The president of Mohawk Valley EDGE, the area's economic development engine, joined WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning to talk about the new tax free zone announced at SUNY IT and other topics that may 'move the area forward'.

DiMeo was confident 'good' news' was coming 'down the road' and reiterated his belief that linking the Mohawk Valley to the School of Nanoscale Science and Engineering will pay dividends for the area.

Highlights of interview with Steve DiMeo:

NYS land and tax deal with Oneida Nation:

  • Happy to see the deal was approved and it's now time to move forward. ''All the parties that negotiated the deal did a good job.''

SUNY IT tax free zone:

  • Likes the proposal because it's realistic and puts the upstate agenda forward. There are also provisions to maximize development from private institutions.

Is the Mohawk Valley reaching a turning point in terms of economic development

  • I hope we're at a point where there is some good news down the road here. We've been pursing the development of the Marcy Nanocenter site. The Computer Chip Commercialization Center (Quad C) at SUNY IT will begin construction at the end of the June.
  • Forming a nexus between the Mohawk Valley and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany was, we believe, the right move and it will be paying dividends in the future.

On a pending announcement about a large commercial investment and jobs

  • DiMeo said he would not speculate on how close 'anything' might be, but said he felt there would be good news coming down the road.
  • The things we have been working on with the Marcy Nanocenter site are perfectly aligned with what the governor is trying to do in the state, DiMeo said

In the Mohawk Valley workforce ready for high tech manufacturing?

  • We can support some of it, DiMeo said. New York State does export a high number of engineers. ''I think we have the second highest engineering graduation rate in the country,'' DiMeo said. He also indicated that when a high tech manufacturer locates in the Mohawk Valley it would likely bring with them some of the tech workforce here, while also investing in training to bring the local workforce up to speed.