POTSDAM — A workforce of 120 has been furloughed from LC Drives, a company spokesperson confirmed Monday.
LC Drives operates in Potsdam out of the North Country Incubator, jointly managed by Clarkson University’s Shipley Center for Innovation and the state’s Hot Spot Program. The furlough includes employees from a secondary location in Ballston Spa, Saratoga County.
Launched in 2012, the startup company develops permanent magnet technologies for electric motors and generators, and directs its work to support renewable energy in marine propulsion, wind turbine generators and industrial motors for manufacturing facilities.
In a text response, LC Drives Director of Strategic Operations Devon C. Sutton wrote the furloughs are in effect “while the company is finalizing its Series B funding round.”
Series B funding is one part of a multi-stage financing process involving venture capitalists and other investors, who generally hold stock as a company progresses out of its startup instability.
State and federal investment considerations stalled for more than a year after the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but were expected to resume this spring.
The company was awarded hundreds of thousands in state aid in its early existence and grants from the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency. It secured a $100,000 loan in 2017 through the IDA and the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency fund and a $15 million investment in 2019 from Koch Engineered Solutions, a global manufacturing collective contending “fresh air and water are basic needs for everyone on planet Earth.”
LC Drives maintains a space in Clarkson’s Damon Hall and offices in Old Main, across from Old Snell Hall on Main Street. Plans to expand to a new facility just outside the village moved forward earlier this year, with St. Lawrence County and Potsdam town planners conditionally approving the company’s site plan and request to build a 30,000-square-foot light manufacturing facility at 6968 Route 56.
A transition to Route 56 between the villages of Potsdam and Norwood has been in the works for a few years, and the company already had approval to develop a new 120,000-square-foot facility on the same property.
New water and sewer access along Route 56 has been integral to LC Drives’ Potsdam future. In a January referendum, town property owners voted to approve a $10.3 million project to establish water and sewer districts on the Sissonville Road corridor off Route 56. The lines will connect municipal services to property owners in the hamlet of Unionville east to Route 56.
The proposed LC Drives expansion project is now on hold, Ms. Sutton said.