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BUSINESS April / May 2015



The Millennials Who they are, what they do


2014 Agent of the Year! Congratulations Connie

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swego County has a broad selection of business parks in place that are perfect for your business.

Infrastructure is in place and there’s room to grow! Operation Oswego County will work with you to make sure your location is the best fit for your success—whether it’s on a Great Lake, an airport, or in wide open spaces. Financing’s available too: SBA 504 loans, County IDA tax-exempt and taxable bond financing, and Empire State Development financing.

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Among the businesses we host:

Our Industrial Parks Include:

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Oswego County Industrial Park Lake Ontario Industrial Park Airport Industrial Park Rich Corporate Park Columbia Mills Business Park Riverview Business Park

Call or visit us online to find your dream location:

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(315) 343-1545 | www.OswegoCounty.org



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April / May 2015


APRIL / MAY 2015

Issue 137


The Millennials April / May 2015

Who they are, what they do



COVER STORY • Meet the Millennials Profile of 10 people who have chosen to come or to stay here


Page 62

• Fat Checks — Are school disctricts superintendents worth their weight? How much do they earn? • Diploma and a Bill — Students leaving college in May will owe $29,400 average loans • Gatekeeper — Meet the man in charge of SUNY Oswego’s admissions office • Hands On — Five clubs help SUNY students to hone their skills • Veteran — Educating veterans

Real Estate

How I Got Started Harry Kowalchyk Jr., of the National Tractor Trailer School, talks about launching his business 40 year ago.......... 10 Maple Sugaring Grows Demand for natural and local products helps drive the growth ............................................................................. 36 E-Recycling Oswego Industries introduces electronics recycling as new line of business............................................................................. .38 Jefferson County & Fort Drum Possible troop reduction has put economic officials on alert: ‘Will the troops be here or not?’....... .41 A DBA and a Dream Profile of three people who recently started their own business .........................................................................................42 Hot Job in Healthcare Massage therapy as a job classification expected to increase in numbers by 23 percent ........................................78 30 Years of PCC Pregnancy education group turns 30 years of service for community ...................................................................................80



The owners of Hardwood Transformations in Oswego are investing nearly a half-million dollars in a major expansion. The business applies finish to hardwood flooring...................................85

Page 48 Notes Etc., On the Job, Newsmakers. ........... 8,

• Stagnant — Prices of real estate in Syracuse region stall • Hello Florida — My path to Cape Coral

Page 75


Besides leading a team of 900 highly skilled employees at at Exelon (Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station), this former wrestler and Navy-trained VP says he strivies to stay fit and eat a proper diet for high job performance......................12

19, 21 Where in the World... Vietnam, a country of surprises........ 16 Business Updates....................................... 27 Economic Trends COIDA presents annual report ............ 46 My Turn The importance of freedom of the press ............ 60 Last Page Karen Goetz, new director at Shineman Foundation .90 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

APRIL / MAY 2015

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Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home..................... 29 ALPS Professional Services... 24 Amdursky, Pelky, Fennell, Wallen................................ 47 Amerigas................................. 23 Ameriprise Financial............... 35 Arise........................................ 82 Banach Insurance.................... 59 Berkshire Hathaway ............... 14 Blue Moon Grill...................... 20 Breakwall Asset Management.59 Brookfield Renewable Power. 84 Burdick Ford........................... 28 Burke’s Home Center.............. 24 C & S Companies................... 35 Canal Landing Marina............ 19 Canale’s Italian Cuisine.......... 20 Caster’s Sawmill Inc............... 34 Century 21 - Galloway Realty............................. 2, 23 Century 21 Leah Signature..... 25 Child Care Development Council............................... 82 CNY Arts................................. 26 Community Bank.................... 13 Compass Credit Union............ 33 Computer Accounting Services........................ 23, 25 Crouse Hospital....................... 91


Eagle Beverage....................... 13 Eastern Shore Associates Insurance............................ 33 Eis House................................ 20 Fastrac....................................... 9 Finger Lakes Construction...... 23 Fitzgibbons Agency................ 47 Fort Ontario............................. 18 Foster Funeral Home............... 26 Fulton Community Development Agency......... 59 Fulton Savings Bank............... 30 Gen X Storage......................... 14 Glider Oil.................................. 9 Great Lakes Trolley................ 18 Harbor Lights Chemical Dependency........................ 79 Hardwood Transformations.... 28 Haun Welding Supply, Inc...... 32 J P Jewelers............................. 25 Johnston Gas........................... 25 Kallet Theater.......................... 15 Local 73, Plumbers & Steamfitters........................ 61 Medical Registry of CNY....... 82 MetLife Ins. Co....................... 29 Mimi’s Drive Inn.................... 20 Mr. Sub.................................... 20 Nelson Law Firm.................... 59

North Bay Campground.......... 18 NTTS National Tractor Trailer School.................................. 9 Onondaga Flooring , Inc........... 5 Operation Oswego County........ 2 Oswego Community Development Office........... 84 Oswego County Federal Credit Union....................... 61 Oswego County Mutual Insurance............................ 28 Oswego County Stop DWI..... 25 Oswego Health ....................... 78 Oswego Industries................... 15 Pathfinder Bank......................... 6 Paura’s Liquor Store............... 34 Pawn Boss............................... 29 Peter Realty – Simeon DeWitt.83 Phoenix Press.......................... 24 Port of Oswego Authority....... 15 Priceless Realty....................... 25 Pro-Build................................. 23 Pulaski / Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce...... 18 Rainbow Shores Restaurant.... 20 Riccelli Northern..................... 35 RiverHouse Restaurant........... 20 Rudy’s..................................... 19 Salmon Country Marina &

Campground....................... 18 Scriba Electric......................... 24 Sorbello and Sons Inc............. 34 Springside at Seneca Hill ........11 St. Onge Auto Body................ 24 SUNY Oswego / Division of Graduate Studies.................. 7 SUNY Oswego, Office of Business and Community Development...................... 73 Tailwater Lodge...................... 33 Technology Development Organization (TDO)........... 91 Timebuyer............................... 32 Trust Pediatrics....................... 82 Tully Hill Chemical Dependency Ctr................. 82 United Way of Oswego County................................ 34 Valley Locksmith.................... 23 Vernon Downs........................... 5 Watertown Industrial Center of Local Development.......... 7 Watertown International Airport.................................11 White’s Lumber & Building Supply................................ 47 WRVO..................................... 92 Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park.... 19

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NOTES, ETC... Community Foundation Reaches $500,000 Fundraising Goal

The Oswego County Community Foundation (Oswego Foundation) recently achieved its $500,000 fundraising goal with the help of a $14,000 gift from Oswego native Eleanor Filburn and a $122,000 contribution from NBT Bank’s charitable foundation.  These gifts helped the Oswego Foundation secure a $200,000 matching grant jointly issued last year by the Central New York Community Foundation and the Richard S. Shineman Foundation. Since the Oswego Foundation’s inception in September 2013, the fund has raised a total of $367,050. The locally led leadership council has been actively fundraising since the fund’s establishment, securing approximately 5 percent of the endowment campaign goal before either matching challenge grant had been secured. “Our entire leadership team is thrilled to have met our initial goal in only two years,” said Oswego Foun-

Oswego’s School of Business Achieves ‘Best for Vets’ Ranking SUNY Oswego’s School of Business recently earned a first-ever top 75 “Best for Vets” spot, ranking 37th on the list compiled by Military Times, an independent publisher of news and information for service members and their families. “Best for Vets: Business Schools 2015” ranks schools for their commitment to providing opportunities for veterans. The ranking includes such graduate schools of business as those of Syracuse University Martin J. Whitman School of Management, Florida State College of Business, Texas A&M University Mays Business School, University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and — the only other SUNY institution on the list — Empire State College School of Graduate Studies. More than 150 graduate schools of business applied for the third annual 8

dation Vice Chairman Randy Zeigler. “Many community institutions like NBT Bank and individuals have expressed their interest in the development of this new community foundation by making current gifts and multi-year pledges to the foundation, for which we are extremely grateful.” With its initial fundraising goal met, the Oswego Foundation will soon begin awarding grants to local nonprofit organizations for addressing a broad range of issues including arts and culture, environment and animal welfare, education, human services, and health and civic affairs. “Although we have already reached our initial goal we will continue to build our endowment and look forward to the opportunity to fund important projects within our county later this year,” said Zeigler. To learn more about the Oswego County Community Foundation, including how to make a contribution, visit www.OswegoCountyCF.org. The Oswego County Community Foundation is a component of the Central New York Community Foundation, www.cnycf.org.   Military Times ranking, which relied on a nearly 80-question analysis of graduate business schools, focusing on culture, curriculum, cost, financial aid, policies, admissions criteria and publicly available comparative data in ways that cater to military veterans and track student success and academic quality. Eligible schools also had to have completed the 2015 Military Times “Best for Vets” college-wide survey, because the ranking methodology also relied in part on those responses. In November, Military Times named SUNY Oswego to its top 100 “Best for Vets” college ranking for 2015. Oswego came in at No. 69 among four-year colleges and universities on the list, joining only Plattsburgh in the SUNY system. The business-school rankings are published online at www.militarytimes. com/best-for-vets and in issues of the Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times.

COVERING CENTRAL NEW YORK OswegoCountyBusiness.com Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


L. Michael Treadwell Bruce Frassinelli Sandra Scott, Lois Luber

Writers & Contributing Writers

Kenneth Little, Deborah Jeanne Sergeant Diana Cooper, Hannah McNamara Lesley Semel, Matthew Liptak Debra Lupien Denny


Peggy Kain Shelley Manley, Beth Clark

Office Manager Alice Davis

Layout and Design Chris Crocker

Cover Photo

Chuck Wainwright Oswego County Business is published by Local News, Inc., which also publishes CNY Summer Guide, Business Guide, CNY Winter Guide, College Life, In Good Health– The Healthcare Newspaper (four editions: Mohawk Valley, Central New York, Rochester and BuffaloNiagara), CNY Healthcare Guide and 55PLUS, a Magazine for Active Adults (two editions) Published bi-monthly (6 issues a year) at 185 E. Seneca Street PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $21.50 a year; $35 for two years © 2015 by Oswego County Business. All rights reserved. Third class postage paid at Syracuse, NY. Permit Number: 244

How to Reach Us

P.O. Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126 Phone: 315/342-8020 Fax: 315-342-7776 Email: Editor@OswegoCountyBusiness.com

See related story on page 58. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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How I Got

Started Harry Kowalchyk Jr. Co-founder and president of the National Tractor Trailer School, Liverpool, talks about the challenges of launching his business more than 40 years ago By Lou Sorendo

Q.: You co-founded the National Tractor Trailer School in 1971. What motivated you and your business partner to start a tractor-trailer driving school? A.: I worked for a similar organization along with my business partner, William Mocarski. We were both young guys just out of the Marine Corps and became good friends. During my last year in the Marine Corps, I was in motor transportation and trained new entry-level Marines coming in who needed their license for motor transport. We started talking about creating a new business and put forth some of our recommendations to the owners of the school. They basically ignored them and went on. We thought we could do better and build up relationships with the trucking industry. In those days, it was still unheard of that you could learn how to drive a truck by going to school. It took us a long time knocking on doors to get carriers and companies to accept entry-level drivers. But the real turn of events occurred during deregulation of the trucking industry. Q.: What were the foremost challenges in launching the new business? A.: We were young, not necessarily naïve, but we didn’t have a lot of business experience. We didn’t know what to anticipate. There were no five-year or three-year plans. Basically, we went out and recruited students, put them into classrooms, and then when they graduated, found them a job in the industry. We were severely under-capitalized for many years; there was no question about that. We still featured quality training, and never gave up on that because that was one of the promises we made to each other. No matter what happened, our students would get the best possible training available, and our 20,000-plus graduates speak to that. Q.: How did you generate the needed capital in order to launch the business? A.: We did the typical thing that business owners do, and that was to exhaust all your credit cards, your savings and don’t take paychecks for six months at a time. It got so we really had nothing left to lose because we already lost everything. Q.: What do you believe are the keys to recruiting drivers? A.: That is the biggest question in the industry right now. There is a critical shortage of qualified drivers. Estimates



APRIL / MAY 2015

call for 100,000 openings for drivers by the year 2020. Things have changed dramatically in the industry over the years. When we first came in, our graduates would go work for long-distance companies and might be on the road for two to three months at a time. It was a difficult lifestyle and just didn’t feature the benefits it has today in terms of equipment, pay, benefits and so on. There are very few qualified drivers who are not employed, and that is normally for a very good reason. We have everything from Department of Transportation physicals, drug testing, record checks and Homeland Security screening. The return on investment for an individual who is considering becoming a professional tractor-trailer driver is tremendous. We have starting incomes from a low of about $38,000 to a high of about $50,000 depending on the carrier. Q.: How would you characterize the typical truck-driving prospect? A.: Back in the day, truck drivers were boys off the farm. Now, if you look at the demographics, it’s amazing that we have people from all walks of life and educational backgrounds, ranging from someone who has a GED to a person who has a PhD. We get a lot of dislocated workers who we have retrained over the years when plants shut down. Q.: What kind of people do you look for when screening for drivers? A.: There are several bottom line factors. They must have a decent driving record and preferably have had no problem with police or convictions. They must pass a DOT physical and drug test and at least have a high school education or equivalency diploma. The single most important thing is to have a strong work ethic. We hear people say when they are being recruited that they want to make $50,000 a year but don’t want to be away from home. That is not going to happen. You have to earn that. Some drivers do, but they paid their dues. They went to work for companies that had excellent safety records and a good work ethic, and they took those skills and became sought-after commodities. Q.: What is the most gratifying aspect of running NTTS? A.: I think gratification comes when you see an individual walk in the door with a smile on their face after they just passed their license test or got confirmation they are getting hired. APRIL / MAY 2015

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Profile By Lou Sorendo


New Exelon Generation site vice president brings Navy background, managerial savvy to Nine Mile Point


said. “For a wreseter Orphanos took up golf in is a lot of that history,” tler, you have to eat he said. his 30s. right, work out and Orphanos said “If you left me to my own do the right things devices, I could find a way to golf every striving to stay fit and to be competitive, day,” he said. “I like the fact that every adhering to a proper even when it is the diet is important for hole is a new beginning.” off season.” Exelon Generation announced ear- a high job perforIn terms of hanlier this year that Orphanos, a 25-year mance. dling job-related “I’m a lousy eatveteran of the nuclear energy industry, stress, Orphanos said has been selected to serve as Nine er by nature,” he the best relief for him Mile Point Nuclear Station’s site vice said. is spending time with Orphanos wrespresident. his wife and extended The site VP leads a team of more tled in high school family. than 900 highly skilled employees and and college, and “We have a faircontractors and manages all aspects of learned the fasting ly large sibling-cousplant operations. Nine Mile Point Nu- part of life for quite in-brother type group clear Station produces more than 1,937 a number of years, that we vacation tomegawatts of carbon-free electricity, he said. gether with several “After those enough to power more than 1.5 million times a year,” he said. days were over, I homes. “We do sporting events For Orphanos, it is another challeng- would enjoy everything ing hole on what has been an adventur- that I could get my hands on,” said Or- and that kind of thing together. “I love being around family. That ous course in the nuclear power industry. phanos, noting he has taken strides “to helps a lot with day-to-day stress,” he The Flushing native, 55, is new to cut back on that a little bit.” “I am a cereal and oatmeal guy, and said. Oswego. Product of U.S. Navy — Orphanos “I came here in the early summer of try to eat lunch right and a decent dinner. 2014 and my wife Carol and I enjoyed I run a couple miles a day and stay up on entered the nuclear energy industry by a Sunday night get-together with mem- exercising,” he said. “I do like my candy way of the U.S. Navy nuclear power program. bers of our leadership team for some and sweets in the afternoon though.” “I had a friend who joined the nuThe former wrestler said it took a lot refreshments at Alex’s on the Water,” he said. “We reflected on what a beautiful of discipline to make weight and train clear Navy and went the surface ship route not long after graduation,” said place it was. I did realize that winter to stay competitive. “I think what you learn from the Orphanos, noting his buddy served as would come sooner or later.” Orphanos said he enjoys dining out sport is that it builds character, and a valuable resource and contact point at different places, and said the historical recognizing that character is what you for him. His late father was also an influence attractions in the area are “just remark- do when no one else is watching,” he as well as being “hell able” to experience bent on me going to in live time. Lifelines college,” Orphanos “It’s tremenBirth date: Aug. 14, 1959 said. “I was hell bent dous to go from Birthplace: Flushing on being defiant.” reading about the Current residence: Oswego The Navy Revolutionary War Education: Bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering technology from the State University of proved to be “a and pre-RevoluNew York; bachelor’s degree in education from Southern Illinois University good way to get tionary War as a Career: He has held NRC licenses at both Limerick and Peach Bottom nuclear stations. away from home,” teenager and young Personal: Wife, Carol he noted. adult to actually Hobbies: Spending time with family; running; golf From that point, living where there



APRIL / MAY 2015

Orphanos has steadily climbed the ladder in the private sector. “I think the goal realization is recognizing that you are a senior leader in one of the best companies in this country,” Orphanos said. Orphanos said he received a high level of support during his previous tenures as plant manager and vice president of fleet support for Exelon Generation. He noted the company has outstanding leadership and results, and is a “developmental type company. “First and foremost, I am just proud to be an Exelon employee. I’ve had lots of great opportunities and great mentors throughout my career,” he said. Orphanos replaces Chris Costanzo, who held the position for two years. “I certainly think it’s a great achievement and an honor to serve in this position for the company,” he said. The experience factor — Orphanos said his experience with the U.S. Navy nuclear submarine service helped hone him as a professional in the industry. From a technical standpoint, the standards that exist in the nuclear Navy and nuclear Navy submarine service in general “were just impeccable. There are very high standards and expectations, and it is a tremendous learning experience while you are pretty young,” Orphanos said. “Most Navy nukes [personnel] are in their 20s, so you learn a lot and learn it quickly,” he noted. Orphanos had the opportunity to serve in four different types of plants. “I had a very broad background and all of that teaches you the technical part of the business,” he said. “The moving around and re-qualifying teaches you to relearn a new plant very readily. It’s great for confidence.” “I had cousins and family members in the Navy and was kind of more geared that way, but really the selling point for me was the nuclear program,” he noted. Orphanos has held NRC licenses at the Limerick and Peach Bottom nuclear stations, both located in Pennsylvania. Challenging position — Orphanos said one of the best parts of his job is coming to work every day and taking on “new and different, enjoyable challenges.” From a staff perspective, Orphanos said he works with some of the “most fantastic people the country has to offer in any industry.” “We have a large population of employees. There are more than 900 people

Continued on page 84 APRIL / MAY 2015



Publisher’s note


he best way to reach residents and visitors this season? No doubt, our CNY Summer Guide is the publication to select for advertising. Businesses advertise once and get exposure (and results) all season long. In tough times, advertisers are very careful about how they invest their marketing and promotion dollars — and they should be. We believe the Summer Guide is the best way for them to promote their business. Ads are inexpensive and effective. The colorful magazine is widely available free of charge to more than 1,000 high traffic locations all season long. On top of that, the entire publication is available online and viewers can click on advertisers link. Because it’s free and visually appealing, the guide reaches a substantial number of people who are not usually exposed to local newspapers or TV stations. In that sense the publication adds to the efforts made by county and regional tourism officials


By Wagner Dotto Where to Go, What to

Do. Maps. Calendar of


SUMMEguR ide New York The Best of Upstate

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Interactive issue at


in providing visitors with the best experience they can have while in the area. The Summer Guide, now in its 21st. year, is a great value for readers. It’s free, colorful, and has tons of information that can be used throughout the season. For advertisers, it’s a tremendous

opportunity. It gives them the chance to get their message in front of more than 200,000 readers who are visiting or who live here. These advertisers also get a free presence on the Web since a clickable edition of the guide is available online at cnysummer.com. Businesses should advertise in it. It’s the only such guide in the area. It’s available just before Memorial Day weekend and it’s gradually distributed until after Labor Day. As we say in the promotional material we send to advertisers: You place one ad and it works all season long.

WAGNER DOTTO is the publisher of Oswego County Business Magazine.


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Where in the World is Sandra Scott? By Sandra Scott

Vietnam Country holds many surprises to visitors


ohn and I have been to Vietnam several times and each time we were impressed by the friendly people, things to see and the great food. Hanoi, the capital, still has a bit of the old-day ambiance. Ho Chi Minh is

their George Washington and greatly honored. He is preserved in a mausoleum but I don’t think Ho Chi Minh would be pleased with his magnificent tomb for he was a simple man who lived very quietly and frugally.

One of my favorite things to do in Hanoi is to go to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. The art form originated in the rice fields as a form of local entertainment. The classic tourism site in the north of Vietnam is a boat trip on Halong Bay. When John and I visited in the late 90s the overnight trip from Hanoi was about $30 and there were only a few boats. Now there are many boats, some quite luxurious, and it is much more expensive. Visiting the Museum of Ethnology is a great place to learn about the diversity of the Vietnamese people. Today there is a Hanoi Hilton Hotel but those who remember the war days can visit the Hoa Lo Prison, called the “Hanoi Hilton” by Sen. John McCain and other prisoners of war. When flying to Hanoi we could see the bomb craters. Some are now used as fish farms. It is amazing, to me, how the effects of war are still evident so many years later. Vietnam is finally governing

South of Hue midway on the coast is Da Nang, which is becoming a premier beach destination with many high-end resorts.



APRIL / MAY 2015

itself. It had 1,000 years of Chinese domination, 100 years of French colonialism and about 10 years of the American War (as it is called in Vietnam). More than half the population was born after the American War. On my first visit I realized Vietnam is a country not a war. Hue, the imperial capital, had many of its buildings destroyed during the various wars but they are in the process of restoring many of them. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nearby are magnificent tombs of the emperors. South of Hue midway on the coast is Da Nang, which is becoming a premier beach destination with many high-end resorts. During the war it was one of the world’s busiest airports, parts of which now have grass sprouting from cracks in the concrete runway. We stayed at a resort we were told was once a navy base. Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has a lovely historic district. Dalat, dubbed the “City of Eternal Spring,” is one of the few places that was not damaged during the war. It is an oft-missed destination with a lovely lake, beautiful waterfalls, and the unique Crazy House. Which is correct? Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City? Good question. Technically and politically Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is correct but both are in use. The city is a bustling metropolitan area and more modern than Hanoi. People should visit the War Remnants Museum. Some of the displays are one-sided but it drives home the brutality of war and its effect on civilians. The famed Chu Chi Tunnels are a popular day trip. We asked a Vietnamese man at the Chu Chi tunnels, about the “American War,” he replied, “That was then, this is now, let’s go forward.” Americans need a visa, which can be obtained from the Vietnam embassy. ATMs will issue money in local currency. Flights connecting major cities in the country can be booked online. Multilane highways are being constructed and bus service is good.

Sandra Scott, a retired history teacher and the co-author of two local history books, has been traveling worldwide with her husband, John, since the 1980s. The Scotts live in the village of Mexico. APRIL / MAY 2015

One of my favorite things to do in Hanoi is to go to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater.

Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has a lovely historic district.

