Helping Hands Helping Hands

- will have the capacity to connect services provided in and around Ontario County. These services include the police and fire departments, educational institutions, municipal operations and local businesses.

"We are not providing any services," said Hemminger. "You can come to us and get a list of vendors that are going to use the fiber ring to provide Internet access."  

Construction of the fiber-optic ring began in June 2006, with the first 40 miles completed by November 2007. The expected completion date is slated for June 2009. In addition to being CIO, Hemminger also serves as the CEO of the Finger Lakes Regional Telecommunications Development Corp., a $7.5 million nonprofit development corporation set up to develop and manage the project. 

The project benefits both the public and private partners, he said.

"[The private sector] can do things that the government can't do, and we can do things the private sector cannot do," he said. "I think it is a wonderful marriage." For its efforts, the nonprofit recently earned a Best of New York Award for Excellence in Technology Supporting Economic Development from the Center for Digital Government.

Economic Benefits

One of the strongest proponents of public-private ventures is Alain E. Kaloyeros, vice president and chief administrative officer of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany.

According to Kaloyeros, the emerging trend also has enormous potential to effectively stimulate economic growth.

"In the 21st century, a knowledge-based economy that is truly global - the ability to generate and share information both quickly and securely - is playing an increasingly vital role in helping to both create and exploit new opportunities that drive economic prosperity, investment and growth," Kaloyeros said. "It's critical for companies and organizations in both the public and private sector - as well as our national competitiveness - that continued advances be made in the area of information technology, and just as importantly, that the work force be educated and trained to take full advantage of this unprecedented opportunity."

Emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology biometrics, show promise for organizations in every industry and sector, Kaloyeros said.

"Now, more than ever, an exponential rise in the cost of conducting advanced technology development and specialized work force education and training demands collaboration. Whether a large or small corporation, government body, independent contractor or public employee union, no one entity can go it alone and meet the ever-changing demands of the information economy," he said.

"Public-private partnerships that combine the best of industry, academia and government offer a new paradigm for technology-based education, research and commercialization that is already providing tremendous benefits to the IT industry and holds even more promise for the future," Kaloyeros said


Suzane Bricker  |  Contributing Writer
Suzane Bricker has extensive experience as a grant writer for educational institutions and social services agencies, and has secured funding for her own nonprofit organization in south Florida. She has a master's degree in mass communication with a minor emphasis in science writing.