BUSINESS $4.50 $4.50
August / September 2019
How Fishing Has Become a Major Draw n Weâ€™ve asked business owners: How hard is it to find qualified workers in the region? See what they say
Sports fishing is key to the tourism industry in Oswego County, generating millions in revenues. That was not the case 50 years ago. We trace the roots of an industry that continues to grow
Tourism Special: 5 Daycations in Central New York
CNYâ€™s Business Magazine
WE CARE LIKE FAMILY
We are growing and have exciting career opportunities in the health care industry. To join our talented, professional team, please visit one of our care facilities career pages for available positions.
Become a part of Our Family!
Life in balance.
A company philosophy that speaks to a continual process of individual and collective development to improve our well-being, quality of life and personal relationships.
17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 315-342-4790 | www.MorningstarCares.com
To provide people in our community with healthcare, customer services, support & employment to achieve their individual best quality of life.
RESIDENTIAL CARE CENTER
To redefine skilled nursing care through successful team development, use of technology, progressive service and being a strong community partner.
Registered Nurses Licensed Nurses Certified Nursing Assistants Physical Therapists Occupational Therapists Speech Therapists Social Workers Recreational Therapists Dietitians
Nurse Aides Housekeeping Laundry Finance Maintenance Medical Records
220 Tower Street, Waterville, NY 13480 315-841-4156 | www.WatervilleCares.com
Assisted Living Community
132 Ellen Street, Oswego, NY 13126 315-343-0880 | www.TheGardensByMorningstar.com
Rehabilitation and Nursing Center
100 St. Camillus Way, Fairport, NY 14450 585-377-4000 | www.AaronManor.com
Apple Cider Freshly Pressed all year No Preservatives added. All natural
Bread â€¢ Doughnuts
September 21st & 22nd
Wine Tasting AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019 • Issue 163
PROFILE PRABAKAR KOTHANDARAMAN Dean P. K. just moved from the NYC area to lead SUNY Oswego School of Business. His recipe to lead: “Constantly strategizing, constantly making plans on how to execute those strategies, constantly motivating people, and constantly listening.” page 15
Find out how the Salmon River Fish Hatchery helped make Oswego County a sports fishing top 56 destination
Special on Tourism
• CNY economy relying more on tourism dollars • Geological tourism: What keeps visitors coming back? • Ready to open a B&B? • Area leaders push for a Lake Ontario marine sanctuary
Daycations in CNY Being located in Central New York means access to a multitude of day trips. We list five of them....................... 20 Rent A Chicken Business in Hastings offers chicken rental for those who want to experience fresh eggs but not the long-term commitment to raising chickens.............................................................36 Open For Business Meet four new entrepreneurs who recently opened a small business in Oswego......................................................49 Fighting for Fulton City of Fulton mayoral candidates share their views on economic development initiatives................................ 70 Green Tech Comes to Volney Attis Industries, which recently acquired the ethanol and grain malting plant from Sunoco, has green plans for its Riverview Business Park campus................... 76
• How providers attract top talent • Health care via telemedicine triples in visits • A new super spa is coming to Oswego • Wellness in workplace
From humble beginnings in the Port City, Louis DeMent grows third-generation family pasta sauce business Giovanni Foods Co. into key player on food manufacturing scene .............................................. 89
DEPARTMENTS On the Job How hard is it to find qualified workers locally?...................9 How I Got Started: Nadine Barnett, owner of Dusting Divas.................12 Where is Sandra Scott Rio de Janeiro, Brazil............................................18
Newsmakers .................................................................................................28 Business Updates..............................................................................................................................38 Economic Trends OOC recognizes those who make a difference .......46
Rainbow Shores — the restaurant helps put Pulaski on CNY’s 34 gastronomic map 4
My Turn Effects of #MeToo go beyond the workplace........................54 Guest Columnist Jamie Persse: Live 2 Lead CNY coming Oct. 11........94 Last Page
Bill Drake on WRVO FM’s 50th anniversary......................98
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Five Amazing and Successful Speakers and Trainers Live2Lead is a half-day leadership, and personal growth event hosted LIVE in Atlanta, GA, on October 11, 2019. This simulcast event is an annual leadership gathering developed by The John Maxwell Company and hosted by AdvanceCNY. Join us with the "Who's Who" of local business and community leaders as we host the 6th annual Live2Lead. This day will prove to be an exciting day of growth, as John C. Maxwell and other world class, high caliber speakers teach relevant and applicable leadership tools to the audience Hosted at: The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center 8:00am Continental Breakfast 8:45am Kick Off 1:15pm Partners Recognition 1:30pm Leaders Lunch and CNY Connection
Join other Business Leaders and partner with us, for this world class event TODAY! Visit AdvanceCNY.com or Call (315) 308-0090
Central New Yorkâ€™s Only Business Magazine OswegoCountyBusiness.com
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
AdvanceCNY...........................5 Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home...................10 ALPS Professional Services.31 ARISE......................................88 Bond, Schoeneck & King, Attorneys at Law..............39 Borio’s Restaurant.................45 Breakwall Asset Mgmt.........17 Broadwell Companies..........61 Brookfield Renewable Power.................................75 Buckingham Brothers...........33 Builder’s FirstSource............29 Burke’s Home Center...........30 C & S Companies..................99 Canale’s Italian Cuisine........45 Canale’s Ins.& Acc 1 of 2......29 Canale’s Ins.& Acc 2 of 2......30 Central Square Apple Festival...................26 Century 21 Galloway Realty...............30 Century 21 Leah Signature..................16 Chase Enterprises..................93 CNY Comm. Foundation.......6 ConnextCare..........................79 Crouse Hospital.......................7 David Webber........................73 Dr. Tesoriero Chiropractic....88 Dusting Divas........................41 Eis House................................45
Advertisers Exelon Generation.................53 Financial Partners of Upstate..........................11 Finger Lakes Musical Theatre................20 Fitzgibbons Agency..............33 Fort Ontario............................27 Foster Funeral Home............82 Freedom Real Estate.............73 Fulton Community Development Agency......55 Fulton Savings Bank.............11 Fulton Taxi..............................75 Gartner Equipment...............48 Greater Oswego Fulton Chamber of Commerce...22 Harbor Eye Associates..........87 Harbor Lights Chem Dependency......................87 Herkimer County Fair..........26 Howard Hanna Real Estate.........................16 J P Jewelers.............................15 Johnston Gas..........................30 Laser Transit...........................61 Local 43 (NECA EBEW).......93 Longley Brothers...................73
Loren Tavolaro—Certified Health Coach....................39 LW Emporium Co-Op..........27 Mimi’s Drive Inn...................45 Mitchell Speedway Printing..............................33 Mr. Sub....................................45 Northern Ace.........................29 NYS Old Tyme Fiddlers Assocaition........................22 NYS Parks............................100 NYS Parks – Marine Services Bureau................................65 Ol’ Factory Soups & Scents.................23 Old Forge................................21 Old Forge Lake Cruises........28 Ontario Orchards....................3 Operation Oswego Co..........99 Oswego Community Development Office...........8 Oswego County FCU............32 Oswego Co. Mutual Ins........15 Oswego Health .....................63 Oswego History Collab........23 Oviatt Hearing & Balance....81 Pathfinder Bank.....................41 Prevention Network.............82
Rainbow Shores Restaurant...45 RanMar Tractor......................29 River’s End Bookstore..........23 RiverHouse Restaurant........45 Riverside Artisans.................22 RPM Raceway........................25 Rudy’s.....................................22 Salvatore Lanza Law.............10 SBDC – Small Business Development Center........73 Scriba Electric.........................31 Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum.............................24 Sorbello and Sons Inc...........10 Spereno Construction...........31 Springside at Seneca Hill.....88 SUNY Oswego – MBA Program.............................17 SUNY Oswego, Office of Business and Community Development....................39 SUNY Upstate........................85 The Gardens at Morningstar....................2 The Medicine Place...............87 Travel Leaders.......................11 Valley Locksmith...................32 Vashaw’s Collision................33 Volney Multiplex...................30 WD Malone............................31 White’s Lumber & Building Supply...............31 WRVO.....................................96
John & Kim Mezzalingua My experience as a student, parent and board member at Manlius Pebble Hill School (MPH) has been lifechanging. It ignited in me, and now my children, a lifelong love of learning and a commitment to addressing problems creatively. My wife Kim and I established a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation to make our giving easy. We make donations to our fund when it makes good tax sense, and the Community Foundation staff ensures our money is stewarded well. When it’s time to make grants out of our fund, the experience is hassle-free.
John and Kim Mezzalingua stand with their children in the new Kathleen and Daniel ’56C Mezzalingua Arts and Athletics Complex at Manlius Pebble Hill, a capital project supported through their fund.
Read more of the Mezzalingua’s story at CNYCF.org/Mezzalingua
315.422.9538 | C N YC F. O R G
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Nationally Recognized Stroke Care. Say “Take Me to Crouse.” As one of just 10 hospitals in New York State to have earned Comprehensive Stroke Center certification, Crouse Health is proud to provide the full range of stroke care services.
Minutes Matter Comprehensive stroke centers are the best-equipped medical centers in a geographical area that can treat any kind of stroke or stroke complication. At Crouse, receiving fast stroke diagnosis and treatment starts even before patients arrive at the Emergency Room. Once on the scene, our Emergency Medical Services partners start communicating with our ER and stroke teams, providing information vital for immediate treatment. Working together, we’re consistently meeting — and exceeding — aggressive door-totreatment times that surpass the U.S. average. Crouse provides options for post-stroke rehabilitation, as well as continuing education to patients, our EMS partners and the community about the risks factors and signs of stroke.
Advanced Stroke Rescue Crouse is the only hospital in the region equipped with two hybrid operating room suites, allowing our multidisciplinary stroke team to provide the most advanced endovascular stroke rescue capabilities 24/7.
Exceeding Stroke Treatment Standards Median Time (minutes)
Source: AHA/ASA Get With the Guidelines
If tPA is given within three hours of symptoms, the effects of stroke decrease significantly. Crouse has earned the American Heart/Stroke Association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus recognition for meeting — and exceeding — AHA guidelines for giving tPA within 45 minutes.
Community Partner KNOW YOUR STROKE SIGNS
F. A. S. T.
TIME TO CALL 911
As a New York State-designated Primary Stroke Center since 2007, we’ve worked to raise awareness in our community about the warning signs of stroke. With our designation as a DNV Comprehensive Stroke Center and home to the region’s newest ER, Crouse Health continues to deliver superior stroke care to Central New York patients.
S T R O K E ? C A L L 911. crouse.org/stroke AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
SPRING TROUT AND ON FISHING DERBY
go is one of the host for the prestigious Lake io Counties Fishing Derby. sands of anglers compete ousands of dollars and swego waters yield many y winners. LOC.ORG
Local author Spider Rybaak and carp fishing guide Mike McGrath will conduct their popular free kids’ fishing classes. All bait and tackle are provided free of charge. Oneida Lake Hatchery, 3 Hatchery Rd., Constantia. Contact cnyangler2@gmail. com or email@example.com for information.
CNY’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE
Experience All Oswego Has To Offer!
OswegoCountyBusiness.com Editor and Publisher
Get Ho ok Wagner Dotto
Where Nature Meets Competition
L. Michael Treadwell Bruce Frassinelli, Sandra Scott AN Jamie Persee NU
F I S Writers HIN
G T Sergeant Deborah Jeanne OU RN Christopher Malone A ENT Payne Horning, Mary BethMRoach
Peggy Kain Ashley Slattery, Jamie Towle
Office Manager Nancy Niet
Brad Smith / Oswego County Tourism
ANNUAL A-TOM-MIK INVITATIONAL Captains meeting Fri. 6 pm.; Big Fish Friday; Main event Sat.; Blow-off day Sun. Registration varies by event. MAY-OCTOBER May THEATOMMIKINVITATIONAL.COM FREE FISHING CLASSES FOR KIDS
TO G S
NG FOR ND ECORDS
LOC SPRING TROUT AND SALMON FISHING DERBY
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)
Local author Spider Rybaak and carp fishing guide Mike McGrath will conduct their popular free kids’ fishing classes. All bait and tackle are provided free of charge. Oneida Lake Hatchery, 3 Hatchery Rd., Constantia. Contact cnyangler2@gmail. com or firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
August-September Oswego is one of the host ports for the prestigious Lake Ontario Counties Fishing Derby. Thousands of anglers compete for thousands of dollars and the Oswego waters yield many trophy winners. LOC.ORG
LOC FALL TROUT AND SALMON FISHING DERBY
Oswego is one of the host ports for the prestigious Lake Ontario Counties Fishing Derby. Thousands of anglers compete for thousands of dollars and the Oswego waters yield many trophy winners. LOC.ORG
LOCATION Lake Ontario Lake Ontario Salmon River Lake Ontario off Oswego Salmon River
et Class Record) Salmon River Salmon River Salmon River Salmon River
Class 2 lb. Test)
© 2019 by Oswego County Augus t Business. All rights reserved. ANNUAL A-TOM-MIK INVITATIONAL AUGUST-SEPTEMBER PRSRT Captains STDmeeting US Fri.Postage LOC FALL TROUT AND 6 pm.; SALMON FISHING DERBY Big Fish Friday; Main event Sat.; PAID Blow-off day Sun. Oswego is one of the host ports for Registration varies by event. THEATOMMIKINVITATIONAL.COM
Buffalo, NY Permit No. 4725
the prestigious Lake Ontario Count Fishing Derby. Thousands of angler compete for thousands of dollars an the Oswego waters yield many trop winners. LOC.ORG
How to Reach Us
O S WEGONY.ORG
Captai Big Fis Blow-o
NT E Get TE M E R Y I C X E H AN EN Where URB C o S L Meets EXCEPTIONoAked
During free fishing days, anyone can fish the fresh waters of New York State and no fishing license is required! All other freshwater fishing regulations still apply. DEC.NY.GOV/OUTDOOR/89821.HTML
Published bimonthly (6 issues a year) at 185 E. Seneca Street AN NU PO Box 276 AL FIS HIN GT Oswego, NY 13126. OU RN AM ENT Subscription: $21.50 a year; S& AC T IVIT $35 forIES two years
NEW YORK STATE FREE FISHING DAY
Lake Ontario off Oswego
Layout and Design
Surrounded by water, Oswego offers both lake and river fishing. If you prefer a lake fishing experience, troll the waters of Lake Ontario or Oneida Lake. If river fishing is more your style, then take a trip down the Salmon, Oswego or Little Salmon rivers. Oswego County also has smaller lakes and bodies of water for calmer fishing such as North and South Sandy Pond, Lake Neahtahwanta, Panther Lake and the Salmon River Reservoir.
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
P.O. Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126 Phone: 315-342-8020 Fax: 315-342-7776 Email: Editor@OswegoCountyBusiness.com AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
ON THE JOB Do You Have Problems Finding Qualified Workers? Interviews by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant “In 21 years, I am happy to say that we have never had an issue finding qualified employees. Book lovers are special people. They tend to be self-selected. Generally, they have found us.” Bill Reilly Owner, The River’s End Bookstore, Oswego “New York is the largest state that KeyBank does business in. Throughout our long history, we have had great success in Central New York. The region offers a superb workforce and a quality of life that gives us the opportunity to attract top talent. We are proud to be part of the business community in Central New York.” Stephen Fournier President, KeyBank Central New York Market
“Fortunately, we pay our employees well and treat them like they were clients so we have very little turn over; however, we have been trying to add to our staff both in the office and marine techs, yacht painters, et cetera, and it is very difficult to find qualified staff that actually want to work.” Leslie Becraft Corrigan General manager, Winter Harbor Marina, Brewerton “We’re in the engineering and construction field and those qualified individuals are at a premium right now. We’ve been successful because of our name recognition and community involvement in Central New York. We support a lot of school education events with the intent to get the word about the different engineering and construction jobs
out there as kids start thinking about their career path. By the nature of the projects we do both public and private, people get exposure to C&S and become aware of career opportunities through us.” John Trimble President and CEO, C&S Companies, Syracuse “It definitely can be challenging at times. I will say for the most part, we have certainly lucked out to a certain degree. It’s very dependent on season. I can’t complain over the last year. We have a great group of people. It also has a lot to do with how you treat your employees and what you’re offering your employees. If you offer opportunities to grow and learn and also to trust the organization, they tend to be better employees. It’s a give and take.” Rachel Leonardo Director of human resources, ACR Health, Syracuse “For some positions, yes. It’s hard to meet deadlines or vacations. John Henry CEO, Mitchell’s Speedway Press/Phoenix Press, Oswego “I had this one young employee and it was a disaster. He could do the job but he was always instigating
? AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
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trouble. In fact, he supposedly hurt his back, went to a chiropractor who took care of him, but then went to Watertown to another one and tried to pull a fast one to get benefits, but the doctor was on to him. I had to keep cutting his hours and he finally left. You just have to be careful to hire the right employee. If he put as much time into selling as he did causing problems, he could have made extra money. I also had another one who lied to me that he could do certain jobs and he couldn’t even begin to do them. The good ones are out there, just have to find them. It affected my help more than anything.” Donna Lupien Owner, Lupien’s Gifts & Engraving, Oswego
that describes the person fully, personality, work ethics, attitude, et cetera, will draw the reader to say this is me, how did they know that I am that person that would fit? Also, sharing about your company’s culture will draw in the ‘right’ people into the interview process. And a side note, the HR manager or HR agency should look at every resume instead of having a computerized bot pick for them. I know it is a hassle but people write their own resumes and do not hire the ‘expert’ to do it for them, so the bot skips over a potentially extraordinary hire. I see it every day.” Hart Davidow Vice president of marketing sales, Synergy Cannabis, Minetto
“Yes, I have trouble finding qualified employees on a regular basis. The state has very specific requirements for lead teachers in child care settings. This affects my business in various ways. Sometimes it means I will receive a violation from my state licensor. This goes on my public record for all to see. It has the potential for damaging my reputation in the community. Other times it might mean that I have to close a room for a time period, causing me to lose revenue.” Robin Walker Owner and program director, Happy Hearts Childcare, Inc., Oswego
“I have never had a difficulty in finding quality employees. It’s usually someone I know, or gym members. I know that a lot of people have a hard time finding qualified employees but I have been absolutely lucky in that.” Jody Francis Owner and manager, Fit 247 Brewerton, Brewerton
154 South 2nd St., Fulton, NY 13069
“The climate of having extraordinary, loyal, hard-working employees is hard, if not impossible to find unless you know how to screen them through a quality telephone conversation, utilizing a personality/work assessment to find out if your potential hiring has what you are looking for. Writing a strong focused recruitment advertisement 10
*1930 - 2017* Gordon G. Tappan
“Finding quality employees and the right employees is a struggle for any business, small and large. We talk about it a lot in our organization. I’ve yet to find anyone with a magic bullet or the perfect answer to this problem. We all just try different things.” Tom Handley Owner, Burke’s Home Center, Oswego “Yes, it’s always difficult to find quality employees. It’s seasonal work for my business in particular, and in general, I don’t think there’s the same work ethic that there used to be. A lot of people are just given things for free in this world.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
www.sorbelloandsonsfarms.com Brian Bush Bush’s Tree Service, Oswego “At times it’s easy to find good employees and at other times it’s difficult. It goes back and forth. It’s hard to find someone who can work year-round and it’s difficult to find someone with experience.” Robert Bateman Owner, Cakes Galore & More, Oswego “Finding qualified employees in the barbering industry has proven to be a challenge for us, mainly because it’s a skill-based career, but there seems to be a lot of industry norms that are simply unacceptable, which create a barrier for seamless hiring schedules, compensation, and what they believe the shop should provide for them. If we hire an industry professional, they usually come on board in need of some tweaking anyway, perhaps not with their skill set, but with expectations. We’ve found it more effective to train prospective barbers from the ground up. This is certainly more expensive initially, but long term, we have happier and more productive employees and that’s what is most important.” Anthony N. Nappa Owner, Saving Face, LLC, Syracuse “I have needed to replace two employees in the last two years in my small office and though it wasn’t easy, I found qualified people to fill those roles. Both of these employees are very important to the stable operation of my professional financial planning practice and I am grateful to have found each of them. “ Randy L. Zeigler Certified financial planner and private wealth adviser at Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Oswego AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
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The loan specialists at Fulton Savings Bank have built a reputation providing personal services to growing small businesses in our area. If you need a mortgage loan or financial help to fund growth of your small business, we can help.
For Answers to all your questions call or email: Thomas V. Greco (Tom) (315) 592-3158 firstname.lastname@example.org NMLS #449773
Gregory M. Rodgers (Greg) (315) 695-7214 or (315) 506-0624 email@example.com NMLS #58588
• Canal Landing, Fulton - (315) 592-4201 • Village Green, Baldwinsville - (315) 638-0293 • Three Rivers Shopping Plaza, Phoenix - (315) 695-7214 • Route 49 & Green Acres Drive, Central Square - (315) 676-2065 • Brewerton Centre, Brewerton - (315) 668-7903 • Redfield St., Constania - (315) 623-9447
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Started How I Got By Lou Sorendo
Nadine Barnett Former flight attendant talks about starting and growing her Dusting Divas
Q.: When did you launch Dusting Divas Inc. and what motivated you to start your own business? A.: I began the company in February of 2012. It wasn’t easy. When I started this I didn’t have two nickels to rub together. My husband, Scott, is a good man and puts a roof over our heads, but I have a child and there are a lot of expenses to that. He told me, “You take care of Carter and I’ll take care of all of us. Go for it!” Q.: Describe how it worked at the very beginning? A.: I started the company with a Volkswagen bug, which I loved. It was a little silver convertible. I ended up trading that in to buy my first van because I needed a down payment. I still clean with my crews. I prefer to be in the field with them, although I have to operate the other end as well. You just have to be smart when it comes to growing a business. We bought one van, paid it off, and then bought another. We have four company vehicles and we run three pretty much every day. Q.: What did you do prior to embarking on your own business venture? A.: I was a flight attendant and employed within the flight industry for 16 years. When 9/11 happened, it changed the whole industry, including my thoughts of retiring as a flight attendant. I was disappointed, particularly since I loved to travel and enjoyed living in New York City. When United Airlines offered full benefits and unemployment if I accepted a voluntary layoff, I took it. However, I still needed income, so I went back into the restaurant business working evenings and weekends. Q.: Tell us about the transition from working at a restaurant to starting a business? A.: When my son Carter was young, [working in a restaurant] worked well because when kids are little, all activities are during the day. As they get older, everything is during the evenings and on weekends. It was breaking my heart to miss anything. Even though I had the flexibility of making my own schedule because I was a restaurant manager, it was still exhausting working 40-60 hours a week. The restaurant business was hard on our marriage because I was gone all the time. At
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
one point, my mom said, “You need to stop making everybody else money and figure out something to make yourself money.” Q.: How about the hours now? Are they better than before? A.: Starting this, I knew what I was in for. It’s 24-7. I am up sometimes at 2 or 3 in the morning doing paperwork, but I am still home with my family. My best friend and I came up with the company name and logo and then I sat in bed late one night and built a website for my new cleaning business. Q.: Do you recall your first client? A.: I received my first call from a woman who lives nearby. I did not tell her she was my first estimate, that I had never done this before and that I didn’t really know what I was doing. I did an initial cleaning for her that took me an entire day and I only charged her $75. I still have her as a client. Q.: At what point did you decide on creating a cleaning business? A.: I knew I was a cleaner; it’s just what I’ve always done whether it was at the restaurant or babysitting as a young girl. Parents would come home and find that I had vacuumed the house and cleaned up after the children. I did work for a cleaning company for a short period of time. It was valuable because it helped me envision the company that I wanted to build. Q.: Tell us more about your “divas”? A.: My divas are in uniform and look professional. They drive our company vehicles and are held to a dress code to ensure professionalism. They can’t look like they just rolled out of bed. We are cleaning people, but we are a professional cleaning company. We also have a no-cell phone and non-smoking policy. Four of my divas have been with me since I began hiring. I have nine girls now, and did have a gentleman clean for me who I referred to as my dude. If people apply and fit my standards, I don’t care if they are men or women. I want my divas to know they are important to the company. Teamwork makes the dream work! Q.: Did you have any role AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
models? A.: My biggest inspiration comes from the work ethic of my husband, my dad Bob Bresnahan, and my brother and best bud, Roy Bresnahan, who are all self-employed. My husband has owned Barnett Forest Products for the past 11 years and my brother has owned RJ’s Excavating for the past 28 years. My dad always advised not to go in over your head when it came to doing business. He has owned and operated Bresnahan Excavating for more than 55 years. Q.: How did you grow your company from its infancy? A.: We still have the majority of our original clients. When I started, it was just myself. I would work all day, but I could bring my son to and from school, which was important to me. It just started slowly growing. A couple of girls who worked with me at the restaurant were looking to make some extra money, and they would work a day or two with me. I also had a girlfriend of mine who was willing to leave her job and come work for me and she is still a diva. Q.: How about payroll, workers compensation and other paperwork related to being a business owner? A.: I started hiring through a temp agency, because they covered workers compensation and liability insurance. I couldn’t afford to pay what I am paying now in terms of those types of expenses. In a way, I was leasing my staff through them. Once the business began being more profitable, I got my own workers compensation and liability insurance, and hired an accounting firm to do my payroll, as well as being fully insured and bonded. It took me about three years to accomplish that. My goal originally was to be servicing 50 clients weekly within five years, and we about doubled that. I get the occasional phone call that a person saw my name on a billboard or saw a van, but 99 percent of my business is all word of mouth and referrals. Our loyal clients refer us to family and friends, which shows the trust they have in us. Q.: How did your past experience help you in terms of running a business today? A.: Being a flight attendant taught me that reliability and consisOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
tency are huge. I tell my divas, “We are the Dunkin’ Donuts of cleaning businesses.” It needs to stay consistent. We fold blankets the same, clean toilets the same, and all beds get made the same way. I train my workers, and we have meetings to go through everything. This approach trickles all the way down from the way rags are folded to the manner in which the vans are loaded. People have told me that I make it look easy. You just have to stay strong. When you’re stressed, take a deep breath and remember that two weeks ago, you were just as stressed out and got through it. The clock doesn’t stop for you to figure it out. This is where the diva “sisterhood” helps as well. We always get through it together. Q,: What have been the keys to sustaining the business on a successful level? A.: We’ll always make it right. If a client calls and they have a legitimate complaint, nine out of 10 times there’s a crew still out there that will go right to that house and fix it. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen. I want workers that have families; that’s huge to me. I built this so I could be with my child, and I want my divas to be with their children too. I also provide a retirement program, life insurance, and vacation, sick and personal days. The divas also know that I will work around their children’s schedules and offer other incentives. I do drug testing and criminal background checks, and call all references. I know other cleaning services that will just hire anybody, and I could do that and quadruple my business tomorrow, but I won’t. Q. What are your thoughts in terms of the future for the business and retiring some day? A.: I hope that someday, one of the divas will continue the business for me. With both my husband and I being self-employed, it is difficult to go on family vacations that are more than a week long. My husband would love to retire in the next 10 years and sell hot dogs at Citi Field so he can attend every Mets game, but I don’t see that in my future, so I will keep cleaning. I’ve been approached to franchise down south, but that’s not what I am looking to do. I’m really proud of Dusting Divas and want to hold onto it as long as I can.
