BUSINESS October / November 2015
Preparing New Business Leaders October / November 2015
SUNY Oswego School of Business has come a long way since it was a campus department, but how well is it preparing students? We spoke with Dean Richard Skolnik, faculty and students $4.50
INSIDE • More Community Banks Going Out of Business • Start-Up NY Not Working in CNY • Village of Parish in Search of a Bank • Last Page: Restoring Oswego Neighborhoods
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NEW: EXPANDED PROFILES OF BUSINESS OWNERS
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.
In NY: Industrial Parks Perfect For Your Business
Among the businesses we host:
Our Industrial Parks Include:
• • • • • • • •
• • • • • •
Sunoco Otis Technology Linde North America Northland Filter International Southern Graphic Systems Canfield Machine & Tool Oswego State University DeWald Roofing
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:
L. Michael Treadwell, CEcD
(315) 343-1545 | www.OswegoCounty.org
WHILE RECREATING NEAR THE VARICK HYDROELECTRIC FACILITY ON THE OSWEGO RIVER, BE CAUTIOUS AND STAY ALERT AS RIVER CONDITIONS CAN CHANGE QUICKLY. RESPECT THE FOLLOWING RULES AND CONDITIONS TO ENSURE EVERYONE’S SAFETY.
MID STREAM WALL
PR LETO IVA ’S TE IS PR LAN OP D ER TY
AREA C2 AREA B
WARNING LIGHTS RESCUE PLATFORMS
HIGH HAZARD AREA STAIRS TO RIVER BED
EBA Y IS
SEASONAL BOAT BARRIER CABLE BARRIER (Casting beyond prohibited)
LINEAR PARK P
RULES & CONDITIONS
Life jackets must be worn at all times in all areas when in the water or boat. AREA A When sirens sound and red lights flash in this area waders must exit the river immediately as flow will be increasing.
AREA B Wading is prohibited – Boat Access only.
Waders may not re-enter until yellow light flashes.
When sirens sound and red lights flash in this area waders must exit the river immediately as flow will be increasing.
When sirens sound and red lights flash in this area waders must exit the river immediately as flow will be increasing.
Waders may not re-enter until yellow light flashes.
Waders may not re-enter until yellow light flashes. Casting beyond the cable barrier is prohibited.
VIOLATORS MAY BE PROSECUTED Life Jackets Save Lives. Always Wear Yours.
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
LIFE JACKETS CAN BE BORROWED AT OSWEGO FIRE DEPARTMENT – EAST SIDE STATION, 35 E CAYUGA STREET OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Y O SW EG O C O U N T
October / November
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
PROFILE JUSTIN RUDGICK Preparing New Business Leaders October / November 2015
Business has come a long SUNY Oswego School of department, but how well way since it was a campus We spoke with Dean Richard is it preparing students? s Skolnik, faculty and student
Going Out of Business • More Community Banks g in CNY • Start-Up NY Not Workin of a Bank • Village of Parish in Search s Oswego Neighborhood • Last Page: Restoring
COVER STORY How well is SUNY Oswego School of Business preparing students? We interview Dean Skolnik, faculty and students...........................54
• Community Banks New merger vaults bank into further prominence • No Money, No Problem Payment options abound for small businesses • Community Banks Under Siege Hundreds of small banks have closed recenlty. See what’s been done to reverse the trend Starts on page 48
The new director of Oswego Community Development Office is a man on a mission. “I’m always moving fast and furious,” he says. His goal is to make the city a place where more people want to live, work and play...............12
SPECIAL FEATURES How I Got Started Glenn Zansitis opened his screen printing business with $100 savings. Business is now grossing $260,000......... 10 Groups Boost Performing Arts Theater Du Jour and ARTSswego are some of the groups boosting the arts locally .......... 42 A Third Act for Community Leader Jeff Grimshaw heading to his third act, this time in consulting to nonprofits ........................... 64 High Job Turnover Health and human services sectors often have problems filling job openings........................................................ .74 Marijuana Available Jan. 1 New businesses getting ready to start selling medical marijuana in January............................................. 78 Security Environment Volney Multiplex’s job is keep clients secure. And they use latest techology to do so...................................... 82 Party Central Banquets Two banquet facilities report brisk business for end-of-year celebrations..................................................... 84
SUCCESS STORY As the Oswego County Federal Credit Union celebrates 40 years in operation, it’s busy preparing to open its fourth branch — in the old Bank of America location on Route 481 in Fulton .....87
• Start-Up NY Program not working well in CNY • Novellis Oswego County’s largest manufacturer keeps on rolling • Upstate Venture Connect & StartFast Venture For groups, objective is to jump start “new” economy Starts on page 48 4
DEPARTMENTS On the Job, Newsmakers. ........................... 9,
18 Where in the World... Peru, an amazing place............... 16 Economic Trends Economic development update ............ 26 Business Updates....................................... 28 My Turn In journalism, it’s all about getting to the point...... 42 Last Page Paul Stewart, restoring neighborhoods in Oswego . . 90 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
For answers to all your questions call or email n Tom Greco (315) 592-3158 email@example.com or n Patrick Hamer (315) 592-8327 firstname.lastname@example.org
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
A Cozy Heart...........................23 Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home.....................20 ALPS Services........................30 Amdursky, Pelky, Fennell & Wallen................................13 Amerigas.................................23 Ameriprise Financial...............15 Arise........................................75 Banach Insurance....................11 Berkshire Hathaway / CNY Realty.................................41 Blue Moon Grill / Under the Moon..................................21 Bobcat of CNY........................23 Breakwall Asset Management...9 Brookfield Renewable Energy..3 Burdick Ford...........................39 Burke’s Home Center..............24 C & S Companies...................73 Canale’s Italian Cuisine..........21 CAS Commercial Audio Solution.......................................6 Caster’s Sawmill Inc...............37 Century 21 - Galloway............25 Century 21 Leah’s Signature...24 Community Bank......................7
Compass FCU...........................6 Computer Accounting ............11 Cricket Wireless........................9 Crouse Hospital.......................91 Eis House................................21 Fastrac.....................................47 Finger Lakes Construction......23 Fitzgibbons Agency................46 Foster Funeral Home...............79 Fred’s Auto Parts.....................25 Fulton Community Development Agency.........30 Fulton Savings Bank.................5 Gannon Pest Control ..............25 Glider Oil................................47 Great Lakes Trolley................19 Greater Oswego Fulton Chamber of Commerce......19 Harbortowne Gifts & Souvenirs............................19 Hardwood Transformation......23 Haun Welding Supply.............37 Hillside Commons..................11 Interface Performance Materials............................91 J P Jewelers.............................43 Johnston Gas...........................23
K-9 Grooming & Pet Motel....39 Key Bank................................41 Laser Transit...........................13 Local 43 (NECA EBEW)........63 Medical Registry of CNY.......75 MetLife Ins. Co.......................20 Mimi’s Drive Inn....................21 Mr. Sub....................................21 Nelson Law Firm......................7 Novelis....................................92 Operation Oswego County........2 Oswego Community Development......................15 Oswego County FCU..............52 Oswego County Mutual Insurance..............................7 Oswego County Stop DWI.....20 Oswego Health .......................79 Oswego Quality Carpet...........25 Parker’s Excavating................25 Parker’s Service......................25 Pathfinder Bank.......................47 Paura’s Discount.....................20 Peter Realty.............................75 Phoenix Press..........................30 Port of Oswego Authority.......69 Pro-Build.................................24
hospitality industrial govenment transportation education healthcare corporate retail entertainment house of worship restaurants sound masking
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
RanMar Tractor Supply..........25 Riccelli Northern.....................63 RiverHouse Restaurant...........21 Scriba Electric.........................23 Servpro of Oswego County.....24 Springside at Seneca Hill........35 St. Luke Health Services.........79 SUNY Oswego — MBA Program................................5 SUNY Oswego, Office of Business and Community Relations............................43 Tailwater Lodge......................14 TDO CNY...............................63 The American Foundry...........19 Trust Pediatrics.......................75 Universal Metal Worker..........37 Valley Locksmith....................35 Vernon Downs.........................15 Volney Multiplex....................24 Watertown Industrial Center...71 White’s Lumber & Building Supply.................35 WRVO.....................................53 Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park....19
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OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Greater Pulaski Organization Awarded $9,200
he Greater Pulaski Community Endowment Fund recently awarded $9,200 in grants to three Pulaski-area nonprofit organizations. • Rural and Migrant Ministry of Oswego County received $1,000 to purchase locking file cabinets and replace outdated office furniture. The new additions will make the building more user friendly for its staff and ensure the protection of confidential documents. • Pulaski Historical Society received $4,700 to purchase a storage barn that will house artifacts and displays. The barn will allow the group to preserve and exhibit more of Pulaski’s history to the public and enhance the experience of seeing some of the larger items in its collection. • Preservation Revitalization of Pulaski (PROP) received $3,500 to purchase tents that will be used at various sponsored events. This will allow PROP to make its events much more feasible and allow them to become financially independent. These tents will be used in multiple projects and be available for use for other non profit events. The Greater Pulaski Community Endowment Fund is a union of gifts contributed by the people of the Pulaski community that makes grants to support programs and projects of importance to the area. The Pulaski Fund is a component fund of the Central New York Community Foundation. Since its inception in 1992, the fund has provided nearly $270,000 in grants to benefit the Pulaski community. People can learn more about the fund and contribute at www.cnycf.org/Pulaski.
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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
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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), 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
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ON THE JOB
What kind of repercussions on the economy do you expect if salaries for fast food workers go to $15 an hour?”
“Dealing with salaries for workers is a very difficult situation. The first question you always have is why would the minimum wage be only raised for fast food restaurants? In my opinion it’s a bad idea because the companies are going to go to touch screens and eliminate jobs, which in the long run is not good for our economy. They don’t need to have such drastic raises that will force companies to also possibly go out of business.” Bill Galloway Broker-owner Century 21 Galloway Realty Oswego “It’s definitely going to impact the amount you pay on your bill. When you go to get a McDonald’s Happy Meal, instead of spending $7 for your child, you’re looking at well over $10. Let’s face it: Somebody has to pay the $15 back, and in the end, it’s the customer. Fast food chain restaurants like McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King are typically where most workers get their start in the restaurant business. They get a little bit of experience and then move on to full-service restaurants where you actually have to cook and prepare food. I think it’s going to hurt full-service restaurants because now these people are going to come in and expect more money. Also, you are starting to see a lot more automation in a lot of these chain restaurants. That little kiosk on the table is actually going to be taking the place of an individual.” Randy Beach Owner Ale ‘n’ Angus Pub Syracuse “As long as this ongoing argument has a political component, I don’t believe that we can conduct a pure economic minimum wage effect assessment. This argument’ is a red herring. America is still the land of opportunity for those who work hard to obtain the necessary skills for a higher-paying position. Our government has created a large population of those who are satisfied with a welfare check, but have the capability to OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
better themselves which in turn increases their capital worth. “A minimum wage job was created to be a first step; not the end game. Any government mandate that increases the cost of doing business could result in a number of mostly negative consequences. Prices could rise, jobs could be lost and pressure could come to lower-paying jobs that pay slightly more than the existing minimum. Finally, if the business has a strong profit margin and the owner is willing to absorb the additional expense, a minimum wage increase could have little or no effect on small businesses.” Jeff R. Wallace President Creative Business Development Oswego “An increase in the minimum wage is great for the workers who receive that increase. But the problem is that employers will look to find some way to pay for that increase. And usually, employers will fund a minimum wage increase in one or both of two ways: by laying off workers and/or raising prices. So for the workers who are laid off and the consumers who have to pay more for their fast food, it’s not such a good thing.” Steven Abraham Professor SUNY Oswego School of Business Oswego “As a rule, wages amount to about 17 percent of gross income in the food service industry. In order to maintain that margin, the following options will be the only available. The first and most obvious would be raise prices accordingly. The second would be do more with less and reduce the workforce. In the end, someone will not be happy.” John Halleron Business adviser SUNY Oswego Small Business Development Center Oswego
By Lou Sorendo OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
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How I Got
Started Glenn Zansitis Owner of Zink Shirts started screenprinting business with $100 investment — business is now grossing $260,000 By Lou Sorendo
Q.: How did you get involved in the custom screen-printing business? A.: I’ve always been an illustrator, and when I lived in New Paltz with my brother Mike, we started a line of clothes called ‘I Love Wild.’ It was at that point that I became interested in print operations. I slowly began to acquire my own equipment, and bought a hobby press and set it up in the spare room of my house. I also created my own washout booth to clean screens. I started in a spare bedroom in my house and built up from there. Q.: What kind of capital did you have to work with when you first started out? A.: I think it’s good to have no money when you start because then you appreciate a dollar. I had extra money from my job as a waiter, and invested in a $100 press. That press made me $500, and I took that $500 and made it $1,000. It is about continuously building up sustained income. After moving to Oswego, I became part of the micro-enterprise business training program, offered through SUNY Oswego’s Small Business Development Center. The class features focus training on all aspects of business, and after completing the coursework, I became eligible for a loan through the city of Oswego Community Development Office. I got to a point where I needed industrial equipment, and couldn’t do what I was doing on my hobby press. I got a $10,000 micro loan for a manual press and conveyor dryer. Q.: How are you doing financially now? A.: I have not experienced a loss in four years of doing business. Last year, I acquired an additional $40,000 loan through the micro-enterprise training program that allowed me to get an automatic press and bigger dryer. I adhere to a philosophy of bootstrapping and take as little as I can out of the business while making the most of what resources I do have. We grossed $260,000 in 2014 and are on track to improve that figure by 15 to 20-percent this year. I also doubled my staff. [The business employs seven people, according to the owner].
Glenn Zansitis said he was able to borrow money after he completed the micro-enterprise program through SUNY Oswego’s Small Business Development Center.
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Q.: What were your foremost challenges in launching your business? A.: Having a criminal justice background and not too much in business, it was about learning how to run a business, including accounting, sales and marketing. I had to train myself OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
to be a commercial screen printer. The most challenging aspect of launching the business was training myself while trying to manage the business. That was definitely the most difficult thing to deal with. Q.: What personal characteristics or skill sets do you possess? A.: I love interacting with people. Customer service is one of the most important things to me, and people recognize that. Anybody can come in here and sit down with me. I make sure all the rest of my staff are similar minded. I make sure there is a personal element to it. Q.: Can you tell us about your Enclothe Oswego initiative? A.: Giving back to the community is very important to me. My wife Elizabeth Tiffany is a psychologist, and we’re passionate about working with kids. I have a program titled Enclothe Oswego where I donate any extra shirts I have. I order one extra shirt per size for every order, so over four years, I’ve had thousands of T-shirts that I donate to struggling families in the area. This type of social enterprising is one of the contributing factors why we received the “New Business of the Year” award from the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce recently.
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Q.: How has technology impacted your business? A.: It is challenging to keep up with technological advances in the screen-printing industry. I have attended trade shows such as the ISS Atlantic City version in efforts to keep pace. I’m working with Operation Oswego County and Pathfinder Bank in order to get funded to acquire more technologically advanced equipment. It would really push our business to the next level. Along with the launch of a new website, new equipment would allow my business to sell on a nationwide level. Q.: What does the future hold for Zink Shirts? A.: We love this town and definitely plan to stick around. I want to be able to create more jobs in this area. There is a huge need for them. I am in a position to become one of the JackThreads of the world. We are in a position to create some significant jobs. A lot of them I will be able to hire from below the poverty line. I feel like I can have a significant economic impact in this area. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Profile By Lou Sorendo
JUSTIN RUDGICK Catalyst for change: Binghamton native takes bull by horns at Community Development Office in Oswego He’s a rebel with a cause. who submitted a letter of “If I just focused on affordable Justin Rudgick doesn’t retirement last spring afhousing, I’m missing out on how to need the silver screen to ter holding the position transform the city of Oswego to be express his feelings on since 2006. a place where people want to live, how to rejuvenate the city One of the first work and play,” he said. of Oswego’s beleaguered things Rudgick did He said it is important to reorCommunity Developupon taking over ganize the areas of city government ment Office. his post was meet that impact community and ecoLike James Dean, the with many people nomic development. new director of commuto talk about what “One of the biggest challenges is nity development marchtheir current percep- how to make the city operate more es to the beat of a different tion is of communiefficiently and be streamlined,” he drummer. ty development. He said. “That’s why I proposed a series “I’m always moving said many felt it of reorganizations for community fast and furious,” he was ineffec- development in order to focus on said. tive, not creating economic development Rudgick, transopportunities.” who is taking parent Without that, the city will over an and only continue to operate in departmental oft-maligned promoted silos without clear direction, he said. department, is low-income “We don’t really have a viable making a robust housing. code enforcement team. The fire depitch to strength“One of partment has done a decent job with en the city’s efforts at my challenges is new and commercial buildings, but community and economic to alleviate the negaif we are looking at quality of life development. tive perception that surrounds the and changing neighborhoods, you “I believe everyone can make department as being a promoter of really should target rental, vacant a difference,” Rudgick said. “Some solely low-income housing,” he said. and blighted properties,” he said. people can make more of a differHe said the development of “Those are all within code ence in other people’s lives on a quality, affordable housing will enforcement’s domain. There are greater scale.” always play a role in the Communifunding opportunities I can go after “I think a lot of people living in ty Development Office, but it isn’t to help alleviate that, but at the the city or in this area have a somethe primary focus. The office’s focus, end of the day, we need to have a what negative view of the city or he said, will be shifted to engage progressive and tough code enforcefeel the city lacks opportunity,” he in strategic approaches in creating ment team to help promote that said. economic and development opporcontinuity of neighborhood services “Quite frankly, what I hear tunities. and quality of life,” he added. on the street is Previously, that residents, Lifelines he served as the businesses and director of develBirthplace: Binghamton developers are opment for ProviCurrent residence: Liverpool frustrated with dence Housing in city government,” Position: Director Rochester. Prior Education: Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship he said. “It’s been & Public Affairs, with a concentration in public and nonprofit management and environmental policy to that, he was slow and unreregional developand administration. sponsive.” ment manager for Personal: Wife Carrie and five children aged 3 to 20 He succeeds Housing Visions Hobbies: Camping, hiking, SU and collegiate sports Mary Vanouse, Unlimited, Inc. in 12
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Syracuse. “The positions helped me to understand and become proficient in grant application, administration and management as well as being a real estate developer, which is important in the new role as the community development director,” he said. For Rudgick, he describes his job responsibilities in quite simple terms: create economic and development opportunities and spur economic growth. For those in the community starving for signs of prosperity, this is certainly welcome news. “I get gratification by knowing that I’m able to make a difference in the community, whether by being able to attract a business or developer to invest in this area, or changing a policy or practice that makes it more customer friendly,” he said. “I don’t want to have my name associated with anything. You’ll never see five or six diplomas on my wall, because that’s not who I am. I’m OK with helping spur economic growth at the front end while given the policies and practices on the back end, and then taking a step back and letting the rest take its course,” he added. Rudgick said his department needed an infusion of funds from city hall to stabilize and to ensure that community development will become a major factor in growing the city. He was successful in securing $350,000 in appropriations from the Oswego Common Council to help cover payroll expenses this year. In addition, the department was allocated $250,000 in the 2016 city budget. For the last several years, the department received no city funding. “The idea that the city wants to reinvest back into community development is a very good thing,” he said.
Rudgick and his wife Carrie have four boys and one girl. They reside in Liverpool. “It’s interesting because coming here, especially in this position, we are working fast and furious and trying to transform not only this office but position the city in a way that it can capitalize on economic and development opportunities,” he OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
said. “So I’m always trying to move full bore, but at the same time, I value my family time.” His family recently enjoyed a getaway summer trip to the Adirondacks to hike and camp. He also traveled to the Rehoboth Beach area in Delaware to spend time with a long-time friend and do crabbing and kayaking. “We are outside people and love our S’mores,” he said. He is also an avid Syracuse University sports fan, and enjoys college-level sports. His office staff also keeps Rudgick “very well grounded” in terms of making sure he takes time to spend with family, he said. “My wife is the same way. She is a very strong woman and she supports me in everything I do,” he said. “I try to create that healthy work-life balance and try to do the exact same thing as director to promote that too.” His family tented for many years on camping trips until they acquired an RV last year. “Obviously taking this job, I don’t have any time off until I reach my one-year anniversary, so I try to get away on weekends when possible,” he said. They enjoy going to campgrounds and state parks where there are beaches so the family can enjoy a swim together. Their two dogs — a Great Pyrenees and Greater Swiss mountain dog — also go on hiking and camping trips as well.
‘Very cool’ position
Rudgick characterizes his new position as “very cool, radical and different.” “A lot of the time, most government agencies are focused in the moment and in the here and now in an ad hoc approach. The only way you can be successful as a developer is to have a pipeline plan in place and think about two-to-three years from now,” he said. Rudgick’s first-ever project was in Oswego at Hamilton Homes. He played an integral role in transforming a failing apartment-housing complex in the city and revitalizing it with attractive aesthetics and professional property management. The project — done in three separate phases — featured a combined investment of $45 million. Rudgick is quite familiar with continued on page 86 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
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“We’ve Got You Covered!” 13
Publisher’s note By Wagner Dotto
e’re embarking on our largest and most ambitious project of the year — we’re updating the Business Guide, which we have published for more than 20 years. It doesn’t get any easier. Unlike this magazine, the guide is published once a year and doesn’t carry feature stories or the news of the day. Rather, it brings information about the largest companies in Oswego, Onondaga, Cayuga and Jefferson counties. We mail hundreds of letters to many businesses in the area. We ask them a variety of questions about the business, including employment figures.Very often, we call these businesses to check information, double check figures, etc. Presented in a list format, we include the largest companies in the region based
Largest Employers in Oswego County, Northern and Central New Yourk
on the number of employees. The Business Guide carries a description of the business, address, telephone, website address, name of the principals, a history of the business and the latest developments. It also contains profiles of business owners and CEOs, including their comments on the local economy and their industries. It has become reference material for many people and organizations and we’re glad that Operation Oswego County, the county’s economic development agency, uses it as part of its marketing strategies to attract new businesses to the region. It takes a great deal of work to put it together as we contact each company to get the latest information. A series of graphics shows the largest employers by region, top public employers, manufacturers, auto dealers, home improvement
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
establishments, healthcare providers, energy producers and more. The value of the Business Guide to readers is obvious. At their fingertips they can find out who’s who in Central New York, what’s produced locally, what kinds of companies are located in the area and what’s new with them. For advertisers, it is also a great publication because they can showcase their products, acknowledge their progress and help get their names out to larger and attractive audience. Subscribers to this magazine will be the first to receive the publication.
