Ryan Delaney

Reporter, Innovation Trail, Central New York

Ryan Delaney works on the Innovation Trail project - covering technology, economic development, startups and other issues relating to New York's innovation economy.

Ryan began his public radio career working for WAER in Syracuse while still in college, where his work was honored by the Syracuse Press Club. He then returned to Syracuse, N.Y. from Albany where he worked at WAMC. Prior to that, Ryan filed stories for The Allegheny Front in Pittsburgh.

His reporting has also been heard on NPR, Vermont Public Radio and New Hampshire Public Radio.

Ryan grew up in Burlington, Vt. He has a degree in broadcast journalism and international relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School at Syracuse University.



Tue May 1, 2012
Politics and Government

Report: NYRA illegally pocketed $8.5 million extra in winnings

The Cuomo administration has accused the New York Racing Authority of taking more than its fair share for more than a year.
wallyg via Flickr

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) is under fire for skimming $8.5 million from bettors.

In a new report, the Cuomo administration says NYRA pocketed a larger-than-allowed "takeout" percentage on "exotic bets" - special wagers on multiple horses or races.

The report alleges that NYRA then tried to cover up the wrongdoing.

Read more


Tue May 1, 2012

Syracuse's nonprofit problem: Not enough land on the tax rolls

Syracuse - and Syracuse University - from above. 56 percent of the city of Syracuse is occupied by nonprofits. That's land the city cannot collect taxes on.
Satellite imagery Google

Four major hospitals; three large colleges; dozens of churches, charities and government buildings.

They drive Syracuse's economic and cultural activity. But leave the city's bank account hurting for revenue.

In all, Syracuse nonprofits and other tax-exempt properties make up 56 percent of the city. That's land City Hall can't collect taxes on.

Add to that properties with temporary tax breaks given to encourage development.

Add to that more than 3,000 smaller plots throughout the city that are vacant or delinquent on their taxes.

"This is characteristic of the type of problem the city has in collecting property taxes," says Common Councilor Khalid Bey, chair of the council's economic development committee.

Read more


Mon April 30, 2012
The Upstate Economy

State targets youth unemployment with training, tax credits

Paul Nojaim explained how his family-run grocery store in Syracuse will participate in the state's Youth Works program.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The Cuomo administration is promoting a new program aimed at reducing unemployment among teens and young adults in low-income parts of the state.

The Labor Department's New York Youth Works program was first announced in February. Officials were in Syracuse late last week to highlight the benefits of the program.

Read more


Mon April 23, 2012

Study finds limiting sprawl could reduce carbon emissions

A study finds reducing urban sprawl and improving public transit could reduce a community's carbon emissions.
millicent_bystander via Flickr

Scaling back urban sprawl could reduce carbon emissions released by communities throughout the Northeast, according to research done in part by New York scientists and engineers.

The study is by Hubbard Brooks Research Foundation and focused on nine counties, including Tompkins County in New York.

It found that a reduction in sprawl limits emissions from the first step of development onward by preventing the release of the carbon in vegetation when land is first cleared.

"So if you can work on redeveloping previously developed land, and think about land development smartly to try and minimize disturbance, that’s greatly going to reduce the carbon footprint," says Syracuse University professor Charles Driscoll, who co-wrote the study.

Read more


Mon April 16, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Manufacturing growth slows, but factory hiring continues

Growth in New York's manufacturing sector has slowed, according to a new survey from the New York Fed. Above, a technician at Rochester's Certified Grinding and Machine.
Zack Seward WXXI

The recent growth in New York's manufacturing sector has slowed, but economists say it's not all bad news.

"I wouldn't make too much out of just one month. It still is indicating growth," says Richard Deitz, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

On Monday, the New York Fed released the April edition of its Empire State Manufacturing Survey [PDF].

After four months of steady growth, the Fed's "business conditions index" saw a 14-point drop. Still, the overall outlook remains positive. 

Deitz says manufacturing employment continued to increase, though unevenly in different parts of the state.

Read more


Fri April 13, 2012
The Upstate Economy

NY Fed president: keeping young people upstate is key

William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, left, visited Syracuse Thursday.
Bizjournal via Flickr

The education and healthcare sectors - or "eds and meds" - provide potential for upstate New York's economy - as long as the region can translate research activity into job creation.

That was the message from William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Dudley was in Syracuse Thursday for a series of speeches. He also sat down with the Innovation Trail.

"The educational establishment is world-class," Dudley said. "And the amount of innovation that those institutions are driving is substantial. But not much of that innovation actually leads to jobs in the region."