PROFILE By Lou Sorendo
PRABAKAR KOTHANDARAMAN Equipped with extensive sales background, new dean of SUNY Oswego School of Business ready to embrace new leadership role
hile “born leader” is a time worn cliché, it certainly holds true for Prabakar Kothanda-
raman. For the new dean of SUNY Oswego’s School of Business, leadership is a natural choice. While Kothandaraman was pondering stepping up to the top post, he touched base with other deans that he knew. “One mentioned to me that the dean’s position is not a job; it’s a calling,” he said. Kothandaraman sees himself as the chief service officer for the business school. “My role is to assist everyone to succeed — and consequently, my leadership style stems from my ability to rejoice the success of others,” he said. Kothandaraman said he tries to focus on issues and not personalities. “I have no allusions that it’s about me. It’s all about people here who are trying to make a difference,” he said. “I constantly challenge people to compete with themselves so that they can develop professionally.” Kothandaraman most recently served as professor in the department of professional sales in the Cotsakos College of Business at William Paterson University, New Jersey. In addition to this classroom post, he served as chairman of the department of professional sales since 2014, and executive director of the Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales since 2010. In his previous role, he encouraged his staff to enroll in graduate and doctoral studies and, when qualified, teach courses. “In general, I try to find the best people for the job and assist them to excel in what they do,” he said. “You will more often than not see me popping in and out of offices just to see how things are going.
“I prefer the opportunity to meet face-to-face as opposed to a phone call or email. That helps me on many occasions put out fires before they even start.” He intends on leading the school in an atmosphere of transparency, trust and shared governance, he said. The dean also plans to engage with the Oswego business community and other regional business stake-
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
holders to ensure SUNY Oswego plays a role in communities’ economic development. He said in the wake of communities facing financial challenges, SUNY Oswego has created a new entrepreneurship minor. “We have the intellectual horsepower, the freshness of ideas from the fresh minds of students, and we have a nurturing environment to be able to provide support,” he said. “The key to success is constantly strategizing, constantly making plans on how to execute those strategies, constantly motivating people and constantly listening,” he said. “You can’t take yourself too seriously. Being that it is 24-7, you have to laugh,” he added. “And don’t take things personally.” In terms of his new environment, he said there is quite a contrast when
comparing Oswego to his former place of work and residence. “I come from the hustle and bustle of New Jersey,” he said. “My university was located 20 miles from Manhattan.” Kothandaraman said Oswego “appears quaint and historic. “I know it is summer and that’s why the birds’ calling dominates the soundscape of the area, but I am enjoying it along with long walks along the lake while it lasts,” he said. “I’ve been reading all the plaques in different parts of town. It’s impressive,” he said. He did grow up in a small town in India and did spend four years at Penn State University and University Park, Pennsylvania. “It takes some getting used to,” said Kothandaraman, noting that he enjoys nature and “it’s been an exploration.”
Onward and upward
Once prepared to take on the deanship of a business school, Kothandaraman was drawn to the SUNY Oswego position due to a variety of reasons. One of the most significant was the school’s accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. “This accreditation pointed to the presence of committed faculty members and administrators who were willing to go the extra mile to ensure quality and rigor of academic programs,” he said. He sees maintaining the accreditation as one of his key roles as dean. Also, the school’s success in the highly competitive online Master of Business Administration market helped with his decision as well.
Birthplace: India Current residence: City of Oswego Education: Doctor of Business Administration from The Smeal College of Business at The Pennsylvania State University; a Master of Business Administration from the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, India; and earned his Bachelor of Education degree with honors in chemical engineering, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India Personal: Married with two children Hobbies: Concert violinist, Indian classical genre AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
“The key to success is constantly strategizing, constantly making plans on how to execute those strategies, constantly motivating people, and constantly listening.” SUNY Oswego’s online MBA continues its place among the nation’s and state’s top online MBA programs, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 “Best Online Degree Programs: MBA.” Kothandaraman said this is an indication of how student-centric the school is, which is “something close to my heart.” The dean added the quality of faculty and students was something he could identify with. He was also enticed by the outstanding academic and strategic leadership of SUNY Oswego, highlighted by its strategic plan and a vision to work on creating a diverse student and faculty body. Thanks to outgoing dean Richard Skolnik’s leadership, graduates of Oswego’s business programs are highly successful with careers in the corporate, nonprofit and governmental sectors, according to SUNY Oswego. Kothandaraman said he is intent on sustaining this level of momentum going forward. “Dean Skolnik has left a legacy of goodwill to everyone associated with the business school; I feel blessed,” he said. “That said, success comes through building relationships, both internal and external, that have strong foundations,” he added. “It is my belief that it is important to continue to build on the growth of graduate success for the school even while making new inroads into newer pathways.” Kothandaraman said he wants to make SUNY Oswego School of Business
continued on page 94 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
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Publisher’s note By Wagner Dotto
rom lousy to great — that’s how we can characterize the transformation of the sports fishing industry in Oswego County. Fishing in Lake Ontario and its tributaries (Salmon River, Oswego River, etc.) was pretty lousy about 50 years ago. Lake Ontario was a polluted body of water, filled with algae blooms. Not a fishing destination, to say the least. How bad was it? Take the word of Oswego native Fran Verdoliva, who knows the local fishing industry better than anyone else: “When I was a kid, when my parents asked me on a 90-degree day if I wanted to go out to the lake by Rudy’s, I would run in the other direction,” says Verdoliva, who works as special assistant on the Salmon River for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Verdoliva explains in an interview with writer Lou Sorendo how things started to change. First, beginning in late ‘60s, officials tested different types of fish that could live in the waters of Lake Ontario. They
acquired eggs from the West Coast. They removed excessive phosphorus from the lake and took action to combat invasive species preying on salmon. In this context, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery was built in 1980. It specializes in raising chinook salmon, coho salmon, steelhead and brown trout. Changes continued over time. As Sorendo notes in the cover story of this issue, the Salmon River now generates around $27 million in economic impact annually in Oswego County. When Lake Ontario and its tributaries that are stocked by the Salmon River Fish Hatchery are included, the angler-generated impact grows to about $86 million. “The [hatchery] is really one of the economic engines that makes things happen here in Oswego County,” said Verdoliva. “Our huge sports fishing industry would not exist without the hatchery.” Each year the Altmar hatchery stocks over 1.4 million chinook salmon fingerlings (young fish 3-5 inches
long), 155,000 coho fall fingerlings (3-5 inches), 90,000 coho salmon yearlings (a fish between 1 and 2 years old), and 750,000 steelhead yearlings, according to its website. The result of all that? A flourishing sports fishing industry. In 2018 there were 32,821 fishing licenses sold in Oswego County to out-of-state and international visitors. About 60% of all anglers fishing the Salmon River are outside of New York state. And according to Oswego County Tourism Office, total angler impact on the Oswego County was $42 million (2007 figures).
WAGNER DOTTO is the publisher of Oswego County Business Magazine.
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Where in the World is Sandra Scott? By Sandra Scott
Rio de Janeiro
Home to the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Brazilian city boasts the best carnival party anywhere
o place does carnival like Rio. It trumps all other pre-Lenten festivals. The first one was held in 1723. In 2020 the fun will start on Friday, Feb. 21, and end on Feb. 26 with millions attending the various events. The premier and not-to-miss event takes place in the Sambodromo, a purpose-built stadium designed by famed architect Oscar Niemeyer. Unlike most stadiums, the Sambodromo is 2,300 feet of opposing bleachers with a seating capacity of 90,000 people, all of whom sing and
dance along with each of the samba schools as they parade by. The samba schools are formed in the favelas, the poorest neighborhoods of Rio. It is a year-long process of preparing to be one of the 12 out of hundreds of samba schools to be selected to parade through the Sambodromo. The selected schools, each 3000-plus strong, perform on two nights, six schools each night. The extravaganza is tightly regulated as to composition of dancers; musicians; larger-than life, animated floats; and must be precisely 83 minutes long with no breaks in
the parade. Each parade starts with fireworks. Truly a site to behold. Tickets are necessary and need to be purchased in advance. Get there early even though the parade doesnâ€™t start until around 9 and continues until dawn. People can purchase costumes and even pay to be on one of the floats. Security at the Sambodromo is excellent. There are also many other events, including blocos (block parties), where the fun continues but security is more problematic. Rio is also home to the famous
View of Rio de Janeiro. 18
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Copacabana and Ipanema beaches situated in the heart of the city along with other iconic sites. Overlooking the city on the summit of Mount Corcovado is the famed statue of the Christ the Redeemer. It stands 98 feet tall with its outstretched arms spanning 92 feet. Check the weather first; it is often obscured by the clouds. The best way to the top is by cog train that climbs through Tijuca National Park. The hardy may want to hike the scenic trail which can be arduous in places. On a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and rising 1300 feet is Sugarloaf Mountain which is said to resemble the shape of concentrated refined sugar. The view from the top rivals that of the one from Mount Corcovado. Getting there is half the fun. Cable cars run every 30 minutes or when the car is full. The ride is divided into two stages, each lasting three minutes. The first stage rises from Red Beach 700 feet to Urca Hill. The second stage takes visitors to the top of Sugar Loaf. Visitors can also tour the favelas, Tijuca National Park, and the Botanical Gardens, plus there are day trips to historic cities. One of the most unique day trips is a full-day tour to see the endangered Golden Lion Tamarin in PoĂ§o Das Antas Biological Reserve. A few years ago there were only 200 golden lion tamarins in the wild but careful conservation has increased the population to about 3000. Visiting Brazil has gotten easier for Americans. A valid passport is necessary but since June 17, no tourist visa is needed. Security while traveling in Brazil is often a concern but those who travel smartly should not experience any problems. Do not flash money around, keep money in a secure place, do not hike alone, be aware of your surroundings, and when partying anywhere it is necessary to be cautious. Partying in the favelas is not a good idea. Rio it is a wonderful destination â€” enjoy.
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. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
Famed Ipanema Beach continues to draw a great number of visitors every year.
Sambodromo is 2,300 feet of opposing bleachers with a seating capacity of 90,000 people, all of whom sing and dance along with each of the samba schools as they parade by.
Overlooking Rio de Janeiro on the summit of Mount Corcovado is the famed statue of the Christ the Redeemer. It stands 98 feet tall with its outstretched arms spanning 92 feet. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
5 Daycations in Central New York L
By Sandra Scott
ocation. Location. Location. It is all about location and being located in Central New York means access to a multitude of day trips. Daycations are a great way to explore and enjoy new places or revisit old ones. The variety is endless. Check out these five great day trips.
On the Water
In Skaneateles, hop on the “Judge Ben Wiles” for a sightseeing cruise on Skaneateles Lake. The lake is touted as the cleanest lake in New York state. It is so clean that the cruise narrator is able to point out the wooden beams of the steamship “City of Syracuse” on the lake bottom. The “City of Syracuse” carried passengers on the lake in the early 1900s. It was deliberately burned and sunk near the long dock in 1917. The cruise passes the beautiful homes that line the lake — mansions, really. Some of them have boathouses more elegant than most homes. Mid-Lakes
“Judge Ben Wiles” on the Skaneateles Lake.
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
offers several cruises on the lake, including a full-moon cruise, lunch, and dinner cruises plus a three-hour mail boat ride. After the cruise, have lunch at the historic Sherwood Inn. The inn was built in 1807 as a stop on the stagecoach line but has gone through many changes and names over the years. A walking tour brochure of the village can be downloaded. Take time to do some shopping at the unique shops that line the street, and make time to visit the Museum at the Creamery.
Visit a Foreign Country
Canada offers many great destinations close to Central New York, including Kingston. Getting to Kingston by the ferry is half the fun. Customs takes place on Wolfe Island so an enhanced driver’s license or a passport is necessary. Get acquainted with Kingston, the Limestone City, on the Confederation Trolley Tour. Excellent guides share three centuries of the city’s history laced with humor. Set sail out of Kingston on one of the several sightseeing river cruises offered by 1000 Island Cruises and learn about the wealthy who call the 1000 Islands their summer home. There is a tour to fit everyone’s needs; they range from
Downtown Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Getting there by the ferry is half the fun. one and a half to three hours, some including meals and music. Not to miss is Fort Henry, built to protect the area from the Americans during the War of 1812. Visitors can explore the fort, watch demonstrations and historical reenactments and attend a Victorian school. It is worth a day-trip by itself. The Kingston Penitentiary is fascinating and so is a tour of Kingston City Hall.
3 Go Underground
Howe Caverns located near Cobleskill, Schoharie County, took six million years to create and it is not finished but the change is slow. The tour of Howe Caverns starts with the animatronic Lester Howe greets people and explains he discovered the cavern when he noticed cows gathering at a certain spot on hot
Adirondack Base Camp
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
days and found an opening emitting fresh cool air. With the owner of the property he spent several days exploring over a mile of the underground passageways using only the dim light from a small oil lamp. In some places they had to crawl. Seeing the potential Howe, bought the property for $100. He developed the cavern to make it more visitor-friendly. Over the years more changes took place as ownership changed. There is an underground boat ride and when the guide turns off the light one can learn what total darkness is like. Howe Caverns now has a rock wall, zip lines, and even a bungee-style activity for those looking for thrills. They still have their “mining” experience. The ticket price includes a discount to the Iroquois Indian Museum just down the road. The museum, in a building shaped like a longhouse, has many historical displays.
Howe Caverns took six million years to create. They are open for visitation.
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4 History and more
The National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls is where the 1848 women’s rights convention was held. It honors women from all walks of life who have contributed to the fabric of American life. In the main hall visitors will see the “First Wave,” statues of those who were among the first to promote women’s rights. A video explores the concept of equality. As part of the National Park Service, the site preserves several nearby locations associated with the 1848 First Women’s Rights Convention. Seneca Falls is often cited as the location that inspired “It’s a Wonderful Life.” There is a bridge similar to the one in the movie with a plaque remembering a tragic event that actually happened on the bridge. Located in the same building as the Wonderful Life
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5 Head to the Mountains
The Adirondack Mountains are a wonderland of forest, rivers and lakes with Old Forge as the gateway village. Most people arrive via Route 28 but the Adirondack Railroad revived the route between Utica and Thendara that, at one time, carried the rich and famous to their Great Camps. Regardless of how one gets there, once in Old Forge,
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start at the top — the top of McCauley Mountain. The chair lift to the top of the mountain offers panoramic views of the area. The streets of the Old Forge are lined with interesting shops but The Old Forge Hardware store is a do-not-miss. They have been in continuous operation since 1900 when they supplied the steamboats that plied the Fulton Chain of Lakes, trappers, and local residents. The store is an adventure unto itself with everything from abacuses to zoom binoculars. If they don’t have it, you don’t need it. One of New York’s most unique boat rides is on the “Benjamin Harrison” departing from Old Forge Pond. In operation since 1902, it claims to be the oldest continuously operated summer mail boat still in service. Family fun can be found at Enchanted Forest Water Safari.
Safe Haven Museum H. Lee White Maritime Museum Fort Ontario Historic Site Richardson-Bates House Museum John D. Murray Firefighters Museum Heritage Foundation of Oswego Oswego Public Library Children’s Museum of Oswego Oswego County Tourism Office 800-596-3200 ext. 8322 www.visitoswegocounty.com
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Detail of the Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse.
Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum Regional History & Maritime Museum Gardens, Tower Views, Gift Shop 7606 North Ontario Street, Sodus Point, New York (315) 483-4936 www.sodusbaylighthouse.org Open through October 15 Tuesday-Sunday (Also Open Monday Holidays!) July & August: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. September & October: 12–5 p.m.
Our gardens are available for weddings!
Have You Seen the Light? Climb the Lighthouse for a great view of Lake Ontario!
FREE Outdoor Concerts 2-4 p.m. every Sunday until Labor Day 7/28 John Dady and John Michael Ryan; 8/4 Panloco; 8/11 It’s My Party!; 8/18 Heatwave Bluegrass; 8/25 Loren Barrigar & Joe Whiting; 9/1 The Krazy Firemen
“History Alive!” Lectures each month through October
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Beacon of Light Revitalized Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse now open for boat tours By Mary Beth Roach
hat a great volunteer gig I found for myself this summer! As a deckhand with the H. Lee White Maritime Museum’s tours to the Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse, I get to spend Friday afternoons on a pontoon boat on Lake Ontario — meeting people from all over the world, and sharing and learning a lot about the history of Oswego and its harbor. The tours run on Friday and Saturday afternoons, weather permitting, through September. My fascination with the Oswego Lighthouse dates back to the early 1980s, when I moved to the city for work. I moved on to another city a few years later, and ultimately returned to my hometown of Syracuse.
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
But, my fascination continued. Like many of you, I have seen countless photos of the structure at various times of the year. It’s probably the most photographed of all of Oswego’s buildings. I’ve kayaked out there a few times over the years to get a close-up view. It had fallen into a state of disrepair and looked, well, tired. I never would have imagined that the lighthouse would ever be made available for public tours. Apparently, there were many others who have had an even greater fascination with the lighthouse and had a plan. In 2011, the Oswego Lighthouse Development Committee was formed and restoration began. The Maritime Museum acquired a lease from the city of Oswego in 2014, and tours began in 2016. I only learned of the tours earlier this year, but when I learned that they needed volunteers, I quickly signed up. Guests have included international students, lighthouse aficionados from Canada, visitors from throughout the state, and even a few local residents from Oswego and Fulton who listed a tour of this local iconic landmark on their “bucket list.” While the lighthouse is the ultimate
View of Lake Ontario from the Oswego lighthouse. destination of the trip, there is so much for visitors to see and learn about as we pull out into the harbor. The area is such a wonderful blend of history and commerce. Perhaps the harbor is not the bustling center it was back in the day, but still there is a lot going on. We pass the 1927 NYS Der-
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rick Boat 8, one of the last surviving steam-powered floating derricks to have worked on the New York State Barge Canal, and it serves as a reminder of how important steam power was in the United States. The tugboat LT-5 saw action during the Normandy invasion in 1944, as part of Operation Mulberry. On the boat’s stack is a “kill mark” — a white plane with a swastika in the center has been painted on to show that it had shot down a German warplane on June 9, 1944. The Eleanor D, the last commercial fishing vessel on Lake Ontario, was made from scrap metal from World War II, and was purchased by the Cahill family, well-known fishermen in Oswego. Their former fish market on West First Street was once the oldest commercial establishment in the city. Bill Cahill served as Oswego’s mayor in the 1980s. And the stone building is finding new life, being restored and developed into market-rate and upscale apartments and restaurant space. As we come into the open harbor, visitors can see the rooftops of the historic Fort Ontario, and just below the fort was the first lighthouse, built in 1822 for $3,500.
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The Oswego Canal opened in 1928, linking Lake Ontario to the Erie Canal and eventually to the major harbors of New York City and Buffalo. As a result, the Oswego Harbor grew in importance, requiring a more substantial lighthouse. When construction began on the new arrowhead breakwaters [Needs clarification] at the entrance to the harbor in 1931, a temporary light was placed on the top of the NYS Barge Canal Terminal Elevator. A fourth lighthouse, which sits at the end of the 2,000-foot-long breakwater, was opened in 1934. As visitors approach the lighthouse, they can get a close-up look at the breakwater.
Local attorney Ed Mervine is part of the team that volunteers at the Oswego lighthouse.
Black lines run vertical in the stone, from where explosives were placed to blast them out of the earth. On the east side of the harbor are concrete pieces, called dolosse, or more informally jacks, because of their resemblance to the jacks
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HERKIMER COUNTY FAIR AUGUST 13 - 18 2019
“MAGIC IS IN THE AIR” Free Nightly Entertainment including: Return of “Shania Twin” SHOW RING EVENT INCULDES: 2 DEMO DERBIES, TRUCK & TRACTOR PULLS POWER WHEELS DEMO for the CHILDREN Fireworks, Talent Show, Queen Pageants, Senior Bingo * Agriculture/Children Events * Advance Sale $5.00 (non-Refundable) Send SASE (Sold until August 13th) Adults (13 & older) $10.00 Children 5-12 $3.00
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we, of a certain age, played with as kids. right, there might be a windsurfer or my interest in more of its history and its people. Their shapes are supposed to break two out there. For those interested in learning The volunteers all get manuals conup the waves under water. It was near the breakwater area taining a great deal of history, But I have more about this history, or better yet, if that a tragedy occurred on Friday, Dec. to admit, I have also learned so much you want to volunteer or book a tour, from the other volunteers, passengers feel free to contact the museum at 3154, 1942. 342-0480. The commander of the Oswego and captains. Ticket prices are $20 and include After spending a few weeks in and Coast Guard Station, along with seven crewmembers from the station and two around the lighthouse, my fascination the tour and admission to the museum lighthouse keepers, set out in a boat to hasn’t waned. If anything, it’s piqued as well. relieve Karl Jackson, who had been on duty since Tuesday of that week. A winter storm had prevented the crew from relieving Jackson earlier. But that Friday, the winds had reduced substantially, and the commander felt they could reach the lighthouse safely, which they did. The two lighthouse keepers disembarked, and Jackson came aboard. Gifts, Antiques & Home Decor Then, disaster struck. Waves smashed the vessel against the crib, [Not sure The Feathered WhistleStop Visit VisitFort FortOntario Ontario -Center -Oswego OswegoNY NY what this means] breaking some of the Nest Gift Shop Antique hull’s planks and killing the engine. 10 am-5 pm Tues thru Sun • Closed Mon The waves then carried the vessel across the harbor entrance and into the 6355 Knickerbocker Road • off 104 in Ontario east breakwater. Two men in the front 315-524-8841 • www.lwemporium.com were able to break out panes of glass and climbed onto the breakwater. But the other six men were tossed into the churning waters. The two who were able to get to the breakwater were rescued about an hour later, but the other men, including keeper Jackson, died. According to one website, two Visit Fort Ontario - Oswego NY bodies, including that of Jackson, was loWhere the Holocaust came to America cated the following April in Henderson Where Where thethe Holocaust Holocaust came came to America to America Harbor, a good 30 miles from Oswego. America’s Only WWII Holocaust Camp America’s Only WWII HolocaustRefugee Refugee Camp Once at the lighthouse, guests take a America’s America’s Only Only WWII WWII Holocaust Holocaust Refugee Refugee Camp Camp Fort Ontario State Historic Site & Ontario State Historic Site & ramp from the boat to the lighthouse and TheFort Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Fort Fort Ontario State State Historic Historic Site Site & & Museum enter its basement floor. Some climbing The Safe Haven Ontario Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum The The Safe Safe Haven Haven Holocaust Holocaust Refugee Refugee Shelter Shelter Museum Museum is required to reach the upper sections. On the second floor, there’s the raHours & Information Hours Hours && Information Information dio room, the kitchen and the keepers’ 315-343-4711 315-343-4711315-342-3003 315-342-3003 315-343-4711 315-342-3003 quarters. The third floor housed the [fortontario.com] [fortontario.com] [fortontario.com] signal room, and then a ladder will take [safehavenmuseum.com] [safehavenmuseum.com] 1 East 1 East 4th4th Street Street [safehavenmuseum.com] 2 East 2 East 7th7th Street Street you up to the top. 1 East 4th Street 2 East 7th Street Where the Holocaust came to America The light was converted in 1995 toAmerica’s Only WWII Holocaust Refugee Camp a solar-powered beacon and updated Fort Ontario State Historic Site & in 2010. The Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum Volunteer guides are situated on Hours & Information each floor to show visitors around and 315-343-4711 315-342-3003 answer questions. [fortontario.com] [safehavenmuseum.com] Most of the shutters and windows 1 East 4th Street 2 East 7th Street Where the Holocaust came to America are open on all sides, allowing guests stunning views of the harbor, the city America’s Only WWII Holocaust Refugee Camp and the lake. The boat ride back from the lightFort Ontario State HistoricCruises Site & Charters Available Sightseeing house provides better views of the The Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum THROUGH COLUMBUS DAY city’s skyline — Bridge Street, spanning Oswego River; the steeple of St. Mary’s Hours & Information TICKETS & INFORMATION AT Church; Wright’s Landing, which can 315-343-4711 315-342-3003 OldForgeLakeCruises.com accommodate more than 220 vessels in Just an hour north of Utica, NY [fortontario.com] its slips; the U.S. Coast Guard Station; [safehavenmuseum.com] Brietbeck Park; and if the wind is just 1 East 4th Street 2 East 7th Street
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NEWSMAKERS NEWS BRIEFS ON LOCAL BUSINESSES & BUSINESS PEOPLE Allen, Whitbread Join Eastern Shore Associates Shane Allen and Mark Whitbread recently joined Eastern Shore Associates Insurance (ESA) as producers, specializing in commercial lines. Both will operate from ESA’s Fulton office at 101 Cayuga St. “Their energy and enthusiasm are a welcome addition to our team,” said Eryl ChrisAllen tiansen, ESA president. “I know our customers will really enjoy working with them.” Whitbread, a native of Syracuse, has 21 years of experience in the insurance industry and resides in Skaneateles. Before joining ESA, he worked for some of the larger agencies in Central New York, where he began his career as an employee benefits specialist working with large group health insurance accounts, then segued into commercial lines. Allen, a Red Creek native and Sterlingresident, brings a wealth of experience to the position with many years in executive management and sales management. financial planning and risk management services. Whitbread “Our agency roots date back to 1846,” Christiansen said. “And we have more than 100 years of continuous representation with some of our insurance companies. 2019 is our 33rd year as Eastern Shore Associates Insurance. 28
Shaffer Promoted at Eastern Shore Aubrey Shaffer has been promoted to producer, with a focus on commercial lines, at Eastern Shore Associates Insurance’s (ESA) Walworth office. “ O v e r the past six years, Aubrey has gained a well-rounded insurance background in both personal and Shaffer commercial departments,” said Eryl Christiansen, ESA president. “Our customers enjoy working with her, and she will bring great enthusiasm and energy to her position as a producer.” Shaffer resides in, and is a native of, Palmyra.
