Note: this post originally appeared in the September 13, 2015 edition of the Albany Times Union.

It’s 2 p.m., and there’s a dog barking on the other end of my call. All I can think is “If this deal gets blown up by this guy’s dog …”

For five years, I led global business development for Mohawk Valley EDGE, charged with developing the Marcy Nanocenter into a viable site for semiconductor manufacturing. I joined the non-profit economic development organization in July 2006, just after AMD announced that, despite having a “world class site” in Marcy, they’d be building their new leading-edge fab in Malta.

When I joined, EDGE had just realized they were closer than ever to landing a multibillion-dollar fab and the thousands of jobs that came with it, but were still starting from scratch. We needed a brand, messaging, and a strategy to convey to the major players in the industry. The project quickly became my obsession.

We built an aggressive multiyear strategy, targeting semiconductor manufacturers large and small. A typical year called for trade shows, sales calls and meetings all over the world. Slowly, but surely, “the Marcy guys” emerged out from under the shadow of the successful NY Loves Nanotech effort to stand on our own.

There were prideful arguments with skeptical locals with “never gonna happen” attitudes, and dirty looks from my then-fiancée (now wife) over yet another upcoming trip. I was logging hundreds of thousands of frequent flier miles and visiting Asia and Europe several times a year to woo high-level decision makers.

As time went on, the R&D efforts in Albany drew the right attention. Marketing had its impact. And on Aug. 20, I stood quietly in the back of the room as Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced ams AG would be creating 1,000 semiconductor jobs at Marcy Nanocenter — a site many skeptics said would never be developed.

It wasn’t all fun trips and easy wins.

There was the incredulous look from the group of small semiconductor fab managers in Austin on one of my first trips — “You mean to tell me you guys think we’ll build a fab in New York? Son, do I look stupid?”

There was the you’ve-got-to-be-joking smile of the CEO in the Alps when we tried to tell him about the incredible quality of life enjoyed in upstate New York.

And then there was the phone call with the barking dog. After over a year developing the lead, we had the leadership of an up-and-coming company finally on the phone with someone at New York state authorized to make a deal. This company was asking for an incentive package to relocate all of their tools from Asia and California to Marcy. And that’s when the barking started; the state representative was taking the call from home — and his dog wasn’t happy with this. I was sure Fido had sunk us, but thankfully the company execs had a sense of humor. Their laughter broke the short silence, though despite a great offer from the state, the company wasn’t able to complete the move.

Getting from 2006 to the announcement on Aug. 20 took years of hard work, hundreds of thousand of miles traveled, millions of dollars spent and a little bit of luck. Despite leaving EDGE in 2011, I remained close to the team there.

Steve DiMeo, EDGE’s president and CEO, and Mark Reynolds, the former senior vice president, made their life mission to build their region into an overnight success in the semiconductor industry. They deserve a tremendous amount of credit and thanks from all of Upstate, not just the Mohawk Valley.

Never before has it been so easy to change the future of a region.

Or something like that.