The closing of one door often opens another
Located on an old country road in the midst of one of the Hudson Valley’s many apple orchards you may stumble across what was once one of the leading research and development facilities for plasma display technology. Panasonic Plasma Display Laboratory of America (PPDLA formally Plasmaco) was, up to very recently, located in nearby Highland, NY, only minutes from the SUNY New Paltz campus. The reason for their departure is that plasma displays were once considered an up-and-coming technology, but are now considered a mature technology and product support research and development can now be handled at Panasonic’s manufacturing facility in Japan.
This modern local facility was actually once part of an apple farm used for apple storage, but you would never know it stepping inside this high-tech laboratory. The process equipment and clean-room areas are perfect for many areas of semiconductor research and development: in fact a local newspaper has indicated that the facility will now house a new up-and-coming technology: solar thin-film technology.
An excellent neighbor!
The close proximity to the campus made Panasonic ideal for many field trips and technical talks. But it was more than the proximity that made it a favorite for several schools and universities. It was the personal attention and vast expertise that folks like SUNY New Paltz grad and current SUNY New Paltz Foundation Inc. Board Chair, Everton Henriques and his fellow colleague Bill Schindler would provide. Highland High School’s Ed Rogers would bring his AP Chemistry class to talk with Everton and then tour the in-house chemistry lab where students could witness the latest in phosphor color production; New Paltz High School’s Joe Haas would bring his Digital Electronics class in to talk with Bill and witness products that they had learned about in class actually being implemented in something they could relate to in their everyday life; and SUNY New Paltz’ Engineering department’s Michael Otis would bring his classes from Introduction to Engineering or one of several engineering clubs (for example “The Society of Women Engineers”) to learn what it would be like to work in a Research and Development environment and to be exposed to real life semiconductors technology, process engineering, analog and digital electronics, signal processing, and the sciences behind plasma display technology.