Vote Oswego Founder Earns National Award SUNY Oswego political science professor Allison Rank, founder of the student-driven Vote Oswego voter mobilization campaign, has won a national honor, the John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement, given by the American Democracy Project. The award recognizes exemplary early-career leaders Rank who are advancing the wider civic engagement movement through higher education to build a broader public culture of democracy. The American Democracy Project — a nonpartisan partnership of the AmeriOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
can Association of State Colleges and Universities and The New York Times — is a consortium of more than 250 state colleges and universities focused on preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens. “I am honored the American Democracy Project has recognized me and by extension everyone who contributed to Vote Oswego’s success over the last three years with this award,” Rank said. “This award reflects the time, money and knowledge invested by faculty, staff and students to transform Vote Oswego into a collaborative, interdisciplinary project. I cannot wait to see how the campaign continues to grow and transform as we prepare for the 2020 elections.” Rank established Vote Oswego as a course, a voter registration drive and a voter mobilization campaign that emphasizes building civic awareness and political skills among students who represent the next generation of voting citizens. It focused first on the 2016 presidential election year and runs every two years during the national election cycle. In 2016 and 2018, the nonpartisan campaign — with five student interns, more than 250 student volunteers each semester and Rank as campaign manager — registered over 2,000 students to vote and helped 2,500 students request absentee ballots, according to Scott Furlong, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Oswego. Yet Rank’s civic engagement efforts go far beyond Vote Oswego, he added. “Civic engagement is deeply embedded in Allison’s teaching, scholarship and service,” Furlong wrote in a letter nominating her for the Saltmarsh Award. “She teaches courses in American politics, media and public opinion, and American political thought.” Additionally, Furlong said, she developed and taught a course, “America’s Radical Roots,” that includes a study abroad component in England, and also teaches courses in the college’s Honors program and in gender and women’s studies. She and Vote Oswego earned national attention last year when she was invited to participate in the AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
Students Learn Students Vote Election Debrief Summit in Washington, D.C.
Rowland Named MACNY’s New Chief Financial Officer MACNY, The Manufacturers Association, recently announced the promotion of Mary Rowland to the organization’s chief financial officer. Rowland, a certified public accountant, first joined MACNY in July 2014 as the controller. Since then, her responsibilities have continued to increase and her team has grown. In the past five years since she joined the team, MACNY has seen significant growth and changes and Rowland grew right along. Rowland is a participant in key decisions as a member of the executive management team. She also oversees the administrative, financial and risk management accounting decisions for MACNY. Additionally, she manages all financial reporting and monitors accounting systems designed to preserve MACNY’s assets. Rowland also leads MACNY’s finance council where finance-focused professionals and business leaders come together to learn about what’s happening in the world of accounting and finance. “We are so fortunate to have Mary on our team,” said Randy Wolken, MACNY president & CEO. “Her dedication and talent are integral to what we do and how we serve our members. We are thrilled to be promoting her and we hope all of our members will join us in congratulating her.”
Henderson Joins Beardsley Architects + Engineers Auburn-based Beardsley Architects + Engineers recently announced that Alexandra A. Henderson has joined the firm as intern civil engineer. She holds the certification of engineer in training (E.I.T.). Henderson graduated from SUNY College of EnvironmenHendersob AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
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Foundation Announces New Hires The Central New York Community Foundation has recently hired two employees. • Dara Harper joined the Community Foundation in April as events and communications associate. She is responsible for planning and executing Community Foundation events and provides general communications support. She previously served as develHarper opment manager for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and has been a yoga teacher for the past 24 years. Originally from the Louisville area, Harper holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Bellarmine University. • Sean Reed, Jr. joined the Community Foundation in May as program manager, strategic initiatives. He assists with the implementation of strategic initiative and affiliate fund programs. Reed is also the president of UPSTAR Academy and holds a degree in business administration and management from North Carolina Agricultural Reed and Technical State University. The Central New York Community Foundation is a public charity established in 1927 that collects contributions from donors, manages them to grow over time and then distributes funding to local charities to help them thrive. It AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
is the largest charitable foundation in Central New York with assets of more than $280 million and has invested more than $200 million in community improvement projects since its inception.
NBC’s Al Roker to Teach at SUNY Oswego SUNY Oswego will welcome one of its own into the classroom this fall as Al Roker, national weather anchor on NBC’s TODAY and co-host of the third hour of TODAY, will teach a broadcasting course titled “Camera Ready: Developing Your OnAir Persona” (BRC 497). R o k e r, a 1976 SUNY Oswego graduate, will work with Roker fellow SUNY Oswego faculty members: assistant professor of communication studies, Michael Riecke, former anchor of WSYR-TV “The Morning News” in Syracuse. and adjunct professor of meteorology Vanessa Richards, a 2008 graduate of SUNY Oswego and TV meteorologist for Spectrum News, CNY. Together, they will help students explore and learn what it takes to stand out from the pack and apply their skills and knowledge to succeed as an on-air personality in today’s competitive media environment. Roker and his co-professors will discuss with students the methods for connecting with an audience through storytelling, personal branding, presentation styles, on-camera appearance and more, with the goal of creating a demo reel. In addition, students will analyze the work of legendary on-air talent in television, radio and digital media as well as examine the characteristics that helped them succeed. “Al Roker has been a loyal ambassador for Oswego throughout his career, generous in sharing his love for the college,” said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley. “Oswego is honored that he has now chosen to return to the college classroom to share his talent and experiences with the next generation of broadcasters. Al’s unique background in broadcasting as a weather anchor, journalist and renowned television personality provides AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
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Oswego students with the ability to explore today’s complex broadcasting and communication environment.” “As a freshman at Oswego, I was working in the campus television studio, while my friends at big private universities never touched a piece of equipment until later in their college careers,” said Roker. “I’m excited about giving back to my alma mater, educating future journalists, and providing Oswego students with many of the same advantages I was given.” A generous supporter of his alma mater, Roker provided SUNY Oswego a gift to name the Al Roker Television Studio, which is operated by the student-run television station (WTOP), and teamed up with Lou Borrelli ’77 to name the annual Media Summit in honor of a mentor, Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell. His live national broadcasts from campus and his frequent on-air “plugs” for Oswego provide exposure for the college, most recently during Rokerthon3 in March 2017. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies from SUNY Oswego and an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York.
Barton & Loguidice Acquires New Jersey Firm Barton & Loguidice (B&L), an engineering, planning, environmental and landscape architecture firm with more than 270 employees throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, announced the acquisition of New Jersey-based Cummings & Smith, Inc. Currently operating from its office in Fairfield, New Jersey, Cummings & Smith is a civil engineering firm specializing in the solid waste management sector, servicing clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This is the firm’s fourth acquisition since April 2018. Gary L. Smith, president and co-founder of Cummings & Smith, is joining B&L as a senior managing engineer in the solid waste practice area, and will based in the firm’s New Jersey office. Three staff members, formerly with Cummings & Smith, will also being joining the B&L team. “I’m proud to bring the firm’s 30 years of experience and expertise to Barton & Loguidice,” said Smith. “This opportunity provides our clientele with even greater depth and expertise to service their growing needs.” 32
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B&L is an established industry leader in all aspects of solid waste and materials management including planning, landfills, organics management, recycling, composting, renewable energy and waste to energy. “With this acquisition, B&L is able to expand our solid waste expertise as we continue to build and invest in services for our clients.” said John F. Brusa, Jr., president and CEO of B&L. “We are excited to bring Gary and his team into our B&L family. Our two companies align well in terms of quality service, culture and value which will provide synergistic growth and opportunity for both firms.”
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New York Sea Grant Has New Director The New York Sea Grant (NYSG) board of governors and Stony Brook University Provost Michael Bernstein have announced the appointment of Rebecca L. “Becky” Shuford, Ph.D., as director of the NYSG Institute. Shuford is originally from Brooklyn. “The opportunity to serve as director Shuford of New York Sea Grant is truly a homecoming for me,” said Shuford. “I am eager to meet, learn from and work with all of our coastal partners, constituencies, and communities statewide, and within each of New York’s coastal ecosystems, including the Great Lakes, Hudson River Estuary, Long Island Sound, and Atlantic Ocean, on topics of mutual interest and importance, and to collectively bring ‘Science to the Shore.’” Prior to appointment as director, Shuford worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she managed a portfolio of high-profile programs focused on the 315.342.5000 science, management, conservation and sustainable use of trust coastal and marine resources. This included developing and directing NOAA’s Integrated Ecosystem Assessment program and leading NOAA’s Large Marine Ecosystem program.
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DiningOut By Christopher Malone
Served with a huge orange slice gripping the mason jar mug, the coconut-forward drink was accompanied by pineapple, orange and grenadine.
Pulaski’s Pot of Gold
Can satisfaction be found at the end of Rainbow Shores?
s my friend Ty and I pulled up to Rainbow Shores in Pulaski, 186 S. Rainbow Shores Road, I uttered, “Oh. This is it?” It wasn’t a statement with disgust, but surprise. The rustic exterior of Rainbow Shores didn’t match the interior photos on the website. Regardless, just like a hard-shelled candy with a silky and chic interior, Rainbow Shores is welcoming and a person won’t want to eat only one handful. Stringed dimly-lit bulbs guide the patron to the front door and twinkle like stars above the deck, never in competition with the actual stars. Whether or not a Rainbow Shores customer is staying overnight in one of the lakeside cabins or just dining out, 34
Lake Ontario is a huge selling point. Just wait for the sunset. We started off with a couple beverages: a Brewdog Hazy Jane New England IPA ($5.50) and the special rum concoction that was mislabeled on the menu ($8). Served with a huge orange slice gripping the mason jar mug, the coconut-forward drink was accompanied by pineapple, orange and grenadine. Surprisingly, this wasn’t as sweet as it was refreshing. The IPA was nice and crisp. There are two menus: a bistro and dinner menu. Of course, we opted for the latter, more adventurous menu. The first course of our meal featured complimentary house-made bread OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
with a delightful hint of garlic, pepper and onion, plus a servicing of roasted red pepper hummus. Great consistency with the hummus, which spread easily on the bread. The appetizers consisted of the evening’s special, fried calamari ($11), and the menu staple shrimp bruschetta ($12). The calamari featured lightly breaded tentacles and rings atop a salad of greens, mango, strawberry salsa and roasted red pepper ketchup. The pureed mango sat in meticulously placed drops around the pile of food. The salsa with sliced tomato wedges and chopped strawberries tasted really fresh. The ketchup had a nice sweetness to it. The shrimp bruschetta also boasted AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
The Faroe Island salmon was cooked beautifully and the utensils easily cut through the soft flesh of the fish. The greenest, crispiest broccolini stretched out on the plate. a notable of a plate setting and flavor. The balsamic drizzle wasn’t overdone, topping the crostini with meaty shrimp, tomatoes, onion and arugula. The small decapods were in good company and palate pleasers. Next Ty’s spring green salad ($4), the night’s special, presented itself with mixed greens, pecans, blue cheese and a strawberry basil prosecco vinaigrette. I’ll enjoy the dressing by the spoonful, but will spass on the blue cheese. I opted for one of the evening’s soups — the andouille sausage and vegetable. There was great flavor with the broth, which had a nice saltiness to it. Chunks of sausage and veggies huddled in fear at the bottom. The entrees came out next. Each portion of the dining experience was spaced out very well, and our server, Cosima, was very attentive. The plates of each course were removed before the next plates hit the table. The one menu page and one front-and-back specials page led to a difficult decision-making process. Ty opted for the Faroe Island salmon ($33) and I went for the wild mushroom filet mignon ($36). The salmon sat atop peach salsa and some of the creamiest risotto I’ve had in a while. The salsa with the salmon was a well-choreographed tango. The salmon was cooked beautifully and the utensils easily cut through the soft flesh of the fish. The greenest, crispiest broccolini stretched out on the plate. The 6 oz. black angus fillet was cooked very well at medium well. Pieces of wild mushroom swam in the cognac cream sauce, which pooled around the soft, red potato mash. This also came AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
The black angus fillet with pieces of wild mushroom swam in the cognac cream sauce, which pooled around the soft, red potato mash. This also came with broccolini.
Shrimp bruschetta at Rainbow Shores: The balsamic drizzle wasn’t overdone, topping the crostini with meaty shrimp, tomatoes, onion and arugula. with broccolini. With all the ingredients combined — magic. Compliments to the chef is certain — Rebekah Alford has continued the hospitality tradition of Rainbow Shores. She’s riding this leadership role in a great direction, especially with an all-women staff. Aside from quality of food and available lodging, Rainbow Shores advertises itself as a venue for people to simply hang out. The relaxing atmosphere welcomes musicians four nights a week throughout the summer. Regarding conversation with Ty — we’ve had all these food options (shrimp, filet, mashed potatoes, salsa, bruschetta, etc.) before. Let’s avoid clichés like “a breath of fresh air” or “exceeded expectations.” Alford and staff aren’t reinventing any wheels either. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
However, they’re making the culinary experiences better, worth talking about, and revisiting.
Rainbow Shores Address 186 S Rainbow Shores Rd, Pulaski, NY 13142 Phone (315) 298-5110 Website/Social rainbowshoresny.com www.facebook.com/rainbow.shores Hours Always open 35
New Business in Town: Rent The Chicken Hastings business offers hen rental for those who want to experience fresh eggs but not the long-term commitment to raising chickens
ant farm-fresh eggs but not a long-term commitment to raising a flock from chicks? Rent The Chicken could be your answer. Lisa Stevenson of Hastings can set you up with a coop, four to six laying hens, equipment and enough feed for six months, all for $400 to $600. Within days, your breakfast egg will be mere minutes from nest to table. Stevenson is the local affiliate for Rent The Chicken, a business founded by Phil and Jenn Tompkins of Freeport, Pennsylvania. She started her business in May. Stevenson delivers rental packages within a 50-mile drive of Hastings, which includes most places in Central New York, including Syracuse. While traveling to their renters’ homes, the hens actually ride in the coop, which is secured on a flatbed trailer. “They don’t seem to mind,” Stevenson said. “They don’t have an issue
with being transported. They can sit in the roost to get out of the wind.” Intended for curious but perhaps not completely committed backyard chicken raisers, Rent The Chicken allows renters to “chicken out” and return everything before the six months’ rental is up. Or, for an additional fee, they can keep it all and “adopt” the chickens and their equipment. Renters also receive unlimited contact with experienced “chicken friends” who can talk them through any health issues. Renters with yards as small as 10 by 15 feet can offer adequate space for the portable coops and attached chicken yards; however, obtaining permission with the local zoning board is up to the renters, not Stevenson. Portability allows renters to move the coop and chicken yard frequently so the birds can gobble up pesky insects — they like grubs, mosquitoes and other insects — and spread out their manure OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
so it doesn’t pile up and cause odor problems as readily. Some potential renters wonder about noise; however, hens’ clucks are pretty quiet. It’s roosters whose “cock-adoodle-doo” would rouse the neighborhood. Since renters take on only mature hens, they won’t have any unwanted roosters from a flock of chicks. Rent The Chicken affiliates replace for free any birds killed by predators; however, since most coops are placed in backyards and since the birds don’t roam outside their chicken yard and coop, they’re pretty safe. To help ensure healthy rental chickens, Rent The Chicken has affiliates raise their own birds or source them from National Poultry Improvement Plan-certified hatcheries. The industry association promotes bird health and proper breeding and handling. Rent The Chicken affiliates can re-rent birds that aren’t adopted, as long as they’re AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
still laying. Stevenson started thinking about the business three years ago because she and her husband Steve wanted a retirement business. She recalled hearing about chicken rental and eventually reached out to the Tompkins, founders of Rent The Chicken. Three months ago, she decided to go for it. Steve approved of his wife’s crazy-sounding venture, as long as he didn’t have to build any coops. So far, he has built and delivered 19 coops in a little more than a month of launching the business. The couple promotes the business through appearances at events like Celebrate Commemorate Memorial Day in Waterloo and word-of-mouth. Families with young children comprise Rent The Chicken’s target market, though some grandparents want birds for their grandkids. Occasionally, an older couple or teen is the customer. Lisa Stevenson recalled one teen who received chicken rental for her birthday. “We could hear her screaming, ‘My chickens are here!’” she said. Figuring out how to get coops and birds delivered has proven the biggest challenge, since renters must be home for a delivery. Stevenson’s background as a SUNY Delaware vet technician graduate helped her readily take on the animal care aspects of the business. She had also kept ducks and geese before. Meetings and webinars hosted by Rent The Chicken have also helped the Stevensons get up to speed in the chicken rental business. In just a few weeks, they’ve turned a profit, which is impressive, considering they had to purchase all the materials for coop construction. Rent The Chicken provides plans for coops. “We have to have one of each of the three sizes of coops available,” Stevenson said. “We got a little behind and were building as we needed them. We had three orders in one day, at one point. I think we’re doing pretty good.” So why do people want to rent chickens? For some, they fancy dabbling in agriculture on a scale they can manage. Others like the farm-to-table aspect. Still, more want to teach their children responsibility and how at least one of their foods is sourced. “We’re having so much fun doing it,” Stevenson said. “My husband didn’t want anything to do with it, but he’s now building coops like crazy. He didn’t understand the ‘why’ but now he gets it.”
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
Lisa Stevenson of Hastings operates The Rent The Chicken businss. She can set you up with a coop, four to six laying hens, equipment and enough feed for six months, all for $400 to $600. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
BUSINESS UPDATE From left, Rebekkah Frisch, Oswego Industries¹ marketing and communications associate; Jason DiBartolo, business development manager for OI; and Igor Kasovski, director of technical operations for OI, express excitement over their new belt line.
Oswego Industries Unveils New Product Line, Explores Retail Market
swego Industries has carved an indelible niche by employing and providing services to those less fortunate in the community. Whether it is preparing a person with disabilities for the real world or presenting actual job opportunities for them on site, OI combines a human services component with operating a sustainable business. OI has provided services and supports to adults with disabilities since 1968. Now, OI is jumping into retail sales with a new product line. The nonprofit organization based in Fulton is teaming up with The Village Shops and Battle Island State Park Golf Course, also located in Fulton, to sell BioThane and web belts to the general 38
public. Biothane is the brand name for all coated webbing products made by BioThane Coated Webbing Corp. It is a polyester webbing with a thermoplastic polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride coating that makes it more durable, waterproof and easy to clean. “Leather tends to soak stuff in, whether it is sweat or other liquids. Biothane is preferable for outdoor use due to its water-resistant properties and strength. It is also abrasion resistant and easy to clean,” said Igor Kasovski, director of technical operations at OI. The design features sturdy brass buckles and loops that can easily be interchanged thanks to the use of Chicago Screws. “The other interesting thing about OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
what we’re able to do with these belts is we can essentially make any size you want, which is not the case when it comes to leather belts,” Kasovski said. Jason DiBartolo is the business development manager for OI, and is out in the field generating both interest and sales for the stylish yet durable belt. For the past nine years, OI has assembled more than a quarter million belts for use by the federal Transportation Security Administration. While the TSA is regarded as one of the least popular agencies in government, it adheres to a strict dress code in an effort to improve its image. Kasovski said the TSA experience helped propel the current project forward and built credibility. He said the government has been AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
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pleased, and now it is time to allow consumers access to the belts. OI will continue to make leather belts, but is now delving into the BioThane and web lines. DiBartolo’s first stop was to visit Renee Doney at The Village Shops in downtown Fulton. “Her jaw just dropped, and she said, ‘Do whatever you have to do,’” said DiBartolo, noting the owner was eager to fully support the initiative and get it off the ground. A target demographic for the belts are golfers due to their many benefits, including various colors and style. In that vein, DiBartolo also called upon Kristen Aluzzi, who runs Kristen’s at Battle Island State Park Golf Course. She too was receptive to the belts. A major triumph was gaining the support of the Oswego Country Club and head professional golfer Ryne Varney. DiBartolo said once people understand what the mission is and that profits are channeled back to the organization, they are all aboard. The 315 Studio in downtown Oswego, owned and operated by Rose Favata, is also featuring the belts as well. “The response from the community has been fantastic,” said Kasovski, noting both businesses and individuals are on board. “We want to start locally and get feedback from the community.” “We want to do our own production, which is a step away from some things we have done in the past,” he added. “We want the whole process done from soup to nuts by our labor force here. He said the goal is to have the program intact no later than the end of August. While OI is starting to market the belts in Oswego County, it intends to extend its reach throughout Central New York. “Our goal is to go much further than our local community,” Kasovski said. OI also wants to create its own e-commerce platform touting the belts. Customers can purchase the 1.5” wide BioThane belts for $24.95. For a more casual look, 1.25” wide web belts available for $11.95 offer a lightweight construction that complements sporting or casual apparel. They feature military-grade nylon webbing and coated flip-top buckles. Currently, both types of belts are stocked in sizes 32-44 at The Village Shops and 40-44 at Battle Island Golf Course. 40
BUSINESS UPDATE Additional sizes are available through special order.
Mission of hope OI services about 400 challenged individuals that take advantage of a myriad of programs, including working on government contracts and receiving support services during the day. OI also has a career employment department that works with people with mental disabilities who need support getting and maintaining a job. OI has a staff of 200 workers, ranking it among the top-20 private employers in Oswego County. In the past, OI had large contracts with the likes of Miller Brewing Co. and Nestle Co., and served essentially as an outsource-subcontractor like many similar types of facilities across the country. “Those contracts employed a large number of people,” Kasovski said. “These buildings used to be packed with people and various types of things that we would assemble and package.” When companies such as Miller and Nestle disappeared, so did the business flow at OI. “We transitioned during that time and our workforce shrunk across the board on the business services side,” he said. However, since Kasovski’s arrival about five years ago, business has been incrementally increasing as more services are being added. “This will not only bring revenue into the organization, but it will provide more opportunities for people with and without disabilities,” he added. Another upside is that when revenue comes to OI, it is spent locally as most of the people that work and are serviced there live within the community. “The underlying thing for us is to empower individuals, and that’s why Oswego Industries is here,” Kasovski said. OI has programs designed to improve daily living skills, enhance social engagement and build confidence for those less fortunate. It also puts folks to work through its custodial and textile divisions, as well as belt making and document imaging.
it felt good to be doing positive things for people. However, “my main hurdle was when I told people where I worked, nobody knew what goes on here,” DiBartolo said. “That was kind of a punch in the gut because there is so much good going on here. “We don’t want to be the best-kept secret in Fulton,” he said, noting one of the goals of this type of project is to gain notoriety. Kasovski said that 70 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed. “We’re trying to do our part in creating various opportunities and growing our business here. People looking for work and to build skills can come to Oswego Industries and hopefully one day move on to bigger and better things,” he added. “It’s all about the people we serve,” Kasovski said. Word of mouth will play a key role in the success of the product, as well as social media exposure under the guidance of Rebekkah Frisch, OI’s marketing and communications associate. Kasovski said. DiBartolo said product reviews are coming in as consumers are saying what they like about the product. He said belts featuring plastic clips may also be featured down the road for workers at nuclear power plants to avoid delays at metal detectors, while other adaptations may in store for police officers. On the business services side, projects have to “stand on their own two feet,” Kasovski said. “Whether it is document imaging or anything else, it’s just like any other business. We go ahead and spec out the work, hire the labor, and go out and perform the project. At the end of the day, our goal is to have a couple bucks left over on top of the hours and everything else we put into it,” he said. Government funding through the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities helps support day rehab and pre-vocational training services. OI also receives funding to support its career employment services program where staff finds work out in the community for the people it serves. Its sister agency, Arc of Oswego County, provides services to children and seniors with disabilities.