People should visit the War Remnants Museum. Some of the displays are one-sided but it drives home the brutality of war and its effect on civilians. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS



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“At Oswego County Opportunities, the greatest reward for our employees is when they get to see the individuals and families they serve having success. As a result we celebrate the “Success Story of the Month” throughout the year. Success stories are submitted and a winner, sometime two, are picked each month.” Eric A. Bresee Oswego County Opportunities Inc. Fulton “I don’t have a set rewards program in place. My employees know that I pay attention and that they are rewarded but never know when a reward will come, if at all. Bill Herloski Premierbooth Photo Booth & Herloski Photography Liverpool Our State Farm agents who rise above and beyond expectations have unlimited income, are recognized as high performers and awarded travel trips. Some trips have an educational focus with special guest motivational speakers.” Brenda Flagg Sales Leader State Farm Insurance Syracuse “Performance reviews are conducted for all employees on an annual basis by the management team at United Metal Works. Employees who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty are given increases that are directly correlated to their efforts. Employees who continually rise above and beyond expectations may have the ability for advancement within the organization via a promotion.” John F. Sharkey IV Vice president Universal Metal Works Fulton

By Lou Sorendo APRIL / MAY 2015

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Roth Appointed LongTerm Care Specialist Aaron Roth has been appointed as a long-term care specialist for Northwestern Mutual of the Dodd Agency. As a long-term care specialist, he will be responsible for ensuring that the long-term care needs of clients are addressed as part of their overall plan to achieve financial security. The company’s longterm care product, QuietCare, is sold through Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual. Prior to this Roth designation, Roth was awarded the prestigious Long Term Care Leader award among the entire Greater New York Group. Roth was the first to earn this award under the age of 30. A native of Oswego, Roth received a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Brockport. Currently, Roth is an active board member for the Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce and he currently resides in Oswego. Roth is also a field director within the Northwestern Mutual Greater New York agency, which allows him to recruit and develop aspiring financial representatives while continuing to build his own practice.

NBT Financial Services Hires David Rhodes David Rhodes has been hired as vice president and retirement plan specialist at NBT Financial Services. Based in Syracuse, he will serve clients in the Central New York, Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier markets. APRIL / MAY 2015

In this position, Rhodes will support corporate clients in addressing all aspects of their employee retirement plan needs, including plan management, investment strategies, cost containment, and participant education, while providing Rhodes access to financial products and services offered through LPL Financial. “We welcome David to NBT Financial Group,” said NBT Financial Services Regional Manager Rita DeMarko. “His experience in financial services will be a valuable resource for our business customers seeking assistance selecting, customizing, and administering employee retirement benefits.” Rhodes has 24 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining the NBT Financial

Group, he was regional 401(k) sales director at Lincoln Financial Group in Philadelphia. Previously, he was employed at ERISA Consultants in Manlius. He earned his master’s degree at Springfield College and his bachelor’s degree at SUNY Cortland. A resident of Fayetteville, Rhodes holds series 6 and 63 licenses with LPL Financial.

WCNY Public Media Appoints New Staff WCNY Public Media, the member-supported public broadcasting station based in Syracuse, has announced the following appointments: • Fred Alvarez, of Syracuse, and formerly of Bronx, was named associate producer. He earned a dual bachelor’s degree in journalism, and mass communications and theater from St. Bonaventure University. Alvarez previously worked as an intern for the NBC Alvarez and CBS college

Farm Bureau Members Visit Barclay in Albany

Assemblyman Will Barclay (R–Pulaski) recently met with members of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau in Albany. From left are Roger Eastman, president of Jefferson County Farm Bureau; Lindsay Julian Edinger of Truxton; Barclay; Kyle Hafemann, owner of Otter Creek Winery; Devon Shelmidine of Adams; John Hardy of Dexter; Matt Laisdell of Redwood; and Eric Behling of Behling Orchards in Mexico. The group also presented Barclay with the New York Farm Bureau Circle of Friends plaque for supporting legislation and policies that assists farmers in 2014. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


Jamieson Persse, center, receives the Kenneth Boutwell Service Award from Gregory Mills, Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce executive director, and Danielle Hayden, assistant executive director.

ESA’s Persse Captures Chamber Boutwell Award Jamieson Persse, commercial producer for Eastern Shore Associates Insurance, received the Kenneth Boutwell Service Award in the annual meeting of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, which took place in March. The Boutwell award is given to an individual who has shown unselfish, long-term commitment to the GOFC. “Jamie exemplifies ESA’s commitment to sharing our time and talents in the communities we serve,” said Martha Murray, ESA president. Persse, a licensed insurance broker, joined the GOFC board of directors in 2008, and was elected to

Greene 22

sports networks, televising NCAA Division I basketball. He also served as SBU-TV’s producer and technical director. • Stefon Greene, of Syracuse, was named production assistant. He earned a

a two-year term as board president in 2014. He is also a past vice president of the Eastwood Chamber of Commerce. He has been with ESA since 2006 and resides in Hastings with his wife Karen and daughter Amanda. Other current community involvement by Persse includes membership in the Town of Hastings Republican Party and Oswego County Republican Committee. He has been a member of the Oswego County Workforce Development Board since November, where he serves on the business development committee.


bachelor’s degree in communications from Le Moyne College. Green previously worked at Wegmans. • Cassie Grimaldi, of North Syracuse, was named production assistant. She earned a dual bach-


elor’s degree in television, radio and film and public policy from Syracuse University. She previously worked for Sharp Entertainment, Eclectic Pictures, and NewsChannel 9. • Andy Heinze, of Penfield, was named director of electronic field production. He earned a bachelor’s degree in television and film production from San Diego State University. Heinze previously worked at News10NBC in Rochester. He also worked as chief of photography at R News/YNN Rochester, Time Warner Cable’s 24-hour news channel. • Brandon Marshall, of Chittenango, was named partnership manager. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from the State University of New York at Brockport. Marshall previously worked at National Income Life Insurance. He is responsible for securing underwriting support from local, state and national companies and organizations. Marshall • Lauren Micale, of Liverpool, was named production assistant. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and social interaction, with a concentration in broadcasting from the state University of New York at Oswego. Micale Micale previously worked as a production intern for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at USA Network in Los Angeles. • Tanner Pechin, of Brewerton, was named production assistant. He earned a bachelor’s degree Pechin in cinema studies from the State University of New York at Purchase College. Pechin previously worked at Otto Media. APRIL / MAY 2015

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Jodi L. Blasczienski was hired as a personal lines account manager at Eastern Shore Associates Insurance (ESA) it was announced by Martha Murray, president. Blasczienski will be in ESA’s Fulton office. “Jodi brings a wealth of insurance industry experience to ESA,” Murray said. “And she makes a wonderful addition to our extremely dedicated personal lines team.” Blasczienski resides in Fulton with her husband, Thomas, and children Madisyn Blasczienski and Thomas. She has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry and she was previously employed managing personal lines accounts at two agencies in Syracuse. Headquartered in Fulton, Eastern Shore Associates is a Trusted Choice agency and ESOP (employee stock owned) company. ESA offers a full range of business and personal insurance, including property, liability, automobile, boat, farm, recreational vehicle, workers compensation, and bonds. In addition, they offer financial planning and risk management services.

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Dannible & McKee, LLP has recently announced five new members to the firm’s tax, audit, accounting services and marketing departments: • Angelia (Lia) Locey of Cicero joins the tax department. Locey is a recent graduate of John Carroll University of University Heights, OH, where she was a member of the varsity Locey softball team. Most

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recently, she was an intern for Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, where she was responsible for reconciling QuickBooks and working as an assistant for the finance and admissions offices. • Jonathan WithWitherell erell of Liverpool also joins tax department. Witherell is a December 2014 graduate of SUNY Oswego, where he received his M.B.A. He is also a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh, where he majored in finance and business Roche administration with a minor in accounting. He last worked at Northwestern Mutual where he was a financial representative intern. • Heather Roche of Syracuse joins as an accounting services assistant. Roche is a graduate Nguyen of Columbia College of Missouri and was most recently employed as an accounting assistant for CenterState CEO of Syracuse. • John Nguyen of Liverpool joins the audit department as an intern. NguyBangser en is a student at Le Moyne College, where he is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in accounting and his M.B.A. He was most recently employed at Daley, Lacombe, & Charette CPA’s P.C. in Manlius. • Rachel Bangser, a Ridgefield, Conn., native, joins the marketing department. Bangser is a dual-degree student at Syracuse University, pursuing her master’s degree in public relations at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and her J.D. at the College of Law. She was previously a legal extern at the city of Syracuse Corporation Counsel and spent several summers as a legal intern in the tax and audit department of Swiss Re. 


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Litigation Attorney Joins BS&K Bond, Schoeneck & King announced that Brendan M. Sheehan has joined the firm’s Syracuse office. Sheehan is a litigation attorney who has experience representing financial institutions in securities litigation matters in both state and federal courts. Sheehan’s experience extends to several phases of civil litigation, including pretrial discovery, motion practice, and appeals. Prior to joining the firm, Sheehan clerked for the Honorable Gary L. Sharpe, Chief United States District Judge for the Northern District of New York, and Sheehan worked as a litigation associate for an international law firm.

OCC Foundation Has New Exec. Director Onondaga Community College announced today that it has appointed Lisa R. Moore of DeWitt has been named Onondaga Community College’s vice president of development and executive director of the OCC Foundation. Moore has more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of fundraising, including major gifts, annual fund and planned giving; special events; donor relations and stewardship. P re v i o u s l y Moore Moore served as the director of development for Syracuse University’s Say Yes to Education program, where she oversaw

a $20 million endowment campaign, raising money for crucial initiatives to help Syracuse City School District students overcome barriers to educational attainment. “Lisa appreciates the critical role of community colleges in student success and will lead the development team as they work with key constituents to design, execute and assess fundraising strategies in support of the college’s mission vision and strategic plan,” said Onondaga Community College President Casey Crabill. Prior to joining Say Yes to Education, Moore served at Syracuse University as assistant dean for advancement in the College of Arts and Sciences, and in development positions in SU’s office of planned giving, the Orange Club, and in central development. She has also held development positions with the Central New York Community Foundation, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ithaca College, and St. Bonaventure University, her alma mater.

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Trucks are clearing up space on Route 57 across the street from where the Three Rivers Midstate in Phoenix was once located. Byrne Dairy plans to build its largest convenience / grocery store in that location

Byrne Dairy to Open Its Largest Store on Route 57, Phoenix Officials say new store — expected to be the largest within Byrne Dairy’s chain — will fulfill the community’s long-standing hope for a grocery store


yrne Dairy, a fourth generation, family-owned producer and distributor of yogurt, milk, ice cream and other diary products, is set to open a new convenience store in Oswego County, located at the corner of Route 57 and Route 57A in Phoenix. The land is now being cleared for construction of the 7,000-sq.-ft. store, which is near double the size of a recently-opened Byrne Dairy store in Baldwinsville. Byrne Dairy owns and operates 53 grocery and convenience stores in the region. “We have been working on this for about a year and a half, getting all the permits and plans in place,” said Christian Brunnelle, Byrne Dairy’s store


APRIL / MAY 2015

development vice president. Those going through Route 57 can see the heavy equipment now on site, moving dirt and getting all the foundation in place, “We are on track now to open in mid to late June of 2015,” said Brunnelle. “We chose Phoenix because of its need for a grocery store,” Brunnelle says. It was an opportunity, he points out, to fulfill the community’s long standing hope for a grocery store option since the Three Rivers Mid-state grocery closed some years back. The new Byrne Dairy store will be located directly across the street from the former Three Rivers Mid-state, In addition, this new site “will be the largest store we have to date,” he adds. It is expected to be open 24 hours a day, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

365 days a year. The new store location will feature all the standard Byrne Dairy products as well as a range of product offerings the company is confident will bring in customers. Gas pumps out front will provide an easy stop for fuel, for those residents from the village of Phoenix and south of the village on Route 57, headed to or from Route 481’s Phoenix exit 13. It will include a sub shop featuring fresh subs, salads, pizza, wings, hamburgers, hotdogs and other meal time choices, all made from fresh ingredients, as well as a seating area inside for customers to enjoy their meal. In addition there are plans for a 20-foot coffee bar, and bringing in fresh donuts and cookies, from the Byrne bakery in Syracuse each morning. The store also plans to offer an extensive selection of fresh and local produce, along with their signature dairy and other quality product offerings. Bringing a Byrne Dairy location to Phoenix has always been about one simple thing: “meeting the needs of this community,” Brunnelle says. “We are confident that this newest store addition will be an asset and opportunity for both Phoenix and Byrne Dairy”. Having been a family-owned company since 1933, best known for its local dairy products of milk and ice cream, Byrne Dairy has in recent years grown to include the addition of 53 grocery and convenience stores throughout Central New York. Starting with its first location in Central Square in 1954, year by year they have marched their way into hometown communities and into bigger and better store offerings as they expand services and new locations.

By Diana Cook 27

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From OswegoCountyBusiness.com

MyDigitalDiscount.com, Relocates in Port City Entrepreneur Matt Dawson adds space to his growing business


yDigitalDiscount.com and B’nB Broker-Buyer, two businesses formerly located at the Oswego County Business Expansion Center, 185 E. Seneca St., Oswego, have relocated to 64 S. W. Ninth St., Oswego. Entrepreneur Matt Dawson of Minetto said he relocated to the 3,274-sq.ft. building in order to accommodate the needs and demands of his growing businesses. MyDigitalDiscount.com is an e-commerce company specializing in


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computer and electronic file storage devices such as solid-state drives, flash drives and flash memory cards which are sold globally. Dawson started MyDigitalDiscount.com in his apartment on Cayuga Street in Oswego over 10 years ago as a SUNY Oswego student. “After ordering a high-speed compact flash card from Taiwan in 2001, I realized it was way better than anything in the United States at the time,” Dawson said. “I knew I was onto something huge so I took the risk, sold my car and took out a $4,000 loan so I could get a minimum quantity order of them from Taiwan and start selling them here.” Dawson started out slowly through sources such as eBay and Amazon. Today, however, Dawson and his team are selling around 1,000 pieces a week and are now competing with multi-billion-dollar electronic companies such as Samsung and Intel. “Our prices are usually lower than the big-name companies but our quality is relatively the same and that’s a crucial selling point,” he said. Currently, the business is focusing on solid-state drives. “Solid-state drives are 40 times faster than an average hard drive, so pretty much all of the computer activity is instantaneous,” Dawson said. “The demand for the product is exploding and isn’t even a portion of what it will be in the future.” MyDigitalDiscount.com will soon be expanding to Amazon Japan and Amazon Europe. “One thing we always focus on is new technology in the industry so we can get the product on the market before the big corporations do,” he said. B’nB Broker-Buyer does appraisals and buys and brokers the sale of merchandise.

By Hannah McNamara APRIL / MAY 2015

Co-working Space Opens in Oswego


New concept breeding ground for entrepreneurs

alling all entrepreneurs, remote workers and freelancers: Oswego’s first-ever co-working space is right at your project-based fingertips. Lighthouse Co-works will be open for business and ready for inspiring independent business owners starting in early April. Oswego residents Ellen Clark and Gary Ritzenthaler have partnered to create Lighthouse Co-works, a shared innovative space that allows a breeding ground for creative and collaborative ideas between entrepreneurs of all demographics. According to Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk, there are 53 million Americans or 34 percent of the nation’s workforce working as freelancers and they are adding $715 billion annually to the economy through their freelance work. Of these independent workers, 78 percent workers are 40.


As the world of entrepreneurs and small businesses continues to expand, co-working spaces have created a beneficial and inexpensive way to keep up with growing demand. “Although a lot of co-working spaces generally open in large cities with a population of more than a million, the second-fastest rate of co-working spaces is in small towns such as Oswego with populations of less than 50,000,” said Ritzenthaler. “There’s a market for it,” said Clark, who serves as the company’s sales director. “A lot more people are out on their own or working from home. They don’t want to necessarily be in a full business environment but miss out on the social interaction, which is something co-works offers.” Lighthouse Co-works is located in the historic National Bank building at 186 W. First St. It features two floors of co-working space, each with a different type of atmosphere. The first floor serves as a collabo-


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of Lighthouse Co-works is adapting to the smalltown market and educating the community on the beneficial aspects of co-working,” Ritzenthaler said. F i n a n c i a l l y, Clark Ritzenthaler co-working rative reception area where individuals space is the ideal opportunity for an or groups can expand their business entrepreneur. network, meet with clients and socialize Standard expenses of utilities and with people who are trying to accomplish WiFi are eliminated and the company the same goals. allows members to rent out space for a The second floor is made up of five flexible amount of time without signing conjoined offices, a kitchen and a confer- a lease. ence room. This floor will offer members The social components of co-worka space to get work done outside of their ing also provides a dynamic work culture home with fewer distractions, but still for members that they can’t receive when have the option of social interaction with working from home or in a coffee shop other creative minds. with no social interaction. Versatile environment — Clark said In a co-working space, the knowlLighthouse Co-works is unique because edge and experience of peers and small, it offers members the option of an entire informal interactions can inspire new office or just simply desk space. business ideas and projects, the owners “A main component to the success



said. The co-working environment is full of innovators, early adopters and experts that allow an entrepreneur to form relationships and networks with people they may otherwise have never met, they added. “Aside from just bringing business people together, we’re also bringing them right downtown to support the other local small businesses,” said Ritzenthaler. “And when you get a bunch of entrepreneurs together, it’s just good for the community as a whole because the ideas start flowing.” This is only the beginning of the co-working movement. By 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 40 percent of the nation’s workforce will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors and entrepreneurs who single-handedly run their own businesses. “Our first milestone is to gain 15 members,” Ritzenthaler said. “But my ultimate goal is to make something that survives, thrives and benefits the community.”

By Hannah McNamara

APRIL / MAY 2015

Universal Metal Works, Davis-Standard Undergo Major Expansion


major expansion in the manufacturing sector in Fulton is shaping up to be one of the most significant economic development initiatives in Oswego County this year. Universal Metal Works expects a 20,000-square-foot expansion at its Fulton facility to be completed in July. UMW will use half the space, while 10,000 square feet will be allotted for use by Davis-Standard, located kitty-corner to UMW. Davis-Standard is relocating its blown film operations from Bridgewater, N.J., to Fulton. John F. Sharkey IV is the vice president of UMW, whose customer base ranges from large industrial accounts to municipalities, farmers and individual people with fabrication needs. All pre-construction tasks such as site work to determine soil densities was done earlier in the year in anticipation of the expansion. “We wanted to get some of the site work done ahead of time so when the thaw comes, we can hit the ground running,” Sharkey said. APRIL / MAY 2015

John F. Sharkey IV is the vice president of Universal Metal Works in Fulton, a metal fabrication company. UMW, a job shop that fabricates different metal products of varying magnitude, is undergoing an expansion. UMW will use its addition to streamline its spray painting, assembly and manufacturing process. “We’re looking to increase our machining capability to support work that we do now,” Sharkey said. UMW specializes in design and engineering, assembly, complete pre-assembly, and has certified welders. The expansion on Hubbard Street is also geared to increase capabilities in UMW’s paint booth area as well as powder coating. Additional space will also be used OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

to more efficiently perform assembly work that UMW has been doing for Davis-Standard. Davis-Standard is UMW’s largest customer. Sharkey and his father, John Sharkey III, took over the business from C&C Metal Fabrications in 2010. “When we took over the business, we always wanted to grow and expand and make it the best we could,” Sharkey said. He said UMW has experienced growth year after year and is doing about 31

double the sales from the time he and his father took over. “We were planning to do the expansion regardless of whether Davis-Standard wanted to,” he said. They heard rumors that Davis-Standard wanted to increase its capacity at its North First Street location, and subsequently reached out to accommodate its expansion needs. Davis-Standard in Fulton specializes in making equipment that produces flexible film, typically used in many household packaging products such as stretch wrap and many types of food packaging. It will use 10,000 square feet of space at the UMW facility to perform larger assembly work that can’t be done at its existing location. “We really want to be a one-stop shop for some of our customers,” Sharkey said. “Right now, there are times we lose bids and orders because we can’t offer some of the services that other fab shops can.” “We are trying to increase our capabilities so when a customer wants something welded, machined, painted or powder coated, we can do it all,” he added.

UMW employs 23 workers, and intends on adding about five over several years as a result of the expansion. Davis-Standard looks to add about 10 jobs as a result of the project. Pathfinder Bank, Operation Oswego County and the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency are providing financial assistance for the project. To improve efficiency — “It really should make us more efficient. By being able to offer expanded services, we should be able to reduce the quotes we send out to customers and get more work in the door and more projects through here,” he said. One aspect of the job that Sharkey enjoys is its diversity. “Everyday it is different, and you’re not doing the same thing over and over,” he said. “One day, we could be doing stairs and stanchions for guard shacks at the nuclear plants, and the next day we are doing a project for Anheuser-Busch.” His responsibilities include managing the day-to-day activities of the shop, purchasing, quoting and building the customer base. UMW customizes products depend-

ing on what customers need. “Our niches have been either doing projects that some companies don’t have the capabilities to do or maybe they are not setup for it and don’t want to change their setup,” he said. UMW does a lot of guard work for Davis-Standard as well as walkways and machined weldments. “We are trying to strengthen the partnership between us as much as we can and grow together,” he said. Sharkey has started playing Gaelic football along with Davis-Standard leader Michael Fegan, who introduced him to a sport that is a cross between rugby, European handball, soccer and volleyball. “It’s taken me a little while to figure out. They are all naturals and have played since they were little,” Sharkey said. “It’s a lot more running than what I am used to,” he said. “I was always a hockey player.” “Running a business makes it tough to get into a workout routine,” he added. In the winter, he enjoys cross-country and downhill skiing.

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Oswego Renaissance Association providing neighborhood makeovers

he residents of Oswego are taking matters into their own hands. A coalition of 16 neighbors has come together and bought the former Phi Lambda Phi sorority house on 54 W. Fifth St. to reconstruct into a new home. “What motivated this was that we all recognized how much value a blighted property like that house takes away from the neighborhood,” Steven Phillips, resident leader and project coordinator for the Oswego Renaissance Association. The ORA is a nonprofit organization whose core mission is the revitalization of neighborhoods in the city of Oswego. The three-floor house was once rented to a couple of sorority members with multiple vacant rooms. It started to go into disrepair with chipped paint on the walls, scuffed floorboards and tainted windows. The ORA compiled data confirming that the house in its current condition steals $17,000-$20,000 away from every other surrounding house. But once fixed up, all the homes will increase in value, he said. “It was a real evolution. After several meetings with the others involved, somehow the idea of Steve, my nephew Mark and myself forming an L.L.C. sounded like a good idea,” principal investor Connie Ross said. Ross and Phillips invited neighbors to get involved to support for the project. Residents in the area loaned the Westside Neighbors L.L.C. funds from as small as $2,500 up to $10,000. All told, they raised around $120,000 and purchased the home from the previous landlord for more than his sale price. “We didn’t twist their arms and really jumped on board. They saw the benefits,” Ross said. Financial clout — Thomas Schneider, president of Pathfinder Bank, had attended a meeting and was willing to finance all reconstruction. “They are assisting in any way possible to make the neighborhood project a reality and a success,” Ross noted. While the goal is to reconstruct what once was a beautiful house, the bigger



picture is attracting more homeowners into the city. Phillips said a majority of the city’s workers don’t live in Oswego because of the lack of quality housing stock. “Our neighborhoods are the foundation for a healthy city. If you have neighborhoods like we do in Oswego where the vast majority of the homes are in distressed conditions, it’s not going to attract middle-class people who have disposable income, who can spend the money in our local businesses and support our economy,” Phillips said. Ross has lived in Oswego all her life and slowly sees the homes in her neighborhood deteriorating. She describes most of the homes on her street going from being the most beautiful homes to the most damaged. “We all see the potential of this neighborhood and we just want to make sure it stays strong,” Phillips said. There is a handful of poverty housing in the area that increased last year’s property tax, Phillips said. In order to make a change, the city needs to grow financially and the only way to do so is through property and sales taxes, he added. Ross will be one of the lead designers along with Tom Stultz. The mid-1800’s home overlooking the city will be turned into a five bedroom, three full- and one half bath-home, with a two-car garage with modern updates and historic charm. The parking lot will be removed and constructed into a large double lot. “Most things we are going to refinish and keep like the beautiful, deep woodwork, hardwood floors and the medallion on the ceiling. All the character will stay, but we will add in modern fixtures,” Ross said. Although this is their first project, it won’t be their last. Ross and Phillips hope to see other residents follow their footsteps and continue to improve property values and quality of life. For more information on how to get involved, call Ross at 315-342-3686 or email her at connellross@gmail.com.

