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October / November 2017

Getting Ahead in the Job Market How some workers — like Del Allen Scrimger of Sunoco — are taking advantage of a variety of training programs in Central New York to get higher-paying jobs

Understanding the Shift in Manufacturing Jobs By Mike Treadwell

October/November 2017

Small Business Owners: Not Easy to Find Employees


INSIDE The Enterprising Immigrant Five Stories

Become a Mor We’re Here For You! In This Stage of Your We’re Here ForLife…. You!

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Celebrating More Than 50 Years in Oswego Novelis is the world’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 Novelis’ first U.S. operation and stands today as the company’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.






October / November

2017 OswegoCountyBusin


Getting Ahead in the Job Market


Del Allen Scrimger How some workers — like advantage of a of Sunoco — are taking s in Central New variety of training program jobs York to get higher-paying

Understanding the Shift in Manufacturing Jobs By Mike Treadwell

Small Business Owners: Not Easy to Find Employees

October/November 2017




The Enterprising Immig Five Stories


Some workers in the region are taking advantage of exisitng training programs to get ahead in the job market and earn more money. • MACNY: Filling in the ‘skills gap’ • Leader of Workforce Development Board strategizes with her team to put people to work • New liaison for Center for Career and Community Education 54


• How hard is it to find employees? We’ve asked a few business owners • Precautions about how not to discriminate during recruitment • Hire or outsource? We talked to some experts 64

As a Philadelphia financial planner, she used to spend time in Pulaski as a way to get away from the busy city — so much so that she and her husband decided to move here. She is now president of the chamber of commerce and continues working as a financial adviser..........................12

SPECIAL FEATURES On the Job “Do you encourage your employees to get additional training?”....................................................................................................... 9 How I Got Started Amy Lear, owner of Man in the Moon, talks about how she got started and how she’s expanding the business.... 10 Where in the World is Sandra Scott? Rich in history, Lisbon is a good base to explore Portugal .......................................................... 16 The ‘New’ West Side of Oswego Massive student housing project changing the west side of the city............................................... 18 Uber Comes to Oswego Existing taxi drivers doubt Uber drivers will be able to make a living in Oswego................................................. 28 Goodbye to a 40-Year Career Melissa Miller, Pathfinder Bank COO, is retiring after a long career......................................................... 48 Buffalo: Behind its Renaissance Upstate city has been referred to as ‘a role model for resurgence’........................................................... 70



The Enterprising Immigrant Five immigrants talk about how they started their businesses. 76 4

Allen Chase — From being a lawn mower repairman to owning an extensive commercial property maintenance and construction company, he continues his evolution as successful entrepreneur................................ 84

Newsmakers, Business Updates.................................................................22, 34 Dining Out Eis House Restaurant, Mexico.............................................. 32 My Turn Jobs of yesteryear not coming back ......................................... 44 Economic Trends Understanding the shift in manufacturing jobs........ 60 Last Page Mayor Ron Woodward on the Nestle museum idea ......... 90 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


Exceptional products. Local expertise. Your source for infrastructure access solutions, and proud to be manufacturing in New York.

Learn more at or call 800 626 4653 Made in the USA 89251_FB_PlateAD_OBM (Oswego Business Magazine)

T: 7.25” x 4.75”

No Bleed


it’s your turn at the plate It takes a lot to turn food into healthy meals for hungry families. You see, from storage to transportation to refrigeration, it takes your cash donations to make it all work. So, take your turn at the plate today. Please give at

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017 89251_FB_PlateAD_OBM.indd 1


5 8/14/17 2:28 PM

Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home...................87 ALPS Professional Services.24 Amdursky, Pelky, Fennell & Wallen (APFW Law)........27 Ameriprise Financial (Randy Zeigler)..................6 Barclay Damon......................11 Bond, Schoeneck & King, Attorneys at Law................9 Borio’s Restaurant.................31 Breakwall Asset Mgmt.........43 Builder’s FirstSource............26 Burke’s Home Center...........24 C & S Companies..................61 Canale’s Italian Cuisine........31 Canale’s Insurance & Acc....27 Cayuga Comm. College.......92 Century 21..............................24 Chase Enterprises..................47 CNY Comm. Foundation.......7 Colosse Cheese Store............15 Community Bank..................45 Compass Credit Union.........29 Crouse Hospital.....................91 Dave & Busters Restaurant.........................31 Dynegy...................................50 E J USA......................................5 Edward Jones (Kate Connell)...................11


The Eis House........................31 Fastrac.....................................50 Felix Schoeller North America.............................56 Financial Partners of Upstate..........................21 Finger Lakes Garage Doors....................26 Fitzgibbons Agency..............49 Food Bank of CNY..................5 Foster Funeral Home............65 Fulton Savings Bank.............43 Fulton Tool Co.......................59 Gary’s Equipment.................23 Glider Oil................................50 Halsey Machinery.................24 Harbor Towne Gifts..............15 Harbour Hall..........................15 Haun Welding Supply, Inc...26 Hillside Park Real Estate......59 J P Jewelers.............................15 Joe Bush’s Collision..............25 Johnston Gas..........................23 Key Bank................................59 Lakeshore Hardwoods.........15 Lakeside Commons..............30 Land & Trust Realty..............25

Local 73, Plumbers & Steamfitters.......................49 Longley Brothers...................45 MACNY — The Manufacturers Alliance...63 Mimi’s Drive Inn...................31 Mitchell Speedway Printing..............................49 Mr. Sub....................................15 Murdock’s................................6 NBT Bank...............................14 Nelson Law Firm...................49 Northern Ace.........................23 Novelis......................................3 NTTS National Tractor Trailer School.................................63 Ogdensburg Airport...............8 Operation Oswego Co..........91 Oswego County Federal Credit Union.......................8 Oswego County Mutual Insurance...........................87 Oswego County Opportunities OCO.........69 Oswego Co. Stop DWI..........87 Oswego Health .....................75 Oswego Quality Carpet........25

Over the Top Roofing...........25 Par-K Enterprises, Inc...........29 Pathfinder Bank.....................47 PC Masters Tech Repair.......65 Phoenix Press.........................26 Pulaski Farmers’ Market......15 RanMar Tractor......................27 Riccelli Northern...................63 RiverHouse Restaurant........31 Scriba Electric.........................26 Servpro of Oswego Co..........24 St. Joseph’s Imaging Asso....74 St. Luke Apartments.............74 Sun Harvest Realty...............27 SUNY Oswego, Business and Comm. Development......47 Sweet Inspirations.................31 Sweet-Woods Memorial.......87 Tailwater Lodge.....................35 The Gardens at Morningstar .......................2 The Landings at Meadowood......................21 Universal Metal Works.........59 Valley Locksmith...................23 Volney Multiplex...................24 Watertown Industrial Center of Local Development.....21 White’s Lumber & Building Supply...............25 WRVO.....................................88

Meet your future with confidence. Take the first step toward peace of mind in retirement with our exclusive Confident Retirement® approach. I’ll help you understand how you can cover expenses, live the lifestyle you want, be prepared for the unexpected and leave a legacy. Call me today and learn how you can live more confidently today and tomorrow. Randy L. Zeigler, CFP® , ChFC® , CLU® Private Wealth Advisor Certified Financial Planner 97 W Utica St Oswego, NY 13126 315.342.1227 randy.l.zeigler

DISCOVER THE NEW Murdock’s Join in our Celebration Sale!

October 9th-14th

The Confident Retirement approach is not a guarantee of future financial results. Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser. © 2016 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. (8/16)


Bicycles & Sports

177 West 1st St. OSWEGO . NEW YORK

Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Sunday: Closed Contact Us: Email Phone: 315.342.6848 | Follow us on Facebook



The Worst (and Best) Jobs For Your Health


olice officers and firefighters over the age of 45 appear to have more risk factors for heart disease and stroke than people in any other profession, according to new research, The study from the American Heart Association found that among police officers and firefighters, 90 percent were likely to be overweight or obese, 77 percent did not have ideal total cholesterol levels and 35 percent had high blood pressure. To assess worker health, the researchers examined workers over the age of 45 for seven modifiable risk factors: blood pressure, body mass index, total cholesterol, blood sugar, physical activity, smoking and diet quality. Participants’ health in each of the areas was scored as “ideal,” “intermediate” or “poor.” Workers earned ideal scores if, without medicines, their blood pressure readings were lower than 120/80 mm Hg, total cholesterol was below 200 mg/dL, and/or blood glucose was lower than 100 mg/dL while fasting or 140 mg/dL without fasting. Besides nonsmoking status, other ideal traits were a body mass index below 25 and engaging in intense, break-a-sweat activity four or more times a week, including at work. Employees in service occupations — including workers who prepare food, do building and grounds keeping, perform cleaning services, and deliver personal care — had the second highest risk for heart disease and stroke. The research found that this group of workers had the worst diet profile, with more nearly 80 percent having poor eating habits. Sales workers and office and administrative support workers also had high risk for future heart disease. The study revealed that 69 percent of sales employees did not have ideal cholesterol, while 82 percent of office and administrative support workers did not do enough physical activity. Those working in management or as white-collar professionals had better cardiovascular health than did employees in any other job. Specifically, one-third had ideal body mass, 75 percent were at least moderately active and only 6 percent were smokers.

Mark Worden Markand andReghan Reghan Worden stand home standtogether togetherat at their their home ininManlius, York. Manlius, New New York.

GivingBack: Back: Giving Mark&&Reghan ReghanWorden Worden Mark We established a donor-advised fund at the Community

We established a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation to serve as a platform for our giving to local Foundation to serve as a platform for our giving to local charities. The fund offers us a flexible way to engage charities. The fund offers us a flexible way to engage in charitable giving in a convenient way. We want in charitable giving in a convenient way. We want to maximize the benefit of our contribution to local to maximize the benefit of our contribution to local organizations and direct the money to where it’ll have organizations and direct the money the most where it’ll have the most impact.


since 1927

since 1927

(315) 422-9538

Read more of the Worden’s at Read morestory of the Worden’s story at (315) 422-9538 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS




5900 State Highway 812, Ogdensburg, NY Direct flights to Orlando and Tampa Bay, FL (new destination) - 4x per week w/Allegiant Air. Now offering low cost, direct flights to Orlando and Fort Daily flights to Albany, NY and onto Boston, MA - 3x per day w/Cape Air. Lauderdale, Albany and Boston

Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


L. Michael Treadwell Bruce Frassinelli, Sandra Scott, Jacob Pucci

Writers & Contributing Writers

Deborah Jeanne Sergeant Matthew Liptak, Randy Pellis Ken Sturtz, Colin Nekritz Payne Horning, Marie Kouthoofd


Peggy Kain Ashley Slattery

Office Assistant Kimberley Tyler

Layout and Design Dylon Clew-Thomas

Cover Photo

Chuck Wainwright Oswego County Business is published by Local News, Inc., which also publishes CNY Summer Guide, Business Guide, CNY Winter Guide, College Life, In Good Health– The Healthcare Newspaper (four editions), CNY Healthcare Guide and 55PLUS, a Magazine for Active Adults (two editions) Published bimonthly (6 issues a year) at 185 E. Seneca Street PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $21.50 a year; $35 for two years © 2017 by Oswego County Business. All rights reserved. Third class postage paid at Syracuse, NY. Permit Number: 244

How to Reach Us

P.O. Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126 Phone: 315-342-8020 Fax: 315-342-7776 Email:





“Do you encourage your employees to get additional training?”

“We do webinars on the latest technology as needed, when needed. It allows us to be as efficient and as all-encompassing as possible when communicating with clients. We can use the latest technology they prefer. It helps us be best in class. We pay for it. Continuing education is extremely important for not only education, but also networking and fine tuning their craft.” Kimberly Parker, director Syracuse office, AP Professionals. Syracuse “Yes. I am even willing to pay for it. The better they are, the better they make me. They all can do it, although it may not be the same training for different positions. I have wonderful employees and I want them to be successful and if that means they should be trained by someone smarter than I, so be it.” David Mirabito, financial adviser with Financial Partners of Upstate New York. Fulton “The more knowledgeable the employees are, the more they’re accommodating and they better serve our customers. It promotes better sales and profits. I usually pay for training myself.” Anne Backer, owner Taste the World Specialty Coffee & Food. Oswego “We have it available. It gets

them ahead of the curve on the new technology. It gives us an edge over other places. We pay for it. It’s available constantly, and as the techs get time to do it, they know. They all want to do a good job, so they start boning up when something comes up that we need to know more about.” Michael Atutis, owner Torbitt’s Service Center, Inc. Oswego “I have no employees. It’s hard to get away, but I go to industry expos a couple times a year. They have some training at them. It helps me stay current. It helps me meet new people.” Gina Bush, owner Bliss Bridal & Formal Wear, Inc. Baldwinsville “We definitely offer ongoing training We have access to online training modules for marketing. What we do is so specific and changing all the time that the only way we can stay relevant is providing online training for our folks. That’s a huge priority for us. “Ultimately, as a digital marketing agency, what’s important is staying cutting edge and what will get results for our clients. By giving our employees the opportunity to train and understand new technology, it furthers them professionally and helps us grow. “Some say they won’t train because people will leave. But if we don’t train our people and they stay,



what happens then? We won’t have the very best people. The reality is, employees leave. We may not be the best fit for someone long-term. We have only had three people leave and it was on the best of terms. If people leave, I hope people get the best value for their time here because they’ve given us their best. “I was just talking with my director of HR. Recruitment is one of my top priorities because it’s about talent. We hire great people and figure out ways to retain them. Training is an important piece of retaining. It’s a great way to show we’re investing in you because we believe in you. We have been growing like crazy. We definitely want a great representation in the marketplace. That’s why we offer workplace training.” Jeff Knauss, co-founder Digital Hyve,. Syracuse “We offer continuing education and training. We have classes for certification in new types of cleaning processes. I just took training to become certified in cleaning up water. John Halco, the owner, is big on training and being certified.” Vinny Hollopeter, marketing Servpro, East Syracuse

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Bond with the right law firm and see your business with new insights. We will look at your needs proactively, with a fresh eye, and work as your trusted advisor to help you see your business, and its future, with new insight and sharper vision. Bond has been providing a full range of legal services in Oswego for 25 years. Want to learn more? Visit or call John Allen, Douglas McRae or Sunny Tice at 315.218.8000.

One Lincoln Center, Syracuse, NY 13202




How I Got


Amy Lear

Man in the Moon Candies owner is sweet on success and her upcoming relocation By Lou Sorendo

Q: When did you launch Man in the Moon Candies? What did you do professionally prior to creating the business? A: In September of 2005, it started as a part-time business on top of my full-time job. I’m a New York state-licensed optician, and I worked for Dr. David Dexter for 15 years making and dispensing eyeglasses. In the fall of 2005, I made candy and sold it at a couple of craft shows and took some orders from friends and family. I did that all on top of my full-time job. Throughout the following spring, I didn’t do as much but a little during Valentine’s Day and Easter. Then in 2006, I had a booth at the Oswego Farmers’ Market while still working full time. Q: When did you open your first location? A: It wasn’t until December of 2006 that it was suggested I open a retail location, and of course at the time, I didn’t think I could do that on top of a full-time job. Q: What happened then? A: I really felt I needed to keep my full-time job to support myself and needed to have insurance benefits. Paul Lear [site manager of Fort Ontario in Oswego] then proposed to me. When Paul proposed, the joke was I was marrying him for his health insurance and he was marrying me for my chocolate. Developer Tony Pauldine then approached us about putting a candy shop in Canal Commons. Paul proposed on Christmas, and we decided a few days later that we could open a store. We opened our retail location on Feb. 1, 2007 right down the hall in 450 square feet of space where Chelle’s Bake Shop is now. We were married at the end of May, and for several years, I continued to work part time as an optician before I finally relinquished it and gave it up to work full time at the business in 2009. Q: Your family has had a tradition of candy making in Oswego. Tell us about this legacy. A: Ray Stone, my grandfather, worked originally at Oswego Candy Works in the early 1920s. He worked on the hard candy line. In 1936, he quit and opened his own business in the basement of his mother-in-law’s home. In 1936, he made hard candy lollipops, and they called them “Man in the Moon” lollipops.




Man in the Moon is in the process of purchasing the old McDonald’s Fashions building on West First Street, Oswego. The move will triple the size of the chocolate store They were sold wholesale throughout the state. He operated that for about two years, but was unable to get a loan to expand his packaging equipment. So he closed that business up and went back to work. Then in 1946, he was able to open Stone’s Candy at 145 W. Bridge St. He and my grandmother operated it — he was the candy maker and she was the businesswoman. In 1973, they retired and sold it to Jan and Marg Stachowicz. Jan has since passed away, but Marg and her son Don Regan have operated it for 44 years. They bought the candy store and name at a time when the family’s business reputation was stellar and without comparison in the 1960s and early ‘70s. Like a lot of other businesses, the name is half of it. Q: What costs did you face when you decided to jump into the candy making industry? A: I used personal money to buy products and the business has nearly always paid for itself and always supported itself. All the profits have pretty much gone back into the business, and we’ve done nothing but grow and continue to grow. When I wanted to start my business, my father had some small pieces of equipment that I was able to use. I had probably $8,000 saved up from the year and a half that I had been operating. I had at that point put money into the business, but had not taken any out of it. Rent was affordable and it was a very small location. When we moved to our existing location, we did take out a Community Development Office loan for $15,000 for additional equipment, to do remodeling and to get us started. The year we moved up to this location, our sales increased 30 percent. There was no question it was the right move and

continued on page 82 OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

Kate Connell

Financial Advisor

4890 N Jefferson Street Pulaski, NY 13142 Bus: 315-298-6560 Fax 855-379-5820

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PROFILE By Lou Sorendo


From Philadelphia to Northern Oswego County: Financial planner in her element as chamber head in Pulaski

veryone wants to live the dream. For some, they are already doing it. Kathryn J. Connell, president of the Pulaski-Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce and financial adviser for Edward Jones Investments, has found her “happy place” in life. “We’re actually doing what we love to do and living where we want to be. We already are living the dream,” she said. She and her husband Rich formerly resided in the Philadelphia, Pa. area. “My husband and I decided to hit the ‘reset’ button on our lives after our youngest child graduated from college,” she said. “We have always enjoyed the ‘small-town’ comfortable atmosphere in Pulaski and decided to live at our vacation home on Lake Ontario.” As a result, she said the family’s lifestyle is much healthier and less hectic. “The decision to move to a more rural setting in Pulaski was a process and it took us two and a half years to make the final decision,” she said. The Connells have moved around the country to different areas, including New York City, New Jersey, Buffalo, Chicago, St. Louis and then back to Philadelphia. Rich is originally from Baldwinsville and when the couple first married, they lived in Syracuse for four years prior to moving to St. Louis. Rich’s family has had a house on Lake Ontario since the early 1900s. “Our summer vacations with our three children have always been spent at the lake,” she said. “We think it’s a little piece of heaven.” The quality time with family and friends is due to a less hectic lifestyle. Connell conceded


that it was a tough decision to move from Philadelphia. “It was, but you do get to a point in life when you don’t need a lot of stuff and the rat race is exhausting both physically and mentally. You just need to enjoy where you live and what you do,” Connell said. “At times, we would take a pause and deep breath and say

that we wished we were at the lake. So we made the move to keep our body and our minds in one place.” There have been some adjustments after leaving the City of Brotherly Love. “I’m still getting used to traveling to do errands,” she said. Conversely, in Philadelphia, “everything is right around the corner,” she said. However, that five-minute or five-mile trip could take 30 minutes or longer because of traffic. One of the first driving experiences Connell had upon arrival in Oswego County was a drive to Cicero. “When I got to Cicero, I called everybody I knew in Philadelphia and said, ‘You won’t believe what I just experienced. I just drove for 30 minutes at 74 miles per hour and I never put my foot on the brake.” The couple has three adult children. Jon, 29, is in the military based in Louisiana. He is married to Christine and has a son, Blane. Their 26-year-old daughter Jillian moved from New York City to Philadelphia and works in the insurance business. Their youngest son Timothy is in the executive management program with PNC in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Home sweet home When the Connells permanently moved to Pulaski in 2014, they already knew many residents and business owners because of their lake house. “We would visit and stay at the cottage several weeks throughout the year and patronize many of the local businesses, farmers’ market and festivals,” she said. Watertown was going to be Connell’s original Edward Jones Investments location. “However, my heart is in Pulaski,” she said. “I believed OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


that I could build a business and help people in the area where I lived. “Pulaski is a big small town. We like to think that way.” Fortunately, Edward Jones Investments agreed to open a branch office in the center of the village. “As I was building my business, I met many active community members,” she said. “I immediately recognized that Pulaski is full of potential. There are so many exciting things going on in Pulaski right now. Many groups and individuals are working to take Pulaski from good to great.” The chamber president position opened, and Connell determined that’s where she could be most effective in terms of contributing her time and talent. Connell certainly has the skill sets to make positive things happen at the chamber.’ She is adept at fostering a collaborative environment, focusing her team members on common goals, and effectively networking with a variety of entities within and outside the community. The formation of her skill came as a result of being in a very large family. “We were all about people and basically uplifting people to reach their potential,” she said. Connell said taking on a leadership role requires commitment, time management, leadership and teamwork. “When you work with a group or individual, you need to be accommodating, devoted and accessible,” she said.

Fresh frontiers Connell is overseeing significant organizational improvements at the chamber, and that has resulted in additional board members and officers. The chamber has four officers and eight board members that collectively work on identifying goals and activities for the community and its businesses. “The chamber’s strength lies in its members, their talents and insights which when combined form a synergy that will propel Pulaski forward,” she noted. Under Connell’s guidance, the chamber’s membership has grown to about 100, with 30 of them being from outside the area. Being centrally located between Syracuse and Watertown, Pulaski has “great potential” to partner with other communities to promote growth along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, she noted. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

Lifelines Birth date: June 30 Birthplace: Norristown, Pa. Current resident: Pulaski Education: Bachelor’s degree in marketing and accounting, Philadelphia University Affiliations: Pulaski-Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Personal: Married to Richard Connell; children Jon, Jillian, and Timothy; daughter-in-law Christine and a 1-year-old grandson, Blane Richard Connell Hobbies: Outdoor activities, travel, stained glass art, watching old movies

The chamber’s new downtown location at the John Ben Snow Memorial Building, 4917 Jefferson St., Pulaski, has provided more accessibility for community members and visitors. Its former location was at the Salmon River International Sport Fishing Museum, which is located about seven miles outside the village. The chamber launched its new website last year and it is playing a key role in getting the word out in terms of what is happening at the chamber. “We’re trying to drive people to the website and also letting them know we are developing an app for phones,” she said. The chamber also uses social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn. The chamber’s website and Google business presence is helping to further the organization’s mission. It includes a directory of all businesses in the area along with contact information and a Google map link. “Our mission is to engage, empower and to enrich the lives of those in our shared communities,” Connell said. Connell describes the I-81 corridor between Syracuse and Watertown as being extremely busy. “We are just trying to put Pulaski on the map and brand it so people will visit and spend time enjoying the many opportunities we have to offer,” she said.

