April 12, 2017–ENEROC, a new Rochester-based company, today announced an agreement to serve as a subcontractor for an LED lighting installation project at Rochester General Hospital. The startup business is the first launched by the Market Driven Community Corporation (MDCC), an independent non-profit focused on the development of worker-owned businesses within the City of Rochester. Each cooperative startup is intended to provide area anchor institutions such as Rochester Regional Health with competitive options for local contracting of goods and services.
“Creating accessible jobs within our city strengthens our neighborhoods and provides greater opportunities for all its residents,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “The Market Driven Community Corporation enhances this aim by launching cooperatives like ENEROC that empower our residents to eventually become worker-owners of a competitive business.”
ENEROC launched in January 2017 and recently hired Doug Caswell as its first Business Manager. Caswell brings more than 25 years of experience in manufacturing and engineering with a focus on safety and quality. Over the coming weeks, Caswell will hire and train an initial crew of three employees who will install LED lighting in parking garages at Rochester Regional Health.
ENEROC is fortunate to have a strong partner in local LED prime contractor Lumalon, for whom ENEROC will be subcontracting and is assisting in training ENEROC employees. Caswell is also negotiating a Master Services Agreement with SunCommon, a locally based solar developer, for the installation of commercial and community solar projects . Finally, Caswell is also working with Go Green LED International to secure additional contracts to support local assembly of their proprietary LED products, and help ENEROC scale within its first year.
“Rochester General Hospital is proud to work with MDCC and ENEROC to both advance our sustainability initiatives and create local employment opportunities,” said Nancy Tinsley, president, Rochester General Hospital. “Efforts like those of MDCC align with the vision of Rochester Regional Health to enable each member of the community to enjoy better, healthier lives.”
The City of Rochester’s Office of Innovation oversaw the initial development of the now independent MDCC initiative beginning in 2015, with feasibility and implementation support from The Democracy Collaborative, a national nonprofit think tank with expertise in worker-owned cooperatives and anchor institution partnerships. Based on the successful model Democracy Collaborative helped develop in Cleveland, Ohio, MDCC was launched in late 2016 and plans to retain a 10 percent stake in ENEROC with the remaining 90 percent ultimately transferring to its employees.
“As a consultant on this project, I saw how committed Rochester’s citizens are to building a fairer, more inclusive economy, on their own terms,” said Jessica Bonanno, Director of Employee Ownership Programs for the Democracy Collaborative. “We’ve been proud to support the community in developing the infrastructure for the creation of further cooperative businesses and we celebrate the collaborative local leadership that made this first business possible.”
This business model is part of MDCC’s comprehensive strategy to identify, launch, and oversee a network of worker-owned businesses capable of meeting the needs of regional anchor institutions such as hospital systems, colleges, and universities.
MDCC operates as an independent non-profit with diverse representation from city neighborhoods, local business, non-profits, higher education, and area philanthropies. The board of directors for MDCC includes four participating anchor institutions including Rochester Regional Health, University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and St. John Fisher. The Office of Innovation, established by Mayor Warren in 2015, applies data-driven practices to alleviate poverty and remove barriers to local employment.