Ian: I live in Rochester, though I am not a native. My father-in-law is retired form Kodak, and I would suppose if I walked my street I could talk to any number of people who either work for, are retired form, or took a "package' recently. You are quite right, the number of EK employees here is down significantly. One-third of their local real estate is being sold off.

Kodak's problems were one of corporate culture. A vast, multi-layered middle management class built up during the fat years. To get ahead, you basically had to emulate your superiors; fresh, contrarian, out-of-the-box thinking got you nowhere. Until recently, shake-ups meant moving non-producing management to a different department. With that lack of vision and inattention to quality (remember the first introduction of Polycontrast RC, the announcement of the discontinuation of Tri-X, the dropping of K25, etc.?) the company was ripe for its market to be stolen in pieces.

You are quite right that they are still a giant company, and I think current top management is far more perceptive and visionary. I think they are reinventing themselves and their current rebound in the consumer digital imaging sector is a positive sign. But I don't look for them to be a major force in professional digital markets other than as an OEM of sensors (there is a lot of talent here for that,) perhaps for printing materials, and perhaps in commercial imaging sectors such as medicine and high-end production printing.

I hope they do well. I do not intend to stay in Rochester forever, but their importance to this community is undeniable.