Analyzing numbers Connell has been with Edward Jones since 2010 and acquired her license in New York state in 2014. She has been investing most of her OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

life while helping family and friends tackle major financial issues. “I started out being a financial analyst in the pharmaceutical industry. I have always enjoyed making sense of numbers and telling a story from them,” she said. Connell said she loves being a financial adviser with Edward Jones Investments. Edward Jones’ philosophy, culture and being a full-service brokerage firm support her efforts to serve the needs of individual clients with tailored solutions to reach their financial goals. A personal tragedy also helped fortify her desire to help people. Her father died when he was 59, and her mother took the advice of a lawyer to sink all of her assets into certificates of deposit that feature traditionally low yields. “I was fairly young at the time and was not a financial adviser. However, I saw how the advice of her attorney was not based on a solution based-plan to make her money last throughout her life,” she said. She said being a financial adviser entails listening and understanding what is important to her clients. “I help people reach their financial goals by using an established process to build a personalized strategy to help them achieve their financial goals throughout the many stages of their life,” she noted. Connell said her experience in the financial arena has taught her to listen well, be clear with explanations, educate and assist clients in developing a plan, and follow through on commitments. Connell characterizes her leadership style as consultative. During her free time, Connell enjoys many different recreational activities. She likes biking, hiking and cross-country skiing at Selkirk State Park and other trail systems in the area. “Snowmobiling is on my agenda this winter,” said Connell, noting the Pulaski-Boylston Snowmobile Club has done a “fabulous job” with the trails it manages. She also enjoys the river walk in Pulaski, and swimming and boating on Lake Ontario. Connell said to start a business in a new area is not easy for anyone. “You put a lot of your heart, soul and time into it,” she said. “So after a year and a half, I started to pick up exercising again and getting back into things. I think that is so important to keep you mentally and physically healthy.” 13

Publisher’s note By Wagner Dotto


e’re now publishing the 24th annual Business Guide. The value to our 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 a larger, attractive audience. Unlike this magazine, the guide 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. Presented in a list format, we include the largest companies in the

region based 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 extensively 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 establishments, healthcare providers and others. Paid subscribers to this magazine will be the first to receive the publication, when we publish later in October. The good news for local businesses? It’s fairly inexpensive to advertise in it and readers tend to keep it for a year or more.

WAGNER DOTTO is the publisher of Oswego County Business Magazine.

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Where in the World is Sandra Scott? By Sandra Scott


Rich in history, city is a good base to explore Portugal


ortugal is a safe country where many people speak English, especially in the tourist areas. It is the westernmost country in mainland Europe and its neutrality kept it free from attack during World War II — and to date it has been off the radar of Islamic extremists. The capital city Lisbon has many attractions and is a good base for exploring the rest of the county. Americans only need a passport for a 90-day stay. TAP, the Portuguese airline, offers some of the best deals to Europe. All visits to Lisbon should start with

the “Lisboa Story Centre,” a wonderful interactive presentation detailing the history of the city. It is a self-guided tour through the various periods in the city’s history. The climax is the film that brings reality to the catastrophic 1755 earthquake. Before Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain there were Prince Henry the Navigator and Bartolomeu Dias from Portugal. The first journeys associated with the Age of Discovery were conducted by the Portuguese. Today the Belem area of Lisbon celebrates the Age

of Discovery. The Belem Tower, built in elaborate Manueline style, was the last sight sailors saw as they left their homeland for the great unknown. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is also a 171-foot monument with more than 30 statues of people who played an important role in discoveries. Nearby is a monument to Sacadura Cabral that receives little attention. In 1922, he made the first flight across the south Atlantic from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro a distance of more than 8,000 miles. The Belem area is also home to

The Belem Tower in Lisboncelebrates the Age of Discovery. Built in elaborate Manueline style, it was the last sight sailors saw as they left their homeland for the great unknown. 16



the elaborate Monastery of Jeronimos and several museums. A must-do is a one-hour sail on the Tagua River in a traditionally made wooden sailboat. There is an easy-to-miss kiosk by the marina where tours can be booked. Get the best view of the city from Castle St. Jorge, a medieval citadel that began in the 6th century by the Romans and captured by others until the 11th century when it was captured from the Moors by Alfonso, the first king of Portugal, and became the royal residence for several kings. Enjoy the panoramic view from a seat in the embattlements with a glass of one of Portugal’s famous wines. A not-to-miss is a Fado restaurant. Fado is a traditional folk music indigenous to Portugal that is part of UNESCO’s cultural heritage. The meal is sure to include some to Portugal’s signature foods: caldo verde (green soup), bacalhau (salted cod), and chourico (a spicy sausage). There are several day tours to other parts of Portugal but the must-do is the Sintra Palace tour that includes visits to the village of Sintra, the fairy-like Pena Palace, and the National Palace Queluz. It also includes other short stops to the westernmost point of mainland Europe and Boca do Inferno. Another popular day tour includes visits to Fatima and Obidos. There is a good metro system, metered taxis, and tuk-tuks. Yellow Bus Tours offer a variety of tours in the city plus day excursions outside the city. There are free walking tours offered by locals who want to share their city with visitors. Rental cars are not recommended due to the heavy rush hour traffic and lack of parking. If driving out of the city book the rental car before or after visiting the city. Have you ever wanted to stay in a castle? Now is your chance. Pousadas of Portugal offers castles and other historic places that have been repurposed into hotels.

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 2017

Azulejo is a form of Portuguese painted tin-glazed ceramic tilework. A must-buy when people go to Portugal.

All visits to Lisbon should start with the “Lisboa Story Centre,” a wonderful interactive presentation detailing the history of the city.

The Belem area is also home to the elaborate Monastery of Jeronimos and several museums OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS



The ‘New’ West Side of Oswego Massive student housing project changing the face of neighborhood west of SUNY Oswego and beyond


few hundred feet west of the SUNY Oswego entrance on state Route 104, workers hauled sheets of plywood across roofs and toted nail guns on a recent afternoon as a cluster of buildings slowly took shape. Lakeside Commons, a private student housing project, is set to open next year in the town of Oswego, adding hundreds of beds. The long-term impact on the town and the west side of the city of Oswego remains to be seen, but a possible picture is already beginning to emerge. Newman Development Group broke ground on the project in June and plans to finish construction in July 2018. The Vestal developer jointly owns the $20 million project with Morgan Communities of Rochester. When completed the complex will include 320 beds in 84 townhouses. A two-story 9,000 square-foot clubhouse under construction is to include a fitness


By Ken Sturtz center, common area, computer lounge and offices.

Increased competition

A state project is currently widening state Route 104 near the college. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Some impacts from the project could take years to realize, but changes in the student rental business will be felt almost immediately once the complex opens and injects beds into the housing market, said Ranjit Dighe, who teaches economics at SUNY Oswego. “It creates more competition, it opens up an option,” Dighe said. “That means local landlords have to step up their game a little bit.” A greater supply of student housing in the market should generally force rents down, Dighe said, though that might not be the case depending on the quality of the rental property. Lakeside Commons, which is exclusively for college students, is being OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

marketed as higher quality student housing, just off campus, with lots of amenities. Rent will range from $825$875. Apartments will come furnished, include internet and cable and allow tenants to access the fitness center and lounges. A double room on campus costs students $4,295 for the 2017-18 academic year. “They’re targeting people who are willing to pay more,” said Oswego Town Supervisor Richard Kaulfuss. “People who are willing to pay for the amenities and willing to pay for the services.” Given the price point of Lakeside Commons, it’s possible that some landlords owning midrange apartments could be forced to lower rents a bit to compete, Dighe said. Apartments at the lower end of the market probably won’t be affected as much, he said, since they aren’t in direct competition with more expensive options such as the new housing project. Some landlords have criticized Lakeside Commons and the increased competition. Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said city landlords have had a virtual monopoly on private student housing for years that has made the rental market less competitive and lowered quality. The housing project will help reverse that trend, he said. “We lack affordable, quality housing in the city. There’s no debate about that,” Barlow said. “I think this project will force landlords to invest and raise the bar.” While landlords will be affected by the competition, Dighe said, it remains unclear to what extent they will be affected. There is ultimately a finite number of college students looking for housing, he said. SUNY Oswego enrolls about 7,000 full-time undergraduates and roughly 4,400 full-time students live on campus. Freshman and sophomores must live on campus. But the college routinely fills most of its rooms. During housing crunches eight years ago, officials resorted to putting three students in rooms meant for two. And when the 350-bed Village opened in 2010, there was a waiting list for the townhouses. William Galloway, owner of Century 21 Galloway Realty in Oswego, said the new student apartments will have minimal impact on the city housing market. It’s unlikely that the increased competition will cause landlords to sell properties, he said. Barlow echoed the OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

Massive housing project just 500 feet west of SUNY Oswego will feature 84 townhouses and 320 beds within 11 buildings. The project is already changing the the way the west side of Oswego looks and feels. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


sentiment. “If anything, it’s going to make landlords upgrade,” Galloway said. said. “They’re going to really need to have a better property.” Landlords who have not maintained or updated their properties might be encouraged to do so, Galloway said. Fixing up a property or offering better amenities could also allow landlords to avoid lowering rents to compete, Dighe said. And some landlords may simply change tactics and begin marketing to people other than college students, Galloway said. “You still have a demand for housing, not only for student housing but for other tenants,” Galloway said. Dilapidated student rental properties have blighted some city neighborhoods, Barlow said, and more competition is the surest way to ensure that the quality and availability of housing improve long-term, he said. “By allowing competition … we are looking out for the greater good for the Oswego community and we are better positioning ourselves for 10, 20 years from now,” Barlow said.

Economic boost

Several business owners said they expect the housing project will benefit businesses in the area to varying degrees. Dennis Ouellette owns Ontario Orchards in the town of Oswego, which attracts scores of college students each year during its Fall Jamboree event. He said the new housing could help businesses in the town because some customers don’t routinely venture past SUNY Oswego and into the town. Ontario Orchards is several miles west of the college. “But if you’re already on the west side of town, it might encourage businesses that are on the west side of town,” Ouellette said. Four years ago, Kevin Prell opened The Pies Guys Pizzeria on state Route 104. He also owns another location in Liverpool. He said he employs several college students at his Oswego location, which will be just half a mile from Lakeside Commons when it opens. A sizeable chunk of the pizzeria’s business is from students, he said, though they don’t market exclusively to students. Prell said he thought the housing project would be good for business overall in the area. The direct, immediate impact may 20

Architectural rendering of Lakeside Commons, next to SUNY Oswego. Occupancy will start next fall.

be modest, Dighe said, because many businesses in the city are too far from the housing project to tap into the students who will live there. And students tend to have limited disposable income compared to older adults, he said. “I don’t see it sparking a whole lot of business right in that area,” he said. But over the long term the potential is high for the housing project to create opportunities to attract new development to bolster the tax base, especially along the state Route 104 corridor, said Richard Kaulfuss, the town supervisor. A state project is currently widening state Route 104 through part of the town. But one of the biggest barriers to development in rural areas is a lack of infrastructure, Kaulfuss said. For the town especially that means sewers; most of the town isn’t connected to sewers. “No one wants to be the first one to do something when there’s no infrastructure,” he said. In the case of Lakeside Commons, the developer helped with the town’s Ontario Heights sewer district, which sends its wastewater to the city of Oswego. The developer plans to refurbish a pumping station when it ties into the sewer system, Kaulfuss said, which benefits the town. The Lakeside Commons project could help the town boost plans to extend sewer services to other parts of the town, he said. Barlow said the city will benefit from the additional money for taking the housing project’s sewage, which helps offset the cost of the sewer system to city taxpayers. Jason Livesey, owner of Rudy’s, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

said he is in favor of development in the town and believes the housing project will be beneficial. But development needs to be encouraged by local government with sewer and other infrastructure improvements, he said. Livesey said his family owns more than 60 acres near Lake Ontario, especially along Fred Haynes Boulevard. Several times over the years efforts to develop portions of the land, including for student housing, have fallen through, he said. One reason was a lack of sewers. Kaulfuss pointed to land along Fred Haynes Boulevard as an example of something that could probably be developed with the right infrastructure. Livesey said his family’s restaurant — as well as a nearby campground and ice cream stand — are not connected to sewers, which is itself a major hindrance to growth. He said he is looking forward to the possibility of sewers being extended farther into the town in the future. In the meantime, he is planning to spend more money on septic system upgrades. The water limitations of the restaurant’s septic system forced Livesey to discard its water-hungry soft-serve ice cream machines and to bring in portable restroom trailers the last two summers, he said. Even the act of washing fresh shipments of clams can add more water than the system can handle. And similar limitations have tabled ideas like adding a larger enclosed dining room or holding clam bake events, he said. “It’s even gotten to the point that it’s limiting us on our ability to choose what we want to serve,” he said. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

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John Allen Among ‘Best Lawyers’ Thirty five attorneys affiliated with Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC in Syracuse — including John Allen, who covers the Oswego County area — have been included in “The Best Lawyers in America 2018.” The attorneys who have been selected for inclusion this year, in addition to Allen, are: Kevin M. Bernstein, R. Daniel Bordoni, Brian J. Butler, John H. Callahan, Edward R. Conan, Stephen A. Donato, Thomas G. Eron, Jonathan B. FelAllen lows, David M. Ferrara, John Gaal, Laura H. Harshbarger, Brian K. Haynes, Camille W. Hill, Richard D. Hole, Peter A. Jones, Thomas D. Keleher, Edwin J. Kelley, Jr., Barry R. Kogut, Robert A. LaBerge, Thaddeus J. Lewkowicz, James E. Mackin, Larry P. Malfitano, George R. McGuire, Louis Orbach, Paul W. Reichel, Virginia C. Robbins, Martin A. Schwab, James N. Seeley, Thomas R. Smith, Charles J. Sullivan, Robert R. Tyson, Subhash Viswanathan, Philip J. Zaccheo and Joseph Zagraniczny. Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers, according to a news release issued by the law firm. Bond, Schoeneck & King also announced the recognition of additional attorneys. Receiving the 2018 Best Lawyers in America “Lawyer of the Year” for their respective practice areas are: Kevin M. Bernstein, environmental law; John H. Callahan, litigation / labor and employment; Peter A. Jones, labor law / management; Larry P. Malfitano, em22

ployment law / management; Subhash Viswanathan, education law; and Joseph Zagraniczny, litigation / bankruptcy Receiving the “2017 Upstate New York Super Lawyers Rising Stars” are Blaine T. Bettinger, intellectual property; Andrew D. Bobrek, Kerry W. Langan and Katherine Ritts Schafer, employment and labor; Stephanie M. Campbell, Suzanne M. Messer, Clifford G. Tsan and James P. Wright, general litigation; Pamela C. Lundborg, business / corporate; Kevin R. MacLeod, state, local and municipal; Daniel J. Pautz, business litigation; Brody D. Smith, environmental; and Sara C. Temes, bankruptcy / business.

SBA Has New Deputy Administrator Administrator Linda McMahon, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration recently swore in Althea “Allie” Coetzee Leslie as deputy administrator of the SBA.

“I applaud President Trump for nominating Althea Coetzee Leslie and to the U.S. Senate for confirming her as SBA deputy administrator. Allie’s leadership background as a U.S Navy two-star rear admiral, along with her public and private sector experience will be an Leslie asset for the agency,” said McMahon. Leslie graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985 and subsequently received her MBA (Law) from National University, where she was awarded the American Jurisprudence Award (Criminal Law). Leslie transitioned into the Navy Reserve in 1993. In her civilian capacity, she has worked in both the public and private sectors in municipal and state government, retail distribution, medical device manufacturing and the Department of Defense. She has also worked as a small business owner. In 2011 she was recalled to active duty and until her confirmation served as the chief of staff to the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and

The new headquarters of Catholic Charities of Oswego County at the former Cayuga Community College and Center for Instruction Technology and Innovation building at 808 W. Broadway in Fulton.

Catholic Charities Relocates to New Building Catholic Charities of Oswego County, (CCOC), recently relocated from 365 W. First St. S., to 808 W. Broadway, the former Cayuga Community College and Center for Instruction Technology and Innovation (CiTi) site. “All programs and services are now in this location,“ said Mary-MarOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

garet Pezella-Pekow, executive director. “Renovations here will continue through spring 2018, and our capital campaign is ongoing to cover the costs of these renovations.” According to Pezzela-Pekow, CCOC has raised more than 50 percent of its goal of $1.5 million. CCOC will be conducting its capital campaign through the end of March 2020. “A variety of “naming” opportunities are available,” Pezzela-Pekow said. “This gives local businesses and individuals the chance to put their name in front of the thousands of people CCOC serves who will be using the facility or who will be clients of our programs,” she said. “ OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

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of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, will assist a project — “Integrating Neuroimaging, Multi-omics, and Clinical Data in Complex Disease” — that Kim has under way in collaboration with two other researchers. An assistant professor at SUNY Oswego since 2016, Kim also is an adjunct assistant research professor at Indiana UniKim versity School of Medicine, where he has worked for years on projects related to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases exhibiting progressive dementia. Kim, whose research interests span and make use of such disciplines as bioinformatics, bioinstrumentation, neuroscience and genetics, joins Indiana University colleague Kwangsik Nho and Geisinger Health System faculty member Dokyoon Kim as principal investigators on the project. The importance of his work, Sungeun Kim said, is in combining layers of massive datasets from disparate sources, then testing and validating it, to analyze genes, biomarkers and patient data for better predicting the onset of such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s and paving the way for earlier treatment and the development of more effective drugs. The results would contribute to software that would be made available to other researchers in the field. “If we can develop a toolkit to more accurately identify people at risk years earlier, we have more chance to intervene in the progression of the disease,” Kim said. Kim currently has two other grant projects under way, both involving colleagues from Indiana University School of Medicine and its Indiana Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Indiana University also is home to the “Big Red II” supercomputer and advanced storage devices, to which Kim has access, if needed, in his research. He also plans to hire one or more Oswego students to assist. In addition to his research, Kim teaches electromagnetics and a seminar in electrical and computer engineering this fall at SUNY Oswego, and he is developing a bioinstrumentation course. His doctorate is from Purdue University School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017



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Burritt Motors Wins GM Awards Burritt Motors and Burritt service technician Chris Battles recently won General Motors (GM), Mark of Excellence (MOE), awards. “I’m extremely proud of our whole team who worked so diligently in 2016 to earn this award,“ Chris Burritt, owner of the dealership, said. “Chris Battles is one of the very best service technicians in the country and we are extremely fortunate to have him here at Burritt Motors.” The inscription on the dealership award: “Honors our finest dealers who have committed themselves to unsurpassed performance and customer satisfaction.” According to a GM spokesperson, “these awards represent the highest honors in the industry and communicate to your peers, customers, family and friends that you truly are the ‘best of the best.’” Battles, a 29-year Burritt employee, is ranked as one of the top 50 GM service technicians in the country. He is also a GM World Class technician. Service technicians receive World Class status when they successfully complete eight of nine GM Master technician certifications in the mechanical area, along with accompanying Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), certifications.




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Oswego County’s Visitor Spending Sees Record High in 2016


swego County’s tourism industry set new records for economic impact, direct spending and tourism employment in 2016, according to county legislator Roy Reehil, chairman of the county legislature’s economic development and planning committee. “From 2015–16, visitor spending in Oswego County increased 6.8 percent to $146,013,000 with tourism employment growing 8.5 percent,” said Reehil. “That shows that the county is doing a great job in support and promotion of our tourism industry and that the sector can be a growth industry in the future.” The data is included in the 2016 “Economic Impact Study of Tourism in New York” conducted by Tourism Economics, an internationally-recognized travel data firm based in Philadelphia. The organization was hired by Empire State Development to study the economic impact of visitor spending across all counties of New York state. In Oswego County, nearly all segments of traveler spending increased during 2016, according to the study. Food and beverage spending continues to be the largest segment, up 9 percent to $46,306,000; spending on second homes was up 5.9 percent to $31,740,000; retail and service stations increased 5.4 percent to $21,405,000; lodging was up 11.6 percent to $16,296,999; and recreation was up 7.8 percent to $12,291,000. Transportation services, com-

prised of bus, taxi, rental cars, and airport fuel and landing fees, showed a slight decrease across the Thousand Islands – Seaway Region and in Oswego County was down 0.2 percent to $17,974,000. “Oswego County is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and unique attractions that inspire visitors from around the world,” said David Turner, director of Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning, which markets Oswego County as a visitor destination. “Our legendary fishing attracts anglers from every state and more than 20 different nations,” said Turner. “We’re seeing increased recognition of Oswego county’s historic landmarks, such as Fort Ontario and Safe Haven, and recreational activities like paddling and multi-use trails. Recent investments in new lodging and restaurant facilities, and successful events such as Harborfest and Super DIRT Week, all contribute to the county’s economic development.” Visitors to Oswego County generated $8.8 million in local tax revenue, and $8.1 million in state tax revenue in 2016. The state and local taxes generated by visitors represent a savings of $372 to the average Oswego County household, according to the study. The tourism industry supported 3,153 direct and in-direct jobs in Oswego County in 2016, up 8.5 percent and generating $63.4 million in wages across the county.


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Uber Comes to Oswego

Despite controversy, new transportation service invades the Port City. Existing taxi drivers wonder whether Uber drivers can make a living here By Randy Pellis


hen a $60 billion game-changing transportation behemoth wants something badly enough, there’s a good chance it will get it. And after four years and a $3.3 million lobbying campaign, the taxi upstart Uber finally got its way. Since recent state legislative approval, Uber is open for business throughout New York. New York City has been an island of Uberism since May 2011. That hardwon license resulted in strict conditions on Uber’s methods of operation, though it hasn’t prevented an almost endless string of incriminating allegations against the company, including privacy invasion, character assassination, sabotage against competitors, price gouging and sexual harassment. Uber plays serious hardball. Its ability to track frequent customer’s


travels and habits through their smartphone app has lead to allegations of potential blackmail. They have made threats against unflattering journalists and their families. In 2014, competitor Lyft accused Uber of ordering 5,000 rides and canceling them at the last minute, tying up 5,000 Lyft drivers. During Super Storm Sandy, Uber notoriously hiked its prices. In January, Uber continued to operate in the face of a taxi driver strike against President Trump’s refugee ban, resulting in a #DeleteUber hashtag boycott by outraged Twitter users. When New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio proposed capping the number of Uber drivers allowed in the city, much as the number of standard taxi drivers are capped at 13,587, Uber launched a $1 million ad campaign against him. De Blasio backed down, and there are now OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

more Uber cabs in New York City than Yellow Cabs. The New York Times recently reported that many Yellow Cab drivers, who paid as much as $1.3 million for the medallion that gives them the right to operate in the city, are being driven out of business by Uber competition and are being forced to auction off their medallions at fire sale prices, unable to repay the loans they took out to buy them. Uber drivers pay nothing for the right to work in the city. Uber drivers are considered independent contractors. Uber drivers are not entitled to unemployment insurance, disability or, until now, workers’ compensation. But Uber does provide its drivers with on-the-job car insurance and pays for criminal background checks. Though Uber drivers give up benefits, they retain a substantial financial advanOCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

tage over standard cab drivers. That’s where Oswego’s cab drivers draw the line between themselves and Uber and fault the deal that allows Uber to operate here. All three of Oswego’s state representatives, assemblymen William Barclay (R-Pulaski), Robert Oaks (R-Macedon), and state senator Patty Richie (R-Oswego atchie) voted in favor of that deal. Bob Mills has been driving a cab in the city of Oswego for 36 years, the last 12 of those as the owner of Lone Wolf Taxi. He pays over $4,000 a year in commercial taxi insurance and pays the city $200 a year in fees. Uber drivers don’t have either of those costs. “The state’s wrong on the fees,” he said. “If they’re not going to make Uber drivers have the insurance that I do, they should have at least passed a law that Uber pays the fees all other cab drivers pay to the city. Every city’s losing those fees.” Scott Robertson of Scott’s Taxi pays $42 a month for insurance on his personal car, but pays $345 a month to insure his cab. He pays the city fee of $200 that includes the cost of fingerprinting. Uber drivers are not required to be fingerprint-

ed, a difference that was a serious bone of contention in the state legislature, as was the amount of insurance that would be required of Uber on their drivers’ cars. The resultant $75,000 bodily injury and $25,000 property damage policy Uber is required to carry is “low,” said Robertson, “given the value of vehicles out on the road today.” None of the Oswego cab drivers interviewed including Paul Murphy of Murph’s Taxi, John Gibson of NY Transportation, or Lee Walker, owner of the D Bus, harbor any resentment toward Uber drivers, though they wonder whether Uber drivers can make a living in Oswego. “They’ll struggle but they’ll survive,” said Murphy. “They’re not going to make a lot of money here,” said Mills. “We’re just too small. I don’t see it working for them during the day,” he continued. “If it works at all, it’ll be at night.”