WAGNER DOTTO is the publisher of Oswego County Business Magazine.
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Where in the World is Sandra Scott? By Sandra Scott
PERU An Amazing Place J
ohn and I have visited Peru twice. Both times we spent about a month. Tourists only need a valid passport with empty pages. Upon arrival visitors receive a non-renewable entry stamp good for 90 days. There are no shots
required but we try to stay current with our tetanus and yellow fever shots. We carry documentation. We were glad because before we boarded the plane for Puerto Maldonado, an entry point for one area of the Amazon, they were
giving yellow fever shots to all those who could not offer proof. If you are going into the rainforest you may need malaria medication. Check with the CDC or your doctor before traveling. The US State Department issues travel warnings but, in my experience, they overstate the situation. Tourist sites are normally very safe. Lima, the capital city, has a changing of the guards at the Government Palace at noon. The show was impressive — get there early to get a good spot. Lima is the hub for travel to much of Peru. From Lima we took one bus north to Trujillo past miles of mountainous sand dunes, and another south to Nazca. Near Trujillo is Chimu, the capital of Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas. The ruins are impressive and another of Peru’s World Heritage sites. The Nazca lines are one of the world’s mysteries. The designs were so huge that
Machu Picchu is one of the Wonders of the World and is the most recognizable place in Peru. Once in Cuzco, a city nearly 26 miles away, visitors can reach the site by foot or by train.
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
they are only visible from the air. The four-wheel trip over the massive sand dunes ended at the top for a great view of the sunset. The small plane dipping and turning over the Nazca lines and the four-wheel ride that charged up one dune and down another were exciting to say the least. From Lima we flew to Arequipa, a lovely colonial city home to the Monasterio de Santa Catalina, which was cut off from the world for centuries. We also flew to Cusco, the jumping off point for Machu Picchu. The Plaza de Armas has a beautiful cathedral and is a great place to get the feel of colonial Peru. There are usually llamas, alpaca, vendors, and Andean musicians in the Plaza. The sound of the Andean pan pipes is haunting. There are a couple ways to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco. Machu Picchu is one of the Wonders of the World. One way is to walk the 26 miles of the Inca Trail. The multi-day trek is only for those in excellent shape. We took the train both times. One time we took the tourist train and the other time we splurged on the luxurious Hiram Bingham train; regardless, the last part of the trip is a heart stopping bus ride from switchback to switchback to the top. There is also a train between Cusco to Puno on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. The most interesting tour is to the Uros Islands where the villages of the pre-Incan people are on floating reed islands. One thing visitors should be cognizant of is the altitude. Most people feel symptoms starting at 8000 feet â€” headache and shortness of breath. Take it easy the first couple of days, drink plenty of water, and travel from lowest altitude to highest: Arequipa, Cusco/Machu Picchu and Puno. We also visited Manu National Park, another UNESCO site, with a large expanse of virgin forest. Donâ€™t expect to see a lot of wild animals including snakes. Most are nocturnal and wary of humans. We never saw a snake but did see many wonderful places in Peru.
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. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
A typical street market in Puno, Peru, where local residents sell all sorts of clothing made from llama wool.
The train that links Titicaca Lake, the highest navigable lake in the world, to Puno.
A local resident of Puno, Peru. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
NEWSMAKERS NEWS BRIEFS ON LOCAL BUSINESS & BUSINESS PEOPLE
NBT Financial Services Hires New Consultant Jamison Davis has been hired as a financial consultant at NBT Financial Services. He will be based at NBT Bank’s Manlius office. In this position, Davis will assist clients in the pursuit of their financial goals utilizing his experience in investments, insurance, retirement plans and the overall financial planning process. He will provide customers in CenDavis tral New York with access to financial and insurance products through LPL Financial. Davis has 16 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining the NBT Financial Group, he was a partner at Prudent Life Agency, Inc., in Manlius. Previous experience includes positions with Thrivent Financial in Syracuse, Citizens Bank in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Insight Financial Group, also in Ann Arbor. A resident of Manlius, he earned his bachelor’s degree at Eastern Michigan University and holds series 6, 63 and life registrations held through LPL Financial and has accident and health insurance licenses in the state of New York.
Patrick Waite Promoted at OCO Longtime agency employee and department director Patrick Waite has been named as senior director of program services for Oswego County Opportunities. Waite, who holds a master’s degree in health care management, joined OCO in 1981 as a case manager in the agency’s developmental disabil18
ities program. Waite has held many positions at OCO, including case management supervisor; program coordinator; director of OCO’s mental hygiene sivision; and most recently, senior director of OCO’s residential services. In his new role
as senior director of program services, Waite will oversee more than 50 programs and vital services that OCO provides for families and individuals of all ages that reside of Oswego County, said OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper Currier. “From youth to seniors, OCO programs strive to meet the need for human services that exist in Oswego County,” said Waite. According to Cooper-Currier, Waite’s dedication to OCO and his familiarity with the agency make him a perfect fit for the new role. “Patrick has worked for OCO for approximately 34 years in a variety of capacities and has served as the senior director of residential services for the past eight years. Patrick is also involved on the state level in matters related to chemical dependence, men-
Treadwell Receives NEDA Lifetime Achievement Award L. Michael Treadwell, executive director of Operation Oswego County and CEO of the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency, has recently received the Northeastern Economic Developers Association (NEDA) “Lifetime Achievement Award.” NEDA represents 11 states including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The award was presented during the organization’s annual conference held in September at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Downtown in Syracuse. Each year the organization recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of economic development by way of their annual Best Practice and Marketing Awards. Treadwell has been the leader of OOC and Oswego County IDA since 1983. Among numerous awards for his achievements, Treadwell has received the Exceptional Commitment Award from the Greater Oswego Chamber of Commerce in 1996, the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
from the International Economic Development Council in 1996, the Financial Service Champion Award from the U.S. SBA Syracuse District in 2005, the Economic Developer of the Year for New York State from the New York State Economic Development Council in 2004 and the Community Leadership Award from Leadership Oswego County in 2010. During the 32-plus years in economic development in Oswego County, Treadwell has helped to stimulate over $4 billion in investments that resulted in the creation and retention of over 22,800 jobs. Presently, Treadwell is active on boards and with organizations that impact the Oswego County and Central New York economies. Some of these organizations are: Oswego County Workforce Development Board, NYS Economic Development Council, Northwestern Economic Developers Association, International Economic Development Council, CNY Regional Planning & Development Board, CNY Regional Economic Development Council and National Association of Development Companies. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
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Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier joined OCO’s Fundraising Committee in welcoming new Fund Development Coordinator Margaret Barclay. In front from left are Brian Greenhouse, Deana Masuicca, Margaret Barclay and Connie Cosemento. Second row from left: Corte Spencer, Diane Cooper-Currier and Terry Bennett. Back row from left: John Zanewych, and Joseph Caruana.
Oswego County Opportunities Welcomes Margaret Barclay Margaret Barclay has been named Oswego County Opportunities’ fund development coordinator. Barclay brings with her a wealth of knowledge in the area of fund development as well as a passion for helping others, according to OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier. “Margaret was selected as a result of her previous fund development and donor relationship experience as well as her extensive familiarity with Oswego County,” said Cooper-Currier. “She brings to this position experience in fundraising with Vera House, as well as fund development and alumni relations with a private preparatory school and Manlius Pebble Hill School,” Most recently a teachers’ assistant at Lura Sharp Elementary in Pulaski, Barclay worked hand in hand with children with varying degrees of disabilities to ensure that they received OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
the necessary support help get them through their day and learn as much as possible. Prior to that Barclay served as director of alumni relations at Manlius Pebble Hill High School and development associate with Vera House in Syracuse where she was involved with many fundraising events and establishing relationships with donors. “Margaret’s knowledge of Oswego County coupled with her outgoing, enthusiastic personality is very much aligned with the mission of OCO. I believe Margaret will be a wonderful asset and complement to OCO as we venture in to more strategic fund development,” said Cooper-Currier. Margaret and her husband, New York State Assemblyman Will Barclay reside in Pulaski with their two sons Harry and George. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
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Every year thousands of people buy commercial or residential properties in Oswego County. They all receive a one-year complimentary subscription to Oswego County Business. Reaching new property owners. Another good reason to advertise in Oswego County Business. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
tal health and developmental disabilities. He brings to this new position a breadth and depth of experience in leading within and outside the organization as well as a strong commitment to the agency, its programs and the community,” said Cooper-Currier.
NBT Has New Senior Relationship Manager Richard W. Driscoll has been hired as NBT Bank’s vice president and senior commercial banking relationship manager.
In this position, Driscoll is responsible for developing and managing real estate lending opportunities with commercial customers throughout the bank’s Central New York market. He is based at the NBT Bank’s Syracuse Financial Driscoll Center located in the AXA Building in Syracuse. Driscoll has 37 years of commercial banking experience. Prior to join-
New Oswego Health CEO Takes Over Charles Gijanto, who possesses more than 32 years of healthcare leadership experience, started Sept. 14 as the new president and CEO of Oswego Health. In that position, he will provide strategic, executive and operational guidance for the Oswego Health System, which includes Oswego Hospital, The Manor at Seneca Hill, Springside at Seneca Hill, Oswego Health Home Care, PhyGijanto sician Care, P.C., and other supporting affiliates that provide health services to approximately 120,000 people in the Oswego County region. Gijanto was appointed by members of the Oswego Health Board during a meeting held Aug. 31. Gijanto began his healthcare career with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare in New York City. Since then, he has served in a variety of prominent positions providing him with broad-based community hospital experience, a strong emphasis on quality, services and efficiency, as well as a consistent focus on service excellence, engagement and culture. He most recently served as the president of Baystate Regional Mar22
kets, which is a division of Baystate Health, Springfield, Mass. Baystate Regional Markets includes two hospitals and 18 physician practices that provide health services in central Massachusetts. Together, the hospitals and practices combined for an annual budget of approximately $150 million. Prior to his role as a CEO, Gijanto served in several leadership roles at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center (CVPH) in Plattsburgh, including executive vice president/chief operating officer and chief financial officer. He also served as the chief financial officer at both Fanny Allen Hospital in Colchester, VT and at Moses-Ludington Hospital in Ticonderoga. In addition, he is experienced in business development. While working at CVPH as the vice president of strategic business development, Gijanto earned his master’s degree in health systems administration from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Gijanto previously earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Siena College. Throughout his career, Gijanto has been active with various healthcare associations, as well as in the communities in which he has lived, serving on both business-related boards and as a member of services clubs. Gijanto is married and has two children OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
ing NBT Bank, he was commercial real estate relationship manager at M&T Bank in Syracuse. Previous positions in the Syracuse market include senior credit analyst and commercial real estate loan officer at Fleet Bank and financial analyst at Onondaga Savings Bank and Syracuse Savings Bank. “I am pleased to welcome Richard to NBT Bank.” Said NBT Bank Regional President Richard Shirtz. “His knowledge of the Central New York business community and commercial real estate lending experience with local businesses and developers in the region will allow us to provide superior service to commercial customers as we continue to grow our presence in the region.” A resident of Syracuse, Driscoll earned his bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University. He is currently a board member for the Empire Housing and Development Board, Syracuse Economic Development Corporation and Syracuse Stage.
Cruz Interns With Chirello Advertising Kristell M. Cruz, a senior public relations major at SUNY Oswego, has joined Chirello Advertising this fall as an intern. Cruz, a native of Newburgh, will be working on research, writing and production for advertising segments dealing with newspaper, magazine, brochures, video production and Web design. In addition, within the public relations realm Cruz will be working on communication tactics and news releases. At SUNY Oswego, Cruz is currently a member of Public Relations Student Society of Cruz America (PRSSA). As a member she works with news releases, excel spreadsheets, social media, branding, and community involvement. Cruz has also held a position as a client team leader for the organizations’ on-campus client work. She is also a project manager for Goals, Purpose, Success (GPS), a recently developed organization on OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
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campus that aids in helping clubs spread awareness and gain members. Before joining Chirello Advertising, Cruz completed an internship at The House of Marley headquarters in New York City. The House of Marley is a company built on the principles of earth-friendliness and a commitment to global charitable causes. The company manufactures sustainable headphones, audio systems, bags and watches. Following completion of her bachelor’s degree at SUNY Oswego, Cruz plans to apply for an internship at the Walt Disney Company.
Business Center Opens at Watertown Airport The Watertown International Airport has opened its brand new business center, a 19,000-sq.-ft. facility that officials say will help attract more business travelers to the area and generate more revenues. The facility will serve as a business center and hangar for corporate users. It will house the airport administration offices and the general aviation (FBO) for the airport. The space features a pilot’s lounge, passenger lounge, flight planning station, flight school and Service Desk. A conference room features room for 25 people and is available to businesses in need of a space to meet with clients or hold a press conference for families and corporations that are welcoming members returning from a long trip. “The new facility provides us with the much needed space to carry out the day-to-day operations of the airport,” said Grant Sussey, airport manager. The center uses sustainable principles of daylighting and energy efficiency. It also features a white roof that minimizes heat island effect. The design of the facility ties into other buildings on the airport campus, yet exhibits unique design characteristics. The center was named to after Mary Eaton Cooper Cox. She was a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in World War II. A resident of Watertown and clayton most of her life, she died Dec. 21, 2009 and was posthumously granted the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.
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Economic Development Update Throughout Oswego County, there have been several projects in a variety of economic sectors. This diversity is testimony to the vibrancy of the local economy.
L. MICHAEL TREADWELL, CEcD, is executive director of Operation Oswego County based in Oswego.
BioSpherix in achieving a request to obtain Manufacturing • Universal Metal Works (UMW) is national certification for the company’s building a 20,000-sq.-ft. expansion in the equipment, which provides a safer option city of Fulton. The company will use 10,000 for lab technicians who use infectious cells square feet to expand its spray painting, in their research. BioSpherix is currently in assembly and manufacturing facility. the final stage of the NSF/ANSI 49 appliThe remaining 10,000 square feet will be cation process. The $571,000 project retained 56 and leased to Davis-Standard, which will be relocating its blown film operations from will create 12 jobs. Financial assistance was provided by M&T Bank and the County of Bridgewater, N.J., to Fulton. This $2.4 million project will create Oswego IDA. nine jobs. Financial assistance for the Hospitality and Tourism project is being provided by Pathfinder • CNY Raceway Park is a $50 million Bank, Operation Oswego County and project on 145 acres in the County of Oswego the town of Hastings. IDA. Economic Trends The park will feature a The project is well road course and a synunderway and is expected to be completed by the fall of this thetic dirt track for automobile racing and harness racing. The project is expected to year. • BioSpherix, a cytocentric cell incuba- create 150 jobs. • Holiday Inn Express is a new 81-room, tion and processing system manufacturer, acquired a vacant 40,000-sq.-ft. elementary four-story hotel being constructed in the school in the town of Parish from the APW city of Oswego. This $8.6 million project Central School District. The facility is being will create 15 jobs. Financial assistance is being provided by converted into a state-of-the-art R&D and Community and Pathfinder banks, County manufacturing facility. Recently, Congressman Richard of Oswego IDA, Oswego CDO and a SBA Hanna visited BioSpherix. Hanna aided 504 loan through OOC.
As seen in the chart, these projects represent a total investment of over $72 million and will create/retain 287 jobs in Oswego County across a variety of sectors. Numerous other projects are in the works and we are actively engaged in assisting several projects that are evaluating opportunities to expand in Oswego County or locate operations here. The mainstay of a sound economic development strategy places emphasis on the expansion of existing business over attraction. It is much harder to attract a new business than it is to retain and expand an existing business. Oswego County has had success in both. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
â€˘ The Gardens by Morningstar, the former Loretto Skilled Nursing Home in the city of Oswego, is being converted into a 106-bed assisted living facility. The building is approximately 54,000 square feet on four floors, located on a 5.4 acre site. The $4.9 million project will increase the assisted-living capacity in the Oswego area by 77 Medicaid ALP beds and 29 private-pay adult beds and will create 30 full-time and 15 part-time jobs. Financial assistance is being provided by Pathfinder Bank and the County of Oswego IDA.
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â€˘ Eagle Beverage constructed a new 62,300 square foot warehouse and distribution center in the town of Oswego. The $5.6 million project will create eight jobs.
Congressman Richard Hanna with Randy Yerden, CEO of BioSpherix during a recent tour. The company is in the midst of a $571,000 project that will retain 56 and will create 12 jobs.
New Eagle Beverage 62,300 square foot warehouse and distribution center in the town of Oswego.
Holiday Inn Express is a new 81-room, four-story $8.6 million hotel being constructed in the city of Oswego.
Universal Metal Works (UMW) is building a 20,000-sq.-ft. expansion in the city of Fulton. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
CNY Raceway Park is a $50 million project on 145 acres in the town of Hastings.
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
A Village in Search T of a Bank Parish mayor working the phones to get a bank to open in the village
he village of Parish has been without a bank for nearly a year — since Since November 2014 when a branch of KeyBank pulled out of the small community. Mayor Kathryn Perkins said the disappearance of a financial institution has shaken up local residents. She wants one back, and despite multiple rejections, she is working hard to get a new branch of a bank or credit union established in the village. “It made quite an impact,” Perkins said. “People were quite disgruntled about the fact we didn’t have the convenience of a local bank. Many of them have been banking at that site for many years. It made it very inconvenient for the village and the surrounding communities that had to travel either to Pulaski or Mexico.” Mexico is seven miles from the village and Pulaski is 12 miles. The U.S. Census estimated that the village of Parish had 536 residents in 2013 and the town of Parish 2,549 residents. Why did KeyBank get out of the village? Essentially the branch wasn’t making the profits it needed to viable at the location, said the bank’s vice president of public affairs, Therese Myers. Mayor Perkins said she has written and spoken to about a dozen regional banks to try to entice them to open a branch in Parish. She cites the community’s location right off I-81 and Route 69 as advantages that could be a draw. So far no luck. “I tend to get the same response, that we’re a smaller community and the demographics just don’t meet their criteria for either building new or coming into the area of Parish,” the mayor said. “The response is that ‘it doesn’t fit into our immediate’ five-year plan, 10-year plan, etc.” The mayor, a former teacher at Mexico Central Schools, believes Parish has what it takes to be a good location for a financial institution. According to the village historian’s office there has been a bank in Parish since 1891. KeyBank had been there since 1980. Parish has growth plans and the mayor thinks a local bank might meet the community’s needs. She has reached out to Pathfinder Bank, Community Bank and Solvay Bank, among others. “I’m not sure what the dynamics are [in] the banking industry, but from our perspective we’re in need,” she said. “ We want a bank that is community-minded.”
Parish Mayor Kathryn Perkins said her village has been rattled by the absence of a bank. Here she stands in front of the bank building, which had been occupied since 1924, most recently by a KeyBank branch. 28
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
“I’m not sure what the dynamics are [in] the banking industry, but from our perspective we’re in need. We want a bank that is community minded.” Parish Mayor Kathryn Perkins Biospherix, a manufacturer of health research equipment, moved to the heart of the village not long ago. There is also a Dollar General and Subway, and Dunkin Donuts now hs an outlet in a local gas station, the mayor said. There are tentative plans for an industrial park and the mayor said the community hopes to get a grocery store, too. Currently the village is working on getting gas and water lines. Most businesses and residents use wells and oil, propane or wood. Myers of KeyBank said bank officials looked at branch traffic and demographics when considering opening a branch. “There are a whole host of other things that are...proprietary, “ she said. “They have a formula or a process they use to determine branch locations. You figure out who your clients are and where they are.” Online banking has affected all banking, including community banking. In a statement KeyBank Central New York Market President Steve Fournier said his company’s customers have shown a definite preference for digital banking. Online and mobile transactions have been double the number of traditional branch banking transactions, he said. Despite the obstacles, Mayor Perkins holds out hope for a new bank or credit union coming to her community. She said she is determined and not giving up. “I’m still optimistic that something will come about, but it’s just a matter of being persistent and continuing the search and seeing what we can do,” she said.
By Matthew Liptak OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Jeff Vandeyacht got hooked on flying in 1990 when he received a gift certificate to learn how to fly. He took several courses, became an instructor and ultimately the owner of True Course Flight School, based at Oswego County Airport.
Flight School Flourishes at Oswego County Airport More than 30 people have received a pilot’s license in the last few years at the local airport
nyone can train to get a pilot’s license at the expansive fields of the Oswego County Airport Volney. Lessons are given by instructors working for True Course Flight School, based at the airport. Having discovered their own love for flight, instructors and the owner are determined to share their love of flying with anyone interested in flying. Jeff Vandeyacht remembers when he started. It was 1990 when he received a gift certificate — an introduction to
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
learn how to fly. “One time was all it took,” Vandeyacht says. “I was hooked.” In his new-found hobby he worked to obtain his private pilot’s license (which allows a pilot to fly friends and family), then instrument training (which certifies pilots for a variety of weather conditions), followed by training to be able to offer commercial flights to others. Once he met his goal, and was able to fly in prime capacities, he found out he still missed the training environment … and went on to become an instructor. Currently Vandeyacht is one of four professionals available as instructors at 29
True Course Flight School has two well maintained airplanes — a Cessna 172 and a Cessna 152 — both of which are basic gas, single engine, ‘prop planes’ (with a propeller) for students to fly.
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True Course. Class and flight times are offered each day of the week and on the weekends, all year round. Since taking over as new owner for True Course nearly five years ago, Vandeyacht says that the flight school has graduated about 30 new pilots, and currently has about 35 students enrolled in their flight training programs. Also at the flight controls as instructor is Cameron Shepard, who says he has been in love with planes and flying since he was a kid. It was back in 2007 that Shepard had the chance to take a “Discovery Flight” at True Course. “Once I got a taste of it I never looked back,” the instructor says. The “Discovery” flight is still an option, just for adventure or, for some, as the beginning of something more. The instructors said to obtain a private pilot’s license, students must take a minimum of 40 hours of flight time, with the national average logged at 60 hours. In addition, there is the ground school element of the process, with even more hours of study taking place on the ground. Use of an airplane is a part of the hourly or package prices offered to potential flight training students, along with the textbooks needed, in addition to online video instruction and demonstration for study. True Course Flight School has two well maintained airplanes — a Cessna 172 and a Cessna 152 — both of which are basic gas, single engine, ‘prop planes’ (with a propeller) for students to fly. Vandeyacht said it usually takes about a year for students to get a pilot’s license, depending on how many classes the students take. Airplanes rent for $115 per hour, and OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Cameron Shepard is one of the four instructors at True Course Flight School. “Once I got a taste of it I never looked back,” the instructor says. instructor time for private pilot training is $40 per hour. To go from zero time to private pilot can cost close to $10,000, according to Vandeyacht. “We try to keep flight training costs as low as possible, and affordable,” Vandeyacht said. Anyone interested in information on flight training or to schedule a Discovery Flight, can call 315-598-4482. For more information, visit www.truecourseflighttraining.com.
