Wednesday, September 8, 2010

That $16.5 Million Paetec Loan

I have been discussing this topic for the last few weeks with some of the parties involved.   Guess what?  It's a great idea!   I believe the media have not done this topic any justice at all, in the manner that they have reported it.

One major problem in Rochester, and especially with its media, is that people are constantly looking for “the person” to take care of making this place successful.   Nothing has changed about Rochester in years with regard to what has made it a boom town.   Natural resources are the same as they were.   Location is the same as it has been.   Weather has remained stable.   Stop trying to hang any person who is willing to go out and create success here.   We put too much on their backs.   Then, when things don’t go as originally planned, we seem to take it personally.   Not a good attitude at all.   Now back to PAETEC.

PAETEC is a home grown success.   Arunas Chesonis could have chosen anywhere to locate his HQ, anywhere.   And in this day and age with service jobs being moved down south or overseas we ought to be happy to have them here.   In the essence of full disclosure I worked for PAETEC for about 5 years.   PAETEC was the only reason I was able to move back to Rochester when leaving the military.   Had it not been for that career move I would have probably stayed in Virginia and I was terribly thankful for the opportunity to move home.

Within my first few months of working there the new hires at the time were invited into Arunas’s office for a breakfast with the CEO.   We were told to come prepared with a question to ask him.   My luck, I ended sitting directly to his left and the questions started directly to his right.   Thirty people and a handful of questions later that I had in mind to ask, it was my turn.   So I asked, “Why Rochester?   You could be anywhere with this company.   Why not some place friendlier to business?.”   His response without hesitation: “The people. I needed the people and didn’t want them to have to move away from their families and home.”  So the focus from the beginning at PAETEC was on the people here.

We need to continue to facilitate businesses like PAETEC that choose to remain here in Rochester.   As I understand it, we did that with the $16.5 million loan.  But it is not a loan from the City of Rochester taxpayers directly to PAETEC.   Essentially HUD is loaning the money but cannot do it directly to a business.   They can loan it to a government which in turn can pass that through to a company.   The huge benefit to the HUD loan to PAETEC is a much lower interest rate than that from a traditional lending source.   The only obligation to the City of Rochester would be if PAETEC were to go under.   In my opinion, that is not going to happen.   There are too many other companies out there that would love to purchase PAETEC.   If anything, they would sell out before going under which means the loan is sold as well.   For the first time in a while the City of Rochester was able to facilitate a proven company without using any tax payer dollars.   We were able to facilitate without cost unlike the Fast Ferry and High falls.   We need to continue to look for these opportunities and foster them.   To the nay sayers about PAETEC moving downtown, you ought to rethink your position.   If you disagree, ask one of the many Rochesterians that are able to remain here because of the jobs that PAETEC offers.

Remember, India does a great job with Customer Service as well.

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