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SPECIAL REPORT By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Maple Sugaring Growing in CNY Demand for natural and local products helps drive the growth in the maple industry, says president of NYS Maple Producers Association in Syracuse


aple syrup tapping signals spring earlier than other signs like daffodils. In Central New York, the industry is growing. New York’s 2014 maple production ranked second highest in the nation, 546,00 gallons of syrup from the state’s 2.2 million taps, according to USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Last year was the state’s third best year for the past 20 years. Local producers shared their outlook for 2015. “We anticipate a good season every year,” Kim Enders, co-owner of Red Schoolhouse Maple, LLC in Fulton, along with her husband, Kevin. “Mother Nature decides what the season will be when it gets here. Now, we’re in the midst of what takes place in the woods.” Making syrup is a lot more work than just evaporating the sap. Producers must repair damage to their tubing from wind and fallen branches. Critters such as squirrels can damage tubing, which must then be replaced. After the season, all the tubing and taps must be sanitized. Enders starts tapping the trees toward the end of January. The first sap run usually occurs in the second half of February. Her farm produces about 2,125 gallons of sap from which she produces about 400 gallons of syrup. “We should be making more syrup, so we’re working on areas of production to get more sap this year,” Enders said Red Schoolhouse Maple offers maple weekend activities in late March (this year it took place the last two weekends



Helen Thomas is executive director of the New York State Maple Association. Photo courtesy of Helen Thomas. APRIL / MAY 2015

SPECIAL REPORT of March), pancake breakfasts, tours, activities and products including syrup, maple granulated sugar, maple molded sugar, maple cream, maple cotton candy, and maple coated nuts. The cold temperatures in 2015’s maple season barred an early harvest, but that shouldn’t slow down Timothy Whitens, owner of Willow Creek Farm in Fulton, who usually starts tapping the first or second week of February. “It may be a late season, but that’s okay as long as we do well,” he said. The temperature needs to fall below freezing at night and rise above freezing during the daytime for sap to flow well. Whitens works with a fellow producer to install around 2,500 taps and repair his vacuum tubing system. Producing 700 gallons of syrup represents a typical year for Whitens. His best year resulted in 900 gallons. In addition to selling syrup, his farm offers Maple Weekend activities, tours of the sugar bush, alpacas, maple granulated sugar, maple molded sugar, maple cream, maple popcorn and maple cotton candy. Helen Thomas, executive director of the New York State Maple Producers Association in Syracuse, said that the industry is growing. “We had our largest annual conference ever this year,” she said. I got to see 1,020 in attendance.” Sugar makers from all over the Northeast and Canada swarmed to the 2014 New York State Maple Producers Winter Conference in Verona, the organization’s annual event Jan. 3-4. “For maple weekend, 156 farms are participating, which is more than we’ve had before,” Thomas said. Thomas believe that the demand for natural and local products helps drive the growth in the maple industry. Value-added products, such as maple-covered nuts, also fuel growth. “The more you turn pure maple syrup into value-added products, the more money you can net per gallon,” Thomas said. “At the state fair, when we sell maple popcorn, ice cream or cotton candy, you increase the revenue per pound of maple that you’re selling. You can double what you’ll get per gallon. There’s work involved, but that’s the whole point. “Also, it’s another form of the product. Not everyone eats breakfast at home. We’re finding other forms of the product APRIL / MAY 2015

Gone are the days of tin buckets. Modern maple syrup operations use vacuum pumps such as this one at Willow Creek Farm for people to enjoy. If we just relied on breakfast, we’d see our market share.” Most producers estimate it takes five to seven years to recoup their investment in taps, a vacuum pump, tubing system, commercial evaporator, and other equipment for large-scale maple syrup production. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Despite the several years it takes to make a profit and the plethora of backyard hobbyists, “there are serious business people who make money at it,” Thomas said. For more information about maple in New York state, visit www.nysmaple. com. 37


E-Recycling Oswego Industries introduces electronics recycling as new line of business; aims at being the electronics recycler for Oswego County


eady to discard that obsolete computer or laptop? Is it time to upgrade your office’s fax and copy machine? As of this year, residents and businesses in Oswego County can no longer place electronic equipment such as TVs and DVD players in the trash for disposal. Instead, they must be brought in for recycling at one of Oswego County’s recycling drop-off locations as per the NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act. Each year, America produces nearly 50 million tons of electronic waste and discards 30 million computers. Current estimates show that over 6.7 billion pounds of e-waste are not recycled in the United States. Only 25 states have regulations focused on responsible e-waste disposal. Oswego County and other agencies collect these recyclables and ship them out of the area to be processed before they


are transferred to material aggregation centers, where they are held before being transported to smelters and various commodity markets. Maven Technologies, a for-profit company in Rochester, handles the majority of the region’s e-recycling. Now there is a new player in the electronics recycling business. Oswego Industries, a nonprofit organization that provides services for people with disabilities, has unveiled its own electronics recycling program. The Fulton-based company not only collects recyclables, but also destroys and de-manufactures them at its Oswego County location. “Regulatory pressure and responsible recycling practices are expected to increase the percentage of e-waste recycled by more than 33 percent over


the next 10 years,” said Mike Szpak, CEO of OI. “When I introduced this idea to our team, it was exciting to think that not only could we impact our local community in a positive way, but that we also could provide jobs for the individuals that we serve.” OI has also reached out to different governmental entities in order to generate business and is looking to be the electronics recycler for Oswego County when its contract with Maven Technologies of Rochester ends and bids are sent out for 2016. “We want to keep jobs right here in Oswego County,” said John Hovey, director of business development at OI. OI recently fired up the new line of business, which cost approximately $40,000 to establish. It leases a 26-foot straight truck for collection and transporting purposes. Oswego Industries’ electronics recycling facility at 7 Morrill Place is open to everyone in Oswego

APRIL / MAY 2015

SPECIAL REPORT County as well as other counties. “A large number of what is labeled as ‘e-waste’ is actually not waste at all, but rather whole electronic equipment or parts that are readily marketable for reuse or can be recycled for materials recovery,” Hovey said. “Cell phones and other electronic items contain high amounts of precious metals like gold or silver. Americans dump phones containing over $60 million in gold/silver every year.” Hovey noted electronics sales have more than doubled since 1997 and continue to increase each year. “As new technology is introduced into the market, you will find more people trading in their old devices for new ones,” Hovey added. Electronics include computers and accessories, TVs and monitors, audio and visual equipment, microwaves, wires and cables, cell phones, printers and faxes, copiers and video games. Strong certification — OI is partnering with CyclePoint, one of the largest nonprofit electronic recycling organizations in the U.S. It is a national network of nonprofits that employs people with disabilities by securely recycling old computers and obsolete electronics. “Once we de-manufacture products, CyclePoint purchases the components from us so we don’t have to worry about dealing with commodity markets and shipping. They take care of all of it for us,” Hovey said. CyclePoint is a R2/RIOS certified organization. The Recycling Industry Operating Standard certification is solely for electronics recyclers to demonstrate to customers that electronics are being recycled with the highest standards for data privacy, environmental control, employee health and safety and corporate responsibility. Security first — “One of the most critical operations that we perform is secure destruction of unwanted data,” said Igor Kasovski, director of technical operations at OI. “Whether the information is your own, your clients or your customers, we ensure your peace of mind by properly disposing of material that could contain sensitive information.” CyclePoint requires its network of agencies to follow the strictest and most secure processes for transportation, destruction and certification, Kasovsky added. “We offer a certificate to the customAPRIL / MAY 2015

Oswego Industries in Fulton is entering the electronics recycling business. From left, Igor Kasovski, director of technical operations, CEO Michael Szpak and John Hovey, director of business development at Oswego Industries, display an array of electronics being prepared for recycling. er that indicates either destruction or erasure. Our process meets Department of Defense guidelines,” he added. An estimated 75 percent of electronics collected for recycling within the U.S. are actually sent outside the country to be processed, often in ways that are seriously harmful to the environment and health of individuals living in those countries. Security involving personal or business-related information is paramount in the electronics recycling industry, Kasovski said “One of the biggest problems has been electronics recyclers sending materials overseas. In addition to environmental issues, confidential information is then exposed from hard drives.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

As technology changes, so do security needs. “Consumers may have had their computer hard drives squared away, but may have discarded their old copiers that didn’t work well anymore. All of the copiers that were purchased since 2002 have hard drives because they are multi- functional devices,” Hovey said. They copy, scan and fax, so they have hard drives in them that have to be handled just like a computer, he said. “Anything that was scanned by that copier is on a hard drive. The same is true for cell phones, tablets and any kind of storage device,” he said. By adhering to R2/RIOS protocols, the consumer is assured that security will not be breached, Hovey noted. 39

SPECIAL REPORT OI’s competitive edge is its certification and offering the “element of total security,” Kasovski added. Threat of toxins — Up to 70 percent of heavy metals in landfills come from discarded electronics. It’s an environmental problem that continues to grow, Kasovsky said. “Some of the electronics that we take in have substances in them that need to be recycled in a special way. Electronics often contain lead, mercury, flame retardants, heavy metals and other substances that have the potential to harm the environment and human health if not managed properly,” Kasovski said. “They can actually end up in the water table,” he added. OI is working with a company that has a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation-approved procedure to recycle TVs. An example of this process is when cathode ray tubes that normally contain about 20 percent lead and 80 percent glass are separated into those elements and sold


Recycle Your Old Computers, Printers and Other Electronics The first e-recycling event sponsored by Oswego Industries will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 11 at OI, 7 Morrill Place, Fulton. For more information, call 598-3108. back to the commodities market, where battery manufacturers purchase it. Glass is ground up and used for road aggregate, making the recycling effort a closed-loop procedure. Hovey said the new line of business is creating jobs. “It depends on the tonnage that we get in, but we anticipate significant growth over the next three to five years,” he said. OI stays in close contact with many nonprofits across the nation through SourceAmerica. SourceAmerica is a nonprofit that creates employment opportunities for people with disabilities through a network of nonprofit agency partners. “Electronics recycling is one of the things SourceAmerica has been looking into over the past few years, and it is just starting to get rolling. We are now part of the first wave of nonprofits that’s going to be involved in electronics recycling,” Kasovski said. Community impact — One of the missions of


OI is to provide real, sustainable work for people with disabilities, considered to be the most difficult populations to increase employment rates. Hovey noted 71 percent of people living with disabilities in the U.S. is unemployed. “If we work together we can change that,” Hovey said. Hovey said he gains gratification in the fact that programs like this really make a difference. “The individuals that our agency serves take a great deal of pride in the work that they do. By teaching them new job skills and allowing them to earn a paycheck, this improves their quality of life and helps them become more independent,” he said. “This often takes part and in some cases all of the burden off of their caregivers.” Hovey has been busy building awareness about the new line of business. “We need to get the word out to residents, businesses and other types of organizations in Oswego County and beyond that there is another solution,” Hovey said. “That’s going to take a combination of marketing ourselves and making personal calls to larger businesses,” Hovey said. “Large institutions such as SUNY Oswego turn over electronics on a regular basis. We have been working with the college and are happy to have its support.” Hovey said OI accommodates local businesses that need to schedule collection of outdated electronics. The agency can work with them to schedule a time to load and transport old computers and other electronics to its facility. Kasovski said setting up relationships with the business community and getting it to realize the valuable services that OI provides will be key to the overall program’s success. OI will also be scheduling several informational sessions in efforts to inform the public and business community about the new recycling opportunity. Hovey said there is an awareness gap involving consumers and understanding electronics need to be recycled. The first e-recycling event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 11 at OI, 7 Morrill Place, Fulton. “We are encouraging everyone who has electronics to recycle that day to come join us,” Hovey said. For more information, call 598-3108. APRIL / MAY 2015

SPECIAL REPORT By Rebecca Madden

Will Fort Drum Downsize? Possible troop reduction has put officials on alert: ‘Will the troops be here or not?’


ig-box retailers and small businesses alike have flourished throughout Jefferson County largely due to Fort Drum soldiers and their families, but a possible troop reduction on post has created some economic uncertainty among planning and funding agencies. Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency Chief Executive Officer Donald C. Alexander said economic development plan decisions may boil down to one question: ‘Will the troops be here or not?’” “Last year, they announced we’d lose the 3rd Brigade Combat Team,” he said. “They eliminated — or are in process of eliminating — the 3rd BCT here. What else is going on is the military was told by Congress they have to reduce their troops by a certain number. On top of all of this is if sequestration takes effect.” Alexander said an ideal economic development forecast would include the JCIDA — and other agencies — being able to say what the military installation would look like two years out, so businesses would know their ventures would be viable. “It’s really tough right now to get our arms around what development will look like in 12 to 18 months,” he said. Hoping the troop reduction will have a modest impact on Fort Drum, Alexander said local communities are pressing on with other economic opportunities. The wind farm at Galloo Island, located in eastern Lake Ontario within the town of Hounsfield, has been resurrected, and may have land fall in Scriba, he said. Support for Jefferson County projects not only comes from within that county, but also throughout the north country and Central New York, including Oswego County. Alexander said residents of neighboring counties to Jefferson also become part of the

APRIL / MAY 2015

Any significant reduction of troops at Fort Drum would have a ripple effect on the local economy, officials in Watertown say. The fort has 21,955 military and civilians, according to the 2015 CNY Business Guide. workforce and tourist attractions. “The problem is a lot of people don’t get it,” he said. “Drawing a line on a map now has no bearing on economic development. We have to think more regionally.” Projects in Jefferson County, including the Galloo Island wind farm, a multi-million dollar resort in Alexandria Bay, a potential gaming facility, housing, hotels, and redevelopment of once historic properties are also attractive to commuters, Alexander said. “At the end of the day, we try to create additional jobs or enhance the tax value of the community,” he said. Fort Drum remains a big part of that. Any significant reduction of troops would have a ripple effect on the local economy. Albeit lower than last federal fiscal year, the post’s total gross output for fiscal year 2014 was $1.764 billion, according to the Fort Drum Regional OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Economic Impact statement, provided by the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization. According to the statement, the post’s spending and payroll totaled $1.988.2 billion. Recirculation of Fort Drum funds created an additional $366 million in business sales. Additional jobs outside of Fort Drum created by its economic impact totaled 6,195 and $232 million in wages. North country supporters and politicians continue to rally in order to sustain Fort Drum’s total force, and therefore its continued economic impact. Although Fort Drum is the largest economic driving force, the community also works hard to support smaller endeavors. Alexander said that comes through JCIDA’s micro-loan program. If additional smaller projects impress the agency, he said, the JCIDA would expand that loan program. Having more eggs in the economic development basket for Jefferson County besides just Fort Drum is also the continuous goal of the Watertown Local Development Corp. (WLDC). “It’d be tough if Fort Drum were to downsize,” said Donald W. Rutherford, WLDC’s CEO. “A lot of the chains base their presence here. With the Watertown Local Development Corporation, our sweet spot is the local businesses, businesses that have 10 to 100 employees.” Developers go to the WLDC for financial assistance for projects, and both developers and the agency have been busy involved in the renaissance of downtown Watertown. The former Mercy Hospital on Stone Street will be redeveloped into housing and retail space, as is the former Woolworth building on Public Square. Rutherford said downtown will become even more attractive when the Brighton Empsall building on Court Street will be rehabilitated by Neighbors of Watertown with updated apartments and retail space, and the Lincoln Building on Public Square receives a new façade and commercial space. “We’re getting to a point where all buildings of downtown are in stages of redevelopment,” Mr. Rutherford said. Planning, preparation, and the scope of work takes large chunks of time before people can enjoy the end results of these projects. “With economic development, a lot of the work is like the iceberg below the surface,” Alexander said. 41

SPECIAL REPORT By Debra Lupien Denny

A DBA and A Dream T

he Oswego County Clerk’s Office reported 870 new DBAs filed in 2014 as residents across the county ventured into everything from construction to towing services, graphic design to dinner theater and floral to photography services. We all have that special something we love to do, sharing the hope of finding that dream job that will allow us to get paid for doing what we love and enjoy. But it isn’t always that easy and sometimes our special skills fade into the category of “hobby.” Then again, there are those who, when disappointed with the opportunity to use their talent most effectively — or at all — in the job world, decide to dream even bigger. Unwavering, they take a deep breath and relentlessly forge ahead, employing and turning what they love to do into their own – they are called small business owners.

Theatre Du Jour Founder and owner of new theater company plans to put up five shows in 2015

Tammy Wilkinson has been acting for more than 20 years. In October last year she filed a DBA as Theatre Du Jour and has presented several plays in the region. She plans to put up to five shows in 2015. 42

Founder and owner of Theatre Du Jour (TDJ), Tammy Lynn Wilkinson, of Minetto, is a prime example of finding a niche for her passion and then taking the bold step to turn it into a business. Wilkinson has been acting for more than 20 years and is currently the producer for the local theater group, the Oswego Players. She has served in that capacity for the past four years and during that time said the focus has been to raise awareOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

ness about the group and local theater in general. “We really strived to do some different things to ramp up awareness in the community, such as previewing screenings at the river’s end bookstore and meet-and-greets at local restaurants,” she said. The catalyst for TDJ manifested itself in February of 2014 when Wilkinson brought a main stage production of “The Dining Room” out of the theater and into local restaurant, La Parilla Grill and Wine Bar, branding it as a “dinner theater experience.” “That particular night sold out, the buzz was incredible and the restaurant was over-the-top excited,” she said. “That is when I knew there was a niche.” Wilkinson said in addition to the Oswego Players, she has done a lot of shows in Syracuse and the surrounding areas, gleaning a lot of insight into the workings of other theater companies, adding to her pool of ideas. “So, naturally, it was a matter of me taking [the idea] and running with it. This project lends itself to amazing APRIL / MAY 2015

SPECIAL REPORT the actors and directors, she said for now the excitement is high and those involved are donating their time, energy and enthusiasm to make it a success. Opportunities are also available for businesses to sponsor the endeavor by advertising in the programs or donating goods and services to make it a community partnership. “There’s a lot of alternative venues and places to share resources from all the theater companies in Oswego, Fulton, Syracuse and Baldwinsville. We could do cabarets, plays, radio shows. We really feel that the sky is the limit.” For more information and to find out how to get tickets to a TDJ event, visit www.dujourcny.com or like them on Facebook.

Oswego Players actors Mark Cole and Banna Rubinow appeared in Theatre Du Jour’s recent production of “Love Letters” in February. Cole is a graduate of New York University’s School of the Arts and recently retired after 35 years with the SUNY Oswego theater department. Rubinow, a former editor from New York City, majored in theater at the Interlochen Arts Academy and Brandeis University and has performed Off-Off-Broadway. opportunities for community involvement and collaboration. The number of alternative venues are countless and the pool of talented directors and actors in the Central New York area is mind-blowing.” Wilkinson said the vision for TDJ evolved over the course of 2014, receiving positive feedback from her peers and the community. “I would talk to everyone who would listen about the concept of the company — to combine the best local cuisine, the best local talent and all interactive extras that make it a social event to remember,” she said. “I knew it was a recipe for success, so I decided to get the DBA and figure it out as I went along.” Soon after filing TDJ’s DBA in October last year, Wilkinson got busy launching a website and building up a following on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In February, the one-of-a-kind dinner theater debuted in the Port City with performances of “Love Letters” by A.R. Gurney and Wilkinson said it was a great success. APRIL / MAY 2015

“Theatre Du Jour’s first production was everything I hoped it would be … it truly was an experience to remember for patrons,” she said, adding that all of TDJ’s productions are interactive and include a cocktail hour, talk back with the actors, contests and giveaways and photo ops. TDJ plans to put up five more shows in 2015 with a vision for a wide variety of alternative venues in the future. TDJ’s next show, “Murder at Café,” is set for May and will be directed by Syracuse director, Stephfond Brunson. “It’s exceptionally cool because it’s a murder mystery that is interactive for the audience from the moment they walk through the door,” Wilkinson noted. Venues for this show are the Lake Ontario Event & Conference Center in Oswego, May 14; The Oswego Tea Company, date to be announced; and Mohegan Manor in Baldwinsville, May 21. Another concept Wilkinson has for TDJ this summer is touring the parks with a production in conjunction with a “tapas and wine” offering. While the long-term plan is to pay OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Cake Commander Passion for baking cakes leads Hannibal woman to start business Gail McFarland of Hannibal is the Cake Commander and is now open for baking business. Born in an Italian family, she started cooking and baking with her mom and grandmother from a young age, eventually turning her focus more on baking, in particular cakes. “I would make cakes for my family and enjoyed it so much I started taking [cake decorating] classes.” In 2012, McFarland entered the CNY Cakes contest in Ithaca and while she did not place, it inspired her to hone her craft even more. “It was my first time and I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “I used a lot of butter cream myself but [at the show] I saw a lot of fondant work.” McFarland spent the next year learning how to work with fondant, taking classes at A.C. Moore and online. She also taught herself to make flowers from gum paste, sugar and fondant. “I learned about a more professional fondant, marshmallow fondant,” she said. “I tried it out through people at 43

SPECIAL REPORT work and they really loved it so I have been using it ever since.” McFarland re-entered the contest in 2014 and placed second with her cake and fondant depiction of a kitchen and the Pillsbury Dough Boy. While her main products are cakes and cupcakes, McFarland will bake whatever a client asks for. “With my Italian family, I grew up with the Italian wedding cookies, but right now the popular items are cakes and cupcakes,” she said. “I also can do gluten-free cakes and special recipes for clients with certain allergies such as nuts or eggs.” McFarland said she loves a challenge

Gail McFarland, owner and baker at Cake Commander, displays a Frozen cake, one of the more trendy themes these days, she said. Other popular themes she has made into cake include Pokemon and Candy Crush Saga.

McFarland’s entry in the CNY Cakes Contest, themed “Advertising Icon,” earned her a second-place finish in 2014. 44


and especially enjoys the different cake suggestions from friends and clients. “I tell everyone to just come up with an idea for a cake and I will run with it,” she said. “I will do the research to make someone’s idea a reality. It’s fun to see what they can send me and I let clients run with their thoughts and ideas. It’s like a work of art.” While for right now McFarland plans to hold onto her full-time job as a car radio repair technician, her hope is somewhere down the line Cake Commander will become a full-time career. She said her husband is very supportive and in between his full-time job is busy APRIL / MAY 2015

SPECIAL REPORT renovating a storage room in their house into her “cake” room. When asked what advice she would give someone who is toying with the idea of starting his or her own business, she quickly responded that the key is passion and research. “If it is in your gut, run with it. Ask questions, talk to someone who has a business, do your research. If you have the passion, go with it and don’t let anyone take it away from you. For me, I’ll be making cakes until my hands don’t work anymore,” she said with a laugh. For more information or to place an order, call 315-564-6609 or 315-2646921; email at Gailpirro39@hotmail. com; or check out Cake Commander on Facebook.