By Diana Cook OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Chase Enterprise sprays the Seneca River last year to eliminate the invasive water chestnut plant. Air-boat spraying is just one of the ways the Oswego company has branched out recently.
Herbicide Spraying Business Growing Like A Weed Contract with Pennsylvania DOT will add $7.5 million to gross revenue of Oswego’s Chase Enterprises; company was started at the owner’s garage in 2001
hat started out as a small snow removal business for one Oswego man has grown into a multi-million dollar herbicide spraying company, which continues to show impressive growth. “When I talk to people about what I do the kind of reaction I get is, one, ‘I never even knew this was an industry,’ and then, two, ‘Wow, you built a $3.5 million dollar a year company spraying Roundup killing weeds?” said Allen Chase, owner of Chase Enterprises, an Oswego-based business. The company continues to see sub-
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
stantial growth this year, Chase said. It won a $7.5 million contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation over five years. Unlike the state of New York, which does its own weed control, Pennsylvania contracts out the weed work. Chase Enterprises won work in two of 12 districts in Pennsylvania. That includes the treatment of all state roads in 16 counties. Much of the work is being done near Philadelphia. “I’ve got about 12 spray trucks working the greater Philadelphia area with about 22 full-time employees working down there,” Chase said. “And then we have another area that’s up in the center of Pennsylvania and we’ve got OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
another seven or eight full-time people and another seven or eight trucks there.” Greg Hobbs is the company’s Philadelphia supervisor. He said working with the state has been challenging, but that the company was bringing real maintenance back to some of the roads, which had suffered from a previous contractor who had been negligent. “It’s going good,” Hobbs said. “It’s all a big learning experience. The taxpayers haven’t seen things done in forever. We’re trying to be as efficient as possible so everyone here in the state gets their money’s worth. ” Starting Out from Home Garage — Growth isn’t anything new to Chase Enterprises, though the past year has seen one of the bigger increases. Chase started his business in 2001 from the garage of his house where he was salesman, snow plow operator and mechanic all in one. “Back in 2001 we were grossing $100,000 a year; 2005 we were probably $500,000 a year; 2010 we were over a million; 2014 we were at $2 million; and 2015 we are going to be at $3.5 million-plus,” Chase said. Chase He said his company started by plowing some gas stations its first winter. Then he started aggressively going after commercial accounts, including Walmart, Lowes and different power plants in the area. Because of his commitment to customer service, clients began to ask more of his company, Chase said. It got into lawn care and parking lot sweeping during the summer months. By 2005 Chase said his company had gotten to be the biggest snow removal contractor in the county with gross earnings between $100,000 and $200,000. It had five fulltime employees and about a half-dozen part-timers who traveled as far as Fulton and Central Square to plow. The next year a client asked Chase Enterprises to do some herbicidal spraying in an electrical yard. The company acquired the necessary licensing and equipment for spraying for this new niche business without any great expectations. But Chase Enterprises began to get 31
Chase Enterprises of Oswego has been growing steadily for over a decade. The business really picked up when it began contracting to kill weeds along roads. It recently won a $7.5 million contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that includes the treatment of all state roads in 16 counties. Much of the work is being done near Philadelphia. more and more jobs for its herbicidal spraying services. It started with doing electrical farms in the area, expanded to tank farms and propane storage facilities and in 2010 Chase hit it big with road spraying. “I’m going to say by 2010 we were spraying every county road in 18 counties all over New York state,” he said. “That grew us probably to 15 or 20 full-time employees, pushed our gross revenue yearly over a million dollars. I think when we were doing snow removal and mowing we had finally gotten to maybe a half million dollars a year in gross revenue then we got into herbicide spraying and that pushed us over the million-dollar mark.” The company’s owner continued to push his company to grow. He bought a high-rail truck, a vehicle specifically designed to run on railroad tracks, and got contracts spraying some small New York state railroads. Last year the company bought an airboat and sprayed portions of the Seneca River in conjunction with the DEC to eliminate water chestnuts, an invasive species. Jason Towne is Chase Enterprises’ fleet manager. He is a former horticulturist who moved with his wife to Oswego five years ago. There wasn’t much need for his horticulture expertise in the area so he got a job managing the company’s fleet of equipment. “I enjoy it a lot,” Towne said. “I was able to change my career. I like fixing things. The only downside is he’s grown so much in the five years that I’ve been 32
there that it’s kind of like a kid having a growth spurt. Every time we turn around their clothes don’t fit.” Towne said managing the growing fleet has been a challenge, staying within budget and getting everything done. The weather also keeps him on his toes. The company can’t plow snow if it’s not snowing and can’t go out to spray herbicides when it’s raining. Chase currently owns 30 payloaders, about 25 pickup trucks and several utility vehicles like John Deere Gators, four-wheelers and two street sweepers. The company now constructs its own spray trucks in its shop by buying the cab and chassis and adding the spray units. It builds the spray trucks because it is a cost savings over having another company do it. Spray trucks aren’t really on the market as finished products to purchase, Chase said. The company has given consideration to getting into the business of making and selling the trucks, but the owner is currently focused on increasing spraying contracts. Chase estimated the value of his current inventory of vehicles at about $2 million. And the company has 40 to 45 full-time employees. With this year’s growth the company’s business is now about 75 percent herbicide spraying and 25 percent snow plowing, he said. The growth is expected to continue. Chase Enterprises has plans to bid for highway contracts in Ohio and Vermont in the near future. Then it will be OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
on to other states. “Looking forward, we’re going to continue to grow our herbicide business,” Chase said. “In five years I would say that we’re going to be operating probably in the entire Northeast of the U.S.— eight to 10 states. We’ll probably have three to four satellite offices in other states. And we’ll be doing at least $10 million a year I would suspect. That’s probably a low number.” But the entrepreneur said he expects the company headquarters to always be in Oswego. He and his wife, Allison Chase, who owns the Great Lakes Trolley Co. in Oswego, have roots in the community. With more than a decade of business success, Chase has learned a few nuggets of wisdom that have helped his company thrive. From a newspaper owner Chase knew at the beginning of his career he got a simple bit of advice that has served him well over the years—get up every morning and work hard. Chase got some direction from Gypsum Express owner John Wight too. Gypsum is a truck company based in Baldwinsville, which in 2011 had annual revenue exceeding $85 million. “We were kind of struggling and I asked him his opinion of what the secret was and he said ‘Find something that makes money and duplicate it,’” Chase said. “That really kind of sums up our whole herbicide business.”
By Matthew Liptak OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Well-groomed Career Marie Schadt of Oswego Town embraces technology in new age of pet care
or Marie Holland Schadt, running a business is more than just tallying up credits and debits. It’s about making a difference and adjusting to technological advances. Schadt, a master groomer, is the owner of K9 Grooming & Pet Motel, 2452 county Route 7 (Johnson Road) in the town of Oswego. The business offers boarding, grooming and day care. Schadt also has a full horse barn with handicapped access that has enjoyed huge success. “If you do great care, they will come to you, and they do,” she said. Schadt, a master groomer, is enjoying her 38th year of doing business. “I’m finding that with some customers, I’ve been through three dogs,” she said. Schadt and seven other long-time workers staff the facility and are employing the latest in technology to make their customers’ experience a pleasant one. “Our suite rooms offer TVs that provide a background noise close to what is at home,” she said. “Special sky panels have been placed over fluorescent lights to offer a soft, calm light more like nature provides.” On the advice of obedience handlers and dog behaviorists, Schadt uses diffusers for fluorescent lighting, considered disturbing to dogs. This controls estrous cycles as well as hormone delivery in humans and animals. “If you are put under artificial light, it’s certainly going to affect you,” she said. Meanwhile, the floors at the motel have been painted with an anti-bacterial material that is extremely durable and easy to clean, she said. She said younger customers are more tech savvy. “My daughter Amanda said, ‘Mom, your next move is getting cameras to iPhones so customers can look at their pets.’” “The younger generation is telling
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
me this is what everybody wants,” she said. Earlier this year, Schadt was exploring the possibility of installing security cameras, giving her the ability to call up images on her iPhone wherever she is and monitor and view runs. Schadt said the iPhone connection would appease those who miss their pets. “A lot of these people don’t have children; they have a pet,” she said. Remote viewing — “My 26-yearold daughter Amanda has a dog and said, ‘Mom, I would be pulling it up on the iPhone and checking on him during my lunch hour.’” Schadt said she is going to offer it on several runs to see how it is accepted. It would also be helpful for clients who have dogs with complex medical conditions. “The background television is nothing more than a conditioned reflex. They calm right down and the barking factor is so much lower,” she said. “We have two little dogs that are tigers in their kennel. We put them in the front kennel with the TV just to see what would happen. They were like different animals,” she said. The TV is turned down low and plays movies that feature soft music. “There is nothing violent, crazy or noisy and we keep the dog theme going,” she said. She has about 40 movies to choose from, including “Finding Nemo,” complete with Frank Sinatra’s song, “Somewhere Beyond the Sea.” “They like it, they really do. Even a barker will lie down and calm down,” she said. Schadt said dogs experiencing anxiety are most likely to benefit from TV. She is even thinking of adding a large screen TV to her cattery. Schadt said dogs do watch the screen, and some will just drift off to sleep. “I leave it go all night when the runs are full,” she said. “We’re seeing a difference. It would be a lot cheaper for me not to have flatscreen TVs running all the time, but I’m OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
sold,” she said. Domestic dogs can perceive images on television similarly to the way humans do, and they are intelligent enough to recognize onscreen images of animals as they would in real life—even animals they’ve never seen before—and to recognize TV dog sounds, like barking, according to a 2013 study published in the journal Animal Cognition. The study shows dogs can identify images of other dogs among pictures of humans and other animals, using their visual sense alone. DogTV, an HDTV cable channel designed for dogs, interests canines because HDTV has a much higher number of frames per second and is specially colored to accommodate dogs’ dichromatic (limited color) vision.
By Lou Sorendo
Marie Schadt is the owner of K9 Grooming & Pet Motel in Oswego. 33
Century 21 Galloway Realty in Oswego is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Celebrating the occasion are, from left, Elaine Galloway, office manager; Thomas Galloway, founder; and William Galloway, broker/owner.
Galloway Golden on Real Estate Scene
Century 21 Galloway Realty celebrates 50-year milestone
o those who know Bill Galloway, they fully understand that he is a full-fledged, die-hard Miami Dolphins football fan. The owner-broker of Century 21 Galloway Realty in Oswego bleeds aqua, orange and marine blue and will no doubt be viewing games this year in the cozy confines of Cheap Seats in the Port City. Ironically, both his business and the Dolphins — affectionately referred to as “The Fins” — are celebrating their golden 50-year anniversaries. “My personal love is the Miami Dolphins and we are both celebrating 50 years in business,” he said. “I hope they view Century 21 Galloway as a quality organization like the Miami Dolphins.” What’s his preview on this year’s
version of Miami? “We’re going all the way,” he said. It’s that level of confidence that has led to great success for Galloway Realty in Oswego through many years. Century 21 is the No. 1 real estate franchise in the country, Galloway noted. He said over the last 10 years, Century 21 Galloway Real Estate has been the No. 1 realty company in the county for both residential and commercial sales. In 2014, the local franchise generated about $38 million in sales volume. Over the past three years, the agency has been involved in more than 400 transactions. The business is celebrating its 50 years in a variety of ways with the focus being on its agents. The staff of 25 — including Elaine Galloway, Bill’s wife and office manager — participated in a community night at Oswego Speedway recently and also treated to an annual OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
golf tourney. “Without our agents, we wouldn’t be here for 50 years,” Galloway said. “I always take care of my team.” His father Thomas Galloway started out by selling real estate and insurance back in the 1960s. He operated independently out of his home with the support of his late wife Bridget. The couple had several places of business before locating at 351 W. First St. That’s when Thomas became affiliated with his first franchise, Realty World Galloway. He would return to being independent, and asked his son Bill to take over the business in 1994 following his acquisition of Century 21 Wallace Realty. Bill retired from his job with Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. and came in and grew the business. He spent 10 years OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
with NiMo before joining the agency. The business would then remove a restaurant and construct a new site at 7 Bridie Square due to a need for more space in 2006. Under Bill’s guidance, the agency has doubled its number of agents. Galloway also created Whitewater Commons, which is an extension of his main office building and an adjacent building at 9 Bridie Square, the location of Robert Berkley’s physical therapy practice. He built five high-end apartments at his main location, and also constructed three units at 9 Bridie Square. He has a waiting list for all the units, which have been fully rented since they were built in 2013. “We knew there was a demand for quality housing on the river,” Galloway said. Elaine also stepped aside from a job with Niagara Mohawk after 19 years to focus on the family’s real estate business. “We were taking a chance of ‘putting all of our eggs in one basket,’ but he needed my help and I had the knowledge to help him,” Elaine said. “I worked in the same department for 15 years where I took care of the budget, computer technology, computer training and all the office skills necessary to manage our real estate office. “I knew I could make a difference and he could count on me and trust me to take care of managing the office.” This freed her husband up to concentrate on working with clients and agents. “That was a big key to success,” she said. Match made in real estate — “I met Bill when we were in high school, so I have watched the business grow for many years,” Elaine said. “He learned from his dad and then put that knowledge plus his own together.” She said her husband believes in working hard, honesty, and providing the best service he can with his clients to make their real estate experience the best it can be. “He believes in what he does everyday and he loves working with people to help them buy or sell their home,” she said. “He is always fair with the agents in our office and also with each and every person that he works with.” “I really have enjoyed just being part of a successful family business,” Elaine said. “I love working with technology and making sure that we provide our agents with as much as we can to stay on top of a very busy business.” Galloway said his father was a visionary when it came to the real estate OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
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business. “He was always a step ahead,” he said. Galloway said he was fortunate to experience the real estate and property development world under his dad’s tutelage. Galloway also learned valuable leadership skills while at NiMo in terms of how to treat employees. “I’ve learned to take care of agents and give them the tools and vision to be the best they can. It’s worked very well for me,” he said. He has also been very keen on providing quality customer service. Galloway’s office has received the Century 21 Quality Service Pinnacle Award for the last six years in a row. Galloway said he learned from his
parents the value of treating people fairly “and treat them in a way that you want to be treated.” “My father always did that and had a great reputation that people respect. That has helped us all these years in the business,” he said. Whole new world — Galloway said the industry has dramatically changed over the years. “In the past, agencies didn’t even share information with each other. Nowadays, it’s different. Everybody has the knowledge right at their fingertips with computers,” he said. Galloway said strong leadership is essential in order to successfully run a real estate agency. “There are so many different things
Carving a Niche Thomas Galloway: driving force behind longtime real estate agency
alloway is a household name on Oswego’s real estate scene. Century 21 Galloway Realty is celebrating 50 years in the business in 2015, thanks largely to its original founder, Thomas Galloway. His son, Bill Galloway, is the present-day owner/ broker of the agency. After teaching industrial arts and technology for 10 years, Thomas left the educational field in order to make a better living while raising four children with his late wife, Bridget. He entered the real estate field as a salesman with the former Shay Real Estate Agency in Oswego. Several years later, he became a broker and opened his own agency — Galloway Real Estate — at East Seventh and Bridge streets. “It was difficult, but I received encouragement from people like former mayor and realtor Jack Fitzgibbons. We worked long and hard but gradually kept growing,” he said. Encouraged by another friend, former Fulton mayor and realtor Don
Bullard, Galloway purchased a Realty World franchise and moved to a new office at West Sixth and Bridge streets. The business flourished and grew to 12 agents. Bridget, a former secretary at Hammermill, took over responsibility of running the office full time. At this time, Mayor Walter Lazarek appointed Galloway to the chief tax assessor’s post in Oswego. “I started to purchase some vacant land with the idea of becoming a new home developer, and found this most difficult and time consuming, but at the same time fascinating,” he said. Galloway went on to purchase The Cornerstone Restaurant, now Bridie Manor, along with land surrounding the waterfront and the old Varick Canal on the city’s west side. “The canal was at a depth of 20plus feet, and we eventually filled it in. Today, it’s a parking lot for the area called Bridie Square,” he said. Bridie Manor is named after his wife, who passed away in 1981. Bridie in Gaelic translates to Bridget, meaning OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
that happen in a real estate transaction,” he said. “You have to make sure your agents are performing their jobs and you have to deal with attorneys, surveyors and banks.” Galloway said he focuses on making sure everybody is working as a team and transactions come off as smoothly as possible. When Galloway does interview prospective agents, he looks at their sphere of influence and knowledge of technology. “Younger agents nowadays have a lot of technology skills that we didn’t,” he said. “It’s just a natural thing for them and puts them a step ahead of a lot of other agents.” He also looks for those with people
strong. Later in his career, Galloway purchased a Century 21 Real Estate franchise from broker Harold Wallace, and never looked back. He went on to become president of the Oswego County Board of Realtors. “Over the years, we have developed friendships with many buyer and seller families, along with their personal legal and banking representatives, and maintain many of those close relationships right to this day. We are very proud of that,” he said. Galloway said he is proud of several projects he created, such as Bridie Square, Fairview Terrace, Woodridge, Crestwood and Crestwood South. The Bridie Square development includes Century 21 Galloway Realty, eight condominiums on the riverfront, a physical therapy office, and professional office space presently being leased by an attorney. These endeavors involved many new roads and around 70 new homes for Oswego. This added over $32 million of new assessment to the Oswego city, county and school property tax rolls, he noted. After Thomas retired, Bill and his wife Elaine took over operations. “Looking back, I am very proud of what my family and I have accomplished, starting with nothing but a dream and a lot of hard work, including help, trust and friendship from many local professionals in Oswego,” Galloway said.
By Lou Sorendo OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
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Mexico Man Creates Business Designed to Prevent Active Shootings
ctive shootings seem to take place more and more these days. Almost every time you look at the news there seems to be a story about a gunman who has fired upon a large group of people. An FBI study reveals the number of active shooting incidents in the U.S. has doubled between 2007 and 2013. There were 160 active shootings between 2000 and 2013, the FBI reports. Active shooter is defined by the Department of Homeland Security as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a conﬁned and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use ﬁrearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.” Michael Gaita, 44, a 14-year veteran of the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department and Department of Homeland Security, believes he has the solution. His business, Counteractive Solutions, is designed to teach those who may be confronted by a potential active shooter
how to act. “Two years ago I started to develop these several programs that I have,” Gaita said. “I focus on prevention because nobody’s talking to school teachers, office staff, administrators. Administrators and teachers have different roles when something like this happens, let alone the small businesses. Nobody’s going to these people and focusing on prevention. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last two years.” Gaita’s programs focus on a few areas of science which may be unfamiliar. Heuristics, or experience-based decision-making, allows the person in a dangerous situation to act more quickly than they would be able to otherwise. He also teaches kinesics which is the study of subconscious body language. Biometrics is another subject taught. It involves how the body deals with stress, Gaita said. Gaita said he has been teaching law enforcement departments around the state these subjects for a while now. But he saw a need for the people on the ground dealing with a potential shooter to know the subject. He said it could be
20 minutes before the sheriff could get to someone in Oswego County. That’s a lot of time the potential shooting victims are dealing with the situation by themselves. “This information has to get out there,” Gaita said. “We’re too busy being victims and we’re too busy trying to figure out how to deal with it when I could take them by the hand and show them how to deal with it and how to recover from it.” Counteractive Solutions also offers consulting for schools on how to recover from an active shooter incident. Gaita said planning ahead can make a big difference in recovery. “There’s several course topics I offer as far as recovery goes — where to store your data, how to look into storing your data off-site, counselors, mental health people,” he said. “This should all be in place before something happens so you can just pull your binder off the shelf and say this is how we’re going to recover from it.” Gaita has been aggressive in contacting potential clients, especially local schools, but he said he has had a hard time getting business. He said they often profess interest, but many haven’t invested in training. Altmar-Parish-Williamstown School District has contracted with Counteractive Solutions, according to Gaita. He taught their administrators on how to deal with a potential active shooter. He said the schools gave him positive feedback about the training. His fees for training are somewhat flexible, he noted. He’ll work with clients on the price. The cost of his course is $100 per module with a total of three modules. The entrepreneur said he is committed to making Counteractive Solutions successful. He wants to get the word out about what he can offer. He wants to save lives. Growing the business has been very challenging at times and he said he hopes that’s not because Central New York communities are complacent about the danger they may face. “I hope they’re not waiting for something to happen here first,” he said. “It’s better to be ready for it and it not happen then to be not ready at all.”
By Matthew Liptak 38
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Specializing in F-Series The former Valvoline/Express Oil and Lube property on Route 481 in Fulton has been redeveloped into a Domino’s pizzeria/restaurant and drive-thru ATM for Pathfinder Bank.
Pizza Shop, Bank Partner Up New Domino’s Pizza location in Fulton features Pathfinder ATM
ustomers at the new Domino’s Pizza location in Fulton can eat out and get cash out at the same time. The former Valvoline/Express Oil and Lube property at 516 S. Second St., Fulton has been redeveloped into a Domino’s pizzeria/restaurant and drive-thru ATM for Pathfinder Bank. Pathfinder Bank, owner of the property, repurposed the vacant site into a Domino’s location, and also features a drive-up Pathfinder ATM kiosk. “We feel the partnership is excellent and will generate more traffic,” said franchisee Tom Matweecha. “Domino’s is not partnering with too many other places like we are here in Fulton.” The original Domino’s store in Fulton — which opened in the late 1980s — was located at 316 W. Second St. and has been closed. The new Fulton location opened on Aug. 5. Staffing at the Fulton location fluctuates from between 15 to 20 workers. Tom Matweecha is the franchisee
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
at the Oswego and Fulton locations, and also partners with a colleague to own locations in Potsdam, Massena and Canton. Matweecha did not disclose the cost of the recent project, only to say that Pathfinder and Domino’s have made a sizable investment in the city of Fulton. Matweecha has been a Domino’s franchisee for more than 30 years, having opened his first store in Oswego in 1985. The Fulton location has a sit-down area where customers can order their food and eat inside. The capacity indoors is about 25 customers, and once an outdoor patio is created, another 15 to 20 customers can be served. Matweecha and his team were recently recognized for their outstanding operation, pizza making and quality of customer service as part of Domino’s Operations Evaluations Report program. “Domino’s comes in and inspects us multiple times a year,” he said. “I attribute the great success to strong management and fantastic employees.”
