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Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Liberty Pumps making progress on three-phase expansion

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, business, liberty pumps

Press release:

Liberty Pumps, a manufacturer of sump, sewage and wastewater pumps is undergoing a major expansion of its facilities in Bergen, New York.

The construction, which doubles the size of the current facility, will occur in three phases over the course of 2015. In total, the expansion will add over 123,000 square feet to the corporate operation in Upstate New York.

Phase one, already underway and nearing completion, is 81,600 square feet of additional manufacturing area. The added space will allow for new manufacturing cells, increased warehouse area for component inventory and expanded machining operations. A new powder coat line is also planned as part of this expansion. Phase two, scheduled for completion in May, increases the research and engineering lab, service area and features a new lunchroom facility for its members. The 14,200-square-foot lab expansion allows for the addition of new equipment required for Liberty’s recent qualification as a CSA test facility. The area also features an additional 20,000-gallon test pit designed to support Liberty’s expanding product line.

Phase three – a 23,000-square-foot sales/marketing wing and product training center -- is slated to begin construction in April with a target completion date of August. The new wing features an 80-seat multipurpose room, product display area for hands-on product training and demonstrations, as well as additional offices, a historical product display and visitors lounge.

Randall Waldron, V.P. of Sales & Marketing, said “As our products continue to advance technically, we realize product knowledge is critical -- not only to our sales team, but for those who use and install our products on a daily basis. The new product training center will allow us to better share this knowledge in a way that provides a great experience as well.”

Credit: Building rendering by Smart Design, of Batavia.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

Gift from Liberty Pumps puts new technology in the hands of every Byron-Bergen student

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, business, byron, byron-bergen, liberty pumps

There's a selfish reason Charle Cook got behind the idea of his company donating money to help the Byron-Bergen School District buy 1,100 tablet computers for all of the district's children: He wants potential future employees to have the technical skills to work for the Liberty Pumps of tomorrow.

But the donation is also a good deed that will benefit his and his son's alma mater and perhaps encourage other rural companies to be as generous with their local school districts.

"We felt it's important as kids progress through school that they become knowledgable and comfortable with technology," said Charlie Cook, CEO of Liberty. "It's going to be part of their future employment. To have that as a kind of leg up to students who might not have access is an advantage.

"Somewhat from a selfish standpoint," he added, "we're going to need a certain segment of those graduates, and we're interested in keeping as many kids as we can in the community."

Superintendent Casey Kosiorek said the gift was timely. The district had recently cut a staff position from its library and New York's formula for aid to district continues to disportionately favor affluent suburban districts over rural districts.

"This allows us to do something that most of the school districts in the more affluent areas of the state are able to do," Kosiorek said. "We're very thankful for that."

That was part of what motivated Liberty to seek out a way to assist the district, said Jeff Cook, who initiated the talks with the district that led to the donation.

"The reason Liberty Pumps thought the Learn Pads were a good idea was that we hear a lot about how wealthier, suburban districts seem to have advantages over poorer, more rural districts in terms of course offerings and opportunities for their students," Jeff Cook said. "We were looking for a way to help give our students an edge while minimizing the overhead burden of the district and therefore the taxpayer."

Charlie Cook didn't want to reveal the total monetary amount of the donation, but it's roughly 30 percent of the cost of the 1,100 tablets, which cost a few hundred dollars each. That donation made Byron-Bergen eligible for a technology grant from the state education department that covered the remaining 70 percent of the cost.

There will be no new local spending as a result of the program.

The tablets are known as LearnPads. They are Droid-based tablets with modifications to suit the needs of an educational institution.  

First, there are limits on how students can use them. There's access to YouTube, for example, but they can only watch teacher-approved videos. They can only visit approved Web pages. They can only download and install teacher-approved apps.

Teachers control the entire LearnPad environment according to the education needs of the class.

From a desktop computer program, teachers can customize how the LearnPads can be used, develop each day's lesson plan, then provide a QR code that can be posted to a wall. As students enter the class that day or that hour, the student scans the QR code to receive the lesson plan. As class progresses, teachers can monitor student activity to ensure they're staying on task.

However, Kosiorek stressed, LearnPads don't replace lectures and class discussions.

