoods more vibrant and create better educational opportunities for our citizens."

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, “Achieving the next step of site selection marks significant progress on this important community project. Photonics will deliver great opportunities to our region, acting as a hub for innovation, a catalyst for economic development and a substantial job creator.”

AIM Photonics CEO Michael Liehr said, "Today marks an important step for AIM Photonics in Rochester as we move forward to establish the U.S. as a global leader in the emerging photonics field. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his steadfast support, leadership and targeted investments to grow a high-tech R&D ecosystem in New York State. With the TAP facility set to call Eastman Business Park home, we will now proceed with our partners on the innovative work that will be truly be transformational for both the industry and the region.”

The Photonics Board of Officers also heard a presentation by AIM Photonics CEO Michael Liehr regarding AIM Photonics’ draft spending plan for 2017-2018. The board will consider the $81 million funding request at its next meeting in the first quarter of 2017.

The board also welcomed two new board members: SUNY Poly Interim President Bahgat Sammakia and SUNY Research Foundation President Jeff Cheek.

About the New York State Photonics Board of Officers
The New York State Photonics Board of Officers coordinates New York State’s significant financial investments with AIM. The board of officers consists of seven members who represent a wide array of business, programmatic, and technical expertise. The Governor of New York State appoints the Chairman and two additional members; SUNY Poly Institute appoints two members; and the Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Rochester each appoint one member. The Photonics Institute Board of Officers is comprised of: John Maggiore, Chair, Governor appointee; Anne Kress, Governor appointee; Alexander Cartwright, Governor appointee; Bahgat Sammakia, SUNY Poly appointee; Jeff Cheek, SUNY Poly appointee; Ryne Raffaele, Rochester Institute of Technology appointee; and Rob Clark, University of Rochester appointee.

About ON Semiconductor
ON Semiconductor is driving energy efficient innovations, empowering customers to reduce global energy use. The company is a leading supplier of semiconductor-based solutions, offering a comprehensive portfolio of energy efficient power management, analog, sensors, logic, timing, connectivity, discrete, SoC and custom devices. The company’s products help engineers solve their unique design challenges in automotive, communications, computing, consumer, industrial, medical, aerospace and defense applications. ON Semiconductor operates a responsive, reliable, world-class supply chain and quality program, a robust compliance and ethics program, and a network of manufacturing facilities, sales offices and design centers in key markets throughout North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific regions. For more information, visit

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.


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