Leading EDGE Awards recognize COVID responses

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Mohawk Valley Edge is honoring five organizations in Oneida County that reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic in the 19th annual Leading EDGE Awards last week.

The Leading EDGE Awards were begun in 1998 to recognize companies in the Mohawk Valley who were leaders in their industrial sector and the regional economy. Mohawk Valley EDGE (Economic Development Growth Enterprises Corporation) provides economic development programs that assist businesses to locate, grow and prosper in Oneida and Herkimer counties.

Instead of an awards event, Mohawk Valley EDGE this year is hosting a week-long virtual celebration to honor each organization. Each can be honored with a donation to the Leading EDGE Awards campaign. Half the money raised during the campaign week will be donated to the United Way and Community Foundation’s Mohawk Valley COVID-19 Relief Fund, and the other half will be used by EDGE in its business-development work.

This year’s honorees include:

• Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired for their partnership to distribute domestically produced nitrile gloves to address the national shortage of personal protective equipment.

In July, CABVI announced it committed to purchasing nitrile gloves from the SHOWA Group, the only company making them in the United States from the company’s Fayette, Alabama, factory, and to package and distribute them from its facilities in Utica and Syracuse using its workforce of blind employees and sighted peers. The agreement cut delivery time from months to a few days.

• Environmental Composites for their alternative manufacturing solution of advanced textiles and filtration products for N95 respirators to quickly increase the domestic production of N95 respirators in the state.

“Environmental Composites set out on a mission to not only develop an alternative textile material and process that would augment and address these shortfalls in capacity of current technology but in addition supply a material that is fully domestic, and where possible, produced within the boundaries of our home state. It is with great pride that we are on the verge of achieving that goal,” said company President Stephen Copperwheat.

• Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce for its work with the Take out the Virus, Feed our Frontline Families, Shop Small Business Week campaigns.

Chamber Executive Director Meghan Fraser McGrogan said programs such as Take Out the Virus and Feed Our Frontline Families helped inject $195,000 into the local economy and put 3,800 meals on the tables of area frontline workers and families. In addition, Shop Small Business Week also encouraged consumers to support local small businesses.

• Indium Corporation for its role in establishing the CNY Manufacturers Pledge and keeping people safe and factories running.

“We had a corporate responsibility at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of our employees, the stability of our community, and the essential supplies of our customers,” said Indium President and Chief Operating Officer Ross Berntson. “We’re proud of our alliance with local manufacturers, awed by our employees’ response to community initiatives like TAKE-OUT the Virus and Feed our Front Lines, and deeply humbled by this recognition.”

• SUNY Polytechnic Institute produced protective face shields in labs in its Center for Global Advanced Manufacturing through the work of SUNY Poly students and alumni, faculty, staff, accepted students and FIRST@SUNYPoly teams. To date, 3,362 Masks have been distributed. Recipients include Oneida County, SUNY Upstate Medical University, SUNY Downstate Medical University, the Neighborhood Center in Utica and the Clark Mills Fire Department.

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