Read more


Tue April 10, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Buerkle on energy costs: "Let the free market work"

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle discussed energy costs with Syracuse-area business leaders Tuesday.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-Onondaga Hill) wants the federal government to take a more hands-off approach when it comes to energy costs.

The congresswoman hosted about two-dozen central New York business leaders Tuesday morning at Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub in Syracuse.

Buerkle's main contention: The federal government should stop playing venture capitalist for startup energy companies. Deregulation is the best way to help small companies innovate and grow, Buerkle said.

"That's very different than saying, 'Here's money from the government. We're going to prop you up,' " said Buerkle. "That never works ... You've got to let the free market work."

Read more


Mon April 9, 2012
Politics and Government

Tax exemption for Syracuse bookstore hinges on public access

The Syracuse Common Council is inching closer to approving a proposed tax break for a new bookstore and fitness center.
Cameron Group, LLC.

A new bookstore and fitness center on University Hill in Syracuse may get a tax break after all.

The margin needed for approval has narrowed.

Members of the Syracuse Common Council and an economic development official confirmed Monday that new terms on the deal have been reached, at least in principal.

Read more


Wed April 4, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Brookings plan aims to double exports in central New York

The freighter English River enters the Port of Oswego, a major shipping hub for central New York's economy.
cseeman via Flickr

CenterState CEO, an economic booster engine for central New York, has set a goal of doubling exports for the region over the next five years.

The path to that goal includes help from the Brookings Institute's Metropolitan Policy Program. Brookings picked Syracuse last summer as one of four metro areas it would help increase its exports.

The plan was released Wednesday during CenterState's annual meeting. Along with Brookings, representatives from the US Export-Import Bank and the Commerce Department touted the potential of the region.

But central New York has a ways to go: Of the top 100 largest metro areas, Brookings found Syracuse ranked 72nd for export value in 2010.

Read more


Wed April 4, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Light bulb maker taps state backing for new prototype

Joe Casper and his company, Ephesus Technologies, used resources at the Syracuse, Albany and Canandaigua Centers of Excellence to produce new LED lights built on diamonds.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

A small Syracuse lighting startup was at it again Tuesday morning.

For the second time in a month, Ephesus Technologies was able to draw a big crowd for the unveiling of a LED lighting prototype. In March the company put on display a LED lighting system for use in stadiums.

But Tuesday’s event had a few more suits-and-ties as several state and local politicians and economic development officials were present.

“[Ephesus] I think has earned the distinction of tapping more assets across the state than any company I know of,” said Ed Bogucz, executive director of the Syracuse Center of Excellence, as he introduced the company.

Read more


Mon April 2, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Young entrepreneurs pitch projects, for money and advice

Neil Lewis and his partner won $2,000 to develop their idea for a better camera mount for outdoor sports equipment.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Brian Page and Benjamin Onyejuruwa stood in front of the panel of judges with their hands full of groceries in an attempt to show how much easier their invention - an electronic ID and key programmed into a bracelet - could be.

The duo are roommates and freshman at Clarkson University. They made the trip down to Syracuse University on Friday to pitch QuickWhrist for a chance to win seed money from the university's Emerging Talk program.

Even as a freshman, Onyejuruwa already holds a patent for the technology.

Read more


Mon March 26, 2012
Regional Coverage

Tax break for Syracuse University bookstore lives to fight another day

The Syracuse Common Council has decided to negotiate more on a proposed tax break for the building of a new bookstore and fitness center for Syracuse University.
Cameron Group, LLC.

A tax-break deal for a new off-campus bookstore and fitness center for Syracuse University has gotten a reprieve.

The deal was slated for a vote in the Syracuse Common Council today, which, based on a whip count of the councilors, would have voted the deal down.

Instead, the council withdrew the legislation from the agenda, giving the project a shot to revise and resubmit.

The road ahead is far from certain though: Many councilors still have serious issues with a request from a private developer for a 30-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) deal to build a complex that it would then rent out to the university.

"I don't see where you would grant a PILOT in the most commercially viable area of the city and [for] a brand new building," said councilor Pat Hogan.

Hogan added he'll likely remain "a solid no" on the project.

Read more


Fri March 23, 2012
Politics and Government

Back-taxes force Syracuse IDA board member to resign

Darin Price says he donated his former home back to Syracuse after a fire in 1994 forced him to move. Price resigned from SIDA Thursday after it was discovered he owes 18 years of back-taxes on the property.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Two days after being publicly outed for owing Syracuse and the county nearly $97,000 in back taxes, a board member of the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency (SIDA) has resigned.