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Oviatt Hearing & Balance Joins to HearingLife Oviatt rebranded as HearingLife, part of a global company
viatt Hearing & Balance, a hearing care company with four locations in Central New York, has joined HearingLife’s network of U.S. clinics. The comprehensive rebrand enhances Oviatt’s focus on personalized patient attention with the resources of a nationally recognized hearing healthcare company, according to a new release. As part of a global hearing healthcare company, HearingLife’s programs and additional areas of expertise will ensure Oviatt patients continue to receive outstanding care. “We are proud of our work and the relationships we’ve built with local communities over the last 35 years. By joining HearingLife, we’re confident that legacy will be preserved and AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
augmented through excellent clinical support, the most up-to-date diagnostic equipment, and assurance that our patients will receive the same personalized attention at any of HearingLife’s clinics throughout the nation,” said Nicholas Graham, director of operations. Founded over 35 years ago, Oviatt serves thousands of patients in four locations: Camillus, Manlius, Oswego and Syracuse. The Oviatt team, services, locations and hours will remain the same as the company adopts its new name. Accepted insurance plans will also remain the same. A rebranding campaign — including new clinic signage and website turnover —begins in August. “With its emphasis on ‘nuance matters,’ HearingLife’s belief that competent, professional care is required to OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
match patients with the right hearing device technology mirrors exactly our mission and values,” said audiologist Ryan C. Potter. “I look forward to partnering with them in offering the best care possible.” Oviatt’s reputation for partnering with patients on the journey to better hearing will be further enhanced by the benefits of HearingLife’s selection of hearing device products, in concert with communication strategies personalized for every patient, added audiologist Potter. As one of the country’s largest hearing device healthcare providers, HearingLife offers the best choice in the latest hearing device brands ensuring patients are fitted with devices that will serve them best. Technology service and repair is also available at more than 700 locations across the U.S. and Canada. Patients can count on reliable support when traveling to many major cities. HearingLife is part of Demant, which employs more than 14,000 staff in more than 30 countries. William Demant Foundation holds the majority of shares in Demant A/S, which is listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen as part of the 35 most traded shares. 41
Interior of Harbor Eye Associates’ new office in Oswego.
Optometrist David Dexter Hits High Note with New Office Harbor Eye Associates’ new location features a large showroom, optical products and nine exam and treatment rooms
t’s payback time, and optometrist David Dexter could not be more delighted. It doesn’t require 20/20 vision to see that one of the Port City’s most beloved and respected health care providers is at the height of his successful career. Attesting to that is his new location at 120 E. First St., Oswego. Harbor Eye Associates is located within the former City of Oswego School District Education Center, home 42
also to new tenants Century 21 Galloway Realty, SonaBella Beauty Studio & Spa, and Aqua Spa Float Center & Wellness Boutique. “This new location is a thank you to our community for 40 years of support. This is what they get for giving me that support for 40 years,” said Dexter, who specializes in primary care, contact lenses and ocular disease. The spacious location features a large showroom featuring a wealth of OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
optical products as well as nine exam and treatment rooms. “The advantage of moving was that we were practicing at two locations for the past two years. We had reopened our former location at West Third and Schuyler streets to see more patients because we were just too big to take care of patients at or main location on West First Street,” said Dexter’s wife and colleague, optometrist Lori Youngman. It was an optional project for Dexter, being that he could be enjoying retirement at this stage of his career. “This cost a couple hundred thousand dollars, which is peanuts compared to building something new,” Dexter said. “We also did a lot of our own work,” Youngman added. Dexter designed the floor plan with patient flow in mind. “Everything comes down to ease of care to benefit the patient,” he said. The business has also installed a new RightEye computerized eye-tracking system that uncovers paths to better vision and brain health, and sports AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
performance. A native of Oswego, Dexter returned home from schooling at the University of Southern California at a time when his father, Marvin Dexter, was still practicing as a “country doctor.” “He delivered babies, set fractures and did surgeries. That’s the way things were done back then,” he said. Upon his return, then Mayor William Cahill said, ‘Dave, you have to participate. In order to have a vibrant community, you have to live, practice and shop here. You’re going to be on some committees, aren’t you?’” Dexter recalled. After agreeing, Dexter was placed on the city’s planning board. “I was 28 years old, and everybody else was in their 40s and 50s. I learned a lot about community and projects, and how long it took to get things done,” Dexter said. He also became a member of the Oswego Maritime Foundation when it was developing Wright’s Landing Marina. “It was such an overwhelming and wonderful experience,” he said. “The ideas we wanted to do in our community 40 years ago would take 40 years to come to fruition.” Dexter said the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is taking the city to “a whole different place.” “What’s going on in Oswego is going to draw a younger, newer set of people, and that is going to be exciting to watch,” he said. His former office space on West First Street is a cornerstone of one of the city’s premier projects being done by entrepreneur Ed Alberts. “The city came to me and said, ‘We’d really like you to move your office one more time,’” he said. “I said, ‘Really? This will be my fifth office. I’m too old and tired,’” he noted. Obviously, that is not the case. In the meantime, Thomas Schneider, president and CEO of Pathfinder Bank, informed Dexter that the bank was taking over the vacant former Education Building and needed a firstfloor anchor business to legitimize the acquisition. “I’ve never met anyone as dynamic as Tom Schneider. You never see his name on anything; he just wants to get things done,” he said. It was at that point that Dexter handed over the keys to his former facility and embarked on his fifth office project. He complimented City of Oswego AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
Optometrists David Dexter and Lori Youngman of Harbor Eye Associates at their new office in Oswego.
Lexi Alfaro, optical stylist, and Nick DeGroff, licensed optician, of Harbor Eye Associates. Mayor William “Billy” Barlow and his staff for making the transition happen in seamless fashion. Dexter and Youngman met on the West Coast during a conference and have been married for more than six years. Youngman moved to Oswego in 2011 after being involved with patient surgical care with the Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute out west. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
She has transitioned from her passion — geriatric medicine — back into the realm of primary care. Youngman was a single mother of two boys who was widowed following her first husband’s untimely death. “I ran into David at a meeting and we started seeing each other at different events and the rest is history,” she said. The long-distance relationship proved to be taxing. 43
“We traveled 2,386 miles every other Thursday, and it got to be a drag,” Dexter added. The couple does a lot of tag teaming and patient sharing in their practice, and Youngman will oftentimes send a troublesome contact lens issue to her husband. Dexter has authored books on contact lenses, and during his early training, was involved with Bausch & Lomb in the transition to soft contact lenses.
Humble origins Dexter’s original office was in a small building that camera shop owner Bart Gentile owned on West Bridge Street. “It was three rooms. My contact lens department today is bigger than my first office,” he said. Just out of school with limited funds, Dexter’s family hunkered down and went in to paint and carpet the new facility that had one exam room and one helper. “Who would have dreamed that we would have this kind of empire 40 years later?” he said. In the days of his schooling, Dexter was trained to be his own business owner and manager. That scenario has certainly changed as approximately 92 percent of all health care providers no longer work for themselves. “They work for either hospitals or groups. There are very few offices like ours, and you have to make it vibrant to exist. Small offices just don’t make it,” he said. He noted that venture capitalists are buying up health care practices to sell to large conglomerates in a “phenomenally changing world.” While independent, Dexter’s office has partnered with buying groups who allow his office autonomy while offering products that he would not be able to afford otherwise, such as retirement plans and health insurance coverage. His father began medical practice in the mid-40s following World War II, where he was an Army surgeon. He decided Oswego was the place to be, and began working for local hospitals. David Dexter’s two sons are both involved in health care. Justin Dexter is an ophthalmologist and considered one of the top cataract surgeons in Central New York based on numbers and ratings. David J. Dexter II is a vascular surgeon. 44
“Who would have dreamed that we would have this kind of empire 40 years later?” Optometrist David Dexter, an Oswego native who has been in business for more than 40 years
“It’s kind of funny, but my son does the majority of cataracts out of Oswego. We counted 130 patients that he did cataracts on that my father delivered. One patient told him, “Your grandfather brought me into the world, and now I can see because of his grandson,” Dexter noted. Youngman said within a family business, “you are always thinking that your patients are family. We’re all family in one way or another. So you have to treat them like family. Every patient in your chair is a parent, sibling or child to us. It is family.” Dexter said his dad always said, “if you treat every patient like family, everything will be fine and at the end of the day, you are going to really feel good about what you did.” Dexter, who has been practicing for 46 years, said one of his dad’s greatest comments was, “What’s most important is always to give and not to worry about what you get. If you get something at the end, be happy for it. But what’s really important is that giving is so much important then getting.”
Vision for success Dexter said the key to his success and longevity is providing outstanding care. His business features both a medical division as well as retail store, which is unique among health care vendors. “People wanted the store because they said, ‘I trusted you with my eyes for 40 years, so now I trust you are going to get me a great quality product at a great price,’” he said. Dexter said people also seek out cheaper alternatives online only to find they did not receive what they expected. He said nowadays, there are a lot of OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
different places that do eye exams, and consumers are even using phone-powered vision tests. “You have to be very careful,” Dexter cautioned. “One patient said, ‘your office is so great. I’ve been to other places, but it’s just not the same.’ I said, ‘you know why? Because you’re the boss the entire time you are in the office. Everyone here works solely for you,’” Dexter said. Dexter said when consumers go to other vision centers, workers are counting on corporate entities to make key decisions. “I like being in business and having an income, but that’s not why I do it anymore. I’ve done it all and now it’s the next group’s turn,” Dexter said. He noted he is in negotiations with a husband and wife team that “could come in and potentially take over.” “That would mean I could do a little more boating and horse riding, stuff that has always been on the backburner,” he added. “The last thing I want to do is outlive the value in a business,” he said. “But I don’t think of myself as being of retirement age.” While Dexter is admired for his lighter and humorous side, he realizes the serious responsibility he has in taking care of patients with their medical needs while preventing blindness. “We save one life every five years, and save someone from losing their sight on a weekly basis,” said Dexter, noting that it is not out of the ordinary for his team to discover life-threatening tumors during a routine eye exam. Dexter also has an office on Maple Avenue in Pulaski, a location he has maintained since 1980. He’s planning a total renovation at that location as well. “The dream is to have an environment that younger doctors will want to come to. It’s difficult to recruit doctors to rural areas unless they want a rural area that has everything to offer,” said Dexter, noting access to water and a solid school system are drawing cards locally. Youngman’s oldest son Tyler Youngman is both a Chancellor ’s Scholar and Remembrance Scholar at Syracuse University who is seeking a master’s degree in library science. Her other son Drew Youngman is studying music at SUNY Fredonia. The Remembrance Scholarship was founded as a tribute to the 35 student killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
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Achievements in Economic Development Recognized Five awards are given to people and organizations that make a difference in the region
Operation Oswego County recognizes businesses, organizations and individuals that have contributed significantly to the economy or that have demonstrated outstanding support and leadership in the economic development process in Oswego County
L. MICHAEL TREADWELL, CEcD, is executive director of Operation Oswego County based in Oswego. To contact him call 315-343-1545 or visit www.oswegocounty.org. 46
passed a unique milestone in its history and peration Oswego County (OOC) has exhibited ongoing community support recently held its 67th annual meetand service; ing at the Lake Ontario Event and n The Jobs Award. It presented to a private Conference Center in Oswego. An integral sector employer in Oswego County that has part of the annual meeting is focused upon made a significant capital investment and/ recognizing businesses, organizations and or significant creation/retention of jobs individuals that have contributed signifithat has had a major overall impact on the cantly to the economy of Oswego County or county’s economy; that have demonstrated outstanding support n The Dee Heckethorn Entrepreneur Award. and leadership in the economic development It recognizes a business owner who has an process in Oswego County. innovative product or service that acts as a There are five annual awards: catalyst for further economic growth, and n The Ally Award. It is presented each who has taken considerable initiative and year to an organization that makes a sigrisk bringing their prodnificant contribution to Economic Trends uct or service to Oswego the economic developCounty; and, ment process in Oswego n The Martin Rose Economic Developer Merit County and goes above and beyond the Award. It is presented to an individual who is organization’s ordinary scope of services; not a professional economic developer, but n The Business Excellence Award. It is that has exhibited outstanding leadership, awarded to a private sector organization support and/or cooperation in furthering in Oswego County that has demonstrated economic development efforts in Oswego adaptation and growth in a competitive County and who has a record of creating business environment, provided quality and implementing economic development service and/or products, has received recstrategies which have benefited the county. ognition for recent accomplishments and/or
Cayuga Community College’s Fulton Campus was awarded the 2019 Ally Award. From left are Barbara Bateman, OOC board president; Bob Pinkes, CCC — technical coordinator for Work Ready Oswego NY; Keiko Kimura, CCC – assistant vice president/dean of Fulton Campus; Carla DeShaw, CCC – executive dean of community education and workforce development; Anne Herron, CCC – provost and vice president of academic affairs; Paula Hayes, CCC – liaison for workforce initiatives; and L. Michael Treadwell, OOC director. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
This year, Operation Oswego County took great pride in recognizing three business organizations, a successful entrepreneur and a long-standing member of the business community. The Ally Award for 2019 was presented to Cayuga Community College – Fulton Campus in recognition and appreciation of the vision, commitment and leadership demonstrated to support and enhance workforce readiness skills for the betterment of Oswego County’s industries, businesses and citizens; for spearheading the Act Work Ready Community Initiative to make Oswego County the first Act Work Ready Community in New York state and in the northeast; for its role in assembling strategic partners from local government, schools, community organizations and businesses across Oswego County to implement the initiative; for efforts to carry out the Advanced Manufacturing Initiative to include an Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory in Fulton for specialized training; for the creation of the Oswego County Manufacturers Consortia involving 21 companies; and for being a vital and essential partner in workforce and economic development in Oswego County. The Business Excellence Award was presented to United Wire Technologies in recognition and appreciation for demonstrating outstanding leadership, adaptation, commitment and perseverance in overcoming a devastating fire in 2012; for the dedication to keep the third-generation company in Oswego County by acquiring and renovating a 14,400 square feet building in the town of Constantia; for expanding to 22,200 square feet in 2017; for being a quality and specialized producer of copper alloy wire used in aviation and musical instruments; for being an employer of 14 and for doing business in Oswego County for over 80 years. The 2019 Jobs Award was presented to EJ USA in recognition and appreciation of the significant contribution and impact of EJ USA’s new 71,300-sq.ft. state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and its northeastern distribution and logistics hub located in the Oswego County Industrial Park in the Town of Schroeppel; for its critical and essential role in fabricating products for infrastructure development; for employing more than 100 workers; for investing $10 million; and for becoming an integral part of Oswego County’s and Central New York’s manufacturing community. Anthony Pauldine received OOC’s 2019 Dee Heckethorn Entrepreneur AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
United Wire Technologies, Inc., was awarded the 2019 Business Excellence Award. From left are Barbara Bateman, OOC board president; Michael Ransom, James Ransom, and Donald Ransom, United Wire Technologies; and L. Michael Treadwell, OOC executive director.
EJ USA, Inc. was awarded the 2019 Jobs Award. From left are Barbara Bateman, OOC board president; Timothy McKernan, EJ facility manager; Melissa Krak, EJ sales; and L. Michael Treadwell, OOC executive director.
Barbara Bateman, OOC board president (left), and L. Michael Treadwell, OOC executive director (right), congratulate Anthony M. Pauldine, general contractor, for receiving the 2019 Dee Heckethorn Entrepreneur Award. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Award in recognition and appreciation of exceptional entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and dedication to revitalizing the city of Oswego’s downtown; for restoring the 191-year-old former fish market that is on the National Register of Historic Places, Cahill Landing, into seven upscale apartments and being recognized by the Preservation League of New York State with a 2019 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award; for transforming the former YMCA building into a mixed-use development with 10 loft apartments and 5,500 square feet of commercial space; for restoring the historic Buckhout-Jones building that is now home to the Children’s Museum of Oswego; for the development of the Canal Commons, which offers shopping in the heart of downtown Oswego with over a dozen shops, and The Lofts at Canal Commons, which features 11 luxury apartments; and for operating a successful general contracting business for more than 30 years. David Dano was honored with the 2019 Martin Rose Economic Developer Merit Award in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding record of exhibiting leadership, support, expertise and cooperation in advancing economic and business development that have significantly enhanced the business climate, economic progress and the
David Dano, retired business finance director for Operation Oswego County, received the 2019 Martin Rose Economic Developer Award. From left are Barbara Bateman, OOC board president; Charlene Dano, David’s wife; David Dano; and L. Michael Treadwell, OOC executive director. quality of life in Oswego County; for his commitment and dedication for serving on the board of directors of Operation Oswego County between 1985-1999 (15 years); serving as vice president between 1987-1996 (10 years); serving as president between 1996-1999 (four years); for providing financial consulting services between 2000-2002 (three years); for serving as Operation Oswego
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Open For Business Recently opened small businesses in Oswego — ranging from an eatery specializing in salads to an art studio — try to make a go Stories by Maria Pericozzi
J&J Café Bubble tea, many tasty delights come to Port City
Before opening J&J Cafe, Alyssa Flynn was a full-time mom. Opening a business is a lot of work, Flynn said.“I give props to whoever has been doing this for many, many years.” AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
lyssa Flynn has brought bubble tea to Oswego by fulfilling her dream of opening J&J Café, 18 W. Bridge St. Bubble tea is a Japanese-based drink with milk, fruit flavoring and tapioca balls or juice bubbles. J&J Café also serves coffee, pie, cookies, scones, muffins, cupcakes, soup, salad, paninis and breakfast. “A lot of people are asking what bubble tea is,” Flynn said. “I’m the only one as of right now selling it in Oswego.” The tapioca balls and juice bubbles are expensive because they are shipped to Oswego right from Japan. “It’s the price of shipping that gets you,” Flynn said. “Destiny USA is the closest place that sells bubble tea. I’ve had a bunch of people come in and tell me they’re saving on a trip to Destiny by coming here,” she said. 49
One of Flynn’s biggest dreams was to open a café. She spent close to $11,000 making her dream come true in the middle of April when she opened the location. Before that, she spent four months renovating the building. There was no ceiling, no walls, no bathroom and some tiles needed to be replaced. Flynn and her husband Brandon also built the kitchen from scratch. “I hope to stay busy, eat local and shop local,” Flynn said. Before opening the business, Flynn was a full-time mom and decided to open the business for her two children. J&J stands for her two son’s names, Jonathan, who is 5, and Jackson, who is 2. Flynn is from Sodus Point and com-
mutes to Oswego each day. She said she eventually would relocate to Oswego. Until then, she drives 45 minutes each way, bringing baked goods from her mother’s bakery in Sodus Point. She also purchases coffee from Sodus Point, but would like to eventually purchase other brands as well. “I would like to expand eventually and get more employees,” Flynn said. Eventually, Flynn would also like to expand the menu to serve dinner. “We’re a big breakfast family, so we like French toast for dinner,” Flynn said. “So that’s why we really chose to serve breakfast.” Being a business owner is time consuming, Flynn said.
Robert Gervais opened the shop in the beginning of April. “We do plan on eventually opening more locations, but that’s further down the road,” he says.
The Cracked Kettle
One-stop shop for those into pagan, occult cultures
he Cracked Kettle is Oswego’s new one-stop shop for all supplies for pagan and occult rituals and many items for witchcraft needs. Robert Gervais opened the shop in the beginning of April, after he said there was a need for the shop in the area. 50
The shop is located at 193 W. First St., suite B, Oswego. “We had many requests to open a location here,” Gervais said. “A lot of our clients that go to our North Syracuse location now come from Oswego.” Gervais said he has hundreds of OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
“I’m busy and it’s very exhausting,” she said. “But I know how to juggle it because I have kids. I’m already able to multitask.” Opening a business is a lot of work, Flynn said. “I give props to whoever has been doing this for many, many years,” she added. Flynn chose Oswego to open the café because she loves the area and didn’t want to be too close to her mom’s bakery while she sold her mom’s baked goods. “With my mom having her bakery too, we wanted to have a little gap between us,” Flynn said. clients already for the Oswego location. “If you take into account the other surrounding locations, including Phoenix, they all drive to Syracuse too,” Gervais said. “They all requested to be closer.” The mission of the shop is to bring the pagan and occult community to a place it can trust. Gervais said he hopes it can be a place where practitioners of many paths can get information and tools without the discrimination and bias of organized cultures. Modern paganism is a collection of religious, spiritual and magical traditions that are self-consciously inspired by the pre-Judaic, pre-Christian, and pre-Islamic belief systems, honoring the Earth. The Cracked Kettle offers many products from fresh handcrafted tea, coffee, sage and herbs, herbal extractions and more. They also have an online store, where they offer teas and loose herbs. “It’s all homemade,” Gervais said. “We make all of the teas and herbal extractions. Soon we’re going to offer even more hand-crafted items.” Gervais is 35 and was born in the area, raised in a pagan household, but moved out west to be with family. He came back to the area to open a location in Syracuse, called Earthbound Metaphysical Shoppe, which opened four years ago. “When I moved here, the pagan community was lacking in the department of having places to buy stuff,” Gervais said. “The pagan community was lacking in many areas in Upstate New York.” Gervais said he is hoping to see growth at this location by bringing in services, such as tarot reading, hypnosis and more. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
“It’s further down the road when I decide where I’m going to do that,” Gervais said. The shop is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday and from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
When the business first started four years ago, all of the funding came out of pocket. Gervais said they started the business off with $500. “We’ve never taken out any loans, asked for help or gotten grants,” Gervais said. “Nothing. It’s all comes out of pocket.”
When they first opened the business, Gervais worked as a restaurant manager for a year and ran the business to make sure he didn’t have to ask for help from anybody. “We do plan on eventually opening more locations,” Gervais said. “But that’s further down the road.”
Leanna Chapman opend Leanna’s Art Room in March. “I’m really thankful I have the opportunity to be here and I’m excited for the future,” Chapman said. “I love what I do and it’s super exciting to be here.”
Leanna’s Art Room Downtown Oswego business offers youth cultural experience By Maria Pericozzi
eanna’s Art Room has grown from an on-location pop-up studio to a stationary art studio located in Canal Commons, downtown Oswego. Owner Leanna Chapman has spent most of her life drawing and painting and opened Leanna’s Art Room nearly one year ago. It formerly was a mobile art service specializing in face and canvas-painting workshops for kids aged 3 to 13. Now, she offers those services for kids between the ages of 2 and 17. After randomly seeing online that the space was available, Chapman’s dream for the future became a reality sooner than she thought. “I decided to go full force with the studio plans,” Chapman said. “I saw that [this space] was available and it AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
was exactly where I wanted to be. It was the perfect location and size and I could not pass up the opportunity. So here I am.” She opened the new location at the end of March. Chapman is still offering the same services as before, except now customers can come to her. “By having a studio, I’m able to offer a lot more cool, artsy stuff now,” Chapman said. “I like traveling, but it’s hard around here in the wintertime. I used to only operate traveling in the spring or summer, and sometimes fall depending on the weather.” Now, Chapman is able to work year-round and host many different types of events at her studio. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Chapman will still travel for weekend festivals, but no longer does traveling to homes for birthday parties. “Now I can do different parties here in the studio,” Chapman said. “It’s kind of perfect. People can walk around and drop their older kids and teenagers off here and they can go do their thing. This is a great space for people to hang out and connect.” “You get a lot of foot traffic through here,” Chapman said. “There are a lot of people who walk through and check out the space.” She attended SUNY Oswego, majoring in fine art, and is from Fulton. Early on, she decided she wanted to be a teacher but was unsure what kind of teacher. She started teaching preschoolers nearly 10 years ago, which put her art on the back burner for a while, until last year when she opened her business. “I’m really thankful I have the opportunity to be here and I’m excited for the future,” Chapman said. “I love what I do and it’s super exciting to be here.” Chapman has invested about several thousand dollars in the business. It was money she earned working multiple jobs. “I haven’t taken out any loans or used credit cards,” Chapman said. “It’s been a plan and I’ve been saving.” The next plan for Chapman is to generate the financial support to offer what she wants to. Right now, she offers basic services, but she wants to be able to have the supplies to do bigger and better projects involving the community. Opening the location has had a positive impact on her business. “I’ve gotten a really good response from people in the community who have younger kids,” Chapman said. “I’m getting a wider range of ages who are using the studio space, which is really nice. It was a hope, but you never know what to expect sometimes.” 51
Kaitlyn Anderson recently opened 3.21 Salads eatery downtown in Oswego.