Competition: Not so fast Gibson said of new cab companies, “They come and they’ve gone. They think they can just open up and make

millions.” Walker doesn’t mind the competition. None of the drivers interviewed seemed worried about that. But, “it’s not as easy as they think it is,” he said. Comparing price, in every case, Oswego standard taxi drivers are less expensive than Uber. The D Bus takes students from the SUNY Oswego campus to downtown for $2. The standard cabs will take you anywhere in the city for $5 or $6, and some give senior citizen discounts. Uber’s minimum fare is $7.35, and all fares are subject to what Uber calls “surge” pricing, a price increase at times of high demand that can multiply the price by 1.5, 2, or even 3 times the base price. Riders are alerted to the price of their ride, including any surge, before they confirm their request to be picked up. A number of drivers stressed that their customers make their decisions based on familiarity and trust. Mills said he’s been driving some of his customers for 20 to 30 years. “I don’t even call them customers anymore,” he said. “They’re like family to me.” Oswego’s Mayor William “Billy” Barlow sees the cab business as a “chang- We Service ALL Makes & Models Your




ing industry,” and he welcomes Uber to the community. “I think Uber’s an economic driver for cities like Oswego,” he said. “Uber will strengthen market competition and enhance the available options for Oswegonians. Ultimately the city wins, and that’s our No. 1 priority at this time. “I don’t think cab drivers here will be negatively affected. I see Uber rides as being taken by a younger, college clientele, late at night. They’re two different markets,” Barlow said. “There’s room for Uber and for the cab companies we have here in the city.” Regarding fees, Barlow said, “Uber just got started here. It’s a bit premature to impose fees or taxes on them. I’d like to see how much they grow and their impact here overall.” Personally, he said, he’s used Uber in other cities and “I hear positive things from their drivers.” That is certainly true of one local Uber driver interviewed for this story. She is quite satisfied with her earnings and with the company. She also likes the work and the freedom it gives her. She works about 10 hours a week on average. Most of her customers are college students. “They tell me there are never enough cabs available on weekend nights,” she said, requesting anonymity.


She estimates there are between five and 10 Uber drivers now in Oswego. While a good portion of her fares are short, local rides, she receives numerous requests for longer drives, mostly from college students. Drivers keep 75 percent of a ride’s fare.

Several battles After years of back and forth, the New York State Legislature finally came to agreement on driver restrictions and requirements, insurance, and taxation. Uber won on some issues; the state won on others. On driver restrictions and requirements, there was really only one contested issue and that was fingerprinting. Many legislators were for it. Uber is vehemently against it, and though it gave in on its opposition to it in New York City, they pulled out of Austin, Texas, when residents there voted in favor of making fingerprinting mandatory. Austin remains the largest unUbered city in America. The final New York state verdict? No fingerprinting required of Uber drivers. Oswego’s standard taxi drivers are required to be fingerprinted. Other restrictions and requirements


include: yearly criminal background checks, no convictions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, no appearance on the state or federal sex offender registry, and no accepting street hails or cash payments. The real battles in the legislature were the money issues: insurance and taxation. The insurance industry wanted the lowest possible insurance requirements. The Trial Lawyers Association wanted the highest. Low insurance requirements limit the insurance companies’ liability and risk. High insurance requirements mean trial lawyers get a more lucrative cut of higher-dollar lawsuits. The resulting law compromised, though the $25,000 requirement for property damage is a clear win for insurers. On taxes, the state and drivers won, while cities lost. There will be a 4 percent state tax plus a 2.5 percent workers’ compensation tax on all Uber fares, making New York the first state to enact the possibility of workers’ compensation for Uber’s independent contractor drivers. The entire 4 percent tax goes to the state. Cities get none of it and are forbidden to impose any other fees on Uber drivers.


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DiningOut By Jacob Pucci



The Eis House Restaurant in Mexico has been in operation since the 1970s. Since 2014, it has been owned and operated by the Trimble family.

The Eis House Restaurant Whether it’s a large wedding or grabbing a beer and burger at the bar, the Eis House accommodates it all


hat sort of expectations should a diner have of a restaurant that houses several dining rooms and bars, a 200-person banquet hall, five hotel rooms and even its own self-storage unit? Turns out, whatever they were, they weren’t high-enough.

The Eis House had been operating in Mexico since the 1970s, but took a marked step up in 2014 when Barry Trimble and his family purchased the business. With them came a heightened attention toward fine dining without losing the restaurant’s casual charm. The dinner menu includes filet mignon and lobster tails next to spaghetti and meatballs and grilled cheese sand32

wiches, and yet somehow it all makes sense. Think of it as yin and yang. Our dinner started on a decidedly pub food vibe with orders of fried local cheese curds ($7.50) and fried tomatoes ($9). The cheese curds were served with a cup of The Eis House’s homemade marinara, while the fried thick-sliced red tomatoes came with a generous cup of hot tomato oil. The marinara was nearly OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

orange, leading me to believe there was butter or cream added. The sauce also had a hefty touch of white wine, which gave the sauce a bright flavor that played well with the rich, gooey fried cheese. The homemade tomato oil at The Eis House gives Pastabilities a run for its money. It’s less sweet with more garlic and spicy heat than its Armory Square counterpart. If the restaurant doesn’t OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

bottle and sell this stuff already, they seriously should. Food as slick and moist as tomatoes can quickly turn soggy. Fortunately, these tomatoes were fried to a crispy deep brown and not only did they stay crispy the whole time, but the breading stuck to the tomato, even after it had been cut. There are few things worse than fried food that loses its breading — a slice of warm, naked tomato with a pile of crunchy breading next to it on the plate is not good eating — but The Eis House passed these fried food tests with excellence. The dinner menu offers a wide range of starters, steaks, seafood, chicken, pasta and sandwiches, but when there is a burger called The BOSS V ($17. Capital letters included) with one pound of beef, bacon and smoked gouda cheese, how do you pass it up? Putting a fried egg on a burger isn’t too unusual. Putting an egg frittata with French fries and chopped sirloin steak on it certainly is. This burger is so big that it needs a third bun and a steak knife skewer to hold it all together. The burgers themselves were cooked to the desired medium-rare and well-seasoned. Not to be overlooked, the bacon was the perfect balance between chewy and crunchy, with neither too little nor too much fat rendered out. It was among the best cooked bacon I’ve eaten in recent memory. Our waitress told us that of the 16 BOSS V burgers she’s served, only three were finished in one serving. I wasn’t number four. On the other end of The Eis House dinner spectrum was Grandma’s penne ($13.25). If hearty lasagna and baked ziti is winter and pasta primavera is spring or summer, then this pasta is fall.

The Eis House Restaurant Address: 144 Academy St., Mexico Hours: Dining room: • Sunday-Thursday: 2 to 9 p.m. • Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. • Saturday: Noon to 9 p.m. Bar: • Sunday-Tuesday: 2 to 9 p.m. • Wednesday and Thursday: 2 to 10 p.m. • Friday: 11:30 a.m. to midnight • Saturday: Noon to midnight. Website: Phone: 315-963-3830 OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

The BOSS V burger includes two 8-ounce patties, smoked gouda cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, bacon, house steak sauce and a French fry and sirloin steak frittata.

Cheese curds: The Upstate New York take on the fried mozzrella stick. These locally-made cheese curds are fried and served with a side of homemade marinara sauce. 

Grandma’s penne: The baked mozzarella and ricotta cheese layer is warm and comforting, while the sauteed spinach, mushrooms and bright marinara sauce with a generous splash of white wine keeps the dish light. 

It’s baked and topped with mozzarella and ricotta cheese, which evokes the feel of a heavy dish, but the acidity from that same wine-heavy marinara, plus wild mushrooms and sautéed spinach, gave the pasta a bright summertime zing. The pasta is a year-round menu item, but it felt most appropriate on this slightly cool post-Labor Day evening. There are many components working in balance at The Eis House: The

ingredients of the individual dishes, the choice of dishes that make up the menus and the different dining rooms, bars and other spaces operating together to form what is likely the largest restaurant in Oswego County. It’s no small feat that all the details were executed with precision and without oversight. Whether it’s a large wedding or grabbing a beer and burger at the bar, The Eis House accommodates it all.



Masters of Illusion Syracuse firm endures in tumultuous animation industry for over three decades. Has helped animate SpongeBob SquarePants, Scooby Doo and The Powerpuff Girls, among other projects


arry Royer and David Hicock are two Syracuse University alumni who, as co-founders of Animotion Inc., have probably had the biggest influence on the animation industry in Syracuse so far. They started Animotion back in 1983 at the Delavan Center on West Fayette Street. The independent animation studio has helped animate many classic brands including Scooby Doo, The Powerpuff Girls, and SpongeBob SquarePants. The two animators, now in their mid-60s, have catered to a variety of animation needs over the years — movies, TV, commercials, gaming and now some app work. They got some traction by reaching out to Hollywood and got roles in helping animated features, like Rodney Dangerfield’s “Rover Dangerfield.” They also had a part in creating “Pocohantas 2: Journey to a New World.” Their YouTube Channel has over 9 million hits. They love their work. “We couldn’t have stuck it out this long if we didn’t,” Royer said. “To do something like this, you have to enjoy it.” “We’ve managed to stay around quite some time which we consider an accomplishment in a world that’s constantly changing and evolving,” Hicock said. The key to the studio’s success has been diversity and flexibility. They are flexible enough to engage with other markets besides film, and this diversity keeps the jobs coming in when the industry gets leaner. They began to gravitate toward gaming when they recognized that the cyclical financing nature of the motion picture industry made those jobs less abundant. They got into animating computer games, mostly edutainment. “It was the work that was available,” Royer said. “We had to do some transitioning, but that’s OK.” Game and film animation tend to be different, according to Royer. With


game animation, you often create a library of a character’s moves that you go back to modify to meet the needs of the game. There are strict requirements. With film, and even animated segments within a computer game, both background and foreground can be required. “With games, you develop

more of a library so your character can turn one way and then the other way,” Hicock said. “In a movie, there’s only a certain amount of things the character is going to need to do so there’s less reliance on a library. You’re more likely to show emotion in storytelling than a game.” The owners’ and clients’ imaginations are the only limits placed on the possibilities of the animation studio. “Animation is something where somebody might want something that’s really squishy and stretchy and does all sorts of weird movements, or it might lend itself to having to look like real characters, so there are a lot of different facets that a client might want that might be appropriate to a certain job,” Hicock said.


Varying income streams

Bucky Smiles is the official spokesman for Animotion. The animation studio in Syracuse has endured for decades, outlasting other companies in the everchanging industry. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

On the business end of the studio, the numbers can be almost as varied as the animation itself. There are the small jobs, like apps, which have smaller payouts, but there are larger contracts that have led to revenue in the $100,000 range. They have employed as many as 20 people, but currently, they only have one other person on the payroll. “It fluctuates,” Hicock said. “We have had contracts that are relatively long-lasting and that have gone into the $100,000 range. We’re always courting those, but you can’t count on those. Bread-and-butter contracts usually are more varied. We have to touch a lot of different markets in order to have kept it alive as long as we have.” The industry has fluctuated a great deal. PC-based edutainment software was more robust in the ’80s and ‘90s.. Today, mobile gaming is changing the whole industry. Games like “Candy Crush” and “Angry Birds” have changed the way many gamers play. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

“There are a lot more quick games and not everybody has their formula down for making money off the mobile market,”Hicock said. Our stuff would generally be a project where there would be an opening movie sequence and then some game play, or puzzle solving and a reward movie and more game playing, and another reward. That formula has taken a beating with the mobile world. We’ve outlasted some of the companies that we’ve done a lot of business for — Broderbund, The Learning Company, National Geographic Educational Films. They’ve all gone through upheavals and some have been consumed by other companies.” Although their market is slow now, the pair keeps busy with day-to-day work. Duties include client interaction, sales and animation. They both enjoy the animation end of the work the most. With computers and technology dominating the industry, the Animotion founders don’t get as much time to draw as much as they like. But there is still time in preproduction to exercise some of that traditional craft. “Bringing something to life and doing a performance is always one of the special parts of having an animation company,” Royer said.


Larry Royer (right) and David Hicock are two Syracuse University alumni and cofounders of Animotion Inc. in Syracuse. Virtual reality may be the trend of animation in the future. Headsets and their games are expected to become more immersive as technology improves. Demand is expected to grow with it, said Royer. “They’re wonderfully engaging so I imagine people will be putting more resources into that and it will turn into something quite wonderful,” Hicock said. “I’m looking forward to that day.” Today, the future of Animotion is as


open as it was when it started. The pair continues to reach out to those in need of their talents, be it local or national, and is always looking forward to bringing characters to life. “We never know,” Royer said. “We’re always looking for the phone to ring and somebody to let us know about an interesting project that’s going to rock our boat.”

By Matthew Liptak


Architecture rendering of the new EJ USA 65,000-square-foot facility in Oswego County. Full production at the site is expected by early 2019.

Hatching a New Future

EJ USA to relocate from Cicero, construct fabrication facility in industrial park in Schroeppel


J USA, Inc. has begun preparation of its 16-acre site in the Oswego County Industrial Park in the town of Schroeppel. The company manufactures products such as manhole frames, grates, covers and hatches. EJ is regarded as the world leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of access solutions for water, sewer, drainage, telecommunications and utility networks worldwide. It will build a 65,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Schroeppel. The $9 million project will see 91 jobs transfer from its current Cicero location. EJ USA has an older facility in Cicero and will be relocating its entire workforce and all equipment from that site to the new location. The company broke ground for construction in July, with full production anticipated in early 2019. Tom Teske, vice president and general manager of EJ USA, said the company now operates out of two buildings in Cicero, and leases additional space to accommodate its product engineering, sales and distribution branches. “We’ll be consolidating them all in the new site,” he said. Teske said the company is reviewing bids for the project. “We’ve moved some dirt out there and we’re doing load testing on the soil,”


EJ USA, which acquired Syracuse Castings in 2012, now supplies products to infrastructure projects in more 150 countries around the world. Its regional facility is relocating to southern Oswego County Teske said. Teske said the principal benefit of the new location is having an existing workforce that can make the change seamlessly. “Most of it is retaining existing jobs but we’ll be hiring too,” he said. “We’ve worked well with the state and everyone involved in Oswego County to make it happen,” Teske said. “It’s a good industrial park with good access to the highway. We’re really pleased with being able to locate there.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

The Oswego County Industrial Development Agency and Empire State Development Corp. are providing financial assistance for the project. The facility in Cicero is a fabricated products site and specializes in making aluminum access hatches and steel grating. “Demand is good. We focus on infrastructure, so we got a diverse set of customers that include municipalities, state departments of transportation and major power companies,” he noted. “ We ’ v e been fortunate in that we are privately owned. We’ve been in business under the same ownership of the Malpass family since 1883,” Teske s a i d . “ We ’ re currently transitioning from Teske fourth to fifth generation of family leadership.” Using the same entrepreneurial spirit as the founders, EJ has been transformed into an international leader of innovative access solutions by modernOCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

izing its facilities, acquiring and opening additional branch operations across the nation, while expanding internationally by acquiring businesses in Europe and Australia. EJ now supplies products to infrastructure projects in more 150 countries around the world. EJ USA, headquartered in East Jordan, Mich., acquired Syracuse Castings in 2012. “They make a great product, but we’re committed to upgrading its manufacturing facility and keeping them world class and competitive,” Teske said. EJ USA is also building a large foundry in northern Michigan for the same purpose. “We’ve been in East Jordan, Mich., since we started in 1883. We have a multi-generational workforce and made a decision to build a plant nearby so we can keep everyone,” he said. L. Michael Treadwell, executive director for Operation Oswego County, the county’s designated economic development agency, said EJ’s estimated annual payroll is $4.3 million. Treadwell said the new facility will generate approximately $164,000 in average annual payments-in-lieu-of-tax to the county, Phoenix Central School District, county and town of Schroeppel. It will create an estimated 25 construction jobs. “Based on the multiplier effect, it will create approximately 81 jobs and $3.8 million in annual earnings due to the spinoff economic impact of this manufacturing plant,” Treadwell noted. “This helps to expand and diversify Oswego County’s economy.”

Treadwell noted the company is a strong believer in worker training and the availability of training programs associated with the Oswego County Workforce Developm e n t B o a rd , Cayuga Community College, the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation and McKernan the county’s Department of Employment and Training Services. Tim McKernan, facility manager for the current and new operation, said the Cicero site is not large enough for the growth that the company has been experiencing in its fabricated products. He said an extensive search ensued for the new location, and the project could have easily gone out of state. “We did look at a number of different states,” McKernan said. However, the overriding reason for staying in Central New York stems from EJ being a family owned and operated business. “We’re committed to our employees. With the New York workforce that we have had, there was quite a commitment to try to keep it in New York state,” he said. McKernan said Oswego County “came up with a real good incentive package” to offer the company. That incentive package proved extremely vital. “The County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency agreed to provide a very competitive financial incentive package to the company,” Treadwell said. “We can go anywhere else in the country and basically operate for a lot less,” McKernan said. “That was definitely one of the key factors in helping make the decision to stay here.” That combined with the Oswego County Industrial Park and its proximity to state Route 481 “made it just an excellent location for us. It gave us the land and area that we were looking for,” McKernan added. He said when the Cicero site initially opened, there was no housing in the area. Several different subdivisions have been built since then. “We want to be located in an


Oswego County triumphs Oswego County won out while competing with other sites in Central New York and beyond for the EJ site. “We were working with a site location consulting firm that they retained to help locate a site,” Treadwell said. “We have had prior experience with this firm with other projects, so they were familiar with the industrial park.” The company wanted a location that could serve as its Northeastern hub for distribution of its products manufactured locally as well as at other company-owned plants, he added. EJ will become the largest employer in the Oswego County Industrial Park with approximately 90 to 100 jobs, Treadwell said. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017


industrial park where we don’t have any homes around us. The current site is up against railroad tracks and in a well-defined industrial park. It’s going to accommodate the type of growth that we are expecting,” he said. He said improvements will come in the form of enhanced flow as a result of linear type manufacturing versus a splintered approach spread across different locations in Cicero. One of EJ’s major product lines are aluminum access hatches. “They are used to cover up the underground utility and provides easy access into the structure below,” McKernan said. They are used on sewer pump stations when large pumps need to be pulled out and serviced. The company also patented its own SAFE HATCH safety access system complete with aluminum safety grates. McKernan said half of the plant’s production will be aluminum access hatches. EJ also manufactures galvanized drainage grates for New York State Department of Transportation highway projects. It also is a major supplier of drainage grates across the nation, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, Louisiana, Texas and Florida. “We’ve been steadily growing as a company,” McKernan said. New York state has always been an established market for EJ, and despite funding cuts on highways, the company manages to tap into a “pretty steady” business flow. “Highway funding cuts definitely affect us, and we advocate spending money on roads and bridges which are essential to keep our infrastructure intact,” McKernan said. EJ is also highly active in providing products for subdivision work. McKernan, who will mark his 40th year in the business in January, said he is excited about the project. “I go back to the hammer and chisel days, and now we are literally shipping our product from here to points all around the world. It’s exciting to see a New York state business thriving and doing well,” he said. EJ has a global enterprise that spans five continents. Its commercial presence worldwide includes 50 sales offices, 10 manufacturing facilities and multiple research and development centers.

By Lou Sorendo 37

First Distillery in Oswego County Up and Running Three cousins in Phoenix poised to prosper as craft beverage industry takes off


eer isn’t the only liquid libation that is being buoyed by the bountiful craft beverage industry boom in New York state. While craft brewers are lauding state efforts at streamlining the production process, those distilling spirits are just as pleased. The state has worked with the industry — including independent brewers, vintners and distillers — to change laws and add business-friendly legislation, including two new farm-based manufacturing licenses and tax incentives. Lock 1 Distilling Co., 17 Culvert St., Phoenix, is on the threshold of an industry that is on the path to prosperity. The business, founded in 2015, is owned and operated by three cousins — Stephen and Kevin Dates, and Brenden Backus. Stephen focuses on sales, while Brenden is the master distiller and head of production. Kevin handles operations and maintenance. The cousins started the process in 2015. It took them a year to get licensed through the federal government, and several months from the state. The business is located near Lock 1 on the Oswego Canal and is the only distillery in Oswego County. “Because we’re a New York Class D farm distillery, the license was not necessarily easier to get, but it was a lot cheaper,” said Stephen Dates. The new farm distillery law has dramatically changed costs. A Class A distiller’s license was $26,000 a year; today, it is approximately $17,000 per year. Meanwhile, a Class D farm distillery’s license is $937 for three years. As per the license, 75 percent of ingredients must come from New York state, and the business is allowed to produce a maximum of 75,000 gallons annually. Farm distilleries are also limited to 750 milliliter bottles. A turning point for the business


Co-owners Stephen Dates, left, joins Brendan Backus at Lock 1 Distilling Co., Phoenix. The business is quickly becoming popular for its Ryze vodka. Dates is responsible for sales, while Backus is the master distiller and production manager. occurred recently when its building renovation project received $338,000 as part of a Restore New York grant. The village of Phoenix — eligible for $500,000 in funding — approached the owners and encouraged them to apply for funding to renovate their building. “We submitted our building idea and it qualified,” Dates said. The new facility “is going to be something to look at,” said Backus, noting new siding, roofs, windows, doors and energy efficiency will be featured. “The front is going to be all glass and all tasting room,” he added. He noted patrons can enjoy a cocktail as well as food. “We’re also going to rent out space so people will be able to hold events

here,” he said. Its state license allows the business to carry other New York state products, such as cheese, wine and beer. The most recent legislation passed allows distilleries to serve New York state wine and beer by the glass. “You can come in with your significant other, and if they don’t like distilled spirits, they can have wine or beer. It gives us the opportunity to be more diverse and appeal to different tastes,” Dates said. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the current legislation in New York state,” Backus said. “Just with the cost of getting licensing and doing this business, we wouldn’t have even looked into it with the old legislation. It was just too expensive. You had to have a huge




name to even consider doing it in New York state.” The Restore New York grant allows the business to get a head start. “We had plans for a tasting room and to make this facility nicer, but it would have taken place three to five years down the road,” Backus said. “This allows us to start now, get it here and going, and create a tourist attraction and get people into our small town.” It is an outside business venture for all three owners. Backus and Kevin Dates are partners in Phoenix Welding & Fabricating. “This is a night and weekend thing for me, but it has grown considerably, so we are looking at getting other people in here. This place was built on sweat equity,” Backus said. Dates commutes back and forth to Rochester to work, and spends nights and weekends at the distillery. “We apply our time whenever we can to make it grow,” he said.

Distilling a passion The business started as a hobby for Backus. “I got into looking at the process and the craft of it, which really drew me in,” said Backus, noting he was intrigued by the chemistry and science behind creating spirits. He then would approach the Dates to talk about it. “I said, ‘Hey, it’s happening in New York state. We can do this’,” Backus said. “We all have different backgrounds, which allows us to bring different skills to the table. We just decided to go for it,” he added. Phoenix Welding & Fabricating specializes in high-end jobs, and built the rappelling towers and new dive tank at the expanded New York State Police exhibit at the New York State Fair. It has also provided remodeling services at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino and Hotel Syracuse and focuses on themed construction. Their skills translate well as the team has been able to build all of its own equipment, leading to significant savings in terms of investing in the distillery. “The barrier to entry for a lot of people is the upfront cost,” Dates said. “You can buy a still for anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000, and a mash tun and all the equipment, and you can be into this for $250,000 right out of the gate. We can build our own stuff for a fraction of the price, and that’s a huge shot in the arm for us.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

“Comparatively, several distilleries that we’ve talked to have invested $800,000 to $1 million before they produce their first product,” he said. The owners estimate that they have $250,000 invested in the company. The business is strictly selling its flagship product, Ryze vodka, which took nearly a year to develop. That nurturing effort certainly paid off as Lock 1 Distilling Co. recently earned a silver medal for its vodka at the New York World Wine & Spirits competition. Dates said it was gratifying to earn a top medal. “People submit spirits from places like China, Austria and Australia, and we took home a silver medal. It’s a pretty prestigious award for us,” he said. Its vodka is sold at liquor stores, taverns and restaurants. It is also distributed by Onondaga Beverage Distributors, which delivers to locations between Lake Ontario and Binghamton. Soon, it will be introducing its Locktenders Gin, and will soon unveil a special cinnamon whisky. Called Inferno, the cinnamon whisky was slated to be released at the end of September, which is the 101st anniversary of the Great Phoenix Fire. On Sept. 23, 1916, a devastating fire destroyed 80 buildings in the village. Fittingly, Inferno will be released at 101 proof. “It goes back to why we do this. This is where we were born and raised. We are a product of this area. We are deeply rooted in this community,” Backus said. All three are cousins that at one point moved away but all returned to raise families. “People ask, ‘Why Phoenix? You’re not on the wine trail. We say why not? We’re on the water and it’s a great, small community. Let’s give people a reason to come here besides what we already have,” Backus added.