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Jason DiBenedetto, owner of Cricket Wireless in Oswego, joins store supervisor Kim Allen in the store recently.
Cricket Establishes First Footprint in Oswego County
Business specializes in cell phone service and accessories
ricket is regarded as the world’s second most popular sport. Cricket Wireless — a prepaid wireless service provider of voice, text and data — is looking to be the most popular wireless service in the nation. Digital Device Technologies, Inc., a Cricket-authorized retailer, recently
established its first Cricket location in Oswego County at 21 E. Bridge St., next to Subway at the corner of East First and Bridge streets in Oswego. “Cricket is looking to expand nationally,” said Jason DiBenedetto, who along with his partner, Mike Calcagnino, owns the business. “They targeted markets they wanted to move OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
into, and Oswego was one of those markets.” DiBenedetto is not a franchisee but rather an authorized retailer. Prior to Cricket, DiBenedetto worked at The Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona for 21 years, the last 12 as director of poker operations. “I decided to take a little step out of the corporate world and venture out on my own and this is what I landed on,” he said. Originally from Turin. Lewis County, DiBenedetto graduated from Alfred University and then became employed at The Turning Stone as a blackjack and craps dealer. DiBenedetto also has a store in
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
New Hartford and makes one or two trips a week to check in on the Port City location. Led by supervisor Kim Allen, the Oswego store features four employees. In terms of future expansion in Oswego County, DiBenedetto said he is always taking a look at markets and demographics to see what may be appealing. “There’s definitely some possibilities within the area and even beyond,” DiBenedetto said. DiBenedetto noted that Cricket’s demographic is in a state of flux. “Consumers see its value and realize they are paying a lot of money for cell phone service, which is kind of crazy when they can get a plan like we have, save a lot of money, and still have the same service as they had in the past.” “We want to appeal to anyone who has a cell phone,” he said. Cricket formerly marketed heavily in inner city markets, “and the service wasn’t all that great outside of the city,” DiBenedetto said. “Now there is much better service and we are on the AT&T network,” he said. The presence of SUNY Oswego
also presents a promising demographic. “That’s one thing that we saw as well. College students all have cell phones and need to get on their phones all the time,” he said. “Hopefully we can offer some of them a good value on our service as well.” Cricket specializes in cell phone service, and also sells cell phones and accessories. DiBenedetto said the emphasis is on “simple smart wireless.” Cricket offers three rate plans. Each plan has unlimited talk and text with data and no contract. Brand awareness key —DiBenedetto is focused on creating brand awareness, the first step toward attaining success. “I think a lot of people drive by and ask, ‘Cricket? What the heck is that?’ I think Cricket itself is doing a very good job in getting the word out. They have some really good national campaigns,” he said. “It’s important to let people know who we are, what we do and what we have to offer,” he said. Allen said word of mouth has been effective in spreading the word, particularly using the Cricket referral program. If a customer refers a friend
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and both register online, they will each earn a $25 account credit after three months of active service. DiBenedetto did not disclose the cost of investing in the new store, but did say it was a substantial investment given the build-out needed and amount of fixtures and inventory. He did not disclose projected annual revenues, but did say the store’s target is 100 activations per month. Because of the advantages the business features such as being on the AT&T network and featuring affordable rate plans, DiBenedetto said it oftentimes is a tough sell because customers think there is a “catch.” “They are getting more service than some of our competitors and paying less monthly,” he said. Another strategy on the “business-to-business” level is offering business owners five lines at its $40 rate plan on a group save discount. That amounts to 2.5 gigs of data per line with unlimited talk and text for $100 a month, again with no taxes or extra fees.“You’re going to be hard pressed to find that anywhere else,” he said.
By Lou Sorendo
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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
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In Journalism, It’s All About ‘Getting to The Point’
W ‘Learning to express the information in a clear, graceful, interesting and coherent manner is an elusive brass ring we journalists seek each day of our careers.’
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. 42
hen I was a relatively new reporter journalists seek each day of our careers. in 1966, narrative leads to news Some days, reporters will sit at their comstories were becoming trendy, so I puters and, if by magic, the words will flow thought I would try one on a feature story I rhythmically and poetically. Other days, I have was assigned on the homeless. found reporters staring for what seems an “A solitary figure hulked down an emp- eternity at a blank computer screen. For some ty, dark street carrying a bulging duffel bag reason, the words will just not come. with his worldly possessions,” I wrote. I was Constructing the introduction of any news so proud of this opening story (known as the lead — sentence, because I was pronounced “leed”) is one My Turn sure that my readers of the most difficult tasks would be able to capture in their mind’s known to journalists. It generally takes the most eye the image of this hapless soul trudging time, as journalists anguish over it, writing and through his urban prison. rewriting it until it is just right. All the while, Shortly after I handed in the lead to their editors are screaming for the final product my bulldog-like, cigar-chomping editor, he so it can be posted online to satisfy voracious walked it back to me and flung it on my desk. news junkies. In big, red letters were scrawled this message, The lead can be built around any of the “GET TO THE POINT!!!” 5Ws, but, in dealing with immediate news, What my editor was telling me, in essence, most reporters focus on the “what” or “who.” is that regardless of how sophisticated jour- The simple lead usually deals with significance nalists or journalism may become, there are or magnitude of a specific action — the most certain basics that resist change. important thing that happened. We call them the 5Ws and an H, the basic Here are two examples: “Four men were components of every news story, the raw killed today in a two-car crash on Route 481 near material reporters must collect, interpret, Fulton.” “A raging fire in downtown Oswego organize and write. today resulted in the death of a SUNY Oswego On the surface, they may seem simple, student, devastated six businesses and left more merely a list of the questions an inquisitive than a dozen people homeless.” child might ask about almost anything. The KISS Principle applies to this kind of But they are precisely the questions many lead-writing – Keep It Short and Simple. Some adults stop asking when they outgrow child- even suggest that it should be KISSS — short, hood and adolescence. simple and snappy. While the words themselves are simple The lead is intended to hook the reader into — who, what, where, when, why and how the rest of the story. Busy readers zero in on — getting the information behind them is stories that either shout “read me” or involve anything but simple. subject matter that interests them. English author Rudyard Kipling immorIn their quest to latch on to the reader, jourtalized these “six serving men” in a classic nalists should not write leads that promise more poem intended as a guide for clearer thinking. than they deliver. They also should not rely on Here is how it starts: hyperbole, or, worse, dishonesty. Newspaper-writing once was characterized I keep six honest serving men by an inverted pyramid style, although most They taught me all I knew; journalists consider this approach outmoded. Their names are what and why and when For spot-news writing, however, the inverted and how and where and who. pyramid is still most effective. Unlike fiction or non-fiction writing, where Learning to express the information sentences build to a climax, journalistic writing captured in answering these questions and most often gives away the plot in the first sendoing so in a clear, graceful, interesting and tence. The further into a news story readers go, coherent manner is an elusive brass ring we the more of the nitty-gritty they are likely to OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
find, but even if readers decide to stop four or five sentences into the article, they have digested most of the meat. That is certainly true today of busy online readers who flit from headline to headline to find material they want to read. Even then, they usually consume just a smattering of the whole. Since I was writing a feature story on the homeless, I thought my anecdotal approach was more effective than a straight lead, but my traditionalist editor had other ideas. Happily, his successor was someone who encouraged anecdotal leads for feature stories, but even he would reject any such notion for an immediate (or spot) news story. â€œGet to the pointâ€? is still good advice today for journalists trying to satisfy busy readers, regardless of where they go for their news.
unlimited horizons 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 non-profit 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
AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Office of Business and Community Relations 103 Rich Hall SUNY Oswego Oswego, NY 13126 315.312.3492 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
performing arts By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Local Groups Boost Performing Arts Thanks to organizations like ARTSwego and Theater Du Jour, performing arts in rural Oswego County shows vibrancy
Bingo, The Winning Musical, was presented in August by Theater Du Jour, a local theater production company. Actors performed the play at The Eis House in Mexico, at Oswego Tea Company in Oswego and at Colloca Estate Winery in Fair Haven. “We want to make the audience feel like they’ve been to the event of the year, even if it’s a little show in Oswego,” says Tammy Wilkinson, the group’s director. 44
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
swego County residents enjoy an impressive number of options for attending performing arts events for a largely rural area. Despite a sluggish economy, attending live productions and concerts remains a popular means of entertainment. John Shaffer, director of arts programming at ARTSwego, likes that since it’s a university and community presenter “the public can get to know an artist or ensemble in different ways — through audience interactions and programs in the public schools,” he said. “That kind of investment in audience development takes time and money, so we’re fortunate to have community supporters and arts funding organizations who value the effort. They help keep ticket prices affordable.” Since Waterman Theatre is closed for renovation, ARTSwego is operating in alternate venues in the interim. Shaffer views it as an opportunity to take the arts to the people, including Brooklyn-based Third Rail Projects’ dance performance at the Fort Ontario Historic Site last season. Shaffer anticipates the remodeled facility to open next year. “Every aspect of the audience experience will be enhanced,” Shaffer said. “But we hope to keep some of the ‘festival’ feeling we’ve generated while working without our usual home base.” ARTSwego’s annual budget is about $225,000, which includes its own programs and indirect support for arts-related programs that are sponsored by others campus departments and organizations — concerts and gallery shows, as well as visiting artists, filmmakers and writers. Ellen Wahl, director of Oswego Music Hall, believes that “performing arts is integral with quality of life. People are coming out. If we had the word out more so people were aware of The Music Hall, that would help.” The Music Hall has grown a lot since its early days when more people occupied the stage than the audience during performances. “Now, we get touring musicians from around the country and even the world,” Wahl said. Close-to-home talent has also helped the Music Hall grow. The Hook, which features singer/songwriters, and open mic night has made it a “magnet for OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
When cellist Matt Haimovitz appeared on the ARTSwego Performing Arts Series Sept. 15 and 16, he also took his instrument on the road to places like the River’s End Bookstore in Oswego, part of an audience development strategy to build concert attendance. Courtesy ARTSwego. people in their 20s and 30s,” Wahl said. Attendees usually perform music or tell a story for their performances. Open mic night draws people of all ages, from “closet musicians” to regular performers. “Music is a leveler,” Wahl said. “I see mutual respect between older and younger people. I’ve thought that was very cool. There is so much talent in this area.” The Music Hall produces 39 shows a year with an annual budget of $35,000. Theater Du Jour serves up dinner theater at local eateries throughout Central New York. Director Tammy Wilkinson of Oswego said that the group struggled to draw crowds, so in February 2014, they decided to take their shows to the crowds: wineries, restaurants, casinos and other spaces. The interactive nature of the shows starts with the play the company produces, as it relates to the venue and OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
necessitates audience participation as cast members mingle with diners. “It should be a social event, where you dress in period clothing, mingle with the cast and make it a social event,” Wilkinson said. “We want to make the audience feel like they’ve been to the event of the year, even if it’s a little show in Oswego.” Smaller casts with minimal sets and props helps Theater Du Jour perform in settings not normally suited for live performances. “So far, we’ve had great relationships with the venues,” Wilkinson said. The company and venue owners contractually agree upon a mutually beneficial ticket price. Wilkinson auditions actors wherever she plans to give a performance, and brings in local directors and theatre companies, too. She envisions the company as a collaborative effort. Actors receive a small stipend for their time. 45
New Property Owners Every year thousands of people buy commercial of residential properties in Oswego County. Many of these people are new to the area and some are just buying newer, bigger properties. Either way, they all receive a complimentary subscription to Oswego County Business.
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Rueby Wood Holsopple as Charlie and Emily Oldenburg as Reporter in final scene from Willy Wonka Jr., which featured more than 35 children onstage and the first sold-out performances for CNY Arts Center. Courtesy CNY Arts Center. Wilkinson supplies shortfalls in the company’s budget. As Theater Du Jour is new and still experimental, she doesn’t have an annual budget figured out. She said it costs a couple of thousand dollars to put on a show, depending upon its size. Recent shows include “Love Letters” and “Murder at Cafe Noir.” The show the group was presenting over the summer was “Bingo, the Winning Musical.” Nancy Fox, founder of CNY Arts Center in Fulton, feels that the patrons “are supporting us well,” she said. “We had over 500 people in a weekend when we put on The Wizard of Oz last year. Narnia was well attended. It depends upon what we’re offering and the time of year.” The center produces shows year round that include both children and adults. CNY Arts Center ’s new space, which was an empty storefront at 11 River Glen Drive, provides a better audience experience with a custom stage and backstage area, professional lighting OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
and more. The company previously performed at State Street Methodist Church in Fulton for three seasons. The old building’s issues with accessibility and limited parking may have hampered the company. CNY Arts Center’s budget tops $50,000 annually. Fox believes that CNY Arts Center helps boost the local economy such as the funds spent on cast parties, supplies to build sets, and more, since she sources these items locally. “We have an opportunity for businesses to get ads in front of patrons through playbills,” Fox said. “We’re involved in a lot of community collaboration as well.” Open mic night, dessert theater, art classes and, for children, performing day camps represent a few examples. The director and designer are paid staff; the rest of the cast and crew are volunteer. The company’s latest show is “Much Ado about Nothing.” “Oliver” is slated for this fall. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
BANKING SPECIAL REPORT By Lou Sorendo
Community Bank: New Merger Vaults Bank Into Further Prominence Pending merger with Oneida Financial Corp. to bring Community with more than 190 branches, spanning across New York and northeast Pennsylvania
Community Bank scored the highest rank in Central New York for customer satisfaction in a recent consumer study conducted by J.D. Power and Associates.“We’ve been highly ranked in customer satisfaction studies for the past few years because of our wonderful employees,” says Hal Wentworth, senior vice president/retail banking for Community Bank. Above is the interior of the bank’s branch in Fulton. 48
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
BANKING SPECIAL REPORT
ommunity Bank N.A. is depositing its expanding footprint in Central New York. The DeWitt-based Community Bank is in the process of buying Oneida Financial, parent company of Oneida Savings Bank, in a $142 million deal. Upon completion of the merger, Community Bank will have the fourth-largest deposit share in the Syracuse metro area, which includes Oswego and Onondaga counties. The acquisition of a dozen Oneida Savings Bank branches significantly expands Community Bank’s market. T h e m e rg e r will form a larger branch network with more than 190 facilities, spanning across New York and northeast Pennsylvania. The $142 million deal should close in the fall, according to bank Wentworth officials. The acquisition was originally scheduled to close in July, but the bank needed more time to clear regulatory hurdles. It pushed back the closing, which will now take place at some point in the fourth quarter. The boards at both banks and Oneida’s shareholders have approved the acquisition. With assets of approximately $7.5 billion, the company is among the country’s 150 largest financial institutions. Oneida Financial Corp. has total assets of nearly $800 million and deposits of $690 million. In addition to a full range of retail and business banking services, Community Bank System Inc. — the holding company for Community Bank N.A. — offers financial planning and wealth management services. It also operates a full-service insurance agency providing personal and business insurance products. Community Bank System Inc.’s Benefit Plans Administrative Services OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Inc. subsidiary is a leading provider of employee benefits administration and trust services, and actuarial and consulting services to customers on a national scale. Oneida Financial Corp.’s significant insurance, benefits administration and wealth management businesses will significantly strengthen and complement Community Bank System Inc.’s existing non-banking service capacity, according to Hal Wentworth, senior vice president/ retail banking for Community Bank. “Oneida Financial Corp. has a leading market presence in Madison County and an attractive share in Oneida County, and has built impressive businesses in insurance, benefits and wealth management. “Even more important to us, Oneida Financial Corp. has an impeccable history of service to its customers and its communities, and a culture that aligns very well with that of Community Bank System Inc.” Wentworth characterized the transition process as “typical and progressing.” “Oneida Financial Corp. customers will be getting more information as we move closer to completing the merger,” Wentworth said. Community Bank System Inc. has more than 2,000 employees, and the merger with Oneida Financial Corp. is anticipated to increase employee count by more than 300. Community Bank has four locations in Oswego County. It has branch locations at 100 E. First St., Oswego; 1 S. First St., Fulton; 343 Church St., Hannibal; 4854 N. Jefferson St., Pulaski, and an ATM location on the SUNY Oswego campus. Business on the move — When asked if Community Bank plans on further expansion in the Central New York region, Wentworth said the financial institution continuously seeks opportunities to expand its footprint in Central New York and beyond while it continues to grow its customer base within existing markets. Wentworth outlined the competitive edge Community Bank has over other OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
like financial institutions. “‘Bank Happy’ is our advertising tagline.” He said. “However, it’s really the core principle by which we operate.” Community Bank scored the highest rank in Central New York for customer satisfaction in a recent consumer study conducted by J.D. Power and Associates. “We’ve been highly ranked in customer satisfaction studies for the past few years because of our wonderful employees,” Wentworth said. “We still offer free checking at a time when many others are charging fees, and other products — like our noclosing-cost mortgage, which is very popular with first-time home buyers— set us apart from competitors,” he said. “Our lending decisions are made locally in each of our branch locations, which is also very convenient for customers. We have a never-ending focus on our customers.” Wentworth said local decision-making means quicker responses on loan applications at customers’ local branch. Wentworth said Community Bank has realized significant success, enabling it to make acquisitions and mergers. “The key to our success is our great employees, who truly do care about the customers and communities they serve,” He said. “Our employees live, work and are actively involved in the communities they serve. Those employees are committed to providing the highest level of customer service in everything they do.” Wentworth said it is the bank’s local decision makers who understand customer goals and know how to get customers what they need. He said Community Bank fulfills the needs of modern-day banking customers. “Today’s consumer is looking for a bank they can trust, with good customer service and a human touch without the barriers of red tape,” he said. “Community Bank strives to be approachable, accessible and responsive at all times.” He said incoming customer inquiries are directed to and addressed by local branch employees who are always committed to providing the highest level of customer service. 49
BANKING SPECIAL REPORT
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
No Money, No Problem I
Payment options abound for small businesses. New smartphone apps and devices can make it even easier for customers to pay with plastic
f your small business doesn’t accept cards, it’s time to step up your game or you could lose business. A study conducted three years ago by Princeton Survey Research Associations International revealed that nearly one in 10 Americans never carries cash. Forty-nine percent have $20 or less in their wallets. Considering how little $20 buys these days, few people could treat a friend to lunch on that amount. Many farm Halleron markets and other agricultural businesses accept only cash. Ontario Orchards in Oswego represents an exception. Owner Dennis Oullette said his business has accepted plastic
payments for decades. “We began accepting [cards] to encourage sales,” he said. “It’s been good for our business. When you’re in agritoursm you have to accept change.” His thoughts echo those of John Halleron, senior business adviser at the SUNY Oswego Small Business Development Center. “If your industry dictates that you accept credit cards, you pretty much have to,” he said. “Many people don’t carry cash. You’ve Mulligan got to [accept cards]. It’s a cost of doing business.” Halleron advises business owners who don’t accept cards to discuss the options with the company’s institution
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
of deposit, since very bank or credit union maintains a relationship with a credit card processor. For mobile businesses, smartphone apps and devices can make it easier for customers to pay with plastic. Square (www.squarup.com) offers free physical card and chip readers that work with the free Square app to allow businesses to accept immediate payments directly to their bank accounts from customers’ cards within one to two business days. Square emails the receipt to the customer. The set-up is free and requires no longterm commitment. Square charges a fee per transaction, around 2.75 percent. Intuit (www. payments.intuit. com) and ROAMpay (www.roampaywireless.com) are two other examples. “You can find billions of these apps and devices,” Halleron said. “Really, research the following points: What do you need to make Paprocki that app work? How much is it going to cost every time you swipe a card? How much will it cost if you have to manually enter that card? What happens when you don’t use the device for a period of time? Is there a flat fee in lieu of use? How do you get it processed and how long does it take? It’s an example of let the buyer beware. Understand what you’re getting ahead of time so there are not surprised.” Seth Mulligan, vice president for innovation services at The Tech Garden, OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity in Syracuse, sees electronic payments as much more than a simple transaction. “Look at it as a customer engagement method. It’s a way to ask someone when you give them a receipt to sign up for an e-newsletter. Or give them a percent off when they post on social media. “Gather that data, protect it, and use it to create a mobile dialogue. Send them a companion survey with the mobile email receipt.” Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Rudy’s Lakeside Drive-in in Oswego has done fine without accepting cards since its founding in 1946. “We try to keep things traditional,” said Doug Appleman, manager. “We’ve talked about it and down the road, we may have to.” He loathes the thought of paying transaction fees and passing on that expense to customers. “There’s no reason to give money back to Visa,” Appleman said. “The two- or five-cent fee goes up and up every year.” The restaurant offers an ATM on the premises and posts warning signs on every door. Locals expect to pay only cash; however, “if we see someone come in who’s new we explain it to them,” Appleman said. “We’re always a little lenient if someone comes in from out of town and we can hold something for them so if they need to, they can run out to the bank.” Bernard J. Paprocki, district director with Syracuse District Office of the US Small Business Administration, disputes the notion that eschewing cards saves money, when a business owner considers the cost of handling cash, including purchasing a safe, the time necessary to handle, count and deposit cash, and the risk of robbery and fraud. “Take a second look at that,” he said. “The decision to do a cash-only business requires a lot of equipment whether you think it does or not.” He also said that cash-only businesses may experience difficulty in proving their income when they want to borrow money for an expansion,. He also views cash-only businesses as missing out on impulse purchases. “People using credit cards aren’t as disciplined as they used to be and it may cause an increase on sales because they would spend more than they usually would,” Paprocki said. “When you’re swiping plastic, it’s different than seeing 20s going through your hands.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Community Banks Under Siege by Larger Counterparts Number of community banks drops by 41 percent between 2007 and 2013 By Lou Sorendo
recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond reveals that the number of community banks dropped by 41 percent between 2007 and 2013. That’s terrible news for small business owners who rely heavily on financing from small, local banks. Analysis by the Fed suggests that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed in 2010 is at least partially responsible. The act resulted in a barrage of federal regulations that the Obama administration passed in 2010 in an attempt to prevent the recurrence of events Schneider that caused the 2008 financial crisis. A Harvard University study shows that the rate of decline in the community bank share of commercial banking assets has doubled since the passage of the law in 2010. Moreover, most of the decline in the number of community banks in recent years has resulted from a cessation in bank formation during the current economic recovery, the Richmond Fed reports. Thomas Schneider, president and CEO of Pathfinder Bank in Oswego and chairman of the New York Bankers Association, said there are a few reasons why relatively smaller banks are shutting down, with the first being the regulatory burden and the need to invest. “They have to do a lot of capacity investing to cover the increased regulatory cost under the Dodd-Frank Wall OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed in 2010,” he said. The law increased total U.S. financial regulatory restrictions by nearly one-third and has required community banks to purchase new software, hire additional compliance personnel, and to spend more time responding to government oversight than before. More than four of every five small banks believes compliance costs have increased since the passage of the act, a recent survey shows. The cost of technology associated with establishing delivery platforms for Internet banking, mobile and ATM is also a factor, Schneider said. “It also requires an important personnel commitment, so you have personnel expenses in areas such as risk management, consumer compliance, regulations and technology,” he said. “If you are not prepared to make those investments and build yourself for growth, it’s easier to look for an exit strategy. That is what’s happening out there in some places,” he noted. Schneider said there’s also general regulatory fatigue that leads to capitulation. Schneider said Dodd-Frank is onerous across the spectrum of banking. “It’s particularly challenging for the community banks’ capacity build to manage the burden,” he said. Tailoring a solution — “There’s something out there that we’d like to see called tailored regulation,” he said. “It’s gaining steam in Congress.” Speaking on behalf of the New York Bankers Association and as a community banker, Schneider said this idea of tailored regulation looks at
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the complexity of the bank and applies some of these Dodd-Frank standards relative to that complexity. “You are risk managing the banks according to their risks rather than taking a cookie-cutter approach which puts you in a category of regulatory requirements that are not consistent with the risk you pose to the system,” he said. Schneider said advocacy for relief from undue regulatory pressure is strong and firm both on the state and federal levels. “The reason for that is because we want to be the engines to drive the small business economy,” he said. “That’s not going to happen without capital injection from the banking industry.” Schneider said if banks are too constrained to inject capital or too large that they don’t know their markets, that access to credit to the small businessperson is going to be more challenged. Schneider said it is vital not to stifle a sector of the economy that “really creates the most job growth, and that’s the small business community.” “We are not fighting for our profitability, although we’d be foolish not to fight on behalf of our shareholders,” he said. In order for small community banks to keep pace with their larger competitors, Schneider said they must define what their competitive advantages are and deliver those in the market. Those advantages can include proximity to market, knowledge of the market and ease of doing business. “Pricing really doesn’t matter across the spectrum because we are all subject to similar pricing,” he said. “ Schneider said it’s all about how a bank manages costs. “Banks can thrive with $100 million, a billion, $100 billion or a trillion in total assets, but they won’t be successful if their focus is not on the sector of the market they are serving,” he said. In order to hold the line on costs, banks must look for product enhancements, which will ultimately come when “we have a good balance of investing in technology, risk management, customer service and people,” said Schneider, who has been chairman of the NYBA since March. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
COVER By Lou Sorendo
Strictly Business I
SUNY Oswego’s School of Business about enhanced resources, increased enrollments
t’s a culture of engagement. In today’s ultra-competitive business world, old-school approaches to education are being shelved in favor of experiential learning. The SUNY Oswego School of Business knows this all too well as it grooms the nation’s next wave of business administrators, accountants, marketing specialists and finance experts. According to Richard J. Skolnik, dean of the School of Business, the school is adequately preparing its students to meet the demands of a competitive global business world while growing its resources and enrollment numbers.
