$300,000 in state funding could bring jobs for Potsdam electric motor startup
Friday, January 1, 2016 - 8:08 am

By JIMMY LAWTON

POTSDAM – A $300,000 grant from Empire State Development will allow a Potsdam startup to purchase manufacturing equipment and add jobs.

The company currently employs around 10 full and part-time engineers and occupies space in Clarkson’s Shipley Center as part of the StartUp NY tax free zone. It also operates in a second facility located near the Potsdam Airport.

L.C. Drives CEO Russell Marvin says the award will allow his company to add employees and purchase equipment needed for manufacturing of the small efficient motors it has developed.

“The grant is going to help pay for manufacturing equipment to be installed in Potsdam,” he said. “While the grant is less than we were looking for, it will still accomplish the same mission - at a smaller scope. We are exploring other funding sources to expand the scope to the original vision.”

The company had originally sought $600,000 in grants from Empire State Development. In December, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the company would receive $300,000.

Marvin says LC Drives currently has offices in Peyton Hall and will be moving into larger offices in Peyton Hall soon.

“For manufacturing space we are still investigating several possible locations in Potsdam,” he said.

LC Drives is developing a new generation of electric motors that are half the size and weight of conventional motors. Applications include electric busses, wind turbine generators, traction motors, and industrial applications. Motors range from 10kW to 10MW with sizes up to 6 foot in diameter

Marvin says a typical wind turbine motor would weigh 11 to 12 tons, but using LC Drives technology that weight could be reduced to 4 or 5 tons.

Marvin says that savings translates well beyond the cost of the engine, because less weight at the top of a wind tower, means less support is needed to suspend it, bringing down the overall cost of production.

Marvin is a Clarkson graduate and former CEO of the wind turbine company Optiwind, which closed in 2013.