Tug Hill Graphics It’s all in the family for the Teachouts Jacob and Kristin Teachout, of Richland, filed a DBA for their family-business, Tug Hill Graphics, in October last year. While they cover all of northern New York, the company’s primary customer base is the Tug Hill region and Oswego and Jefferson counties. The husband-and-wife team designs and creates logos and graphics for vinyl decals, business cards, brochures, apparel and more. Prior to owning a business, Kristin said she worked freelance in graphic design and illustrator. Now the mother of young son, Kristin said the couple had been considering starting a business where she could work from home. “I’ve been able to draw since I was able to pick up a pencil or pen,” she said. “When my husband and I started talking about doing something home-based, [my skills] fit in perfectly with that plan.” Kristin graduated in 1995 with a degree in graphic design from the Art Institute of Pittsburg and is the company’s graphic designer. Jacob is employed full-time as a truck driver for the town of Orwell, but also plays an important APRIL / MAY 2015

Kristin and Jacob Teachout opened their business, Tug Hill Graphics, in October 2014. Located in Richland, the company designs and creates logos and graphics for vinyl decals, business cards, brochures, apparel and more. Their young son, Donald, also works in the family business. part in the family business. “He is my installer, my measurer and sales person,” Kristin said. “We work with a lot of the smaller, local businesses and are able to give them break on pricing.” To start, the Teachouts said they are gearing their business toward vinyl lettering and graphics for trucks and signage and recently purchased a heat press in order to do design work on apparel, such as sweatshirts and T-shirts. The couple’s son Donald is also very involved in all aspects of the business, from accompanying Jacob on jobs to measure and provide quotes to the design work and installation. “He will be the next one to do this,” she said with a laugh. Tug Hill Graphics is currently in the process of building a website and can be followed on Facebook, which also has samples of their work. For more information, call 298-7694 or 771-0019 or email tughillgraphics@ gmail.com. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Kristin Teachout is the graphic designer and artist at Tug Hill Graphics, a new family-owned business in Richland. She is also an illustrator whose preferred mediums are charcoal and pencil. 45

L. Michael Treadwell ooc@oswegocounty.org

County of Oswego IDA Presents Annual Report

T Agency’s programs supports creation of 672 new jobs, retention of 372 existing positions throughout Oswego County

L. MICHAEL TREADWELL, CEcD, is executive director of Operation Oswego County based in Oswego.


he County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency (COIDA) presented its annual report to the Oswego County Legislature’s Economic Development and Planning Committee in February. It provides an account of COIDA’s activities in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which ran from Aug. 1, 2013 to July 31, 2014. During this highly productive period, COIDA supported 30 projects that have invested or will be investing more than $264 million in Oswego County. Furthermore, these projects are expected to create 672 new jobs and retain 372 existing positions in Oswego County over the next three years. While facilitating more than a quarter billion dollars of investment is impressive, we are most proud of the large number of jobs retained or created in Oswego County. Over 1,000 jobs will exist in Oswego County because of the IDA’s efforts over this one-year period. During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, recording tax exemptions as authorized by COIDA provided assistance through five NYS General Municipal Law. The program of its nine financial assistance programs. also supported 15 projects projected to create The two programs, which supported the 383 jobs and retain 289 positions in Oswego greatest number of projects and jobs, were County. the PILOT Economic Development Fund Other forms of assistance provided in the and the Straight Lease Transaction program. 2013-2014 fiscal year included the Housing The PILOT Economic Development and Urban Development Economic DevelFund uses portions of PILOT income to opment Fund, which supported two projects, provide loans to businesses that want to the USDA Intermediary Relending Program expand, remain or move Economic Development to Oswego County. This Economic Trends Fund and the COIDA program has been in General Economic Deplace since 1994 and has been highly suc- velopment Fund. cessful. During the agency’s last fiscal year, Business projects assisted were distribthe program supported 15 projects projected uted throughout Oswego County, located in to create 385 jobs and retain 153 positions 11 towns and both cities. Projects represented in Oswego County. numerous industry sectors including manuWhether it is the 183 jobs to be created facturing, transportation, warehousing, retail, at K&N’s Food USA in Fulton or the three services, commercial housing, research and positions retained at the Fulton Animal Hos- development, healthcare, tourism/recreation pital, the PILOT Economic Development and distribution. Fund program is a proven tool that creates Sixteen of the 30 projects were in manjobs in Oswego County. ufacturing, representing 53 percent of all The Straight Lease Transaction provides projects. Detail on each is provided in the financial assistance to companies via real COIDA Annual Report, which may be found property tax, sales and use tax and mortgage at www.oswegocountyida.org. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

APRIL / MAY 2015

Fulbright to Send Oswego Prof to Finland


he Fulbright Scholar program has awarded Christopher Harris of the SUNY Oswego computer science faculty an opportunity to travel to Finland in August for nearly a year to explore cross-cultural user experience and user design, plus a variety of other research and teaching interests in human-computer interaction and business. Thanks to the Fulbright award, Harris will teach “HCI and Big Data” at Tampere University of Technology, the University of Tampere and University of Oulu in Finland. His main pursuit, besides teaching courses on big data and cross-cultural user experience, will be to continue research in human-computer interfaces, particularly as it ties to crowdsourcing, data mining, the business of game development and other spheres of human-computer interaction. A SUNY Oswego faculty member since 2013, he also will seek collaborations with scholars and business people. Among the questions Harris ponders: Why do companies in Finland, Sweden and other countries of Scandinavia seem to have a magic touch in designing multi-platform video games — “Angry Birds,” “Clash of Clans” and “Minecraft,” to name a few — that fascinate children and absorb adults? Yet why can’t the designers find the secret ingredients to repeat their global success at will? How could unearthing the secrets of such cross-generational, cross-cultural hits inform and influence other realms, such as student engagement in learning? “Why are Scandinavian companies successful producing items that the world wants?” he wondered. “How do

APRIL / MAY 2015

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Harris they get this collaborative environment to work so well? You want to make it so you give your users a chance to provide input on what to change. These are not big companies, staffed with maybe 20 to 30 people, but they are able to use information from the hundreds of thousands of users to make the product design better.” ‘Flow’ control — ­ Finnish developer Rovio’s mega-hit “Angry Birds,” for example, has been downloaded more than 2 billion times worldwide and spun off cartoons, toys, other games and, coming in 2016, a movie. Yet the Finnish company has been hard-pressed to repeat the success, said Harris, who teaches courses in Oswego’s School of Business as well as in HCI and computer science.


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Big Bosses, Fat Paychecks A

Are School Superintendents Worth Their Weight?

re school district superintendents overpaid? School superintendents are indeed some of the highest paid professionals in the education sector. It’s not unusual for their pay, when including benefits and other forms of compensation, to hover in the neighborhood of $200,000. That is not chump change, no matter what economic sector one is looking at. The median salary for a school superintendent in Syracuse in March is $138,490, according to salary.com. The website reports the median salary for a school superintendent in the United States is $146,892. Robert Lowry is the deputy director for advocacy research and communications with the New York State Council of School Superintendents in Albany. He said for quite a while, districts have had a hard time finding and keeping strong candidates for superintendent positions. “It’s a very demanding job with a lot of scrutiny,” Lowry said.


He said in the past, changing state requirements served to reduce the scope of the job and making it less satisfying. “In more recent years, that has accelerated with budget pressures that schools have dealt with, first with freezes and cuts to state aid. The last few years, there have been increases in state aid, but districts have had to adapt to very tight property tax caps,” Lowry said. In addition, superintendents have the responsibility of implementing state reforms such as the new teacher-principal evaluation system, common core standards and related testing, as well as the controversies surrounding those initiatives. With the financial pressures that districts have faced and tax caps, Lowry said the state has seen a flattening of superintendent salaries over the past four years. Statewide, the average superintendent salary has gone up 0.4 percent a year over the past four years, he said. According to the New York State Education Department, the average salary OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

for a school superintendent in New York state was $133,527 in 2004-2006. By 2014-2015, the figure has risen to $167,787. Lowry said in regards to salaries, districts and superintendents are agreeing to smaller raises for those continuing on the job. Meanwhile, boards are hiring new superintendents and paying less than they used to in part because of scrutiny of district finances as well as the pressure of tax caps. “We have also seen benefits being pared back to the extent that superintendents are receiving less generous benefits than teachers, principals and even assistant superintendents if the district has those,” he said. “Assistant superintendents are saying they are not interested in the job because he or she will have lesser benefits and pay that is not that great,” he said. “Plus, they’ve got all these pressures, demands and scrutiny.” Instead of having assistant superintendents or directors of instruction APRIL / MAY 2015

SPECIAL REPORT becoming superintendents, it is not uncommon to see a principal rise to the top spot. “One of the issues with that is the principal may not have had the experience of working with an elected board compared to an assistant superintendent working in the central office, who is more likely to have had that experience,” he said. Lowry said his office has done informal surveys of search consultants. “We hear there are fewer truly superior candidates and more often districts are finding it necessary to reopen searches for superintendent positions,” Lowry said. He said it is a very competitive market and it is simply not a case where high demand and limited supply are driving up the price. “In fact, we’ve seen close to a flattening of salaries and a diminution of benefits,” he said. The next level — Lowry said superintendents are accountable to many different people. Formally, they are accountable to an elected board of education that hired them, he said, entities that can sometimes change dramatically. “But they are also essentially first in line in being held accountable for implementing state policies,” he said. “Something like the teacher-principal

evaluation system really falls most heavily on principals because they have to go out and evaluate all the teachers according to this system. But they are in turn evaluated under the system by superintendents.” District leaders are also accountable to parents, taxpayers and other voters, he added. “They have a lot of masters and a tremendous variety of responsibilities,” he noted. “I think ultimately they are responsible for instruction, and have to worry about finances, personnel decision and facilities,” he said. “If there is big construction project, that may take up a lot of their time.” Lowry said several years ago, his office asked its members what they would want politicians, the media and public to know about their work as superintendents. “One response in particular that stuck with me came from a superintendent who said, ‘Every morning I wake up thinking, ‘How can we keep everyone safe today?’” he said. If something tragic happens to a child on school grounds or at a school event, it most likely is the superintendent who has to contact the parents. “I hear from superintendents who

talk about visiting hospitals and going to funerals,” he said. “There’s that part of the job as well.” “It’s a tremendous variety of responsibilities and assortment of authorities that superintendents are accountable to and a lot of uncertainty and change that adds to the difficulty,” he said. Taking the lead — Lowry said districts have had to make some difficult financial choices in recent years, and superintendents take the lead in framing those choices and presenting what sort of decisions are necessary to be considered. “I’m struck by how open the school district budget process is,” he said. “You don’t get to vote on county, town, village or city budgets. Because the school budget approval process culminates with a referendum, the whole process is oriented toward informing and engaging stakeholders.” Lowry said as a result, districts conduct a lot of hearings, community forums and public meetings with superintendents at the center of that. Lowry said sometimes board of education members, teachers’ unions and parents want to avoid the type of choices that the district really has to ponder. “It’s the superintendent who has to call them back and say, ‘If state aid doesn’t come through better, these are in

Superintendent Salaries – Oswego County Source: New York State Department of Education Altmar-Parish Williamstown School District Name: Anita Murphy Salary: $143,489 Benefits: $53,397 Total compensation: $196,886

Hannibal Central School District Name: Donna J. Fountain Salary: $142,000 Benefits: $50,210 Other: $7,000 Total compensation: $199,210

Central Square Central School District Name: Dr. Joseph A. Menard Salary: $170,000 Benefits: $66,701 Total compensation: $236,701

Mexico Academy & Central School District Name: Dr. Robert R. Pritchard Salary: $154,020 Benefits: $51,488 Total compensation: $205,508

Fulton City School District Name: William R. Lynch Salary: $165,000 Benefits: $55,823 Other: $3,761 Total compensation: $224,584

Oswego City School District Name: Ben Halsey Salary: $170,000 Benefits: $51,000 Total compensation: $221,000

APRIL / MAY 2015


Phoenix Central School District Name: Judy Belfield Salary: $148,257 Benefits: $54,511 Total compensation: $202,768 Pulaski Academy & Central School District Name: Brian Hartwell Salary: $143,500 Benefits: $71,500 Total compensation: $215,000 Sandy Creek Central School District Name: Stewart R. Amell Salary: $159,600 Benefits: $67,152 Total compensation: $226,752


SPECIAL REPORT fact the choices that we have to honesty look at,’ and that’s a hard job.” Lowry said school districts easily can be considered the most important institution in the community. They are important in two ways, he said. One, it’s responsible for preparing the community’s children for adult life, and the superintendent is the person ultimately responsible for trying to make the whole system work toward that goal, he said. Secondly, schools form the cornerstone for property values in many communities. “People buy homes where they do because of the schools,” he said.

“It’s the most important institution in a community and the superintendent is the executive or steward responsible for trying to protect and enhance the strength of the institution,” he noted. The right stuff — Lowry said he is struck by the diversity of responsibilities that superintendents have and their need to be able to pick what’s most important to focus on in any given day, month of year. Lowry said smaller school districts, superintendents are “spread very thin. “They may not have a business official working with them or an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction,” he said. “They may be in

effect the transportation director. In some smaller districts, the superintendent doubles as the principal.” Lowry said superintendents’ pay is generally but not completely a function of the district’s size. “You may have smaller districts that are much more affluent where there are very high expectations for the schools,” he said. Lowry said one district may have someone who has been superintendent for 18 years and another district has someone on the job for two years. “The 18-year veteran will probably make significantly more than the newer person,” he said.

Select Superintendent Salaries – Onondaga County Source: New York State Department of Education Baldwinsville Central School District Name: Dr. David Hamilton Salary: $194,645 Benefits: $58,355 Other: $7,400 Total compensation: $260,400

Jordan-Elbridge Central School District Name: James R. Froio Salary: $148,025 Benefits: $35,721 Other: $4,500 Total compensation: $184,246

East Syracuse-Minoa Central School District Name: Dr. Donna J. DeSiato Salary: $185,704 Benefits: $46,759 Other: $20,000 Total compensation: $252,463

Liverpool Central School District Name: Dr. Mark F. Potter Salary: $165,000 Benefits: $58,076 Total compensation: $223,076

Fabius-Pompey Central School District Name: Thomas P. Ryan Salary: $145,384 Benefits: $45,406 Total compensation: $190,790 Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District Name: Dr. Corliss Kaiser Salary: $199,651 Benefits: $58,423 Other: $370 Total compensation: $258,444 Jamesville-Dewitt Central School District Name: Dr. Alice Kendrick Salary: $185,640 Benefits: $39,938 Total compensation: $225,578 50

Lyncourt Union Free School District Name: James J. Austin Salary: $109,402 Benefits: $46,949 Total compensation: $156,351 Marcellus Central School District Name: Dr. Craig J. Tice Salary: $172,893 Benefits: $58,174 Other: $6,916 Total compensation: $237,983 North Syracuse Central School District Name: Annette Speach Salary: $180,000 Benefits: $58,652 Other: $2,400 Total compensation: $241,052


Onondaga Central School District Name: Rob Price Salary: $120,000 Benefits: $46,923 Total compensation: $166,923 Skaneateles Central School District Name: Kenneth G. Slentz Salary: $170,000 Benefits: $13,109 Total compensation: $183,109 Solvay Union Free School District Name: Lawrence E. Wright Salary: $141,835 Benefits: $50,245 Other: $2,000 Total compensation: $194,080 Syracuse City School District Name: Sharon L. Contreras Salary: $204,000 Benefits: $14,500 Total compensation: $228,500 West Genesee Central School District Name: Christopher R. Brown Salary: $187,603 Benefits: $57,501 Other: $11,000 Total compensation: $256,104

APRIL / MAY 2015


The Buck Stops Here School superintendent job not for faint of heart


re they worth their salt? School superintendents are among the top-paying leaders in any profession, and based upon their job demands, it is easy to see why. Christopher J. Todd is the district superintendent for the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation in Mexico. CiTi was formerly the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). He began as district superintendent in June of 2012. Prior to that, he served as the superintendent of schools at the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District in Western New York, a position he held since 2007. He also participates in superintendent searches in the region. Todd said job stress comes in many forms as a school superintendent. “Obviously the fiscal stress put on communities in the last seven to eight years has definitely changed the role of superintendents, which for a long time was really to provide the best programs they could fiscally provide for children,” he said. “The gap elimination adjustment and the tax cap on the local level have been significant game changers,” he said. Since the 2009-10 school year, the state has deducted from each school district’s state aid allocation an amount known as the gap elimination adjustment to help the state fill its revenue shortfall. The New York State School Boards Association says the net impact has been detrimental to students in the form of cuts in personnel, programs and services and the depletion of district reserves. “The primary responsibility still is to provide the best possible education for students, but now it comes with significant different stressors,” Todd said. “The fiscal piece has probably been the major stressor for superintendents.” Todd said one on-the-job stressor is sacrificing family life due to a hectic and demanding schedule. “The countless number of concerts APRIL / MAY 2015

and sporting events that my own children partake in that I miss is significant,” he said. “But you know that going in. “I’m lucky enough to have a support system at home that allows me to keep a balance.” Todd noted the overall average tenure of a superintendent in a large urban school district is only about 3.5 years. “People don’t stay in the position for a

Big Bosses, Fat Paychecks


long time,” he said. The national average is just under 6 years. He said different variables impact that number, such as the age when one enters the superintendency. “I also think that the superintendent’s job is not for everybody. It’s a tough job,” he said. Short tenure is a prominent feature of urban districts where superintendents typically face intense pressures to raise dismal test scores, deal with budget shortfalls that may require layoffs and school closings as well as manage the often-tricky politics of elected school boards. Todd said the size of the district doesn’t necessarily equate to a larger workload. “Obviously the bigger the district, the more responsibilities you


SPECIAL REPORT may have. But there are many occasions in smaller districts where there is less administrative support, so the superintendent may have to take on more administrative responsibilities,” he said. In some instances, superintendents are seconding as the principal. However, the onset of annual professional performance reviews is “making that an untenable task,” Todd said. “It’s almost impossible to be a principal and superintendent.” “I came from a relatively small district where I probably know more about transportation, operations, maintenance and how a cafeteria runs than I probably should,” he said. “That’s the reality of being a superintendent. Even in large districts, you need to know the curriculum and also need to know how the system runs.” Ultimate pinnacle? — Is the superintendent’s job the proverbial “brass ring” among school administrators? “Obviously, it is a brass ring if we are talking about just salary,” Todd said. The median salary for a school superintendent in the United States is reportedly $146,892. “It is the highest-paid position in the district. That’s not true for all districts, but true for most,” he added. Todd said superintendents’ salaries are relatively high when compared to what others make in the community. However, “I think their salaries are on track to where they need to be in order to retain someone,” he said. “Obviously, there are jobs in our community where people may put in more hours than a superintendent,” Todd said. “People talk about it being 24-7 and it is. It’s a high-profile job, and

with the onset of cell phones and social media, basically you are on all the time.” Todd has an annual salary of $159,500, of which $43,499 is provided by the state. His health insurance is through CiTi, which is self-insured. His vision and dental coverage is provided through the state education department. CiTi also provides Todd with a reimbursement for a disability insurance policy up to $1,500. Looking at it from a career aspirations standpoint, Todd said there are people in central office administration who are content with their desired positions. “Some people in administration just want to be an athletic director,” he said. “There’s others who have spent their time in classrooms, and love curriculum and instruction. They have no desire to ever rise up to superintendent. They would rather be director of curriculum or superintendent of instruction.” Todd said it is the same on the business end of the operation. “If you have an affinity for the business of education, you become a business administrator,” he said. “Many times, business administrators are very happy and the brass ring for them is just to be business administrator.” Being a school superintendent is not something commonly aspired to when at an early age, Todd said. “I dare say you never look back on anyone’s yearbook quote and see his or her featured aspiration or goal is to become a school superintendent,” he said. “The best superintendents were probably tapped along the lines by their superintendents or other people saying, ‘We would like you to pursue administration,’” Todd said.

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What Todd is seeing through superintendents’ search processes is people coming from diverse backgrounds, which is something relatively new to the profession. “If you were to ask me 10 years ago how many superintendents were coming from nontraditional teaching backgrounds, I would say very few,” he said. “Now, we are seeing more and more.” He said more people from the business sector are showing interest, but they still must meet minimum qualifications. That means they have to earn their certificate of advanced studies through a graduate program in order to qualify to be licensed in New York state. Todd said specialized skill sets are mandatory in order to be a successful school superintendent. “It comes down to core values,” he said. “A superintendent going into the profession must put kids first.” “A lot of decisions people make on a daily basis in this job are not going to be adult-based decisions, and when you make non-adult-based decisions, oftentimes adults will be upset,” he said. Todd’s duties differ somewhat from superintendents in component districts. He has supervisory responsibilities at CiTi, but he is also the sole supervisor for the county in answering to and working directly for the commissioner and New York State Education Department. Component superintendents work for a board of education and their district, and even though they don’t work directly for the state education department or legislature, there is a maze of mandates and regulations that they have to follow, Todd said.