Plenty of upside Backus said their current facility allows the business to grow. “We have quite a bit of room here, and besides that, we have other properties elsewhere if we need to build other facilities,” Backus said. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

For now, the owners are the workforce. “We are barely able to keep up and we hesitate to push sales because of the production aspect,” Backus said. “We’re developing a plan to get employees in here, boost production, and therefore boost sales. Sales have been easier than we thought because the product is so good.” Right now, the focus is on word of mouth and just “getting it out there,” Dates said. Social media has proven beneficial as well. “It gives us the ability to get out there at a very low cost,” he said. Before Prohibition in the 1920s, distilling was huge in the United States with more than 400 distilleries. “Craft distilling was a thing before Prohibition in the ‘20s. We think that is happening again. You’re going to see on the shelves less and less of the big company names,” Backus said. “They will always be there, but you are going to start to see more things that you haven’t seen before from different states and from small distilleries popping up. “That’s exciting. People want to try something new and not the typical products that have been on the shelves since everyone can remember.” “It wasn’t accessible and available before. Now people are trying things and saying, ‘Wow, that is really good.’ They couldn’t get it before because it wasn’t out there. Now distilleries are trying new things every day: different methods, equipment and different aging techniques. It is just helping the industry as a whole,” Backus said. One of the greatest challenges for the owners is time. “There’s just not enough of it,” Dates said. “We’re here sometimes until midnight or later and here at 6 o’clock in the morning just to get the juice off the still.” Dates said being that all three co-owners have families with multiple children, it’s a sacrifice to be at the facility growing the business. “Hopefully we’ll have something that we’ll be able to pass down to them,” he said. “It’s an investment in our family’s future,” Dates added.

By Lou Sorendo 39

Mary Haines

Suanne Darling

Oswego Moms Find Success in Operating Flower Shop Suanne Darling and her partner Mary Haines started Darling Elves in 2014


nce you come here, you’re coming back,” says Suanne Darling, co-owner of The Darling Elves Flower & Gift Shop, 155 W. Fifth St., Oswego. After an offer to design and set up Christmas decorations for Oswego’s Bishop’s Commons Enriched Housing Residence in Oswego, Darling enlisted her past co-worker and friend, Mary Haines. “Mary, we’re going to become elves,” said Darling. Before they knew it, these Oswego native moms were working full time out of their homes and renting U-hauls for massive deliveries. “Then came Alex’s On the Water

and Riverview Wellness Center,” Darling recalls. “Sometimes you take a chance and just go for it and hope for the best,” said Haines. Dipping into her retirement to foot the startup costs, Haines worked tirelessly, alongside her partner elf, and turned an intriguing decorating opportunity into a blossoming business with a full- and parttime staff. Haines has more than 30 years’ experience in commercial art, illustration and floral technology. These skills — combined with Darling’s organizational and business savvy — took decorating to a whole




new level. Now four years running and still in the black, The Darling Elves & Gift Shop is one of the few full-service floral shops left in town. Since September of 2014, the business has been providing full-service wedding service in and outside of Oswego County, including most recently in Boston. The team continues to assess its fiscal limits with regard to how far they can travel for delivery. Meanwhile, the Darling Elves offer free delivery not only to Oswego Hospital, but all local funeral homes. The outfit works with several wholesalers to fulfill their fresh flower orders. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

“Most of our flowers come from New Jersey, that’s the station point, but they come from all over,” Haines explained. “Some are local growers, while others are from places that include South America, California and Florida.” Each wholesale delivery arrives in tightly packaged large containers. “When they come in, it’s a lot of work,” said Darling. “They may be cut in Florida or California, sent to New Jersey and then here,” added Haines. As a consequence, the flowers must be processed, hydrated and given preservatives to expedite their bloom.

Time is of the essence “It’s all about timing. One person can’t handle every single detail,” explains Haines, adding that scheduling is crucial. Frequently having to weigh options and stretch limits, the team must book weddings and events carefully. For instance, this July, all weddings were booked a year in advance. With that, there are always the last-minute projects and walk-ins, not to mention the funerals service, where there is no window for error. The team spreads out, delegates tasks and does as much work as it can prior to an event. Though Haines also has a business degree and a background in accounting, ironically Darling keeps the books and manages the business. “We pride ourselves in paying our bills,” Darling says. She said they are “very blessed” to have paid for their Christmas inventory in advance. “One thing different about our shop is Mary can be seen doing her job,” said Darling. “She strictly designs from the time she comes in until the time she leaves.” “I was always in a back room or in a corner or downstairs or away from the public,” said Haines. Haines said it’s important to allow the customer to be a part of the design process. “I can say we have this, that and another thing but if they come in the cooler and see it, it helps them personalize their arrangement.” “Most people leave with a smile on their face, but sometimes they come in and they are really sad and you have to do your best to make them feel good about why they are here,” said Haines. “Sympathy design is very personal for me.” Having lost her husband of almost OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

Facade of Darling Elves Flowers and Gift Shop in Oswego. The business was established in 2014.

Josh Darling, the 28-year-old son of Suanne Darling, also works in the business. Having graduated from the New York City Fashion Institute of Technology, he has focused his expertise on window and store display. Mary Haines is on the right. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


20 years with a son at the young age of 13, Haines is no stranger to the grieving process. “I think we have built up our reputation in our funeral work,” said Haines. While Darling tends to the grieving families, Haines tries to incorporate those little personal things that only those paying their last respects could understand. “We want our customers to feel like they are the only ones,” said Haines. While Haines is hopeful for her 14-year-old daughter to join her in the floral industry, Darling’s 28-year-old son, Josh Darling is an integral part of the business. Having graduated from the New York City Fashion Institute of Technology, the younger Darling has focused his expertise on window and store display. Each season, Josh Darling brings in a variety of surprises. “Every holiday has its ‘thing’,” said Josh Darling. This Halloween, Oswegonians are sure to get an old school thrill from life-sized, animated orchestral skeletons from historic Switz’s. Along with parties and events, the shop also provides decorating services, indoor and out, fully decorated artificial Christmas trees as well as new and refurbished seasonal silk arrangements. “We work with all price points not just big and elaborate, but small gifts, teachers’ gifts, and gift exchange,” said Haines. At noon Nov. 5, be prepared for the Christmas spirit to descend full force on The Darling Elves Floral & Gift shop for its annual Christmas open house. “It’s one of those things that people look forward to all year long,” said Josh Darling. “Our Christmas decorations are just over the top.” For more information, visit the Darling Elves’ website at

By Marie Kouthoofd 42

Longtime Subway Owners Sell Locations in Oswego


After lengthy tenure, Chris and Beckey Batchelor sell franchises

or 23 years, Chris and Beckey Batchelor have been synonymous with the Subway restaurant chain in the city of Oswego. That tenure has ended as the four locations they owned and operated in the city under BooGa-Loo, Inc. have been sold. Peter Smith and Kevin Murman, multiunit owners from the Syracuse area, are the new owners of a fast-food restaurant chain famous for its submarine sandwiches.
 “The new owners have been with Subway for many years and have done a great job,” said David Lebous, devel-


opment agent for Subway in Central New York. Subway Development in Binghamton is a sub-franchiser for the Subway chain and is responsible for selling and servicing franchises in the CNY region.
 Lebous said the new owners have known the Batchelors “for some time now and know how hard Chris has worked and the benefits of his stores.
 “They are looking to step in and continue his good work.”
  In most years, existing owners purchase about 70 percent of new franchises, according to Subway’s website.
  Chris Batchelor started working as store manager for Subway in 1989. He purchased the franchise and opened his first store at the Oswego Plaza in 1994. He would then open a store at 255 W. Seneca St. in 2000; a store at 21 E. Bridge St. in 2003; and a location within the Walmart Supercenter on state Route 104 East in 2012.
  He also owned a store in Fulton for several years, but sold it to focus on his Oswego operations. Beckey handled accounting and human resources.
 Batchelor said he received the most gratification from “reaching our goals, providing our very best product to our customers, training employees to be their best, being able to spend time with family, helping support the community with employment and community volunteering.”
The Subway restaurants in Oswego employ 29 workers, 22 of which are part time.

Batchelor recently sold his Subway franchise in Oswego.

By Lou Sorendo



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Jobs of Yesteryear Not Coming Back Despite promises by President Trump certain blue-collar jobs not likely to come back

‘Good jobs are getting harder to find, and by good jobs we mean decent pay, job security, good benefits, including affordable health care, and a reliable way to have money set aside for retirement.’


hanks to the election of Donald Trump as president, the most romanticized figure in America today is the blue-collar worker of yesteryear. During the 2016 presidential election, Trump appealed to large swaths of workers who feel left behind in once-vibrant communities. There were good middle-class jobs that workers could secure with little education and few skill sets. According to author Rick Wartzman, Trump over-simplified how he planned to get these jobs back by making America great again. In his new book, “The End of Loyalty,” Wartzman examines the erosion of that social contract between corporations and employees since World War II and analyzes the forces at work that have gotten us to this point.. Wartzman contends that Trump has used bait-and-switch tactics to promise the restoration of old technology jobs such as coal mining and steel production when, in fact, most of these jobs are gone or limited forever. Good jobs are getting harder to find, and

by good jobs we mean decent pay, job security, good benefits including affordable health care, and a reliable way to have money set aside for retirement. Because of automation, globalization, outsourcing, the weakening of unions and the emphasis of cost-cutting to deliver a healthy bottom line to shareholders, these workers who once found a predictable path to the middle class have been shunted to the sidelines with few options. In his book, Wartzman examines four companies, including two New York stalwarts — Kodak and General Electric. He explains how George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, lavished perks on his workers. “They had everything from giant recreation centers with bowling alleys to traveling nurses who would visit you if you were sick,” he said. Some said Eastman was truly caring, while others say he was paternalistic, but there was no denying that he wanted to take care of his people. Wartzman said part of Eastman’s motives was to keep unions out of Kodak,

My Turn

BRUCE FRASSINELLI is the former publisher of The Palladium-Times and an adjunct online instructor at SUNY Oswego. 44



which he successfully did during his long tenure. “By lavishing great pay and benefits on his employees, it was a way to look at union organizers and have his people say, `We don’t need you; we’re already getting a great deal here.’” Wartzman said. In the 1950s until the mid- to late‘70s, companies talked in terms of “we.” They felt an obligation to take care of not only their employees but also the communities where they had a presence. Then, however, the era of shareholder primacy took over. In their quest to focus on the bottom line to maximize shareholder value, companies left rankand-file employees behind. As a result, companies and the executives who run them are now compelled to engage in short-term thinking rather than the long-term sustainability of the company. “If you want to see share prices rise in the short term, you do things to cut costs, make sure profits go up. But that doesn’t work forever, obviously, but it does work for a while,” Wartzman said. Many of those broken promises involved reducing or eliminating pension funds and subsidized health insurance, leaving both current and retired employees desperate to find alternatives, often without success. “In the meantime,” Wartzman said, “high-level corporate executives increased their own pay and benefits, usually without objections from shareholders.” His book also focuses on Jack Welch, long-time chief executive officer of GE. Wartzman said that Welch was the first to take a large company through the brutal contractions of major downsizing. Through cuts and attritions, about 170,000 jobs at GE were cut or lost through attrition on Welch’s watch. Wartzman said that most unions are just a shell of what they were during their heyday. He said many union jobs have been lost to automation. “If you look at photographs from the postwar era, factories were filled with people; now you walk into a factory, they’re kind of ghost towns,” Wartzman said. He said Trump’s promise to bring back coal mining jobs defies logic. Market forces are moving away from carbon toward cleaner energy. “That’s something that is already so down the track that we’re not going back on that. I just think there’re so many false promises that the president has made about his ability or anybody’s ability to bring back these jobs of yesteryear, when we should be focused on training for the jobs of the future,” Wartzman said. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

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Enhancements such as the new main entrance facade have improved the New York State Fairgrounds. Photo courtesy of Deborah Jeanne Sergeant.

Fairground Improvements Drive Non-Fair Attendance By Deborah J. Sergeant


f you attended the New York State Fair last year or this year, you likely noticed many changes to the 375-acre fairgrounds that are part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $50 million plan, including an expanded midway; enlarged Chevy Court area; the Broadway Skyliner — a ski-lift style ride; full-service, 400-site RV park; additional and enhanced parking; renovated entrance facade; and vintage-style lighting along the front pedestrian street. The second phase of the plan, a $70 million renovation, includes a 133,000-square foot flexible exposition center and major reconstruction of the fair’s largest parking lot. But the changes are intended to not only improve fairgoers’ experiences, but ramp up the number of events hosted at the fairgrounds year-round. The improvements appear to be helping reach that goal. By July this year, the estimate was that attendance surpassed attendance for non-fair events throughout the entire year of 2016. Helen Thomas, executive director of the New York Maple Producers Association, spent many hours at the fairgrounds’ Horticulture Building during the fair and said that opening up various areas such as Chevy Court and the midway “has helped improve traffic


Record Attendance

The attendance for The Great New York State Fair for 2017 was 1,161,912, breaking the previous record from 2016 (1,117,630) by 44,282 attendees. The fair opened on Wed., Aug. 23 and closed Sept. 4. It lasted 13 days in 2017, an additional day than in 2016. flow,” she said, as well as the expanded parking capacity and green space. “The plans for the new convention center will be huge for making it truly a year-round facility,” Thomas added. “We’ve certainly started talking with fair officials about doing something for a maple day. I’m not sure if it will be during the fair or some other time during the year. The events are expanding and that’s a nice thing.” Jola Szubielski, spokesperson for the fairgrounds, said that the investments “better positioned the New York State Fairgrounds as a premier year-round, multi-use facility that can attract more events and visitors from across the nation.” The fairgrounds are located at a prime crossroads of the state with easy access to major highways and I-90. An additional ramp to Route 690 West will further enhance access to the fairgrounds. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

By improving the facilities to include more spaces for conferences, the fairgrounds could accommodate more types of events for organizations local and even nationwide. Carol Eaton, vice president of marketing and interim president for Visit Syracuse, believes that the recent improvements “have clearly opened the doors for the fair to have more visitors attend. With that, those structural improvements have improved attendance for events throughout the year. “More and more show operators and special event promoters are more seriously looking at the fairgrounds.” The $50-million, 130,000 squarefoot expo center is billed as the largest north of New York City. Eaton anticipates that it should attract car shows, large equipment auctions and even more equestrian events. “The direction it’s going to appreciate and grow the fairgrounds-it’s wonderful from a destination marketing point of view,” Eaton said. “It’s important that people who may have locally taken the fairgrounds for granted need to expand our own horizons and remember we’re lucky to have that facility here. The world needs to recognize it as well.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

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Melissa Miller at the main branch of Pathfinder Bank in Oswego. “Banking was so simple,” Miller says. “When I first came here, we couldn’t even offer checking accounts. That’s how simple banking was.”

A Goodbye to a 40-Year-Plus Career with Pathfinder Bank Melissa Miller started as an entry level employee at then Oswego City Savings Bank. She is retiring as chief operating officer at the bank


ike many aspiring broadcasters, Melissa Miller came to the Port City to study at SUNY Oswego. It was 1975, and her hopes were set high. “I was going to be the next Barbara Walters,” Miller said, smiling as she reflected on a career path that took a very different turn. At the end of her first year of college in 1976, Miller took a part-time position with what was then the Oswego City Savings Bank. It was two hours a day working the walk-up counter. Miller said she enjoyed the work, but it was just a job to make ends meet. Then, opportunity knocked. A fulltime position with the bank became available and Miller jumped. “At 19 years old, making career changes, I chose to work full time and I haven’t looked back.” And she didn’t look back. In fact, it was full steam ahead. Miller started as a teller, eventually became head teller, then took a promotion to a financial


By Payne Horning services representative She took a brief stint in student loans, had a hand in the accounting department, and then eventually became chief operating officer, the senior vice president of Pathfinder. Miller credits that climb up the ladder to her thirst for knowledge. Throughout her career, Miller said she committed herself to never stop learning. “There’s always something to learn,” Miller said. “Just because you may be in position A, doesn’t mean position B doesn’t intrigue you. Find out what it is. Find out what makes you happy, and strive to work toward that.” Pathfinder President Tom Schneider said he always saw in Miller a passion to do well. She was the first person Schneider met when he arrived at the bank in 1988 for an interview. He said Miller has always been, and still is, a role model for many at the bank. “When you start looking at the depth and breadth of someone’s work and impact moving up from the teller line OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

to senior vice president, it’s quite a journey,” Schneider said. “I think that there are many in the organization who are inspired by that.” Schneider said Miller left an indelible imprint on the bank. She was instrumental in installing the core banking system that Pathfinder still uses today. Miller also helped oversee the growth of Pathfinder’s footprint. During her tenure, it expanded from two branches in Oswego to nine offices across Central New York. And the staff swelled with it, going from about 35 in 1976 to more than 125 today. She also played a large role when Pathfinder expanded from a savings bank to a mutual holding company. And she was there when the company added internet and mobile banking. It’s quite a transformation, Miller notes, from when she started at the Oswego City Savings Bank. “Banking was so simple,” Miller said. “When I first came here, we OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

couldn’t even offer checking accounts. That’s how simple banking was.” As the bank evolved, so too did Miller. She said there wasn’t a day that passed that she did not learn something new. Although Miller is taking a soft retirement — she is still involved in weekly leadership meetings with several committees aimed at improving customer experience — Schneider said the bank cannot replace that kind of accumulated knowledge. So they’re restructuring some position responsibilities to adapt to the change. That’s a good thing, Miller said. “My thought was, we have got so many superstars out here working, that it was time for me to step aside and let them do what they do best,” she said. It’s a moment Miller said she has been preparing for some time. Passing along her institutional knowledge onto others was part of her modus operandi. “I have tried really hard throughout my career to teach others so that when I walked out that door, I wasn’t going, ‘Oh my gosh, they don’t know how to do this or that,’” Miller said. “Paying it forward is very important. There’s no greater gift than knowing what you’re doing and being able to pass that onto others.” Pathfinder employees highlighted her mentorship and other contributions at an August retirement party before Miller’s last day. Schneider said staff commended Miller for her many achievements at the bank, and how they serve as an example for many. Miller said everything that was shared at the party was humbling. But Miller was especially pleased to hear others reflect on how she interacted with her coworkers – treating them with kindness, respect and offering her assistance when it was needed. That helped her develop the relationships at Pathfinder that Miller describes as strong as family bonds. Miller is leaving, but she said it’s not goodbye. She plans to remain living in Scriba, while escaping to somewhere that’s warm and by the water in the winter. And she intends to spend more time with her significant other, Brian, daughter Lisa, and three grandchildren. Although Miller said she has not looked back since she joined Pathfinder 40 years ago, I asked her to reflect on that career-defining decision once more. Did she make the right call to choose banking over journalism? “I like that I’m on this side of the interview, instead of that one,” Miller said. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017 Speedway Press P.O. Box 815 1 Burkle Street Oswego, Ny 13126 Phone: (315) 343-3531 Fax: (315)343-3577

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By Lou Sorendo

t’s not easy getting ahead these days, especially for workers seeking ways to get qualified for more prominent and higher-paying jobs. In Central New York and throughout the nation, a “skills gap” exists wherein a significant gap occurs between employers’ skill needs and the current capabilities of the workforce. In many instances, those with a high school-level education must take specialized training to qualify for jobs that are becoming much more technical in nature. That’s where Oswego and Onondaga counties step in with an array of training providers that offers services to assist workers to develop skills in high-demand occupational areas. The following feature package gives readers a glimpse at the various resources in the region to upgrade skills as well as a peek at some personal stories of people trying to “get ahead” in today’s demanding workplace. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017



Del Allen Scrimger Pursuing opportunity as electrical technician


or Fulton resident Del Allen Scrimger, knowledge is literally power. Scrimger, 34, started his electrical technician apprenticeship at Sunoco’s ethanol facility at the Riverview Business Park in Volney at the end of February. “It is overwhelming at times. There’s a lot of stuff to learn and it’s not just on-the-job type of stuff. There are a lot of educational types of things that come along with it,” he said. Originally from Iowa City, Scrimger has been working and living in Fulton for more than three years. The apprenticeship requires many hours of safety orientation, whether “it’s knowledge of what you’re getting into or fall arrest equipment such as harnesses,” he noted. He went through National Fire Protection Association electrical safety training. “It introduces you to common situations, such as working around a bucket that has power going to it. You have to understand the danger zones and what to wear if entering or opening the bucket,” he said. “I’m still somewhat new to all this and accumulating many hours doing anything from basic wiring, working with transmitters, trouble shooting, diagnosing and calibrating,” he added. The apprenticeship opportunity is made possible as part of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York’s apprenticeship program. Tim Hardy, the plant manager at Sunoco, sits on a committee through MACNY that deals with the apprenticeship program. The program is orchestrated through MACNY to different companies that are participating. “Obviously, the trades tend to pay a little bit more, and that’s one aspect of it. For me, pay is one thing, but I am more interested in learning an actual


trade and having that under my belt,” Scrimger said. Before he came to Sunoco, he was working in operations at a Watertown paper mill. When he was in Iowa, he worked at an ethanol plant. “When I found out about this ethanol plant, I quickly started to keep track of when they were hiring. Luckily, I got in,” he said. Scrimger said he enjoys the process of the ethanol industry. He started at Sunoco in operations two-and-a-half years ago as a distillation operator. “This apprenticeOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

ship opportunity came along, so I got into this,” he said. “It would have been dumb for me to at least not try for it,” he said. “Everything worked out in my benefit. It’s still challenging and new.”

Unraveling complexities

Much of what occurs on Scrimger’s shift depends on what’s happening at the plant. During quiet times, he is able to study or be quizzed by his mentor. During hectic periods, he is usually assisting while getting the opportunity for hands-on experience. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

“My mentor will be there to walk me through how to diagnose or do a replacement. It changes from day to day,” he said. Scrimger works with a MACNY mentor periodically as well as full-time with electricians Matt Levin and Ernie Jones on site. Scrimger has always had an interest in the electrical field. His father Dave was a contractor in Iowa. “We did a lot of renovation and I would get into some basic electrical work. That was one the trades I enjoyed doing,” said Scrimger, noting one of his hobbies is electronics. The biggest challenge for Scrimger is to understand the complexities of his trade. “There are a lot of different systems in place, especially when it comes to electric. It’s not just an electric motor; it’s an electric motor with this type of transmitter or monitor, which in turn communicates with this type of protocol,” said Scrimger, noting it is his task to understand how several different components interact with each other and how to troubleshoot if something goes wrong. “But at the same time, it’s the most satisfying because there is a lot to absorb, and I enjoy learning,” he said. Scrimger is striving to work to become licensed as a journeyman electrician through the state Department of Labor. If he finds he is still learning at that level, he may opt to stay there, although he does entertain the thought of pursuing an engineering degree. “In the past I’ve always been mechanically inclined. I’ve always been into woodworking and electronics. I’ve always had a desire to constantly learn,” he said. “If you’re stuck somewhere in your own ways and not willing to try to accept new opportunities, you have to be willing to learn new things,” he said. While he was working in operations, he was taking online courses through Bismarck University in North Dakota and studying advanced math such as physics and thermodynamics. Scrimger is also looking to take courses in programmable logic controllers and be qualified to work at Sunoco’s adjacent 1886 Malt House, a barley malting facility that will support the burgeoning craft brewing industry in New York state. He is also interested in exploring the role robotics play at the new facility. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

Ruth Fields Pursuing career as a certified nursing assistant


ne of the definitions of “survivor” is a person who copes well with difficulties in their life. Take Phoenix resident Annemarie Ruth Fields for example. Despite facing her share of adversity, or what she terms as experiencing a “series of unfortunate events,” the 27-yearold Syracuse native has picked herself up, dusted herself off, and is embarking on pursuing an elusive career path. A single mother of three, Fields recently became a certified nursing assistant. Fields dropped out of high school when she was a sophomore, but acquired her General Education Diploma. “I was at a standstill, but always knew I wanted to get into the medical field,” she said. Math and science were always her strong suits in school. “I figured that is what I wanted to do and would be best for me. It’s in high demand and there’s always going to be the medical profession.” She sought temporary assistance through the Oswego County Department of Social Services because she was OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

unemployed and pregnant. “I started to show, and was turned away by employer after employer who said that somebody was more qualified,” she said. That’s when Fields reached out to her career adviser at DSS and asked if she could further her education. She then got involved in the career and technical education assistant program at the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation (CiTi). Fields successfully completed the program last July to become a fullfledged CNA, just before she had her daughter. “I’ve had a string of bad luck. When I got out of high school, I had my first child at 19 and then my second one at 21,” Fields said. “I never really furthered my education and just went through a string of minimum wage jobs.” She worked at Express Mart, Barbagallo’s, in East Syracuse, and a host of gas stations and food service outlets. She credited her maternal grandmother Annemarie Rott with inspiring her to reach out and care for people. Rott was highly involved in the 53

Syracuse community and advocated for low-income housing as a member of Atonement Lutheran Church in Syracuse. The grandmother also created and operated Apple Seed Productions in Syracuse that was based out of Atonement Lutheran Church. “She taught me to just get out there in the community and try to do your best,” Fields said.