3.21 Salads Garden deliciousness comes to downtown Oswego
efore Kaitlyn Anderson’s grandfather passed away, he told her she should go into business because she makes the best salads. Last year, Anderson decided she would open a food truck, honoring her grandfather by naming it after his birthday. She recently opened a location at 81 E. Bridge St. in Oswego. Each item on the menu corresponds with a birthday of a family member, ex-
cept for one item that is a badge number. In 2013, Anderson had a brain tumor removed and has problems with her short-term memory. The numbers help trigger her brain into remembering what she needs to. “If you say you want a 5.29, that’s a wedge,” Anderson said. “It’s my mom’s favorite salad and her birthday.” She invested around $15,000 in the new location, remodeling for a “feel
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good” vibe in the location. “When it became winter, I panicked because I didn’t know what to do with my food truck and there goes my income,” Anderson said. She grew up in Oswego and had been doing odd jobs before she opened the business, including cleaning. After her brain tumor, Anderson could not continue her education, so she did what she could to get by. Anderson said she had a vision for the building when she saw it. “The building just became available, and when I walked through it, it had all the kitchen stuff available,” Anderson said. “It’s a good location and will be great for Harborfest as well. I like the businesses around me, too.” Long term, Anderson is hoping to franchise 3.21 Salads. She would love to open a location down south, where her brother lives, and expand the business. “It’s a big dream,” Anderson said. 3.21 Salads offers a variety of items, including taco salad and Buffalo chicken which are the most popular choices. The house soup is a dill pickle potato soup because it went over so well, Anderson said. She prides herself on providing fresh ingredients to customers. The strawberry vinaigrette and ginger dressing is made in house.” “Everything is made fresh here,” Anderson said. “I partnered with a hydroponic plant, and the mixed greens, tomatoes and lettuce come with the roots still on it, so it’s that fresh.” Anderson said she is hoping to expand her menu in the future and add new things. She just started offering wraps, which she presses on the grill. She said the location also got cleared for outdoor seating, so she will be putting tables and chairs outside as well.
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By Bruce Frassinelli
Effects of #MeToo Movement Go Beyond the Workplace Movement basically has changed the way men and women relate to one another
‘I can understand how former vice president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden might seem confused, even frustrated, by the criticism leveled at him for his touchyfeely brand of empathy.’
aving been a manager or department head for most of my professional career, I have reflected on many occasions where I said and did things 30 or more years ago that would not cut it in today’s workplace. On one level, I can understand how former vice president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden might seem confused, even frustrated, by the criticism leveled at him for his touchy-feely brand of empathy. The accusations against Biden, although not sexual in nature, were launched amid the current women’s empowerment movement and have taken on a sense of urgency as Biden first weighed and now has jumped into the presidential contest. Biden has a reputation for being a classic type of politician who likes to shake hands, kiss babies and give hugs. But that familiar style doesn’t go over well in the #MeToo world. In doing some soul-searching during this #MeToo era, I can recall instances
where I patted a female employee on the arm or shoulder to show (at least in my mind) an understanding of an emotional issue she might have been going through. Let me also stress that I did the same with male employees. There also have been plenty of instances where females and males have touched me on the hand, arm or shoulder while talking to me in a professional setting. I never gave it a thought until recently. It is remarkable how something that seemed so innocent years ago can now be regarded as a litmus test as to whether a person might be a harasser — sexual or otherwise. Today’s managers must be talented enough to show concern and empathy but be able to walk a narrow line and not overstep their bounds, lest they be considered harassers or worse. Empathy is simply recognizing emotions in others, and being able to “put yourself in another person’s shoes” —
BRUCE FRASSINELLI is the former publisher of The PalladiumTimes. He served as a governor of the Rotary Club District 7150 (Central New York) from July 2001 to June 2002. 54
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
understanding the other person’s perspective and reality. To be empathetic, you have to think beyond yourself and your own concerns. But here is the $64,000 question: How do you do this without overdoing it and without having your intentions misunderstood? There were several occasions when female employees came to my office to inform me that a family member had died and that they needed some time off. In addition to offering my condolences, I also hugged them, because they were distraught and in tears. If I were a manager today, I would certainly think twice about showing my concern in that way; in fact, I am pretty sure that I would not, just in case. I always had a policy when I was doing adjunct teaching that I would never meet with a female student in a room with the door closed. I did not want to be accused of some sort of trumped up sexual allegation from a disgruntled student. On three occasions over a 57-year period in the classroom, students who were either failing or nearly failing my classes made an appointment to see me and offered to do “anything” to get a higher grade. Although I was not going to take the bait to inquire as to what “anything” might have meant, the implication was pretty clear. My response was that the only way to improve their grade was to do the work required and to do it well. I followed up these meetings with a written report to my supervisor, just in case the student decided to invent a different scenario. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual harassment describes the unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct. The behavior does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. I am amazed that there are still men my age (80), even younger, who still refer to female servers and other service personnel as “honey,” “sweetie” or other terms they consider endearing. What is even more amazing is that there are still female servers who refer to me and other men by these same terms. While I am not offended AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
‘I am amazed that there are still men my age (80), even younger, who still refer to female servers and other service personnel as “honey,” “sweetie” or other terms they consider endearing.’ nor have I ever vocally complained to management, I am snapped to attention and wonder how the woman would react if someone were to call her “sweetie pie” as she had just called me. I guess this is my point. There is no official rulebook where these kinds of situations can be arbitrated in advance. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment and assault scandal, the topic in the workplace has come front and center. It has given impetus to the #MeToo movement that virtually mandates that all managers determine whether theirs is a toxic workplace, and, if so, to take immediate remedial action to bring about a culture change. I am sure most of you have been in a workplace or professional setting where a person tells an off-color joke. Some think it’s hilarious; others laugh uncomfortably and still others react stone-faced. The most outrageous example that I encountered was when Kenneth Thomson, chairman of Thomson Newspapers (then owner of The Palladium-Times), the ninth richest person in the world at the time of his death in 2006, began his remarks in 1986 before a group of 400 publishers and editors in Florida with an off-color joke using the f-word Many laughed obligingly or nervously. I could not believe my ears, and I never had the same respect for the man. How thoughtless and stupid was it for him to do such a thing, which was unconscionable even by the standards in play 33 years ago. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
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COVER Visitors to the the Salmon River Fish Hatchery. Photo of David Owen / Oswego County Tourism.
Heart of Booming Sports Fishing Industry I
t has alluring tourism appeal. Behind the scenes of Oswego County’s world-class sports fishing industry is a facility tucked away in Altmar that makes it all possible — the Salmon River Fish Hatchery. The Salmon River alone generates around $27 million in economic impact annually in Oswego County. When Lake Ontario and its tributaries that are stocked by the hatchery are included, the angler-generated impact grows to about $86 million. “This facility is really one of the economic engines that makes things happen here in Oswego County,” said Fran Verdoliva, special assistant on 56
By Lou Sorendo the Salmon River for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. “Our huge sports fishing industry would not exist without the hatchery,” he added. According to the DEC, the facility provides most of the fish for the multi-million-dollar Lake Ontario salmon fishery. The hatchery raises trout and salmon exclusively for Great Lakes stocking programs. The facility offers visitors a glimpse at some of fishing’s most treasured sports fish — salmon and trout. Verdoliva works with all divisions of the DEC, particularly fish, wildlife OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
and forestry. He has been with the state agency for 23 years. He assists hatchery manager Tom Kielbasinski, a fish culturist with the DEC. Kielbasinski and his staff operate and maintain the hatchery. He oversees two wild fish egg collections. The fall collection involves collecting eggs from Pacific salmon (Chinook and Coho). In the spring, eggs are collected from steelhead trout. Kielbasinski oversees daily operations, making sure fish are alive, healthy, fed and well cared for. In the winter, in order to properly accomplish that goal, the focus is often on keeping the facility AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
plowed out in order to ensure proper care of the fish. Nearly $1.5 million in recent state funding is slated to improve the hatchery, with upgrades to the visitor’s center and enhancements to the fish collection area. The funding was made possible through the efforts of state Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton). Verdoliva noted New York state has significantly invested in the Salmon River corridor. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Altmar several years ago to announce land acquisitions along the Salmon River that were acquired from National Grid. That added another 5,000 acres along the river. “We have more than 20,000 acres of state forest land along the Salmon River corridor and in the area. That’s a great natural attraction for people to come here, and it shows the importance of this particular facility and watershed,” Verdoliva said. There are two aspects to the latest round of funding, one that involves fish culture in terms of the improvements to the structural part of the facility that are going to enhance the hatchery’s ability to raise fish. The DEC will use $750,000 to build a new fish ladder, which allows migratory fish to enter the hatchery from Beaver Dam Brook, and $150,000 for a new crowder channel, which enables fish culturists to sort adult fish prior to collecting their eggs. There will also be an additional $500,000 to upgrade the visitor center. “We’re trying to enhance the exhibits that we have in the facility and bring them up to date,” Verdoliva said. He said a lot of his work has involved overseeing the visitors’ center, while Kielbasinski and his staff focus on raising and stocking fish.
Shown is the start tank room at the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar. This is where fry are raised after they are ready to leave the egg incubation area. Once their yolk sacks have been mostly absorbed, the fry are transferred into the rectangular rearing tanks of the start tank room where they are introduced to dry fish food and start feeding.
“The visitors’ center is an important aspect of this hatchery, which is one of the largest you will find anywhere in the continental United States,” Verdoliva said. “We have people coming to visit from all over the world.” It is estimated that about 50,000 people visit the facility during an eightmonth stretch from April through the end of November. The brunt of visits come during the annual salmon run from Sept. 1 through mid-November. Last year, staff counted about 35,000 people who visited during the fall salmon run. “There is nothing set in stone yet on AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
Corey Roth, a fish culturist trainee, attends to grading steelhead trout at the Salmon River Fish Hatchery. The process involves separating smaller fish from larger fish. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
how we are going to do this. We plan on visiting some other sites in the state to see what improvements they have made,” particularly from a technological standpoint, he noted. Verdoliva said his team spent time last year visiting other hatcheries and plans on trekking to Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in Delmar this year. Five Rivers is not a hatchery, but the DEC-owned facility did undergo major upgrades several years ago. “We want to see some of the new technology that could be incorporated here,” he said. The hatchery is open from April 1 to the end of November, but only has seasonal staffing in the visitor’s center from the end of August to the end of November. “The hatchery visitor center is mostly set up to be self-touring,” he said. There is ample information at the center in the form of videos and literature for people to enjoy. “But I am sure there are other things that we can do to enhance that,” he added. “Our hope is at some point to have an underwater camera that would telecast both inside and outside the facility so that people can see fish as they come through the fish ladder,” he said. Kielbasinski said plans call for modifying walkways and viewing areas to allow guests a better glimpse of the returning fish during spring and fall runs. There is no Wi-Fi available at the facility, and the staff is hopeful of establishing cell phone service in the future. Meanwhile, spinoff business development has been continuing since the beginning of the hatchery. “Who would have thought there would be a Hilton hotel in Altmar, N.Y.?” asked Verdoliva, referring to the Tailwater Lodge and its Hilton brand. He recalls when people referred to the area as the “Alaska of the East,” he said. “If you have traveled to Alaska, it is a long and expensive trip,” Verdoliva said. “Today, within six hours of most metropolitan areas of the eastern U.S., the Salmon River Fish Hatchery is easily accessible, and for the cost of travel and lodging, a fishing license, and some tackle, you can experience fishing for salmon and trout that equals or surpasses that of Alaska, without having to worry about bears. Today, anglers visiting Oswego County will find modern tackle stores, lodging, restaurants, 58
Fish in a tank at Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar. marinas, experienced and professional river guides and lake charter services ready to serve them.
The largest number of people visit the hatchery to view the fall salmon migration, because that’s when fish are most visible. “We also have a fair amount that come in April to see steelhead — which is a migratory form of rainbow trout — return to the hatchery,” Verdoliva said. In between those times, there is a “pretty steady flow of visitors but not the masses of people” seen in the fall, he added. Verdoliva said over the past 10 years, people traveling to the St. Lawrence Seaway, Lake Ontario and the Adirondacks have visited the facility. Bus tours also make it a stop on their itineraries. “We have a steady flow of visitors all the time,” Verdoliva said. During the fall salmon and spring steelhead egg collections, “we get tremendous amounts of school groups touring the facility. This provides a wonderful educational opportunity not only for the kids, but for us. We get to let them know what we do, why we do it and how important the environments of the Salmon River, Lake Ontario and its tributaries are,” Verdoliva said. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
During the off-season, it is key to make guests aware of the best time to view adult salmon and steelhead along with the expected egg collection dates, with the hope that they return during that time. “It’s a destination point for people from around the globe, especially when we’re harvesting eggs and there are large fish in the facility,” he added. “They come to see big fish. In the summer, we don’t have big fish for visitors to view like we do during the fall. We do, however, have several well-made videos taken during the respective spawning operations that let off-season visitors experience the salmon and steelhead spawning runs as though they were actually there,” Verdoliva said. “During those spawning times, the hatchery becomes the focal point of the whole area. People focus on coming here to see fish, the facility, and to see what’s going on,” Kielbasinski added. “Many businesses benefit when visitors to the hatchery spread out into other parts of the county and region.”
Verdoliva and Kielbasinski addressed the key issue of creating the next generation of sports anglers. “If you look at the demographics, the population has aged. I go to lots of AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
fishing meetings, and mostly everybody is older, although there are some young people,” he said. The hatchery offers special programs for children, women and veterans. Verdoliva said in a changing world, there are many one-parent families. “When we do programs for kids, we really specify that we want both the parent and child to participate,” he said. “We want them to participate and build a culture around fishing as a great recreational activity.” “Looking at it long term, there are not as many people hunting and fishing and doing those kind of recreational activities. Kids are sitting in their rooms playing video games,” Verdoliva said. Many fishermen who frequent the area are from urban areas, and when they bring their kids, they get to experience a natural environment. “Hopefully, that will grow and continue and their kids will then come back with them later on down the road,” Verdoliva added. “You do see more people coming up to go fishing that are also bringing their families. Some family members may not at that point be involved in the fishing part of it, but they do take part in some other local outdoor activities. There’s more of that occurring,” he added. Oswego County offers an array of interesting natural resources, such as the 110-foot Salmon River Falls just down the road from the hatchery. The largest demographic growth in fishing right now is women. That is an interesting trend, particularly since the fishery and related recreational activities have been predominately male oriented in the past, Verdoliva said. “I think it’s really important to get women involved, particularly if they are single parents. Somebody has to get the kids out there fishing. If we can get women involved, more than likely they are going to take their kids,” Verdoliva said.
Keys to future success
In order to achieve success in the years to come, continued high-level maintenance as well as modernization needs to take place, Kielbasinski said. “I think this piece of state infrastructure has suffered the fate of so many other things as far as deferred maintenance over time,” he noted. Proper staffing involving quality individuals trained to handle modern hatchery processes will also be key, he AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
Running the show at Salmon River Fish Hatchery are (from left) manager Tom Kielbasinski, a fish culturist with the DEC, and Fran Verdoliva, special assistant on the Salmon River for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. added. Kielbasinski said through state water recycling initiatives, new systems may allow the hatchery to raise the same amount of fish or more with less water. On average, the hatchery uses a water flow of approximately 10,000 gallons per minute from wells and a local reservoir. “When this fishery started back in the late ‘60s to the present day, there’s been great changes in the ecology of the lake in particular, and also in the way that management has looked at it,” Verdoliva said. “Back in the ‘60s, there was a huge abundance of forage in the lake and nothing to feed on it,” said Verdoliva, noting the prevailing thought was some or most of the streams would never be able to produce fish on their own. “It was felt that you could control and manage the lake by how many fish you stocked,” he said. “No one knew 20-to-25 years later that zebra mussels, quagga mussels, gobies and other invasive species would get into the lake and change the ecology, forage base and productivity of the lake,” Verdoliva said. “Nobody assumed that places like the Salmon River might produce literally millions of wild fish on top of the hatchery stock.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Verdoliva said there is a vast array of agencies — such as the U.S. Geological Survey and the Province of Ontario — that are constantly doing research, particularly on the lake. “They are looking year in and year out on what the forage base is and making sure there is enough food out there for the fish that we are stocking as well as wild fish in the system,” Verdoliva said. “The goal is to maintain the quality and quantity that we have come to expect,” Verdoliva said. Among the five Great Lakes, Lake Ontario has been able to maintain the largest-sized fish and largest quantity of Pacific Salmon. Meanwhile, the upper Great Lakes have struggled, Verdoliva noted. “Lake Ontario has been able to — through really good long-term management — sustain the fisheries we have known,” he said. “One of our management goals is to maintain the forage base so that it can sustain trophy Pacific salmon.” “A lot of times, the general public — especially the angling public — believes that the more fish you stock, the better fishing is going to be. However, it’s not that. It’s how many fish survive and recruit into the fishery,” Verdoliva said. 59
Building a Sports Fishing Empire By Lou Sorendo
native of Oswego, Fran Verdoliva recalls a time back in the 1960s when there were no prized trout or salmon in Lake Ontario. Verdoliva is special assistant on the Salmon River for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The historical salmon (Atlantic salmon) and historical trout (lake trout) were both extirpated locally and were extinct from the lake back in the ‘60s. Meanwhile, the lake was polluted and featured invasive species. “What we talk about today had been happening for over 150 years with the introduction of alewives and sea lampreys into Lake Ontario through the Erie Canal system,” Verdoliva said. “When I was a kid, when my parents asked me on a 90-degree day if I wanted to go out to the lake by Rudy’s, I would run in the other direction,” he said. There was so much phosphorus in Lake Ontario, the algae blooms that washed up onto the shoreline took the form of big, thick mats of dead algae mixed in with it alewives, he said. “The alewife population didn’t have a predator fish that could keep their population in check. There would be these massive die-offs, and they would bring in tractors down to the beaches to clean off the algae and alewives,” Verdoliva said. “So in the 1960s, it was known: We had to clean the lake up and clean the phosphorus out of it, and take care of pollutants as much as we could,” he said. “And we had to find a fish that we could put back in the lake that would control the alewives.” In the 1960s, the upper Great Lakes had already been experimenting with stocking Pacific salmon. They had no native salmon in the upper Great Lakes, but did have lake trout. 60
Fishermen at the Salmon River in Pulaski. The river alone generates around $27 million in economic impact annually in Oswego County. Photo by Brad Smith / Oswego County Tourism. The Pacific salmon adapted well, and the state followed suit in 1968 by starting a small stocking program on three tributaries of Lake Ontario: the Salmon River, Sterling Creek and the Little Salmon River. Eggs were acquired on the West Coast and brought back, where they were raised in the other 11 hatcheries. The present Salmon River Fish Hatchery OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
did not exist at that time. They were raised around the state and then shipped up to Lake Ontario to be stocked. Two years later, expectations called for salmon coming back by the score. However, they didn’t.
Countering a threat
“The thing they found out was this other invasive species — sea lamprey — was predating on the salmon that were stocked so severely that they were not surviving,” Verdoliva said. “They had to find ways to control the sea lamprey, which they did through a special chemical treatment in the streams that killed the larval stage of the lamprey while not affecting other species.” Once that took place, the process of starting the fishery in Altmar could be developed. Two years after the sea lamprey control process began, the area started to see more salmon coming back. That’s when brown and rainbow trout were introduced into the stocking program. “Things started to blossom and people started investing in tackle stores, marinas, hotels, motels, restaurants and gas stations,” he said. In 1976, however, the state health department found there was chemical contamination in the fish. “They basically put a halt to stocking except for a small amount of fish to use for research purposes to see how the contaminant levels were,” Verdoliva said. The freeze lasted for about three years before the health department came under pressure because of the public outcry due to the huge loss of tourism monies. “The health department then said, ‘OK, we’re going to allow stocking to resume again. We’ll put advisories out on what people can eat or not eat,’” he added. The planning for the Salmon River Fish Hatchery had already been put into play in 1974-1975, but it was halted due to the health advisory. By 1979, the hatchery was a relevant concept once again and by 1981, the hatchery became the largest and newest hatchery in the state. “It started what I would now call the modern day program of stocking salmon and trout in Lake Ontario,” Verdoliva said. Without the hatchery, fishing would not be nearly as consistent on the lake and its tributaries. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
“When I was a kid, when my parents asked me on a 90-degree day if I wanted to go out to the lake by Rudy’s, I would run in the other direction.” Oswego native Fran Verdoliva as he described how polluted and unattractive Lake Ontario was in the 1960s. “It’s the main supplier of sports fish,” Verdoliva said.
The presence of hydropower dams on the Oswego River system has prevented fish from going hundreds of miles inland. “They can’t do that anymore. Things have been modified,” Verdoliva said. There are six dams on the Oswego River and one each on the Seneca and Oneida rivers. These dams block upstream migration of any salmonids from Lake Ontario to the historical spawning grounds in the Finger Lakes, Oneida Lake, and Onondaga Lake and their tributaries. “The quality of the streams aren’t there to support the number of fish that would be necessary in the fishing environment we have today,” he said. “Just as an example, creel surveys are done annually on the Salmon River and once every few years on Lake Ontario and its tributaries, from the Black River to the Niagara River,” Verdoliva said. He said it was estimated that 1.5 million angler hours were spent fishing on those tributaries, and of that number, 1.1 million of them were spent on the Salmon River. “Even though the Salmon River is a very high-quality stream that reproduces fish in very large numbers on its own, that amount of fishing pressure on any system is not going to be able to sustain the kind of quality that people expect when they come fishing,” he said. “Therefore, if the hatchery was not here, we would not have the kind of fishing we have,” he added. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
TOURISM By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Economy Relying More on Tourism
entral New York’s economy relies upon tourism, a segment that continues to grow as more people discover the region’s many attractions.
Oswego: Visitor Spending More In Oswego County, for example, visitor spending totaled $157 million in 2017, an increase of 8% over 2016 (2018 figures are not yet available). The occupancy tax, which can indicate how many tourists are staying at places of lodging, increased 9% between Dec. 1, 2017 and Nov. 30, 2018, totaling $96,936. In sales, occupancy and property taxes, the tourism industry generated $16,967,677 in state and local taxes (sales, occupancy and property taxes) in Oswego County in 2016. Tourism activities support about 2,957 jobs, both directly and indirectly, and tourism labor totaled $69,112,000 in Oswego County in 2017. Of all employment in Oswego County, 8.8% percent is generated by tourism. “As you can see from the Oswego County visitor spending, tourism employment information, and tax revenue data, tourism has a significant effect on the Central New York economy and our overall quality of life,” said Janet Clerkin, coordinator of tourism and public information for Oswego County Tourism Department. Big attractions to Oswego County tourists include fishing and water sports. For example, 62% of anglers fishing the Salmon River are from outside of New York state. Clerkin said the county could do better in a few areas for boosting tourism. “Public parking and access to the north shore of Oneida Lake is somewhat limited,” she said. “Increased infrastructure development, with more recreational opportunities for families and visitors to the North Shore communities, would be beneficial. “Also, enhanced public transpor62
tation resources throughout the region would help visitors and residents alike have better access to our natural and recreational resources.” Focusing on the winter season, agritourism and the region’s arts, historical and cultural offerings are part of Oswego County’s marketing strategies, as well as that of the CNY Regional Economic Development Council of which Oswego represents one of the five counties involved.
Onondaga: Tourism Generates $66.5 million in Taxes Danny Liedka, president and CEO of Visit Syracuse, attributes one in 11 jobs in the region to tourism, a $900 million industry in Onondaga County. In 2017, Onondaga County visitors spent approximately $865 million locally, according to “The Economic Impact of Tourism in New York” issued by Tourism Economics. Tourism should matter to residents, as the $10 million in sales tax helps stabilize property taxes in the city of Syracuse. Tourism generated $66.5 million in local taxes in Onondaga County for
What Does Tourism Mean? According to Empire State Development: • Tourism is now the third-largest private sector employer in the state, supporting 938,800 jobs in 2017. • Visitors to NYS generated $67.6 billion in direct spending in 2017— almost $14 billion more than in 2011. • NYS tourism generated $8.5 billion in state and local taxes in 2017, an average per-household savings of $1,172 in taxes. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
2017, a 1.4 percent increase from 2016. So, what would help foster further growth in Onondaga County’s tourism? “We certainly do not need more lodging options,” Liedka said. “We have over 8,000 rooms in Onondaga County with only a 56% occupancy rate. All price points can be found by the consumer. “We need more funding to promote and market the region. We lag behind our Thruway competitors when it comes to funding by nearly a 2 to 1 margin. The influx of marketing dollars, and monies for transportation and bid fees would elevate our market substantially.”