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APRIL / MAY 2015


Students Leaving College with a Degree — and average $29,400 in Loans


Growing number of students leaving college with higher student loans. For most, refinancing is not an option

ome May, thousands of students in Central New York will leave college with a valuable degree in hands. They will also leave college with a big bill to pay — $29,400. That’s what the average student will owe the government or private lenders after they graduate, based on 2012 numbers. Paying for a college education can be expensive, no matter how it’s done. Student loans are a primary method of paying for an education. Students considering refinancing those loans to get lower interest rates should carefully consider personal factors before doing so, experts advise. In many instances, loan refinancing is not available to students. Refinancing, some proponents say, is especially attractive as the nation’s total student loan debt burden hits $1.2 trillion. More student loans than credit card accounts are now delinquent, according to The Washington Post. Student loan debt — In 2012, fully 71 percent of all students graduating from four-year colleges had student loan debt. That represents 1.3 million students graduating with debt, up from 1.1 million in 2008 and 900,000 in 2004, according to The Institute for College Access and Success. The 2012 figures show 66 percent of all graduates from public colleges had student loans, 75 percent of graduates APRIL / MAY 2015

from private nonprofit colleges had student loans, and 88 percent of graduates from for-profit colleges got their degrees with student loans pending. The average debt levels for all graduating seniors with student loans climbed to $29,400 in 2012, a 25 percent increase from $23,450 in 2008. About 20 percent of 2012 graduates’ debt was comprised of private loans. Private loans are typically more costly and provide fewer consumer protections and repayment options than safer federal loans, according to The Institute for College Access and Success. Refinancing is not available to all students. “The grim reality of refinancing, however, is that most borrowers — the average bachelor’s degree graduate with debt owes $29,000 — aren’t eligible for the deal. Education refinancing requires steady income and a high credit score,” a recent Washington Post story said. Refinancing addressed — Mark Humbert, SUNY Oswego financial aid director, said he doesn’t know of any student loan package that permits refinancing. “I am not aware of any lenders who provide a refinancing option for federal student loans that saves the student money over simply repaying the U.S. Department of Education directly,” Humbert said. “Refinancing, if available, may lower the monthly payment if students stretch the payments out over OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

a longer period.” Humbert said the student “may actually end up paying more in total interest, but the lower payments may be beneficial for them.” The DOE can also help students reduce monthly payment amounts through income-based repayment options, Humbert said. “We strongly encourage students to be very careful when evaluating any loan offer, including consolidation or refinancing options,” he said. Humbert Humbert also looks to the DOE in terms of the safest loan option for students. Loan consolidation — “The Department of Education loan consolidation allows students to consolidate their federal student loan debt into one payment. They do not allow students to include any non-federal loans,” he said. Any lender who could offer a better consolidated rate than the student is otherwise paying or provides some other repayment advantage “may be a reasonable option,” Humbert said. “I am not familiar with lenders who can save students money over what they are paying on their federal loans to 53

SPECIAL REPORT the Department of Education, but there may be some out there,” he said. “As with any borrowing, students must be careful to avoid teaser interest rates or rates that are dependent on them not being late on payments, etc. “I have heard many horror stories of students who thought they were getting a great rate, only to find it was for the beginning of the loan or only at a low rate if they were never late on a payment,” Humbert said. About 80 percent of SUNY Oswego students take out federal loans. The average SUNY Oswego student federal student loan debt is $24,552. The conventional loan repayment is 10 years. Humbert said the DOE offers income-based repayment programs for all students to pay their loans over longer periods of time. Federal loans preferable — Humbert’s office offers various kinds of help for students with loans.  “We provide online and in-person information and counsel to students and families about the loan programs we administer, federal loans, and help them understand the things they should consider if they are looking into private or non-federal loans from another lender,” he said. Humbert said he is aware that some local lenders, banks and credit unions “are now offering loan programs that may make financial sense for some students and families. “It is best to work with a reputable lender you already have a positive relationship with.” “We provide an excellent online financial literacy program for our students through our online student service portal,” he said. “This system helps students better understand borrowing as well as provides them with excellent personal finance training.” Humbert encourages students to take on the minimum debt necessary to fund their education. “We provide assistance to students and parents in identifying grants and scholarship opportunities to minimize their reliance on loans,” Humbert said. Factors affect refinancing — Cathleen Patella, director of student financial aid and compliance at Cayuga Community College, said there are many factors to consider when looking to refinance a student loan. Discover and Wells Fargo are among 54

private financial institutions that offer student loans. According to Discover, “When you consolidate your federal student loans, you combine multiple loans into one new student loan. Federal student loan consolidation centralizes all of your federal student loan payments so you submit one monthly payment to a single servicer.” Private student loans are not eligible for a federal student loan consolidation, Discover adds. CCC perspective — Cayuga Community College is a two-year college, and its students may not reflect the situations of those attending four-year schools, Patella said. “Because we have such a unique mission and many of our students are not the traditional, full-time student, our percentage of students who borrow will be less than a four-year college,” Patella said. She said 45 percent of students who attend CCC borrow under the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. Less than 1 percent of CCC students use private loans to finance their education, Patella said. The average student loan debt for CCC students in 2013-14 was $4,700. Staff at CCC and other area colleges are available to talk to students who have questions about loans or refinancing, Patella said. “Our professional counselors talk to students about the responsibility of borrowing under the federal student loan program. We also work with students to help them determine how much they would need to borrow to help pay for their tuition costs and often living expenses,” she said. “We try to have students borrow only what is needed. We assist students in completing the federal requirements to receive a student loan,” Patella said. All students must complete entrance counseling and sign a master promissory note. She said students do that at CCC by utilizing the government student loan website, www.studentloans.gov. “We provide computers in our office to do these requirements and our staff is always available to assist students who have difficulty completing these steps,” Patella said. For students who borrow under the federal loan program, the government is the lender. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“We do not recommend private loan lenders,” Patella said. There are many options students have to repay their loans. All the programs can be reviewed in detail on the www.studentloans.gov website. Standard federal loan repayment includes a $50 minimum payment, with a maximum time frame of 10 years to repay the loan. “The government provides many options for students to repay their student loans,” Patella said. There are options other than refinancing loans that are eligible. “Students who are unemployed or having difficulty should contact their loan servicing center. There are unemployment and hardship deferments students can qualify for while they are seeking employment,” Patella said. CCC does not make recommendations on loans depending on a student’s course of study. “What we would not recommend is that students if at all possible limit their borrowing to the federal loan program instead of borrowing a private loan,” Patella said. “One of the many reasons to attend a community college is that students have a low cost of attendance and it should enable our students to pay their educational costs with federal loans. This is not always possible in all cases but our low percent of students in private loan programs is less than 1 percent.” It’s difficult to answer whether a student be fully committed to pursuing a college education before taking out a loan, Patella said. “If a student doubts their ability to succeed, it would be best for that student to live at home and attend a community college,” she said. “At a community college, a student from a low-income family could have their college costs covered with federal and state grants and no loan would be necessary if the student lives at home.” That factor substantially lowers a student’s loan debt overall if the student decides to transfer to a four-year college, she said. “But the most important thing about controlling student loan debt is that students should only borrow what they truly need. These loans should be viewed as a way to pay for college and should be used to cover college costs,” Patella said. APRIL / MAY 2015


SUNY Oswego’s Gatekeeper Admissions office has tough job of deciding who is in, out


uring this time of year, thousands of high school seniors are on the edge of their seats waiting for an acceptance letter from SUNY Oswego. Twenty-seven years ago, Daniel Griffin, director of admissions at SUNY Oswego, was in the same exact position. As the youngest child of 10, Griffin was raised in a small town outside of Potsdam. He was encouraged by his high school principal and family members to visit Oswego due to his passion for communication, English and journalism. “When I visited Oswego for the first time in 1982, it was one of those things you hear about when you step on campus and you know it’s the right place. It was life altering,” Griffin said. As an undergraduate at SUNY Oswego, Griffin majored in creative writing and volunteered at the admissions office. Although he didn’t know it at the time, the volunteer opportunity he took with admissions was key to entering his profession. “As a student at Oswego, I felt like I was given a lot of opportunities and I knew if I was willing to work hard and have an interest in making something out of myself, this was the place that would help me along,” Griffin said. Griffin received both his bachelor’s degree in creative writing and master’s degree in education from SUNY Oswego. In 1993, he was offered a position as APRIL / MAY 2015

higher education refers to racial and ethnic populations that are disproportionately lower in number relative to their number in the general population. Marketable product — The admissions office at SUNY Oswego handles the intake, manages the applicant pool and promotes the college to the public. “We’re not the ones packaging the financial aid offers, teaching the classes, engaging students in research or tending to their needs in the residence and dining halls, so we rely on the faculty and staff to deliver a good product so that we can promote it,” Griffin said “Ultimately, we

a “roadrunner” for the SUNY Oswego admissions office. His duty was to travel to high schools in New York in order to promote SUNY Oswego through college fairs. Although it was only supposed to be a 10-month gig, 23 years later, Griffin holds the position as the SUNY Oswego director of admissions. “Although many people may disagree, I believe that a position as the head of admissions is the ultimate example of what you do with a liberal arts major,” Griffin said. “Everyday, I use some aspect of the education I received here at Oswego whether I’m writing, communicating or doing an analysis of numbers.” As an Oswego alumnus, one thing Griffin takes pride in is the increase in diversity that Oswego has seen over the past few years. In 2014, 18 percent of transfer students and 26 percent of new freshman enrollment were from “underrepresented” backgrounds. “This is the place that just about half of our freshman applicants are from ‘underrepresented’ backgrounds,” Griffin said. “You can walk across campus and see we’re a diverse place and much more representative of the real word than we were 10 years ago.” “Underrepresented” in Griffin OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


SPECIAL REPORT SUNY Oswego admissions office is in the process of analyzing the applications of about 13,000 students who hope to be admitted to the college. Only a fraction of that will be accepted. depend on each other.” Over the next two months, the admissions office will only admit about 47 percent of an average of 13,000 applicants in hopes of assembling an incoming class of 2,200 freshmen and transfer students for the fall of 2015. “A job in admissions is like shooting an arrow and two months later checking to see if you hit the target. These days, you need to hit it right on the nose,” Griffin said. The number of high school graduates has “flat lined” in New York state over recent years, and SUNY Oswego has been reaching out to new populations to get a larger applicant pool, he added. Unlike many other colleges and universities facing this challenge, SUNY Oswego had made dramatic campus improvements to help sustain enrollment. Over the past few years, SUNY Oswego closely followed the trends in college majors and adapted to the changing market with about $1 billion in campus upgrades, including the $118 million Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation. Following trends — Since popular majors tend to follow market trends, the SUNY Oswego admissions


office is sensitive to these critical changes. The college has been able to maintain enrollment just as interest in science, technology, engineering and math programs began to skyrocket and interest in education programs began to decline. The admissions office now enrolls about 150 less students in the education program than in previous years, but it is able to compensate by enrolling students interested in other fields of study such as STEM. “Our goal in admissions is to maintain and sustain our enrollment,” Griffin said. “Right now, we are at a sweet spot of about 7,000 undergraduates and that’s where Oswego needs to stay in order to have a healthy enrollment.” As for recruiting students, the SUNY Oswego Admissions Office stresses the importance of traditional methods of marketing such as direct mail and college fairs, as well as social media. It connects with students on their terms through social media, email and through an online presence. However, parents are still the ones opening the mail and zeroing in on things related to cost and scholarships, so it’s crucial to stick to traditional methods of recruitment as well, Griffin said. “The prevalence of social media hasn’t diminished the need for traditional interactions; if anything, the need has grown,” Griffin said. “Of course, the Internet and social media let us reach more people, but after seeing SUNY Oswego online, interested students and parents either want to visit us or have us visit them, so in a way it has just ramped up traditional methods.” Through the admissions process, the office sculpts its incoming class each year with the same high quality standards and criteria for both transfers and freshmen, Griffin said. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

The acceptance of a transfer student comes down to what credits he or she has earned and grades earned at their former college. However, when admitting freshmen students, admissions looks for more than a strong academic background. Looking at the whole student — Admissions criteria is based around a student’s high school GPA, SAT and ACT scores, and supplemental items including a student essay, letter of recommendation and resume. The ideal student accepted into SUNY Oswego has an average GPA of 90 and average SAT score of 1100, Griffin noted. Every college has flexibility with admissions criteria and that’s when the admissions offices focus on supplemental items and personal characteristics of a student. Griffin said SUNY Oswego looks for motivated students who are not shy about taking on a challenging program. “Where our work really comes into play is calling those borderline balls and strikes,” Griffin said. “When we come across those students with an 83 GPA and 1050 SAT scores who were the captain of three sports teams or the president of their class, that’s when true admissions counseling matters.” To ensure each student admitted is fit for Oswego, the admissions office goes through a necessary verification process. There is always more than one admissions counselor reviewing borderline applications and committee meetings are held every other week. “We want to be consistent and fair and we don’t want to set someone up for failure,” Griffin said. “I don’t lose sleep when I’ve denied admission to a kid who doesn’t meet our criteria because I’m not doing a favor if I’m setting them up for failure. I would worry when we haven’t spent enough time giving someone a chance who I think can succeed here.” In some cases, admissions counselors go as far as contacting a student’s high school guidance counselor to receive his or her input before accepting a borderline student. “The most gratifying part of working for admissions is knowing I have the power to change a person’s life by admitting them or offering a particular scholarship,” Griffin said. “For me, it was life-changing to come here.” APRIL / MAY 2015


Hands On

Five business organizations at SUNY prepares students for a successful future


he future of business is in the hands of our student leaders. At SUNY Oswego, there are five student-run business organizations: Enactus, GPS, Investment Club, Business Management Club, and DECA. They are helping to shape the future leaders of America into well-rounded and goal-driven professionals with skill sets that make them stand out. “It’s important for students to be involved in business organizations because that shows they are putting leadership into action and taking initiative,” said Richard Skolnik, dean of the SUNY Oswego School of Business. “They are applying the concepts they’ve learned in the classroom and that’s going to serve them well as they go out into the business world.” These student-run business organizations provide students with an opportunity to network, gain internships and net job offers. “Members of these clubs are gaining three essential skills that are crucial in every business organization: leadership, project management and collaboration,” Skolnik said. New on the scene — The most recent club to be added as a student-run business organization on campus is GPS: Goals, Purpose, Success. The mission of GPS is to provide students with the means and knowledge that will empower them to determine their goals, discover their purpose, and achieve success. “GPS is helping students develop important habits such as defining goals and managing time that will become habits of success later on in their lives,” Skolnik said. “What you think and what you do make you the person you become.” Dan Saccocio, a business administration student at SUNY Oswego, had a vision to help students and other orgaAPRIL / MAY 2015

Richard Skolnik, dean of the SUNY Oswego School of Business, and Dan Saccocio, a business administration student at SUNY Oswego. nizations set personal goals in order to ensure success in their futures. After an extensive nine-month process, his vision became reality when GPS became an official student-run business organization at SUNY Oswego. Saccocio was motivated to help other students set life goals after learning about a study done at Harvard Business School in 1979. The study was made up of two questions: “Do you have life goals?” and “Are your goals written down?” Then 10 years later, the same OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

students were asked another simple question: “What is your current salary?” The results showed only 3 percent of the students had written down their life goals, and those 3 percent had made more money than the 97 percent that did not set goals. “Seeing numbers like this made me wonder why all students didn’t set goals,” Saccocio said. “I came to the conclusion that the majority of students didn’t set goals because they either don’t know the true effectiveness of goal setting, or if they do, they do not know how to properly set goals.” With this in mind, Saccocio created GPS to help students understand and commit to the power of creating personal vision. One resource that GPS offers is a handbook that helps students organize their goals and define their purpose in order to achieve success. “The GPS handbook not only gives students the opportunity to set effective goals, but also acts as a daily planner in which members will create an action plan for the current day, while keeping the end result in mind.” Saccocio said. “The daily planner section gives clear guidelines for maximizing daily productivity, personal motivation and living a balanced life.” After being an active organization for one semester, GPS has already created real-life plans for 23 students and is continuing to grow. The organization has recently implemented the mission of GPS to Syracuse University and Auburn University. “It is my belief that any professional organization is searching for goal-driven people with a vision,” Saccocio said. “We’ve created a club that doesn’t just boost your resume, but boosts the person behind the resume.” Business organizations at SUNY Oswego — GPS is not the only club preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs of SUNY Oswego for a successful future in business. Each of the five organizations is designed around a different area of business expertise to benefit students and help them gain crucial leadership and business skills. DECA — DECA is a business club that allows young entrepreneurs and leaders to test the waters in marketing, Continued on the nex page 57

finance, hospitality and management. Through membership in this club, students are able to find a fitting career path and learn how to apply their skills into a professional setting after graduation. “DECA is designed around its competitions. Students choose an event as either an individual or team and present a case study to a board of judges,” said Max Luttinger, DECA president. “The events are designed to simulate real projects and problems that a professional would have to solve and many members even bring their events into job interviews to prove to employers what kind of work they can do.” Enactus — Enactus allows business students to use the concepts they learn in the classroom to create community outreach projects that benefit local businesses. This semester, Enactus is working on three major projects with small businesses in Oswego, including DIGITIZE, Enclothe Oswego and Money Smart. “Each project gives members the opportunity to gain hands-on business experience while applying the concepts they learn in the classroom to help others,” said Mark Michel, Enactus president. “By participating in Enactus, students get to prepare for their future careers while simultaneously making Oswego a better place to live and learn.” Business Management Club — The Business Management Club focuses on providing students with the skills they need to compete in a demanding job market. Members of this club work on building their brand in order to connect and network with business executives after graduation. “We provide workshops that equip our members with the skills necessary to be successful in the business world and the way our club is structured allows for our members to gain leadership experience in their specific field,” said Billy Reese, vice president of marketing and head of recruitment for the organization. Investment Club —The Investment Club focuses on students interested in the financial sector and allows students to manage a real-money portfolio, suggest companies to invest in and take part in hands-on equity research. “We manage real money, and have watched our portfolio grow from $100,000 to over $135,000 in under two years,” said Dianora DeMarco, vice president of the club. “Involvement in the Investment Club is truly rewarding. You really take what you learn in class, apply it and make it your own,” DeMarco noted. 58


Educating our Veterans SUNY Oswego program ensures that military, veteran students are taken care of


any military and veteran students come to college campuses for orientation and suddenly feel misplaced. SUNY Oswego’s Veteran Services program provides guidance and support services to best serve the veteran and active military student population. “There have been various incarnations of the program over the years, but prior to getting involved, its primary focus was getting the GI Bill benefits for students,” said Veteran Services’ coordinator Ben Parker. As the program evolved over the years, Parker has been heavily involved in getting in touch with military and veteran students individually as soon as they come to campus. He acts as the point of contact and guides each student through the admissions process, program requirements, policies and procedures, and highlights the unique features the college offers. “They will Parker usually come here shortly after getting out of the service. Everything is unique to them depending on their situation and where they are coming from,” Parker said. In previous years, there were few services available for the social transitions and issues military and veteran students potentially might have. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“If the matter is something outside of school, it can still negatively impact their education. We make sure we have all those channels setup to get people to the right spot,” Parker said. He is helped with understanding these issues by interacting with other veterans’ organizations on and off campus. One of these organizations is the Watertown Vet Center. Vet Center representatives visit the local campus multiple times during a semester to allow veterans to speak to veterans’ affairs counselors and outreach specialists. Another organization that is highly recommended is Clear Path for Veterans. Clear Path empowers military members, veterans and their families through traditional and non-traditional wellness-enhancing programming delivered in a safe and family -centered environment. It integrates community-based programs and services into a holistic network of supportive resources spanning Central and Upstate New York, according to the Veteran Services website. “Our students have used Clear Path for multiple things. We had a few students go there on Thanksgiving because they had a free dinner set up for veterans and their families,” Parker said. Along with the different resources SUNY Oswego provides, military experience is rewarded with college credit and tuition assistance. SUNY Oswego uses American Council on Education recommendations to give up to 30 college credits based on a serviceman or woman’s position in the military. APRIL / MAY 2015

Any courses that apply to a student’s major or electives will be rewarded upon enrollment and departmental approval. Helping financial hand — Military tuition assistance is also granted from all branches depending on the student’s military background. Education counselors from each service provide information on the criteria for eligibility. Once all the information is established, then the assistance will be authorized. “It is kind of like the Tuition Assistance Program, but instead of being based off on your income, it’s based on military status,” Parker said. In 2013, Parker and other faculty members decided to provide a study and recreation space in Hewitt Union for military students while giving an opportunity to meet and socialize with other veterans and service members. The veterans’ lounge also serves as an information point where students can access veteran-specific materials relating to campus resources, education benefits, scholarships, Veterans’ Administration benefits, community-based veterans’ organizations and upcoming campus and community veterans’ events. “If there are upcoming events or new information on a specific program, I post it in there. I also post anything on campus that would be relevant such as career services or disability services so it’s easily accessible,” he said. With veterans being non-traditional learners who often commute to campus, the lounge is furnished with a television, refrigerator and coffeemaker that are available for use between classes while they study and socialize. One of the main donors to make the veterans’ lounge possible was retired U.S. Air National Guard Lt. Col. Mike Waters. When Waters attended SUNY Oswego, he had academic difficulties and there hadn’t been programs supporting him as a veteran student, Parker said. He is the sponsor of the Lt. Col. Mike Waters, USAF (Ret.) ’70 scholarship. Each year, one recipient receives a $1,000 scholarship to complete his or her degree. It is aimed toward helping a student who holds a part- or full-time job, with preference given to Central New York residents who are veterans. Military Advanced Education and G.I. Jobs has ranked SUNY Oswego a military friendly school in 2015, but the institution was also named a “best for vets” college by Military Times. Only 100 four-year colleges are on the list and only nine schools are based in New York. APRIL / MAY 2015


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The Importance of Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech While we don’t see incidents in the United States like the one in Paris involving the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, there have been plenty of examples of intimidation that have resulted in injury, even death, to journalists and editors who dared to publish controversial stories or photos.

BRUCE FRASSINELLI is the former publisher of The Palladium-Times and an adjunct online instructor at SUNY Oswego. You can contact him at bfrassinelli@ ptd.net. 60


he bloody rampage in Paris early the pope is a closet atheist, your remarks are this year that left 17 persons dead protected. and nearly two dozen wounded was Granted, this will not protect you from triggered around a satirical cartoon of the community scorn or of others exercising their prophet Mohammed that appeared in an right of free speech to tell you what they think irreverent publication of you, but it’s an extreme called Charlie Hebdo. example of the freedoms My Turn In a bold move of we have and, largely, take defiance, the newspafor granted. per’s next edition published another carThere have been thousands of cartoons toon showing a weeping Mohammed. The satirizing and lambasting the president, the original plan to print three million copies leaders of Congress, the pope and other notawas bumped up to five million, and all sold bles. There have been thousands of columns out in an hour, with people waiting in long where these same persons have been savaged lines to buy the “keepsake,” and, in the pro- in print or in blogs. cess, thumbing their noses at the terrorists. Despite the cutting nature of the comDespite the fact that nine of their colmentary, you do not expect to see the columleagues were killed in a hail of bullets at a nist or author executed by one of the notables’ staff meeting at the newspaper office, the defenders or hauled off to jail by federal surviving journalists refused to be intimiofficials. dated. In two key phrases within 45 words, the While we don’t see incidents of this framers of the Constitution established the magnitude in the United States, there have press as the only business in America that been plenty of examples of intimidation is sheltered from government intervention. that have resulted in injury, even death, to Unlike the broadcast media, controlled by the journalists and editors who dared to pubFederal Communications Commission, no lish controversial stories or photos. federal agency regulates or licenses the print When confronted with such a heinous media. and murderous rampage as we saw in If Palladium-Times Publisher Jon SpauldParis, it should give us an idea of how iming wanted to put the f-word on the front portant freedom of the press and freedom page of the paper — I assure you he never of speech are. Some may not even process would — there is no law that says he can’t, what the terms mean. Sure, they are two and there is no prior restraint to prevent its of the fundamental guarantees in the First publication. Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but Why did the founders take this daring what do they really mean to lay people? step? As a citizen, you have a right to express They wanted to ensure that Americans your views on just about anything, and, rewould enjoy the free flow of ideas; would be gardless of how outrageous or ill-tempered free to examine the quality of their instituthey are, the government won’t come to tions and those who serve them; to say freely arrest you. Now, granted, these are not abwhat they think; to read and write about solute rights. If you threaten to kill someone government; and to publish information and or announce you are going to blow up the critiques without hindrance or official interWhite House, you are breaking the law, and ference. you will be prosecuted. The brilliance of the First Amendment But if you proclaim that President is at once awesome and wondrous. With the Barack Obama is an idiot, that the mayor stroke of a pen, it created an open society, one of your community is an incompetent, that that places its faith in free speech and in a OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

APRIL / MAY 2015

If Palladium-Times Publisher Jon Spaulding wanted to put the f-word on the front page of the paper — I assure you he never would — there is no law that says he can’t, and there is no prior restraint to prevent its publication. free press; one that is ready to expose the actions of public officials to the people, who, once fully informed, will make their own choices and decisions. Over the two and a quarter centuries since the Bill of Rights was ratified, many politicians, by their actions, have sneered contemptuously at the public. In the end, however, the public has prevailed, and these arrogant and wrong-headed individuals who betrayed the public trust paid dearly for their miscalculations. Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., are two recent examples who come to mind. We owe much to the framers of the Constitution. They ensured for us the freedoms that many others can only dream of, that many others have died trying to get. We take many of our freedoms for granted. We have enjoyed them so long that we assume they always will be part of our society. But when these freedoms are assailed, as they were by a bunch of thug extremists in Paris, we must emulate the French and other freedom-loving people around the world and show these hoodlums that we will not be bullied, frightened or intimidated, regardless of the price. Live free or die. APRIL / MAY 2015




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Corner E. 4th & Bridge St. Oswego 343-7822


5828 Scenic Ave. (Route 3), Mexico 963-2722






ho said a “brain drain� is sapping Oswego County of all its young talent? Thanks to an impressive array of individuals in the millennial generation (born in 1982 and later), Oswego County is seemingly in good hands as the baby boomer generation begins to age out of the workforce. Oswego County Business Magazine recently took the time to present some of these millennials in a feature package that we hope readers will enjoy. While millennials are associated with an electronics-filled and increasingly online and networked world, they also will be interacting with members of the community as they carry the torch well into the 21st Century in Oswego County. With that said, we would like to introduce several millennials who are making a difference in Oswego County. Profile of Rose Favata was written by Leslie Semel; all others by Lou Sorendo.



