Release Date: February 13, 2001
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New York State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger and Kevin J. Clarke, vice president and general manager for Quebecor World Buffalo Inc., have been recognized for their leadership in local economic-development efforts by the University at Buffalo Business Alliance.
Schimminger and Clarke received "Igniting Ideas Leadership Awards" -- Schimminger for the public sector and Clarke for the private sector -- as individuals who in the past year demonstrated leadership in, and helped "ignite ideas" for, economic development in Western New York.
The awards were presented during the alliance's 2001 Grand Reception on Feb. 8. The theme of the reception was "igniting ideas."
Schimminger has been a leader in state economic-development efforts since 1980, when he became the first chairman for the Assembly's Subcommittee on Small Business. He was named chairman of the new Assembly Standing Committee on Small Business in 1985 and served there until 1997, when he was named to chair the Assembly Standing Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry.
He has sponsored and played key roles in enacting numerous measures strengthening the state's economic-development policies, improving its tax and regulatory climate, encouraging the development of new businesses and the creation of new jobs, and enhancing coordination of the state's economic development efforts.
Under his leadership, the Committee on Economic Development secured funding for two important centers at UB: the Center for Advanced Medical Technology, a collaboration between UB, Roswell Park and Hauptman-Woodward, which receives annual funding of $1 million to advance medical research and direct funding to support the development of high commercial-potential technologies, and the New York State Center for Engineering Design and Industrial Innovation (NYSCEDII), which has received first-year funding of $2.5 million to focus on the design of complex products and the planning of manufacturing facilities.
As vice president and general manager of Quebecor World Buffalo, Clarke oversees the world's largest manufacturer of mass-market books. The company's 1 million-square-foot printing plant in Depew employs more than 1,200 workers who produce more than $5 billion of retail print products, including AAA TourBooks, mass-market paperback books, weekly magazines, retail inserts and a variety of specialty products.
A resident of East Amherst who received a bachelor's degree from Niagara University, Clarke has held numerous operating, staff, sales and general-management positions over the past 25 years. During the last 15 years, he has been called upon by many organizations to "repair" ailing or troubled manufacturing facilities. A strong supporter of empowered work teams, his "Tiger Team" concept has been implemented and successfully copied in numerous factories across America.
Clarke recognized the importance of the team approach when the World Color Press plant lost the contract to print Reader's Digest in September 1994, resulting in the loss of 400 jobs. He enlisted the support of staff, the union leadership, Erie County, Empire State Development and the UB Business Alliance to rebuild the organization.
As a result of the rebuilding work, the Depew plant has been designated one of three new "mega-facility" locations of its new parent company, Quebecor Printing. A $15 million expansion could ultimately bring 400 new jobs to Western New York.
The UB Business Alliance was formed in November 1998 to improve the way that businesses access the university and to provide a central focus for all of UB's economic-development and industrial-outreach activities.
It combines four critical services that the university provides to industry:
o The Center for Industrial Effectiveness (TCIE), which offers training programs, research-and-development assistance, technical assistance and assessments, and translation services
o Office of Technology Transfer and Licensing, which specializes in patenting and then licensing to the private sector inventions developed at UB
o UB Technology Incubator, operated in cooperation with the Western New York Technology Development Center, which supports the establishment of technology-intensive businesses-many of which are run by UB faculty members, students or alumni-commercializes UB inventions and provides applied-learning opportunities for UB students
o Health Care Business Center, a partnership with the Health Care Industries Association, which brings researchers, manufacturers and local health-care providers together with the university to enhance the health-care industry in Western New York