Lofty goals

Fields wants to work toward attaining registered nurse status. “My goal is to actually go up to Crouse or Golisano’s Children’s Hospital and apply at both,” she said. “I understand that if you are with them for a year or two, they actually will help pay tuition. I’d like to go to Syracuse University because that’s where my grandfather was an alumnus.” Fields also had a personal family experience that prompted her to pursue a field in health care. Her grandfather developed Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare blood disorder that attacks the entire body. “By the time they found it in my grandfather, he had lost use of his legs,” she said. Within a week of being at a nursing care facility, it was discovered that he had a bed wound on his tailbone that required a return trip to the hospital. “One of the CNAs had not changed his Depends, and it created decomposed flesh. They had to pull out about an inch of necrotic flesh,” she said. “Seeing that some of the people are so poorly taken care of, I just wanted to get out there and be one of the good ones,” Fields added. She referred to her CNA instructor, Robyn Hilt s, as “an amazing teacher.” The program was available at the Fulton branch of Cayuga Community College, which made it easy transportation wise for Fields being that she resides in Phoenix. “At first it seemed like it was going to be very easy, but it’s a lot to take on during a five-week course,” she said. “Even with how much it is to take on, Robyn was always willing to change and figure out a better way for us to learn,” she said. Fields went through an application process at DSS to ensure that her chosen career pathway was the right choice. She spoke with three CNAs and a trio of CNA employers to gain necessary 54

background information, such as wages and advancement opportunities. Her temporary assistance career adviser watches over her applications to make sure she is sending out a sufficient amount to keep her qualified for temporary assistance. She said DSS features a lot of resources for the job seeker. “I really wish more people would look into it. Most people don’t even realize that they are out there,” she said. “All it takes is that one question. I asked it, and they got the ball rolling on it immediately,” she noted.

Pursuing a dream

Fields recently hit the six-week mark after giving birth to her daughter. Her plan is to start putting out applications and see where she lands. She said the Oswego County Workforce Development System’s One-Stop Career Center in Fulton is quite resourceful when it comes to giving job seekers a head’s up as to who is hiring. “If I get hired by Crouse, I would like to make it on the maternity ward dealing with babies. I’ve always been kid oriented and I love my children. They are my world,” she said. Fields has the advantage of having a solid support network at home. A family friend, Jessica Mahar, is Fields’ “adopted aunt.” “She was a good friend of my aunt when I was growing up,” Fields said. “I’ve always considered her my aunt. Her and her husband took me in twoand-a-half years ago when the father of my 6-year-old left me.” Mahar provides childcare. “I’ve always trusted her, especially with the scare nowadays of not knowing who you can trust with children,” Fields said. The county picks up the child-care tab for Fields while she is job searching, and also directs people to facilities that accept those in the DSS system with child-care needs. Fields is also looking to apply at Self-Direct home aide services and Loretto. Both facilities reached out to Fields’ CNA class in efforts to recruit. She said Self-Direct would be willing to work with Fields being that she relies on bus lines for transportation. They would give her duties close to bus line access, or even perhaps have her care patients in Phoenix where she could walk to work. Fields said she will scour help wanted ads through community newspapers, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

and noted a lot of applications are now internet based. “I don’t have a desk top computer at home, so the One-Stop Career Center is a great resource in that respect,” she said. She said many prospective employers such as hospitals require volunteer work before hiring, so Fields has been reaching out in efforts to do that. She accrued 30 clinical hours through the CiTi program.

Upward mobility

Fields said most CNAs start out at about $11.50 an hour in nursing home settings, and more at hospitals. According to, the median annual certified nursing assistant salary in the Syracuse area is around $30,906. Fields’ ultimate goal is to become an RN. Most of the RN programs are four years while LPN programs are two. “As far as trying to step up with three children being a single mom, I’m probably going for LPN first and try to base myself in that. A lot of CNAs we talked to said don’t set yourself up too quickly because you never know,” she said. Her instructor’s first job was on a children’s floor at a hospital. “She [Robyn Hilts] found that some kids were so terminal, it was a little bit harder emotionally to take that on. You worry about burnout coming on quickly,” Fields said. Fields said returning to school was easy from an attendance standpoint, but intaking information after 10 years is definitely a lot harder. I definitely urge teenagers not to wait. “Stay with the program. Get into school and do it first. It’s well worth it, especially after you start a family. It’s so much harder,” she said. Fields said getting a high school diploma or GED is important, but it doesn’t get one very far. “It will get you in most minimum wage jobs, but not enough to make ends meet,” she said. “I was constantly living paycheck to paycheck. I get help from temporary assistance now, so it’s from benefit to benefit right now.” “It’s difficult. My kids go out there and see their friends doing this and going to places like Darien Lake or to the state fair. Even with the fair, it took me everything to figure out what I could do to make sure I could bring my kids to the fair, which is something my grandmother always did with me,” she said. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

Filling in the ‘Skills Gap’ Central New York exploring ways to fill serious void in workforce


By Lou Sorendo

t is glaringly apparent in Oswego County — and for the Central New York region and nation — that a “skills gap” exists that has the potential to hobble economic growth. A skills gap is the mismatch between the needs of employers for skilled talent and the skills possessed by the available workforce. The market for middle-skills jobs — those that require more education and training than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree — is plaguing economic sectors throughout the United States. Martha Ponge is the director of apprenticeship for MACNY, Manufacturers Association of Central New York. She is on the front lines of the regional battle to fill the skills gap. “It is the No. 1 challenge our member companies are having today,” Ponge said. “I would not characterize it as regional either. It is happening all across the country.” Experts note the reasons for the skills gap is due to aging population demographics, which is expected to intensify in the years ahead, according to In addition, middle-class jobs are increasingly requiring higher skill levels, the online site stated. To counteract these trends, Oswego County is exploring various ways to expand its workforce and help improve productivity. Lawmakers, businesses and educational institutions are collaborating to create skills training programs that enable workers to either join the workforce or improve their skills so they can handle higher-paying jobs. According to, the OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

Martha Ponge, director of apprenticeship for MACNY, Manufacturers Association of Central New York. skills gap in the U.S. is substantial. The National Federation of Independent Business states as of first-quarter 2017, 45 percent of small businesses reported that they were unable to find qualified applicants to fill job openings. Dallas Fed surveys of businesses also indicate a significant skills gap. Chief executive officers report shortages of workers for middle-class-wage jobs. The labor force participation rate for OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

prime-age workers is only 76 percent for those with a high school diploma and only 66 percent for those who have less than a high school diploma, bloomberg. com reports.

Defining the unskilled worker Ponge said an unskilled worker and the middle skills gap are “very different things.” 55

An unskilled worker typically enters the workforce with little to no experience in manufacturing, she said. “He or she begins working and learns their job primarily through onthe-job training,” she said. Ponge noted it takes a significant amount of training to get them up to speed enough to be independent and 100 percent productive. Meanwhile, the middle skills gap addresses the “gap” left as skilled trades people leave the workforce, she said. “Many of these skilled tradesmen, sometimes referred to as journeyman workers, have many years, typically 30-plus, of relevant experience and a great deal of what companies refer to as ‘tribal knowledge’,” she noted. Tribal knowledge is any unwritten information that is not commonly known by others within a company. Ponge said many older workers learned their trades originally as apprentices that involved over 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and approximately 600 hours of related technical instruction. “Manufacturers need about two to three years to train an incumbent worker with experience to replace these positions,” she said. “The problem is many companies don’t have two years left. The journeyman workers are retiring at a pace that well exceeds that two-to-three year window.” Ponge said the bottom line is the average age of a skilled worker in New York state is approximately 56 years old. “They are retiring and taking their knowledge with them,” she said. “For example, it takes a minimum of four years to train a toolmaker and in four years, many of the existing journeymen toolmakers will be enjoying their retire-

ment in sunny Florida,” she said.

Focus on apprenticeships MACNY, however, is heeding the call. It is an organization that advocates for more than 300 businesses and organizations across Central and Upstate New York. MACNY has become one of the first intermediary sponsors of apprenticeship in New York state. “We are definitely the first manufacturing association in New York to become a sponsor on behalf of our local companies,” she said. The New York State Manufacturers Alliance Intermediary Apprenticeship Program supports seven registered trades: electronics technician, maintenance mechanic, toolmaker, CNC machinist, welder, quality assurance auditor, and electro-mechanical technician, which is new to New York state. MACNY received a legislative appropriation to help establish intermediaries for sponsorship of registered apprenticeships all across the state, Ponge said. She said Bruce Hamm, the previous director, worked hard to establish working relationships statewide that allow MACNY to form working partnerships and launch the program in CNY. “It’s been a year in the planning but we started our first cohort of apprentices from 11 different companies this fall,” she said. “More are being added every week, but there is always room for more.” Ponge said MACNY acts an intermediary between companies and the New York State Department of Labor and helps them with the administrative

burden and managing the process of related technical instruction. Ponge said the program features 21 apprentices to date and is looking forward to adding 10 more as a result of MACNY’s partnership with Onondaga Community College’s Accelerated Apprenticeship Career Training program. “Through the Manufacturers Alliance, we are providing support to our alliance partners to set them up as intermediaries in their geographic locations,” Ponge said. To date, MACNY is working with the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Manufacturing Association and the Council of Industry in Poughkeepsie. It is also talking with the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier in south of Buffalo as well, “and that will be our next point of expansion,” Ponge said.

It starts with students Ponge said MACNY works closely with Partners for Education & Business (PEB) to help youngsters become aware of the pathways available to them in manufacturing and technology. Last year, PEB impacted approximately 5,000 students and adults and 55 teachers while engaging nearly 100 businesses. PEB supports the P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) programs in Auburn and Syracuse. P-TECH offers a six-year integrated high school and college curriculum for grades 9-14 that focuses on advanced manufacturing pathways and the acquisition of essential workplace skills. PEB coordinates the CNY STEM

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Hub, which is an education initiative focused on impacting the classroom by ensuring an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math through problem-solving and multi-disciplinary teaching methods that will increase the quantity and quality of the skilled workforce in the region. She said MACNY has always been a trusted partner in the CNY business community. “Our goal is to support manufacturing not only for our member companies, but for the Central New York geographic area in general,” she said. “We work to help develop processes or programs that facilitate success for the entire manufacturing community.” MACNY is utilizing community colleges to support the related technical instruction of apprenticeship. Mohawk Valley, Monroe, Onondaga, Cayuga Community and Finger Lakes community colleges “are open to working together. We are fortunate to have so many local educational institutions,” Ponge noted. In terms of how the skills gap came about to begin with, Ponge said it is not a matter of technology outpacing education. “I think we as a community became complacent,” she said. “For a number of years, when a company needed a skilled worker, it was relatively easy to find them. In the last 10 years or so, we have been — for a lack of any other term — ‘poaching’ them from one another with the promise of a little bit more per hour.” Ponge said advanced technology is a factor in terms of job demand, but mostly due to the fact that today’s skilled trade workers are multi- skilled, multi-trained and cross-trained.” “Their skill set is even more advanced than their predecessors,” she said. Ponge noted that one of her clients said the new electro-mechanical technician trade certification in New York state is “pretty close to a four-year degree in engineering academically, and even more hands-on.” Ponge said MACNY gets requests from companies for entry-level workers, but also sees the need for skilled trades. “When we decided which trades to sponsor, we relied on data for a six-county region that surrounds us as well as member surveys,” she said.


Chena L. Tucker Executive director of the Workforce Development Board of Oswego County

Helping People Get Ahead Leader of Workforce Development Board strategizes with her team to put people to work


By Lou Sorendo

or Chena L. Tucker, inspiring people to reach their potential is both a lifelong goal and ongoing challenge. Tucker is the director of the Office of Business and Community Relations at SUNY Oswego. She also is the executive director of the Workforce Development Board of Oswego County. “I feel the SUNY Oswego mission of empowering people to pursue meaningful lives is entirely consistent with our work at OBCR,” she said. “They say OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

you should pursue in life the stuff that keeps you up at night, the things that you think about. This is what we think about constantly — inspiring people who have had challenges and setbacks in their lives to aspire for better outcomes for themselves and their families.” She noted the term “unskilled” worker is a misnomer when it comes to describing people who lack sufficient skills to take on certain job duties. “We want to build confidence in 57

people,” she said. “Even though people may say or think they have no skills, we know they do. It is our job as educators to help assess, develop and apply those skills to a career.” Tucker said the skills that are in demand for each employer are different. “It’s inaccurate and unfair to say that our population is unskilled. Our residents may not have developed the skillset that matches the needs of local business and industry so it is our job to deliver training programs to address those gaps. This is the approach we’re taking with our employment and training initiatives through OBCR, the workforce development board and our many community partners,” she said. The OBCR is headquartered at the new SUNY Oswego Business Resource Center, 121 E. First St., Oswego.

Soft skills, a major problem Oswego County-based employers continue to struggle to find skilled talent to fill the growing number of job openings, according to a workforce needs assessment that OBCR helped produce recently. Questionnaires were sent to 140 local businesses, and 58 responded. Manufacturing jobs in Oswego County have declined by more than 30 percent over the last 15 years, while education and health care jobs have increased 18 percent, according to the needs assessment study. “However, the biggest issue cited across the board is the lack of soft skills. That is what we’re hearing over and over again, not only locally but nationally,” said Tucker, noting the ability to be re-

liable, have strong communication and interpersonal skills and work well with others within a team are critical skill sets. Time management, professional appearance and problem-solving skills were ranked in the top 10. She said those needs are evident across the board, including in the health care, manufacturing and tourism sectors. She said her office has been asked to address this “soft skills” gap. “There are resources available and solutions to address this soft skills issue, but the results will take time. Technical skill aptitude can be measured by a test, whereas soft skills are more difficult to assess,” Tucker said. Survey responses also indicated the top-five certification programs that Oswego County-based businesses would like to see become available. They are:

Developing the Workforce: Many Programs in Place In addition to business and industry leaders, key players on the county workforce development team include the Office of Business and Community Relations at SUNY Oswego; Operation Oswego County, the county’s designated economic development agency; and SUNY Oswego’s Division of Extended Learning, which provides academic advising and delivers credit and non-credit programming to individuals as well as professional development certifications. Additionally, the Center for Innovation, Technology & Information (CiTi) in Mexico works closely with Cayuga Community College in Fulton. The two entities have united as the Center for Career and Community Education, which offers extensive programs to a variety of learners. The Oswego County Workforce Development’s One-Stop Career Center, 200 N. Second St., Fulton, allows job seekers to assess their skill levels and get help with resumes and job referrals. Individuals already employed can use its services to advance their careers or change jobs. Resources are also offered to help employers find skilled workers. A program is available that reimburses employers to offset training costs of an employee. The One-Stop Career Center is home to the new Skill-Up Oswego County. The initiative provides county residents with access to a free, sixmonth license to Metrix, a self-directed e-learning service. 58

Metrix offers more than 4,000 online courses providing an opportunity to expand knowledge, develop skills, earn certificates and prepare for certification in areas employers look for. CiTi also offers the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program where ninth graders work simultaneously toward earning a Regents High School Diploma and an Associate in Applied Science degree from Onondaga Community College at no cost. The 5-6 year sequence emphasizes individualized pathways to completion, work place experience, mentorship, indepth project-based learning and real world experiences. CCC has also established an advanced manufacturing certificate program. The Advanced Manufacturing Institute is designed to serve the training needs of regional employers and students preparing for high-demand careers by offering a range of industrial courses with emphasis on mechanical, plastics and electrical technologies. David Lloyd, plant training leader at Novelis in Oswego, and Greg Hilton, continuous improvement leader at Huhtamaki in Fulton, are preparing and delivering the curriculum for the AMI. Chena Tucker, the executive director of the Workforce Development Board of Oswego County, said under development is a four-year degree at SUNY Oswego in advanced manufacturing management and a certificate program or boot camp training opportunity OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

involving those interested in breaking into the tourism and hospitality industry. Tucker said it is an “entry level job with relativity easy access” that would be a breeding ground for soft skills learning. “It gives us the opportunity to provide basic work readiness training for those that may be just entering the workforce or interested in a new career,” she said. The concept involves training and getting workers into a job for several years. After that, they can be advanced into higher skilled jobs in other fields as part of a “feeder program,” she said. ‘It’s all here’ “It’s all here. We have all the pieces. But we need to communicate, collaborate and be open to ideas and suggestions. SUNY Oswego, the Workforce Development Board and its employment development partners are listening and are working to be responsive to what local business and industry is saying, and we will continue to align our employment and training objectives and resources,” Tucker said. “Making an impact on one person’s life will always remain a big win for us,” Tucker said. Tucker said making people aware of resources is a huge challenge. “It’s getting the word out,” said Tucker, noting many in the community don’t know about what services the One-Stop Career Center provides. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

• Leadership-supervisory skills, • Industrial-occupational safety, • LPN and RN certification, • Advanced manufacturing and industrial certification. “What we’re hearing now from our board is the need for certified nursing assistants in health care, and electrical engineers or electrical technology degrees on the manufacturing side,” she said. The jobs available that are feeling the effects of the skills gap include those in the service industry, tractor-trailer drivers and health care positions. “In the wake of baby boomers retiring, assisted living is also a growing market,” Tucker said. “The trend is moving toward assisted living community models, which address quality of life needs for those that live there.”



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Program to address problem To answer the need for soft skills development, OBCR has an Enhancing Professionalism in the Workplace Certificate program as well as its Civility, Respect and Engagement in the Workplace (CREW) initiative that focuses on hands-on activities. Group dynamics training is offered, as well as time and stress management and those that focus on dealing with difficult people and proper telephone communication. OBCR has recently developed a “train the trainer” program where it will train its One-Stop Career Center staff in Fulton to then deliver soft skills training to their customers. “In the past, we’ve had jobs that may not have required the level of skills that they do today,” she said. “In terms of manufacturing, we have witnessed a huge shift from factory work to high tech machining and robotics.” Tucker said the business world is doing more with less, a trend that coincides with baby boomers aging out of the workforce and a trend toward efficiency and outsourcing. That means a scaling back of workers needed to do the same jobs that were not as technologically advanced as they are today. She said it’s important that newer workers understand the value that their predecessors can provide them. “We believe there is a strong need for mentoring and coaching. When we talk about technical skills, yes, they can be learned, but it’s the soft skills as well as the mentoring and coaching that we are developing as a part of our workforce training initiatives.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

• Full service CNC machine shop • Specializing in vertical and horizontal machining • Small to large capacity • Production of one to thousands

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L. Michael Treadwell

The Shift in Manufacturing Jobs Off-shoring of American jobs is only part of the reason for lost jobs in the sector

O ‘Changes in primary and secondary education have redirected the majority of students away from manufacturing as a viable career option. This leaves manufacturers with positions to fill and a shallow pool of candidates.’

swego County has long enjoyed a of gas plummeted in the U.S. However, reports strong manufacturing base but, like differ on whether the jobs gained through many areas in the U.S., has watched re-shoring are currently outnumbering those the percentage of manufacturing jobs drop lost through off-shoring. over the last 20 years. Quite often, off-shoring Localized job losses can also be attributof American jobs is blamed. However, that’s ed to the movement of manufacturing firms not the only reason. Manufacturers, who once within the U.S. With the adoption of lean had several U.S. locations, have consolidated manufacturing processes, companies have and tightened up their production process. closed plants in areas with a high cost of doAs technology has advanced, the types of ing business. Lean operations have resulted manufacturing jobs have also changed, requir- in fewer employees, yet greater productivity. ing a different and advanced set of skills. These According to the National Association of factors combined have changed how we look Manufacturers (NAM), “output per hour for at manufacturing jobs. all workers in the manufacEconomic Trends It is certainly true that turing sector has increased jobs were lost to off-shorby more than 2.5 times over ing, as companies sought to trim wages in an the last 20 years.” effort to lower production costs. Good news As large groups of baby boomers retire, came when companies began returning to the they take with them a vast manufacturing U.S., as the cost of labor in foreign countries knowledge and leave unfilled positions in grew closer to that in the US, the cost of global their wake. At the same time, changes in transportation of goods increased, and the cost primary and secondary education have re


2016 Manufacturing Employment as a Percentage of Total Employment

9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 4%

L. MICHAEL TREADWELL, CEcD, is executive director of Operation Oswego County based in Oswego. To contact him call 315-343-1545 or visit 60

3% 2% 1% 0%

Oswego County

5-County CNY Region


United States

New York State

Source: NYS DOL and National Association of Manufacturers


directed the majority of students away from manufacturing as a viable career option. This leaves manufacturers with positions to fill and a shallow pool of candidates. As technology continues to advance, it whittles away the number of manufacturing jobs. Automation and robotics have replaced some jobs completely. The remaining jobs are harder to fill because they now require computer skills, as many machines must be programmed. The key to filling these jobs is having local training available to retrain existing workers, as well as train others who are entering manufacturing positions. This is especially true if manufacturers are growing and need a steady pool of skilled candidates. Recognizing these factors, many organizations in the region have come together to foster new programs aimed at filling the manufacturing skills gap, as well as enticing youth to consider a manufacturing career. For those seeking entry-level manufacturing positions, Cayuga Community College (CCC) offers the Industrial Skills Workforce Training Program. Aligned with the National Alliance for Manufacturing (NAM) Skills Standards, with input from Oswego County manufacturers, this non-credit program introduces


students to basic manufacturing concepts. Instruction includes everything from shop safety to set-up and operation of conventional machines and computer numerical control machines (CNCs). Hands-on practice and tours of local manufacturing companies rounds out the training. CCC also offers an advanced manufacturing certificate in mechanical technology. Courses include machine tools, computer aided design and quality assurance. The program can be completed in as little as one year. Additionally, CCC, with the assistance of Novelis Corporation, is developing an Advanced Manufacturing Institute, including an industrial maintenance technician program. When implemented, the industrial maintenance technician program will incorporate hands-on training in laboratories that Novelis will also utilize to train its own employees along with students of the college. The intention is to create a pool of qualified candidates to fill available positions. The Oswego County Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program, offered at the Center for Instruction, Innovation and Technology (CiTi), is a collaboration between Onondaga Community College, CiTi,


industry partners such as Huhtamaki, Novelis, The Fulton Companies, Davis-Standard and Sunoco Ethanol and the nine Oswego County school districts. P-TECH provides students, who are interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), with an advanced manufacturing career path. Students can choose to pursue either mechanical technology or electrical engineering technology. The ninth through 14th grade program allows students to earn a high school diploma and an associates’ degree from Onondaga Community College at no cost to the student or their family. Upon successful graduation from the program, students are first in line for job openings with the industry partners in high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers. While Oswego County has experienced its share of plant closures and job losses, it has maintained its strong manufacturing base. Understanding the need for specialized training is essential for the survival and growth of our manufacturers. With manufacturing programming for secondary students, college students and adult learners, we are poised to fill the skills gap affecting the manufacturing sector in Oswego County.