APRIL / MAY 2015


Chris Mitchell After living in Maryland and Virginia, Syracuse native finds niche in Oswego


or Chris Mitchell, his new job is to retain and recruit physicians to Oswego County. This comes in the aftermath of his own return to his beloved city. Mitchell, 30, is the director of physician retention and recruitment at Oswego Health, a position he has held since last November. He and his wife Sara now reside in Oswego after living for several years in Maryland and Virginia. Mitchell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration at SUNY Oswego. He then attended Union Graduate College in Schenectady, where he earned a Master in Business Administration with a concentration in healthcare management. Mitchell said after completing his MBA, returning home to the Port City was on his radar. However, “when I began assessing opportunities, it became clear there was inherent value in experiencing how healthcare organizations function elsewhere across the country,” he said. Mitchell went on to work at different healthcare organizations in Virginia and Maryland over the past five years. “The time spent with these organizations and their leadership granted me invaluable perspective on many levels and prepared me for the exciting opportunity I function in today,” he said. Mitchell said his decision to continue his career in Oswego County is multidimensional. “Personally, my wife and I are both natives and have a great deal of family and friends in the area,” he said. “Professionally, this position grants me the rare opportunity to promote Oswego County regionally and nationally to varying outside entities while also serving the local interest by retaining and recruiting high-quality providers to enhance healthcare accessibility locally. “Ultimately, being in a position where it is my primary objective to APRIL / MAY 2015

promote and serve an area where I grew up, attended school, played sports and earned my bachelor’s degree in is truly an honor.” Family ties — Mitchell said having the opportunity to be around family and friends is something he thoroughly enjoys. “In both Virginia and Maryland, my wife and I made great friends who we still connect with often but having the chance to see family and lifelong friends more regularly has been the greatest part about living here,” he said. “Clearly for us, a big part of our decision was family driven. However, there are a number of other attributes that we considered,” he said. The real estate index compares favorably here versus previous areas of residence, he noted. “Moreover, the overall cost of living is reasonable which affords us the ability to position ourselves better long term,” he added. Being avid travelers, the Mitchells enjoy being centrally located where a number of cities such as New York City, Washington, DC and Philadelphia are a reasonable drive away. The same can be said for smaller locales such as Saratoga Springs, Albany and Lake Placid. “Economically and from a public standpoint, I recognize there is a number of great initiatives going on that aim to enhance Oswego County’s economic framework and add to the overall appeal of living in Oswego County,” he added. Mitchell said the local area offers a great deal of benefits and variety depending on the season. “We enjoy biking, golfing, hiking, running and snowshoeing, all of which is very accessible locally. In addition, we have enjoyed attending a number of Syracuse Orange basketball games as well,” he said. The most challenging part of living in Oswego, Mitchell said, is dealing with the winters. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“Having only recently relocated, I am still readjusting to the climate and this winter season did not make it an easy adjustment,” he said. Mitchell is an avid runner and Maryland offers a number of paved, dedicated running/biking trails that he enjoyed during the more mild winter months. “These trails allowed me to avoid busy roads and adverse conditions while still running outside, whereas here I have resigned to the ‘joys’ of treadmill running,” he said. Mitchell said he and his wife intend to stay in Oswego for the long term. “We purchased a house in the city of Oswego and have spent most of our free time putting our personal touches on it,” he said. “Professionally, the leadership at Oswego Health has been tremendously supportive and I am excited to continue efforts on a number of great initiatives that are ongoing.” Mitchell, a native of Syracuse, is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.



Michael Leszczynski Former SUNY Oswego student in business since his sophomore year


any SUNY Oswego students hailing from other areas of the state and nation have opted to stay in the Port City for various reasons. Take Michael Leszczynski, for instance. Leszczynski, 33, is a native of Newburgh and resides in Oswego. He attended SUNY Oswego. Leszczynski is the owner and president of Dynamic Automotive on George Street, Oswego. The business is an aftermarket accessory store that opened in 2001. He also owns and operates Commercial Audio Solutions, a business that


opened in 2014. CAS specializes in audio/video installations for commercial and home applications. Among his career highlights was being nominated for the top-50 mobile electronic retailers, 2013-2014, in the nation at the recent Mobile Electronics Industry Awards. Leszczynski moved to the Oswego area when he attended SUNY Oswego and met his wife Jamie. He opened his business when he was a sophomore in college. “That is when my wife, who is from Buffalo, and I decided to stay


and raise our family here,” Leszczynski said. “Coming from a bigger city closer to New York City, I really appreciated the small-town feel of the Port City.” He said his family loves the historical attributes of Oswego and enjoys the waterfront. “I often believe a lot of people take the waterfront here in Oswego for granted,” he said. “Oswego County provides my family great opportunities for recreation and enjoyment all year long.” Leszczynski did say the business climate in the area has “gotten increasingly harder” with recent tax increases, but he does see positive movement happening at the local and county levels. He notes Operation Oswego County presents many financial incentives for current and future businesses through Industrial Development Agency and Small Business Administration loans along with many other resources locally. Leszczynski is a board member for OOC and is a committee member for SAVE. His recreational pursuits involve spending quality time with his family, hunting, competing in triathalons and enjoying the outdoors.

APRIL / MAY 2015


William ‘Billy’ Barlow Jr. Back from Arizona, Oswego native is elected to public office at age 23


illennials are certainly making a significant impact on local society, including running city government. William “Billy” Barlow Jr. was only 23 when he won the Fifth Ward seat on the Oswego Common Council in 2013. Barlow, a native and resident of Oswego, is now 24 and has one full year of governance under his belt. He was recently named deputy director of the Central New York regional office for the New York State Assembly Minority under leader Brian Kolb. The 2008 graduate of Oswego High School earned his Bachelor of Science degree in emergency/environmental technology management at Arizona State University. He has been co-owner of Barlow’s Concessions, LLC since 2012. While being elected to the common council is certainly a career highlight, Barlow has also successfully expanded his business operations into western New York as well as Arizona. “Spending time away while at college, I grew to appreciate the city of Oswego and all that comes with it and felt inclined to include it in my future,” Barlow said. “It is a perfectly sized community at an ideal location on the lake and river. The city was a wonderful place to grow up and I’d find myself looking forward to coming back while school was on break.” When Barlow graduated and contemplated where to plant his roots and start his branch of the family business, he could’ve literally chosen anywhere, but Oswego is where he wanted to be. There is no better place to spend summer and fall than Upstate New York, he noted. “For Oswego specifically, the people in this community are special. The way APRIL / MAY 2015

this community comes together during trying times is truly remarkable and the sense of community has a significant impact on me,” he said. Barlow said he is committed to Oswego and hopes to have a positive impact on its future. “I regularly lobby others to move


here. I’m proud to be from here and feel a responsibility to give back to the community that served me so well growing up,” he said. Barlow said there are many positives happening in the city of Oswego. “I believe we are seeing the business environment, particularly downtown, come back to life,” he said. “People are becoming conscious of buying local and trying to help stimulate the local economy.” Barlow said this underlines the sense of community in the city. “If a business can insert itself with the right service or product and become part of that rising energy, it has the potential of being profitable,” he added. Barlow is a board member of the Oswego County Youth Bureau. He enjoys spending time with his beagle Sammy, and reading history and biographies.



Chelsea Wahrendorf F

With a degree in dance performance from Brockport, native Oswego now in a deli owner

or millennial Chelsea Wahrendorf, the opportunity to be by waterways and enjoy a small-town feel is the reason she chose Oswego as home. Wahrendorf, 24, is a native and resident of Oswego. “I love the water. I love being on this huge lake and having the changing of the seasons,” she said. “I also love the small-town community that has devel-


oped, especially with all the local shops and businesses. “I could stroll down West First Street with a cup of coffee and have the most delightful afternoon.” Wahrendorf earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance performance at SUNY Brockport. She owns and operates The Cutting Board, 35 W. Bridge St., Oswego. She


has been the sole proprietor there for three years. “I chose to stay in Oswego because I had just moved back from college and had greatly missed this place for four years,” she said. “I wanted to be near my friends and family, and I thought this town needed a healthy food option location.” Wahrendorf said her favorite thing about Oswego aside from the people she loves is its geographic location. Conversely, Wahrendorf said she dislikes “the rigmarole you have to go through to simply start up a business or make positive change to the community here. “It seems like you have to play along and jump through hoops just to get your foot in the door. Also, the parking is horrendous.” She said once her business gets established and sustains itself, she would like to travel and try living in different parts of the world. “I’ve always wanted to live somewhere tropical like Costa Rica or Aruba, and also would try living in Europe, Indonesia or Argentina. The list goes on and on. But eventually I know I will come back here and live near my family when it comes time for me to have one of my own.” Wahrendorf said she thinks Oswego has a lot of positive incentives, such as SUNY Oswego, the water and being near Syracuse. “If someone could find a niche that would cater to college students or maybe to our beautiful terrain, I think they could be very successful here in Oswego,” she noted. She enjoys spending time with her girlfriend Jessica and has two “amazing animal children”: Piper and Luna. Her hobbies include traveling, cooking, dancing, being near the water, singing and the arts.

APRIL / MAY 2015


Colin Hogan Reporter from Pennsylvania now a managing editor in Fulton


e’s got ink in his blood. Colin Hogan is a proven journalist whose investigative talents have led to positive changes in the communities he has reported on. He has been the managing editor of The Valley News in Fulton since August 2014. Hogan, 30, was born in Sayre, Pa., but grew up just across the border in Waverly. Hogan worked as a reporter in the Twin Tiers of New York and Pennsylva-

APRIL / MAY 2015

nia before becoming the editor of The Valley News in Fulton. “The most exciting thing I covered regularly before moving here was the natural gas industry boom in Northeast Pennsylvania, with particular interest in the different policies adopted by each state with regard to hydraulic fracturing,” he said. His coverage shed light on loopholes in Pennsylvania state legislation that gas producers took advantage of to avoid making royalty payments to landowners


with whom they had contracted. This reporting laid the foundation for subsequent articles by The Wall Street Journal and Pro-Publica on this matter, which then prompted state legislators to propose changes in the law and changes in leadership at major energy companies. “I also made a name for myself reporting on the growing heroin epidemic in the Twin Tiers’ rural communities, particularly among teenagers and young adults,” he said. The Oswego resident is a 2008 graduate of SUNY Potsdam. Hogan is a member of Rotary International. He enjoys playing guitar and piano, singing, hiking, kayaking, home brewing and reading. While Hogan moved to Oswego County to take the job with The Valley News, he said the area is an ideal fit for him. “Winters in Oswego County are, of course, challenging to deal with but the cold months have gone by fast and now I’m looking forward to enjoying my first Oswego County spring,” Hogan said. “Beyond the weather, though, Oswego County is a perfect fit for someone like me,” he noted. The small-town feel of its communities, the history, outdoor recreational offerings and the abundance of arts and culture events give Hogan much to enjoy. “This county also gives the newsman in me a lot to sink my teeth into,” he said. “I’ve settled into this community for the long haul, and am looking forward to it.” Hogan said Oswego County covers all of the facets people his age might look for in a place to make careers for themselves. “The variety of industries that exist here, the colleges and non profits that serve this area offer any budding professional a lot of opportunities for future growth,” he said. “Outside of work, there’s no shortage of great places to grab drink and a bite to eat.” No matter what time of year it is, there always seems to be some big festival going on, like Fulton’s Great Eastern Whiteout or Warm Up Oswego in the winter or the famed Oswego Harborfest in the summer, he noted. “For a young, unsettled professional looking for a place to lay some roots, this area really has it all,” he added. 67


Jonathan Shaver Electrical design engineer has lived in many states before returning to the area


onathan Shaver is used to wearing many hats. During the day, he is an electrical design engineer at Exelon Corp.’s Nine Mile Point nuclear power plants in Scriba, a job he has been doing for about three years. Shaver, 31, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in systems engineering and a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering. He is married to Jillian, and the couple has two children. Shaver is also a lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserve and has served in the Navy for almost nine years, six of those active duty. Shaver and his wife own many properties around downtown Oswego, most notably Walgate Commons. “I would also consider my volunteer position as the founding president of the board of trustees for The Children’s Museum of Oswego a part-time job, as I devoted over 900 hours of volunteer service in 2014 alone,” he said. Shaver was born and raised in Oswego. He went to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and then served for six years on active duty. He lived in places such as Monterey, Calif., Hawaii and Charleston, S.C., but ultimately moved back to Oswego once he left active duty. “The plan all along was to move back to Oswego. Most of my family lives here and I loved growing up here. Even after living in all these great places across the country, I feel Oswego is the best place to raise a family based on the economics, opportunities and safety of the area,” he said. “I also feel like Oswego is a small enough place where individuals and small groups can have a real impact.” Through The Children’s Museum of Oswego, Shaver has seen first hand just how true this is. “Our small team of dedicated people has brought about such a change for 68

the children of Oswego County and the recognition and support of families and residents is very rewarding,” he said. Pros and cons ­— Shaver said there are plusses and negatives associated with the area.

“I like the slower pace lifestyle, the outdoor recreation including the lake, and most of the people,” he said. “I really like knowing people everywhere I go. Catching up while out and about beats Facebook any day of the week.” Shaver enjoys surfing on the lake year round and hiking and biking on the many trails around the county. “I think Oswego is in good proximity to Syracuse, but not too close. One of the greatest assets of Oswego is the relative lack of big chains and box stores,” he said. “While there is such a push around the country to squelch local, family-owned businesses and move in

Jonathan and Jillian Shaver OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

APRIL / MAY 2015

COVER the direction of ‘Main Street America,’ Oswego has largely maintained its unique identity, especially downtown.” Shaver said there is nothing he dislikes more about the area than the naysayers and people who put down the city and county. “If you are dissatisfied with something or don’t like living in our town, then either actively do something to change it, or please move,” he said. “Those people are what holds Oswego back in going from a good city to a great one.” Shaver said he also feels “this is a small town with big-city politics. “People need to pull their ideas of Oswego back into perspective and realize the gem we have here.” Shaver’s great-grandparents emigrated from Europe to Oswego in the early 1900s and his family has been here ever since. “I dream about other places to live, but with all the great things those places have to offer, there is a negative that is just as significant to make it undesirable,” he said. “Oswego has a great balance and I have no plans or desire to live anywhere else.” Shaver said Oswego is a city on the edge of a great shift. “As more young people stand up in our community for positive change, it is becoming easier to achieve,” he said. “Community pride is starting to really increase.” He noted the number of small businesses is expanding and the opportunities around the area are increasing. “The lake and outdoors offer a wide variety of fun right on our doorsteps. Great housing is affordable and the area is relatively safe,” he said. “The number of opportunities for families is increasing.” Shaver said the snow can be tough sometimes, but the “perfect days of summer are always just around the corner. “The number and quality of jobs in the area may be a little limited, but they are getting better and more plentiful. Life is a little slower and great for raising a family.” Shaver is a member of Golden Key and the National Eagle Scout Association. He also enjoys gardening, homesteading and woodworking. APRIL / MAY 2015

Jillian Shaver J

30-year-old now the force behind Children’s Museum of Oswego

illian Shaver enjoys the history of the Oswego area so much that she is devoting her time to creating a new attraction: The Children’s Museum of Oswego.” Shaver is the executive director of the CMOO, which was founded as a 501c3 nonprofit organization in 2013. She has served as executive director for two years. “From Fort Ontario to the Freedom Trail to period-style homes, I enjoy seeing many of these historical elements still being a part of our community today,” she said. Shaver, 30, is originally from Simsbury, Conn. The Oswego resident earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology at The George Washington University. Jillian is and her husband Jonathan have two children. “After having lived in several large cities for 10 years prior to moving here, I was drawn to the small-town atmosphere of Oswego,” she said. “I noticed a unique sense of pride, a willingness to help your neighbor and a desire to enhance the community that were absent in other places I had lived.”

Shaver said her work with The Children’s Museum of Oswego has allowed her to connect with the community and add to what it has to offer. “I feel the resources and support I need to excel in my career are available here in Oswego,” she added. She and her family enjoy walking downtown, but she often finds parts of the city are not optimally designed for walking. “I think this prevents Oswego from being a more active city and encouraging outdoor physical activity,” she noted. Shaver said her family is in Oswego for the long haul. “Oswego is where I have planted my roots and plan to stay,” said Shaver, noting Oswego is a “wonderful place to raise a family. “A trip to the lake, a hike at Salmon River Falls, enjoying the Children’s Park during Harborfest; these are all things that create special childhood memories. Oswego offers an affordable cost of living and a variety of opportunities for everyone to find their niche.” Shaver’s hobbies include raising chickens, dancing and artisan bread baking.

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Andrew Hafner F

Working for companies around the country from Oswego home

or Oswego native and resident Andrew Hafner, opting to reside and make his career in Oswego was a matter of opportunity and circumstance. For the past five years, Hafner has worked for Netegrity Consultants. The business offers technical consultation and support for small- to mid-sized companies in the Northeast United States. “We are a very team-oriented company, and as such, no official titles are necessarily handed out,” he said. Hafner also designed and administers the website for the United Way of Greater Oswego County, as well as offers technical support to its office when needed. He also installed security cameras at Hurricanes Bar in Oswego that operate on a network. Hafner, 29, was immediately offered a position with Netegrity after graduation, mostly due to his ties working for many years at Campus Technology Services. His office is located in East Syracuse, but the majority of work is done remotely from home. “I commute to the office once or twice a week depending on my current responsibilities, but it is mostly only necessary when obtaining new clients or when training new employees,” he said. “I grew up here, so when I was offered a position that would require little travel, was in my field, and would allow me to stay put, I took it.” Hafner said friends and family are the most enjoyable aspects of being in the area. “I can’t think of a better reason for staying. I really like the people in this town. I enjoy the night life and I have a lot of fun,” he said. “I think we have a strong community here and that is an important element in choosing where to live.” On the flip side — Conversely, Hafner said Oswego “honestly isn’t the


greatest place for industry and career building. There are few opportunities here for someone to build a career, with only a handful of large companies or organizations in the immediate area to choose from. “In fact, it can sometimes be difficult for a person to just find a low-paying part-time job here.” Hafner said there are only a few large companies in the area to choose from. “However, with such a strong community here, small businesses — whether they are local restaurants, beauty shops or even print shops — can flourish if given the opportunity,” he noted. “I think it’s very encouraging to see and it makes me glad to be part of the town,” Hafner said. “I believe the town could do more to encourage this kind of growth, though.” Hafner said he thinks property taxes could be cut for private business owners and some residents could be


less quick to complain about “frivolous” inconveniences. “For example, currently there seems to be a debate about the summertime noise ordinance and the live music that plays in downtown bars,” he said. “There has been live music downtown for decades. It plays a large role in the city’s thriving night life, which equates to local commerce.” Hafner said he thinks the city could create incentives for people to want to “make a go of it here” if they did more to embrace and aid their local businesses “instead of at times seemingly working against them.” Hafner holds a Master of Arts degree in human-computer interaction and a Bachelor of Arts degree in information science, both from SUNY Oswego. His career highlights include earning his Linux Professional Institute and Calix certifications. Hafner said he intends to stay in Oswego for the time being. “But if a really great opportunity arises somewhere else, and the pay is too good to turn down, I would be willing to move,” he said. “I am certainly not actively looking or planning on doing so, however.” His recreational pursuits include bowling, home coffee-roasting and gaming.

APRIL / MAY 2015


Rose Favata Mother finds niche as a registered nurse manager


ose Favata is all about family. As an Oswego native, she didn’t move too far from home. She lives in Scriba with her three children and husband, Tim. “It’s important that my kids are raised around family,” she said while rocking her newborn in her arms. The small community environment is a perfect fit for Favata. She enjoys the intimate, personal connections made in the area and the places her family can travel are within driving distance. “You can drive six hours and you’re at the beach, or you can see a Broadway play in New York City and drive home for the day. There’s just so much around here,” she said. When Favata isn’t crafting or spending time with her children, she spends most days working as a registered nurse manager at Morningstar Residential Care Center in Oswego. Nursing suits Favata. It’s an instinct for her to take care of others, and that’s how her love for nursing fell into place. Interacting and caring for others wasn’t something she thought she’d end up loving. She had a position as the store manager of a shoe department, but was robbed and held hostage at gunpoint. She began to have anxiety issues shortly thereafter and on a whim, she entered the world of nursing. “I fell hopelessly in love,” Favata said. She is fairly new to the nursing scene. Favata began nursing school in 2010 and graduated two years later before passing the National Council of State Boards APRIL / MAY 2015

of Nursing licensure exam. Nursing suits Favata. “That’s part of the reason why I like


our community because there is always six degrees of separation where people flow into your life,” Favata said. The close-knit community “is hard to come by,” she said, and having such a support system full of personal connections is an even greater incentive to raise her children here. Favata’s love for her small-town community has grown into a bigger family. Her family. “It takes a village to raise a child, and we have that,” she said.



Kelli Ariel Saratoga Springs native now in charge of Web communications at SUNY


here’s a special vibe in Oswego when SUNY Oswego students descend on the city each semester. For Kelli Ariel, the Web communications associate at SUNY Oswego, “there’s

Ali McGrath Development director at United Way sees vibrance in the community


or Ali McGrath, living in Oswego is all about enjoying the “small-town community vibe.” McGrath is the resource development director for the United Way of Greater Oswego County. She started the position last October, but she has had a long history with the United Way office as an intern and later as a project coordinator for a year under a Success By Six grant. “Most of my family is here and several of my friends still live in the area


an unparalleled vibe” in the city when students come back each semester. “I grew up in a college town and am used to that hum. I would miss that energy in many other cities,” she said. “I also love the new food scene that’s popping up. Between the butcher shops that have been around for years and the new restaurants with fresh menus and wholesome ingredients, downtown is a foodie heaven.” Ariel said she plans on working in Oswego for quite some time. This vibe in unparalleled. She began her new post last August. Ariel, 25, is

originally from Saratoga Springs and began her position at SUNY Oswego in August. The Syracuse resident earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design from SUNY Oswego. “It feels good to be back here, in a position that allows me to give back to the institution that helped shape my education and career path,” she said. “It’s also been very rewarding meeting locals and learning more about the places and activities I didn’t know existed when I was an undergrad. “Oswego is full of hidden gems and that makes it worth it to stay here.” When Ariel moved back to Oswego two years after graduating, she realized many of the new businesses starting up were in touch with the needs and tastes of millennials. “The new cupcake shop is phenomenal, there’s a record store with a diverse collection of albums and there’s a small venue-gallery for shows downtown,”

or within a short car ride,” she said. “It always seems when I start to question why I stayed here I end up in a situation where that small-town community vibe kicks in and I’m reminded how thankful I am that this is where I live.” McGrath said the area features “vibrancy and innovation,” two aspects of the community that act as incentives for people to want to stay here. “Staying relevant requires new ideas and a forward way of thinking,” she said. “As a city, Oswego is capable of doing so but it needs to be an effort by all and not met with a lot of resistance.” She said younger generations are going to keep Oswego relevant. “I think some of their ideas need to be appreciated and looked at with more respect and consideration,” McGrath said. “If that can be done, Oswego could

really become an attraction to many.” The Oswego resident earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from SUNY Oswego. She also earned a graduate certificate in integrated health systems at SUNY


APRIL / MAY 2015

she said. “The addition of these businesses makes the city of Oswego a more appealing place to live, not to mention the cost of living is lower than many other cities around.” Ariel noted Oswego County is naturally beautiful, and there are a lot of outdoor activities. “I hear about new areas to kayak, camp and hike that I didn’t know existed,” she said. “I plan to take full advantage when the weather warms up.” She said SUNY Oswego offers many opportunities for growth and professional development. Ariel plans on getting her master’s degree in human-computer interaction in the future. “There are also many knowledgeable individuals who are experts in their field living and working here,” she said. “You always come away learning something new after speaking with them.” Among her career highlights is being featured on PSPrint’s design blog. She enjoys recipe collecting, baking, gardening and visiting museums.

