Tuesday, November 21, 2006

An Empassioned Plea to the Big Three

Dear Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb,

As you well know, layoffs at your corporations in recent years have decimated Rochester's once-thriving manufacturing base and in so doing caused a ripple effect that has all but crippled our economic stability. While there are many local residents that blame you for the current state of our region, I do not. I understand that that is the cost of doing business in a global economy. The cost-cutting at your corporations has allowed you to become leaner and more flexible; more able to compete with your rivals across the world. All three of you are facing issues in various locations around the country and I would like to take this opportunity to offer potential solutions that would benefit both yourself and the Rochester area.

Bausch & Lomb, you have already emerged from your cost-cutting and have become a strong contributor to the new optics and biotech fields in which the Rochester area is a major presence. Your decision to expand the research and development facilities on North Goodman Street sends a strong message that your corporation is dedicated to the Rochester area and its long term health. I applaud you for this and I ask, is it possible for you to do just one more thing? Could you please move your lens solution manufacturing facility from South Carolina to Rochester? I know that the plant down there in Greenville has caused you significant pain and hardship. It is possible that the errors made at that plant could impact your bottom line for years to come. It is also possible that the ineptitude of the South Carolina workforce had something to do with this. If you move your plant up here, we will do everything in our power to accommodate you and to provide you with the most highly skilled workforce you can find.

Kodak, our old friend, it's been a long road for you. It appears that you are finally nearing the end of your cost-cutting program. Thousands of local employees have lost their jobs and the square footage at Kodak Park has declined considerably. It is my hope, and the collective hopes of Rochester, that when you reach the end point of this downsizing effort, you will be able to once again grow here in your hometown. There are numerous opportunities for you to jumpstart this rebuilding by restructuring your nationwide presence and moving some of your business back to Rochester. Specifically, your marketing division in Atlanta would fit nicely with Rochester's core competencies and would greatly affect the prospects for the State Street headquarters and its environs.

Xerox, you have gotten through with your cost-cutting very recently. While thousands lost their jobs locally, you did not bear the same criticisms as were lobbed at your crosstown compadre Kodak. You are still a major force in the Rochester economy, although unlike the other two, you are not technically based in Rochester. That is where I would like to ask you to please move your headquarters back home from Stamford. It has been reported that you will be vacating the large complex that has been your home for many years and moving to a smaller building. Why not save yourself some time and energy and move back to Rochester, where your headquarters would have a significant positive impact on our city's morale without being at all detrimental to your operations. Unlike most mid-sized cities, Rochester is a good place for corporate headquarters operations. Kodak, B&L, Paychex, Constellation Brands, etc. You would fit in perfectly here.

Thank you for your time. If you have any questions, you know how to reach me.

All the best,

Man About Town