Micatu Wins New York State (CFA) $1M Grant for Expansion

December 30, 2016 – Micatu Wins New York State Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) grant of $1 million for expansion in the Southern Tier.  http://www.stargazette.com/story/news/local/2016/12/29/state-grant-help-big-flats-sensor-maker-grow/95470948/

A $1 million state grant will help a high tech Big Flats firm move to a new facility and more than quadruple its workforce over the next five years.  

Micatu Inc., which creates sensors that employ optics rather than electronics for the utility industry and other clients, currently has 17 full-time and one part-time employee at its manufacturing site within Airport Corporate Park. The company, founded five years ago by electrical engineers Michael Oshetski and Dr. Atul Pradhan, is negotiating with Chemung County to purchase the former Wings of Eagles Discovery Center that has been vacant since the museum relocated several years ago.

Micatu was recently awarded a $1 million grant from the Empire State Development Grants Program to help facilitate the move. State officials require an estimate of how many jobs will be created before awarding grants, and Micatu came up with a projection of 79 new jobs.  That’s a very conservative estimate, according to Chief Operating Officer Michael Jagielski.  “This is the equivalent of Silicon Valley East. We create high-tech jobs for our kids here,” Jagielski said.

 “You have to fit into our culture. We work real hard. We try to create a company you’ve always wanted to work for but never really existed, where you work hard and take chances and take risks and are rewarded for those risks.  “We projected adding 79 new positions over five years, so we will easily quadruple our work force and probably also exceed that,” he said. “We’ve been lucky in that everything we do has exceeded expectations.”

Micatu currently occupies 10,000 square feet of space at the IST Center in Airport Corporate Park. The new location will provide 70,000 square feet of space overall, including about 35,000 square feet for manufacturing, Jagielski said.  The company plans to self-fund its $2.8 million purchase offer. The $1 million state grant will enable Micatu to purchase manufacturing equipment needed for its expanded operations. The county leased the former Wings of Eagles building to Sikorsky Aircraft after the museum relocated to a new home in Airport Corporate Park. Sikorsky spent several million dollars renovating the building before abruptly closing its Big Flats operations in 2012.

Micatu is a major local success story and the deal to purchase the former Wings of Eagles building will have multiple benefits, said Michael Krusen, president of Southern Tier Economic Growth. “We’re excited not to just get that building back in service but to help a company that started its roots here and developed a product that the marketplace gravitated to, has a positive impact on the environment and will grow its workforce as well,” Krusen said. “It’s a real win-win for everyone involved. 

Because Micatu is not an aviation-related business, it will have to get a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate on airport property. Emhart Glass had to obtain a similar waiver when it took over the Sikorsky building on the west side of the airport campus, Krusen said. Micatu is also considering leasing the cavernous hangar that is part of the former museum complex to an aviation-related business.

If all goes as planned, Micatu hopes to be up and running in its new space by next summer, Jagielski said. The company is also waiting for approval of a $1.6 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant that would also help with its relocation and expansion. In addition, Micatu also recently (three weeks ago) won the “76West” competition, sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The clean energy business competition involved more than 150 businesses from across the Southern Tier and included a $1 million top prize.