His tenure with SIDA was short: He sat in on just two board meetings.

But one of those meetings included a "yes" vote on a controversial tax break for a proposed construction project on the University Hill.

And that was the catalyst for his ouster.

Read more


Tue March 20, 2012

Syracuse bookstore is flash point in debate over development

The Syracuse Common Council has decided to negotiate more on a proposed tax break for the building of a new bookstore and fitness center for Syracuse University.
Cameron Group, LLC.

The make-up of the Syracuse Common Council was different when Thomas Valenti and his firm, Cameron Group, first approached it six years ago, but the opposition to the proposed project is still the same.

Valenti wants to develop a new off-campus bookstore and fitness center for Syracuse University.

In order to do that, he's requesting a 30-year property tax break from the city.

And therein lies the sticking point.

"If you have all of these grand ideas, then you should be able to finance this project," councilor-at-large Helen Hudson says. "We just can't keep excepting all of these entities."

Read more


Fri March 16, 2012

Syracuse Center of Excellence still working to fill up two years in

A prototype window at the Syracuse Center of Excellence is able to collect energy from the sun while also letting light in.
Courtesy Syracuse Center of Excellence

The window blinds control themselves, adjusting automatically to light conditions.

The roof is covered with plants.

Each cubicle has its own individual climate control system.

Ed Bogucz and his colleagues are guinea pigs, working inside a giant, building-sized science experiment: the Syracuse Center of Excellence.

Read more


Mon March 12, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Ephesus pioneers stadium LED lights for Syracuse racetrack

Ephesus president Joe Casper explains the technology behind his company's new stadium LED lighting.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

With the slide of a dimmer switch, Syracuse-based Ephesus is hoping to turn stadiums on to the next big thing in lighting.

Friday morning, Ephesus president Joe Casper used high-tech LED lights to show off the shine on two antique cars at the state fairgrounds. 

“We are looking at the most advanced technology and that’s the thing that we’re so excited about with this,” he says.

Amount of time Casper and his team of engineers needed to design the lights?

Just eight weeks.

Read more


Fri March 9, 2012
Regional Coverage

Syracuse's BrandYourself relaunches with free online reputation service

BrandYourself.com CEO Patrick Ambron works from his office at the Syracuse Tech Garden.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Humans begin trying to protect their “street cred” as soon as they realize it exists - somewhere right around when they decide it’s no longer cool for mom to pick them up after school.

But gossip doesn’t contain itself to middle school hallways. In the digital era, it follows us onto the web, where the stakes can be much higher.

“It’s evolved to the point where we live online,” says online reputation management firm BrandYourself.com co-founder and CEO Patrick Ambron.

“The problem isn’t new, just the medium is new.”

Read more


Thu March 8, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Welch Allyn gets tax break for energy upgrades

Global medical device maker Welch Allyn was granted the first tax break for energy upgrades to part of its Skaneateles headquarters.
Connectologist via Flickr

After three years of waiting, the first-ever "energy efficient" tax break has finally been awarded by the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA).

And the winner is ... Welch Allyn, a global supplier of medical equipment to hospitals and doctor's offices.

Welch Allyn sunk $5 million into putting a LEED Gold certified addition on its research and development building at its Skaneateles headquarters.

Read more


Tue March 6, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Auditor "comforted" by OCIDA fiscal health

An independent auditor who looked over the books of Onondaga’s County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA) presented his findings to the OCIDA board Tuesday.

OCIDA board members liked what they heard. 

“I was very pleased,” says OCIDA Executive Director Mary Beth Primo. “It’s reassuring to know my board and the auditors realize the staff is doing a very good job.”

Read more


Tue March 6, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Gillibrand rallies against "unfair" Chinese trade practices

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stopped by a United Auto Workers union hall in Syracuse Monday to trumpet support for new tariffs.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Standing in a Syracuse union hall that will close later this year, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced support Monday for a bill that would allow the U.S. government to slap tariffs on foreign-made auto parts.

United Auto Workers Local 624 and 2149 once supported about 4,000 workers at nearby New Process Gear. The factory, which makes parts for SUVs, is also slated to shut down later this year.

Union leaders say Gillibrand's efforts may be too late for New Process Gear, but they could help other plants in upstate New York.

Read more


Sun February 26, 2012
Politics and Government

Buerkle's re-election bid gets underway amid protests

Shoes left by protestors sat in the snow outside Rep. Buerkle's campaign headquarters in Syracuse on Saturday. Protestors briefly tried to get inside the event, but were denied.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

U.S. Representative Ann Marie Buerkle will run for a second term in congress, but the day she made that official was marked with protest.