Skolnik said he is “quite confident” that the School of Business is producing graduates capable of mastering issues relative to the business world today. He said this is evident through assessing how students are achieving mandated goals and objectives, such as understanding ethical issues and displaying knowledge of core business disciplines. “I’m also confident in terms of the success our students are having and the feedback I’m getting from employers,” he said. He said after Noble Health Services in Syracuse had a positive experience OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
with an intern from SUNY Oswego, it reached out for more. SUNY Oswego is also placing students in co-ops/internships with Biogen Idec in Boston, a company that routinely recruits from educational titans such as Northeastern University. “Our students are just as prepared,” Skolnik said. “I’m really pleased that we are able to compete at that level.” Skolnik also commended a strong work ethic among his students, noting many work while going to school. “Making ends meet now is more of an issue,” he said. “They are looking at value in terms OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
COVER of their education,” he said. “It’s very uplifting to see that we have confidence that the younger generation is going to carry the ball and be responsible.” Skolnik recently completed his eighth year as dean of the School of Business. Over that span, the School of Business has experienced a steady increase in students intent on taking advantage of the opportunities it presents. Enrollment data through fall of 2014 reveals dramatic increases in both undergraduate and MBA enrollment. In the fall of 2006, there were 1,268 students enrolled as undergraduates in the School of Business. In the fall of 2014, that number stood at 1,740, an increase of about 27 percent. In the fall of 2006, there were 75 students enrolled in the MBA program at SUNY Oswego. In the fall of 2014, 209 students were partaking in the MBA program. Since 2008, full-time faculty has increased from 25 to 35. When Skolnik first arrived on the scene, one of his main areas of focus was establishing an “environment of engagement.” The concept involves applying skills learned in the classroom to the outside world and is executed through special programs and internships. ‘Engaging’ experience — Skolnik noted the concept of engagement is bringing together students, faculty, employers and alumni to create a sense of community. “Students are gaining experience, employers are gaining talent, faculty are making connections between the classroom and professional setting, and alumni are passionate to give back to the institution,” he said. Skolnik said the School of Business has benefitted from the broader college-community initiative driven by SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley that advances experiential-based learning with a greater focus on co-ops and internships. “That just plays so well into what we are doing,” he said. Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business since 2002, the School of Business offers a range of undergraduate programs, several interdisciplinary programs, an MBA and combined five-year BS/MBA and BS/Master Programs. Skolnick said growing enrollment OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Richard J. Skolnik, dean of the School of Business. He said the business school is preparing students as well as any other top business school in the country. numbers are encouraging considering a change in demographics that has seen less students of high school graduating age in New York state. “We’ve seen declines in that age segment, and actually the campus had foreseen that earlier on and President Stanley prepared for the decrease,” he said. Nonetheless, diversification in terms of more majors being offered — such as risk management and insurance — has served to stir interest in business students over the last seven or eight years. Skolnik said it is a “tough call” to predict whether enrollment numbers will continue to increase, but does say they should be stable. With an increased number of students, Skolnik has been careful to cultivate staff and faculty on a measured basis. Costs at the college are borne by students paying tuition, taxpayer dollars and alumni donations. “In all three of those cases, we want to make sure that we are prudently allocating resources to meet student needs,” he said. Students express satisfaction — A main reason why enrollment numbers OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
have jumped is student satisfaction, Skolnik said. Students are hearing from graduates about their educational experience at the SUNY Oswego School of Business, and like what they hear. “When we ask students about the value of their education and their perception of it at the School of Business, we get very high marks,” he said. SUNY Oswego’s School of Business has fared quite well on nationwide student opinion surveys. Students are asked to rate their education at the school of business and if they would recommend a friend to attend SUNY Oswego. Positive responses serve as a testimonial to how beloved the school of business is by graduated students, Skolnik said, and serve as an informal recruiting tool for incoming students. Meanwhile, the SUNY Oswego School of Business MBA program has increased in popularity. One of the reasons is the 150 semester hours of education needed for CPA certification. “We have a larger number of students continuing on for a fifth year to qualify for CPA certification,” Skolnik said. 55
COVER Accounting is the second most-popular undergraduate major behind business administration. Also adding impetus to the MBA program is The Metro Center in downtown Syracuse, which was recently designated as a SUNY Oswego branch campus. Skolnik said The Metro Center appeals to working professionals who wish to pursue an MBA as they can manage their schedules more effectively. “When we were just based on campus, someone from Syracuse who was pursuing an MBA had that commute, which is not an easy commute given Central New York winters,” he said. Skolnik said The Metro Center creates a broader link to Syracuse and the Central New York business community. “That link then creates opportunity for our students,” Skolnik said. “Employers are really enthusiastic about employing our students.” Recently, Skolnik met with OneGroup, a consulting firm that specializes in risk management and insurance. OneGroup representatives were not only interested in visiting The Metro Center to address students, but also wished to provide internship opportunities and actively recruit students. “Employers have the ability to identify and develop talent, while from our standpoint, we are providing opportunities for students,” Skolnik said. Meanwhile, SUNY Oswego’s School of Business has been offering a customized MBA program to the employees of SRC, Inc., a North Syracuse-based research and development company. The condensed program offers a hybrid learning experience with both online and live course offerings. “What’s nice for them is they are able to work on projects that are proprietary because they are all SRC employees,” Skolnik said. Wide-open opportunities — Another major factor contributing toward the school’s success is its online program that has experienced significant growth. SUNY Oswego was one of the first participants in the Open SUNY initiative implemented by chancellor Nancy Zimpher in January of 2014. Open SUNY is a cross-system collaboration to create initiatives and services that support campuses and faculty in enhancing online-enabled education 56
Typical classroom at SUNY Oswego School of Business.. to improve student access, completion and success. It began with seven programs involving five institutions. SUNY Oswego has two programs within the initiative — its MBA program as well as an MBAhealth services administration program. U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review rank SUNY Oswego’s online MBA program as among the best in the nation. The Open SUNY initiative was spurred by a need to look at best practices for online education and provide the necessary support mechanisms through the program. “In subsequent years, there were more campuses signing up, but we were in that first wave,” he said. Skolnik has been successful in integrating other disciplines into the world of business studies. One example is the cultivation of the five-year Bachelor of Science/Master of Psychology program. Also, a five-year program leading to a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and mass communications and a master’s in business administration was rolled out in 2012. Skolnik said the college works closely with the communications department. “There is a lot of overlap. A lot of students will double major in public relations and marketing or public relations and business administration,” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Skolnik said. One of the courses that Skolnik introduced is Strategic Communications in Business, considered a “first choice” course for incoming freshmen. Both written and oral communication skills are emphasized. He said last year’s Student Association president, Tucker Sholtes, majored in both business administration and communications. Sholtes recently moved to St. Louis to work as a management consultant for Accenture. Another collaborative effort resulted in the creation of the MBA in health services administration program. The college has developed a suite of health-related graduate programs in response to employer needs in the region, Skolnik said. The School of Business also worked with the chemistry department and its professional science master’s program to include a track featuring MBA classes. He said employers in science and engineering fields will be looking for students with technical backgrounds and the ability to link that with business skills. Where are graduates going? — Skolnik said many graduating students get jobs in Central New York. “Some of them are from Central New York and want to stay here, which is great for the region. We need that,” he said. Pleasing to Skolnik, a native of OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
COVER Michigan, are students who come to SUNY Oswego from downstate or out of state and then decide to settle in Central New York. “Then we have students who go back to their home areas, whether it’s the Capital Region, Western New York, New York City or Long Island. Those are big draws for students,” he said. “We also have students who get out-of-state jobs.” Among specific areas of study within the business program, accounting draws the most attention from employers, Skolnik noted. There is a “Meet the Accountants” night on campus where many firms attend to network with students. There are also a number of firms that come to campus to interview and recruit students. In many cases, students have jobs before they graduate. “On the accounting side, it’s incredible,” Skolnik said. He said senior accounting majors often get offers in November or sometimes even earlier. “They know they have jobs before graduating,” he said. Skolnik said great emphasis is placed on getting students to think about career development early in their college careers. “It’s not about going to the career services office in April of your senior year,” he said. “You want to start in your freshman year.” All business — In terms of competitive edge, Skolnik said it is important to perceive the School of Business as being part of the SUNY Oswego campus. Under the direction of President Stanley, the college has undergone vast infrastructure and program development with a clear focus on students. “Being part of the SUNY Oswego campus provides us with a competitive advantage,” thanks largely to its studentand learning-centered approach. Some of the amenities include tutoring resources, the Office of Learning Services and the Center for Experiential Learning, international offerings, and research-based undergraduate programs. “There is a whole plethora of opportunities for students at SUNY Oswego, so being part of it is a benefit right there,” he said. The School of Business has also received high marks for its diverse array of 11 student organizations. Skolnik said this enhances the “culOCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
ture of engagement” that provides the school with a competitive advantage. Student organizations are beneficial in that current members communicate their positive experiences to others who may be thinking about enrolling at SUNY Oswego, he said. One group that interacts well with the community is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program where students assist low-to–moderate-income residents with income tax assistance.
It recently filed 300 returns for residents in Oswego and Fulton. Skolnik said this benefits not only the community, but also students as they hone client-based interaction skills. Another example is the Investment Club, which manages an actual portfolio featuring more than $135,000 in assets. An external advisory council comprised of investment professionals provides guidance in what Skolnik describes is a well-structured process.
Dean: ‘We’ve got a vibrant campus life’ Here are some observations by Dr. Richard J. Skolnik, dean of SUNY Oswego’s School of Business: • On residing in the city of Oswego: Skolnik has resided in Oswego for the past 17 years, and said his proximity to campus allows him to attend functions and activities on campus at night and on weekends. He is originally from Michigan. “I like the community and geography, and in some ways, it is similar to Michigan with its lakes, nature and trees,” he said. “The summers are less humid with dew points heavier in the Midwest.” He also enjoys being close to New York City. • On infrastructure improvements on the SUNY Oswego campus: Skolnik said the School of Business’s home, Rich Hall, which underwent an $8 million renovation in 2003, exhibits “a lot of curb appeal” when students come to take a look at the facility. “They see a facility that is inspiring and somewhere inviting for them as opposed to a facility that is tired or lacking resources,” he said. Skolnik said ongoing improvements to the campus in general — such as the addition of the Richard S. ShineOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
man Center for Science, Engineering & Innovation and the Campus Center — have added attractiveness to visiting students. • On the up-tempo vibe on the SUNY Oswego campus: “We are a residential campus and not a suitcase campus,” Skolnik said. A suitcase campus is one where a significant percentage of students go home on weekends. “We’ve got a vibrant campus life. There’s a lot more students living on campus than in the past,” said Skolnik, noting that resident hall upgrades and development such as The Village townhouses have fueled that trend. • On where he gains his job satisfaction from: “What I like most about it is that gratifying experience when students will thank you and express appreciation for the education they received at the school of business,” said Skolnik, noting that many graduates pledge to be a strong alumnus and support the school. Skolnik also gains gratification from helping students develop both personally and professionally. 57
COVER By Lou Sorendo
Alums Give Alma Mater High Marks Recent grads credit School of Business efforts at shaping them professionally
everal SUNY Oswego School of Business graduates gave the school high marks when reflecting back on their educational experience in the Port City. Ruth Perez is a May 2015 graduate of SUNY Oswego. She majored in finance and received the 2015 Outstanding Finance Student Award. She is working for Wells Fargo in New York City as a financial analyst in its commercial banking group. She was active on campus, Perez including serving two years as the co-chairwoman of the School of Business Student Advisory Council. “Ruth’s leadership of the SAC helped promote student involvement in the School of Business, and furthered interaction between students and alumni,” said School of Business Dean Richard Skolnik. “Through presentations to freshmen, Ruth ensured the continuation of the culture of student engagement.” “I knew I wanted to study finance since my junior year in high school,” Perez said. “As a first-generation college student, I received very little guidance in the college application process. When meeting with my guidance counselor, she said SUNY Oswego was one of the few SUNYs that offered a major in
finance and a minor in international business — the exact two things I wanted to study. “After realizing that, it was pretty easy to determine where I wanted to study. I did not even visit the campus until my very first day of my freshman year.” Perez said student involvement opportunities proved to be the richest resource at SUNY Oswego. “As soon as I came to Oswego, I made it a point to join business organizations that were of my interest,” she said. “By my sophomore year, I was already on two executive boards, and by junior and senior year, I was chairwoman of the Student Advisory Council.” She said these experiences allowed her to develop leadership and communication skills. Perez said another valuable resource at the School of Business is its faculty. “Faculty is always available to help you, and the dean has an open door policy,” she said. “Dean Skolnik is never too busy to sit down and talk to you.” She said his humbleness and passion toward creating a better school is a “huge resource” for students. She also noted that Dr. Mary Rodgers, the Marcia Belmar Willock professor of finance, served as an inspiration for her to continue to pursue a career in finance when doubts started to creep in. “It is hard not to love finance the way she teaches it, and she really cares about your success outside the classroom,” she said. Perez said SUNY Oswego helped her “become a humble professional with OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
a quiet confidence” that is evident in her work ethic and day-to-day interactions. “I was always invited to networking events that helped me develop my networking skills. It is amazing to see the way I have grown ever since freshman year,” she said. “My communication skills also further developed as I always had a presentation to give in almost every single one of my classes.” Perez said the value system she learned from the School of Business is the importance of being humble, resourceful, efficient, analytical, diverse, and hard working. “The school also instilled in me the importance of giving back, because ultimately, my success comes from all the helping hands that helped me. It is now my turn as an alumnus to give it back,” she said. Yegen High marks — Eyub Yegen is also a May 2015 graduate from SUNY Oswego who carried a double major in finance and applied mathematical economics. Yegen was a recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and was involved in research and student organizations. He is in Toronto pursuing a Ph.D. in finance at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management. About four years ago, when Yegen OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
COVER was visiting campuses in Central New York, he noticed few schools of businesses that were accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. However, SUNY Oswego’s School of Business was among the few schools that were accredited. This prestigious, international recognition was a strong signal that Oswego’s School of Business was and still is among the best ones, he said. Another major factor that drew Yegen to SUNY Oswego was the School of Business features a strong alumni network. “When I found out that numerous alumni were senior or executive officers on Wall Street, such as Robert Moritz of PricewaterhouseCoopers or Doreen Mochrie of Perry Capital, I concluded that the faculty and staff must have been tailoring the education of students and equipping them with the skills that are sought-after on the job market,” he said. Yegen praised the resources the School of Business offered that proved invaluable during his educational experience there. “Without the support of faculty and staff, I would have not become the person I am today,” he said. When he first came to Oswego, Yegen was hoping to find a job in the private or public sector, but then during his sophomore year, realized that he had a passion for research. From that point, he worked with several professors from the School of Business, and the mathematics and economics departments at SUNY Oswego. “Numerous professors have provided feedback on my articles and helped me to get ready for academic conferences,” he said. Yegen was so motivated by faculty and staff that he had the confidence to present his findings at faculty-level international research conferences such as the American Statistical Association’s Joint Statistical Meeting, which is considered the largest gathering of statisticians in North America. He even had the opportunity to present at the 36th annual Fulbright Association Conference as the only undergraduate speaker. “These outcomes were all thanks to my professors and the education SUNY OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Oswego, and in particular the School of Business, has offered me,” he said. “I came into SUNY Oswego knowing little about business and research, but graduated with publications in respectable journals,” he said. He said without the preparation at SUNY Oswego, he would not have been admitted to Rotman. “Compared to many undergraduate and even graduate business students who lack opportunities to conduct research, I was in a unique environment that promotes research and collaboration with faculty,” he said. The school even provided Yegen with a grant to work during the summer with a statistics professor. Additionally, he had the opportunity to work on research projects abroad in Turkey at the Turkish Grameen Microfinance Program. “I can comfortably and frankly say that the School of Business has prepared me very well to be ready for the real life work-a-day world,” he said. Yegen said the School of Business equipped him with numerous skill sets and values systems that shaped his personality. He is thankful to the school “for teaching me how to contribute back to the community, work passionately hard, establish ethical standards, and to consider the sky as the limit,” Yegen said. He has many role models through his affiliation with the School of Business, namely Skolnik and Thomas Schneider, CEO and president of Pathfinder Bank who also instructs at the college. “I observed Sholtes people around me who acted ethically in challenging situations and shared their personal anecdotes that demonstrated how to act ethically in daily business situations,” he said. Out of gate fast — Tucker Sholtes is a May 2015 graduate from SUNY Oswego who carried a double major in business administration and communications. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Sholtes was the Student Association president in 2014-2015 and previously was president of the Enactus chapter, among many other leadership roles on campus. He recently moved to St. Louis to work as a management consultant for Accenture. “All through high school, I always knew that I was interested in something business-related, but just didn’t know what,” Sholtes said. “I knew I wanted to go to a state school because it was more affordable and made more sense for my family.” “The reason I fell in love with Oswego — besides the lake — was how much of a diverse mix of faculty the School of Business has,” he added. He said within the accounting department, many faculty members are 30-plus year veterans. They either owned their own CPA firms or worked for large firms, and then were able to transfer that knowledge to the classroom, he said. “It really made it more interesting and relatable,” he said. “I thought I had a good mix each semester of veterans in the field and people who really knew the theory side and were real academicians,” he said. “I think the blend of those two really led me to have a really expansive experience that not all schools can offer.” Sholtes said one of the most significant resources the School of Business has to offer is Skolnik. “From day one, he blew my mind with how involved he was with students,” he said. “He was the easiest for me to make a meeting with. He always has an open door policy and is always thrilled to see students coming in,” he added. Sholtes noted another valuable resource is the large number of business-related student organizations. From his freshman to senior years, that number doubled and now stands at 11. He also commended students he characterized as “self starters” who are willing to take initiatives and “willing to blaze a trail in an area where they wished they had one to follow.” “For me, I never thought that I would feel as prepared as I do, but because of all the different opportunities SUNY Oswego gave me, I really feel I’m prepared to quickly excel in my career,” he said. “The biggest thing a lot of students 59
COVER might not realize is a lot of it is on you,” he said. He said SUNY Oswego does such an admirable job of providing different opportunities to get involved, that “if a student doesn’t feel prepared for the workforce, they only have themselves to blame coming out of SUNY Oswego.” As a sophomore, Sholtes had the opportunity to intern with the Small Business Development Center on campus. “I got real-world consulting experience working with small businesses throughout Oswego County that were looking to gain capital for either expansion or a new startup,” he said. “From an early age in my college career, I was able to narrow my focus down to consulting because of that internship, which really blossomed and led me to be able to have four more consulting internships off campus,” he added. Among the vital skill sets he gained at SUNY Oswego was public speaking, closely followed by writing. “At the first class I ever took at the School of Business, I came to find that we were going to have to do four presentations throughout the semester,” he said. “At first, it was overwhelming for myself and my classmates. Throughout my entire career, I always found every business class I took involved some form of public speaking.” “While it’s rated the No. 1 fear before dying, it’s really important and shows how much of a commitment Oswego has to its students success that they drill public speaking on us,” he said. “I came into college having a fear of public speaking, and was able to leave having given four commencement addresses during graduation,” he said. “If it weren’t for the experiences that I gained during my business classes, I would have never got to that point.” The school also places great emphasis on developing writing skills. “At my first major class I took, we had to have a combined 50 pages worth of writing as a group,” he said. Although quite tedious and time consuming, the effort has made Sholtes “such a better writer than a majority of my peers who went to other schools,” he said. “SUNY Oswego is doing a great job reassuring their students that they have all the skills they need to succeed in the world,” he said. 60
Facade of School of Business in Rich Hall.
