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Supporting Our Region's Suppliers

Updated: Nov 28, 2023


By Joel Wood • Photos Supplied

Following the unexpected announcement that Nova Bus would cease U.S. production by end of 2024, the North Country Chamber of Commerce and its subsidiary, NAmTrans, sprang into action to put a plan in place to support the future of several area suppliers.

A major part of this strategy was assisting these suppliers, who were wholly or mostly dependent on Nova Bus, in finding new customers. To help accomplish this, NAmTrans organized a trip to the 2023 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) TRANSForm Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida that ran from October 9th through the 11th.

The event, held only every three years, gathers all the major players in rail and road transportation. In 2017, the event attracted more than 15,000 attendees and over 800 exhibitors from 80+ countries across the globe.

To help cover the cost of the trip, the Chamber applied for, and was awarded, a Global NY Grant from Empire State Development for ~$69,000 and received generous financial matches from our partners at the Capital Resource Corporation of Clinton County (CCCRC) and TDC. This funding helped cover the cost of exhibiting (booth space), travel, lodging, and more.

Susan Matton, Vice-President for Economic Development at the Chamber, recently returned from APTA, having led a delegation of seven local manufacturers that included names such as SpencerARL, AQ Wiring Systems, Plastitel, and Imeco Cables, among others.

Over the course of the three-day expo, the companies traveling with the Chamber delegation were able to meet with dozens of buyers and procurement officials from major bus and rail OEMS that were in attendance such as Alstom, New Flyer, Proterra, Gillig, Kawasaki, Wabtec, Cummins, Siemens, and many more. They were also able to meet with potential suppliers, strengthening their supply chains by finding new customers and vendors alike.

NAmTrans also had our own booth, co-located with the seven companies in our delegation, that prominently displayed a map of our North Country Transportation Equipment & Aerospace Cluster detailing each company from our region that was at the expo. Our presence at this event allowed us to connect face-to-face with prospects for the Nova Bus site, many of whom we have been in close communication with over the past few months, as well as meet and present the opportunity to new prospects.

In addition to three successful days of networking and building new relationships, we also connected with old friends at the show as staff attended a reception hosted by the Québec Government where they networked with Quebec-based companies and met with our close friend, Frederic Langlois, Attaché for Transportation and Green Energy for the Québec Government Office in New York.

Now that the show is over, Chamber staff will remain in close contact with the companies who traveled with us to ensure that the connections they made are fruitful and they have what they need to move forward with new business opportunities. Chamber staff will also be following-up with new and old prospects to explore possibilities surrounding the Nova site.

The Chamber would once again like to express our sincere thanks to Empire State Development’s Global New York Office, the Clinton County Capital Resource Corporation and TDC for the financial support that made this important trip possible.

And as Garry always says, “Onward and Upward!”

Joel Wood is Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the North Country Chamber of Commerce.

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