Staffers for the representative got in a brief scuffle with demonstrators at the event to kick-off the re-election campaign.

It became the buzz inside her christened campaign office on Erie Boulevard in Syracuse as dozens of supporters awaited her arrival Saturday afternoon.

Read more


Fri February 24, 2012
Politics and Government

Duffy campaigns in Syracuse to lift "dark cloud" of mandates

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy will continue to crisscross the state over the next few weeks arguing for his boss's mandate relief plan. He held a press conference with Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and the mayor of Syracuse in January.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy has been beating a path back and forth across upstate New York, as he campaigns for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget initiatives.

Duffy made his second stop in Syracuse this week on Thursday, this time to drum up support for changes to pensions and Medicaid funding.

But this time he brought some friends.

Duffy led a hearing of the 11-member Mandate Relief Council [PDF], made up of members of Cuomo’s administration and elected lawmakers. The group heard testimony from central New York government and business leaders at Le Moyne College.

Read more


Tue February 21, 2012
The Upstate Economy

CNY car dealers optimistic going into spring selling season

The month of March is around the corner, and in the minds of auto dealers, it not only brings warmer temperatures, but also customers back to their lots.

And after a few years of hard times and sluggish sales, they’re more optimistic going into their busy selling season.

Read more


Wed February 15, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Walkability, new apartments draw residents to downtown Syracuse

For 29-year-old Garrett Peterson, the "nicest apartments in Syracuse" and proximity to his friends prompted him to live downtown.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The move to downtown Syracuse was three years in the making for Nicole Samolis. That’s how long it took her to convince her husband to forgo their home in the suburbs.

The couple lives in the newly renovated Dey’s Plaza. The building was once a large department store, and then failed as an office building.

But since it was converted to apartments a few years ago, there’s been a waiting list to get in. Samolis was sold on the place by its view of Syracuse landmarks like the county courthouse.

Read more


Tue February 14, 2012
The Upstate Economy

New York struggling to boost construction job numbers

Rich Anderson has struggled to keep employment up at his family owned construction business, Vector. He's had to take contracts as far away as Albany.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Ken Simonson is on a road trip to lobby for an increase in government investment in infrastructure projects.

Tuesday morning he stood in front of equipment at Milton Caterpillar in Syracuse and said “It’s great to see all this magnificent construction equipment, but it would be even better to see it in action.”

Simonson is the chief economists for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), a trade group. He highlighted Syracuse as one of four metro areas that have struggled more than most to regain jobs in constructions.

Read more


Tue February 14, 2012
Regional Coverage

Boys and girls: start your robots!

They weren't quite the Transformers from the movies, but once the bell rang inside the Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse, the robot's wheels turned, gears spun and metal arms extended.

The VEX Robotics Competition was the culmination of weeks of engineering and problem solving for central New York students. 

Read more


Tue February 14, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Downtown Syracuse goes from retail to residential

VIP Structures will begin work this spring to convert the Wilson Building in downtown Syracuse into residential space. It's part of a growing trend of former commercial buildings being turned residential.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

For property developers Rich DeVito and Bob Doucette of Paramount Realty, the motivation for taking on large scale renovations of downtown Syracuse’s previously empty buildings was this:

“We wanted to make money,” says DeVito flatly, though Doucette chuckles at the simplicity of the answer. “It’s where the market is,” DeVito goes on to say.

And make money they did.

Read more


Wed February 1, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Developer unveils big plans for Syracuse's Inner Harbor

While the industrial remnants have been removed, much of Syracuse's Inner Harbor remains unused. The city plans to go with a large redevelopment plan.
Dougtone via Flickr

New York’s Canal Corporation was 0 for 3 in its efforts to find someone interested in redeveloping Syracuse’s Inner Harbor.

Their last request for proposals, a few years back, garnered zero submissions.

But now, the City of Syracuse is in charge, after stepping up and asking to be put in charge of the project. And today the city made public its ambitious new plan to redevelop the harbor.

Read more


Thu January 26, 2012
The Upstate Economy

IT company will keep offices in Syracuse thanks to tax break

An IT company will keep its local offices in Syracuse and create more jobs thanks to a state tax break.

The Empire State Development Corporation is giving ShoreGroup $3 million in tax credits over the next 5 years to expand its footprint and job force in Syracuse.

Read more


Tue January 24, 2012
Regional Coverage

Schumer pushing for release of Syracuse native being held captive in Syria

N.Y. Senator Charles Schumer is pressing for the release of a Syracuse native being held captive in Syria.

Read more