Oswego. “I moved back here to attend graduate school at SUNY Oswego and after about six months of job searching, I was hired at the United Way,” she said. “This is a position I’ve wanted since I chose business administration as my major during my freshman year of college.” McGrath said she is a “people person” and cares about what happens in the community she lives in. “Working at a nonprofit and trying to better the county I grew up and live in is a position that I couldn’t pass up,” she said. McGrath said she loves summer in Oswego. “I don’t think there is anything better than spending a day on the boat in Lake Ontario with my friends,” she said. By the time February and March roll around, “I’m over the snow,” McGrath said. “Everything fun that happens during the winter seems to be over and I start to get a little stir crazy.” McGrath said it is difficult to say what the future holds for her, but for the present time, she is happy in Oswego. A member of the Fulton Rotary Club, McGrath enjoys traveling, reading, boating and spending time on the beach. APRIL / MAY 2015

SUNY Oswego helps solve problems. We provide advisement and training for business start-up and expansion. We assist in accessing grants and provide for workforce development opportunities. We provide technical assistance and training for noprofit organizations. We build relationships that lead to a better economy and inject vitality into the Central New York community. SUNY Oswego offers unlimited horizons. Learn more. oswego.edu/obcr Office of Business and Community Relations 103 Rich Hall, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126 315.312.3492




The Millennial Generation — Who Are They? What, exactly, is the millennial generation?


ccording to whatis.techtarget. com, the term millennials is usually considered to apply to individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. Millennials, also known as Generation Y or the Net Generation, are the demographic cohort that directly follows Generation X. Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of the 1991 book “Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069,” are often credited with coining the term. Howe and Strauss define the Millennial Generation as consisting of

individuals born between 1982 and 2004. A snapshot of Millennials, according to whatis.techtarget.com: • Millennials grew up in an electronics-filled and increasingly online and networked world. • It is the generation that has received the most marketing attention. • The most ethnically diverse generation, Millennials tend to be tolerant of difference. • Having been raised under the mantra “follow your dreams” and being told they were special, they tend to be confident. While largely a positive trait,

Millennial statistics n 50 percent of Millennials consider themselves politically unaffiliated. n 29 percent consider themselves religiously unaffiliated. n They have the highest average number of Facebook friends, with an average of 250 friends vs. Generation X’s 200. n  55 percent have posted a  selfie  or more to social media sites versus 20 percent of Generation X.


the Millennial generation’s confidence has been argued to spill over into the realms of entitlement and narcissism. They are often seen as slightly more optimistic about the future of America than other generations, despite the fact they are the first generation since the Silent Generation that is expected to be less economically successful than their parents. One reported result of Millennial optimism is entering into adulthood with unrealistic expectations, which sometimes leads to disillusionment, according to whatis.techtarget.com.

n 8 percent of millennials claim to have sexted, whereas 30 percent claim to have received sexts. n They send a median of 50 texts a day. n As of 2012, only 19 percent of millennials said that, generally, others can be trusted. n There are about 76 million millennials in the United States (based on research using the years 1978-2000). n Millennials are the last generation born in the 20th century. n 20 percent have at least one immigrant parent.


Source: Pew Research

APRIL / MAY 2015

SPECIAL REPORT By Matthew Liptak

Real Estate Prices in Greater Syracuse Stall After dramatic gains in the period ending in January 2014, median prices of real state appear to be stalling


he increase in median home prices in the Syracuse area appears to be stalling, according to data supplied by the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors, but low interest rates and a recovering economy leave local realtors optimistic about the coming year. Median sale prices were up 9.4 percent over the year ending in January of 2014 while by January of 2015 median prices were up just 0.4 percent over the previous year. “Price gains are still positive, but less robust than last year because of the shift to an increased equilibrium and stability to the market,” said the Great Syracuse Association of Realtors President Linda Thomas-Caster. A bright note was that pending sales from the fourth quarter in 2014 were up 9.8 percent since the previous year, rising from 1,353 in 2013 to 1,485 in 2014. Average days on market had fallen in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 6.1 months from 7.3 months the previous year. Data for the first quarter of 2015 was not yet available at time of publication. The Greater Association of Realtor’s data covers the counties of Cayuga, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego and Seneca. “I would say all of our counties are doing well,” Thomas-Caster said. “[In] 2014 everybody has reported sales being up or at least stable. We had that big influx in 2013...but [in] 2014 everybody was holding their breath, hoping that it didn’t fall after that and it really didn’t. It held. I think it equalized. There’s a little bit of equilibrium there stability-wise plus the private sector job growth and wage growth was up.” Thomas-Caster said she believed the homes with the highest median sale prices in the Syracuse region were in the Fayetteville and Manlius communities and that was likely to continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. APRIL / MAY 2015

Inventory has decreased substantially, which could be a challenge for real estate agents, Thomas-Caster said. By the fourth quarter of last year inventory had decreased 13.4 percent from 4,239 homes in 2013 to 3,672. The quality of search had improved however, meaning there were less foreclosures and homes requiring repairs that were on the market. “People were looking in an area and they could actually find properties that they were looking for rather than just a bunch of old leftover inventory that didn’t sell in the previous market,” Thomas-Caster said. The association’s president said she believes 2015 will be better than last year because of continued low interest rates and the upswing in the economy. She did have concern about the year getting off to a slow start however with unusually heavy snow and cold temperatures possibly discouraging potential buyers. “It’s harder when you can’t see roofs, you can’t see the yard,” Thomas-Caster said. “You don’t know what’s on the outside. You don’t have any idea of the landscaping, Most people have photos from when it was clear. It’s harder for people to buy, but you always have the relocation people. You always have the people coming in that need to buy.” A major deterrent to new buyers are student loans, she said. Young couples are often reluctant to move out of a rental and into their first home purchase if they have substantial debt. “People have already gone into the job market and have their education behind them,” Thomas-Caster said. “They have so much student debt that it throws their ratios of debt because a young couple usually has two cars so they have two loans. They have huge student debt. Their ratios are high on debt. That’s unfortunate.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Thomas-Caster Thomas-Caster said that more people were upgrading to a new house over what they were doing just a couple years ago. She also said home builders were more optimistic about this year. Another item considered a plus for the housing market was that the U.S. Congress decided to keep the mortgage interest deduction on income tax. Thomas-Caster said that legislators were considering eliminating the deduction, which would have amounted to a tax hike for home owners. The biggest piece of advice the association president could give to prospective sellers was to listen to their real estate agents. “Every situation is individual for each seller, but sellers need to listen to their Realtors because they know the statistics,” she said. “They don’t want to market a house that’s never going to sell at that price.” 75

Lois Luber


My Path to Cape Coral, Florida “I bought a second home in the Florida sunshine. Let me help you find one, too!

After owning Flowers by Mr. John and working for United Way, Lois Luber is now in real estate — in Florida

LOIS LUBER is the former owner of Flowers by Mr. John and development director at Oswego County United Way. She has recently relocated to Cape Coral, Fla.


executive director of United Way of Greater Oswego County, asked me to join her at the agency. The challenge: raise awareness of human service needs and raise dollars to improve lives. Developing strategies to reach inding my calling in Florida has been a campaign goal meant making phone calls, a journey — and reaching 60 was the presentations, requests for sponsorship, detrigger. signing marketing materials, event planning, It was my husband John’s idea to spend engaging volunteers and recruiting partners winters in Florida and I fought him all the at companies of all sizes. Some of the best way. I had many reasons: fear of missing my moments were working on events such as friends and family, worries about managing Stone Soup, Salute to Volunteers and the Anour properties in Oswego nual Golf Tournament. and, most of all, finding My Turn Communication is work that is satisfying. the key to building trust I like to work, dig into a project, set in order to reach desired results. Whether it’s goals, learn new skills, communicate with asking for a nonprofit donation or showing others, and get satisfaction from results. property to a future homeowner, the donor It’s all come together with our move in or buyer must feel confident that you are January 2015. knowledgeable and motivated to serve their After a 63-hour licensing course in Noneeds. vember and signing on with an experienced Meeting people of all walks of life is team at Priceless Realty, I’ve already sold the common denominator throughout my two properties, listed and sold our condo many years of employment. It’s easy when and purchased a new home in Florida that you live in Oswego, locals are known to be has plenty of room for the grandkids. friendly and welcome a conversation. A career in real estate is the perfect way That’s how we fell in love with Cape to continue relationships in both communiCoral and the surrounding areas. People are ties. friendly; everyone’s smiling, especially in Having had a New York real estate winter. brokers’ license in the ‘80s, I understand the Cape Coral, Fla., is a large city over challenges and hard work that is necessary 114,000 square miles, designed in the ‘60s to be successful in real estate sales. As a with over 400 miles of canals, more than any self-employed business owner of Flowers by other city in the world. The convenience of Mr. John from 1985 to 2001 I learned many shopping, restaurants, boating, beaches, nathings, but most of all the importance of ture, parks, golf and more set on a grid and building relationships and providing exceleasy to navigate, home of friendly neighborlent service to customers. hoods in the sun. It’s an ideal place to own a After selling the flower shop, I jumped second home or live year round. into three years of study at SUNY Oswego Priceless Realty has been in business expecting to finally get the answer to “What for more than 10 years. Their mission is to do you want to be when you grow up?” provide the most professional, informative, Graduation was December 2005 and we loyal, ethical and dedicated service in the left for six weeks to our newly purchased real estate industry. Florida condo. The break was perfect for Friends and colleagues, to learn more about four weeks, but I was eager to get back about the company and search all MLS propin the workplace. erties visit: LoisLuber.PricelessRealty.com or Opportunity knocked in the spring of call 315-529-1815. 2006 when Melanie Trexler, then the new



APRIL / MAY 2015

Healthcare Sector’s Hottest Jobs PCC Turns 30 2-1-1 Debuts in Oswego County APRIL / MAY 2015



health care SPECIAL REPORT By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Hottest Jobs in Healthcare? Try Massage Therapy


he Bureau of Labor Statistics states that between 2012 and 2022, massage therapy as a job classification will increase in numbers by 23 percent, which is “much faster

than average” compared with other businesses. Many factors play into the industry’s growth spurt. “It’s partly because people are

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looking for relief from pain,” said Judy Malloy, a 19-year veteran of the industry and currently a SUNY student and career services director with Finger Lakes School of Massage in Ithaca and Mount Kisco. “People don’t want to get hooked on pain medication. People have greater knowledge of complementary medicine.” Considering the aging baby boomers have ramped up the need for healthcare on every front and that this age population has been, in general, more open to alternative medicine than previous generations, it’s little wonder massage therapy has become more popular. The medical community is getting onboard, too, as more studies demonstrate benefits of massage. Massage therapy has become complementary to medical professions, such as hospitals and long-term nursing facilities offer in-house massage therapy. As one example Malloy cited, premature babies experiencing massage therapy receive six fewer days of in-hospital care on average than babies without massage therapy. “$4.7 billion could be saved in hospital costs nationwide per year by using massage therapy among premature infants,” Malloy said. The benefits to many types of patients has led the American Massage Association to seek codification in New York so doctors can prescribe massage therapy easier. Malloy said that some people pursue massage therapy as a career or as a second career because of consumer demand and the recession. Acquiring massage therapy licensure can also augment other careers such as registered nurses, certified nurse assistants, and salon technicians. Malloy has observe many salons, osteopaths, and chiropractors adding massage therapy locally. At Integrative Healing Spa in Oswego, owner and licensed massage therapist Amber Gilbo said business grown in the past 15 years from a solo practice to nine staff therapists and APRIL / MAY 2015

health care

SPECIAL REPORT other services. “I think there’s still a lot more room for growth,” Gilbo said. The business receives many referrals from doctors and chiropractors, along with word-of-mouth advertising. She said that massage therapy has become a more accessible career because student loans are now available to massage therapy students, unlike when she went to school for it 15 years ago. The seven to 24-month programs help, too. Barbara Collette, licensed massage therapist and owner of The Inner Sanctuary in Baldwinsville, also offers karate, tai chi, Reiki, meditation, reflexology, and energy healing. “Most recently, my clientele has steadily increased through word-ofmouth,” she said. “It’s because of the stress from what’s going on in the world. I think they’re on target.” As for people seeking to get into massage therapy as a career, she thinks that many do because they “are feeling unfulfilled with their careers and are looking for new career opportunities. They’re fed up and the money doesn’t

seem to fulfill them.” Jesse Ball, licensed massage therapist in Auburn and alumnae of Finger Lakes School of Massage, believes that the work itself attracts new therapists. “No one is ever mad to come see me, like the dentist,” she said. “We spread joy. People come in and it meets them where they are. They get tended to the way they need and leave feeling better than when they arrived. It’s a great job environment. I care for myself as I care for other people.” The salary for local massage therapists ranges from $12,000 to $40,000, depending upon the type of work they perform and how much volume of work they are capable of performing. “It’s really physically taxing and can be emotionally taxing,” Ball said. She has never advertised and maintains a steady 15 to 18 hours of work weekly. In massage therapy, 20 hours is considered full-time work. Ball said she augments her $25,000 annual income with teaching on the side. Jane Newhouse co-owns Massage

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P.O. Box 276, Oswego, NY 13126

APRIL / MAY 2015

What a Therapist Makes The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2013 that massage therapists’ mean wage is $19.42 (hourly) and $40,400 (annual). The median hourly wage is $17.27.




OCB Magazine

Envy franchises in the Rochester area and plans to open a location in Liverpool by the end of March and another in Fayetteville later in 2015. The franchise has grown to 1,300 locations nationwide, a testament to the growth in massage therapy. Newhouse said that likes the franchise model since members know that wherever they travel, they can expect the same experience at any Massage Envy location. “A lot feel like the industry is saturated with therapists and not enough clients but that is not the case,” Ball said. “There are so many people looking for the right fit. Therapists need to learn how to find their niche and get their brand out there.”

21.50 1 year 35 2 years


111 HAMILTON ST. MEXICO, NY • 315-963-0777



health care SPECIAL REPORT By Debra Lupien Denny

Providing Help to Women in Crisis


Pregnancy Care Center of Oswego County provides invaluable resources

elebrating its 30-year anniversary in 2014, the Pregnancy Care Center of Oswego County was birthed by what might be considered the most unlikely of parents — a 27-year-old man on stilts. In November of 1983, John O’Brien, of Oswego, was busy installing a tile ceiling in his kitchen when a radio broadcast out of Syracuse caught his attention. The program featured Syracuse pastor Jeremy Jackson, who was discussing a Right to Life March in Washington being held to mark the 10-year anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark decision that decided in favor of a women’s right to have an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. “I’d never really given a whole lot of thought to the subject of abortion. It was not as commonly talked about back then as it is today,” he said. “As I listened, I just felt there were other options for people making [that choice].” Unable to get down off his stilts to write down the phone number for the Christian Action Council (CAC) of Syracuse, he wrote it on the ceiling. “The joke is it is still probably there under the block tile ceiling,” he said with a laugh. After contacting the local CAC, O’Brien traveled with eight members from his Oswego-based church to the Washington march to meet representatives of the national CAC. “When we came back, we started a local chapter of the CAC in Oswego, which really was the forerunner to the Pregnancy Care Center,” he explained. O’Brien cited the CAC’s three main goals as abortion education, political and legislative initiatives to challenge the law, and to promote helpful service for women in crisis pregnancies. A committee to address each of the goals was formed and as it explored them, it realized the care ministry —


providing help to women in crisis — was of such a different nature than the other goals they felt it would be best to incorporate that into an organization all by itself. “This way,” he explained, “its mission would not be compromised or entangled with other messages.” An offshoot forms — As a result, the Oswego County Crisis Pregnancy Center — now PCC of Oswego County — was incorporated in May 1984 and worked parallel with the Oswego County CAC. The CAC dealt with the education and political campaigns against abortion, while the crisis center focused solely on helping women in crisis pregnancies. O’Brien noted it was interesting to see that while this was happening at the local level, the national CAC was also

giving birth to crisis pregnancy centers on a national level. “We cannot just be opposed to abortions. We need to come alongside [pregnant women] to provide tangible help, compassion and show them there are other options,” he said. A non-governmental organization, the PCC is operated by a small board and has three staff member and 20 volunteers. The PCC survives on donations from more than 40 area churches as well as the community. “I am excited and pleased with how the community has supported us,” O’Brien said. “I think what motivates the volunteers, councilors and board members is simply the desire to be there and help people through a rough time. Each of the different directors and vol-

May 15 last year the Pregnancy Care Center of Oswego County celebrated its 30-year anniversary with a dinner and fundraising banquet at the Lake Ontario Conference Center. Pictured at the banquet are, from left, Jillian Pelkey, executive director of PCC of Oswego County, and founder, John O’Brien. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

APRIL / MAY 2015

health care SPECIAL REPORT

From left are Jillian O’Brien, executive director of the Pregnancy Care Center of Oswego County, and director of client services, Megan Handley. unteers bring new goals and ideas and has brought it to where the PCC is doing so much more today than what we had initially envisioned.” “We started out very small but have grown substantially throughout the years with the support of the local Christian community,” PCC Executive Director Jillian Pelkey said. “Our mission statement is to promote a culture of life in our community, but it’s so much more. We encourage and help the women through all stages of pregnancy and continue to help them after the birth of the baby.” Some moms stay with them for years, she explained, because there are more crises in a mother’s life than the unplanned pregnancy. “And we are there for them through it all,” she said. Megan Hayden, director of client services, said PCC has also added and developed many more services over the APRIL / MAY 2015

years, including one of PCC’s newest initiatives, the Earn While You Learn program. “It’s actually a curriculum where our clients take classes on parenting, earning ‘money’ to purchase items they need,” she explained. “Before the girls would come in and talk and would receive some things, but now it is a system where they earn the items.” Resource for parents as well— Because the classes focus on parenting, PCC serves more than just pregnant women, but mothers and fathers as well. In November of 2014, the PCC moved into a much larger facility at 157 Liberty St., Oswego, and members of the community and various churches came together to help clean, paint, renovate and ready the facility to open in less than a month. Many volunteered their time to clean up the former building while others designed and decorated the entire space. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

One major asset of the new building is having a storage room for the donated items used for the EWYL program. Now, the organization has space to display the items available such as diapers, baby toiletries and clothes as well as a storage room for overflow. This year, Pelkey said, PCC members were excited to be able to offer a Christmas shop where parents could come in and select Christmas presents for their children during December. PCC served 731 clients at the Oswego site from January through November of 2014, most of them from Oswego and Fulton. PCC is in the process of building up a satellite site in Central Square, whichg is open Thursdays by appointment. Hayden said along with averaging 10-15 pregnancy tests a month, the PCC also schedules several appointments for parenting classes on a daily basis. “We also provide a pregnancy prevention program that is run in the Oswego and Mexico middle schools that reaches every eighth-grade student in both schools,” she said. While PCC encourages a life choice for the unborn over abortion, it does offer post-abortion care for any women who has had one and needs emotional support and healing. “Even when a girl chooses abortion, we encourage them to come back in and talk with us because they are going to need help on the other side of it,” Pelkey said. “I feel as if it is a great victory when they do come back in because it shows that they realize we love them no matter what choice they make and now we can help them through it.” Both women stressed the biggest challenge PCC sees in Oswego County is poverty. Mentoring opens doors — “The number-one way out of poverty and a generational poverty mindset is mentoring,” Pelkey noted. “We try to make sure the girls who come in see the same mentor every time in order to build that relationship. It is our hope that through changing the mindset of a mom or dad, we can change future generations.” And, Pelkey pointed out, it is not just material donations that can help change a family but, because they are a non-governmental agency, staff and volunteers have the ability to offer a hug 81

Health Services

Trust Pediatrics

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Stuart Trust, D.O. FAAP Sarah Finocchiaro, M.D. FAAP Carla Overton, M.D. Cheryl Martin-Schroeder, P.N.P.

Child Care & Development Council of Oswego County

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Helping people with disabilities achieve independence and participate in the community Advocacy & Accessibility Basic Needs & Assistance Recreation & Art Education, Employment, & Skill-Building Health & Wellness Oswego Office 9 Fourth Ave / Ph: 342-4088 / TTY: 342-8696 Pulaski Satellite Office 2 Broad St / Ph: 298-5726 Fulton Mental Health Office 113 Schuyler St., Ste 2 / Ph: 887-5156



or pray with their clients. “It’s those little things that can make a generational change,” she said fervently. “There is a currency in relationships and a lot of people do not have solid, healthy friendships and relationships.” It is this type of attitude and relationship building, they said, that keeps clients with them throughout many years, transitioning them from client to friend and even family at times. “We and our volunteers have been invited to graduations and marriages and to share other big moments or situations in their lives,” Pelkey said. “One mother even named her baby after the volunteer who was praying for her during her pregnancy.” “One of the things we love about our new building is that it helps clients feel valuable,” Hayden added. “They are in awe that this beautiful building is for them. We want every woman to know that she is so unique and so special, that she was made on purpose and for a purpose. We let them know not only do we care about them, but the community that donates and supports us cares about them, too.” For more information, call 343-4866; email baby@pccoswego.org; or visit www.oswegopregnancy.org.

Center Provides Wide Range of Services The Pregnancy Care Center of Oswego County offers the following confidential services free of charge: • Pregnancy tests • Information on pregnancy, abortion and alternatives • Information on sexually transmitted diseases • Pregnancy, parenting and life skills mentoring program for men and women • Referrals to community resources (medical care, childcare, housing, social services, etc.) • Post-abortion, miscarriage and sexual abuse education and support • Referrals to adoption agencies • Pregnancy prevention education • Help with practical items (diapers, formula, maternity & baby clothing, etc.) Pregnancy Care Center of Oswego also offers free pregnancy tests and community referrals in the Central Square area. For an appointment, please call 343-4866. APRIL / MAY 2015

health care SPECIAL REPORT


United Way Helps Bring 2-1-1 to Oswego County


or those in need of human services, help is only three numbers away. United Way of Greater Oswego County in collaboration with the state of New York, United Ways of Central and Northern New York, and Contact Community Services have brought the 2-1-1 system to Oswego County. Dialing 2-1-1 will connect callers with the information and answers they need regarding the availability of health and human services in Oswego County and the proper way to access them. Callers can seek assistance with an array of topics ranging from basic needs such as housing, heating and food subsidy to substance abuse, mental health issues and family issues. Whether a crisis situation or information on where to turn to, the 2-1-1 system serves an invaluable link to all types of human services. “We are very pleased to have such a wonderful resource as the 2-1-1 system in Oswego County,” said Executive Director of United Way of Greater Oswego County Melanie Trexler. “Locating information on human services was a difficult task that may have required several phone calls to find the correct resource. The 2-1-1 system eliminates that problem. To have one number that people can call for assistance with human services is tremendous.” Trexler recognized the importance of collaboration on this project and praised Oswego County Legislator, District 21, Terry Wilbur. “Terry was instrumental in bringing the 2-1-1 system to Oswego County. His dedication and commitment to his constituents is commendable. United Way is proud to have been a part of this project and appreciate the efforts of Terry, Frank Lazarski of United Way of Central New York and everyone involved in making the 2-1-1 system a reality in Oswego County.” Trexler added that 2-1-1 system would also prove to be a useful tool for elected officials and staffs at local human services agencies. “It’s not uncommon for representaAPRIL / MAY 2015

tives to receive calls from their constituents, or agencies to receive requests for services they do not offer. They will now be able to let callers know that dialing 2-1-1 will give them the answers they need, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Trexler. In addition to the 2-1-1 number, there is also a companion website, www.211cny.com. This comprehensive website has a wealth of information regarding including a list of topics and services available and crisis hot lines for specific agencies. “The 2-1-1 system is best way to get connected and get the answers you need regarding human services in Oswego County,” added Trexler.