New Liaison for Center for Career and Community Education Goal: Help employers to develop targeted training programs that address both industry and employee needs


aula Hayes in July joined the Center for Career and Community Education (CCCE) as liaison for workforce initiatives and corporate programs. As the primary contact for workforce development under CCCE, Hayes will focus on strengthening partnerships and building customized training programs for business and industry utilizing the collaborative resources of the formal partnership between Cayuga Community College and CiTi BOCES. Hayes began her career teaching middle school students and then later taught college developmental reading courses, adult and continuing education classes, and customized workforce programs for manufacturing companies in the Syracuse area. She has more than 26 years of experience designing, delivering, marketing and evaluating workforce training programs, particularly in the areas of advanced manufacturing and energy education. During her varied career, she has also spent many years managing large statewide grant-funded educational programs. In her former position at the SUNY Office of Community Colleges, she was responsible for the oversight of curriculum development and evaluation for SUNY’s $14.6 million U.S. Department of Labor grant with all 30 SUNY community colleges as partners. This program, co-managed by Monroe Community College as the fiscal lead for SUNY, focused on the development of a manufacturing core program along with six specialties in the following areas: CNC machining, optics, photovoltaics (PV), plastics, semiconductor/nanotechnology and welding. 62

Hayes worked directly with the industry partners and each of the college leads and their faculty on these programs, including Cayuga Community College, who led the development of the plastics specialty. Most importantly, Hayes focused on building local, regional, statewide and national partnerships and teams during her work these past several years. The success of this program led to more than 5, 000 students statewide receiving training in a wide range of advanced manufacturing skills over the four- year period, through both non-credit and credit one-year certificate programs as well as twoyear associate degree programs. These pathways to employment Hayes were built beginning with instruction in entry-level skills that then led to national credentials and certification such as the manufacturing skills standard council’s certified production technician (MSSC-CPT), which focused on four modules in safety, production, quality and maintenance. This extensive experience and background that Hayes brings to Cayuga is now available to employers in Oswego County to develop targeted training programs that address both industry and employee needs as she continues her outreach to local businesses. Hayes is committed to creating and improving educational pathways for students to assist in providing OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

trained employees, both incumbent and new, to address the middle skills gap for advanced manufacturing and other high skills high pay industries in the region. Hayes’ business operational method is conversational, but also focused on problem solving. The following are just a few selections of the types of training that are available: • Lean manufacturing and related quality improvement programs; • mssc’s certified production technician (MSSC-CPT) and Certified Logistics Technician (MSSC-CLT); • Related technical instruction (RTI) for New York’s Registered Apprenticeship Program;  • Skills assessment for employees through cayuga’s new act workkeys center; • Customized training for building operators with national credentialing through the Building Performance Institute (BPI); • Customized training in leadership and frontline supervisory, welding, computer software, and many other entry- to mid-level technical training courses. Hayes holds a bachelor’s degree in modern languages from Le Moyne College and a master’s degree in reading education from Syracuse University.

How To Contact

For more information related to the business and industry services provided by the CCCE, contact Paula Hayes directly at phayes@cayuga-cc. edu or call 315-593-9400. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

For over 100 years, MACNY has proudly been supporting the region’s manufacturing community.

Like What You Read in Our Article? MACNY sponsors apprenticeships in 7 of the most desired occupational titles in CNY: CNY Machinist, Toolmaker, Welder, Electronics Technician, and Maintenance Mechanic, Quality Assurance Auditor, and Electro-Mechanical Technician. We can even support company specific trades. Through our unique program, MACNY acts as the intermediary between companies and the NYSDOL. All formal registration documentation and the coordination of related instruction is handled by the Apprenticeship Team at MACNY. For more information contact... Martha Ponge

Meghan McBennett

315.474.4201 x16

315.474.4201 x18




SPECIAL REPORT By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


Small Business Owners: It’s Hard to Find Qualified Employees

f you struggle to fill positions with talented staff, you’re not alone. According to the Manpower Group’s 2016-2017 Talent Shortage Survey, 46 percent of employers have difficulty in filling positions. Skilled trades are hardest to fill, according to the survey, followed by drivers, sales representatives, teachers, hospitality staff, accounting/finance, nursing, laborers, engineers and technicians. Bill Shirtz, service manager at AAA Exterminators/The Critter Ridders in Nedrow, places the blame on the work ethic — or lack thereof — of candidates. “People don’t want to work,” he said. “Literally, people want to be handed everything and don’t want to work 40-plus hours or even 40 hours. It’s tough.” He estimates that of 20 candidates, he may get one person who works out. Working in the field for his company doesn’t require previous experience or education, as the company provides on-the-job training. But Shirtz said that many younger new hires resist the physical aspects of the job. “We see a lot of young guys who are 25 to 30, still living with their parents, who pay for everything,” Shirtz said. “They don’t need the work.” Kris Tucci, president of Americar in North Syracuse, also blames an entitlement mentality for a dearth of new, younger workers. “Applicants think they should make $15 to $17 an hour and they have no experience whatsoever,” Tucci said. Though he starts new employees at minimum wage and offers regular wage increases as they’re merited, he said that many applicants expect top dollar up front. “Employees should be paid on what they’re worth and for what they bring to the table,” Tucci said. “If you are here on time and do what you need to, I’ll pay you more. “Adults in 20s and 30s think they should be making an ungodly amount


of money and don’t have the responsibility and training to show up to work on time. They call in a lot,” Tucci said. He said he has had a handful of employees start as young people washing cars and move into supervisory positions eventually as they learn and demonstrate skill and responsibility. But those are the exception. Tucci estimates that he used to hire one out of every 12 applicants. Now, it’s one out of 50. Roman Pierantozzi, vice president with Ambidextrous Services, LLC in Mattydale, thinks that the unique skill set he seeks makes it hard to find qualified applicants. He wants people to help him install specialized industrial computer systems, which can be much different from typical systems in an office. He

also needs local, not remote workers, since the work is onsite. “I’ve been looking for more than a year,” Pierantozzi said. “It’s almost not even possible to teach this at a school. You need the environment. One client is at a nuclear power plant. They don’t teach that and software development. Typically, this gets trained on the job. It takes years to groom someone.” Many job seekers can’t envision waiting that long. Judy Carta, president of American Dicing, Inc. in Liverpool, faces a similar challenge — finding employees with specialized skills or who are willing to undergo on-the-job training. The company dices semiconductors on a computerized dicing saw. “The last time we advertised, we

Roman Pierantozzi, vice president with Ambidextrous Services, LLC in Mattydale. “I’ve been looking for {an employee} more than a year,” he says. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


used,” Carta said. “We didn’t get much response — just a couple — and it happened to be people who worked at a company that did dicing in-house and were familiar with a dicing saw.” She thinks that part of the reason her company receives few responses is that it’s difficult for the unemployed to understand what the job entails. Some people hired for the job don’t work out because it’s both highly technical and requires someone willing to work hard to learn the skills required. Specialization also hampers John Nelson’s efforts to find funeral directors to work at his business, Nelson Funeral Home in Oswego. Nelson seldom needs to find new employees, since the turnover rate is low. His last opening was two years ago. “It may be harder to find people because someone has to have a license in funeral services in New York,” Nelson said. “Locally, that’s hard to find.” He added that typically, placing ads on industry websites helps. Word-of-mouth advertising and social media connections also help hiring agents fill positions where qualifications, experience or the type of work make them hard to fill.

Judy Carta, president of American Dicing, Inc. in Liverpool: Finding employees with specialized skills or who are willing to undergo on-the-job training is a challenge, she says.

Shop Hours: Monday-Friday: 9am-7pm You Name It, WE Fix It! Saturday: 9am-6pm Sunday: 10am-5pm

(All Things Tech)



315-326-1980 104 West Utica St. Oswego NY OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017




Hiring Fairly

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Employers should take precautions not to discriminate during recruitment process


iring without disability discrimination may be the last thing on your mind if you’re a harried small business owner who needs to hire more employees to handle a growing business. But nonetheless, it’s important to plan ahead to minimize your chances of a lawsuit. It all starts with how you word any help-wanted ads you use. For example, it’s fine to state that applicants should be able to repeatedly lift 50 lbs. as a job duty, but you can’t advertise for an “able-bodied” worker. Listing a specific task required for the position can help make it clear the type of job it is and you can avoid applicants wasting their time if they cannot do this. Mary Pat Oliker works part time as a development officer in the health care industry and volunteers at OASIS in Syracuse. She also has many years’ experience working in human resources. She said that it’s vital to write a comprehensive job description for applicants so they know to expect. Providing that their employment checks and any required background checks, credit checks and other clearances turn out fine, hiring agents need to ask “if they’re able to perform those job duties or can do it with reasonable accommodation,” Oliker said. But you have to do this before offering the applicant the job. Using that “window” — after screening but before offering the job — helps protect you as an employer from lawsuit because it’s clear you’re only asking because you need to ensure that potential employees have their needs met, such as any adaptive equipment, tweak of job procedures or other adjustments that would enable them to perform the basic job duties. These accommodations must be reasonable for you as the employer. Completely overhauling a department,


buying expensive equipment or gutting the job description won’t happen, and applicants cannot expect huge changes for their benefit. “Clearly, you can’t ask, ‘Do you have a disability,’” said Steven Abraham, professor of human resources at SUNY Oswego, “but more along the lines of what you would need as far as accommodations and what kind of ac-


commodations the person might need. Ask before offering the job.” The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against a qualified candidate because of disability, but only if that disability doesn’t make a person unable to perform the essential job duties with or without reasonable accommodation. As Oliker said, the job duties must


be detailed in print before seeking job candidates. “After I notice a disability, I can’t prepare a job description,” Abraham said. “That’s after the fact. Because you have a job description that states the essential functions of the position before it’s advertised, the job description is evidence of the essential job functions.” The company’s financial resources, size and number of employees help Abraham determine what is an undue hardship. Other factors could include changes to the business that would destroy the essence of the enterprise. Unreasonable accommodations could include prohibitively expensive equipment, such as a small business on a second story purchasing a chair lift for a rented building. “Accommodations aren’t a yes or no thing, but they have to be reasonable,” Abraham said. If a qualified candidate has limited large motor skills, perhaps that position’s task of moving file boxes could be swapped for another employee’s phone duties for an afternoon each week. By working with other employees and remaining willing to make accommodating changes, employers can widen their applicant pool to include candidates who may be otherwise excluded. “It is an interactive process,” Abraham said. “The employer has to figure out the accommodations the person might need and figure out whether some accommodation might be made.”

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Illegal Interview Questions Employers Shouldn’t Ask The Civil Rights Act of l964 “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.” The following five interview questions are illegal for potential employers to ask.

“Do you have any physical or mental disabilities?” Why it’s illegal: The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) says it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a qualified applicant or employee with a disability. Private employers with 15 or more employees, as well as state and local government employers, must abide by the ADA. Note that that the ADA prohibits employers from asking discriminatory questions before making a job offer; after a job offer has been extended, employers are permitted to ask questions about disabilities as long as they ask the same questions of other applicants offered the same type of job, not just applicants with an obvious disability. Similar off-limit questions: • “What prescription drugs are you currently taking?” • “Have you ever been treated for mental health problems?”

“When are you planning to have children?” Why it’s illegal: Sex is a federally protected class, which means an employer cannot discriminate against a male or female job applicant. A hiring manager simply may have concerns about the applicant’s ability to perform the job duties (such as travel or work overtime), says Lisa Schmid, employment law attorney at Nilan Johnson Lewis. If that’s the case, the interviewer needs to ask the candidate directly about job-related responsibilities (e.g. “This job requires five days of travel per month. Do you have any restrictions that would prevent you from doing that?”). Similar off-limit questions: • “What kind of childcare arrangements do you have in place?” • “What are your plans if you get OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


“Will you need time off for religious holidays?” Why it’s illegal: Religious discrimination is prohibited, so employers are barred from basing hiring decisions on a person’s religious beliefs, observances, or practices. Similar off-limit questions: • “What is your religious affiliation?” • “What church do you belong to?”

“What country are you from?” Why it’s illegal: National origin is a federally protected class. Consequently, employers cannot base hiring decisions on whether an applicant is from a different country or of a specific ethnicity. Similar off-limit questions: • “What is your nationality?” • “You have a strong accent. Where are you from?”

“How often are you deployed for Army Reserve training?” Why it’s illegal: Because military status is a federally protected class, companies cannot make employment decisions based on a job candidate’s past, current or future military membership or service. Similar off-limit questions: • “Will you be deployed any time soon?” • “What type of discharge did you receive from the military?” If you happen to be in a situation where an interviewer asks you an illegal question, how you respond is entirely based on your comfort level. You could simply state, “That doesn’t affect my ability to perform the duties of this job,” and leave it at that. Or, if you feel the potential employer has crossed a line, you have every right to end the interview and leave. Granted, this is a difficult thing to do if you really want or need the job, but on the flipside, would you really want to work for someone who indicates a bias? This article was originally published at By Daniel Bortz, Monster, contributor.


When Should You Outsource? Experts explain why you need a BAIL team By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


s a small business owner, you may wear a lot of hats. But perhaps you shouldn’t wear all of them. In many cases, small business owners can save a lot of time, money and headache by outsourcing certain aspects of doing business like payroll, human resources and accounting. Rob Toole, partner at Kona HR Consulting in Syracuse, said that it’s important to first evaluate the administrative tasks, beginning with compliance activities related to insurance, taxes, and legal issues. “These may not be in your area of expertise,” he said. Unless your background is in insurance, taxes and legal issues, you’ll likely benefit from handing these over to professionals. Identify the areas where you spend a lot of time, perhaps because you lack the expertise. Can you envision yourself becoming proficient in these areas eventually? Will it ever be worth the time to stay up-to-date on the regulations in these areas? Toole said that if a person who provides a service spends two hours working on payroll that could have been spent making more money than the fee for outsourcing costs, that money would have been better spent hiring a


subcontractor. Also consider the cost of mistakes. Toole said that many of his new clients approach him because they’ve run into problems and face fines and lawsuits. Especially since regulations change frequently, it’s important to have someone who specializes in that area take care of tasks like filing taxes or ensuring OSHA regulation compliance. “A lot of times, we run into people who weren’t being malicious; they just didn’t know what they were supposed to do,” Toole said. “That won’t matter if they’re not in compliance. If you are a small manufacturer, you have to follow the same rules as GE.” He urged small business owners to compile a BAIL team: banker, accountant, insurance agent and legal. Even if you only connect with these persons as needed, know who you can tap and establish a relationship with experts in these areas. In addition, it’s helpful to get outside help for areas such as information technology, marketing, and social media. Sure, an intern may be able to whip up a website or keep hackers out or crank out blog entries, but cheaper isn’t always better. Most business owners can afford to hire a professional consultant to build a quality website and train them in how OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

to update and protect the site. Freelance writers can ghostwrite blog entries in a tone and style that matches your company culture. Palma Savinelli, business faculty for Bryant & Stratton’s Liverpool and Syracuse campuses, said that handing over administrative tasks is worth it because “it takes the stress off yourself. You can hand it over to the pro at a much lower cost.” Could you get more done if you weren’t stressing about insurance compliance, taxes, or how you’re going to market your new product? Alexander McKelvie, associate professor of entrepreneurship at Syracuse University, said that outsourcing can save small business owners money since they pay only for the time spent on the project. “As a small business owner, you only have so much time,” McKelvie said. “It you have to hire and train them, it takes time away from your core business. You won’t have to worry about benefits or payroll. Just pay for the work they do. Once the job is done, you’re done.” Screening potential contracted workers can be tricky. McKelvie said that asking for references, looking at previous work (if applicable) and setting up milestones can help ensure good results. You can also hire the individual for a small project and, if that goes well, continue with larger projects. That method works well if you encounter difficulty in articulating what you want, such as a new logo. For subjective type of work such as a new brochure design, it may help to look at competitors’ designs to get ideas of what design cues you like and don’t like. “The more detailed advice you give, the better,” McKelvie said. “Explain what you want to do will help avoid problems down the road. the time you spend up front is time saved, not time wasted.” Don’t insist that experienced freelancers or contractors complete “sample” work for nothing. Let their portfolio and references speak for themselves. If you demand a free sample, you’ll likely lose a good opportunity to access top talent, as only inexperienced candidates desperate for a chance are willing to work for nothing. While handing off your administrative tasks may seem like another expense, if you compare the value of your time, the potential cost of mistakes and the stress relief you could gain, hiring contractual workers makes lots of sense.


Oswego Earns Top Rankings from U.S. News

Making a Difference


UNY Oswego has once again earned a top 50 ranking in the 2018 “Top Regional Universities in the North” from U.S. News and World Report, as well as a top 100 placement in Washington Monthly, which rates schools on their contribution to the public good. Oswego tied for 13th among public universities in the North Region, 48th overall, among institutions in the U.S. News and World Report ratings, based on rankings released Sept. 12. The college also kept its place on the A+ for B Students list. U.S. News’ staff compiles data from hundreds of schools around the country, striving to offer prospective college students and their parents the best analysis available for comparing academic excellence. U.S. News and World Report defines regional universities as institutions that “provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs” but “few, if any, doctoral programs.” U.S. News also includes Oswego in its Best Online Graduate Business Programs: MBA, top 5 nationally for Women Enrolled in MBA Programs, and Green Colleges guide. Washington Monthly, which looks at colleges through metrics on their contribution to the good of society, named SUNY Oswego No. 86 in the nation among master’s-level universities. “We rate schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country),” Washington Monthly explains on itswebsite. “SUNY Oswego provides a strong foundation for our students to build better lives, and these rankings show we are among the best options in our class, especially among public colleges,” said President Deborah F. Stanley. “But beyond the numbers, the day-to-day successes and positive stories of our students, faculty, staff and alumni working together to find solutions for the grand challenges of our time is most impressive.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

Did you know… Oswego County Opportunities is the county’s Community Action Agency, providing direct services, housing, advocacy and prevention for all ages. OCO is in the business of building up the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Making a difference – it’s what we do!

239 Oneida Street, Fulton, NY 13069 315-598-4717

2018 CNY Business Guide Don’t miss it OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


Behind Buffalo’s Renaissance

Upstate city has been referred to as ‘a role model for resurgence’ By Colin Nekritz


here’s a rugged individualism, a blue-collar toughness ingrained in the people and spirit of Buffalo, New York. A sense of perseverance, grit and determination has served the city through the best and worst of times until the present day, when the City of Good Neighbors is experiencing an explosion of business, youth, and good press. Buffalo has been showing up on many Top 10 lists in the past couple years. Number one city for staycations (Thrillist), favorite big cities with smalltown hearts (Travel and Leisure), most affordable city to live in (Forbes). Second best city to relocate (Best Places), third best food city in the world (Travel and Leisure), fifth best city to celebrate New Year’s Eve (Wallet Hub), a ninth-best city for college graduates (Value Penguin), 10th happiest city to work (Forbes) and so on. The New York Times called Buffalo “a role model for resurgence,” Toronto Star “shocked and awed by the rebirth of Buffalo,” The Washington Post “new vitality [is] giving the once-gritty city wings,” The Village Voice to the young professionals “forget Brooklyn. It’s all about Buffalo now.” Katie Couric for


Yahoo News even proclaimed Buffalo was “full of #Buffalolove” during a recent post. Buffalo’s growth rate for those 2534 years of age is seventh in the U.S., close behind cities such as Houston, Nashville, and Portland, Ore. While many Upstate New York cities have been hemorrhaging the creative class, Buffalo has been doing something most of the Rust Belt has failed to do, not only keep young adults but attract them to the city and welcome them with


jobs and a nightlife. With a strong job market, year-overyear growth, low unemployment rate, and wages and incomes on the rise, Buffalo has reason to not only attract deserved attention, but to be optimistic. The recipe for success in keeping a metro area vital lies in specific areas such as low cost of living, providing well-paying opportunities, and giving those with disposable income a variety of ways to spend their hard-earned money, of which Buffalo has plenty to offer.


Along Lake Erie lies a beautiful renovated waterfront full of parks, museums, restaurants, breweries, even an ice skating rink. Various districts such as Elmwood, Allentown and Chippewa feature boutiques, bookstores, swank bars, eateries, nightclubs plus live music for every person’s taste, ranging from rock to jazz and country. Speaking of tastes, Buffalo is a city for food lovers. Ranked internationally as a food destination, the Taste of Buffalo held every July is considered one of the largest in the world drawing over one million people The list of sites, sounds and places is long; world-class contemporary Albright-Knox Gallery, free summer Shakespeare performances in Delaware Park — designed by noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted who designed no less than six other parks around Buffalo — and some of the most famous houses built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Buffalo offers mainstays of any major city, from the Buffalo Zoo to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, various acting and cultural groups, some affiliated with the six major institutions of higher learning in the city. If one is into sports, minor league baseball’s Buffalo Bisons play in downtown; those wishing to see Major League Baseball need only travel an hour and a half to see the Toronto Blue Jays. The Buffalo Sabres are the city’s National Hockey League team, and who can forget OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills, with tentative plans on building a major athletic and sports village next to downtown along Lake Erie, The backbone to much of Buffalo’s success is the attractive retro feeling of a city steeped in history. In many ways, Buffalo’s previous financial failings have helped it succeed today. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, it was so cash-strapped when other cities were able to tear down old large brick factories built to stand the test of time, Buffalo’s


historic buildings were saved. Buffalo has had an infusion of millions in private and public money helping fund downtown projects. Beautiful old brick warehouses and the once rundown waterfront have been renovated into prime loft living spaces, breweries, cafes, and hundreds of small businesses, making Buffalo one of the few Upstate New York cities that is buzzing with blocks of life after business hours. Business-wise, once blue collar Buffalo has attracted high-tech, health


care, and white-collar industries with businesses hiring thousands of employees to live and work downtown. Tesla and Panasonic spent over a $250 million on a solar panel factory expected to be up and running this spring, employing nearly 1,500 in the area. The John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Science have added to Buffalo’s new skyline, the first new buildings in almost a half-century. Both campuses employ over 15,000 people total and are surrounded by construction cranes raising new shiny glass buildings with floors already leased to corporations and businesses, all relocating into the heart of Buffalo bringing hundreds of new jobs inside the city. If luck can be defined by being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right thing to do, Buffalo is lucky. More than that, Buffalo, as it did in the past, has the location, history and people with follow through. Buffalo’s DIY spirit has helped create an upward spiral in both mindset and economically. If one hasn’t visited in the past decade, they may be surprised at all


Buffalo has to offer, why it’s becoming one of the most desirable cities to live in the country. Colin Nekritz is a New York-based

writer and content specialist, frequent visitor and former resident of Buffalo in the mid-’90s.

What Separates Buffalo from Syracuse A century ago Buffalo had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the United States as one of the largest transportation and manufacturing cities in North America. When railroads and water withered as the major arteries for moving goods and materials — and as steel, grain, textiles, automotive and production went elsewhere — much of the wealth accumulated along with the families who acquired it stayed in the area. Ralph Wilson, the previous owner of the Buffalo Bills, set up a $1 billion foundation. Jeffrey Gundlach gave $42.5 million to The Albright-Knox Gallery. The University of Buffalo received two individual donations totaling over $70 million within the past five years. A million here and a million there has been given by individuals to help jumpstart community centers, parks,


cultural and entertainment areas in the past two years. Families with long-held net worth have provided the backbone of private funding helping develop downtown, the waterfront, and in pockets of the city. Individual donors who’ve lived through the good, bad, and now highly optimistic times for the City of Buffalo, have created opportunities giving in amounts that pale almost every city in Upstate New York.  The infusion of both old and new money has helped the Buffalo renaissance both get off the ground and continue at a rapid pace. It’s one factor that separates Buffalo’s success story over cities like Syracuse, Rochester, Utica, Binghamton, or Albany. All were doing well economically a century ago; none had the level of personal wealth on a scale Buffalo had in the past.


