Central New York Success Story

Welch Allyn: Cutting Edge, Home Grown Solutions for the Medical Industry 

WelchAllynWhen Dr. Francis A. Welch and William Noah Allyn developed and built the world's first hand-held ophthalmoscope in the early 1900s, they launched the start of a successful business for Welch Allyn. Today, the global manufacturer of medical devices, products and solutions used by caregivers in doctors' offices, hospitals and emergency response settings around the world is a worldwide leader in frontline care, and is supported by more than 200 distribution partners and serves 100 countries around the world. 

How's that for a fourth generation family owned business still headquartered less than ten miles from where it was founded in Upstate New York?

More importantly, when pressured-like other companies-to move out of New York State or the country, Welch Allyn stayed close to its roots and its family in Skaneateles, New York.  So - why did they stay?

"We are owned by a family.  Members of the fourth generation live right here in Central New York, work for the company and serve on the Board of Directors.  They continue the commitment of prior generations to sustainable, long-term growth and profitability," said Welch Allyn President and CEO Julie Shimer.  "The Allyn family has put us in a position to focus on long-term success, innovation and the technologies that will advance frontline care into tomorrow, rather than daily stock price and quarterly reports."

Empire State Development has assisted Welch Allyn along the way, most recently awarding the company with a $1.2 million capital grant and a $300,000 Manufacturing Assistance Program (MAP) grant to assist it with a $30 million expansion project that designates Skaneateles, New York as the company's global headquarters and retains its workforce of nearly 1,125 employees while pledging to add another 175 workers over the next five years.  

ESD has also worked with Welch Allyn in the past.  For example, with a $250,000 grant in 2004 to help with the company's investment of $2.3 million to relocate production from facilities out-of-state to Skaneateles and with a $500,000 grant in 2005 to help with the company's investment of $2.3 million to purchase and install machinery and renovations needed to accommodate its product line growth.  ESD has also assisted with training grants over the years. 

"The continued growth and prosperity of Welch Allyn is a top priority for ESD," Empire State Development Central New York Regional Director James Fayle

"We value the opportunity to encourage proposed investment and bring projects to fruition here in Central New York."
Another sign of the company's commitment to New York State is a partnership it formed with the state and Syracuse University to form a new technology incubator company, Blue Highway, located at the Richard W. Newman Innovation Center.  The goal of the center is to accelerate the product development process from ideation to conceptualization of new technologies and inventions designed specifically for the health care industry.  This will allow Welch Allyn to fill its product pipeline faster, with new technology to address future customer needs, and with increased efficiency and focus.  In addition, there will be a greater ability to collaborate with university researchers throughout the world and leverage the many resources and advantages that an innovation incubator is afforded. 

"We're proud to have Welch Allyn headquartered here in Upstate New York," said Fayle.  "By choosing to invest and create jobs in the Greater Syracuse region over the years, Welch Allyn joins thousands of businesses that have confidence in New York's economic future and its people."

As a benefit for Welch Allyn and other businesses, Central New York  enjoys a strategic location at the geographic center of New York State with access to major markets in Canada, the mid-Atlantic and New England; boasts a diverse economy as well as a rich manufacturing legacy that is developing strength and expertise in emerging clusters such as bioprocessing and Cleantech; and possesses one of the highest concentrations of undergraduate and graduate students in the country, which is leading the region's transition to a knowledge-based economy. 
Look around next time you pay a visit to the doctor, you'll likely see the Welch Allyn name on one of the medical instruments.  It's good to know you're supporting a New York-based, family-owned business.