THE BNMA BRIEF: Issue 2, Spring 2017

Our valued BNMA members,

As we welcome in 2017 we are pleased to bring to you our spring edition of our BNMA newsletter, The BNMA Brief.  We are excited about the growth we had as an organization in 2016, adding on 35 new members to our Alliance, including welcoming aboard our new Niagara members from the GNMA (Greater Niagara Manufacturing Association).

Our Events Committee has finalized our 2017 Calendar of Events. Included are our annual events: Golf Outing, Bison’s Game, and Corporate Challenge. We have some excellent tours featured this year. For reservations and details on our events, along with other important updates within the Alliance, please visit our BNMA website.

Once again, it is an honor and pleasure to serve as your President, representing the Alliance and its members within the Western New York Community. Thank you for your continued support of the BNMA. I look forward to working with you.

Kevin Calvello, BNMA President

TAM Ceramics joined the BNMA in 2016 through the amalgamation process with the GNMA, Greater Niagara Manufacturers Association. TAM Ceramics had been a member of the GNMA for several decades.  The GNMA represented the interests of the large manufacturers in Niagara County.

TAM Ceramics is celebrating its 110th year anniversary this year in Niagara Falls! TAM's origins date back to the late 1800s when its founder, Dr. Auguste Rossi, a native of France and a BS of Science graduate of the University of France in Paris, started fusing high titanium iron ores in Buffalo in 1894. In 1899, Dr. Rossi built a small electrode arc furnace right in Niagara Falls, NY.  Dr. Rossi came to the US in 1859.

TAM Ceramics in 1906

TAM has experienced many decades of innovation.  TAM was the first titanium plant in the world in 1906.  TAM's innovations span from white titanium dioxide pigments, which was a major development and transition away from lead-based paints, to new alloys and ceramics, fused zirconia, welding fluxes, and the first building blocks of modern electronics and computers. In fact, nearly 100 patents were awarded to TAM for dielectric materials.  

TAM Ceramics has 375,000 square feet under roof, sits on 35 acres and has 90 employees. TAM has several hundred customers world-wide and includes companies such as Corning, DuPont, and Dow Chemical, to name a few.  TAM sells to companies that make refractory brick for the steel and glass industry and also to companies that make titanium knee replacements, turbine blades and Glock pistols. TAM sells to the contract manufacturers that make the Cobra, Titleist, and Callaway golf clubs.

TAM Ceramics today

George Bilkey, president and owner of TAM Ceramics, started his career at TAM in 1997 as a ceramic engineer. In 1997, TAM was owned by Ferro Corporation.  In 2007, George was fortunate to have the opportunity to run TAM for an investment company that purchased TAM from Ferro and was even more fortunate to purchase the TAM facility from the investment company in 2010. 

TAM Ceramics sits on the boards of the BNMA and Dream It, Do It WNY. TAM is one of the founding members of BMW- Buffalo Manufacturing Works. TAM also assisted with the STEM program at Niagara Falls High School and has hosted interns and student tours from local high schools.


Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance, Catholic Charities of Buffalo, Goodwill Industries of Western New York and Buffalo Urban League will partner to operate center

Empire State Development (ESD) announced that Economic Development Group (EDG), Inc., a nonprofit entity comprised of four lead partners—Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance (BNMA); Catholic Charities of Buffalo, Inc.; Goodwill Industries of Western New York, Inc.; and Buffalo Urban League—will be the operator and administrator of the Western New York WorkforceTraining Center (WTC).   The WTC will house administrative, classroom, and shop facilities designed to train and turn out highly-skilled members of the local workforce to meet the requirements of the twenty-first century electric utility and advanced manufacturing industries.  Also targeted to serve some of the most underrepresented populations in the region’s workforce, the WTC is being developed as an adaptive reuse of up to 100,000 square feet of space in the former Clearing Niagara factory at 683 Northland Avenue on Buffalo’s East Side.  

Working with other resource subconsultant partners like Dream IT Do IT WNY, Inc. and the University at Buffalo Center for Industrial Effectiveness, EDG will undertake all administrative, financial control, internship/job placement, and coordination activities necessary for the operation of the WTC.  The ESD Board of Directors approved entering into a three-year contract with EDG, with the option for up to two, one-year contract extensions.  The Board also approved up to $5 million in subsidies from the Buffalo Billion to be applied over the contract term toward the WTC’s annual operating budget. 

“The Western New York Workforce Training Center will be a one-stop educational facility, operated by a consortium of social service, labor and industrial liaison organizations,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “With more than 100 years of experience in workforce development under one roof, the Center will be able to effectively focus on teaching area residents the necessary skills to fill local manufacturing jobs.”

