Empire State Development Announces Vuzix to Expand Operations in Monroe County

November 3, 2022

Augmented Reality Smart Glasses Company Plans to Lease up to an additional 40,000 Square-Foot of Manufacturing Space in West Henrietta: Creating Nearly 70 New Jobs

Investment Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that Vuzix®, a global manufacturer of waveguides, wearable display technologies and augmented reality solutions, is ready to expand its operations in Monroe County in the Town of Henrietta. The cutting-edge optics technology firm plans a phased expansion of its existing footprint by up to 40,000 square-feet, adjacent to its current Hendrix Road location, to accommodate the addition of multiple new waveguide manufacturing lines. The expansion will allow the visionary company to create 66 new jobs over the next four years; 94 jobs will be retained. The company’s origins are in the research and development of augmented reality, virtual reality and next-generation head worn defense tactical displays, serving the enterprise, commercial and defense markets.

Empire State Development President and CEO and Commissioner, Hope Knight, said, New York State, and the Finger Lakes region in particular, are home to some of the most talent-rich tech companies in the world. By supporting visionary businesses like Vuzix that are committed to growing next-generation technologies in the state, we are bolstering the economy, creating good-paying jobs, and generating even more opportunities to move the Finger Lakes forward."

Founded in 1997, Vuzix products include personal display and wearable computing devices that offer users a portable high-quality viewing experience, and OEM solutions that support custom wearable displays and augmented reality devices. In addition to its Monroe County location, Vuzix also maintains operations in Oxford in the United Kingdom and in Tokyo, Japan.

Paul Travers, Vuzix President & CEO said, "There's no better place to expand our manufacturing operations than here in West Henrietta. Our growing pipeline of OEM business, particularly the interest we’ve received for our custom optical waveguides for use in 3rd party augmented reality devices, is a leading driver. We're delighted to receive support from the Empire State Development’s Excelsior Jobs Program to help us fast track the growth of our facility and meet the expected demand from our OEM partners."

In April of 2022, Travers was featured on the Rochester Business Journal’s Power 50 Technology list, which recognizes business leaders who run innovative companies and whose work also supports other entrepreneurs and the community. Additionally, Vuzix, in collaboration with Ohana One and TeleVU, is working to assist medical professionals in war-torn Ukraine with its wearable technology products, equipping teams with necessary surgical infrastructure.

ESD is supporting Vuzix with its expansion by providing up to $1 million through the Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program in exchange for performance-based job creation commitments. Monroe County, the Town of Henrietta, RG&E and Greater Rochester Enterprise are also assisting the company with the project. The total project cost has been placed at a little over $21 million.

State Senator Patrick M. Gallivan said, “Vuzix’s decision to expand operations in Henrietta speaks to the growing demand for its innovative products and technology.  In addition to the new jobs that will be created and those that are being retained, the project sends a powerful message about our region and the quality of the local workforce.  I congratulate the Vuzix team and wish them continued success in Monroe County."  

State Assemblymember Harry Bronson said, "Vuzix’s choice to expand here in Monroe County shows the vitality and economic growth our region continually fosters. As Chair of the Assembly’s Economic Development Committee, I am proud to see these kinds of investments being made here at home. The jobs created by this expansion will help to ensure more skilled workers coming from our local colleges and universities stay here in Monroe County. This is a win for our entire community."

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, “I applaud Paul Travers and the Vuzix team for their commitment to Henrietta and Monroe County. This top-tier company recognizes the highly-skilled and diverse workforce available in our region and their expansion is ongoing proof that our community is a hub for technology and innovation. Monroe County looks forward to continuing its support for Vuzix’s growth through COMIDA, the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency. Thank you to Gov. Kathy Hochul and Empire State Development for their investment in our local economy.”

Henrietta Town Supervisor Stephen Schultz said, “I have known Vuzix since the turn of the century, having competed with them for some of the same engineering talent during my days running Pictometry. They have been a great addition to our town and I am glad they are not only remaining in Henrietta, but expanding. RIT, UR, and other area colleges and universities produce a lot of talented graduates and it is great when local companies can keep some of those talented individuals from moving out of state. We look forward to the opening of the addition and the 66 new jobs that will be created, along with the retention of 94 jobs, as part of this expansion.”

Patricia Nilsen, President and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E, said, “We are excited to support Vuzix’s growth in Monroe County. The forward-thinking technology Vuzix develops is a perfect fit for the talented workforce our community calls home. We are deeply committed to the communities we serve throughout New York and our economic development team stands ready to support innovative companies like Vuzix and the job growth they create.”

Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO and Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Bob Duffy said, "As outstanding companies like Vuzix grow in Greater Rochester, it strengthens our region’s position as a hub for optics, photonics, and imaging. We commend Governor Hochul and Empire State Development for their strategic investment in Vuzix, as this visionary company grows to employ an increasing number of talented workers, supporting families and investing back into their community."

Matt Hurlbutt, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise said, “As demand grows for Vuzix products, Vuzix leaders are expanding the company’s production capacity in Rochester, NY, backed by a talented workforce with world-class optics, photonics, and imaging expertise. GRE connected Vuzix to numerous economic development partners to support this expansion in Rochester and will continue to support the company as this project unfolds.”

For additional information about Vuzix, visit: https://www.vuzix.com/,

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

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