Cayuga: Most Freshwater Lakefront in the Region The result of tourism in Cayuga County is tax relief of $410 per household, provided by the more than $7 million in local taxes collected. The industry also employs 1,500 people. A “unique experience” is what draws visitors, according to Karen Kuhl, executive director Cayuga County Office of Tourism. “We have a theater offering, we’re strong with heritage and historic tourism with Harriet Tubman House and various historic sites in Auburn,” she said. “We are the county with the most freshwater lakefront access with the Finger Lakes in the county and Lake Ontario.” According to the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, tourism is the fastest growing industry in Cayuga County. Attractions such as the advent Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, the construction of the Plaza of the Arts, and the launch of the Cayuga County Sweet Treat Trail have all contributed. Kuhl also listed the growing wine and craft brewery businesses as drawing tourists. “Just about any destination could use a wider variety of options,” she said. “We have a unique shopping perspective, but tourists want to have a diversified offering of shopping. We could improve in that.” Although the county provides a good range of places of lodging — from camping to high end — more corporate meeting spaces would help draw visitors who come to work and possibly stay to play.
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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
TOURISM By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Howe Caverns in Howes Cave, New York: 160,000 visitors annually.
What keeps visitors coming back?
ew York’s geologic wonders draw thousands of tourists annually. But what do these wellknown sites do to continue to attract visitors back year after year? About 160,000 visitors tour Howe Caverns in Howes Cave annually. While spelunking and casual cavers comprise many of its visitors, the site has added Howe Glassworks, MC Mining Company and Howe High Adventure Park, plus lodging options. “It’s to allow our guests to fill their day, to give additional options and activities to make them comfortable spending a full day and maybe an overnight in the area,” said April Islip, general manager representing the facility. She said that the target market is families with younger children and school groups, along with grandparents
bringing grandchildren. “We try to make all the additions fall into that family-friendly category,” Islip said. All of Howe’s outdoor activities are open to adults and kids. The glassblowing is for guests 5 and older. The escape room, which opened at the end of July, admits people 10 and older. “People are looking for ways to get back in touch with nature and pass that on to their kids,” Islip said. The only manmade things in Howe Caverns are the lights and brick walkways. All its formations are natural. “People are so reliant on electronics for work or personal interaction. The cave stays pure in that sense and it gives that natural wonder and families like to see their kids react to that and have be able to visit it.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
But Howe Caverns isn’t just a kiddie location. A year ago, the site welcomed guests in their most “natural” state with its adults-only event slated to occur again in September: “Naked In A Cave.” Tickets for the hour-long tour in the buff are limited to 350 guests and cost $75 each, including a commemorative robe and adult beverage. This year, Howe offers a meal and tour package for $130 and, earlier in the day, nude yoga in a cave for $20. Nearby Secret Caverns is a separate site that also attracts cavers, both through its fame as a caving site and its 100-ft. underground waterfall, and simply those curious about its kitschy billboards and signs that look like they came from the 1940s and 1950s. Eugene Falco, Secret Caverns’ art director and painter of said billboards, shared that the site’s low-key vibe and funky art helps draw tourists. Unapologetic use of cave puns and references to pop culture populate the site’s billboards and advertising. It seems at first too general but actually, that’s the point. “We don’t really have a ‘target market,’” Falco said. Though family-oriented — Falco wants people who visited as kids to come back with their own children — the goal is to stand out as a unique cave site with unusual art. For example, the building’s entrance is painted to look like one walks into a bat’s mouth. Attendance at the site is “steadily rising,” according to Falco. Proximity to Howe Caverns helps Secret Caverns, but the two are decidedly different in their appeal. The stairs are described as a “petrified elevator” and any bats a visitor might encounter are “mice with wings” as examples of Secret Caverns’ quirky attitude. Guests are allowed to touch formations and take photos, privileges uncommon in show caves. Falco wants to keep the emphasis on the cave, not add-on attractions to bring guests. Herkimer Diamond Mines in Herkimer is renowned for its double-terminated quartz crystals dubbed “Herkimer Diamonds.” But adding additional features and attractions has helped the site continue to interest tourists, which number about 200,000 annually, according to officials. Turning it into a resort with the Miner’s Village, Miner’s Table, and KOA site, Herkimer Diamond Mines can offer a vacation, not just a stop-off. Miner’s Village reflects Herkimer’s AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
original concept of finding Herkimer Diamonds, “Mother Nature’s hardest, clearest natural crystal,” said Renee Shevat, owner of the Herkimer Diamond Mines. “They’re already faceted. They have 18 sites and a double set of terminated points.” Shevat said that about 90 percent of guests had come for the Herkimer Diamonds, but since the advent of the KOA park in 2000, about 60% come for the Herkimer Diamonds and the rest because of KOA. “We have a destination, food establishment, and a lot of activities and specialties,” Shevat said. “Some call it an ‘edu-tainment’ facility.” The three, solar-powered lodges focus on astronomy, with a commercial telescope; paleontology, where visitors can excavate fossil plates, and a fishing lodge with access to trout and bass. Though the site draws plenty of school groups and children, Herkimer Diamond Mines has developed aspects that are adult-only, such as the vodka filtered with Herkimer Diamonds served at the Miner’s Table. “A ‘child’ to us is 3 to 93,” Shevat said. “We have a lot of age cohorts.” About 15% of the daily intake of guests come from other countries. The site’s extensive gift shop serves as a unique retail experience where shoppers can buy premade jewelry or create their own. The site also has a marina and two boats for water tours. “One of the reasons we have increased our average night’s stay is we’ve given consumers an opportunity to do more,” Shevat said. “They’ll go to Howe or Cooperstown or the Adirondacks. But they’re not coming here just to do a geologic tour site, but for our region.” In October 2017, the entire Miner’s Village burned down. Turning a loss into an opportunity, Herkimer Diamond Mines rebuilt and upgraded it without taking away from its 1850s mining charm. In a two-phase project, the village re-opened in June 2018 with a Village Hall, canteen and trading post. The second phase was a schoolhouse, Rock Hound Academy, and the latest project, recently opened, is a construction of a reclaimed barn to host special events. “The business about business is people,” Shevat said. “You need to satisfy people’s expectations. Expectations continue to rise in tourism. If you give the consumer ‘X,’ they want ‘X-plusone’ next year.” AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
TOURISM By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Ready to Open a B&B? By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
pening a bed and breakfast sounds like a great way to make money from a large home. While anyone can put a room, entire house or even a backyard tent on sites like AirBnb, it takes several more steps to open an actual B&B. Anne Hutchins owns River Edge Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Pennellville. The property had not functioned as a B&B for three years when she purchased it in 2007. She advises people purchasing a B&B property to finance only the structure and land, not any furniture it may contain. Buyers should purchase that separately. Rolling it all into the purchase price that you finance “affects the interest and the assessment,” she said. Many times, sellers have worked hard to find perfect pieces that complement the rooms and create an eye-pleasing decor. It may make sense to purchase it all, but Hutchins said it’s better to sell the property first or else they could end up with an empty B&B if the buyer’s loan isn’t approved and they’ve already bought the furnishings. She said that she had to obtain a certificate of occupancy from Oswego 66
County to pay occupancy tax and 4% tourism tax. She also had to register with the fire department to have regular checks of the extinguishers and clear hallways and ensure sufficient smoke detectors and exits. The website of the New York Department of State, Division of Building Standards & Codes, www.dos.ny.gov/dcea, also offers information on regulations. Hutchins also joined a few organizations, like the now defunct Empire State B&B Association, which helped her network and grow her business initially. Updates she’s made through the years include adding Wi-Fi and joining a detached bath Anne Hutchins to a guest room so all have adjoining bathrooms. She also expanded a half bathroom to a full and added a full laundry room and another half bathroom for general use. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Annie Ophelia Blakely has owned Ophelia’s Garden Inn near Syracuse for the past 19 years. She started from scratch with a home that had never operated as a B&B. She obtained a business certificate and, based upon her zoning in Geddes, a variance from the town board to run a B&B. She thinks that underscoring her intention to preserve the integrity of the historic home helped win over the board, along with emphasizing the many improvements planned, such as gardens, pond and barn. “There were so many naysayers that said we’d never get the variance,” Blakely said. “Once we told them the plans, we got 100% yes votes.” In the meantime, they began working on the house, painting, landscaping and adding Wi-Fi. She also expanded a half bath into a full bath. “Anything that looked new, like blue bath fixtures, we tore out,” Blakely said. “We honor the integrity of the house and the era it came from. People appreciate it. We have the original stove that we use every day. This house has the original sinks and toilets. They look brand new. it’s amazing how well they made things.” AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
Airbnb Vs. B&B
Room at River Edge Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Pennellville.
Dining room at Moscow Nights in Fayetteville. Joining Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers of America, and other organizations helped her network and learn the business, but she doesn’t belong to any organizations, as she receives plenty of guests without the associations. Victoria Christine, co-owner of Moscow Nights in Fayetteville with Andre Nikolai Kouznetsov, took over a former B&B, but the previous owners had been grandfathered into the village’s zoning since it had operated there for a very long time. Still, she had to obtain approval from the village board to operate a B&B and ensure that the structure met safety regulations. Since her area’s zoning included apartments, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
she told the board that B&B guests come and go. “If there were a single family in here, you’ve got a larger group consistently using local services and parking and adding to the traffic,” she said. “That’s especially true if you break it into apartments.” She also emphasized the benefits of bringing visitors to the village, such as more people shopping and dining out and the tax revenue from occupancy taxes. The plans received unanimous approval. Then, it was time to bring in an architect to help them bring it up to code. “If you have never done this OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Reaction from bed and breakfast owners interviewed for this story — on how Airbnb has affected their business — is mixed. “Once Airbnb started, we noticed a 50% decrease in our business,” said Annie Ophelia Blakely, co-owner of Ophelia’s Garden Inn in Geddes. “It’s fortunate for us, as we were ready for things to slow down as we’re 66. For those up-andcoming B&Bs, we feel bad.” She lists her B&B on the site for exposure, but hasn’t received much business through the Airbnb listing. Victoria Christine, co-owner of Moscow Nights in Fayetteville, has enjoyed the opposite effect of her Airbnb listing. “AirBnb has been wonderful,” she said. “Most people talk about bringing strangers into your home. A host/hostess works hard to make sure the space is safe, appropriate and comfortable. There’s understandable concern; you want to be safe. With an agency like Airbnb, you have each party vetted. It’s mutually helpful information. You can turn a guest down if you’re not comfortable.” She also likes the prompting guests receive from Airbnb to post their reviews; however, she dislikes the system of appointing ‘super host’ designation. “It’s questionable,” she said. “You get to be one only if you’re busy, busy, busy.” A smaller place of lodging in a more rural area may have no hope of attaining the status, she said. Anne Hutchins, owner of River Edge Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Pennellville, said that registering her B&B on Airbnb offers her more exposure and free advertising, “unless someone books a room, unlike other online travel agencies where you pay upfront.”
and you wish to be compliant — and you should — you need professional help from someone like an architect,” Christine said. “Codes are created for a reason. Any city has its codes based on what they know to be safe.” She and Kouznetsov updated the decor and added numerous works of his original framed art, Italian plaster and murals. 67
The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve in Michigan is a deep-sea diver’s paradise, attracting about 90,000 visitors in the past five years. The Lake Ontario Marine Sanctuary, as with the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, will focus on maritime heritage resources, such as shipwrecks.
TOURISM By Lou Sorendo
Seeking Sanctuary O
Efforts intensify to establish a national marine sanctuary in eastern Lake Ontario swego County is diving into an opportunity that may result in a major tourism boost for the
region. And it’s seeking sanctuary to do so. Area leaders are pushing for a Lake Ontario Marine Sanctuary. The proposed 1,700-square-mile sanctuary, adjacent to Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga and Wayne counties, would protect 21 known shipwrecks and one military aircraft representing events spanning more than 200 years of the nation’s history, according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (NOAA). An additional 47 shipwrecks and two aircraft are also likely located within the proposed sanctuary boundaries, based on historical records. The proposed sanctuary also includes a separate area surrounding the HMS Ontario, regarded as both the oldest confirmed shipwreck (1780) 68
and the only fully intact British warship discovered in the Great Lakes. Ellen Brody, Great Lakes regional coordinator at the NOAA, characterized public opinion in regards to the proposed marine sanctuary in eastern Lake Ontario. NOAA’s public comment period closed July 31. At the four public meetings, about 160 people attended and about 30 people made comments, Brody said. “The public meeting comments were extremely positive about the opportunities for a sanctuary,” she said. “A few individuals raised concerns about the accuracy of the shipwreck database.” The sanctuary nomination, submitted to NOAA in 2017 by four counties including Oswego, demonstrated significant public support for a national marine sanctuary, Brody said. To designate a national marine OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
sanctuary, NOAA goes through an extensive public engagement process. After reviewing comments from the first public comment period, NOAA will draft a proposal that describes the Lake Ontario maritime heritage resources and how NOAA proposes to manage the sanctuary. NOAA will publish these draft documents and once again provide an opportunity for the public to review and comment. Following this second review period, NOAA will incorporate public comments into the agency’s final sanctuary designation documents. NOAA expects this process to take two to three years before the Lake Ontario sanctuary is designated.
Historical relevancy Brody spoke to the relevance of protecting known or potential shipAUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
wrecks as well as military aircraft in the proposed sanctuary. “The National Marine Sanctuary System protects and interprets nationally significant resources,” she said. “Each sanctuary is tailored to that particular area and to resources in that area.” She said as with the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve in Michigan, the Lake Ontario proposal will focus on maritime heritage resources, such as shipwrecks. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve is located on Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay, within the northeastern region of Michigan. It protects an estimated 116 historically significant shipwrecks ranging from 19th-century wooden side-wheelers to 20th-century steelhulled steamers. “In addition to NOAA helping to preserve these shipwrecks, NOAA can help tell the important stories of Lake Ontario’s history,” Brody said. She said being designated as a marine sanctuary translates into enhanced economic development and tourism opportunities for a region. “In general, national marine sanctuary designations have positive economic impacts and the opportunity to promote tourism in sanctuary communities,” she said. “Of course, this varies by each sanctuary as every place is different. With a national recognition, NOAA resources and with partnership opportunities, there are many economic development and tourism opportunities.” From restaurants and hotels, to aquariums and kayak operators, the success of many businesses, millions of dollars in sales and thousands of jobs directly depend on thriving national marine sanctuaries, according to the NOAA. Across the National Marine Sanctuary System, diverse activities like commercial fishing, research, education, and recreation-tourism activities help support local, coastal, and ocean-dependent economies, NOAA states. Brody said related activity as a result of the Thunder Bay designation includes the Thunder Bay Maritime Festival; the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center; place-based educational opportunities with student cruises; videos, photos, and 3D models for the public to “see” shipwrecks; shipwreck tours featuring glass-bottom boats, and national media coverage. She said as with the Thunder Bay sanctuary, economic benefits would not AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve in Michigan.
be realized immediately, as it takes time to develop the programs and initiatives.
Tourism potential Brody said an important goal of the proposed Lake Ontario national marine sanctuary is to attract a broad range of visitors. “There simply aren’t many divers, and there are fewer divers who are able to access the deeper Lake Ontario shipwrecks,” she said. At the Thunder Bay NMS, the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center averaged about 90,000 visitors in the past five years. Plans for the Lake Ontario Marine Sanctuary are largely modeled after the Thunder Bay version. The Thunder Bay sanctuary, established in 2000, has created more than 1,000 jobs and has a nearly $100 million economic impact on the area, according to studies. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
“The overwhelming majority of these visitors are not divers. While it is too early in the Lake Ontario process to make a decision on NOAA facilities such as a visitors’ center, it is clear that people need a place to learn about Lake Ontario shipwrecks and maritime history,” Brody said. There are 14 marine sanctuaries in the U.S., and for the first time in 20 years, NOAA is accepting applications. In the mid 1990s, NOAA “deactivated” its site evaluation list, which was the mechanism for NOAA to consider new national marine sanctuaries. NOAA’s decision at that time was to focus on managing existing sanctuaries, many of which had been recently designated. In 2014, NOAA opened up a new process for considering new national marine sanctuaries. “This sanctuary nomination process is community-driven,” Brody said. 69
SPECIAL REPORT By Lou Sorendo
Fighting for Fulton City of Fulton mayoral candidates share their views on economic development initiatives
ith city of Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward deciding not to seek re-election in 2019, the door is wide open for fresh leadership in City Hall. Dan Farfaglia, Deanna Michaels, Eric Parkhurst and Dave Webber have all tossed their hats in the ring with hopes of pulling down the top prize in the November election. Each of the candidates took time recently to address their respective ideas regarding economic development initiatives in the city of Fulton. The New York state general election is Nov. 5.
Dan Farfaglia is opting to not seek re-election to the Oswego County Legislature but instead is planning a run for mayor of Fulton on the Democrat, Independence and Working Families party lines. He is in the final year of a fourth two-year term on the legislature representing District 24, which inclues portions of the city of Fulton and towns of Granby, Minetto and Oswego. Farfaglia said the city needs to overhaul its building codes department to make construction and renovations easier on those who wish to make improvements within its borders. “I have gotten word that the proce-
dures the city has in place complicate local construction efforts and deter some companies from doing business here again,” he said. Farfaglia said there are programs already in place that offer incentives to improve residential and commercial properties and not pay the higher assessed value until many years later. “All local governments need to do a better job of promoting them,” he said. “If utilized properly, more economic activity would be taking place and enhancing the quality of life for city residents.” Farfaglia noted as mayor, he will intensify efforts to collaborate with local companies and the Fulton City School District to find out what workforce skills are needed for their 21st century businesses. He said including the New York State Department of Labor in the effort would be advantageous as well. “Sometimes, there are alternatives to traditional four-year colleges which can fulfill community employment needs,” he said. As mayor, the SUNY Morrisville graduate said he will “advertise and seek workers that will obtain the knowledge necessary to help our businesses thrive and keep our young
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
people here.” Farfaglia has worked for both the state Senate and Assembly and works for the New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities. He said most importantly, it is essential to highlight to prospective companies what he feels is the city’s greatest assets: its people. “Any new companies will get a labor force that will be dependable, loyal and hardworking,” he said. “Many families have been in Fulton for generations and wish to continue to do so.” Farfaglia addressed his plans in terms of developing ways to attract and retain businesses in the city of Fulton. In addition to developing skilled workers, the city needs to work with the companies already here along with the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce and other small business advocacy organizations. “We need to find out what is keeping other companies from locating here and what incentives are needed to maintain the ones here from leaving,” he said. Farfaglia added he intends to work with partners at the state and local level as well to further the cause of business development in the city. “We need to think outside of the box and come up with tactics that haven’t
been tried before,” he said. “The city needs to be aggressive and implement a plan that will lead to long-term economic stability.” As far as Farfaglia’s vision in regards to development at the former Nestle Co. site, he said it would be ideal for multiple small companies in a variety of fields to locate at the 24-acre site. “There is enough resources locally that can help them thrive and become permanent parts of this city,” he added.
Longtime Fulton resident Deana Michaels is the endorsed Republican Party candidate in the upcoming city of Fulton mayoral contest. “One of the first things a business looks for when they are deciding to locate is the state of the workforce,” she said. “I think we need to make Fulton a place where people want to live and raise their families. We also want to make sure that the workforce is trained and ready to work.” If elected mayor, she intends on partnering with Cayuga Community College, the city, and the Fulton City School District and their respective workforce training programs to make sure Fulton has the best workforce in Oswego County. Michaels is a graduate of Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania, and Women’s Campaign School at Yale University. She also earned a certificate in leadership at the Wharton Business School. Michaels said she has engaged with various businesses throughout the city of Fulton, including Huhtamaki, Oswego Health, Sunoco as well as small
businesses. “The message is the same: There is a gap when looking at workforce skill levels, and difficulties in being able to recruit and hire,” she said. She said the city must capitalize on the programs that are already available. “CCC, the city and our school district are all engaged right now on a workforce development training program that is going to help develop skill sets and allow those graduates of the programs to be hire ready,” she said. “We need to be partners within the community, and with the strength of those partnerships, I think we will develop that workforce.” “We have a lot to offer in Fulton, and I want to make sure the outside world knows that,” she said. “I want to make sure our infrastructure is sound, especially our roads. I want to ensure safer neighborhoods, and partner with Oswego County tourism to develop opportunities within the city. “We will put Fulton first in all we do.” Michaels, who has worked for Pathfinder Bank for the past 23 years, said she also intends on working with “our talented team of employees and further develop our parks and various natural resources throughout the city.” Also, the city needs to continue to build relationships with key organizations that have developed, such as Friends of Fulton Parks and Fulton Block Builders, and work with them to continue to improve neighborhoods. “When I was starting my door-todoor campaign, there were so many signs up for Fulton Block Builders. I was able to engage in conversations and get feedback from the residents, and they are overwhelmingly on board and supportive of its work,” she said. Michaels has raised her family in Fulton, and sees the city as packed with potential. “We need to bring some new ideas and approaches to the table and really bring that potential to the forefront,” she said. “We have an amazing city. A lot of people pass through here, and we need to give them a reason to stop,” Michaels said. Michaels said it is imperative to
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focus on existing businesses in the city. “We need to engage with them and make them part of the conversation about the city’s future,” she said. In terms of the larger employers, Michaels wants to know what their thoughts are on growth and retention and what’s going to help them achieve that. After first focusing on existing businesses, Michaels intends to then move forward with creating an atmosphere for businesses to feel welcomed in the city. “We have to really focus on that customer experience and ensure that each level of engagement with the city — be it zoning, planning or codes — is an experience that is second to none,” she said. “We need clear, concise communication and really easy-to-follow processes so that when a business comes forward — be it an existing business or new business — that experience makes them want to come back and continue to do business with us,” she added. Michaels said she strives to be proactive when it comes to attracting new businesses to Fulton. “I think I can build on my experiences and my established relationships to make sure Fulton is part of the conversation and that we are part of the consideration for those businesses that are looking to develop or relocate,” she said. Michaels said she is proud of her banking experience and that she has engaged extensively with customers and the community. “I am able to understand businesses from the start-up to the maturity phase, and really understand what that looks like for them along those phases. For me, it’s an exciting process to help businesses reach their dreams,” she said. “I can take that banking experience, along with all the volunteer opportunities I do in the community and the relationships I’ve built — be it with the various economic development resources such as the Small Business Development Center, the chamber of commerce, Operation Oswego County and CenterState CEO — and bring that to the table,” she said. Michaels noted if the city’s recently -application for $10 million in Down-
town Revitalization Initiative funds is approved, it will provide a major boost for development in such areas as the former Nestle site. “Outside of the DRI, there are other grant-funding opportunities that Fulton qualifies for to help develop that property. As mayor, I have to be proactive in doing my research, understanding the hurdles and really taking a team approach to develop what it will become,” she said. “I’m absolutely optimistic about our DRI application. If we don’t get it, there are other funding opportunities available for us. We can still take on these projects that are real projects that people will invest in, and if it’s not DRI -related, then we’ll find another way to make that happen,” she said. Michaels added the continued redevelopment of Lake Neahtahwanta is also necessary to bolster tourism in the city. “Years ago, there used to be events all the time on that lake, and we can continue to do that and we can bring that back. There’s recreational activity that can happen, and there might be ideas for all four seasons that we can develop around that lake,” she said.
Parkhurst is running as an independent in the race for mayor of Fulton. The son of Brian and Lisa (DuBois) Parkhurst, he grew up in North Volney and Palermo. He is the sole proprietor of PCW Professionals, a small construction company based in Fulton.
The father of two, His No. 1 priority in terms of economic development initiatives is to sell the city’s water treatment plant. “That will give us the revenue to allow us to pave every road in the city. It will provide instant employment, increase jobs locally and increase revenue being spent in the city,” he said. For businesses to prosper and flourish to the best of their ability, they need roadways for delivery and distribution that are appealing, he said. He characterized the area around the former Nestle site as a “war zone” while side streets “are horrible.” Parkhurst went a step further and contacted several companies that may be interested in purchasing the plant. He said even at a low-end price of $20 million, that revenue would pave roadways and allow the city to buy back bonds, such as the $3.5 million bond it has out for the former Nestle site. “By bonding money, we are ultimately condemning future generations,” Parkhurst said. “If we can generate enough money to pay off these bonds, we would be a debt-free self-sustaining city with a good future. “We need to get out from underneath those bonds, and once we get out of debt, we’ll be able to do more, We can offer local businesses grants, help schools, and intertwine our services to combat the drug epidemic. There’s more we can be doing. Money is power and we need to be able to generate money to fix our city.” Parkhurst said he has seen other areas that have privatized their water treatment systems, and it’s worked out for them. “For instance, in Lyons, an outof-state company is providing water service,” he said. He said the entity that purchases the water treatment plant may also employ more than the three workers who are there now. “Privatizing the system will also lift our responsibilities regarding water delivery infrastructure, because we can write within the contract that the purchaser would be required to maintain the delivery system, or the buyer is required to own and operate the entire
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system,” he said. Parkhurst noted the city must strengthen the businesses that are already established through better communication, and also give them access to the necessary tools to navigate and grow within the community through the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce. “We have to take them under our wing and give them incentives to stay here rather than leave, and also try to attract new businesses into the city,” he said. Parkhurst said there also must be an effort to reinvest in the city’s youth. “They are going to do as our leaders of tomorrow,” he said. However, the drug epidemic in the city of Fulton is “monstrous,” Parkhurst noted. “If we can redirect our youth now, that is going to be the key to success in the future,” he said. Parkhurst said the residents of the city have a lot on their wish lists, such as a clean Lake Neahtahwanta, and access to parks and pools. “It’s their tax dollars we are spending, and they need to get what they want. We need to give them what they are paying for and they need to see where their money is being spent,” he said. “Right now, we don’t know where the money is being spent. We are paying high taxes and still have a water bill.” Parkhurst said after selling off the water treatment plant, he wants to explore the possibility of giving all citizens free water. “In order for us to be confident as a city, we have to appear confident as a city. To do that, we have to boost morale, make our city look presentable, fix up houses that are in deplorable condition, and take aggressive court action to make absentee landlords accountable for their properties and tenants,” he said. In addition, Parkhurst wants to unveil what he calls his “Dollar Sale” program in efforts to entice new businesses to locate in the city. Through the program, promising entrepreneurs will pitch their business concept to the area chamber, revealing information such as how many people they plan to employ and anticipated
MAKE FULTON A CITY WITH A FUTURE AGAIN! gross annual revenues. Once requirements are met and they are approved, if businesses go two years and stay ahead of tax, sewer and garbage removal cost, keep in compliance with codes and employ at least five workers from the local area, a city-owned building will be offered to them for $1. “I think that would be a good incentive for them to come and start a homegrown business and plant roots here,” he said. “I don’t want to give tax incentives if we don’t have to,” said Parkhurst, pointing to incidences such as Birds Eye when the company parted ways with the city a year before its tax incentive expired.’ “Our existing businesses here are suffering hardship. I believe once we start generating revenue, we are more apt to help them out financially,” he said. He said a west-side business owner came to him recently seeking grant information in hopes of upgrading and renovating his establishment. “His project is going to bring up the neighborhood, change the image of his clientele, and boost our city’s reputation,” Parkhurst said. “He has a good plan, and just needs help doing it.” Parkhurst also wants the city to hire grant writers, a move that will free up department heads. As mayor, he wants to see an indoor convention center built at the former Nestle site. “That will put a stagnant location back on the tax rolls and allow for tremendous growth in the city,” he said. He said the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheatre at Lakeview in Syracuse is generating astronomical revenues in the several months that it features entertainment. He said a privately owned convention center in Fulton will draw in hotels and restaurants, and create a self-sustaining downtown that offers job opportunities for local folks. “This is what is going to save our city,” he said. He said when big-name entertainers and top-shelf events shows come to convention centers, surrounding businesses boom.