Peter M. Coleman, Executive Director of the Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance, said, “The Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance is excited to partner in this innovative training program for tomorrow’s advanced manufacturing workforce. A strong manufacturing industry is fundamental to Buffalo Niagara’s economic prosperity. The primary challenge our manufacturers face is the access to skilled talent. Creating the supply of talent with needed skills will be critical to the future competitiveness of companies and the industry as a whole. Empire State Development and Governor Cuomo have taken the lead in managing this talent crisis by developing a strategic investment that will not only provide a solution to the need of manufacturers, but provide economic opportunities for a community that has been impoverished for far too long.”

“The Economic Development Group is excited, along with its partners, to be chosen by Empire State Development for this critical effort,” said Kevin Donovan, Chairman of the Board of the EDG.  “This initiative will give people, especially those from the underrepresented sectors of our community, the opportunity to be trained and qualified to fill the many advanced manufacturing jobs that currently exist and will be available in the future.  We look forward to working with ESD to increase the pool of skilled manufacturing workers for these career opportunities.”

The WTC is being funded by ESD and the New York Power Authority (NYPA)—as part of the Buffalo Billion initiative—to be the initial anchor facility in a redevelopment of a largely-abandoned Northland Avenue industrial corridor on the East Side of Buffalo.  Together with the City of Buffalo, the entire Northland Corridor Redevelopment represents a $48 million public investment to help create public/private partnerships to realize a state-of-the-art hub campus for both workforce training and other advanced manufacturing establishments.  ESD has committed up to $29 million for the entire Northland Avenue effort, while NYPA and the City of Buffalo will contribute $15 million and $4 million respectively.

“These four organizations have long demonstrated their commitment to improving the lives of Buffalo residents, especially the underserved and those in need,” said NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel.  “Having observed their tremendous work over the years, I am confident they will provide the right leadership to ensure we fully realize the critically important mission of the Workforce Training Center.” 

“I am thrilled by today’s announcement that Economic Development Group Inc. will operate the Western New York Workforce Training Center, which will be a vital resource for our local workforce,” said City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. “I am pleased to see the former Clearing Niagara factory on Buffalo’s East Side being redeveloped as the WTC, which will help to further the redevelopment of our entire city.”

EDG is  grounded in the partners’ expertise in workforce training; manufacturing industry knowledge; experience working with manufacturers and apprenticeship programs, including energy-related jobs along with experience recruiting, screening and placing candidates into appropriate training programs and supporting their progress toward advancing their education and securing gainful employment. 

EDG will be required to fully orchestrate and coordinate with State University of New York (SUNY) educational partners that will staff the actual training components of the WTC—Erie Community College, Alfred State College, and Buffalo State College—to structure/schedule programs and curricula in initial targeted industries (i.e., advanced manufacturing and energy sectors).  The operator will also liaison with private industry on refining programs/offerings to best respond to local private industry workforce needs. 

EDG will also be required to coordinate/facilitate three other key functions of the WTC: wraparound services necessary to enable patrons/students to be fully prepared to participate in WTC programs (e.g., access to child care, transportation, training for pre-requisite testing, etc.); Placement Services, both in terms of internships/externships during training and in full-time positions for patrons/students after completing certificate/degree programs; and Case manager/monitoring of individuals placed after training for a period of at least three years of WTC program completion.

In consideration that the WTC operations are evolving during its final design phase, EDG’s contract term will be preceded by an initial “planning/ramp-up” period that will run until the WTC’s opening in 2018.  During this period, EDG will work with ESD and its team from the University at Buffalo Regional Institute (UBRI) to finalize/operationalize the business plan and standard operating procedures for the WTC.  UBRI will be assisted in this effort by Sharon Jones at O-H Community Partners—who helped formulate the draft business plan for the WTC—and the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship, a NYS-certified Minority Business Enterprise based in Rochester, NY.

The Northland Corridor Redevelopment Project and the Western New York WTC are being development by the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC, the City of Buffalo's not-for-profit development agency, under a funding agreement with ESD.  BUDC will act as the long-term landlord for the WTC, is facilitating public infrastructure investments, and is marketing various vacant industrial spaces in the Northland Corridor for reuse and/or redevelopment.

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WEDNESDAY MAY 10  7:30AM - 11:00AM

Sales Seminar: Winning Your Fair Share
Hyatt Place, Amherst, NY

TUESDAY MAY 16  7:00AM -9:00AM
2017 Manufacturers Awards Breakfast
Salvatore's Italian Gardens: 6461 Transit Road

WEDNESDAY MAY 31 & JUNE 1  7:00AM -12:30PM
2 Day: OSHA 10-Hour Certificate: General Industry
Hyatt Place, Amherst, NY

THURSDAY JUNE 15  5:30PM - 9:00PM
Corporate Challenge
Delaware Park

MONDAY JUNE 26  9:00AM - 7:00PM
BNMA Golf Outing
Arrowhead Golf Club

Date Published: Thursday, May 11th, 2017