IN THE NEWS
Fairfield County Business Journal 09.27.2021
Stamford Patch 09.27.2021
GE Appliances Launches Imaginative New Co-Creation Center in Stamford
By Richard Kaufman
GE Appliances is coming back to Connecticut.
On Monday, the leading manufacturing company was joined by Gov. Ned Lamont and education and workforce development leaders to announce the launch of CoCREATE Stamford.
Billed as a “first-of-its-kind” center, CoCREATE Stamford will bring small appliance manufacturing back to Stamford, and feature “an innovative community makerspace, provide hands-on educational opportunities for students, and offer unique brand and product experiences for consumers looking for inspiration in the kitchen and home space.”
The multimillion-dollar center, which will initially create 25 full-time jobs according to a news release, is slated to open inside a 67,000 square foot industrial center located in the Harbor Point section of Stamford in 2022.
“It is difficult to define what this place will be because we’re trying to blur the lines between innovation, education and inspiration. This is a place where together we’re going to co-create everyday something new and something exciting,” said GE Appliances President and CEO Kevin Nolan in a press conference in Stamford on Monday.
“We want to help new generations fall in love with manufacturing. Too many children grow up never seeing a manufacturing facility. That’s where our future as a country resides. We need people to experience and see that. We want to give students and professors the opportunity to get out of the classroom and experience cutting edge manufacturing in action where things are really being made,” Nolan added. “We want the community to have a place where the doors are open; where you can come in and meet amazing people. We want families to see the latest kitchen appliance designs we offer, and offer a variety of experiences that are hands-on so you can learn about our products.”
The center will also pay homage to the history of American manufacturing in Connecticut. Through an educational experience space, visitors will learn more about industrial and consumer products from the past that have been imagined and invented in the region.
“We have an incredible entrepreneurial tradition in this state. We have a great history here, and then we became a land of steady habits. Steady habits are great in marital relations, but when it comes to an entrepreneurial economy, you have to kick-start it every once in a while,” Lamont said. “I love what this means in terms of a kick-start, and I love the fact that it’s right here in Stamford, our fastest growing city in the state.”
Peter Denious, President and CEO of AdvanceCT, said CoCREATE Stamford is “core to the governor’s vision about how the state needs to reposition its workforce and partner with the private sector and institutions.”
AdvanceCT is a nonprofit organization that works to engage, retain, and recruit businesses and advance theoverall economic competitiveness of Connecticut.
“We share the stories of the incredible companies doing business here, our talented workforce and the cutting edge innovation that’s going on in our great space. We’re obviously thrilled to be welcoming GE Appliances to that group and the stories we’ll be able to tell,” Denious said.
Education will be a big component of CoCREATE Stamford.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, four million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed by 2031. At CoCREATE Stamford, GE Appliances will link with the University of Connecticut and Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU).
Through co-op partnerships and other hands-on learning initiatives, the center will provide educational opportunities for students interested in pursuing modern manufacturing, engineering, business and similar fields.
“We believe deeply in the governor’s vision and the vision all of you have to develop the economy of this state, to kick-start it, and we believe you do that in collaboration with higher education,” said Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, Interim President of UConn, on Monday. “It’s also self-serving for us, for our students. UConn-Stamford is an amazing campus that has so much potential for the growth of UConn in the future, and for the experience and the jobs of our students going forward.”
CCSU President Terrence Cheng said the collaboration and synergy between the governor, higher education, and GE Appliances is “magical.”
“[This is] a real opportunity in a state like Connecticut to bring all of us together and really set an example for the whole country,” Cheng said.
In a news release, Stamford Mayor David Martin said he was “thrilled” about the announcement.
“This new innovation lab and micromanufacturing operation is another foundation block in the city’s Innovation District. I am looking forward to seeing their partnerships with our local universities develop the next generation of engineers and entrepreneurs,further diversifying Stamford’s economic ecosystem,” Martin said.
Last year, GE Appliances, a Haier company, announced they would return to the manufacturing and selling of small appliances. CoCREATE Stamford represents a bit of a homecoming for GE Appliances, as small appliances were first developed in Connecticut by GE in the 1920s.
“This is a place where business happens,” Nolan said of the state and of Stamford. “We’ve never left here from a business [perspective], but we feel like we can come back here in a way that’s truly meaningful in a partnership, and be here on the east coast and create the kind of products and innovation we all want.”
Note: This article was edited to clarify the difference between GE Appliances and GE. GE Appliances has not been a division of General Electric since 2016.