"This is a great tool for students and for teachers, but it doesn't replace quality education," Kosiorek said. "It's a tool, it's a supplement, an addition to a teacher's toolbox."

There are educational books available on the LearnPad and Kosiorek said the district hopes to someday replace all of its text books with tablets. That would save the district money as well as end the days of one-ton backpacks and multiple trips to lockers for students.

And yes, there are games available to students. Math games and vocabulary games, for example.

"Many students have access to video games and those games are very engaging," Kosiorek said. "There are goals that are set and you work toward those goals, so whatever we can do to provide relevance and engagement for students (we will do)."

Every student, starting this week, gets a LearnPad, from kindergarten through 12th grade. The younger students don't get a keyboard and will just use the touch screen, but starting in about third grade, keyboards will be introduced.

At younger grades, the LearnPads stay in school -- at least until the summer, when they can go with the summer reading program already installed -- while older children can bring the LearnPads home for homework once permissions slips and guideline acknowledgments are signed.

"We're very excited to be doing it," Charlie Cook said. "I've got four grandkids in the system right now and when I come to an event, which I do as often as I can, it's amazing to me to watch these kids work with the technology, even what they have currently. I think even in preschool years, they were up operating the touch screen, so this is a natural progression for them."

Jeff Cook said he hopes other business owners will look at this initiative and contact their own school administrators and ask "How can we help?".

Education, after all, is everybody's business.

"My hope is that what Liberty Pumps is doing will gain traction in the business community and others will join in on supporting our schools," Jeff Cook said. "If you are a business that is passionate about something you would be willing to help fund or support, I would suggest talking to the school administration about your idea and see if it is feasible. 

"In the case of Byron-Bergen, they did all the leg work and presented us with their vision based on our ideas. This could be anything from supporting sport programs and class offerings, to equipment for the district. Anything that could enhance a student's learning opportunity."

Photo: Casey Kosiorek, left, and Charlie Cook.

Friday, May 2, 2014 at 8:50 am

GCEDC board approves Liberty Pumps expansion project

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, business, GCEDC, liberty pumps

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for the Liberty Pumps project at its May 1 board meeting.

Liberty Pumps is planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its existing facility at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen. The renovation will include new spaces for production, warehouse, research and development, as well as an office, auditorium and training center. The capital investment for the expansion project is $9.8 million and will create 27 new jobs while retaining 124 employees.

In 2000, Liberty Pumps invested $3.7 million for the acquisition of the land and construction of a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. It underwent another expansion project in 2008, which entailed the investment of an additional $4 million for the construction of a 64,000-square-foot addition to the existing facility.

“We are pleased to see Liberty Pumps continue expanding its operations in our region, adding to the growth of employment opportunities in Genesee County,” said Wally Hinchey, GCEDC board chairman.

Monday, April 28, 2014 at 5:40 pm

GCEDC board set to vote on assistance for Liberty Pumps expansion

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, business, GCEDC, liberty pumps

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider a final resolution at its May 1 board meeting.

Liberty Pumps is planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its existing facility at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen, to create new spaces for production and warehouse, research and development and a new office, display, auditorium and training center. The company is investing $9.8 million for the expansion project, creating 27 new positions, and retaining 124 employees. 

Liberty Pumps has undertaken several projects in the last few years. In 2000, the company invested $3.7 million to construct and equip a 60,000-square-foot facility and in 2008 they undertook a 64,000-square-foot addition.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate Med & Tech Park -- 99 MedTech Drive in the Town of Batavia, on the 2nd floor, across from Genesee Community College.

Not in the press release, but from another e-mail sent out by GCEDC today:

Liberty Pumps is planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion onto its existing 120,000-square-foot facility at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen. (Of that,) 81,400 square feet will be dedicated to production and warehouse, 7,600 square feet will house new research and development/ test facility space, and 11,000 square feet will hold new office, display, an auditorium and training center. ... The company has submitted an application to the GCEDC requesting assistance that includes tax savings of $377,600, a mortgage tax exemption savings of $93,750, and property tax abatement of $863,577 due to the incremental increase in assessed value.