Business School Fast Facts • In the class of 2013 graduate survey for SUNY Oswego’s School of Business, 87 percent of graduates who responded were employed. The survey also revealed that 86 percent of respondents were either employed or attending school in New York state. • Of the class of 2013 graduates who responded to the survey, 94 percent said they are employed in jobs related to their major area of study. • The median and mean salary range for respondents who
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got jobs was between $35,000$40,000. • The class of 2013 landed jobs with local and regional companies, such as Haylor, Freyer & Coon, KeyBank, National Grid, Novelis, Oswego County Federal Credit Union, Port City Blueprint, and Prudential Financial. • The type of positions they are in include account executives, accountants, bank tellers and managers, controllers, financial analysts, human resource managers, marketing operations, mortgage processors, real estate agents, research analysts, and service coordinators.
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COVER By Lou Sorendo
Business Driven SUNY Oswego faculty members take MBA, finance programs to next level
he MBA and finance programs at SUNY Oswego’s School of Business can be characterized in one phrase: all business. Irene Scruton, the MBA director at SUNY Oswego’s School of Business, has been instrumental in growing enrollment and the reputation of the school’s MBA programs. MBA programs include MBA management, MBA health services administration and MBA public accounting. Since MBA courses are offered in Oswego, in Syracuse and online, Scruton divides her time between The Metro Center in Syracuse and the Oswego campus. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredits the SUNY Oswego School of Business, which places it in the top 5 percent of business programs globally. “This equates to a little more than 600 schools in the world that achieve this level,” Scruton said. The accreditation acknowledges the relevancy of the curriculum to issues facing business and industry today in an ever-changing environment, Scruton added. In addition to the AACSB rankings, US News & World Report and Princeton Review rank the School of Business’s online MBA programs on a national basis. “Our MBA and MBA HSA have ranked high nationally overall and in the top tier for faculty, student supports and technology,” she noted. An important highlight for the MBA programs is that MBA online and MBA HSA online were selected as the benchmark graduate programs for the OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Irene Scruton, the MBA director at SUNY Oswego’s School of Business inaugural Open SUNY initiative. This system-wide 64 campus SUNY initiative recognized Oswego and the OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
MBA program excellence in course delivery, faculty and customized student supports. 61
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“We are very proud of this designation because it highlights the tremendous value that our students receive by enrolling in our SUNY systems and Oswego’s MBA,” Scruton said. Scruton said there are several features about SUNY Oswego’s MBA programs that warrant national recognition and highlight their competitiveness with other programs. “Our MBA program excellence and success is a result of dedicated and innovative leadership starting with President [Deborah] Stanley and Dean Richard Skolnik,” she said. “Our MBA program partnership with SRC, a large government contractor in North Syracuse, is an excellent example of how innovative thinking in higher education can benefit the strategic competitiveness of the businesses in our area.” Some strengths of the MBA programs at SUNY Oswego’s School of Business include having the same tenured, professional faculty teaching online and in class. Also, its MBA programs have on-site dedicated advisers for students. “We work with each MBA student to customize and align his or her course schedule with the demands of their working professional lives,” Scruton said. “We are focused on a student’s success in the program.” Its newest MBA program, the MBA HSA, is in one of the fastest growing career fields in the country. Enrollments for the program at SUNY Oswego have doubled over the last two years. “The working professionals in our program represent all sectors of industry. Our accounting MBA’s are heavily recruited by national firms,” she said. “The majority of students are in leadership roles in their organizations. Nearly a quarter of our graduating students receive a job promotion upon graduation from our program.” Prepped for real world — Dr. Mary Rodgers is the Marcia Belmar Willock professor of finance at SUNY Oswego’s School of Business. Rodgers is the faculty adviser for the Student Investment Club and also mentors a team of students that participate in the CFA Institute Research Challenge. Rodgers joined academia after a successful career at Merrill Lynch. “She is able to provide students with both theoretical frameworks and practice-based examples,” Skolnik said. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
“Mary exemplifies the teacher-scholar model.” Last May, she was invited to participate in a Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta research symposium on financial crises. Rodgers also introduced a Collaborative Online International Learning element to a course last fall. Students in Oswego collaborated online with students in Australia. Over the past two years, School of Business finance majors have been hired by or received firm job offers from Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, the Bank of New York, TD Bank, NBT Bank, Merrill Lynch, Vanguard, Fidelity, Prudential, Northwestern Mutual, Bloomberg, Pyramid Management Destiny USA, Manning Napier, Corcoran Group and the State Bank Examiner’s Office, among others, Rodgers reported. “Many assignments students have in class are modeled after work products that are deliverable in the work place, so it may be easier for employers to judge students’ level of preparedness,” she said. “The writing curriculum at Oswego focuses on work place preparedness, too, helping students present as well-rounded job candidates. Rodgers noted that a few years ago, the School of Business made the strategic decision to align its finance curriculum with that of the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute’s curriculum. “In so doing, we deepened and broadened our menu of courses to included topics very relevant to practitioners as well as incorporating a strong ethical component to our course offerings,” she said. According to the CFA Institute’s website, the only SUNY campuses so recognized are Oswego and Albany. The alignment helps prepare Oswego students for the three-level examination series that culminates in the award of the CFA professional credential, Rodgers said. Another competitive edge School of Business students have is the strong support of alumni who provide important hands-on learning opportunities, Rodgers said. Contributions from alumni make up the Student Investment Fund, a large diversified portfolio of stocks managed by finance students, she said. Students research companies via a Bloomberg Terminal, the same kind used by investment professionals around the world. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
10/28/09 11:31 AM
SPECIAL REPORT By Lou Sorendo
A Third Act for Community Leader Jeff Grimshaw spent 23 years with the Sheriff’s Department and more than a decade at SUNY Oswego, most recently as director of the Office of Business and Community Relations. Now, he’s striking out on his own with new consulting business
his is an age where it is not uncommon for a person to explore and take on a second career. For Fulton’s Jeff Grimshaw, let’s make it three careers. Grimshaw is the former director of the Office of Business and Community Relations at SUNY Oswego and executive director of the Workforce Development Board of Oswego County. He resigned Aug. 13. While stepping away from his posts at the college, Grimshaw, 57, is far from over in terms of pursuing his passion. “The decision was made to give me time to pursue work in the role of a consultant in the areas of business, nonprofit, government and higher education,” he said. “It’s a new role for me.” Grimshaw, 57, is the owner of Jeff r e y G r i m s h a w. com and is a principal with PSC Consulting. The role he is playing is to assist the process of making the community a better place to 64
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live. He will be working to connect key players and facilitate conversations aimed at bettering the community. “I have a passion for the community that drives me to do this. I love this community,” he said. “I’m not retired. I am reforming my energies to do something I really have a passion for.” JeffreyGrimshaw.com is the tool he uses to make his availability known to nonprofit organizations, businesses, government and higher education institutions that are looking for a resource that enhances their organization based on his experience in various fields. Those fields include leadership development, nonprofit and government management and higher education development. Grimshaw is the longest-serving program director of the Leadership Oswego County program, which is in its 22nd year. He actively serves on the boards of 16 organizations throughout Central New York, including the College-Community Relations Board and Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, the CNY Upstate Revitalization Initiative Sub-committee, and Oswego County Legislature’s Health and Poverty Taskforce. PSC was an entity that Grimshaw OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
SPECIAL REPORT developed in 1995 to provide consulting and training services to law enforcement agencies throughout New York state. PSC suspended business when Grimshaw started working for SUNY Oswego in order to avoid any conflicts of interest. All consulting activity while he worked for the college generated income to support SUNY Oswego activities. “PSC has now transformed into Jeffrey Grimshaw Consulting to reflect the new initiative of not only providing consulting services, but to be an uninhibited voice for my passion — Oswego County and communities in Upstate that have lost their voice and need to be refocused,” he said. Grimshaw said he intends to work with grassroots organizations and other entities to create the hope and sense of community he started when he introduced the community to the Rain Forest Model of Economic Development several years ago upon launching the THRIVE initiative at SUNY Oswego. “This model views a community from its strengths and finds ways to cultivate them to provide opportunities to all people to have a voice in where their community is going,” he said. One project that Grimshaw is working on is Inspire Oswego County, a project of Wisdom Thinkers.org that is providing character education in the Fulton, Hannibal, Sandy Creek, Central Square and Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation school systems. “We are working on a community institute that will move the Inspire Oswego County program to the adult world and create some interesting bridges for students and community members,” he said. Leader in workforce development — Grimshaw started as assistant director of the OBCR at SUNY Oswego in 2005 and worked with the WDB of Oswego County and related organizations and programs such as Leadership Oswego County, the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program and the Small Business Development Center. In 2010, he became director of the OBCR as well as executive director of the WDB upon the retirement of Nancy Bellow. He has changed the image of the WFD’s One-Stop Career Center in Fulton from a place where only the downtrodden seek help to a site where OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
“I have a passion for the community that drives me to do this. I love this community,” he said. “I’m not retired. I am reforming my energies to do something I really have a passion for.” significant connections are made between employers and what their needs are in the community. “We have the responsibility to face the issues of how education connects to businesses,” he said. “The end product is not just a diploma, but a valuable set of skills that employers want and need in our community.” Grimshaw has also strived to connect more with the community. He said oftentimes, the college and other organizations are perceived as operating in silos independent of one another. He has tried to diminish that image by working with such entities as the College-Community Relations Board at SUNY Oswego. One of it byproducts was a collaborative effort to ramp down the annual Bridge Street Run, an annual SUNY Oswego tradition which resulted in tragedy in 2014. He has always placed great focus on developing the strengths the community has and not relying on outside resources. “We have great resources in Oswego County, and if we put them to work, we can be a much better community,” he said. Prior to his role at SUNY Oswego, Grimshaw spent 23 years with the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department. At the sheriff’s department, he saw the issues the community faced from a ground-floor level, he said. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
“I chose to retire and wanted to do something for the community on the positive side, and that’s why I was selected to be executive director of the Fulton YMCA during its time of turmoil in 2002,” he said. There, he got to see the nonprofit side of the community. “It became my passion. There is so much good in our community, and if we focus those energies in the right manner, we can be competitive with any other community around,” he said. He spent 3 1/2 years there before joining the SUNY Oswego team. Grimshaw is a native and resident of Fulton and also has a home in Canajoharie, where his wife Deborah is superintendent of the school district. She is only the sixth superintendent at the district since 1920. New adventures ahead — Grimshaw said he plans to maintain the relationships he has made through his SUNY Oswego roles. “I left the job, not the people,” he said. Grimshaw is helping local nonprofits develop capacity, and he has been working with the Rosamond Gifford, Central New York Community, Allyn and Richard S. Shineman foundations to help move ahead their agendas in “terms of determining how to invest in ourselves,” he said. “It’s really about giving back and not asking for anything in return,” he added. He earned an associate’s degree at Mohawk Valley Community College and a Bachelor of Arts degree at SUNY Empire State College. He is also on the boards of Operation Oswego County and the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce. “Anyplace that people would value my input, I’m there to be helpful and continue to seek out those kind of opportunities,” he said. Grimshaw and his wife have two adult children: a daughter who works for The Century Foundation in New York City and volunteers with nonprofits while dealing with women’s issues, and a son who is a master electrician involved in theater. Grimshaw is an avid runner and partakes in 5K runs. He also enjoys kayaking and is halfway to being an Adirondack “46er”. He has successfully climbed half of the 46 highest peaks in the mountain range. 65
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL REPORT
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Marking the new designation of Oswego’s Designer Hardwood Flooring as a Start-Up NY company, owners (from left) Joe Marmon, vice president, and Sherry Marmon, president and majority owner, show samples of the manufacturer’s patentpending, panelized flooring to SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley. As part of its tax-advantaged designation, Designer Hardwood Flooring pledged to add 19 new, local jobs and provide internships and co-op positions for SUNY Oswego students in such disciplines as technology management and business administration. It’s the only business in Oswego County and of one of the few in CNY to take advantage of Start-Up NY program.
Start-Up NY Not Helping CNY State program has seen some success in Western New York but not so much in CNY
ince its creation in late 2013, Empire State Development’s Start-Up NY program has offered qualifying businesses 10 years of tax-free operation (including state, business or corporation tax or local taxes, sales tax, property tax or franchise fees), along with mentoring from sponsoring educational institutions. Although it sounds like a recipe for success, only 128 companies have joined the program. An April 2015 article in Forbes magazine by Scott Beyer calls the “laughably small returns” as part of the “policies that have contributed to economic decline
throughout New York.” Joseph Spector, writing for Gannett Albany Bureau Aug. 17, 2015, stated that the program created only 76 jobs and cost the state’s taxpayers $53 million. That equals about $697,368 per job. The program has led to only $1.7 million in private investment in the state. The program’s official website, www.startup.ny.gov, states that within five years, the program could add 3,600 projected new jobs. The program’s results are even more dismal for Oswego County, counting only by the number of businesses it’s attracted to SUNY OsweOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
go: one. Designer Hardwood Flooring CNY, Inc. LLC. Morrisville State College hosts Empire Farmstead Brewery and K16 Corporation. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse provides a home to Windsor Wood USA, LLC. No other participating Central New York schools have paired with a business. Meanwhile, across the state, 45 businesses thrive at University at Buffalo. Karyn Tareen, owner of Geocove, transplanted her business there from Florida June 1. The tech firm makes disaster inforOCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL REPORT
mation collection software that’s guided by GPS. After seeing a commercial for Start-Up NY on television, she and her husband, company founder Saleem Tareen, decided to move (Saleem is no longer involved with the company). The tech people they need are plentiful in the Buffalo area, and scarce in Central Florida. Karyn Tareen also felt that the tax-free benefits could help the young company grow. “We have our first intern from UB,” Karyn Tareen said. “We are looking to pull another intern this fall, probably from computer science because we do an enormous amount of software designing.” The networking available in Buffalo has also helped Geocove. “The team from UB has been great with helping us navigate through the program, and make those connections,” Tareen said. “It feels like Start-Up NY has tried everything they can to help us be a successful, long-term employer in Western New York.” Daniel Shani founded and serves as CEO for Energy Intelligence. Since 2010, the company has been working on technology that would harness the otherwise wasted energy of vehicles entering parking garages. “Start-Up NY is an attractive recruiting tool to hire talent,” Shani said. “It’s something that, for us, is about planning for the future. You start seeing benefits as soon as the company starts scaling.” Shani hopes to field test pilots later this year and expand his five-employee company to 50 within five years. The Start-Up NY team at Buffalo and custom-built office space helped welcome Shani and his team. Christina Orsi serves as associate vice president for economic development at UB and feels that the program benefits the school’s students and newest alumni. “They’re hiring our graduates and students as interns,” she said. “It’s helping minimize the brain drain from New York in that students are engaging in jobs in their own backyard.” She’s not sure as to why Central New York isn’t experiencing much success, except perhaps that UB is the largest school in the SUNY system and can dedicate staff to the program. Pamela D. Caraccioli, deputy to OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
the president for external partnerships and economic development at SUNY Oswego, said that UB’s infrastructure has helped the school’s Start-Up NY program. “They already had the funding, commercialization, literally the buildings and the opportunities to include assets that have not been set up at other schools, particularly as comprehensively,” Caraccioli said. “They also have good success in reaching out to the private sector to create those partnerships before Start-Up NY was even launched. Some schools are just entering that arena.” Caraccioli said that SUNY Oswego has started to market the program more. Traveling to Asia late in 2014 helped make a few connections in Beijing and South Korea that could pan out. She counts contacts like this as successes rather than simply counting the number of new businesses now transplanted to Central New York directly because of Start-Up NY. Not all the dozens of new contacts the school has made would qualify for the program, but could still come to the area for other reasons, she says.
“It has been a good marketing program for CNY,” Caraccioli said. “I think it’s been successful. These are real companies contacting us...with which we could have a partnership along another lines. Other opportunities have been created like student internships, a couple of science labs, and others that came to us through Start-Up NY marketing effort.” Seth Mulligan, vice president for innovation services at The Tech Garden at CenterState CEO, hopes that marketing CNY’s “well-rounded offering” will result in more interest in relocating here. “We have a good lifestyle, four seasons of activities, relatively affordable housing, and it’s a good place to raise a family,” Mulligan said. “It’s balancing the incentives, lifestyle and amenities. You can’t always compete on price or this piece of lab equipment or that specific process. It’s more than one incentive. We have to create a holistic message that attracts start-up and growing companies to want to come here.” Designer Hardwood Flooring did not respond to requests for an interview.
Daniel Shani founded and serves as CEO for Energy Intelligence. The company is now located in Buffalo. “Start-Up NY is an attractive recruiting tool to hire talent,” Shani said. “ OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL REPORT By Lou Sorendo
Novelis Keeps Rolling Effort to supply aluminum sheet to automotive market in high gear
ovelis, the world’s largest producer of aluminum for the automobile industry, is continuing to ramp up efforts to meet growing demand. It has a global market share of over 50 percent. Novelis has invested more than $550 million to triple its global automotive sheet capacity in the last three years to respond to the increasing demand for aluminum by automakers in the design of next-generation vehicles. Automakers are seeking ways to reduce energy consumption by increasing the fuel economy of cars and trucks, and one way to achieve that is using lighter aluminum sheet. “The rolling, finishing and recycling expansions we have invested in over the past few years have well positioned us to capture growing demand for our products around the world,” said Chris Smith, plant manager at Oswego Works. Novelis is a major employer in Oswego County with approximately 1,000 employees. Over the past five years, the expansion of the automotive market has created more than 430 new jobs in Oswego. Based on current growth projections, Novelis anticipates creating an additional 250 jobs by the year 2020. The two aluminum automotive sheet-finishing lines are at full production at Novelis’ Oswego Works and are producing more than 1 billion pounds of high-quality aluminum sheet each year. Oswego is Novelis’ largest, wholly owned fabrication facility in North America. A third continuous annealing solution heat (CASH) treatment line is the latest investment Novelis has made to meet growing demand. “The entire capacity of Novelis’ CASH line has been contracted to a major automaker, who in the next few months will announce a forthcoming aluminum-intensive vehicle,” Smith said. “We look forward to sharing more details following the automaker’s announcement.” Smith noted the aluminum sheet industry — led by Novelis — is at a crossroads of a “monumental shift” in how the next generation of automobiles is being designed and built.
Chris Smith, plant manager.
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Aluminum the choice — Smith said a multi-material future has arrived, and aluminum is now a leading choice for original equipment manufacturers looking for increased strength, styling, durability, and recycled content. “And, as automakers continue to shake up the material mix in cars and trucks, our automotive customers are making it clear that we now live in a multi-material world and without question, more and more aluminum is entering the mix,” Smith said. “The success of aluminum-intensive vehicles like the Range Rover, 2015 F-150 and the Jaguar XF has helped to evolve the conversation,” Smith added. “Our products are now featured in more than 180 models and many of the world’s premier brands have called on us to bring their latest innovations to market,” Smith said. “We’re working with our customers to create the next generation of automobiles that deliver the performance consumers seek while also helping to create a more sustainable world for all of us.” Smith said the company is pleased with the adoption rate for aluminum. “Each automaker is following its own strategy and timing for how
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
they move forward with aluminum light-weighting, some moving more rapidly than others,” Smith said. “We have confidence in this future growth based on our ongoing discussions with them. For example, we are excited that Jeep is planning to make extensive use of aluminum in closure panels for the Wrangler and the Grand Wagoneer.” The Ford F-Series truck features aluminum produced by Novelis. In August, sales reached 71,332 for Ford F-Series trucks, making it the best August for the F-Series since 2006. Exceeding 70,000 in sales has happened only seven times in the last eight or nine years, according to industry sources. Based on a single model series, Ford’s F-Series remains the best-selling pickup in the United States, followed by Chevy Silverado, Ram and GMC Sierra. Novelis’ CASH lines in Oswego combined with its existing auto finishing line in Kingston, Ontario, Canada have increased the company’s automotive capacity in North America by five times. When all CASH lines under construction worldwide are commissioned in late 2015, Novelis’ global automotive sheet capacity will reach approximately 900,000 tons per year.
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Recycling king — Last January, Oswego Works announced its $48 million investment in an aluminum automotive recycling system and infrastructure upgrades. These upgrades included a new 81,000 square-foot facility that processes approximately 10,000 metric tons — or 20 million pounds — of recycled scrap per month. Aluminum scrap generated from the automotive stamping process is being recovered in a closed-loop system. That stamping process leaves an average of 30 to 40 percent of the sheet as production scrap. Rather than selling this scrap to dealers, it is collected and segregated by the manufacturer and then returned to Novelis, where the reclaimed material is re-melted, re-cast and then re-rolled into automotive sheet to begin the cycle again. “This is happening today,” Smith said. “By efficiently capturing the aluminum scrap from the manufacturing process and recycling it back into new automotive sheet, we both reduced costs for the OEM and lowered the overall carbon footprint of the vehicle, which is the ultimate goal of sustainability.”
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL REPORT
By Matthew Liptak
Upstate Venture Connect Helps Guide Startups Nonprofit’s goal is to help start-up businesses in CNY and Upstate
entral New York’s economy of Seed Capital Fund of Central the future is happening now and New York and managing one local organization is helping director of the StartFast it along. Venture AcceleraUpstate Venture Connect is a Syr- tor—an initiative acuse nonprofit started in 2010. It’s of Upstate Venture designed to help tech companies get Connect. started and grow. He believes Martin Babinec, the founder, pre- what he called viously started the Silicon-Valley based the new econTriNet Group Inc. TriNet has become omy will evena $1.5 billion human resource services tually overtake company. The CEO of Upstate Venture the traditional Connect is Nasir Ali, the former presi- manufacturing dent of the Syracuse Tech Garden, anoth- and service iner nonprofit supporting entrepreneurs in dustry across Syracuse and Central New York. Upstate. “Across Upstate we’re looking at “I don’t think about $60 [million] to $100 million a year we’re there yet, but of investment that’s happening right the transition is definow in terms of money that is going in nitely underway,” to these startups,” CEO Ali said. “The Ali said. “In the new money that is being invested in these economy technolostartups is mostly being directly put gy is enabling back into the local economy.” people to Upstate Venture Connect mea- scale all sures and mentors the growth of these fledgling businesses by offering them a network of volunteer business experts to help them get started. Ali said the map on organization’s website — uvc.org — is currently tracking 700 startups across the region and it is expected to be updated with a few Nasir Ali, CEO of Upstate hundred more shortly. Venture Connect. Ali is also founder of the
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
types of businesses and they can scale it without necessarily having to be in a heavy foot traffic location. You can have a n e x t re m e ly successful e-commerce operation and be anywhere where the post office picks up and delivers.” He points to the acquisitions of Sensis by Saab, Paetec by Windstream and Welch Allyn by Hill-Rom as examples of high-tech exits leading to local growth.
