Some Long Island tech executives said they're happy about Amazon's decision to abandon plans for a 25,000-job headquarters in Queens.
While many local officials bemoaned the retail giant's about-face, some tech executives said Amazon's arrival would have increased already fierce competition for talented tech workers.
“I’m happy that they’re not going to come here because they were going to draw out precious talent that small companies like myself need,” said Derek Peterson, chief executive of Soter Technologies, a Hauppauge software and school safety product developer.
With New York City firms already paying higher wages, on average, Amazon likely would have put more upward pressure on salaries and benefits, Peterson said, putting startups like his 15-employee firm at a hiring disadvantage.
David Antar, president of A+ Technology and Security Solutions Inc., a Bay Shore software and hardware security company, had a mixed reaction to the retail giant's pullout. Having lost talented workers to companies like Google in the past, he said Amazon could have made "our hiring of people more difficult."
"On the flip side," Antar said, "It would drive a lot of tech businesses that would expand out onto Long Island."
Despite concerns that Amazon's loss represents a hit to the local economy, some tech representatives said the region will continue to create jobs in the tech sector.
The loss of the project constitutes a “psychologically big hit” to the region, but the planned growth of companies like Google, which plans to add 7,000 employees in Manhattan, suggests the tech community will create jobs regardless, said Phil Rugile, head of recruitment for Huntington-based eGifter and director of LaunchPad Huntington, a co-working space for startups.
“We’re still a thriving regional economy,” he said, adding that benefits from Amazon’s move likely wouldn’t have been felt on Long Island for many years. “New York is arguably the greatest city in the world still. Why wouldn’t we be able to survive without something we never had to begin with?”
Peter Goldsmith, chairman of local tech advocacy group LISTnet, called Amazon's loss "a shame," but said metro area growth in tech will continue and Long Island has a lot to offer the region in terms of work opportunities.
Earlier this month, Goldsmith launched the Tech Advisory Council, made up of representatives from nine Island companies and three universities, dedicated to addressing challenges local companies face in recruiting skilled computer science workers.