The innovation isn’t confined to just western Queens. Powell said he sees a lot of specialty manufacturing and new businesses popping up throughout the borough. When you add the growing population and numerous colleges, it creates a ripe environment for ingenuity.
In addition to LaGuardia Community College, Queens College and other universities educating the next generation, Cornell Tech has arrived on nearby Roosevelt Island. Boyce Technologies has a partnership with LaGuardia, taking about 20 interns a year for multiple semesters.
“I see these people wanting to get as close to the action as possible in technology development all through Queens,” Powell said.
There’s even an “overflow” of talent and entrepreneurship coming from Brooklyn, where places like the Brooklyn Navy Yard are cultivating tech companies that may eventually settle in Queens.
This year may be a groundbreaking year for Boyce Technologies. Powell said they spent a good part of 2017 completing its renovated facility, but 2018 will be about securing new business and developing new technology.
“We see 2018 as a breakout year for us,” he said. “We’re very optimistic on several projects.”
They’re seeing a lot of business opportunity, but have to be careful to pick and choose what they want to do. Powell attributed the company’s success to the diversity and passion within the people of Queens.
“We think the key to success is being in a place where people can express their passion in their work, as opposed to going and spending and burning their passion out,” Powell said. “We feel that Long Island City specifically has this energy about it that is really positive. We hope to contribute as much as we draw from it.”
The rest of Queens is catching on to that energy. Powell said not only is it possible here, but “it has to happen here.”
“It’s not without its challenges, but we feel that it’s totally worth it,” he said. “We wouldn’t do it any other way.”