Friday, March 7, 2014 at 5:55 pm

GCEDC board approves incentives for Liberty Pumps and Bank of Castile expansion projects

post by Howard B. Owens in bank of castile, batavia, bergen, business, GCEDC, liberty pumps

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved applications for two projects at its March 6, 2014, board meeting. 

The Bank of Castile/Tompkins Trust Company is purchasing a building located at 113-119 Main St. in the City of Batavia and plans to renovate the second floor (10,000 square feet) into a call center for its expanding operations because of limited space in its current location in the City of Batavia. The company also plans to maintain the first floor and continue renting space to current lessors. 

The company was approved for a sales tax exemption of approximately $53,600 and a property tax exemption of approximately $27,800 to expand its existing facility. The planned capital investment will total an estimated $1.5 million dollars and is projected to create two new jobs.

Tompkins Trust Company built a new 18,000-square-foot headquarters in the City of Batavia in 2004, investing more than $2.9 million dollars. The company had pledged to create 63 new jobs; as of 2012, it had created 74 jobs.

Liberty Pumps is planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its existing facility at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen, NY. The renovation will include new spaces for production, warehouse, research and development, as well as an office, auditorium and training center. An initial resolution for Liberty Pumps was approved to set a public hearing as the total amount of incentives exceeds $100,000. The capital investment for the expansion project is $9.8 million and will create 27 new jobs while retaining 124 employees at the facility.

In 2000 Liberty Pumps invested $3.7 million for the acquisition of the land and construction of a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. It underwent another expansion project in 2008 which entailed the investment of an additional $4 million for the construction of a 64,000-square-foot addition to the existing facility.

“It’s great to see companies that our agency has assisted with in past, come back to us with plans to expand their operations and create even more jobs in our region,” said Wally Hinchey, GCEDC board chairman.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 9:30 am

Unique financing scheme proposed to bring more electricity to Appletree Acres

post by Howard B. Owens in Appletree Acres, bergen, business, GCEDC, liberty pumps

It's going to take a good deal more electricity to power an expanded Liberty Pumps in Bergen and adding more transmission lines to Appletree Acres will cost a bit of money.

To help pay for it, Genesee County Economic Development Center is proposing a financing scheme known as a PIF -- PILOT Increment Financing.

Liberty Pumps already has an approved PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) for its expansion, and a PIF reallocates some of their PILOT payments toward infrastructure payments.

In this case, GCEDC is proposing a 50-percent PIF, meaning the taxing jurisdiction will get half of the PILOT payments and half will go toward a fund to pay for the additional power lines and poles.

The cost of the electricity project is estimated at $150,000.

The power expansion will benefit all of Appletree Acres, making it more attractive to potential businesses considering the park and Village of Bergen residents, said Mark Masse, VP of business development for GCEDC.

It will also mean ratepayers in the Village of Bergen -- which has its own power utility -- won't see a rate increase as a result of infrastructure upgrade.

Of the 10-year period of the PILOT/PIF, the county will receive nearly $80,000 in PILOT payments and $80,000 will go to the electricity project. For the county, the gain/loss of $80,000 is not currently either a budgeted expense or budgeted revenue.

For the Village of Bergen the split is $17,600, and for the Byron-Bergen School District, it's $287,850.

All three jurisdictions will need approve the PIF.

Masse will explain the project to the Byron-Bergen School Board tonight.

A PILOT is a mechanism to relieve a new or expanding business of some property tax burden on projects expected to create new jobs. The property is either owned or leased by the nonprofit GCEDC so there are no property taxes owed; the business then makes payments in lieu of those taxes during the PILOT period. The payments increase on a graduated scale over a 10-year period, usually started at 20 percent of the increase in assessed value.

A PIF, then, takes those payments and allocates at least a portion to a specific community project.

The County's Ways and Means Committee learned about the PIF plan for Appletree Acres on Wednesday, but was not yet asked to vote on the project.

Liberty Pumps is planning to add 100,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space.

Monday, November 11, 2013 at 4:05 am

Liberty Pumps introduces new compact system for residential sewage

post by Billie Owens in business, liberty pumps

Press release:

Bergen-based Liberty Pumps introduces the "ProVore," a compact system for residential sewage applications. The new ProVore 680 duplex system is powered by two 1 hp grinders pumps and features Liberty’s patented V-Slice cutter technology. This proven design easily shreds difficult solids -- such as feminine products, rags and other unwanted debris.

