BY BENJAMIN FANG
In just five years, Long Island City-based Boyce Technologies has grown into a manufacturing and technology leader in Queens.
The design, engineering and manufacturing company creates electromechanical software systems for emergency communications. They manufacture recognizable devices like Help Point machines at MTA subway stations, public address systems and police and fire radio communications inside tunnels.
Four years ago, Boyce moved into a small facility on 23rd Street. According to Thomas Powell, the company’s director of business development, they quickly outgrew the space and converted it into a machine shop and fabrication center.
Boyce then bought another location on 44th Avenue, which was used as an assembly facility. The company used a downtown office in Lower Manhattan.
Fifteen months ago, the company purchased a new 100,000-square-foot facility on Pearson Place, now used as their main production center. Powell described it as a place where the company can “very rapidly prototype and go to production” with all the technology in one location.
Last year, company president Charles Boyce announced that they are in contract talks to acquire the building next door, another 100,000-square-foot space, to take on bigger projects and challenges.
The expansion is accompanied by a growing workforce. Last year at this time, the company had about 70 employees. Today, they are near 120.
“They have a very unique skill set,” he said. “We get new technology, new equipment, and we have to really learn how to apply it as we go.”
Powell said Boyce Technologies chose Long Island City, an up-and-coming hub for technology and light manufacturing, for a few reasons. One is its proximity to Manhattan, where they have access to architects, engineers and other experts required to perfect its products.
Most of the company’s employees live in Queens and Brooklyn, he said. With the Pearson Place facility located just blocks from the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and 7 train, they have transit options to get to and from work.
Another reason they chose LIC is the business climate, and more specifically the support they’ve received. Powell credited organizations like the Queens Chamber of Commerce and Long Island City Partnership for embracing companies like Boyce.
“There’s a community here that’s very positive among the businesses to help each other,” he said. “It’s big business in a small-town kind of way.”
Powell said he sees a “pent-up demand for high-tech” in the neighborhood. There’s a community of entrepreneurs and makers who need more places to unleash their creativity.
Long Island City is especially desirable because of the changes in technology and what that has allowed creators to do. Rather than coming up with a prototype and traveling hundreds of miles away to offshore production, manufacturers want to go from concept to “actual creation” quickly, Powell said.
The changes in technology that speed up production reflect the changes in the neighborhood. Long Island City has quickly populated with families, with tens of thousands of units coming soon. The former industrial community is on its way to becoming a mixed-use neighborhood, where people live, work, play and create all at once.
“We see LIC becoming a high-tech center because of all of the industry and people around it,” Powell said. “They want to get into work, do their thing, and go home without all of that stress. Long Island City is the ideal place to do that.”