During 2022, FuzeHub introduced you to 10 individuals who embody the spirit and promise of New York State manufacturing. Whether they started a business at their kitchen table or in a university lab or took on a key role in a family-owned company or a global enterprise, these innovators are proof that the Face of New York Manufacturing is diverse, resilient, determined, and driven.
As different as these individuals and their businesses are from one another, there are some themes and lessons that run through their stories. The support of FuzeHub is one of them, but there are others:
The pandemic pivot
Covid-19 caused a great deal of disruption for businesses all over the world. It also created opportunities for those who were willing to seize them.
Aerospace engineer Arjen de Jong was inspired to create Air Tulip, a device designed to arrest the spread of the virus and other contagions by converting any indoor space into a clean room.
Others realized they had to shift gears to get through the pandemic. Althea Schaeffer, of Kingston-based Usheco Inc., a family-owned manufacturer of custom plastic parts, didn’t want to cut workers’ hours so she decided the company would design a face shield—which led to it hiring instead.
Marquardt Switches Inc., the Cazenovia-based arm of a German company, needed to diversify when the pandemic hit its client base hard. It created Marquardt Partners to offer all of its product development and production capabilities to other companies and put Traci Schaumberg in charge of developing a new website.
Helping others is good business
Other entrepreneurs found inspiration in people with special needs.
We introduced you to Katya Sverdlov, the attorney behind JelikaLite, a New York City-based startup developing a home-based solution for young children with autism. There was also Jamie O’Neil, a Canisius College professor who turned his footwear electronics for dancers into FDA-registered technology for gait training and neuromuscular reeducation to assist patients with Parkinson’s Disease and other debilitating conditions.
Finally, we shared the story of Jill Nelson, a Hamilton massage therapist whose work with oncology patients led her to create an all-natural, organic fiber breast form for women who have had mastectomies.
The planet needs help, too
What do electric vehicles, air quality sensors, and sandwich bags have in common? They are technologies that reflect concern for the environment.
Somnath Ray, of Brooklyn, created a portable electrical propulsion device that turns any bicycle into an e-bike. AQ Wiring, the Plattsburgh-based division of a Swedish company, is increasing its production of high-voltage cables for the EV market with Sarah Schoolcraft in charge of growing the company’s client base.
Clarkson University professor Suresh Dhaniyala is the force behind TelosAir, a Potsdam-based startup engaged in the development of compact, low-cost air quality sensors for use in indoor spaces and the provision of data intelligence to guide mitigation measures.
That brings us to Elizabeth Race, a busy wife, mom, and employee of Cazenovia Central Schools who spent a decade bringing her idea for an alternative to plastic sandwich bags to life as Eco-Baggeez. Made of sustainable natural brown kraft paper, Race’s bags are biodegradable, recyclable, compostable, microwavable, resealable and 100 percent sourced and made in the USA. They also absorb moisture, fat, and grease.