Boosting a community
From one of its earliest employees—College of Brockport alumnus Mike Dobbins, hired in 2013—to the 10 alumni who work there today, Precision Optical Transceivers has played an important role in the lives of SUNY graduates. As a participant in the START-UP NY program, the company’s positive reach also includes the entire community of Brockport.
“The most significant impact we’ve had on the local economy is the creation of jobs,” says Mike Dobbins ’13 BA, account director at Precision Optical Transceivers. “We have continually added jobs year after year as we’ve grown. And more employees in the office means more consumers to the local Brockport economy, as we often frequent the restaurants and other small businesses the town has to offer.”
James “Beau” Willis, vice president for administration and finance at the College of Brockport, agrees with Dobbins about the value of companies moving into the area. “Bringing in good high paying jobs has a big impact on a small community like ours,” he says.
Launched in 2014 by Governor Andrew Cuomo, START-UP NY has a goal of spurring the creation of new jobs in the state and stimulating economic development in local communities. The program entices companies to expand or relocate on or near university campuses within the State of New York by providing them with tax-related benefits.
Precision Optical Transceivers—which provides custom programmed optical transceivers to the cable and telecom industries, both domestically and internationally—joined START-UP NY in 2015. Besides the tax benefits it receives from the program, the company joined for the opportunity to develop a close working relationship with SUNY.
“This relationship has proven to be mutually beneficial for Precision and Brockport,” says Dobbins. “The college provides us with quality students to employ, and we provide those students benefit from their employment with us.”
According to Willis, who was instrumental in helping Precision join START-UP NY, Precision also provides Brockport students with internships and gives entire classes with opportunities to do case studies. For example, the company worked with one of Brockport’s international business classes on a project in which the students researched strategies to penetrate international markets. “We actually hired a student from that project because we were so impressed by her work,” says Dobbins.
In addition, Dobbins sits on the Employer Advisory Board of the college, which allows him to provide valuable feedback about what employers are looking for in graduates. He also assists with the college’s career services center to help students find their footing after graduation, and he helps with resume events, mock job fairs, and mentoring.
The company, itself, has been very successful. Since joining START-UP NY, it has tripled in size. And soon, it will expand its facilities into nearby Rochester, with hopes to continue its growth there.
“It’s really been a pleasure joining START-UP NY,” says Dobbins. “It was definitely a positive step for Precision, as well as for the College of Brockport.”
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