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Fritzinger named director of Business Technology Incubator
Saturday, December 05, 2009

Robert H. Fritzinger has been named the director of the new SUNY Fredonia Business Technology Incubator, set to officially open on Dec. 21 with a grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. that will feature numerous area business leaders and elected officials. Located in downtown Dunkirk, the incubator is a partnership between the university, regional government and economic development entities to facilitate the successful advancement of technology-based, start-up and spin-off companies. It provides targeted resources and shared, common business functions such as accounting, marketing and legal services, among others. Once economically viable and capable of operating independently, these companies will create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods and strengthen regional economies.

Robert Fritzinger, an entrepreneur who once sold a start-up business to Intel, will take the helm of the new Business Technology Incubator, set to officially open its doors on Dec. 21.

Incubator website>>

“We are very excited to welcome Bob to the project,” SUNY Fredonia President Dennis L. Hefner said. “We opened this facility to attract and build new businesses in the technology sector to our region, and then help them flourish here. Bob has the skills, knowledge and experience we were looking for to make this happen. We’re very fortunate to have an individual with his unique qualifications available at this critical point in the development of the incubator.”

For the past 20 years, Fritzinger has been involved in the creation, development, day-to-day management, financing and sale of multiple high-technology companies, including Voice Technologies Group, a cutting-edge telecommunications vendor which he successfully sold to Intel Corp. in 2000. A resident of Amherst, N.Y., he is currently Chairman of the Board of Zenhire, Inc., a search engine technology innovator which operates in the human resources industry along with such companies as Monster, and LinkedIn. Next spring Zenhire plans to relocate into the incubator, setting the stage for full- and part-time employment as it grows. It will join several other tenants, which will be unveiled at the Dec. 21 grand opening, that have committed to leasing space in the new facility.

The SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator is a newly constructed, state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Dunkirk’s business district at 214 Central Avenue. In addition to providing office space to clients, the building offers significant shared space including a “smart” conference room, meeting rooms and dry laboratories. Operating as a one-stop shop, the incubator will provide business development, mentoring and space for start-up technology companies committed to Western New York. The 21,000-square-foot, two-story facility can accommodate up to 30 companies that will utilize services and space for up to three years, and then relocate. Upon graduating from the incubator, these businesses will be guided to permanently settle in Western New York.

Mr. Fritzinger is currently affiliated with the Panel of Advisors for the Science and Technology Law Center, part of the Albany Law School Center for Law & Innovation. He has also served as an advisor to the University at Buffalo’s (UB) Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership within the Jacobs School of Management, as well as a judge for both the Henry A. Panasci, Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition and the Niagara Frontier Intellectual Property Law Association’s Inventor of the Year Competition.

The incubator's exterior construction has been completed, and only some finishing touches remain on the inside prior to the Dec. 21 grand opening, at which time the "inaugural class" of companies will be introduced.

Mr. Fritzinger is a SUNY alumnus as well, having earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from UB in 1976, followed by a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from UB in 1979. In addition to being a life-long resident of Western New York, along with his wife, Deborah, he has spent summers at Dunkirk’s Van Buren Point continuously for the past 52 years, making him well-versed in the Chautauqua County business and political landscapes.  He also currently serves as a Director and President of the Greencrest-on-the-Lake Association, a residential community southwest of Dunkirk.

Dr. Kevin Kearns, associate vice president for graduate studies and research, oversees the business technology incubator and looks forward to working with Mr. Fritzinger. “A diverse range of technology start-up and spin-off companies have signed on as incubator clients, and Bob’s unique skills and experience are a perfect fit for helping these companies develop and reach their full potential,” Dr. Kearns said. “His leadership will help to ensure the success of this critical project.”

The incubator has been made possible by the generous support of local, state and federal assistance. New York State pledged $4.7 million in bonded funds for the new building and a federal appropriation from the department of Housing and Urban Development was also obtained. An additional $605,000 in programming support came from a grant from the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR). More recently, a $300,000 “challenge grant” from the John R. Oishei Foundation was obtained to provide operational support for the incubator, which has already been supported by NRG Dunkirk Power, Lake Shore Savings, DFT Communications and Graf Realty, with many other companies expected to follow suit shortly. Significant support has also been received from Chautauqua County sources including the City of Dunkirk, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, and the Northern Chautauqua County Community Foundation.

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