Operating on 115 or 230 volts, the system can be plugged into standard 20 amp home circuitry making installation easy! The compact system is only 24” tall and ships complete with an alternating pump control unit.

For more information contact Liberty Pumps at 1-800-543-2550 or visit the Web site at www.libertypumps.com.

Friday, October 18, 2013 at 9:30 am

Liberty Pumps names new CFO

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, business, liberty pumps

Message from Charlie Cook, CEO of Liberty Pumps:

I am very pleased to announce that Dennis Burke has been promoted to the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Liberty Pumps effective October 1.

Dennis has been with the company for 21 years serving in a wide variety of roles. He is currently our Manager of Finance and Human Resources, which includes the management of our Accounting department. His new position and title more accurately encompass and acknowledge those responsibilities among several others. He is an essential member of the Liberty management team. A 1985 graduate of Byron-Bergen, Dennis has a bachelor’s degree in finance from St. John Fisher College and an MBA from the University of Buffalo. He also has his certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources and is a member and past president of the GAPA Human Resources Association. Dennis is a 2001 graduate of Leadership Genesee and is very active and involved in the community.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Gillibrand stops in Bergen to pump up Foreign Trade Zones

post by Howard B. Owens in business, foreign trade zone, GCEDC, liberty pumps

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stopped for a tour of Liberty Pumps in Bergen today to promote Genesee County's "Foreign Trade Zone" designation.

Liberty is the first company in Genesee County to apply for the benefits of an FTZ.

Charlie Cook, president and CEO of Liberty Pumps, said the designation will help his company grow and create more jobs.

"It's certainly going to help reduce our costs," Cook said. "We are initially limited to three companies because it's crucial to monitor everything and control the inventory on the floor, so our most expensive components are duty free and there's an advantage there. It's our intent to flow the savings to the bottom line and generate more profits, which fuels future growth."

Profits, Cook, explained, means more research and development and more funds to bring new products to market, which means expansion.

Liberty Pumps is surrounded by three parcels of land that are suitable for expansion and Cook mentioned that the company is considering it options and will almost certainly expand in the next couple of years.

The FTZ allows Liberty Pumps to buy some of the parts it needs to build products without paying tariffs, but then it can also avoid tariffs on its exports.

Cook wanted to note, however, that not every component it could buy overseas is imported.

"We really try to limit our foreign purchases of components," Cook said. "If we can buy it domestically, we always prefer domestic components, but the fact is, these particular motors you can't get from a U.S. manufacturer anymore. They've all closed down these lines. Other components, like castings, we could do that, but we're trying to contain that business, a lot of it, to domestic sources rather than foreign."

Gillibrand said FTZs are important to help New York's economy grow.

"I encourage all manufacturers who can benefit to apply," Gillibrand said. "We make some of the most amazing things in the world right here in New York. We produce some of the greatest agricultural products of anywhere in the world. We want to be able to increase the world markets for our goods and services. We want to keep local busineses in a position of strength."

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm

End of an era for Liberty Pumps as production stops for Model 101 pedestal sump pump

post by Billie Owens in bergen, business, liberty pumps

Friday, May 17, marked the end of an era for Liberty Pumps with the final model 101 pedestal sump pump being produced in its Bergen facility. The Model 101 is the last remaining pump from the company’s original product offering dating back to 1965.

“It’s pretty amazing that this product sustained a 48-year production life given the advancements and popularity of submersible pump technology” said Randall Waldron, vice president of Sales and Marketing.

“It is not often a product can sustain four decades of sales with very little changes to it. Sales volume for this model has simply dropped to the point where it is not viable as a production model any longer.”

As part of the ceremony commemorating the final production unit being built, Liberty staged a pump “funeral” complete with flowers, a few words from the President Charlie Cook and a procession through the manufacturing area where the last pump will eventually found its resting place in the Liberty Wall of Fame.

“We’re not shedding too many tears however,” Waldron said, “our aggressive product development and new innovative designs have helped put us on track for another record sales year.”

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