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
“The fact is that each time these acquisitions have happened the companies locally have actually grown and they have attracted more talent,” he said. “They have more clout and are playing a bigger role in our region as a result.” The term talent is a favorite of Ali’s. It is distinguishable from the traditional term of labor, he believes. “I think labor implies physical output and the kind of talent that these companies need is not just physical output,” he said. “They are willing to pay a premium for intellectual output. That’s why the fact that we have so many highly educated people — young, bright, dynamic — here is such a resource.” This region is a massive production line of talent but keeping the talent in Upstate is a major challenge to its new economy. Upstate Venture Connect’s website states that the Upstate region has more than 100 colleges and universities drawing more than 500,000 students and $2.5 billion in R&D grants. In addition to offering mentors, the nonprofit also helps by sometimes helping to find funding for the startups, and amplifying the efforts of other economic development organizations in the region. Upstate Venture Connect is strength-
ening the efforts of organizations like CenterState CEO in Syracuse, High Tech Rochester, CEG in Albany and Launch New York in Western New York. “We are sending out newsletters to thousands of people across the region,” Ali said. “We are capturing their events on our regional calendar so that people from everywhere can see what’s happening.” Business mentors are selected for their specific knowledge and willingness to give back to the business community. “They’re all paying it forward,” Ali said “There are hundreds across the region. We primarily look for people who have been entrepreneurs themselves and also people who may have special subject matter expertise. A person might be an expert in patent protection. Another person might be an expert at marketing, or corporate law.” Lynn Smith is a business lawyer with Gilberti, Stinziano, Heintz and Smith. He met Ali about 10 years ago when he was starting the Seed Capital Fund of Central New York. Smith volunteers his time to help with Upstate Venture Connect and said he has invested in 10 to 20 startups on behalf of his firm. He said he thinks the nonprofit is providing valuable help to Upstate by
supporting startups. “It’s mostly developing like-minded people who are involved in trying to help young people even though there’s no monetary orientation to it,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s just like seeing a baby grow. It’s great. I like it. A lot of people do.” Smith believes Ali is gaining ground in promoting the new economy in Upstate New York. “He’s getting to be nationally known as a person who understands this stuff and he really has no motivation to make a lot of money,” Smith said. “He just likes to help people and he enjoys the high-tech scalable stuff.” Ali is finding his efforts are garnering attention across the state too. He said communities like Utica, Binghamton and some in the Hudson Valley have shown interest to begin their own investor programs to promote new-economy startups. “We’re working to bring those groups together,” he said. “We also have other groups in other communities that have expressed an interest. Our hope is that there will be dozens of these, not just a handful.” “The future looks bright,” Ali said. “So far so good.”
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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL REPORT
By Matthew Liptak
Group Raising More Funds to Invest in New, Tech Businesses S tartFast Venture Accelerator, a hightech accelerator based in Syracuse, is ready for round two after having invested $2 million in startups since 201l. “We’re an investment fund,” said Chuck Stormon, the business’ managing director. “We’re funded by private individuals who are investing for profit, but also for the good of the community. We’ve just finished our fourth year so we invested the $2 million and we’re raising another $2 million to go for another four years now.” Stormon said that, along with the Seed Fund of Central New York, $40 million has been invested in 31 companies by the funds’ directors. StartFast invested in 24 companies and the Seed Fund before it invested in seven. This kind of investing is not for everyone, the Syracuse resident and Syracuse University alumin, said. High-tech startups may have a great future ahead of them or they may crash and burn in short order. “Overall it can be a very high-return assert class for somebody to invest in,” Stormon said. “At the same time it’s a very risky asset class because young companies run into all kinds of challenges and can fail for a large number of reasons.” Bob Theis is a resident of Cazenovia and Florida. He is a mentor to StartFast startups, but also an investor. As CEO of JR Clancy Inc., a leading theatrical rigging equipment business, he took the company from $2 million to $32 million in sales. The executive decided the opportunity offered by the young companies coming to Central New York was one he couldn’t pass up. “I’m a relatively new investor to
Chuck Stormon, director at StartFast Venture Accelerator in Sryacuse. StartFast, but I’ve already learned more from my mentoring and [from] learning the StartFast process than [from] my investment,” he said. “I wanted to learn the processes and nuances of angel investing. StartFast operates during the summer months I’m in Syracuse, so it was a natural fit.” Financial gain isn’t the only thing motivating Theis. He wants to give back to people who are just starting out in the business world. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
“Perhaps I’ll make money on my investment, but the really exciting part is helping the young entrepreneurs,” he said. StartFast does its best both to increase the chance of success for the entrepreneurs and decrease the level of risk to investors. For starters, it invites only the best of the best to Syracuse, Stormon said. The fund scours the globe to locate the best five to 10 startups in the seed stage OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
it can find. Last year it screened about 2,000 potential candidates. It invites those chosen to Syracuse. It is only interested in high-growth businesses suitable for venture financing. “We basically put them through this hundred-day boot camp and graduate them ready to raise their seed-stage funding,” Stormon said. There are three steps to his fund’s accelerator program. From the beginning, the new startup’s personnel are surrounded with mentors. “I guess you could call it mentor speed dating,” Stormon said. “They’ll meet with three dozen or more mentors, sometimes two a day, basically to see if there’s a fit between the company and the mentor. That helps them to find advisers that are going to be with them not just during the program, but perhaps beyond the program.” The next step is to make sure the new business has traction — meaning it’s engaged with its particular market and is making sales. The last step is making sure the startup is investor ready. “That means they understand what kind of investment they are looking for, how much they need to raise, they
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
have all their documents in order, they have a well-formed pitch for investors and they understand how to go through the due diligence process and close,” Stormon said. Since the search is global, StartFast candidates can come from anywhere. The fund has a preference for companies in the U.S. but doesn’t show favor to local startups according to Stormon. Central New York companies do have an advantage however. “They have easier access to us,” Stormon said. “We’ve got companies here this summer from the Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas, as well as close by— New Jersey, Rochester and Syracuse. All of that activity sheds a spotlight on our region and helps bring that talent into our region.” The fund also provides experience for college interns. This summer StartFast hosted 13 interns from Rochester Institute of Technology, Cornell, Syracuse and Le Moyne. “Those 13 interns are getting an amazing experience this summer which also shows them that it’s possible to build a business right here,” Stormon said. “ They don’t necessarily have to move away when they graduate.”
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
The fund is spreading its experience around Upstate too. It is involved in the creation of accelerators in Buffalo, Westchester County and a spinoff called the StartFast Hardware Accelerator in Syracuse. Locally in Syracuse the hardware accelerator has big aspirations. “It will focus on startups that are building new kinds of wearable technology,” Stormon said. “An example of a wearable would be the Fitbit for example. It’s a very exciting area. We have the facility. We have the equipment. We have the venturers. Really the only thing we’re missing is we have to raise about $5 million from investors to make that happen.” For those who want to enter the waters of investing in tech startups StartFast may offer a good opportunity. The fund has survived for four years and it is growing. By bringing entrepreneurs from around the globe to Central New York, it is not only helping investors, but bringing a new energy to the local economy. “We’re bringing them right here to their community so they can see just how enjoyable it is and perhaps want to give back in other ways to the community,” Stormon said.
HEALTHCARE SPECIAL REPORT
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
High Job Turnover Health and human services sectors often have problems filling job openings
uman services agencies and the health care sector struggle to fill openings, as indicated by their continual “help wanted” ads. Oswego County Opportunities represents one example. Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier explained that several factors drive the organization’s perpetual need for employees. Turnover is one reason. In 2013, it was at 30 percent because of job cuts after a loss of funding. Last year, it was only 6 percent. But on a happier note, Cooper-Currier said that promotion and lateral movement within the company also opens up more entry-level and mid-level positions. Human services and health care organizations often attract people dedicated to
the field and when they advance, they leave a vacancy. Some positions are just harder to fill — and keep filled — than others, such as part-time positions. Many employers have reduced their number of full-time positions to avoid paying for health care benefits as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The very nature of some positions makes it hard for human resources to keep them filled since the pay doesn’t match the difficulty and skill level. “Many jobs at OCO require candidates to have the desire, motivation and personality to work with individuals and families with complex social, emotional and health needs along with the ability to read, write and document complex
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
information,” Cooper-Currier said. Most health and human services agencies must offer services outside of 9-to-5 hours, but pay rates for entry level jobs fall below what other entry level jobs pay in other industries. Mike Carr, president of Carr Recruiting in Baldwinsville, said that many human services agencies aren’t structured to offer plum wages of similar-sized organizations in other industries. The employees tend to “trade higher compensation for good benefits and additional time off and some satisfaction from the mission of the organization,” Carr said. “Often even at the highest level, they’re grant driven and can’t match the for-profit sector from the salary perspective. That is the challenging piece of the puzzle.” Because of their budgetary limitations, many human services agencies operate with a small, tight-knit staff. That can help create a transparency and openness not often found in other industries and larger organizations. As for health-related organizations, the uptick in need has created more positions than CNY employers can readily fill. Aging baby boomer’s growing health needs, along with advances in medicine that expand lifespan, has helped grow the need for more health care workers. Economic downturn or loss of funding doesn’t even lessen health care employment needs. “You don’t see hospitals close and hundreds of people needing work,” Carr said. “They may restructure into an urgent care or something else.” Carr believes that making the health care workplace “as desirable a place to work for than other places” can help build staff and prevent turnover. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
As turnover happens, he thinks it provides an opportunity for learning what to do better next time. “If someone leaves the organization, have a meaningful exit interview and gather reasons why people leave,” he said. “It could be a few little things that over time, if changed, could benefit more than that one person.” Transportation problems present another challenge, especially for entry level positions that involve multiple sites and/or irregular hours. Linda Wright, executive director for professional and community services for the Salvation Army Syracuse Area, recalled when public transportation officials discussed reducing weekend and evening bus routes. “Health and human services organizations, as employers, were very active with how that would hurt their employees from being able to get to their jobs,” she said. “The entry level staff use public transportation.” Other factors could make the problem worse. Wright worries that when wages for fast food workers in Upstate rises to $15 in six years, health and human service agencies will experience even greater difficulty in recruiting candidates since it’s unlikely they could match those rates. In health and human services, simply raising the cost of the services to cover the additional overhead won’t happen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the mean wage made by home health aides in the Syracuse area is $11.52 and for food preparation workers, including fast food, is $9.27 as of May 2014, the most recent information available. Turnover not only hurts employers, but their clients as well, since it disrupts continuity of care. Wright believes that helping educate the public on the importance of the work performed by health and human services employees will lead to better funding and better means of paying entry level employees rates more commensurate with their skill level. “It’s just as important as other types of positions,” she said. “We need to value what they do. When the government is concerned about entry level employees, they need to focus not just on fast food employees.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
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HEALTHCARE SPECIAL REPORT
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Marijuana to Sell in NYS Drug for medical purpose to become available starting Jan. 1.
ince its legalization in July, the medical marijuana industry has begun preparing to sell in New York. Forty-three companies applied for the five available licenses issued by the state. Those selected were: • Bloomfield Industries, Inc., which will manufacture in Queens County and dispense in Nassau, New York, Onondaga and Erie counties; • Columbia Care, which will manufacture in Monroe County and dispense in New York, Suffolk and Clinton counties; • Empire State Health Solutions, which will manufacture in Fulton County and dispense in Broome, Albany, Westchester, and Queens counties; • Etain, LLC, which will manufacture in Warren County and dispense in Albany, Ulster, Westchester, and Onondaga counties; and • PharmaCann, LLC, which will manufacture in Orange County and dispense in Erie, Onondaga, Albany and Bronx counties. “Bloomfield Industries is honored to help deliver on the promise of the Compassionate Care Act for patients who are suffering throughout New York state,” said Colette Bellefleur, chief operating officer of Bloomfield Industries in a statement. “New York’s regulations align perfectly with Bloomfield’s vision of introducing healthier, more consistent, and more effective therapies that relieve suffering. Our organization is committed to exceeding the rigorous regulatory and safety standards established by the State, while delivering a professional and caring experience for both healthcare providers and patients. We look forward to earning a place as a trusted leader in New York’s healthcare community.” The companies are quick to separate themselves from the stigma of illegal marijuana use. “Smokeable marijuana is different
from medical marijuana,” said Peter Kerr, spokesman for Columbia Care. “This is not the kind of thing people use recreationally.” The Compassionate Care Act allows only patients with 11 medically-diagnosed conditions to receive their doctor’s recommendation. The facilities won’t sell joints but cannabis extract-containing medication. Kerr said that each dispensary will employ a pharmacist and that no patient
is even allowed in the building without a recommendation from his doctor. Columbia Care plans to open in the former Kodak Park in Rochester and operate one of its dispensaries nearby. Since insurance companies don’t cover medical marijuana, most patients will either have to pay themselves or inquire about assistance programs, such as what Columbia Care offers. “We’re trying to make sure no one is denied medication they need based
Medical Organizations Oppose Medical Marijuana
any area medical professionals reject the use of medical marijuana in the Empire State, including some members of the Onondaga County Medical Society. “The physicians are not in favor of recreational use of marijuana and some physicians feel strongly even of the medicinal use,” said James Coulthart the organization’s executive vice president. “It could be detrimental to people. The medical society isn’t in favor of the use of marijuana.” Brian Johnson opposes use of marijuana in any scenario. He serves as delegate to the Medical Society of the State of New York for the Onondaga County Medical Society and director of Addiction Medicine Professor of Psychiatry/Anesthesia SUNY Upstate Medical University. He discussed the viewpoint recently expressed by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a leading trade periodical of the industry. “In terms of pain treatment, marijuana has some effect,” he said. “Please note, opioids have some effect, and we are in the middle of a heroin epidemic. Many legitimate pain patients are also dying from accidental overdoses on OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
painkillers. Note that pain is increased in opioid withdrawal, and I have also seen this in cannabinoid withdrawal. “There are two cannabinoids that have had FDA approval for 30 years, dronabinol and nabilone. These are rarely prescribed.” Instead of viewing medical marijuana as a savior to pain riddled patients as their manufacturers promote it, Johnson views their campaign to promote it as a smokescreen. “My best understanding of the current focus on ‘medical’ marijuana is that entrepreneurs are lining up to make billions of dollars from recreational marijuana, and it would help their business profits if physicians signed on that yet another addictive drug can be sold legitimately because it has ‘medical’ uses,” Johnson said. “Currently 18 percent of Americans are killed by tobacco producers. It works better for my patients if their marijuana dealers cannot make contributions to lawmakers who in turn will help promote more widespread use. “Marijuana is a lot like alcohol. It is the people who start using first thing in the morning who get addicted. Alcohol kills 4 percent of Americans.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
HEALTHCARE SPECIAL REPORT
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant on economic circumstances,” Kerr said. The company plans to grow their product inside its several hundred thousand square-foot facility. “We have very stringent compliance procedures,” Kerr said. “We’re putting a lot of time and money into security systems to make sure none of the product is diverted to the black market. It will not be possible for people to walk into the cultivation center.” Columbia hopes to open its doors Jan. 1 and employ 250 between its Rochester-based dispensary and cultivation center and a total of 150 among the company’s other facilities around the state. Columbia has not yet begun the hiring process. Bloomfield Industries’ manufacturing facility hopes to begin operation in December 2015, which includes cultivation, manufacturing, processing, and selling cannabis-based medication. The company anticipates hiring 100 workers for its production facility and another 25 in each dispensary. Security also influences Bloomfield’s business model. “Patient Resource Centers will be located within prime medical buildings in up to 3,000 square feet and designed with secure, controlled entryways and continuous live video surveillance of the pharmacy area and all products stored in the vault room,” a company statement said. Empire State Health Solutions, Etain, LLC, and PharmaCann, LLC did not respond to requests for interviews.
Conscious Sedation Boosts Business for Area Dentists
What Qualifies Patients to Obtain Marijuana The conditions for patients to obtain medical marijuana are as follows according to the NYS Health Department: “Cancer, HIV infection/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury with spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, and Huntington’s disease. The associated or complicating conditions are cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or severe or persistent muscle spasms.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
onscious sedation dentistry has become a huge help for people afraid of dental work. Despite any past, negative experience, swallowing a sedative pill can help them relax and have a better experience when receiving dental work. “It’s good for patients who are scared,” said Neerje Kaaushal, office manager for Westside Dental in Syracuse. Westside has offered conscious OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
sedation for about six years. “It helps the business do better,” Kaaushal added. “People want it and ask for it.” Conscious sedation doesn’t make the client sleep. It helps him slip into a deeply relaxed state for the appointment. Though dimly aware of his surroundings during the procedure, most clients retain little memory of what happened. It’s also recommended that another person drives home. 77
HEALTHCARE SPECIAL REPORT
initially.” Though delivered with just a pill, conscious sedation is classified as anesthesia, which can cause complications. Dental insurance typically does not cover conscious sedation. In some cases it may if its use reduces the number of visits for the same issue. Fortunately for patients who don’t receive coverage for conscious sedation, it usually costs much less than intravenous or genPearce eral anesthesia. The New York State Dental Association states on www.nysdental.org, that dentists must obtain a certificate from the New York State Education Department to use conscious sedation in their practices. To apply for the certificate, dentists must complete classes in basic life
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support, plus 35 hours of pre-doctoral or post-doctoral education and clinical experience through an approved, accredited school. Dentists must also maintain defibrillators and emergency equipment. The state also requires that dentists establish protocol for handling any emergencies arising from using conscious sedation. Since other staff members are required to be present for administering conscious sedation, they must be trained in basic life support as well. Considering the finances and time necessary for certification, it’s clear that conscious sedation greatly augments a practice investing in it. “It’s amazing the success we’re having,” Parsley said. “It’s super cool to watch someone who had stood in the waiting area in tears, but they’ve now finished their treatment and they’re ecstatic about how things went. It really changes people’s lives to get through their dental work without knowing the process.”
Ausugt / September 2015
Tina Parlsey, financial and marketing manager for Baldwinsville Gentle Dentistry, said that her office began offering conscious sedation four years ago. “We have patients who come in and can’t stand being in the reception area because of their fear of dentistry,” Parsley said. “They won’t think of receiving care without conscious sedation.” The office performs about one or two sedations weekly. Typically, any healthy client over age 18 is a good candidate for conscious sedation. “Dr. [David] Pearce does an in-depth review of their medical history,” Parsley said. “They also talk with their primary care physician and Dr. Pearce coordinates with the primary care physician.” Only a handful of offices in Central New York offer conscious sedation, and Parsley thinks few market it as much as her office, which as its name denotes sells practice on its gentleness. “Our philosophy is about helping people overcome their fears and take care of their dental health,” Parsley said. “We think a lot of patients deal with fear
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SPECIAL REPORT By Hannah McNamara
Secure Environment A
Volney Multiplex keeps up with changing times
s technology continues to advance, security and fire alarm services have been forced to keep up with the modern day trends in order to compete in the business world. Volney Multiplex, a security and fire alarm business located in Fulton, has been around since the 1980s. It has provided services such as security systems, fire alarm systems, closed-circuit TV cameras, electrical contracting, and access control to customers. Throughout this time, the staff has observed and learned the new ways of technology and how it affects the business they’re in. David McCann, vice president at Volney Multiplex, has worked for the company for 25 years. “Our business is always evolving and changing with technology and as it improves we have to move with the times,” McCann said. “Twenty-five years ago, there wasn’t even any Internet.” When McCann first started working for the business in 1990, it specialized in hard-wired security systems. Today, almost all of the products and services
it offers are wireless. “There is a lot more home automation that goes along with the security system nowadays where you can control your lights, house temperature, and security system through an app on your phone,” McCann said. “But these devices are also a lot easier to install and much more reliable than the wireless devices we saw in the past.” In today’s day and age, customers can basically design their own security systems and choose the features they want available to them. At Volney Multiplex, a base package for a home or residential security system is usually around $200 while custom orders are higher. As for security systems in small businesses, the price range at Volney Multiplex is between $500-$1,000, depending on the size of the business. “The price of security systems has come way down because there are more manufacturers and suppliers on the market,” McCann said. “Even though their technology has gone way up, the prices have continued to come way down.” Camera craze — Although the prices OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
have gone down on security systems, the most sought-out products at Volney Multiplex are cameras. “The demand for cameras is on the rise because the price of a camera system is starting to come down to where it is reasonable and it’s a lot more affordable than it was 10 years ago,” McCann said. “It’s also much easier to make a conviction or arrest when you see someone doing it on camera.” Fire alarms are also a commonly sought out product by customers at Volney Multiplex, especially at commercial and institutional businesses. “Fire alarms seem to be more prevalent than security systems or cameras because they are mandated in most buildings and businesses,” McCann said. With so many changes within the security industry, it’s important for Volney Multiplex to keep a competitive edge. With a central location in Fulton, McCann said his location and personalized relationships with customers gives the company an advantage. “Our location right here makes it easier to serve the public and respond to our customers’ needs,” McCann said. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
SPECIAL REPORT “We also have a nice mixed crew of all different ages that are highly skilled, experienced, and up to date on the latest technology.” In order to stay informed on the latest trends and products in the industry, employees at Volney Multiplex attend trade shows, seminars and workshops. When new products are released, the staff is given the opportunity to receive training from the manufacturers of the products in some cases as well. Seeing as crime is prevalent in society today, McCann said security systems or cameras are a worthwhile investment for everyone. “People don’t hear about every break-in that happens in the area, but we generally see a lot more of the break-ins because we get the call right after the house is broken into,” McCann said. As far as future goals, Volney Multiplex plans to continue to expand its business by offering more product lines. “My major goal, however, is to provide a better place with room to grow and opportunities for my employees as well as keeping my prices down for my customers,” McCann said.