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When Dave Webber heard that city of Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward would not be seeking re-election this year, he made the decision to run as an independent. “He’s been a big part of Little League and a friend of mine for many years. He bleeds green, red and white.” Webber is vice president of Fulton Little League and serves as a coach as well. The Fulton native said “before you even think about what you’re going to do to develop the economy, you have to change the culture of the city from negative to positive.” The longtime Red Cross volunteer said when he was walking the streets gathering signatures for his petition, he noticed a common thread among residents. “They say, ‘Well we lost all these jobs, industry and population.’ All they can think about are all the bad things that have happened. We need to change that,” he said. “There used to be a sign when you enter the city that read, ‘Fulton: City With a Future.’ What happened to that sign? It needs to go back up,” Webber said. “We need to stop with the ‘can’ts’. If you think you can’t do something, you’re going to be right every single time.” “You’ve got to have the right attitude. That’s where you got to start,” he added. “That’s No. 1 to me.” He said in order to spur economic development, streets have to be pothole free. “You have to make the parks look nice and make the streets free of trash,”
he said. Webber said there is a program he wants to start that features trashcans strategically placed throughout the city. These will not be regular trashcans, however. “I want them decorated. They can have funny faces on them, or be colorful and have caricatures,” said Webber, noting children can get involved in the project and show their artistic sides. “We could make a contest out of it,” he said. “People will see these trash cans around the city and laugh and smile,” he said. “They will say, ‘That is clever!’” Webber said the decorated trashcans will entice people to use them. “The community has got to look good to prospective home buyers and business owners,” he said. “We have to increase community pride by caring for our properties,” said Webber, noting another concept would be to use volunteers to clean up vacant properties. “Another negative thing in this community that has to be turned around is that the city has a drug problem,” he said. “That is one of the biggest things people talked to me about when I walked around.” “Almost every single person I spoke with talked about the drug issue,” he said. “The opioid crisis is nationwide, and it’s real in Fulton. I can’t solve the nation’s problems, but I certainly want to do something to reverse this trend,” he said. Webber said he wants to create a drug task force in Fulton, and plans to meet with top law enforcement officials to see what is needed in order to do so. “Instead of sticking drug users in a cell for a night or two to dry out and then see them back out on the streets and using again, we have to get them into rehab services,” he said. “I’m also going to make sure the word gets out that there is a new sheriff in town, and you had better not be selling drugs in Fulton or you’re going to be locked up,” he said. “If you are talking about economic development, you had better make these things happen and make the city a cleaner, safer place,” he said. Webber said it is also essential to
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make the public aware of all the city’s successes, such as efforts to sell vacant properties and put them back on the tax rolls. He also believes the city’s Facebook page is underutilized. “Why are we not putting things on our Facebook page and celebrating them?” he asked. Small victories such as a new drone business opening in the city and Spectrum building a new facility at the former Nestle site need to be celebrated, he said. Webber said another development worth celebrating involves the completion of construction on multi-use walking trails that connect the waterfront areas with the city’s commercial and suburban centers. He also pointed to the new CNY Community Arts Center on Cayuga Street as a major triumph in the heart of downtown. Webber intends on speaking to all business owners in Fulton and finding out why they established a business in the city in the first place. “Let us get the information out as to why small business owners came here,” said Webber, noting he may even consider forming a small business association in the city. Webber said he wants to find out what the city can do for small business owners to keep them happy and retain them for many years down the road. “We want to know more about that so we can offer the same opportunities to other businesses,” he added. Webber said there are eight different lots that can be marketed at the former Nestle site, with the promise of additional tax revenues coming into the city once businesses establish there. “There’s something that Fulton had many years ago when I was a kid that we don’t have anymore, and that’s a movie theater. I would love to see a movie theaetr move into the Nestle site,” he said. Webber noted AMC Theatres has expressed “lukewarm” interest in locating at the site. However, Webber did say he is sensitive to the concerns of the Midway Drive-In in Minetto, which has become an iconic landmark in Oswego County. “I would not want to see the Mid-
way Drive-In have to close because of a new movie theater, but there is a market for both,” he said. A theatre in Fulton would draw folks in that would normally be traveling to Oswego or Clay to take in a movie, he said. He said AMC Theatres was concerned with the demographic in the city of Fulton. “You have to look beyond just the population of Fulton,” Webber said. “It’s going to attract year-round business from Volney, Granby, Central Square, Phoenix and Hannibal as well as the city of Fulton.” Webber also thinks establishing a gathering-recreational space for youth — such as a boys and girls club — would complement the Fulton Family YMCA and give youngsters an option rather than being out on the streets. Webber would also like to see an outdoors store such as a Bass Pro Shop or Gander Mountain Outdoors open in the city. “There’s a lot of people in this area who love to fish and hunt,” he said. He said the combination of a movie theater along with an outdoors store would give the city some much-needed visibility. Meanwhile, Webber also touted Attis Industries’ purchase of the Sunoco ethanol and grain malting operations in Volney. While it doesn’t mean additional tax revenues for the city, the Volney project means an additional 100 jobs over the next year or so. “If you are working at Attis, you are probably going to live in Fulton,” said Webber, noting that is another reason why the city needs to focus on its streets and neighborhoods. “If people drive by your property and it looks like trash, they are not going to want to move their family there,” he said. He said organizations such as Fulton Block Builders are making a significant difference in the city. Webber and his wife recently did outside improvements to their home, and took advantage of the Fulton Block Builders incentive program. “They are already taking applications for 2020, which is earlier than ever,” he said.
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SPECIAL REPORT By Lou Sorendo The Riverview Business Park, the site of the former Miller Brewing Co. site.
Green Tech Comes to Volney Green tech campus evolving at Riverview Business Park
olney will soon be the site for an advanced green technology epicenter of global proportions. It all started when Attis Industries recently acquired Sunoco LP’s 100-million-gallon-per-year corn ethanol plant and grain malting operation at the Riverview Business Park, the site of the former Miller Brewing Co. The transaction was worth $20 million and the plant has an appraised asset value of $57 million. However, the corn ethanol plant and grain malting operations are just the tip of the iceberg as Attis plans on developing a state-of-the-art green tech campus. Jeff Cosman, chairman and CEO of 76
Attis Industries, said the opportunity to partner with Sunoco has helped advance Attis’ plans on making both a national as well as global economic impact. Cosman has transitioned away from a solid waste company he had built, selling his interests about a year ago. His focus now is on renewable fuel technology and creating various production avenues on the Volney site’s 134 acres. The long-standing relationship with Sunoco over the past several years, combined with the engineering expertise of David Winsness, president of Attis Innovations at Attis Industries, has led to a smooth transition. Attis Innovations is a division focused on OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
developing the next generation of renewable fuels and bio-based products. “Sunoco has great people from the top down. They struggled with us frankly because we are a public company in transition, and that is a testament to their fortitude. Sunoco really was patient and stayed by us, and we got the transaction completed,” Cosman said. “Going forward, if there are markets that we build in that benefit Sunoco, not only in Fulton but at other greenfield operations, we will partner with them going forward in those locations as well.” Cosman said Attis has technology that produces not only renewable fuels such as corn ethanol, but also cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel products. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
Cellulosic ethanol is a biofuel produced from wood, grasses, or the inedible parts of plants. “We’ll use this plant as a storefront. We’re going to build a pilot research facility here to accentuate some of our capabilities. It will allow us to bring in people from around the world to show them exactly what we can do in terms of handling various types of biomass,” he said. Attis intends on constructing biodiesel and biorefinery facilities, which will add skilled jobs that it will provide training for. It will also have research and sales components as well. Sharing this technology will lead to Attis forming partnerships with renewable fuel companies around the world. Attis’ plan is to co-locate a biorefinery with the corn ethanol plant, and use some of the processes that are already in place. Cosman said Attis is starting its development plan en route to building the biorefinery plant. The next step involves visiting farmers and landowners throughout Upstate New York in efforts to express the needs of the plant and ways in which it will generate corn and cellulosic ethanol at full capacity. Cosman said the operation will benefit the agricultural sector in Oswego County and Upstate New York. “People who have forest on their land probably see about 50 percent of the value that they should be realizing,” he said. “The same thing goes for farmers, whether they are growing wheat, corn or barley.” Cosman said the revenues produced help sustain families and farming systems, but with Attis’ strategy, that cash stream will become more lucrative. Attis has the ability to take woody biomass and use half of its value to produce cellusoc ethanol. It then takes the other half and converts that into materials that include bioplastics, carbon fiber, marine fuel and green coal, also known as clean coal. “That ability is not seen in any other company in the world,” said Cosman, noting that Upstate New York features a wide range of opportunities for Attis, farmers and landowners. “It only makes sense to start in New York state, because so many people can benefit. The economy may not be growing in New York state, but we can help build that economy, straighten it out and take it forward,” he added. The company will also look to generate “green” power from the state’s AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
Jeff Cosman, chairman and CEO of Attis Industries. “We’ll use this plant as a storefront. We’re going to build a pilot research facility here to accentuate some of our capabilities. It will allow us to bring in people from around the world to show them exactly what we can do in terms of handling various types of biomass.” supply of local renewable biomass using an on-site boiler system. This will reduce the overall carbon footprint of the Volney campus while taking advantage of valuable carbon credits to increase the site’s profitability.
Catalyst for jobs Attis is expected to add up to 100 skilled jobs over the next two years as part of a $139 million investment program. Cosman said the plant will draw workers from throughout Upstate New York. “We can draw a lot of skilled workers who may or may not be working right now, but perhaps want to step up and take another job,” he said. “That’s what we’re here for, to build skilled, biorefinery-type high-paying jobs in the Upstate New York marketplace.” Building its biorefinery and biodiesel capabilities will call for construction workers, and then long-term positions will be created featuring jobs that require both control room, mechanical and safety expertise. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Cosman expressed confidence in the workforce in the county and the ability of its workers to step into these types of jobs. He said Tim Hardy, general manager at the ethanol plant, and Gregory Pilewicz, president of Attis Industries, have networked with local economic development experts to gain a sense of available workforce. “There’s no reason why we can’t partner with local junior colleges and colleges around the area to assist in training for these types of jobs,” he said. “There’s a lot of potential long-term employees that love being in Upstate New York and don’t necessarily want to go downstate,” he said.
Making a comeback Attis is going through some growing pains as it transitions from a solid waste company to an organization focused on renewable energy. “People look at the company and see kind of a wounded duck, just because of the transition we did leaving the waste business,” he said. “It seemed like 77
a stable business, but the forward-looking strategy going forward in the waste business was just not there. That’s why we go out of it.” He said the mix of technology and people at Attis made the transition into renewable fuels a “no brainer.” “The passion that the team has to build this renewable fuel company is incredible — just the knowledge, insight and all the things we bring,” he said. “We’ve been delinquent on filings [with the Securities and Exchange Commission], but that is soon to be resolved,” he said. He said the company is “incredibly” strong internally. “We just have to get through these last pieces of taking the bandages off and getting back in the game,” he added. “The investors love the fact that we were able to close the transaction, but they are still a little chafed because we haven’t had our filings current,” Cosman said. “That’s due to some of the things we’ve done over the past year with this transition.” Cosman said to expect those filings to be made soon, and once they are final and current, to anticipate a strong uptick in Attis’ stock price. Cosman said they are “historical” financials, meaning they are ones that were delinquent when Attis was a medical waste business as well as transition company, and not what it is today as an ethanol production company. The company leader said that over the past year, Attis has eliminated over $100 million of debt associated with his $55 million revenue traditional solid waste company. “We will soon file our 8-K to validate to our investors our two-year financials which basically incorporate the operation of the Sunoco plant,” he said. An 8-K is a report of corporate changes at a company that could be of importance to shareholders or the SEC. “We’ll bring those onto our books here very shortly so that the investors can get excited about the transaction, see the value that is in this company and see our forward momentum,” he added. Cosman said he believes the current investor base “just wants to see the financials in regards to the historical operation of the ethanol plant. Once they see that, then we can start telling the story about improvements to the buying of our corn, improvements involving natural gas, adding a biodiesel plant and biodigester, and different things that we can put on that site that will improve the operations of just that 78
What’s Produced at Attis Industries Volney Facility In addition to the ethanol produced today, the Attis Industries’ Volney facility at the Riverview Business Park is producing or capturing the following on an annual basis: — 360 million pounds of carbon dioxide for sale into food, beverage or industrial applications — 455 million pounds of distiller’s dried grains with solubles for use in animal feed — 18 million pounds of distiller’s corn oil for use as a feedstock in biodiesel and animal feed — 4 million pounds of malted grain The facility can produce about 2,000 tons of malted barley each year and act as a crucial link between farms and breweries as a proud part of New York’s $4 billion craft brewing industry.
plant. Then, we’ll start talking about the global picture and our next largescale facilities that we plan on building around the world.” The company intends on constructing large-scale biorefineries across the country in conjunction with its Volney project, and has even expressed interest in the Middle East.
Patents in litigation The team features Winsness, the man responsible for patenting the process of corn oil extraction and who is credited with developing the system of corn oil extraction at the Volney plant as well as many others across the country. His patents, according to Cosman, were reportedly illegally used by a large corn ethanol engineering company and are now the subject of litigation. “What the market doesn’t know is the people who stole the patent and are in litigation tried to come up with a second-generation corn oil extraction system, and they failed every time,” he said. “What the market also doesn’t know is we know corn oil extraction too, and we have the guy who developed the patent and technology,” he added. “My guys know how to get corn oil out of corn.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Cosman said he is confident not only with the company’s technology, but the brain trust that it has. “We can crush the corn ethanol business quickly by improving our operations and watching these other corn oil ethanol plants falter,” he said. “At the end of the day, we know how to perfect the process, and that’s why we got into production, and that’s why we love Sunoco. They know that we know our business, and that’s why they felt very confident in selling to us,” he said.
1886 Malt House The 1886 Malt House is characterized by Cosman as being “world class and unbelievable.” “The question we have internally is how big can we make it? The craft brewers in New York state are benefitting from the strategy the state has to offer which has 80 to 90 percent of ingredients coming from New York state,” he said. “We have to come up with a sales strategy and start selling whatever we can produce all over the country,” he said. “I would think we would want to make our own beer too. We probably would not produce it, but rather we can partner with different groups and banks.” The facility can produce about 2,000 tons of malted barley each year as part of New York’s $4 billion craft brewing industry. Attis is also collaborating with Novozymes, a global biotechnology company headquartered n Copenhagen, Denmark. The company specializes in using enzymes and microorganisms found in nature to make everyday products more sustainable. Attis has engaged with Novozymes, the largest enzyme company in the world, to discuss its biorefinery technology and innovation. “They grasped it very quickly and they understood what we have to offer,” Cosman said, noting Novozymes said the Attis process is unlike anything in the world. “They’ve already got enzymes that we have been using in our research facility in Wisconsin, and we’ve been very successful in using those enzymes,” he said. Attis will partner with Novozymes on both the corn ethanol and biorefinery or woody biomass side, Cosman said. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
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Learn more at connextcare.org — or better yet, stop in to one of our six sites Located in Fulton, Mexico, Oswego, Parish, Phoenix, Pulaski and say hello.
OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
HEALTH By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Health Providers Seek to Boost Recruitment, Retention Efforts to recruit health professionals now include use of social media, billboards, TV commercials, presence in colleges, high schools and just ‘being visible’ in the community
he United States will need nearly 11.6 million healthcare workers to fill new jobs and vacancies created by retirees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase in chronic illnesses, longer lifespan and, in some positions, limited capacity to train new workers have all exacerbated the issue. Local healthcare providers are using a variety of means to keep staff levels and continue to provide care. John Bergemann, director of human resources for Crouse Health, said that posting positions with Syracuse. com, Indeed.com as well as having an increased presence on social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, has helped increase recruitment of nurses. Among other things, they emphasize testimonials from employees who explain why they’re glad they work for Crouse. “It’s very different than what it used to be,” he said. “It helps getting on college and high school campuses and being visible. Attending more job fairs. It’s having name recognition. We have space on the dugouts where the Syracuse Mets play. You never used to see billboards and TV ads for hospitals.” Simply placing employment ads on job boards won’t do it anymore. Bergemann said that an organization’s good reputation helps attract applicants. “Our culture is very strong,” Bergemann said. Employee recognition is a big part of Crouse’s culture, Bergemann said. Acknowledging a job well done, expressing gratitude and welcoming patient feedback all help workers feel more appreciated. While providing competitive wages may attract applicants, Bergemann said that work/life balance and relationships on the job ultimately 80
keep employees and boost employee retention. He said that some employees who have left for better wages come back to Crouse within a year once they realize the “fit” wasn’t right for them elsewhere. He added that Crouse’s benefit package both attracts applicants and promotes retention, as does flexibility. Employees don’t have to work full time to receive full-time benefits. “It’s a family-friendly place to work,” Bergemann said. “We focus on family first. We can be flexible to staff and accommodating to
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employees.” Employees rotate holidays and those working while others are off receive double time and, on some holiday, free meals in the cafeteria. Promoting the organization’s culture is important for attracting employees to ACR Health in Syracuse, which provides health support services for people with chronic diseases, including HIV/AIDS. ACR works to underscore its community involvement by participating in job fairs and other events. “We are in
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the communities that we serve,” said Rachel Leonardo, director of human resources. “Oftentimes, we attract employees by being on the ground in the community we’re serving.” Participation helps raise awareness both of the organization’s services and also employment opportunities. Leonardo said that many more people become aware of ACR, including job openings, when they happen upon the ACR display. “We can meet people who want to work in the field we’re in,” Leonardo said. “It’s very valuable, whether you get an applicant or not. It’s important to be representative of the communities we’re serving. We try to be aware we need to be representative of the communities in which we serve.” A big piece of the ACR culture is the work/life balance the organization works to foster. Leonardo believes this helps in both attracting new applicants and in employee retention. Leonardo said that the benefit package helps as well, offering health, dental and vision benefits, as well as a retirement plan.
“We have a fantastic wellness committee that brings all kinds of perks to our employees,” Leonardo said. “We go above and beyond in that realm and people find great benefit in that.” But she feels sure that ACR’s real pull for applicants goes beyond the pay rate and benefits. It’s the company culture, which includes helping employees advance in their careers. “We provide training and opportunities for people to learn and branch out,” Leonardo said. “I do feel there’s a great sense of appreciation for that. “It really does come down to our mission vision and values and the culture we try to create,” she added. “We have great management and supervision.” Auburn Hospital mixes both old and new means of advertising openings. They include social media, internet sources such as Indeed.com, billboards and newspapers. “I also visit colleges when they hold job or career fairs,” said Jennifer Wlad, nurse recruiter with Auburn Hospital. She goes to both campuses of Cayuga Community College, Keuka,
LeMoyne, and Onondaga Community College. She also participates in Department of Labor job fairs as well as a FLX radio-advertised fair. Wlad said that maintaining good relationships with the schools’ instructors helps her connect with graduates that could fill roles at Auburn Community. For example, she holds a “Welcome to ACH” event for the new CCC students doing their clinical work in the fall so she can get to know the instructors and students. For retaining, it’s all about company culture. Each month, she showcases new employees on the “Welcome to ACH Family” bulletin board. Wlad follows up with new hires frequently to ensure their needs are met. She also works to dream up activities to help the staff bond and maintain a positive attitude. “Being present on the floor and available to staff seems to help encourage open communication,” Wlad said. A representative from Oswego Health was not available to offer comments for this story.
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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
HEALTH By Payne Horning
More Patients Plugging into Telemedicine Services Health care visits delivered via telemedicine nearly triple in two years
hat it means to see your doctor may be fundamentally changing. More Americans than ever before are now using telemedicine to access their health care. In Upstate New York, this practice of connecting with your physician through real-time streaming technology has nearly tripled over the past two years. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield says health care visits delivered via telemedicine jumped from 5,173 in 2016 to 14,790 in 2018. “This additional method of receiving care is quickly emerging,” said physician Stephen Cohen, senior vice president and corporate medical AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
director for Excellus. Excellus attributes the growth of telemedicine to several factors. More people now know about it — more than 50% of 2,004 respondents in an Excellus survey said they were aware of what telemedicine is. And it’s easier to access today. Private insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare pay for telemedicine health care services. Another reason is the improvement of the technology that makes telemedicine possible, according to John Onyan, stroke program manager at Upstate University Hospital. Upstate’s telestroke program now enables patients from four counties to reach neurologists in Syracuse at any OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
one of 11 partnering regional hospitals, which are referred to as “spoke sites.” Through the screen, doctors can assess in real-time how the patient looks and discuss the symptoms they are experiencing. Physicians and nurses at the regional hospital supplement what the doctor from Upstate can assess remotely, for example touching the patient’s face if it’s drooping. Based on this consultation, Upstate doctors who specialize in this field of health care can diagnose the affliction, recommend treatment and advise that the patient be transferred to Syracuse. “What the patients are encountering at the spoke sites is really a general emergency provider that’s looking at very broad category of symptoms and they have a hard time saying this looks like stroke or not,” Onyan said. “By doing these video consults, they are talking to our stroke docs that are very focused in stroke care and they can tell right away what it looks like. They can usually recommend a treatment or transfer within 5 or 10 minutes of seeing that patient virtually.” Bringing these stroke specialists from Upstate to rural areas is not only more convenient and faster for patients than traveling to Syracuse, but it’s also helpful for the spoke sites. Onyan says neurologists usually gravitate toward urban areas where there are more patients and pay is higher. Telemedicine allows Upstate to bring this specialty to regions that are under-served as a result. Like all technology, telemedicine has its shortcomings. Onyan says some patients who aren’t as familiar with technology can be uncooperative. Additionally, these teleconference connections can be dropped like any call someone might make with a cellphone. But thanks to improvement in technology and the expansion of the infrastructure like cell towers that makes access to it possible, Onyan says the opportunities for telemedicine abound. “We’ve been able to upgrade this to them using their smartphones or tablets to do their consult, so they can be in their own home or anywhere that they have privacy to do these consults. They just have to be able to have cell access to do this,” He said. “The coolest story is one of our docs doing a telemedicine consult in the backseat of his car while he was on his way to church. He was on-call, got a phone call, and had to move into the back and do the consult that way. That was pretty wild.”
