Businesses keep city wired to technology
When Time magazine held its annual reception for this year’s “Time 100” group of most influential notables in business, culture, politics and science in Manhattan in April, Martha Stewart jockeyed for the spotlight with Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey and Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show.”
Behind the scenes, Marty Goldenberg and his Marlyn Productions Inc. were making sure the spotlights and everything else on stage was functioning according to plan. The provider of technical and event production is among several smaller techbased businesses that have established themselves in Peekskill in recent years.
Established in 1989, Marlyn has grown to eight employees and over $1 million in revenue by providing services that include budgeting, labor and production management, scheduling, stage management, technical direction and venue coordination. Marlyn manages events ranging from awards shows and concerts to corporate meetings like the Nickelodeon cable channel’s “upfront” presentation to advertisers.
More recently, Marlyn has expanded its horizons, producing this year’s Fortune Global Forum, a conference organized by Fortune magazine in Beijing.
“It’s not where the event takes place or how many people attend that makes it big or small for us, but how much production is involved, how much technical equipment is involved,” said Goldenberg, the president and “Mar” of Marlyn Productions.
Marlyn isn’t alone among businesses that have brought high-tech savvy to Peekskill.
Bob Frissora’s Arcanna Inc. is a brand consulting firm specializing in designing corporate identities, packaging, displays and even marketing campaigns and Web development strategies for businesses.
Since Arcanna was founded in 1989 the company’s clients have included Foodtown Stores, for which he designed private-label packaging, and Purchase-based PepsiCo Inc., where he works with executives meeting and planning the company’s graphic themes – like the bottles for Aquafina water.
A longtime Madison Avenue ad executive, Frissora moved Arcanna to
Peekskill in 1992 when he grew tired after 20 years of commuting to Manhattan. Arcanna owns its own building at 650 Central Ave., which it is now in process of renovating and expanding.
“I miss Manhattan quite honestly at times, but the technology has enabled us to be anywhere and anyplace. The whole atmosphere of being in a creative area has drawn people into Peekskill,” Frissora said Azimuth Interactive Inc, a developer and marketer of electronic learning materials for colleges and businesses, says being based in Peekskill has allowed it to find and keep a solid core work force eight of its 15 full- and part-time staffers are based at its offices at 23 N. Division St.
“It’s been a really good work site for us, and a good climate for a business like ours. We need a centralized area for people to commute to, and we found that in Peekskill,” said Kenneth C. Laudon, founder and chairman of Azimuth.
Peekskill is also becoming wellknown, he added, for the company’s vendors from India, Ireland and China.
One of Peekskill’s first tech businesses arrived at Charles Point Industrial Park in 1989. Westchester Technologies, 8 John Walsh Blvd., manufactures micro-optical components that include spherical and cylindrical lenses, as well as windows, prisms and spheres. The company assembles and subassembles products used in products ranging from medical instruments and microscopes to bar-code readers and dental cameras.
Westchester Technologies Inc. began in 1984 as a marketer of optical components made by three Westchester companies, but shifted five years later to making its own products in response to customer demand. Today the company employs 22 people in Peekskill and about 70 in Bulgaria and Russia, where the company operates plants with a German joint venture partner.
“We handle from a half millimeter to three to four millimeters in diameter, while the European plants handle the larger components,” said Roger Prahl, president of Westchester Technologies.
Peekskill was among the first Westchester communities to realize it needed a fiber-optic network as the Internet took off in the 1990s. After initially pursuing a vendor on its own, it dropped that effort when it joined Westchester County’s $200 million network completed in 2001, and maintained ever since by the Lightpath subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.
Today, Lightpath oversees a Westchester network of 750 miles – 50 of them in Peekskill.
“We’ve had a lot of success in Peekskill. Our bandwidth is used for large file transfers and a number of other applications by artists,” said Brian Fabiano, Lightpath’s senior vice president of network services. “You don’t have to be in New York City to get the high end of telecom access.”
And almost all the city is within a half-mile of Lightpath’s network the distance to which the company seeks to attract business customers. About a third of the city’s 56 commercial buildings are now linked to Lightpath’s network – as is City Hall, said Marcus Serrano, the city’s comptroller and director of information technology.