Officials: Volunteers Play Key Role at Oswego Hospital Health system relies on more than 80 volunteers, who keep operations running smoothly


olunteers are often the unsung heroes of the healthcare system. At Oswego Health, which runs Oswego Hospital, last year alone volunteers gave 11,996 hours of service. Translated to minimum wage dollars, that’s a savings of $107,964. The 85 volunteers of Oswego Health come from a variety of backgrounds and do a wide range of tasks, mostly at the hospital. “They play a critical role as far as discharging patients on a day-to-day basis,” said Dawn Smith, the hospital’s volunteer clinical support coordinator. “They ensure that mail is taken care of throughout the entire building, deliveries made to patient rooms as far as personal mail to patients or flowers. They do tasks within the departments of the hospital if needed as far as clerical tasks.” Smith said she also has one volunteer who works in the purchasing department and one who works in the staff development department. Most volunteers are older adults,

By Matthew Liptak but there are high school and college students too. “I have a 91-year-old volunteer,” Smith said. “She’s given me 31 years of volunteer service. I’ve recruited lots of younger students, high school students of all ages, right down to the age of 14.” Volunteers include former business owners, retired nurses, high school cafeteria attendants, and retired teachers, to name just a few. The hospital is growing, so the work the volunteers are doing is growing too. Smith said she wants to grow the volunteer core further. With the additional services being provided by the hospital — it recently started a wound care center — more people are coming to the hospital for treatment. “Because of that, we’ve seen more people come through the main door,” said Marion Ciciarelli, the health system’s public relations manager. Oswego Health has a variety of areas where people can volunteer. There is the

164-bed hospital where most volunteers are, but there is also Seneca Hill, a retirement community between Oswego and Fulton, and a 120-bed nursing home, the Manor at Seneca Hill “We have about 15 volunteers that are overseen by the activities director out there,” Smith said. “That’s Heather Huggins. She recruits her own volunteers. We recognized a volunteer with over 25 years of service there for her.” Volunteer work is heaviest on the weekdays, when surgeries are taking place. The hospital works with physicians from Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists, who also conduct many operations in Oswego. “On the weekends we don’t have many discharges due to the fact that our ambulatory surgery unit isn’t open,” Smith said. The business of supervising volunteers involves many challenges. Smith said she likes to recruit older volunteers as they often have more and steadier availability. They are often regulars who

Some of the volunteer at Oswego Hospital include, from left, Volunteer Coordinator Dawn Smith (in the middle) with some volunteers at Oswego Hospital. They are, from left, Orlando Testi, Jillian Dowdle, Jillian Junio and Phyllis Price. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017



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work throughout the week. Students, on the other hand, are dedicated too, but they are usually fulfilling an academic requirement of service at the hospital. It limits their tenure as a volunteer, but it does introduce them to the field of medicine. There are some challenges that can be specific to older volunteers though— technology. While younger people are often very adept at using computers and electronics, older volunteers can find it intimidating. “With my older generation of volunteers [it] is computer things—showing them how to use a computer to punch in and out,” she said. “They can be a little challenged, where the kids know how to do it.” The volunteers are often the face of the health system. The first person a patients sees when they come in the hospital, or the last person they see going out, is often a volunteer, Smith said. Maurice “Mo” Laws, 81, of Fulton did 1,660 volunteer hours last year, mostly greeting and helping people as they came into the hospital. “If I didn’t have Mo up front Monday through Friday I don’t know what I’d do,” Smith said. “He’s the heartbeat of the volunteer system.” Smith wants to expand the volunteers involvement in the health system so each department would include their presence. It is a long-term goal, but one she is hopeful about. “I just feel that we need one in every department,” she said. “I know that we could do more. Volunteers help support those little areas that people can’t get to all the time. We depend on them.”

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The Enterprising Immigrant Report: Rate of self-employed in America more than double among those born abroad By Matthew Liptak


he entrepreneurial spirit of the American immigrant has been vital to both the greater national economy and the Central New York business world since the New World was new. Today, the founders of big business like Tesla, Google, Yahoo, and even CNY’s own yogurt giant, Chobani, can all call themselves immigrants. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, these executives are part of a rising tide. The waves of new business makers may help offset a decline of the self-employed among native-born Americans who are part of an aging baby boomer generation, an SBA report says. “Whether born in the United States or abroad, the promise of America is achieved when small business owners start, grow and succeed,” said SBA Syracuse District Director Bernard J. Paprocki. “Based on studies from the SBA Office of Advocacy, immigrants have high business formation rates and one in 10 immigrants in America own a business.” Immigrant entrepreneurs, like Chobani’s founder Hamdi Ulakaya, can have a profound impact on their families and


communities through innovation and job creation, he added. SBA can help immigrant entrepreneurs turn their American dreams into reality with counseling assistance, access to capital and government contracting assistance, Paprocki noted. The SBA’s report shows that the number of self-employed that were born abroad increased from 8.6 percent in 1994 to 19.5 percent by 2015. The report was published late last year. The SBA concluded the rise comes from several sources, including the rise of the number of immigrants entering the country.

Self-employment dips Since self-employment is going down among native-born Americans, increasing the number of foreign business people who are eligible for immigration is a possible way for the U.S. to combat the slump in entrepreneurship, according to the SBA. In a separate report released early this year, the organization discussed the idea that a visa specifically designed for immigrant entrepreneurs could alleviate the loss of baby boomer entrepreneurs. The SBA didn’t provide OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

any details. In the Central New York region, immigrant startups are a diverse and energized part of the economy. Syracuse is a hub of activity, particularly in its refugee-rich north side neighborhood. Many of them have gravitated toward the food and restaurant industry, as it is a path that provides the most familiar way to profits and serving their close-knit community. But the overall region reflects a unique situation too, whether it’s Ulukaya’s Chobani who turned his New Berlin plant, less than a 90-minute drive south of Syracuse, into a Greek yogurt empire, or the Genius NY competition which has solicited tech startups from around the world with the chance at millions in financing if they took a chance on the CNY area. Immigrants are not only a treasured part of the community, they mean big business, whether it is across the nation or in Central New York. Read on, and learn about some neighbors who are taking their chance to find the American dream, CNY style.


The Altanoors From Iraq Altanoor Market 1824 Grant Boulevard, Syracuse


ltanoor Market on Syracuse’s north side is a small store on Grant Boulevard that is run by a family with a big heart. The Altanoors have been through some of the worst life experiences, but are thankful to be in Syracuse. Sabah Altanoor, 44, and his wife and five sons came to the community after fleeing Iraq in 2006 and spending three years as refugees in Syria. After the war in Iraq and the collapse of civil order, Altanoor’s oldest son was kidnapped. Thankfully, he rejoined his family after a ransom was paid, but Altanoor knew it was time for him and his family to leave. “I had a business in my country,” Altanoor said. “It was a very successful business. In 2003, the situation in Iraq turned very bad. The prisoners were out of jail and they did kidnapping and other crimes against successful people. They kidnapped my son — my oldest son. He was 14 years old. They just knocked on the door and he opened the door. Life was very easy there. No cameras or anything to protect yourself. Suddenly everything changed. They held him for about 21 days. After that they released him.” Refugees were not allowed to work in Syria. Altanoor applied to leave Syria through the United Nations. They were accepted by the United States and sent to Syracuse. The language barrier was one of the first obstacles Altanoor met when coming to the U.S. He didn’t know a word of English, but managed to get a job with the Salvation Army and took language classes in his off hours. He wanted to establish himself and give back to the community that had taken him in. First, he started a clothing store. Later, after he had figured out America’s unique brand of regulations, including taxes, he converted the store into a Middle Eastern food market. He OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

said he had seen a growing demand for such a store in Syracuse, so he started the market in 2013. “This is a very nice city,” he said. “They gave us a hand from the beginning so we could have a new start. I want to pay it back. I need everybody to know that.” Back in Iraq, Altanoor worked for his family’s successful farm supply store. The family owned a large farm and had expanded into offering wholesale items to other farmers since they were buying wholesale for themselves anyway, he said. But running a small market in Syracuse has been different. He’s learned to cater to the different ethnic groups that make up his customer base. Once a week, the family bake a Middle Eastern bread that has become an instant success. According to a July story in the Post-Standard, the Iraqi grocery sells 3,000 loaves each weekend.

Over the hump “We’re breaking even now,” he said. “But we’re starting to make a profit. The good part is that you create a job for yourself. You create jobs for your sons and the people with you here. Also, you create something for the community. To have a successful business and to be a successful person, that’s a very good thing. “I always encourage the organization that is taking care of the refugees to bring them to me to show how they

can make a difference here in this small community.” The market’s traffic varies with higher volumes trending toward the beginning of the month because many customers have just gotten their food stamps. Altanoor said on average they get about 20 customers a day. He employs four others part-time and himself. “The most important thing for an employee to be in this business is to be part of our family,” he said. “We work as a family — as a team. There’s no boss and employees in this business, because we share the reputation. I don’t want anybody to think just about themselves. We have to think as a family. We need to keep our name good in the community.” Over the few years since starting the market, Altanoor estimates he’s invested about $72,000. He said his relationship with his landlord, Bob Fortino, has been essential to being successful. Fortino allowed him to pay in installments and develop the market property as it went. “We’ve had good support from our landlord from the start,” Altanoor said. “He’s helped us out a lot. He believes in us. We feel thankful.” Building relationships is the cornerstone of Altanoor’s business strategy. Customers are drawn in from Rochester and Ithaca because they know there’s a good Middle Eastern grocery here where they can get the food they like. Altanoor has been careful to build solid relationships with suppliers around the

Sabah Altanoor and his family moved to Syracuse in 2013 after his oldest son was kidnapped in Iraq. They have started a successful Middle Eastern market — Altanoor Market — on Syracuse’s north side. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


country as well. He can either buy by a pallet or take his cargo van to the supplier himself to load up. But for the Altanoors, it’s clearly not all about the money. It’s about giving back to the community that has given them a new lease on life. Today, three of Altanoor’s five sons are in college and two others work at the store. That has

been his real investment, he said. Asked why immigrants work so hard to establish themselves, Altanoor had a simple answer. “They want to show themselves that they are useful people in this community,” he said. “They don’t just want to take advantage of this country without giving back. We’re not born here and

we didn’t come here young. Life is very short so we have to do something very quick. I’m not just talking about making money, but to show yourself you can be part of the community and give back.”

By Matthew Liptak

Zaw Nyein From Myanmar Owns: Aloha Japanese Bento Express 217 S. Salina St., Syracuse


aw Nyein and his wife Thaw took an unlikely path to creating a popular Japanese-Hawaiian fusion restaurant in Syracuse. He started out as a geologist in Burma (Myanmar) and, at 55, has ended up on Salina Street downtown running Aloha Japanese Bento Express. That path is paying off for both Nyein and his customers. They are enjoying his unique blend of Japanese and Hawaiian flavors, while their patronage has allowed him to think about expanding to a second restaurant in the space of only two years. Nyein said on a normal day at his small eatery at 217 S. Salina St., they serve between 120 and 130 customers. He hopes to start a second place up by Syracuse University. The students seem to love his food and often order delivery through GrubHub or EatStreet. “We opened July 7, 2015,” Nyein said. “Business is better and better and better. Better than last year. People know us. They know we do Hawaiian food and Japanese food; it’s different than any other Japanese restaurant.” Nyein said he wants to expand, but is looking for the right person to head the new operation. He said it is difficult to find someone reliable enough to take 78

Zaw Nyein started out as a geologist in Burma (Myanmar) and, at 55, has ended up on Salina Street downtown running Aloha Japanese Bento Express, a business he started in 2015. on the responsibility. He has two or three part-time employees now, but they tend to come and go, he said. “I would like to do sake [Japanese rice wine] at the new location with snacks,” he said. “My food is mainly loved by Asian young people.” But others love it, too. He has many regulars who come down for lunch from the businesses located on the upper floors of his building. Many of his entrees are deep fried and marinated for a long time — up to eight hours. “It takes time,” he said. “Sometimes if people order a lot, we run out. I don’t want to mess up the flavor. My point is the flavor.” It’s about quality, not quantity for Nyein. He wants to make sure customers have a unique experience. It took him 25 years to perfect the flavors available at Aloha Japanese Bento Express. He’s not about to mess that up. He left Burma in 1990 when he saw that his older brother was making good money in Japan. The Japanese economy was roaring at the time. “At that time, I was working parttime in a restaurant,” Nyein said. “I was just into cooking because there were a lot of chefs. Every recipe seemed the same OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

but the flavors were different. How can they do that? I decided I wanted to cook like that.”

A little bit of luck He stayed in Japan until 2003 and received a good training in cooking Japanese cuisine. He left that restaurant when he won a visa lottery for the United States the same year. “I moved to Hawaii, because there’s a lot of Japanese people there and it’s closer to my country, Burma,” he said. “It’s also closer in climate. I was very interested in cooking the Hawaiian flavor in Hawaii. The food is easy and tasty.” The chef was in the Aloha state until 2015 when he decided he had saved enough to embark on opening his own place. They lived with a friend in Stone Mountain, Ga., He tried hard to find an appropriate storefront for opening a restaurant there, but real estate prices were too expensive. “I looked there for almost six months. Then one of my friends in Rochester invited me up. We wanted to visit Niagara Falls. We were introduced to someone from My Lucky Tummy [in Syracuse]. He introduced us to somebody from Northside Up.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

My Lucky Tummy is an exotic food endeavor that allows residents to buy a ticket for meals from around the world right in Syracuse. They hold events twice a year. Northside Up is an organization of North Side residents who are trying to develop their neighborhood and make it a better place to live. Nyein found the space on Salina Street and the rest is history. He started the restaurant without any funding help, though he declined to say how much he invested to start up the eatery.

“I’m not sure of the figure,” he said. “My wife, she knows everything.” Nyein had a simple explanation for why he settled down in Central New York — security. “Everyone wants to stay in their own country, but many leave. They feel insecure,” he said. The Nyeins have worked hard so far. In just two years, they have done well enough to think about opening more restaurants. But it took them 25 years to accumulate the knowledge and savings

to open their own place. Syracuse has been the beneficiary of that effort, but it may not be the only place in the years to come. “My food is not bad and people like the flavor,” Nyein said. “I’ve gotten good feedback. I would like to go to another state and bring this flavor. But this restaurant is my first one and I would like to keep it, too.”

By Matthew Liptak

Benny Barbieri From Italy Barbieri’s II Italian Diner 350 N. Salina St., Syracuse


enny Barbieri has been in the diner business on Syracuse’s north side for about 40 years now. It was not long after he came to the U.S. from Italy on Oct. 22, 1973 that he started his first one. Before coming to the U.S. and graduating from Henninger High School, he had been a farm boy in the old country. “The first diner I started was in 1977,” he said. “It was a different one called Two Guys from Italy.” Today, Barbieri runs Barbieri’s II Italian Diner at 350 N. Salina St. He has seen Syracuse’s Little Italy change quite a bit during his days at the helm. With the refugees has come new culture and new food. But poverty on the north side means some problems, too. “I used to like it a lot,” he said. “I don’t like it anymore. It’s tough. There’s a lot of competition. A lot of things have changed. I used to be open all night. When I first opened, things were safe. People were drinking, but now it’s drugs.” The 58-year-old said he is looking forward to retiring in a few years. None of his four daughters has expressed an interest in the diner, so he will likely sell it, he said. And he wouldn’t recommend OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

Benny Barbieri, originally from Italy, has run diners in the Syracuse area for about 40 years. He owns and operates, Barbieri’s II Italian Diner on Syracuse’s North Side. “I used to like it a lot,” he said. “I don’t like it anymore. It’s tough. There’s a lot of competition. going into the diner business anyway. “Back in the ‘70s,’80s, and ‘90s, there used to be a few diners and the same population,” he said. “Now it’s fewer people and a thousand more restaurants. You can get a cup of coffee anywhere. You can get pizza anywhere. You can get fish anywhere.”

Hanging onto tradition His is one of several Italian eateries holding on in Little Italy as the neighborhood changes around them. Where there once were mostly Italians and Germans, the neighborhood now features a mosaic of refugees and immigrants. Barbieri said the biggest transitions came about OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

15 years ago. He gets along well with his neighbors though, calling them hard workers. He has been a hard worker himself. As a young man, he worked three jobs to come up with the $3,000 it took to start his first diner. “I worked three jobs,” he said. “At Our Lady of Pompeii, I was cleaning. I was painting houses. And I was working at a restaurant. I worked in a restaurant as a dishwasher and I learned a little bit about how to cook. Then I was a cook. I figured I could do it now.” He has worked for so long that most of his overhead is paid off,


except for utilities and rent. He said that although business has gone down over the last few years, gross sales are fair at over $100,000 a year. Barbieri figures he’ll probably stay

around the area. “I’m fine with the winter and I don’t like the heat,” he said. “Florida is the humidity. I’d rather take the snow than the heat.”

Until that day though, when another little piece of Little Italy closes its doors, the former farmer plans to keep at it. “I keep plugging at it,” he said.

Chandrakanth Patel From India Mapleview Market 3207 U.S. Route 11, Maple View


handrakanth Patel and Allen Manwaring make kind of an odd couple. But the 46-year-old immigrant market owner from India and his 52-year-old general manager, who is a veteran grocer from Central New York, have teamed up to make the Mapleview Market, 3207 U.S. Route 11, Maple View, a bustling business. The intersection of Route 11 and state Route 104 has been the site of a grocery business for about 100 years. First, it was a general store owned by the Wilmer family that catered to that new-fangled invention, the automobile. Then in 1946, Italian immigrants bought it and eventually turned it into an IGA market. Its last reincarnation was Ostrander’s Village Market, which closed early in 2013. “I worked on South Salina Street in Syracuse at a convenience store,” Patel said. “I saw this store at the auction. Then me and my brother-in-law and my friend bought it at auction. We bought it cheap but we put lots of money into the building — maybe $100,000 or $150,000. I think this is 100 percent a good location. I think we’ll be in a good position within the next couple of months.” The market opened Dec. 1 and although things started generally slow, it had a good reputation for its meat offerings from the beginning. “When we did open, it was Christmas time,” Manwaring said. “We sold over 1,000 pounds of prime rib. A big reason for that was I got it out on Facebook and those customers that used to buy prime rib from me in Pulaski saw I was there and came right down here to get prime rib.”


Jagruti Patel and her husband Chandrakanth Patel, both originally from India, now own Mapleview Market in Oswego County. Next to them on the right is general manager Allen Manwaring. Most of the current customers are Manwaring’s former patrons, he said. He ran a store in Pulaski and also a store Oswego, Paul’s Big M. Manwaring is an outgoing guy who believes strongly in customer service. “It is No. 1,” he said. “All of us realize customer service is the key to the business — especially being small. You build relationships and not only do you sell them good products at a fair price, you become good friends and build loyalty.” The market is at a good location to catch local community interest. It’s about eight miles from the Tops in Pulaski and 12 miles from Walmart in Central Square. That said, Manwaring said the sales the market’s meat department could make or break the store. They have been successful in that regard, drawing in regular customers from as far away as Baldwinsville. “Some of it is through advertising,” he said. “The main thing that’s going to do it is word of mouth. That’s key. If you’ve got that 100 or 200 people talking to others about your meat that they’re serving on a grill, that’s what really will build us. You have 10 friends that you’re going to tell about our great steaks. Each of them has 10 friends. That’s really the key to good business. You trust what your friends tell you.” The word does seem to be getting out. Manwaring says the little market is drawing about 300 customers a day. They want to get that number up to around 1,000. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“Customers come from different places — Parish, Mexico, Pulaski, and Central Square,” Patel said.

‘Loss leader’ approach Right now, their marketing strategy is to push one product through advertising at a huge discount that they hope will bring customers in, who will then buy additional items. “Instead of going and putting 15 or 20 items out there that you’re not making diddly on, feature one hot item to get people to come to the store,” Manwaring said. “The prices are very fair here. The meat prices are probably 25 to 30 percent below the big supermarkets. Meats are the big draw and even the grocery prices are very comparable.” Mapleview Market faces challenges that the Patels might not be accustomed to. In India, Chandrakanth Patel was a wholesale and retail seller of tea. Manwaring said that, in entering the grocery market in Central New York, the family has entered one of the most competitive business arenas in the country, with a wide variety of places customers can chose from. If hard work has anything to do with it though, Mapleview Market may have those competitors beat. “Right now, we’re working seven days a week,” Manwaring said. “It’s OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

because we got to get the thing off the ground.” A bit of fatigue was evident in red eyes and a tired demeanor, but their enthusiasm for the job ahead hasn’t waned. The Patels, Manwaring and their employees want to see Mapleview Market grow and they want to make it successful. Manwaring reflected on the work

ethic of his boss. “Here, I think they have such a good work ethic because they just see the opportunity and know that if they work hard here in America, they can do anything with their life,” Manwaring said. “In some other countries, there’s not the opportunity that there is here. That instills a big work ethic in them coming over. Life is hard in other

countries. Sometimes I don’t think we respect what we have here in America as American born and raised, growing up here over the last 75 to 100 years. I don’t think we respect what we have here like immigrants respect what we have here. We kind of take it for granted.”

By Matthew Liptak

Roselinda Abbey From Ghana African and Caribbean Central Market 344 N. Salina St., Syracuse


oselinda Abbey has been straddling two continents for years. The 40-something Ghana native travels to Africa from Syracuse fairly frequently, usually on business. She came to America in her teens and now calls Syracuse and her African and Caribbean Central Market at 344 N. Salina St. home. “I like Syracuse,” she said. “The pace is slow. It’s a mid-size place. It’s not like New York City. I think the cost of living here is good. I think Syracuse people are very nice. I love Upstate.” Abbey is practically a born saleswoman. Her grandmother taught her how to work in her family’s market back in Ghana, before Roselinda could even run the register. “I lived in the market and I’m still living there,” she joked. She came to Syracuse earlier this century from New York City. “Coming to Syracuse, I realized they didn’t have any African store,” she said. “I was coming from New York City. There’s a big African store there. I decided to put one here. I started very small on 740 N. Salina St. By the grace of God, we’re here.” She started small, but business has grown with the growing immigrant and refugee community in Syracuse. When once she bought only one box of items OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

Roselinda Abbey owns and operates African and Caribbean Central Market at 344 N. Salina St. in Syracuse. “It’s been great. It is hard, hard work but I can’t complain” she said about running her business. to sell from her distributors downstate, now she buys three. Her market is larger than many of the other ethnic markets on Syracuse’s north side. It offers a variety of items that customers might otherwise only get from shops on the African continent.

Well-rounded offerings “It’s a big difference,” she said. “We’re big time on fish — all types of fish, and meat that you can’t find elsewhere, like goat meat. We eat an assortment of meats. Most of the stuff I import. You won’t find any in a regular store.” She wants her market to be a home away from home for the immigrants resettling in Central New York, but she is open for everybody. “Being a small market that I am, I think I have a fair business,” she said. “We’re like a family. My customers are like family. We can still eat like how we used to eat at home. That’s the main thing. I know 95 percent of my customers and they know me.” Abbey declined to reveal what her gross sales were, but she does have two part-time employees not including her and her mother, who also work at the market. They work hard seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

She explained her work ethic. “We come to America to have the American dream,” she said. “Normally, we’ve heard so much about America. We think money literally grows on the trees. Once you get here, some of them start a business. Some of them do whatever it takes to enjoy the American dream. “It’s hard to go back. We’re very close family people —Africans, but when we come here we learn the American ways. We come here with goals. We set goals for ourselves. It’s not just to eat and sleep, but go further. That’s what makes the African community work very hard.” Although she works hard, Abbey didn’t explain a particular strategy for growing the market, but it has grown — organically. Whenever a customer comes in and she doesn’t have an item he or she wants, she seeks to get it for them. So her stock has grown into hundreds if not thousands of products for sale. Abbey doesn’t have big ambitions for her market, though. She lets her faith and decades of experience in the business world on two continents guide her decisions. “It’s been great,” she said. “It is hard, hard work but I can’t complain. If it is God’s plan for me to expand, then yes. If it’s God’s plan for me to stay like this, then I’m grateful. I take it as it comes.” 81

really is not enough space. Our production capacity is limited because we don’t have enough space to be able to do that. So we are in the process of purchasing the former McDonald’s Fashions building across from us on West First Street. It’s significantly more space that will allow us to do a great deal more of what we originally had envisioned.

