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Initiative To Enhance Transportation Manufacturing Brings Canadian Executives To Plattsburgh

Pat Bradley/WAMC
Bombardier Manufacturing, Plattsburgh NY file photo

The Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce has created a new initiative to enhance the region’s growing transportation equipment manufacturing sector.  Part of the effort included a recent tour of the facilities in Plattsburgh by Canadian transportation company officials.

During its annual Business Expo, Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Garry Douglas announced the formation of a new bi-national initiative centered in Plattsburgh. The goal is to support the competitiveness and growth of the North Country's transportation equipment manufacturing industry.   “We are in two kinds of business here in the Plattsburgh area.  Number one we’re in the Quebec business and number two,  we’re in the transportation equipment business. We have real opportunities for both going forward. But we increasingly need to be more strategic and more collaborative to make sure that the companies and players and partners that we already have here maximize their competitiveness and have a way to address their changing needs, their problems and their challenges and to pursue their opportunities going forward.”

To accomplish that, Douglas added that the North American Center of Excellence for Transportation Equipment has been created.  “It’s a partnership by all who have a role in the current status and the future success of transportation equipment in the North Country to work together to help one another. First of all the companies themselves share with each other what their needs are. Who share solutions. And then to develop programs in support of things like workforce development, advocacy in Washington and Albany, other elements of success for our transportation equipment companies.”

CITEC Business Solutions is a partner with the program offering its supply chain and clustering expertise.  Executive Director Bill Murray says the effects of the new cluster will domino through the regional economy.   “This is an anchor that provides with these OEM’s, Original Equipment Manufacturers like Bombardier and Nova Bus, that creates so many more supply chain jobs, which creates so many more jobs that are supplying them as well as services, hotels, restaurants etc.  It is such a gainer and that’s why the MEP system that we’re a part of exists. Because that’s one of the key ways of growing the economy. So by bringing in them more working together, they’ll be more competitive, they can hire more people and it just keeps steamrolling.”

Soon after the announcement was made in Plattsburgh, the Quebec Ground Transportation Cluster — the organization representing transportation equipment companies in Quebec — held its annual meeting in nearby St. Jean sur Richelieu, Quebec.  The Plattsburgh-based chamber signed a partnership agreement formalizing the North American Center of Excellence in Transportation Equipment.  Quebec Ground Transportation Cluster President Martin Dufour says it’s a natural extension to work across the border.   “We are looking for that kind of partnership. I think with all the modernization and globalization we are experiencing we need to work all together to develop that kind of cluster.”

The Plattsburgh-based chamber hosted about 30 managers and executives from Quebec- and France-based transportation companies on tours of the manufacturing facilities in Clinton County, including Bombardier, Spencer ARL and Nova Bus/Prevost.  Again Dufour.   “We do have great expertise in Quebec about transportation.  And the U.S. market is a really interesting market for us. So we need to implement our membership, the enterprise that needs to be installed in the USA.  We need to position our companies here because we want to manufacture our product, our component, our systems in the USA.  It’s a strategic position we want to take. And it’s near the frontier. It’s just by the province of Quebec so it’s a natural way to take.”

The North American Center of Excellence for Transportation Equipment will be based at the Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce.

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