Section: BUSINESS,  Page: C1

Date: Sunday, January 23, 2000

Branding is everything. And this region desperately wants to become a high tech Mecca. Starting this week, Capital Region motorists can drive around with Tech Valley license plates. The plate sports the Tech Valley logo and will show three numerals, starting with 100, plus the three letters: TEC. The plates will be the first in New York state to display a website address, in this case, It takes six to eight weeks to get the plates once they are ordered, and the fee is $34.50. Power benefits As other Tech Valley companies struggle to lure talent away from bigger cities with innovative benefits, Plug Power may have the best perk yet: stock options. Shares in the fuel-cell developer, which were offered at $15 each less than three months ago, hit a record high of $114.38 Friday, closing at $108.88. National reports on the promise of fuel cells are driving the shares up. Despite the potential distraction of Internet sites that show stock performance, employees remain focused on their work, officials said. ``The employees are very excited, but at the same time we know that we must keep our nose to the grindstone to successfully develop the fuel cell product,'' said President Gary Mittleman. TV stars

Two local companies got starring roles in the planned construction of WMHT's new digital television studio in Rensselaer Technology Park. Einhorn Yaffee Prescott is the lead architect designing the new public broadcasting station. Sano-Rubin Construction Co. is going to be the construction manager. Also on the ``facilities team'' are Dallas-based Rees Associates, consulting broadcast engineers; and National TeleConsultants, a Los Angeles based computer company. Cost projections should be coming along in a couple of months. The Buzz is compiled by the Times Union business news staff. Heard anything interesting? Send e-mail to, or call The Buzz at 454-5613.