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Executive Director of United Way of Greater Oswego County Melanie Trexler meets with Oswego County Legislator, District 21 Terry Wilbur to discuss the new 2-1-1 system. Now available in Oswego County the 2-1-1 system provides 24-hour free and confidential information regarding health and human services resources available in Oswego County as well as Central New York. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


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Profile Continued from page 13

PETER ORPHANOS on a very complex, technical machine,” Orphanos said. “It’s important every day that you balance the technical part of the job with the people part of the job. “You have to keep the picture big, keep the focus on the site and keep driving the fundamentals of what makes our business go.” Orphanos said what works best for him is to continue to provide good standards for the organization, “and you have to live those standards. “You have to stand up in front of your people hourly and make sure there is no wavering on what their standards are.” Orphanos said he likes the people part of the job and there is quite a bit of diversity. “I like the different issues that come up and the technical challenges,” he said. Orphanos said in today’s electronic age of communication, it is a challenge 84

“not just to allow your communications to become email.” Sense of ownership — “It’s real important for us to make sure we are getting the participation and ownership at every level of the organization and we are providing a good standard and reinforcing that standard,” he said. Orphanos said it is vital to ensure that everybody at all levels of the organization is engaged with the success of Nine Mile Point. “Everybody is an owner of the plant and its success, and we continue to encourage that with our staff. It’s vital to our success,” he added. Orphanos said Units I and II operate at tremendous levels of safety and efficiency on a daily basis. “As you make adjustments, you are really making enhancements to an already great product,” he said. Orphanos said many leaders in the OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

nuclear industry continue to look at developing the next generation of people who will operate nuclear plants. He said there are “a number of us who have enough gray in our hair these days” who will continue to develop new personnel who enter the industry. That includes providing them with the valuable experience, knowledge and skill transfers that come with operating the plants for the next 20-to-40 years, he said. Orphanos said Exelon does an “outstanding job” in recruiting young talent on both the corporate and onsite human resources levels. “We take a lot of pride in going to local universities and communities and building our employee base from that stock,” he said. “People who live here, know the environment and enjoy the area are going to stay with us a long time,” said Orphanos, noting that is good to see in light of the hundreds of thousands of dollars the company expends for training. APRIL / MAY 2015

Success Story

By Lou Sorendo

ronmentally “green” engineered wood-flooring product. A new venture will create the product — Designer Hardwood Flooring CNY, Inc. Joseph’s wife Sherry is the president of DHF, which will be vertically integrated with Hardwood Transformations and its finishing role. The panelized flooring system will be introduced in May. Former owner-partner Arthur Brown originated the idea. “We have taken it to the next level for a manufacture-able product in terms of higher volumes and more variety,” Marmon said. Total project cost is estimated at $495,000. The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council recently awarded Hardwood Transformation $125,000 for the project. Marmon said key to that award was establishing a new manufacturing facility that will bring with it new jobs. “It not only launches new opportunities in Oswego County, but also supports the existing businesses that we have and other Joseph and Sherry Marmon own and operate Hardwood Transformations, Inc. in Oswego. companies that surround us that The couple will soon unveil a vertically integrated company, Designer Hardwood offer services such as machining and packaging,” he said. Flooring CNY, Inc. “What we’ve done is come up with something that will take us down another market channel, the do-it-yourselfers,” he said. Basic construction will consist of individual flooring panels that will be built off an engineered platform to prevent movement. From a conservation standpoint, it uses one-quarter of the wood needed to do the same amount of space as solid flooring and still give the same aesthetic values and durability, Marmon noted. “What we feel it will do is open up or business owners, success is atFounded in Oswego, Hardwood tained through constant evolution. Transformations manufactures and ap- a lot of retail opportunities. Right now, we just service distributors and manuIt requires transformation plies finish to hardwood flooring. while adapting to changing times. The business, which employs 13 facturers,” he said. “We have a very dedicated and Joseph Marmon is president of workers, is in the midst of purchasing Hardwood Transformations, Inc., 193 E. and installing machinery and equipment extremely talented workforce that is Seneca St., located within the Port City to expand its manufacturing operations hungry for growth and very visionary Logistics Industrial Park. to include a new patent pending, envi- when it comes to thinking outside the

Hardwood Transformations

Investing $495,000 in Expansion Project


APRIL / MAY 2015



Hardwood Transformations, Inc., was formerly Sure-Lock Industries from 2004 until the end of 2013. The Marmons acquired the business in January 2014 and renamed it Hardwood Transformations box with new ideas to improve ourselves to be largely involved with the growth got very large projects out of it,” he said. Marmon said another key to success in the marketplace. That has been one of of first-to-market products. the keys to our success,” he said. The architecture and design sector for the business has been the quality of its Last fall, Marmon was in negotia- blossomed as a new market channel for products, which have proven sustainable tions with major clients while seeking Hardwood Transformations in 2014. It “even through dramatic changes such as to land letters of intent with some ex- now comprised almost 40 percent of its environmental codes, restrictions and clusivity rights that the companies were portfolio in terms of business, Marmon consumer desires.” “We rapidly changed with those,” he interested in. He expected that measure said. to “basically sell out our volume.” “It’s really taken off. We have said. “We’ve always been associated with The installation of equipment and worked with architects in New York City the green movement and everything that the process of debugging should be and Chicago. Those are our two main we do here is a green product. We don’t complete in March or April, Marmon hubs that we network with and have have any hazardous chemicals or issues said, with the first launch of manufacturing being in May. “It will go fast,” he said. Gross annual revenues at Hardwood Transformations are about $2.5 million. With the new development of its manufacturing product and the combination of the two businesses, Marmon said gross annual revenues should be around $6 million in the first year. That number should grow rapidly to $10-plus million within a two-year period. “That’s significant growth,” he said. The new business will create nine jobs, and over the next three to five years, is expected to expand to feature 24 workers, Marmon said. A sure lock — The company was formerly Sure-Lock Industries from 2004 until the end of 2013. The Marmons acquired the business in January 2014 and renamed it Hardwood Transformations, Inc. “We wanted to launch into new market avenues. We basically re-engineered our entire offerings in the marketplace,” Marmon said. Opportunities now exist in different markets that were unfamiliar with the Sure-Lock brand, he added. Marmon said there is a much wider spectrum of offerings at the business that Joseph Marmon, left, president of Hardwood Transformations, Inc., and master technician Jeff allows its customer portfolio Reitz anchor the Oswego-based business. 86


APRIL / MAY 2015

that would affect the future.” Marmon said his business is devoid of long-term contracts, and selling takes place every day. “To be successful requires a lot of face time with customers and being on top of what changing desires are out in the marketplace and respond to those, especially with the severe economic changes that we’ve encountered. “We have been more made-to-order than made-to-stock, so we’ve increased our agility 10-fold to handle customer demands.” Marmon said his business is customer service based and prioritizes and constantly adjusts its schedules to fit customer demands. “We say what we’re going to do and we do what we say,” Marmon added. The business handles all domestic species of solid and engineered wood as well as exotics from South America. “We are an international company and ship all over the world,” Marmon said. Some of the latest projects that Marmon is excited about include the international contract for all Ralph Lauren stores. Hardwood Transformations is also doing a large-scale project at Harvard University in Boston. “We’ve done a lot of jobs that have escalated to HGTV series as well as Architectural Digest. We are very lucky to have some of the customers we have and to earn their business,” he said. The business has customers from

APRIL / MAY 2015

Hardwood Transformations in Oswego manufactures and applies finish to hardwood flooring. (Top photo): A roll coater applies a finish topcoat. (Bottom photo): The finishing line is shown at the Oswego manufacturing facility. all over the world, while its most prominent customer in the U.S. in Lumber Liquidators. Lean approach — Over the last 18 months, Marmon has incorporated some lean manufacturing philosophies that allowed the company to reduce its amount of workers. “It was not so much through automation, but through elimination of non-value added activities. It allowed us to pay people more and get the same values through multi-tasking,” he said. Marmon was into cabinet manufacturing for the kitchen and bath industry


for about 10 years, and spent another 10 years in flooring. He has been involved in the pre-finishing aspect of the industry for about five years. Marmon said he gains gratification by having the ability to be creative. “We buy nothing canned and have our own lab in house,” he said. “We basically develop all our color schemes from customer demands as well as our own visions and just using the primary colors of the spectrum.” Marmon applauds the efforts of master technician Jeff Reitz, whom he characterizes as “very much the leader in my operation as well as the artist in development of new colors and processes.” “Jeff has been an icon here since 2004,” he noted. Reitz has an extraordinary talent for color as well as artistic design in terms of color, Marmon said. “He is also very intelligent when it comes to mechanical aptitude and engineering, troubleshooting and process improvement,” Marmon said. “He has been basically a one-man show and is very much an important figurehead in the company.” “Our No. 1 goal is to stay in business. We make a profit as a byproduct of doing the right things right,” Marmon said. He noted the challenge at hand is to constantly seek improvement, and that is largely attained through its employee base. “We feel very blessed to have a very talented, creative group of young people who never hit the limits,” he said. “Keeping them motivated is probably our biggest challenge.” 87

Best Business Directory

COPY + PRINT Port City Copy Center. Your one stop for all of your copy + print needs. 184 Water St. Oswego (back of Canal Commons). 216-6163.

COUNTERTOPS & TILES Oswego Soapstone & Tile, a Pauldine company. Quality tilework. See gallery photos at OswegoSoapstoneandTile. com. 315-593-9872.190 5th Ave. Oswego.

CUSTOM PICTURE FRAMING Picture Connection 169 W. 1st St. Oswego 343-2908. Quality conservation matting & framing for your photos, prints, original artwork & objects.

DEMOLITION Fisher Companies. Commercial & residential demolition. Great prices. Fully insured. Free estimates. 45 years of experience. Call Fisher Companies at 315-652-3773 or visit www.johnefisherconstruction.com.

ACCOUNTING & TAX Canale Insurance & Accounting Service for all your insurance, Accounting, Payroll and Tax needs. Locally owned and operated. For insurance call 343-4456, Taxes & Accounting 343-0409.

EXCAVATING Manwaring Lawn & Snow-Serving all of Oswego County. Residential / commercial. Fully insured. A+ rating with BBB. Free estimates. Call Dave 315-593-9892.

ANTIQUE BROKERS The Antique Brokers — multi dealer antique shop. Buying & selling antiques & collectables. Gerald A. Petro, 315-5619777, across from the Great Northern Mall, 4180 Rt. 31 Clay, NY. Buyers of gold, silver & coins. Vendors wanted.

APPRAISALS & ESTATES Antiques & Estates Specialists. We buy, sell, appraise, liquidate, auction. Barry L Haynes Co. 5872 Scenic Ave. Mexico, NY 315-963-0922, 41 years experience! :-)

AUTO COLLISION Northside Collision Baldwinsville. Upstate’s largest collision/repair center. Lifetime warranty loaners or rentals. We assist with the insurance claims. 75 E. Genesee St., Baldwinsville. More information, call 638-4444.

AUTO SALES & SERVICE Bellinger Auto Sales & Service — third generation business! Towing, auto parts & accessories, used car dealers, car batteries, automotive repair, Truck repair. Oil, lube & filter service. 2746 County Route 57 Fulton, NY 13069. Call 593-1332 or fax 598-5286.

AUTO SERVICE & TIRES Northstar Tire & Auto Service. Major/minor repairs. Foreign & domestic. alignments. Tire sales. Call Jim at 315-5988200. 1860 State Route 3W, in Fulton.

AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR Port City Car Care — Major/minor automotive repair & service. Excellent automotive repairs with small town family values. We take pride in what we do and strive for quality customer service. Call John at 315-207-0500, 20 Ohio St. Oswego.

BATTERIES JD BATTERIES-Oswego’s Battery Specialists. Automotive, marine/RV, snowmobile, motorcycle, jet ski, heavy duty, golf cart, cell phones, laptops. 200 W 4th St, Oswego (across from Stewarts). 315-216-4993 or 315-297-8412.

BEER BEER BEER C’s Farm Market & Beverage Center — where the beverages never end. Domestics, microbrews, imports. Our selection makes us the best! Fruit baskets. Rte. 104 West (behind Fajita Grill) Oswego. 343-1010. www. csfarmmarket.com.

BOTTLED SPRING WATER Bottled spring water and coffee service for home and office. We now have single serve cups for your K-cup brewer. Free delivery. Convenient. Refreshing. Economical. Jay Sea Distributing. 343-3700. Remember: buy local.


Gilbert Excavating. Septic Systems. Gravel & top soil. Septic and tank pumping. 691 Co. Rt. 3, Fulton 13069. Call 593-2472.




Jerome Fire Equipment Co., Inc. Portable fire extinguisher and kitchen suppression systems sales & service for the home and business. Home safety supplies: Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, escape ladders, etc. 8721 Caughdenoy Rd., Clay, NY 13041. 315-699-5288. www.jeromefire.com.

Burke’s Home Center. The complete building and supply center. Two locations: 38 E. Second St. in Oswego (3436147); and 65 North Second St. in Fulton (592-2244). Free deliveries.

Stripping, refinishing, regluing, repairs, restorations. Haynes Restorations. 5872 Scenic Ave., Mexico. 315963-0922. Commercial/residential. 33 yrs. exp.

Deaton’s Ace Building & Home Center. Your one stop home improvement shop 3970 Port St. (Rte 13) Pulaski, 315-298-2644.Web: www.deatonsace.com Store hours: Mon-Sat 7-7, Sunday 8-5.




Filthbusters weekly house cleaning. Spring-cleaning. Offices & businesses. We clean attics, garages, storage buildings, rental units, foreclosures & estates. We haul debris & unwanted items. Over 24 years in business, fully insured & competitively priced. Free estimate. Call 298-7222.

The Vintage Garden. 315-727-8388. Consignment & gift shoppe-antiques. Furniture, home & garden decor. 3715 St. Rte. 13 Pulaski (next to the Knights Inn). April-May hours W-F 10 - 4, Sat. 10 - 3.


Fulton Glass — Oswego County’s only full service glass shop. Residential. Commercial. Shower enclosures. Auto glass. Window and picture glass. Screen Repair. Window Repair. Beveled Mirrors and Glass. Hrs:M-Th 7-5, Fri 7-noon. FultonGlass.net, 840 Hannibal Street Fulton, NY 13069, 593-7913.

Clean Care Service. One source for all your cleaning needs. Carpets and upholstery, windows, floors, siding, gutters, interior painting, epoxy painting of concrete floors. Fully insured. 2072 Rabbit Lane Phoenix, NY. Call 695-6775 cleancareservice.com.

CLEANOUTS Manwaring Cleanouts. Serving all of Oswego County. Residential/commercial. Fully insured. A+ rating with BBB. Free estimates. Call Dave 315-593-9892.

CLOCK & WATCH REPAIR Brewerton Watch & Jewelry Repair. Watch & jewelry repair. Clock repair. 60 years in business. 9340 Brewerton Rd. Brewerton, NY. Call Orley at 676-7474.


GUNS & AMMO Sharpshooters — Full svc gun store. Buy / sell / trade / transfer & storage. Long guns, hand guns. 315-298-5202. 1164 Co. Rt. 28, Pulaski.

HEATING & COOLING JR Comerford & Son-HVAC since 1916. Commercial & Residential Installation, Service & Repair of Heating, Air Conditioning & Air Quality Systems. www.jrcomerfordandson.com, 24 Ohio St. Oswego, NY 315.343.4030.



Expert Clutter Removal. We clean out your junk, not your wallet! Attics, basements, garages, yards, almost anything! Free estimates! Call Bruce 315-730-6370. Year round service! www.ExpertClutter.com.

Wet Paint Company. Paint, flooring, blinds & drapes. Free estimates. Call 315-343-1924, www.wetpaintcompany. com.

CONTRACTOR Natoli General Contractors. Residential & commercial. Bath & kitchen tilework. Masonry. Windows. Quality work. 3756 Co. Rte. 45 Oswego. Call 342-8850.


INTERIOR REMODELING C.P. Force LLC — Custom interior remodeling. Kitchens, baths, new rooms. Flooring, insulation, roofing, siding. One company does it all. Fully insured. 24 hr emergency svc Snow and Ice removal. Mark Davis 315-341-4949.

APRIL / MAY 2015



JP Jewelers is your hometown jeweler offering supreme design at wholesale prices. Whether you’re buying or selling, JP Jewelers is here to be your local jeweler. 136 W. Bridge St. Oswego. (315) 342-GOLD. Find us on Facebook.

D&S Landscaping Office. Servicing Oswego & surrounding areas. Quality work, prompt & dependable service. Free estimates. Fully insured. Backhoe services, Lawn mowing, snow plowing, top soil, tree work. Hydro-seeding, & asphalt seal coating. 315-598-6025 (cell 315-591-4303).



Bridge Street Jewelers, 137 East Bridge St. 315-342-0022. We sell quality jewelry at affordable prices. Layaway and credit available. Lowest prices on certified diamonds in the area. Always buying gold, silver & platinum.

D & D Logging and Lumber- Producers of high-grade hardwood lumber. Sales, full service sawmill, hardwood lumber, wood chips & bark, Timber cutting. Call us at 315593-2474, 1409 County Route 4 Central Square, NY 13036.


White’s Lumber. Four locations to serve you. Pulaski: State Rte. 13, 298-6575; Watertown: N. Rutland St., 788-6200; Clayton: James St., 686-1892; Gouverneur: Depot St., 287-1892.

Pack Rat Rubbish Removal. Serving Oswego and Onondaga counties. Haul all of your unwanted junk away. Also sheds, fences, swimming pools, decks and more. Gutters cleaned. Prices starting @ $25. Credit cards accepted. Insured. Free estimates. Call 436-8051 or 708-4834.

KILN-DRIED HARDWOODS Lakeshore Hardwoods. We stock kiln-dried cherry, walnut, maple, butternut, ash, oak, basswood, mahogany, cedar figured woods, and exotics. Also hardwood flooring, moldings, stair parts & woodworking supplies. 266 Manwaring Rd. Pulaski. 298-6407 or visit www.lakeshorehardwoods.com.

LAND SURVEYOR Robert M. Burleigh. Licensed land surveyor. Quality land surveying. Residential, subdivision, commercial, boundary surveying. 593-2231.

MOVING C&S Moving- Great customer service. Free estimatesInsured, call Chuck at 315-532-4443.

OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT BJ’s Outdoor Power Equipment/Sales & Service. 3649 State Route 3, Fulton, NY. www.bjsoutdoorpower.com. We sell Ferris, Echo, Central Boiler, and Snapper products. 315-598-5636.

PAWN BROKER Pawn Boss. We buy everything from game systems to

gold & silver. Coin collections, guitars, and flat screen TVs, too! Check us out on www.newyorkpawnboss. com.

PET GROOMING & KENNELS K9 Grooming & Pet Motel offers the finest possible loving, gentle care for your dogs & cats. Visit our website at www. k9groomingandpetmotel.com, call 315-343-5158 or stop in to see us at 2452 Co. Rte. 7 Oswego.

PORTABLE TOILETS Blue Bowl Sanitation Inc. Portable toilets, veteran-family-owned since 1952. bluebowlsanitationinc.com, 315593-3258, Fulton, NY 13069.

REMODELING JTS Remodeling. New construction, fiber cement siding, pole barns. All phases of construction & remodeling. Call Judd at 315-591-6959.

ROOFING Over The Top Roofing. Mike Majeski. Commercial & residential roofing. Quality craftsmanship. 50-year manufacturer’s warranty for residential roof. Call- 315-882-5255, 400 Co. Rte. 7 Hannibal, NY 13074.

SELF STORAGE Northway Mini Storage- Conveniently located at 279 Crosby Rd. Parish, NY. Best rates around! Call John or Mark at 315-625-7049. Don’t tow it, stow it.


$149 for 1 Year

Just fill out this form, and send it with a check to: APRIL / MAY 2015

Oswego County Business P.O. Box 276 • Oswego, NY 13126 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


Last Page

By Lou Sorendo

Karen S. Goetz New executive director leading Richard S. Shineman Foundation and its $34 million in assets Q.: What motivated you to become executive director of the Richard S. Shineman Foundation? A.: I was at a crossroads personally because it was time for my son to really take the reins of the company I had started, Inforia, Inc. As long as I was there, he really couldn’t step in and do that. In order for him to take the reins and assume the leadership position at Inforia, I had to find something that motivated and engaged me. I had been on the board of the Shineman Foundation for two years and during that time became aware of a whole other world. I had been in the for-profit world for 28 years and I was just so intrigued and motivated by what the foundation was trying to do and its mission. When the executive director’s position became open, I thought about it and said, “Well, maybe this is the answer.” It’s an opportunity for me to take my 28 years of business experience and apply it to the foundation. Q.: How much money is in the fund and how much has been distributed through grants? A.: We have approximately $34 million in assets. Thanks to a favorable market, our fund has grown since its inception in 2012. We gave out a total of $1.5 million in grants in 2013 and 2014. The foundation has also pledged $4 million to SUNY Oswego in an endowment payable over 10 years. The first year’s payment was made in 2014. Q.: What have been some of the foremost challenges associated with your new position? A.: I knew the foundation was very early in its development and still in start-up mode, but did not anticipate that it would be in need of putting in place processes and procedures for running it efficiently. I’ve had to dig in and identify all the areas that we need to put sound business principles, processes and procedures in place so that it can run efficiently. My other big challenge is that I know what needs to be done, but there is only one of me.


I have no administrative help. I’m used to having staff, handing things off and getting things done really quickly. But in this instance, it boomerangs back to me. Q.: What criteria does the foundation look at when selecting recipients of grants? A.: The organization needs to be strong and if we give them money, we must be confident that they are not going to go out of business. They must have a solid plan in place and solid people who are going to take the plan they propose and utilize the funding we give them to execute the plan and delivery what they say they are going to deliver. Q.: What is it going to take for the foundation to realize a high level of success in the months and years to come? A.: It’s making sure that we run as efficiently and effectively as we can as a foundation so that we’re not spending money on overhead expenses. We’ll run as lean and efficiently as we can so that we have as much of our investment money available to put to good use in the community. It’s up to us to be sure we do that to the utmost extent possible, and the only way we can do that is manage and invest very well, keep our operating expenses as lean as possible, and build collaborations in the region as best we can with other foundations as well as nonprofit organizations where there is overlap in services they are providing. If you put all those pieces of the puzzle together, then we will be very successful going into the future.


APRIL / MAY 2015

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