Syracuse also scores well on the caliber of its business leadership. "We circle the wagons pretty quickly," Cordeau says. "We recognize that to compete in today's global marketplace we have to collaborate." That tradition dates back to the Great Depression, when the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce lured Carrier Corporation to Syracuse with an offer of free space in the abandoned Franklin automobile factory, plus $250,000 for moving expenses.|
"For the past 40 years the MDA has kept our business leadership very well organized," Davis says. "Our bottom line is a four-letter word: jobs. In this community, private business leadership gets in the trenches with state and local government and causes growth. The MDA has been behind every major economic development in this community, from the Civic Center and Carousel Center to the Carrier Dome and the new P&C Stadium."
For many years, the MDA worked to fortify the manufacturing base in Central New York. Recently it's become a catalyst for developing high-tech and service-sector opportunities. "Take a look at Lockheed Martin," suggests Davis. "Three years ago the company was bought by Martin Marietta. Suddenly it had twice the number of employees and twice the facilities. There were rumors that it was ready to cut jobs and close its Electronics Park facility in Liverpool.
"But the MDA, working directly with New York Governor George Pataki, Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver, and Majority Leader Michael Bragman, came up with a plan to take over Electronics Park, then lease part of it back," Davis says. "We redeveloped eight buildings, saved 2,200 jobs, created 200 new jobs, and developed a world-class center of radar excellence here."