Climate technology conference Retool ‘22 to talk business growth

As Chautauqua’s summer season closes, the Climate Change Initiative still beats on, working year-round to find solutions to global warming and relieve environmental pressures on and off the grounds. This effort to mitigate the climate crisis in Western New York, however, is not exclusive to the Institution. In neighboring Jamestown, New York, plans to educate people on climate technology and climate change are clear in the creation of an upcoming event, Retool ‘22.

Retool ‘22 is a climate technology conference welcoming manufacturers and business leaders to learn, network and collaborate on ways to aid the climate crisis in Western New York. The event will span over three days, running from Oct. 17 to Oct. 19 at the Northwest Arena in Jamestown. 

Speakers will brief regional manufacturers and businesses on the market of climate technology, bringing fresh perspectives on climate change and how businesses can adapt and capitalize on clean energy. 

The event is the first of its kind in Western New York, made to help Jamestown and neighboring areas navigate the climate crisis within business sectors. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority awarded the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities a $750,000 grant to attract new businesses and manufacturers to the Southern Tier through the use of climate technology. 

“Western New York has had its share of economic downturns, caused in part by our reputation as a ‘rust belt’ region,” said Ellen Ditonto, business development coordinator for the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities. “On a positive note, this region was known for its innovation in manufacturing throughout the 19th and 20th centuries; it has all of the tools to again be a center for manufacturing innovation.”

Ditonto said that if they can connect Western New York manufacturers to larger companies, giving them the ability to supply parts for alternative energy technology, the region will see increases in their prosperity.

Retool ‘22 comes from the Board of Public Utilities’ Retool WNY Initiative, which encourages manufacturers to capitalize on new opportunities for business growth with an emphasis on carbon reduction. 

Among the invited speakers includes Chautauqua author Clint Wilder, who is well-versed in clean energy business and technology. Wilder has written books with co-author Ron Pernick, including The Clean Tech Revolution: The Next Big Growth and Investment Opportunity and Clean Tech Nation: How the U.S. Can Lead in the New Global Economy. Wilder serves as the editorial director of the research and advisory firm Clean Edge, which specializes in clean energy and technology.

“His insights into the advances that have been made across the country in the last 20 years to lower greenhouse gas emissions and to incentivize businesses to move into clean tech will be important for the audience to hear,” Ditonto said. 

Author and former Ford Motor Company global technologist John Ellis will join Wilder, giving his perspectives on the potential growth in the manufacturing market in New York. 

Over the course of three days, attendees will have the opportunity to not only listen to speakers on their expertise in clean energy, but also to network at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, the Robert H. Jackson Center, and the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel. Several consumer and commercial electrical vehicles will also be on display, including an electric bus owned by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. 

“Attendees will gain a wealth of information from noted speakers about the economic development opportunities available in the climate tech/clean tech sector,” Ditonto said. 

Retool ‘22 attendees will also be able to network with successful entrepreneurs and financial experts, and enjoy the recreation that is available in, and around, Jamestown, Ditonto said. She hopes that attendees take full advantage of the networking opportunities and leave the conference with belief in the area’s economic potential.

As October and the Retool ‘22 conference approaches, Ditonto anticipates the formative conversations on climate technology to be had. 

“The Retool ’22 Conference is one step in a process that could take a few years to mature, but it will plant seeds that should have a lasting impact on the region,” she said.

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The author Skyler Black

Skyler Black is a rising senior at Miami University studying journalism and emerging technology and business design. At Miami, she reports for UP Magazine and The Miami Student newspaper while also serving as an undergraduate assistant to several journalism classes. This summer, Skyler will report on the environment and Bird, Tree & Garden Club. When not writing, Skyler enjoys listening to music and skiing in her home state of Michigan during winter.