David McCann, vice president at Volney Multiplex, has worked for the company for 25 years. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Shineman Foundation Donates Nearly $300,000 to Local Nonprofits
ixteen Central New York nonprofit organizations, a large percentage of which are based in Oswego County, received grants from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation in its second grant round of 2015 at its July board meeting. Projects encompass a wide range of focus areas, including health and welfare for children, training and education, arts and culture, armed forces outreach, neighborhood parks, and capital campaigns. These projects will benefit Oswego County on a number of fronts. CAC Foundation and the coalition to combat substance abuse in Oswego County led by Farnham Family Services received grants for programs to protect the youth. The Palermo United Methodist Church is using a Shineman grant to set up a training center in its facility in order to partner with community agencies to provide volunteer training to young people from a several mile radius on parenting and life skills such as budgeting, money management, and planning and cooking meals, to name a few. On Point for College received funding to provide assistance to first generation college students attending SUNY Oswego. The H. Lee White Marine Museum received funding to hire a full-time curator and focus on the first phase of a plan to take initial steps to turn the museum into a permanently certified, cutting edge Great Lakes marine museum. Several arts and culture grants were awarded to the following orga-
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
nizations for development of collaborative programs in our community: ARTSwego in a collaboration with NYC-based The Acting Company, Ontario Center for Performing Arts (aka Oswego Music Hall) and Symphoria. Sponsored by the Research Foundation for SUNY, two SUNY Oswego departments received funding for their inspirational approach to collaboration with local school age children. The SUNY art department will be offering, beginning in the fall, a weekend workshop series “At the Art Studio” for children and young adults. SUNY’s Tyler Art Gallery has developed a collaborative program with local school art teachers to encompass an eclectic art exhibition, including tours to the art gallery on campus. The American Red Cross received funding to develop a reconnection program for returning service men and women, which includes the creation and distribution of an Oswego County Veteran Resource Guide. Other projects included the grant promised last year to assist in construction of batting cages for Oswego Little League in and around the Fort Ontario baseball fields. Also funded was Friends of Fulton Parks who, with the city of Fulton’s assistance, plan to renovate the pavilion at Recreation Park adjacent to Lake Neatahwanta. A matching challenge grant of up to $100,000 payable over five years, was awarded to the Northwest Family YMCA toward the last $1 million of its capital campaign.
SPECIAL REPORT By Hannah McNamara
Banquet facility and bar at Tailwater Lodge in Altmar. “Due to our awareness campaigns and sales team this past year, we are already booked into 2016,” said Tom Fernandez, director of business at Woodbine Hospitality Group, which owns the facility.
Party Central Banquet facilities in Oswego County feast on brisk business
t’s no secret that Oswego’s location along Lake Ontario makes it a tourist attraction for many. This year, local banquet facilities in Oswego County saw an increase in business and hope to see this trend continue into 2016. Oswego resident Tom Ciappa oversees operations at The American Foundry, 246 W. Seneca St., Oswego. With over 25 years of experience in the special events and entertainment industry, Ciappa said this past year has been one of the best yet. “As far as business goes, this has been a very good year and it’s most definitely trending upward,” Ciappa said. “Next year looks pretty good as well seeing as we already have bookings all the way into 2017.” In the past, the American Foundry
has served as a factory and a dance club, but has since been transformed into a 6,000-square-foot rustic venue for weddings, fundraisers, special events and most recently corporate events. “It’s really is a unique one-of-akind place,” Ciappa said. “We blend the rustic nature of the building and the softness and elegance that clients want together to give it a good balance.” The goal for each event held at The American Foundry is to give the clients good service, a great atmosphere and tasty food while making sure everything goes as seamlessly as possible. Although The American Foundry doesn’t have any specific specialties, Ciappa believes that his mother, Mary OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Ciappa, keeps the clients coming back. As the events manager, she has a personal touch that gives the business its competitive edge. “She takes on every event as if it’s her own,” her son said. “Her personal touch is a huge plus.” Ciappa said food quality is also a huge plus in the banquet facility business. “We have our own chefs on site who prepare the food for each event,” Ciappa said. Seeing as the building holds so much history, the amenities that the Foundry has to offer are also unique. The building is equipped with a stage complete with lighting and sound system, capable of accommodating head tables at wedding and corporate affairs. “We’re looking into re-doing the OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
SPECIAL REPORT interior design and also building the grounds outside in the near future as well,” Ciappa said. “We are looking to have quite a few weddings which will take place right here and we would like to develop a place where they can get married inside as well as outside.” Typically, the Foundry handles parties anywhere from 80-300 people, which is a factor in the price of each event. “I really don’t think there is a typical wedding because you have every price range available,” Ciappa said. “High end for us can be $25,000 and low end can be about $8,000 depending on the wedding venue they choose.” However, in order to compete in such a fast-paced market, The American Foundry has undergone some major changes in 2015. “We have become much more proactive in terms of marketing strategies,” Ciappa said. “Up until this point all of our work has been word of mouth, but we have seen positive results within our new proactive approach.” The American Foundry also hired Elizabeth Clark for a full-time management position this year. Prior to this, the Ciappa family has taken on all of the companies’ responsibilities by themselves. Ciappa said this is a huge bonus as the business continues to expand. New kid on block — Another banquet facility that is still fairly new in the Oswego County area is The Tailwater Lodge, 52 Pulaski St., Altmar. The Tailwater Lodge is one of the four commercial real estate hotels under ownership of the Woodbine Hospitality Group in Syracuse. However, the Tailwater Lodge is much different than the other facilities at Woodbine Hospitality due to its location along the Salmon River. Tom Fernandez, director of business at Woodbine Hospitality Group, said The Tailwater Lodge has seen an upward trend in business since opening in February 2014. “Due to our awareness campaigns and sales team this past year, we are already booked into 2016,” Fernandez said. “We’re definitely going to be doing more business in 2016 but we’re very happy with the business we proOCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
The American Foundry in Oswego. “As far as business goes, this has been a very good year and it’s most definitely trending upward,” said Tom Ciappa, who oversees the facility. duced in 2015.” The Tailwater Lodge hosts a variety of different events that cater to both corporate and leisurely events and parties. On the business side, it specializes in small to large business conferences and on the leisurely end, it offers everything from reunions, weddings, rehearsal dinners, bridal showers and holiday parties. “Recently we have started to break more into corporate retreats that mix business and pleasure,” Fernandez said. “This way people can come in and have a full schedule set for their business components and meetings and also mix in things such as fly fishing, salmon fishing, hiking and different things around the property.” The venue The Tailwater Lodge has to offer gives it a competitive edge over other banquet facilities in the area. “We’re a 42-room hotel with 35 acres on sight and roughly 200 acres OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
throughout the property,” Fernandez said. “We also have a bar, restaurant, conference facility and 2,000 feet of private access along the Salmon River.” Since The Tailwater Lodge is part of the Woodbine Hospitality Group, it also has access to resources at the other partnering hotels. “We have the ability to bring different attributes from different venues so it really gives us that edge to make sure we meet the needs of any clients and guests and what they’re looking for,” Fernandez said. The banquet and hospitality facility hopes to expand even more in the future. Although nothing has been finalized, the company has plans to develop a more spacious venue that will allow it to host much larger events including possible small concerts and major corporate functions. “We’re never happy until we’re full all of the time,” Fernandez said. 83
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the area and his father-in-law hails from Sterling. Over the last 10 to 15 years, Rudgick and his family frequented the Oswego area several times a year, visiting the iconic Rudy’s lakeside stand as well as Harborfest. “I see some growth has happened, but it’s so incremental. We have huge potential with the waterfront and can transform neighborhoods — maybe not overnight — but very quickly,” he said. Rudgick said his focus is to create economic and development opportunities for the city. “If you don’t understand how a developer thinks or how a business thinks, it would be very difficult for you to really address policies and practices to attract business and create those opportunities,” he said. For Rudgick, his approach to community development has always been strategic. “As a developer, when you invest millions of dollars into this area, you want to be able to position that investment to create compound gains and spin-off economic opportunities to allow you to reinvest in that area and keep it growing,” he said.
All along the waterfront
One of Rudgick’s priorities is waterfront revitalization and development. He said Oswego serves as a waterfront corridor into Central New York from Lake Ontario, enticing many from places such as Canada to visit. However, if the Oswego harbor area is perceived as unattractive or not viable, that perception may hinder visitors. “We are a waterfront community, but we don’t behave like a waterfront community,” he said. “It is just a cool place and could even become cooler,” he said. “Basically, I would like to see a concerted effort to revitalize the waterfront that takes advantage of individual properties that are 84
able to complement other properties so you are not doing development in a vacuum,” he said. His vision is a range of mixed use/mixed income housing with perhaps boutique hotels and unique restaurants. He said the two city-owned marinas operate on a minimal level and need to be redeveloped in order to attract visitors. Another key aspect of community development is business development and economic growth. The Community Development Office offers commercial loan programs for start-up businesses. “But again moving forward, I want to be more than just a loan program. I want to work with Operation Oswego County and the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce in a collaborative partnership while figuring out ways to attract business,” he said. “Oswego is a very charming place in terms of having a small-town feel to it that has a personal connection,” he said. Its restaurants and little shops make it a vibrant place different from places like Syracuse or Rochester.
Rudgick said there are several issues that need to be addressed in order to improve the quality of life in the city. “The city of Oswego is currently and has historically acted in a silo mentality,” he said. “In and of itself, it may not be detrimental to a specific department’s basic operation, but eliminating it can result in a more strategic versus ad-hoc approach to addressing problems in the short and long term,” he said. “There are duplicative efforts, lack of clear direction, and inefficiencies, and the city of Oswego must take this opportunity to review the existing level of services and operations for the purpose of improving operational efficiencies, reducing unnecessary delays in responsiveness and offering better customer service to those that live, work and play in the city,” he said. Rudgick said he brings a different type of perspective in terms of thinkOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
ing about things holistically. “I am very much a systems thinker,” he said.
He said accountability leads to credibility in the grants application process. When he first arrived at the Community Development Office, Rudgick first identified all the open grants the city has. He reached out to counterparts and colleagues with different state agencies that he has worked with, and was able to identify many open grants. His task was to identify the open grants and determine where they were in the process, and whether or not he needs to contract, draw down on the funds or close them out. “There is a different process for each one of them,” he said. “To me, being performance driven and deadline driven ensures my credibility and this city’s credibility in being a successful grant applicant and administrator of the program,” he said. “One of the challenges for my predecessor was she was applying for grants because she had to just for the sake of keeping the organization afloat,” he said. “That is not my approach. If I’m applying for a grant, it’s going to have the biggest bang for the biggest buck for the city strategically to be an instrument of change for economic growth,” he said. Rudgick holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs. His concentration was in public and nonprofit management and environmental policy and administration. “The S.U. program is consistently ranked as the best public administration program in the country in preparing students to lead and manage in the public sector,” Rudgick said. Rudgick is a native of Binghamton and lived in Johnson City and Scranton, Pa. He has lived in the Syracuse area for more than 15 years. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
By Lou Sorendo
— has locations at East Fourth and Bridge streets, Oswego; 300 W. First St., Oswego and 5828 Scenic Ave., Mexico. “We are extremely excited to bring our approach, people and products to the Fulton community,” said OCFCU CEO William Carhart. He said the credit union will explore opportunities to expand again in a few years to places such as Central Square or Pulaski. His team will study demographics, population trends and what the banking situation is like in certain areas. “It’s really about where we would be a nice fit for our current members that we serve as well as having the ability to serve future families,” he said. This October marks the 12th year that Carhart has been with the credit union. Under his guidance, OCFCU has hit the high note in a demanding and competitive marketplace. Carhart, 47, is a resident of Baldwinsville. The SyraWilliam Carhart is the CEO of Oswego County Federal Credit Union, which is celebrating 40 cuse native earned a Bacheyears this year. He is about to open the fourth branch of the credit union in Fulton. lor of Arts degree at SUNY Oswego. During his tenure as CEO, Carhart has grown assets from $19 million to $65 million. He has also seen membership jump from 4,500 to more than 10,000 today. When he started 12 years ago, there was a staff of eight workers. Now, there are 25 employees. “It’s nice to create some jobs and opportunities and try to keep some of the great talent here in Oswego County,” he said. Fulton and is in the midst of widespread swego County Federal Credit Top-flight recognition — The Union is parlaying significant renovations. Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of It will be opening its fourth locasuccess by expanding its market Commerce chose OCFCU as its financial tion at that site late this year or in early in the region. institution of the year recently. OCFCU — a member-owned, non- 2016. The building is located next to a “The recognition is nice, but serving McDonalds restaurant. profit financial cooperative association The credit union — which is cel- our members and making their lives bet— recently closed on the former Bank of America building on state Route 481 in ebrating its 40th anniversary this year ter and helping make a better community
Oswego County FCU
Credit Union to Open in Fulton; Plans New Branches in Pulaski or Central Square
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Main branch and headquarter of Oswego County Federal Credit Union on the east side of Oswego.
Branch on the west side of Oswego.
Mexico branch of Oswego County Federal Credit Union. 86
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
is all the reward we need,” Carhart said. “I believe our commitment to the community is the real backbone to our earning the chamber award,” he added. He said it is important to get out in the community and give back to people in efforts to improve their quality of life. “I think that means something to people. This is a very blue-collar community. Rolling up your sleeves and giving back is certainly worth its weight in gold,” he added. OCFCU sponsors the popular Movies in the Park series during the summer in Washington Park. A family friendly movie is shown on a 50-foot inflatable screen. The August event featured “Big Hero 6,” and children engaged in a hero costume contest. OCFCU handed out piggy banks to youngsters, while the Oswego Bookmobile made an appearance as well. Entertainment was provided, and the Oswego Youth Bureau offered arts and crafts. “It gives people an opportunity in the community to come out and do something free and use the parks,” he said. OCFCU has experienced significant growth in several key areas recently. From 2013 to 2014, shares on deposit grew 11.94 percent, loans grew 12.6 percent, membership grew 13.58 percent and total assets grew 11.67 percent to surpass $60 million. In 2014, earnings at OCFCU were $417,000. In 2013, that figure was $611,000. The drop was due to the new 3,500-sq.-ft. office that opened at East Fourth and Bridge streets and larger staffing numbers, Carhart said. He said to expect 2015 numbers to be similar to those experienced in 2014. Carhart said OCFCU’s unique mix of products and services allows staff to help members manage their money better and get the most out of their funds. He said programs like “Community Cash” allow members to earn discounts at local businesses simply by being a member. “This saves the members money and helps promote a ‘shop local’ culture in Oswego,” he said. “We offer a better value for the dollar,” he said. Carhart said his product mix is not only hard to find among similarly sized institutions in Central New York and New York state, but throughout the country as well. The business offers services and OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Assets at Oswego County Federal Credit Union has grown from $19 million to $65 million. Membership has jumped from 4,500 to more than 10,000 today. products that include mobile lending; remote deposit capture; Kids’ Club accounts that pay $1.50 to school-aged children for every grade over 90; a rebate program that pays 2.5 percent on checking accounts; a point program on its debit cards; and a soon-to-be-launched EZ Pay money payment program. “No one can match our products and service,” he said. “Our continually evolving product offerings allow members anytime and anywhere access to the credit union,” he said. Banking on the positive —“A key to our growth and longevity has been our dedication to making our members feel like family,” Carhart said. “We try to make banking less of a chore and more of a positive experience.” This is accomplished by knowing members on a first-name basis, allowing their dogs to come into the offices for treats and providing free hot coffee all day. Carhart said creating a small-town personalized feel “always makes members feel welcome and wanted. “In this day and age where businesses have lost the personal touch to service, we embrace that approach and our consistent steady growth over my 12 years here tells me that approach is effective and successful.” Carhart said the staff at OCFCU is another important component to its success over the years. “They are 100 percent committed to providing the very best in member service and always fulfilling our members’ needs, big or small,” he said. “They understand our approach and are allowed to work with great autonomy to ensure every member has a great experience.” Carhart assessed what customers are looking for today in the financial sector. “Members are looking for the best deal possible to make their money go further and make their lives simpler, OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
The building once used by Bank of America on Route 481 in Fulton will reopen as the fourth branch of Oswego Couty Federal Credit Union. According to the credit union hte branch will open later this year or early 2016. whether that’s online banking, mobile banking, electronic statements, or simply being able to walk into a branch and sit down with a friendly face to ask a question,” he said. Carhart said the financial services sector is a “very personal” preference type of industry. “It is not one-size-fitsall and no one approach will work. We try to be nimble and responsive to how our members want their relationship with us. If it’s in person, that’s great. If it’s solely online relationship, we can deliver that as well.” Carhart said having a brick-andmortar presence is essential. “Studies show that although members like and want electronic services, they still desire face-to-face interaction. After all, humans are social creatures by nature,” he said. Applies listening skills — Carhart said his ability to listen has been essential in allowing staff to provide valuable input in all areas of the credit union. “We work as a team and enjoy our success as a team. I consider myself a creative, forward- thinking person,” he said. “These characteristics have allowed the credit union to remain in front of the technology curve and allow us the ability to introduce new cutting-edge products before anyone in the marketplace does.” For Carhart, empowering his staff has been a trademark of his managerial approach. “My staff is allowed great autonomy within their jobs. We hire individuals who want to grow both personally and professionally,” Carhart said. “We work toward creating a fun, high energy, high reward work place environment.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
That approach has paid dividends. The New York State Council SHRM awarded OCFCU as one of its “2015 Best Companies to Work for in New York State” among companies with less than 250 employees. “We are very proud of that designation since the awards are based upon direct anonymous feedback from employees,” he said. Carhart said he gains great job satisfaction from watching his staff grow and become more proficient in what they do. “I enjoy watching them move along the career ladder as we continue to grow the credit union,” he said. He also enjoys experiencing the success stories of OCFCU’s members. “It’s nice to see folks who come in maybe with a little bit of checkered trouble in the past and some sketchy credit history, and then see my staff develop them to become ‘A’-level credit members, help them get on their feet and have a solid financial plan as they move forward,” he said. NASA dream — Earlier in his career, Carhart had dreams of working for NASA, and after graduating, moved to the Melbourne, Fla. area. “I realized that wasn’t really going to happen for me,” he said. He returned home and became employed at Power Credit Union, which at that time was about a $300 million credit union. He started as a front line member service representative and worked through an array of jobs en route to becoming CEO for OCFCU. He and his wife Brenda have a daughter Mackenzie and son Connor. 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.
FIRE SAFETY EQUIPMENT & SERVICES
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.
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
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.
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 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).
JEWELRY BUY /SELL
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.
ADVERTISING BARGAIN HEADING: LISTING:
$149 for 1 Year
Just fill out this form, and send it with a check to: OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
Oswego County Business P.O. Box 276 • Oswego, NY 13126 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
By Lou Sorendo
Paul Stewart Developing and restoring neighborhoods in Oswego, one at the time Q.: What motivated you to help found the Oswego Renaissance Association? A.: We were motivated to found the ORA in late 2013 because it was clear to everyone that the neighborhoods needed to greatly improve, and that to o f e w people — even those with jobs nearby — were choosing Oswego as their place to live. They were instead favoring Baldwinsville, Radisson or other communities. It was vital for everyone to realize that the city of Oswego must compete for residents in order to grow. Period. And developing a community with a strong midd l e class
Paul Stewart is executive director of the Oswego Renaissance Association. 90
has clear implications not just for neighborhoods, but also the local economy. Every strong family that moves into the city of Oswego is one more family investing in the housing stock, spending downtown, going to restaurants, shopping at local stores, and contributing to the tax base of the city. Q.: What is your role as executive director of the ORA? A.: I have many roles, but chief among them is keeping the organization funded and see to it the revitalization plan for the city of Oswego is executed faithfully. Many people still do not yet realize that a top-notch neighborhood strategy firm spent a year in Oswego developing a market-based strategy to revitalize the housing stock. The strategy report for the “What, Why and How” is on our website at www.oswegonyonline. com. It’s extremely strategic, data-driven and based upon measurable outcomes. It focuses on building on strengths and growing value. It shows how we can leverage a lot of private investment. And we have been successful in doing so.” Q.: What is the most gratifying aspect of being executive director of the ORA? A.: Without question, the changes that are occurring in the neighborhoods that we have started working in — especially the enthusiasm of many of the neighbors that are involved. While it is true that all neighborhoods begin at different places, the changes on these blocks are palpable and are occurring relatively quickly. Last year, about $81,000 in housing grants leveraged hundreds of thousands in resident investment, resulting in over $315,000 in improvements in just 12 months. By the end of this year, we expect that number to climb to between $700,000 and $1 million. To my knowledge, this kind of velocity has not been seen in Oswego’s neighborhoods in decades. The strategy just works.
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Q.: What are some of the challenges involved in sustaining the organization and guiding it toward success? A.: It’s always a challenge at first to begin changing a local mindset away from a deficit/decline-oriented mindset toward an investment/growth mindset. Yet it is critical for that to happen. A market analysis of Oswego had shown that too many residents had been refraining from investing their time, energy and money into their homes/neighborhoods — to the tune of withholding a collective $23 million per year — because of perceived decline. But that in itself became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our goal has been to help create conditions where it makes sense for them to begin reinvesting — in large numbers. And that is now happening. Q.: What needs to happen in order for the ORA to achieve a high level of success? A.: What needs to happen is that the blocks we work on must continue investing, and we must also begin expanding into new blocks. The good news is that both are happening. But this is an incremental process that occurs over multiple years. It’s never a one-shot thing. A high level of success, to us, is defined when neighborhoods become “neighborhoods of choice.” That is, when people naturally conclude that it makes sense to move there. It makes sense to invest there. It makes sense to stay. That happens when people see that a neighborhood is improving and growing. When that happens, we will know, because the demand for the housing in the neighborhoods will grow. Q.: What skill sets do you have which serve you well as leader of the ORA? A.: Tenacity. I am also willing to take risks. And do things that aren’t always popular in every quarter. Q.: Who are some of the major partners and supporters of ORA? A.: Major partners include the Richard S. Shineman Foundation, Pathfinder Bank, SUNY, Novelis Oswego, and the city of Oswego, to name a few.
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015
The Crouse Institute for Robotic Surgery
da Vinci robotic gallbladder surgery.
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Proud to be the official hospital of SU Athletics.
Celebrating More Than 50 Years in Oswego Novelis is the worldâ€™s premier producer of rolled aluminum and the global leader in aluminum recycling. Producing more than a billion pounds of high-quality aluminum sheet each year, our Oswego plant is Novelisâ€™ first U.S. operation and stands today as the companyâ€™s largest, wholly-owned facility in North America. Drawing on our expertise, commitment to innovation and world-leading technology, we generate premium aluminum products used in the automotive, beverage can and specialties markets. We are proud to call Oswego home for more than 50 years.