Amy Lear

‘It’s exciting, scary and frustrating,” she says about moving to a new location continued from page 11 worth the investment. To date, that was the only loan we’ve taken.

hired some really fantastic people. I’ve had some really great employees, several of who have been with me for years. But I’m not the most organized person, so it’s sometimes difficult for me to keep all the balls in the air. As we grow, it’s easier to delegate certain things. We certainly have trained several people in the production aspect, so I’m not responsible for all the candy making at this point and I’m not responsible for every bit of any particular aspect.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your occupation? A: The candy business is a fun and happy business. Like any small business owner, there’s stress involved, but it’s a whole lot different than any other occupation. I go to candy conventions with candy people and they are the happiest people you’ll every meet. I got to other conventions for other industries, and people are complaining about all kinds of things. We go to candy conventions and everybody is having a great time. It’s a happy business. People come into the store happy and they leave happy. I really like it when someone comes in and tells me that their gift was just the perfect gift, or the products we made for their wedding favors or their baby shower gifts or party favors were perfect and were well received.

Q: What gives your business a competitive edge over others? A: The quality of our products gives us a competitive edge, hands down. Fifty years ago, you only bought candy in a candy store. Today, they are in every grocery store aisle and every drug store, gas station, Walmart and big box store. There’s candy and chocolate everywhere. We provide an exceptional product that is better than the mass marketed products that you are going to get on the shelves.

Q: What were your foremost challenges in launching and sustaining the business? A: Probably the biggest challenge for me is wearing all the hats, whether it is the candy maker, the merchandiser and the human resources person. I’ve been very fortunate with staff and I’ve

Q: What does the future hold for Man in the Moon Candies? A: The location we have now offers excellent street frontage, it’s fantastic being inside Canal Commons, and we work well with other businesses and feed off each other. However, one of the challenges we have is that it is limited because there



Q: Any plans for this new location? A: One of the things that we’re really looking forward to is being able to restore that building to a retail location. It’s got beautiful display windows, and I am looking forward to what we are going to be able to do there. It will increase our retail space, production and will allow us to have more visibility so you can see some of the production processes. We will also be able to do factory tours. We get a lot of requests from different groups like the Boy and Girl Scouts to do tours. We really don’t have the capability to do that here. Q: How comfortable are you with the move? A: It’s exciting, scary and frustrating. There’s a lot more paperwork than I ever dreamed of. After the purchase, it will probably be three to four months of remodeling and construction. We don’t have a projected opening date yet, but it should be sometime in February or March. We currently have approximately 2,000 square feet, and will be moving into a three-story building that has a total of about 6,000 square feet. The basement is ideal for storage. Q: You also own a separate business called Promise Me Chocolate. How did that come about? A: In 2012, we purchased a business called Promise Me Chocolate. It’s really a very unique line of artisan chocolates with a gem and jewelry-themed design. Stacy VanWaldick, an art teacher at Oswego High School, started it as her master’s thesis. She wanted to make chocolate rings, but there was a higher demand for other products. She expanded slightly, and got a lot of national attention, but began to grow her family and was ready to give up her small business. We had been doing some limited production for her prior to the sale. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

Success Story

By Lou Sorendo

Chase Enterprises From being a lawn mower repairman to owning an extensive commercial property maintenance and construction company, Allen Chase continues his evolution as successful entrepreneur


hen Allen Chase was 15 years old, he started a lawn mower repair shopin my father ’s

garage.” Today, the business he owns — Chase Enterprises in Scriba — features a fleet of over 70 specialized equipped vehicles and more than 70 employees. The commercial property maintenance and construction company has taken off in recent years after entering the herbicide spraying business. As a result, the business has achieved annual sales growth of over 35 percent per year since 2014. Chase described his business journey as an evolution. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

“I always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” he said. From his modest beginning as a lawn mower repairman, Chase started to snowplow neighbors’ driveways, and then parking lots of a local gas station and elementary school. “It kind of evolved, and eventually I made a real business of it,” he said. Snow removal was “our main game” back in the late 1990s, Chase said. “I was working elsewhere as a paramedic and things of that nature, and still plowing driveways for extra money,” he said. “We decided to start doing commercial work, and began looking for banks and such.” After doing a good job for customOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

ers, Chase was asked to do lawn care in the summer. That led to his first big job at Lowe’s when it first opened in Oswego. After earning their confidence, Lowe’s wanted him to sweep its parking lot and take care of landscape beds. However, the company’s biggest growth came about five or six years ago when he got into doing herbicide spraying for several local power generating companies. The tasks involved spraying electrical yards to keep weeds down. “I found that to be a niche business and there wasn’t a lot of competition,” he said. “It certainly seemed interesting. We 83

started to pursue that and began to do herbicide spraying at airport runways, wastewater treatment plants and 911 towers,” he said. Chase Enterprises now does spraying for municipal and industrial properties, including railroad tracks and rail yards, storage yards and manufacturing facilities. “There was a steep block for people to get into the business because of the insurances involved, training and certifications,” he said. “Not everybody and their brother were doing it.” Nonetheless, that has become Chase’s primary anchor of what it does. One of Chase’s bigger jobs was spraying guardrails on every county road in Onondaga County, one of 17 counties in New York state the company does business for. “We stumbled onto that job, and I thought, ‘If Onondaga County does this, I wonder who else does it?’ So we started picking up the phone and calling different counties, and before you know it, we’re the No. 1 provider for that county. It got to the point now where our name is out there enough where they are calling us.” It has gone multi-state with the service, and has crews working for PennDOT in Pennsylvania spraying all roadsides with herbicides to keep weeds down around guardrails and signs. The business covers 25 counties in Pennsylvania and the entire cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. “Probably five years ago when we really started to spike and when we crossed the $1 million threshold in gross sales, then suddenly we were bidding on these larger projects that take 30, 60, 90 or 120 days to get paid on, and you need to carry that money,” he said. That’s when Chase decided to partner up with NBT Bank. “They have been awesome and I have only great things to say about them,” he said. “They have been easy to deal with and carry our credit now.” Chase said that the business is the largest industrial vegetation sprayer based in New York state by far. “I don’t know anybody that’s even close to us in scale,” he said. Before spraying, snow removal constituted about 75 percent of what Chase did money wise. The other 25 percent was lawn care, sweeping, asphalt maintenance, striping and cleaning out gutters. Today, herbicide spraying is nearly 90 percent of the business’ total revenue 84

Chase Enterprise sprays the Seneca River in 2014 to eliminate the invasive water chestnut plant. Air-boat spraying is just one of the ways the Oswego company has branched out recently. File photo. dollar wise. “If we did $5 million this year, $4 million came from herbicide spraying,” he said. Chase, 45, lives in New Haven and is originally from Palermo. His wife Allison came aboard to handle human resources when the business was getting into herbicide spraying. The couple has three sons.

Overhead advantages Chase has literally gone from an Oswego-based businessman who was worried over whether he could do jobs in Fulton and Central Square to someone who has a 25-man crew in Philadelphia and another 20 workers in Pittsburgh. This has all occurred over the last six or seven years. Chase Enterprises has the distinct advantage of having a full fabrication shop and the ability to build its own equipment. “These trucks that are used for herbicide spraying are unique. You don’t go to a Chevy dealer to buy them,” he said. “They really have to be custom built. There’s some custom builders out there, but it takes six to eight months to get one built and they are super expensive.” “Again, there are a lot of obstacles to get into the industry, but we build everything here. We build all our own trucks and we’re building our own spray systems. It is a good fit,” he said. “I went from being the salesman, mechanic, plow operator and lawn mower operator, and in some ways I still OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

am that. I have done probably every role in the company and at times still have to. My role has certainly become much different. I’m not the guy that’s fixing the broken hydraulic hose and things of that nature,” he said. Chase said the one part of running the operation that he hasn’t quite completely understood is the business end, or behind-the-scenes aspects such as insurance, taxes and regulations. A few years ago, the business hired Barry Trimble to initially work as a consultant. Trimble retired from C&S Companies in Syracuse and bought the Eis House in Mexico that his wife and son run. “He was looking for something to do, and actually read an article about us in Oswego County Business magazine,” Chase said. “He emailed me and said if I ever was looking for a consultant to let him know.” Trimble is now working full-time for Chase. “Operationally, I have a huge understanding of everything we do, but where we really lacked was on that business side. He has helped negotiate with insurance carriers and kept our comp rates down, and all the other things that are important,” he said. Chase said lean overhead is the company’s biggest competitive advantage. “The lean overhead comes largely from being self performers,” he said. He said expenses associated with the business include equipment, personnel, supplies and materials such as herbicides. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

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. In 2015 it 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. File photo. On the herbicide end, the company is developing relationships with manufacturers to be able to buy direct and buy in large volumes. “You try to do whatever you can,” he said. The business is also a licensed automobile dealer, and buys vehicles through dealer networks or purchases flooded vehicles. “We put them back together and save a dramatic amount of money that way,” he said. For instance, he will buy a 2016 Ford heavy truck that was in New Orleans and was damaged by floodwaters. “We bring that into our shop and take care of what needs to be taken care of for a fraction of the cost,” he said. “We’re putting these vehicles on the road to do this work while our competitors are spending big money. We’re also in an office trailer in Oswego while they are in sky rises in Philadelphia, Pa.” Finding the right workers is Chase’s biggest challenge. The business has an $80,000 a week payroll. “Recruiting and retaining good help is by far the biggest problem. It’s tough,” he said. “Finding help is tough. We try to take care of them the best we can when we find a good one,” he said. “In Pennsylvania, we have developed relationships with them and hired right out of that area. We have enough work in Philadelphia that my entire Philadelphia staff lives there,” he said. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

“We put ads on Craigslist and ‘shake the tree’. We got a mailing list of every certified herbicide applicator in the state and we literally send 3,000 letters out” seeking help. In Philadelphia, the business was able to recruit people to work there that live right in the area. “We pay them well, provide health insurance and we contribute to a 401K, all those types of programs,” he said. “That’s worked well. We have more trouble finding help here than we do there.” “I try to find people with a good attitude and good mechanical aptitude,” he said.

Pride in BOCES Chase Enterprises works with the Center for Innovation, Technology & Information, the former BOCES, and takes on interns from there. “I’m a graduate of there, and I barely made it out of high school. I probably only graduated high school because of BOCES,” he said. “That was my thing, using my hands to work on engines. So I’ve had a good relationship with them for years, and we actually sponsor a couple of scholarships for young entrepreneurs,” he said. “It’s tough. There is a huge skills gap, and I don’t think it’s just in this county. [Television personality and commentator] Mike Rowe talks about it every day of the skills gap in our nation,” he added. Chase said there are programs intact OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

that are geared to steer prospective unskilled workers toward training and jobs. “Are there programs? In my opinion, yes there our programs. But our society has just become so lax. Young kids in the community just don’t want to do anything. Maybe it’s been that way forever,” he said. “I’d rather hire a 50-year-old guy than a 25 year old,” he said. “They come along and you’ll find good workers, but unemployment is too easy. “We’ve taught our kids that you really don’t have to work because somebody will take care of you. That’s not just Oswego County; it’s the whole country,” he added. Chase said he chuckles when he sees messages that say New York state loves small business.’ “The red tape, regulations and taxes are just unbearable,” he said. Chase owned and operated a bus and trolley division of Chase Transportation Group for several years. “It was New York state that drove us out with tort laws and liability. It drove all the insurance companies away from wanting to insure that business,” he said. At the same time, Chase was working in Pennsylvania and looking at the difference in what it took to operate that business in Pennsylvania versus New York. “It’s like day and night. The regulations and stuff in New York are so stringent that it drives companies out of business, and we were one of them. That company was doing well. It was making money until the amount of regulations and insurance issues” shut it down, he said. The company has working supervisors in each of its main areas in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the Williamsport area. Chase is looking to establish more of a middle management team, and is looking to hire a regional manager for Pennsylvania next spring. Chase does more than $2 million in spraying in Pennsylvania and expects to increase that in 2018 by another $1 million. “I refuse to quit. That’s one of the things I instill in our guys. Failure is not an option. This has to be done. Shake the tree and figure out an answer and solution. When people come here to work, they learn very quickly. Generally, when people run into a hurdle, they just want to throw their arms up and say, ‘I can’t do it’. That’s just not an option and you have to figure out a way.”


Robert Glazer

What I Learned On My Summer Vacation ‘A vacation away from the job is a great time to think more creatively and contemplate strategically about the future of your business. I highly recommend it!’


9 lessons to make you a better leader

just returned from 10 days traveling aboard an RV through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons with my family. It was an off-the-grid trip that recharged my batteries and gave me enjoyable, quality time with my wife and kids. This time off also led to several breakthrough business ideas and lessons that I thought I would share with you:


Use your Built-In Camera

The human eye is estimated to have the equivalent of about 480 megapixels, far more than any camera we use. Too often we don’t take advantage of this built-in super HD camera and rely instead on technology to watch key life events. We worry more about preserving the moment than enjoying it, ultimately taking Rip-off and Duplicate “R&D” is a widely-used term in entrepre- way more videos and pictures than we will ever neurs’ organization. Instead of the traditional be able to watch or enjoy. I’ll admit, I took a meaning of Research and Development, it lot of videos and pictures during this trip and stands for “Rip-off and Duplicate.” The idea got my share of “Dad, not another picture” is that, rather than trying to figure it all out on groans. Upon reflection, the most memorable your own or reinvent the wheel (which many moments of the trip were often when I just entrepreneurs are known to do), it’s better enjoyed it. This included our early morning to find process and best practices that have encounter with a herd of Bison crossing the road and witnessing a solar proven successful (and eclipse, experiences that no Guest Columnist unsuccessful) and then camera could truly capture modify them to fit your needs and circumstances. This is exactly what the magnificence of. Deeply engrained memmy wife did in planning for our Wyoming ories are created by engaging all our senses trip. She collected itineraries from several and I am going to work on doing a better job friends who had taken the same trip before of watching events with my own eyes and and learned what they liked and what they creating more organic memories. regretted doing/not doing. By adapting their Following the Herd experiences for our trip, we saved a lot of time Sometimes, crowds do know best. On a and were able to pack in a lot of wonderful few poorly marked tourist sites, we decided adventures in our 10 days together. to follow the crowd and it led us where we needed to go. That said, this should be done Don’t Overlook the Backyard A few months ago, while on a flight, my with caution. There were times when we saw a daughter met a mother and daughter from bunch of people pulled over on the road with Australia who had been traveling the entire binoculars and glasses. When we asked them world for six months. In her conversations what there was to see, they responded that they with them, they shared that their favorite had pulled over because they saw everyone place was Yellowstone National Park in Wy- else had pulled over. Blindly following without oming. This is not the first time we’ve heard asking the right questions can lead you astray. this. I’m continuously surprised how many Less Can be More families we’ve met from Asia and Europe on Living with four other people in 200 this trip who have traveled so far to get here and we had overlooked it in favor of places square feet of space for 10 days gave me some further away, even though we live so much important perspectives. First, I was reminded closer. In looking forward and seeking the that happiness is really not connected to ma“new,” we often overlook or take for granted terial goods. Having less things (clothes, toys, the things that are in our own backyard, be it gadgets, cars, shoes, bags, etc.) can be very places, people or experiences. For example, liberating, especially as we traveled each day we might conduct a nationwide search for a with all our possessions. Along our journey, we new employee while overlooking an existing met many people who had sold their homes team member from within our organization and belongings and were now happily living in who might be a perfect fit for the role we’re their RV. They were fully mobile and enjoying life to the fullest. Although I didn’t bring that looking to fill.




is the founder and managing director of Acceleration Partners and also the author of the best-selling book, “Performance Partnerships: The Checkered Past, Shifting Present, and Exciting Future of Affiliate Marketing.” For more information, visit, www. 86




many clothes, I could have brought half of what I did and been fine.


Constraints Improve Creativity

Having constraints (space, monetary, etc.) forces you to be much more creative in solving problems and finding solutions, rather than just throwing money or resources at a problem. For example, we used duct tape and bungee cords in a myriad of different ways and a highlight of the trip was when we made an ice cream cookie pie in a frying pan over an open fire that will become a family tradition. We also got creative about recycling and waste, which you become aware of when you have to travel with your trash.


Over-Scheduling is Over-Rated

Somehow, we have come to associate being busy as being better. We spend our weekends running from activity to activity and have a hard time saying no, something that we often carry over into our vacations. I’m totally guilty of this. I tend to try and pack in way too much in a short amount of time; I over-schedule and then regret it. With only 10 days to enjoy two of the most captivating parts of US, we knew we needed some sort of plan — especially since we had kids with us. And while we scheduled hikes, swims and other fun excursions, some of the best moments of the trip were the unplanned ones. This included the kids’ playing cards on my son’s birthday while looking for bears at sunrise on the side of the road; roasting s’mores; and playing “do you remember” from past vacations. Often, the desire to see and do everything ends up diluting the overall experience. We have decided to cut back on some activities this fall so that we can dedicate more of our weekends to “family time” instead of “divide and conquer” time.


Dare to Delegate

This entire trip would not have been possible had I not coordinated with team members, delegated my responsibilities and created processes and escalation paths that others could follow in my absence. For the very first time, I made the decision to completely walk away from my email while on vacation, something that I was nervous about doing. I even removed my work email from my phone. Making and acting on the decision to truly un-plug forced me to create long-overdue delegation processes. Was it a perfect process? No. But one should never expect a new process to be. Was it OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

worth it? Absolutely. Now, I know what worked and what didn’t so I can improve the process for next time. One thing that this email-unplugging experiment definitely did was allow me to see the value of permanently changing how I interact with my email going forward.


Detox from Digital

Related to No. 8 above, this was my first real digital detox. As with any detox, I experienced some withdrawal for the first day or two, but it subsided quickly by the third day. It also helped that most of Yellowstone doesn’t have cell phone coverage, so there really wasn’t even an opportunity to cheat; nor did I want to. It was a welcome change. There is a real fear that our technology has become an addiction and that our brains crave the dopamine in the same away as other stimulants. Without the constant distraction, I was able to read and write more attentively. It was also really nice to focus on and engage with my kids, play games and simply enjoy each other’s company. A vacation away from the job is a great time to think more creatively and contemplate strategically about the future of your business. I highly recommend it!

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Best Business Directory AUCTION & REAL ESTATE Dean Cummins: Over 35 years experience. All types of auctions & real estate. Route 370, Cato. 315-246-5407

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. Call 315-638-4444.

AUTO SALES & SERVICE Bellinger Auto Sales & Service. Third generation business. Used cars, towing, auto repair & accessories, 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 598-8200. 1860 State Route 3 W. in Fulton.

BUILDING SUPPLIES Burke’s Home Center. The complete building and supply center. Two locations for your convenience: 38 E. Second St. in Oswego (343-6147); and 65 N. Second St. in Fulton (592-2244). Free deliveries.

COPY + PRINT Port City Copy Center. Your one-stop for all of your copy + print needs. 52 West Bridge St., Oswego. 216-6163.

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

DEMOLITION Fisher Companies. Commercial & residential demolition. Great prices. Fully insured. Free estimates. 46 years of experience. Call Fisher Companies at 315-6523773 or visit


Septic and tank pumping. 691 county Route 3, Fulton, 13069. Call 593-2472.

GLASS 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 8-4, Fri 8-noon., 840 Hannibal St., Fulton, NY 13069, 593-7913.

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

INSURANCE & ACCOUNTING Canale Insurance & Accounting Service for all your insurance, accounting, payroll and tax needs. Locally owned and operated. Call 315-343-4456

INVESTIGATIVE SERVICES Lie detection, EXAMS, matrimonial, criminal, custody. Call P.I.B. Investigations at 315-952-1118. Director: W. Malcolm Plummer.

JEWELERS 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.

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.

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

Gilbert Excavating. Septic systems. Gravel & top soil.

LANDSCAPING 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. 315-5986025 (cell 315-591-4303).

LUMBER White’s Lumber. Four locations to serve you. Pulaski: state Route 13, 298-6575; Watertown: N. Rutland Street, 788-6200; Clayton: James Street, 686-1892; Gouverneur: Depot Street, 287-1892. D & D Logging and Lumber. Hardwood lumber sales. Buyer of logs and standing timber. Very competitive pricing. Call 315-593-2474. Located at 1409 county Route 4, Central Square, NY 13036.

OUTBOARD MOTORS Arney’s Marina. Route 14 Sodus Point, NY. Honda fourstroke motors, 2 hp to 250 hp. Repower your boat with the best! Call 483-9111 for more information.

OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT BJ’s Outdoor Power Equipment/ Sales & Service. 3649 state Route 3, Fulton, NY. We sell Ferris, Echo, Central Boiler, and Simplicity products. Call 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 or call 415-9127.

QUILT SHOP Quality fabrics, Notions, Classes for everyone. Explore a new hobby. The Robins Nest, 116 W. Broadway, Fulton, NY 315598-1170.

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By Lou Sorendo

Ronald Woodward Sr. Fulton mayor discusses the creation of a Nestle Co. museum on former factory site Q.: We understand that all but one building at the former Nestle Co. site will be demolished. Your idea is to convert it into a Nestle-related museum. Where is the building located? A.: It’s the old cocoa shell room on the Burt Street side of the site where they staged beans. The building needs cosmetic work but is in good shape. Q.: Why do you think it is important to create a Nestle-themed museum? A.: It’s an important reminder to the public and to the politicians on the state level to understand what we had, what we lost and why we lost it. There wouldn’t be anybody you can go to in Fulton who is in their late 40s or early 50s that didn’t work at Nestle, or had a family member who did. Former Fulton Mayor Daryl Hayden worked there, as well as his father Bernard and his two brothers. Back then, you could get out of school, go to work at Nestle for your whole life, build a house, send your kids to college, buy a car, have health insurance and a retirement plan. What have we got now? We got health insurance that everybody is begging for, and New York state has driven out all the manufacturers that had the good paying jobs. Now they want to raise the minimum wage for the

service sector. They would have been smarter to keep what we had. That would have helped solve the health care crisis. It’s just frustrating that all this was done just so somebody could keep a career down in Albany. The museum will be quite visible and it is estimated that 24,000 vehicles a day use state Route 481 through the city. Q.: Do you believe Nestle itself should feel obligated to support a museum? A.: I think morally there is an obligation on Nestle’s part. I think once we get the museum done and we do an ad campaign in Fulton, there will be a lot of people that have memorabilia to contribute. I would like to see a chronological timeline from start to finish. Both our planning committee chairman Mike Malash and I are in contact with Nestle. I would like to dub it the “Birthplace of Nestle” because this is where is tall started. Q.: What are some of your most vivid memories of growing up in the Nestle era? A.: I can remember during sum-

mers as a teenager — I’m 68 now — when we would go to the Oswego Stevedoring to see if we could get a job unloading cocoa beans from boats. Those ships came 30 to 40 feet out of the water after we got done. There were two guys on 180-pound bags. They paid really good money, but then the beans started coming in by rail and later by truck. Times changed. I saw a lot of people who were negative because Nestle closed, but you know, they provided stability in this community to a lot of families for more than 100 years. They didn’t leave Fulton because they wanted to. They left because they couldn’t compete here, in all fairness. Manufacturing in New York state is pretty much dead. With the way workers’ compensation and power costs, the state can’t compete with other regions. Both Nestle and Bird’s Eye left Fulton for Wisconsin, where workers’ compensation costs for one worker is $1,000 compared to $12,000 in New York state. In addition, power in Wisconsin is 40 percent cheaper.

Mayor Woodward on the site of Nestle in Septemeber. 90



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OCBM Issue #152 Oct-Nov 17  
OCBM Issue #152 Oct-Nov 17