Liverpool startup gets $200,000 state grant

By Rick Moriarty/The Post-Standard December 09, 2009, 6:30AM

A Liverpool startup that makes portable traffic monitoring devices will receive a $200,000 grant from the state to help market its product around the country.The state Energy Research and Development Authority has approved the grant for iCone Products LLC, the state said Tuesday.

iCone makes what it calls an “intelligent” traffic cone. It is a traffic barrel equipped with radar and other sensors that monitor traffic congestion and speeds and transmit their information to a data center using cell phones and satellite networks.

The company says the devices can be set up in minutes and are a cost-effective way for transportation departments and police to monitor traffic conditions at multiple road construction sites or at special events.

Ross Sheckler, the company’s managing partner, said the devices will be used to monitor traffic in Pasadena, Calif., during the Rose Bowl Game Jan. 1 and the BCS National Championship Jan. 7.

The devices also were used by the California Department of Transportation to monitor the severity of traffic tie-ups on alternative routes when the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was closed Labor Day weekend for repairs.

The Energy Research and Development Authority has assisted Cone Products before. It loaned the company $250,000 two years ago, Sheckler said.

In April, the company was approved for $300,000 in loans from the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency and affiliates of the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce and the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board.

Sheckler said the company decided not to accept the loans because it found the transaction fees associated with them to be too high.

The Energy Research and Development Authority also approved a $175,000 grant to Fulton Cos., in Pulaski, a maker of heat transfer equipment. It will use the money to manufacture and market biomass boilers of European design, which have higher efficiencies and emit fewer emissions than conventional boilers, the authority said.

Contact Rick Moriarty at rmoriarty@syracuse.com or (315) 470-3148.