Venture Creations resumes operations as part of state’s reopening plan

Resident companies, personnel adjust business operations to adhere to New York state and CDC safety protocols


ThermApparel co-founders Kurtis Kracke, left, and Bradley Dunn maintain social distancing in their offices at RIT’s Venture Creations incubator. The technology business incubator re-opened as part of Phase 1 of the governor’s plan.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s Venture Creations business incubator has resumed operations as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reopening plan.

Under New York state guidelines, Venture Creations staff, resident clients and resident graduate companies must provide administrators with a COVID-19 safe operation plan. Details of the plan include company employees cleaning and disinfecting their work areas, and changing policies, procedures, and work habits that treat the work environment as virus free. Common areas of the building such as the lobby, mailroom, and copier room must be cleaned and disinfected after every use, and personnel must sanitize their hands after contact.

In adherence to New York state policies, personnel must wear masks in the building, and two or more personnel in work areas must be separated at least six feet.

“We were so pleased to be included as part of Gov. Cuomo’s reopening plan,” said Peter Parts, Venture Creations interim director. “However, this is not business-as-usual. Our resident companies and all employees have adapted their physical workspaces to maintain social distancing and keep work areas and commons areas clean and sanitized. While we are all anxious to come together to continue to create the kind of excitement and synergy that Venture Creations is known for, the safety of everyone who enters and exits our building is our number one priority. The great news is we’re back in our space and we have room for a few more companies that would like to join our incubator.”

In addition, Venture Creations administrators have requested personnel to declutter workplaces to facilitate cleaning, and telephone and/or Zoom conferencing should be substituted for face-to-face conversations when possible. Common area use is restricted to the access and egress through the lobby, corridors, stairs, elevators, restrooms, mailroom and copier rooms. Common areas and restrooms will be cleaned frequently.

Visitation by individuals who are not part of Venture Creations must be kept to a minimum and is limited to those who have direct business or business that cannot be conducted virtually. Visitors will be greeted at the entrance and escorted to a designated meeting area. All visitors must comply with New York state and CDC safety guidelines.

Kurtis Kracke ’15 (industrial design) and Bradley Dunn ’15 (industrial design), co-founders of Venture Creations graduate and resident company ThermApparel, said that they are proud to have helped flatten the curve by working from home and were fortunate to have been able to ship their UnderCool cooling vest to customers who need relief from heat stress, or to help ease symptoms from multiple sclerosis, lupus, and fibromyalgia. But, thanks to the Venture Creations staff and Pete Serrano from RIT’s Facilities Management Services, their “personal hero,” they feel safe enough to return to the office. The office floor is marked off every six feet and they have spread out to multiple offices to maintain social distancing. Masks, gloves, and sanitizers are available at ThermApparel’s main entrance for use in common areas.

“Making the transition back in the office has taken some adjustments to make sure everyone can follow the state recommended guidelines and create a space that feels comfortable and safe,” explained Kracke. “We are still keeping all meetings with vendors and customers virtual for their safety and ours. The more we all feel happy, healthy, and safe, the more we can get back to our mission of helping people get the most out of life, especially in the heat.”

Contact RIT’s Venture Creations for additional information or for specifics on applying for admission to the incubator.

Recommended News