Super Spa Coming to Oswego By Lou Sorendo
he Port City is known for its laidback attitude, but now a new business is taking that same vibe to a whole new level. The Aqua Spa Float Center & Wellness Boutique will be located on the ground floor of the former Oswego City School District Education Center on East First Street in the Port City, with a full view of the Oswego River. Once fully renovated, the wellness center will be roughly 6,500 square feet. The owners — Terry LeRoy and Tammy Wilkinson — anticipate construction to begin in late fall. Including the construction, the spa will cost nearly $1 million. Once completed, the aqua spa will be one of the largest float centers in the country. The owners have partnered with Taylored Architecture of Clayton and Gary McGuire-Empire Contractors of Syracuse to bring their vision to reality. “After our initial meeting with
[Oswego] Mayor [William “Billy”] Barlow, we knew that we wanted to be downtown,” Wilkinson said. “We chose this location specifically after exploring many options with Tom Schneider [president and CEO] of Pathfinder Bank. “He had an interest to develop the education building and we communicated our desire to have our wellness boutique located near or on the water.” The name “Aqua Spa” required a synergistic aesthetic with water being the focal point, LeRoy added. “It became clear that this location was the perfect setting for our spa.” “The benefits are simply that it is centrally located in the heart of downtown Oswego, which makes it easily accessible to visitors and our community,” Wilkinson added. The Aqua Spa Float Center & Wellness Boutique will feature float therapy, cryotherapy, infrared sau-
nas, a salt room, an oxygen bar and massage chairs. It will also feature a “primp room” and indoor and outdoor relaxation space for post-treatment enjoyment. The center will also include space for wellness classes and educational seminars. — Cryotherapy, sometimes known as cold therapy, is the local or general use of low temperatures in medical therapy. — An infrared sauna uses infrared heaters to emit infrared light experienced as radiant heat that is absorbed by the surface of the skin. Traditional saunas heat the body primarily by conduction and convection from the heated air and by radiation of the heated surfaces in the sauna room. — A salt room is a room where the walls and floor are covered with Himalayan salt. They are considered therapy for individuals with respiratory or skin conditions. — An oxygen bar sells oxygen for recreational use. Individual flavored scents may be added to enhance the experience. Proponents of oxygen therapy claim it boosts energy levels, increases endurance during exercise, helps one bounce back quickly from physical exertion, provides relief from stress and pollution, increases one’s concentration, helps in relaxation, and eases headaches and hangovers. The float ambassadors have other business interests as well. LeRoy is the president and CEO of LeRoi Inc., a global manufacturer of body jewelry, while Wilkinson is a goldsmith with a specialty in lost wax casting for LeRoi, Inc. She is also the founder and artistic director of Theatre Du Jour, an interactive, touring dinner theatre.
Construction is taking place at the new Aqua Spa Float Center & Wellness Boutique, located on the ground floor of the former Oswego City School District Education Center on East First Street in Oswego. Attending to the project are, from left, Gary McGuire, CEO and president of Empire Contractors; owners Tammy Wilkinson and Terry Leroy; and Jonathan Taylor of Taylored Architecture. 84
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The Aqua Spa Float Center & Wellness Boutique will feature four Deluxe Quest Suites and one Revolution Float Orb from Superior Float Tanks. Superior Float Tanks is regarded as the industry’s top manufacturers of therapeutic floatation tanks and floatation tank equipment. “The suites are the largest and most luxurious in the industry,” Wilkinson said. “The orb is the largest float pod designed for taller users which can be used in an enclosed position or left open during the float session.” Featured is a low-side entry threshold for ease of entry and exit while the orb has fiber-optic twinkle starlights AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
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throughout its domed interior. All suites and the orb feature LED lighting. The couple performed due diligence prior to taking on the new venture. “Initially, we secured an apprenticeship and hired consultants from leaders in the industry,” Wilkinson said. “After months of research, floating at centers across the country, visiting manufacturers and speaking with like-minded people, we felt confident enough to take the next step.” LeRoy said in order for the aqua spa to operate on a successful level, “education, engagement and a positive customer experience” are required. “Since this is a wellness boutique, the focus is 100% on the client,” he said. “All the modalities we will offer are tried and true and backed by scientific research. Our mission is to help people find the treatments that work for them and enhance their quality of life.” Both LeRoy and Wilkinson have had their own positive experiences with float therapy. “This led us to explore other modalities that seemed to go hand-in-hand with floating. Because health and wellness have become central in our own personal lives, we are passionate about sharing our experiences with others,” LeRoy noted. The couple has always mused about having a business in this industry. “With the rise in health and wellness awareness in society, the timing was absolutely perfect for this new endeavor,” LeRoy said. The float ambassadors described what the “floating” experience is all about: “Imagine stepping into a warm “bath” — about 10 inches of skin temperature water saturated with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt — and saying goodbye to all outside distractions and stimuli. “Your body is fully buoyant and free of gravity, something that you likely have not experienced since you were floating in your mother’s womb. “Your mind is now free to process things without distraction, your brain pumps out dopamine and endorphins and your body, mind, and spirit get to rest, de-stress and heal — while stress-related hormones are greatly reduced. “After your float session, you step out of this quiet, womb-like environment feeling relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated.” 86
A Huhtamaki employee gets her blood pressure checked by an on-site registered nurse. Photo provided.
Wellness in the Workplace Health, wellness initiatives in workplace pay dividends for employees, employers
By Lou Sorendo
hile businesses always have the pedal to the medal when it comes to production, they also want their workforces to be happy and healthy while doing it. More than two-thirds of companies in the United States plan to expand their well-being programs over the next few years, according to a survey from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health. Also, UnitedHealthcare’s 2019 Wellness Check Up Survey revealed that more than half — 57 percent — of employees with access to an employer-sponsored well-being program say the initiative has had a positive effect on their health. Promoting workforce health can also help make your organization an employer of choice, especially for younger workers, expert say, which bodes well in a tight labor market. The right employee health program can help boost employee productivity, studies show. Shane Phillips is the continuous improvement leader at Huhtamaki in Fulton, and said the food packaging specialist values the wellness of all employees and their families. Huhtamaki offers an array of OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
services and benefits that support the physical and mental health of employees, he said. Features at Huhtamaki are an expansive benefits compensation package that includes medical, dental, vision and employee assistance programs. “Each comes with a wealth of support systems any employee can take advantage of to become more educated and support reaching individual wellness goals,” Phillips said. Huhtamaki has a modern fully equipped wellness center staffed with part-time personal trainers who offer individual wellness support. The wellness center also offers an array of fitness classes for all levels of fitness and is offering a summer interactive lecture series that focuses on overall wellness, nutrition and fitness goals. The wellness center is open to Huhtamaki employees and their spouses. The Fulton site also employs a full-time registered nurse. “We also employ the services of a physician on a part-time basis to support our occupational medical needs of the employees,” he said. Also, Huhtamaki employs the services of an ergonomist-physical AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
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therapist that works one-on-one with employees. All employees are given access to the flu shot annually. Phillips said Huhtamaki also promotes wellness through several annual activities such as its health fairs, lectures and trainings, several 5K walk-run sponsorships and general communications. With 450 employees, Huhtamaki is the sixth-largest private employer in Oswego County and is the second-largest manufacturer behind only Novelis. “Although it is our hope 100% of employees take advantage of all of our resources, it is hard to say which resource is most valued by the employees,” he said. “I am confident every employee has used at least one of these resources as a vehicle for improving their wellness. This is why we offer such a variety of resources. “Not any one individual has the same needs when it comes to their overall wellness but am certain each individual sees value in the resources they take advantage of.” Phillips stressed the importance and benefits of having a focus on workplace wellness. “Huhtamaki feels that the health and wellbeing of our employees does not stop at the door or with the individual,” he said. “It is something to be enjoyed by our families, loved ones and our community. Happy and healthy individuals in the work place help support a positive and productive
work environment.” In turn, Phillips said, it breeds a culture in which each employee gets to enjoy the same level of wellness with their families and loved ones. “One cannot put a cost on wellness or the support our employees need to achieve optimal wellness,” he said.
Wellness on the Workplace: Tips for Employers
nitedHealthcare offers the following tips to help employers align their worksites with a focus on employee engagement, health and wellbeing: • Encourage staying active Having a meeting? Put your walking shoes on and talk on the go by having a “walk-and-talk” meeting Employees whose jobs require them to sit at a desk all day may appreciate the change, and it may be good for their health. Also, onsite yoga may have numerous physical and emotional benefits. Additional ideas to consider: onsite walking trails, fitness equipment and classes, treadmill conference rooms, and stand-up desks. • Reduce employee stress Use available office space to create a low-lit “relaxation room” to help employees recharge and lower their stress levels. Also consider offering employees a mindfulness program that may help fill the workplace with positive energy, where working relationships are opti-
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mized and distractions give way to focus and self-awareness. Additional ideas to consider: a 5-minute stretching routine, paid time off for volunteer work and behavioral health counseling. • Healthier food options Ensure healthier food options are available in vending machines and cafeterias, and at company events. Also, consider putting healthier options at eye level within those vending machines and denoting those options with stickers. Additional ideas to consider: a free onsite salad bar, onsite cooking demonstrations, a fruit sampling day or even onsite gardens to help increase teamwork. • Prioritize employee health Consider banning all forms of tobacco (and vaping/e-cigarettes) from company premises, at company events and within company vehicles. Also, consider dedicating a private room for telehealth (virtual visits) appointments and allow employees to connect to a telehealth care provider as needed during the workday. Additional ideas to consider: onsite biometric screenings and flu shots, finding a wellness champion for the office, and offering financial well-being programs. For more information about well-being programs, visit UHC.com.
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Success Story Giovanni Food Co.
By Lou Sorendo
Headquarters of Giovanni Food Co. in Radisson.
From humble beginnings in the Port City, Louis DeMent grows third-generation family pasta sauce business into key player on food manufacturing scene
t’s in the sauce. Louis DeMent is the CEO and third-generation owner of Giovanni Food Co., a business that is flourishing at its home in Baldwinsville. Over the last five years, the business has experienced about a 10 percent growth on average per year. The business produces tomato-based products such as pasta sauce, as well as salsas, barbecue sauces and cooking sauces. The company also bottles vinegar and does beverages as well. “We’ve had to diversify over the years,” DeMent said. In its infancy in 1934, the business started out as a tavern and evolved into DeMent Grill on the west side of the city of Oswego. DeMent’s grandmother Thelma and great aunt began cooking for thirsty sailors coming off steam ships in the 1930s. “They liked what they were cookAUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
ing, which was pasta and the old family recipe of pasta sauce,” he noted. When World War II broke out, women were tied up working in factories while men were off to battle. “Nobody had time to make food, so they started doing take-home in Fulton Sealright containers,” DeMent said. The paperboard ice cream containers doubled as take-home containers for pasta, sauce and sometimes meatballs. “That’s when my grandfather [John DeMent] said, ‘Hey, let’s put sauce in a bottle.’” In the 1950s, the family became one of the first in the country to put pasta sauce in glass jars and began distributing to grocery stores. Their son, Jack, eventually took over. DeMent’s sauce is still sold today, mostly in the Oswego, Fulton and Pulaski areas. “It’s definitely a mainstay for us, and it’s something that we are really OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
proud of. But it is only a very small fraction of our business at this point,” DeMent added. The family at the outset thought it could sell its own brand. “We had DeMent’s, and tried to push that. We also had the Maria Angelina brand, and tried to sell that,” he said. However, Jack met with a lot of closed doors because of his higher price point. “The marketplace was accepting product that was 59 to 69 cents a jar, so he created the Luigi Giovanni brand, and that’s where our current company name comes from. He was able to sell truckloads at that point,” DeMent added. “Then, we got some major customers on the private brand and contracting manufacturing side who indicated to us that the least path of resistance was to pack for them rather then fight the big brands,” he said. 89
“We didn’t have huge amounts of marketing dollars to push our brand, and it would take millions of dollars and many years to do that,” DeMent added. The business focus today is nearly a 50-50 split between contract manufacturing and private brands. With contract manufacturing, Giovanni is putting the customer’s brand name on a product and selling it to the customer. With private or store brands, store chains have their own brand and Giovanni manufactures the product and sells it to the retailer to compete with brand-name products that the store carries. Giovanni Foods does private branding for many regional as well as national retailers. The Oswego native observes a sense of propriety when it comes to keeping the names of those who use private branding confidential. “I treat that very seriously because it’s the livelihood of all our 103 families,” he said. When DeMent started working for his father Jack in 1997, they had about 14 employees. “Companies and the general public are asking for more organic products, private brand products, and not necessarily brand names. So there is a trend and it’s going hand-in-hand with our capabilities, and that’s extremely important.” “We continue to see growth in private brand products in terms of market share on the store shelves,” he said. “I think every consumer understands that.” “You can go into a Wegmans retail outlet, and most of what you can buy from a regular brand, Wegmans offers — and they are doing it very well,” he said. “People trust that name sometimes more than they trust the national brand.”
Louis DeMent, 46, is the CEO and third-generation owner of Giovanni Food Co., a business that is booming at its home in Baldwinsville.
Forming the foundation DeMent said his father’s integrity was first and foremost. “He pushed reputation as something very much earned. You just don’t get there by showing up,” he said. “You have to stand behind what you do. That has really served us well in regards to the relationships that we have. It’s part of our corporate culture here.” “It’s important for each of us to have high integrity, which is essentially what a person does when no one is looking,” he said. “People are eating the stuff we are making, and we take that 90
Giovanni Food Co. in Baldwinsville is producing at a clip that has resulted in 10 percent growth per year over the last five years. Production line at Giovanni Foods.
really seriously.” The business is highly regulated by the likes of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and certified by the NSF’s safe quality food program, part of the Global Food Safety Initiative. “If you want to go out and communicate to a store chain that you want to pack for them, the first question is, ‘Are you SQF certified?’” DeMent said. The business is also certified for gluOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
ten-free, non-GMO [genetically modified organism] and kosher products. “We have all these audits going on throughout the year, and that is a huge cost of business. But it is the arena we want to play in. We want to be best in class at what we do, so we hold ourselves to a really high standard,” he said. “You can put whatever you want on the label, and we can validate that for a store chain or brand. That’s what we are AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
really good at. So those certifications are very valuable to us,” he added. DeMent said he brings in the best organizations possible to hold the company to that high standard. “That includes not only certifying bodies that audit us, but also store chains and the Amazons of the world who will come in and look under the hood,” he said. “We want to continue to grow, but it’s a very conservative growth. There are not aspirations to double, triple or quadruple or anything like that,” DeMent said. Since working for the company, the business has grown 10-fold. “We’ve grown a lot, and it wasn’t because we’re setting out like, ‘Hey, we want this accolade.’” “We had no desire to put our names in lights or anything like that,” he added. “We do have an upward trend that we want to continue, but we also want it to be sustainable. We’re trying to actually just focus on what we have and make it stronger. We have added 50 stock keeping units in the last year, and that’s a lot for us,” he said.
Family feeling DeMent, 46, resides in Clay with his wife Cheryl and their two children, Angelina, 15, and Jack, 12. He graduated from Oswego High School as well as Le Moyne College in Syracuse. Besides DeMent, there is no other family member on staff. His mom, Mary DeMent, sits on the board of directors. “If I meet somebody, some of the first words out of my mouth are, ‘We are a third-generation family company,’” DeMent said. “When I am having conversations with our entire employee staff, it’s about the family aspect of the business and that we care about each other,” he said. “We want to have a sustainable business because we need to take care of our families at home and feed them. “In this day and age, there are a lot of transactional businesses. We see private equity companies coming in and buying things out. That might be right for other businesses, but for us, we look out for the individuals that work for us,” he added. He said his past experience in the trenches help him to relate to his workers today. “We value each one of our employees and we want to make sure we take care of them and understand what they AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
Giovanni Food Co. not only specializes in food products, but also features bottled beverages as well.
“We have all these audits going on throughout the year, and that is a huge cost of business. But it is the arena we want to play in. We want to be best of class at what we do, so we hold ourselves to a really high standard.” are doing,” he said. Prior to working at the company in an official capacity, DeMent worked for his dad nights, weekends and during holidays. “I’ve been there and have done most of these jobs,” he said. “I’ve cooked, labeled, case packed, filled, and palletized. As an overall leader, you need to know what people are going through,” he said.
Ideal location The business recently celebrated its two-year anniversary at its plant on Sixty Road in Baldwinsville. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
“We have employees that live in Oswego and Fulton, so we are trying to advertise to that area that we have good jobs here that we’re trying to fill. It is a tight labor market, and we want to offer careers to folks. You can start out here, and hopefully as we grow, you grow,” he said. From its beginnings in Oswego, the business established more space when it relocated to Liverpool in 2006, where is took advantage of 60,000 square feet of space and a semi-automatic production line. In 2009 it would buy rival Ventre Packing Co. and its 67,000-square-foot production plant on Court Street Road in Syracuse. The facility featured three fully automatic production lines, a huge transformation from a semi-automatic line. “My dad and I dreamed of having a manufacturing plant that had fully automatic production lines. In Oswego, we had one, but it was very intimate and very hands-on,” he said. “It was a dream of ours to be able to do that, because it was backbreaking work and you had to work in uncomfortable conditions,” he added. “When I was palletizing for my dad, the boiler was in the next room and it was 120 91
degrees. “I called it the ‘quantum leap’ to our capacity and capabilities,” DeMent said. “We got wonderful employees with that transition too.” DeMent then had to relocate again because of the lack of locker room and parking space, and because they were doing business in five different locations. That’s when Giovanni renovated the former longtime PaperWorks plant in the Radisson Corporate Park in Baldwinsville and converted it from a dry to wet plant, necessitating the need to install drains and clean rooms. “We came here in hopes of being under one roof, but it didn’t really work. We’re still receiving rail cars in Liverpool, and still storing a lot of good in 40,000 square feet of finished goods space on Harris Street in Fulton,” he said. The business went from three productions lines to six production lines running out of five kitchens as a result of the project. “We had a beautiful facility before, but this is definitely even better. It’s brighter with all LED lighting, cleaner, and the ceilings are taller,” he said. He said it is designed to attract major brand and store chains in the country. Giovanni Food Co. leases warehouse space for storage as opposed to building new facilities, which can be deemed too costly. Pioneer Warehousing & Distribution in Liverpool takes care of railcar receiving of all tomato products for Giovanni. Giovanni Food Co. has also instituted a Microsoft Dynamics NAV enterprise resource planning system that handles everything from orders to cash. “It also handles a lot of our lot tracking, which is extremely important when dealing with food,” DeMent said. “We can go back to the source of every raw material just by reading a code and instantaneously knowing where it came from.” He noted this is essential given the level of food recalls and withdrawals that occur in the industry. “We can control that by having this heightened level of control. Recordability wise, it also helps in terms of how you handle product. It creates the behavior and culture that people are going to do the right thing. They have to; it’s the way the system is set up. It’s more the architecture of best business practice,” he said. 92
CEO Louis DeMent at his office in Radisson.
Carrying on Tradition Louis DeMent picks up where his dad, grandfather left off with Giovanni Food Co.
hen Louis DeMent was attending Oswego High School, he thought about working with his father Jack and running the pasta sauce business. “I thought running a sauce plant meant rolling up my sleeves, getting tomato paste on me, and being involved with employees. But I don’t do that. I don’t make sauce,” said DeMent, who is CEO and third-generation owner of Giovanni Food Co. in Baldwinsville. “What I do is hire great people and surround myself with fantastic individuals that can do all those parts of the job better than I can, whether it is operations or quality,” he said. DeMent said he enjoys creating relationships and partners in business. “Sometimes, I don’t even get to go out and be part of the process,” he noted. “My favorite part of the job is when someone comes in and says, ‘I want a tour,’ or I get the opportunity to walk around and talk to our employees. That’s my favorite part,” DeMent said. DeMent’s 15-year-old daughter Angelina is interested in the business. “She’s very interested in coming in OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
and working right now,” he said. “She wants to go and be in every department and just check it out. And I’m not pushing that, so that’s a good situation.” He brought her to the Natural Products Expo trade show recently. “She is so excited about food and how she can make a difference in the world through food,” DeMent said.
Following in footsteps An ice hockey player in his youth, DeMent is a coach for his son’s hockey squad. The ’95 graduate of Oswego High School opted for lacrosse as a Dolphin at his alma mater, Le Moyne College. He majored in business administration with a minor in marketing and management information systems. “My son seems to be following suit. He’s just like the Energizer Bunny. I want to sit down, but he’s like, ‘No. Let’s play catch.’ My kids are both very active,” DeMent said. “My daughter is involved in volleyball, track and cross-country, and is a beautiful singer. My son wants to continue to play hockAUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
ey and lacrosse, but said he also wants to play soccer, basketball and track in school next year. I’m not sure how he is going to do all that.” In terms of work-life balance, DeMent said he tries to be present in the moment all the time, which is challenging when thoughts center on what’s coming up. DeMent is involved in Strategic Coach, which is a training program for entrepreneurs that features quarterly workshops. “It helps you align your goals and also disciplines you to focus on three types of days: focus, buffer and free days. You’re supposed to plan your free days first, because if you don’t have free time and don’t recharge, you’re not as productive,” he said. “I’m a focus day junkie; I love to be engaged,” said DeMent, noting his favorite type of environment is attending food shows and expos. He gives credit to Virginia VanAuken, his administrative assistant, who along with his wife helps him plan his day and stay organized.
DeMent said he used to be 24/7 with his job, constantly sending work-related emails and calls even while on vacation. “I’m trying to change that, and want that for my employees. If they are not recharged, they come back feeling stressed out. I’m not doing my job then,” he noted.
Open door policy “I try to be involved and leave my door open. I want to hear what’s going on,” said DeMent, noting he holds monthly “coffee chats” which allow him to sit with employees and talk about virtually anything they want. “People have been open to sharing things, and I’ve received some great ideas from employees,” he said. Tiered meetings also allow employees to share in what they think will make the operation better. Workers also partake in the design of the educational program associated with each piece of equipment. “I need to let my employees do
what they do best and empower them,” he said. DeMent said his leadership style hinges around hiring and surrounding himself with “great” people. “They excite me when they are passionate about what they are doing,” he said. He takes a bullish approach when he wants something done, and envisions the result and stays on that until it is accomplished. He said his Christianity forms the basis for his fundamental values. DeMent was named the New York state winner of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2013 Small Business Person of the Year Award. He is a member of the board of regents at Le Moyne College; Food Bank of Central New York, and incoming learning chairman for the Young Presidents Organization. He is also a trustee at his church, Beacon Baptist. He also partakes in snowmobiling, hiking and traveling with his family.
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Live 2 Lead CNY Coming to Oswego Oct. 11
W ‘Live simulcast event, hosted by AdvanceCNY at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, is packed with five world class speakers.
Jamieson C. Persse is the founder and CEO of JC Persse Consulting. For more information, visit jcpersseconsulting.com or send an email to jamie@ jcpersseconsulting.com. 94
hat an exciting time. If you value successful lifestyle influencer she has built growth and development for your a global social media fanbase in the millions. team, yourself and perhaps some She is known as “the Tony Robbins for womkey clients, this is an event you won’t want en” because of her motivational, high energy to miss. This live simulcast event, hosted by style and her unique ability to empower and AdvanceCNY at the Lake Ontario Event and embolden a female audience. n Angela Ahrendts was most recently seConference Center, is packed with five worldnior vice president of Apple Retail based in class speakers. More on that in a moment. • About us — AdvanceCNY was created Cupertino, California. During her five years to advance leadership and personal growth at Apple, she integrated Apple’s physical for individuals and organizations through- and digital businesses to create a seamless customer journey for over a billion visitors a out Central New York and beyond. The founders of AdvanceCNY (myself, year. Before her transition to Apple, Ahrendts Darryl Sanford II and Julie Billings) are local served at Burberry as chief executive officer coaches, trainers and talent development for nearly nine years where her leadership professionals with a desire to provide pre- focus on culture, values and positive energy mier growth and development opportunities resulted in tripling the business and quadrupling the share price. She has consistently for individuals and organizations. Together we bring more than 60 years of been recognized by Forbes, Fortune and the combined experience working with business, BBC as a top 100 global executive. n Marcus Buckingham is a global researchentrepreneurs, nonprofits, healthcare, faith and mission based organizations, educa- er and thought leader focused on unlocking strengths, increasing perfortional institutions and mance and pioneering the government. Guest Columnist future of how people work. • About the event Building on nearly two de— Live2Lead is a halfday leadership and personal growth event cades of experience as a senior researcher at hosted live in Atlanta, Georgia, on Oct. 11. Gallup Organization, he currently guides the This simulcast event is an annual leadership vision of ADP Research Institute as head of gathering developed by The John Maxwell People + Performance research. He founded Company. Attendees learn from renowned The Marcus Buckingham Company in 2006 leadership experts from a variety of indus- with a clear mission: to instigate a “strengths tries, gain a new perspective on relevant revolution.” It started, as all revolutions do, topics and get practical tools to take home with the simplest of ideas: that when people spend the majority of each day on the job with them. using their greatest talents and engaged in their favorite tasks, basically doing exactly The speakers what they want to do, both they and their organizations will win. n John C. Maxwell, the No. 1 New York n Chris Hogan is the No. 1 national Times bestselling author, coach and speaker best-selling author of “Everyday Millionaire who has sold more than 30 million books, has and Retire Inspired: It’s Not an Age. It’s a been identified as the No. 1 leader in business Financial Number.” For more than a decade, by the American Management Association Hogan has served at Ramsey Solutions, and the world’s most influential leadership spreading a message of hope and financial expert by Business Insider and Inc. magapeace across the country as a financial zine. He has also received the Horatio Alger coach and Ramsey Personality. Hogan helps Award, as well as the Mother Teresa Prize people plan for their future and reach their for Global Peace and Leadership from the retirement goals through his Retire Inspired Luminary Podcast and live speaking events. • Rachel Hollis is a No. 1 New York Times Won’t you join us? and the No. 1 USA Today Bestselling Author, For more information on participating a top business podcaster and one of the most and/or partnering with us, visit www.adsought-after motivational speakers in the vancecny.com. world. As a bestselling author and wildly See you there! OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
PRABAKAR KOTHANDARAMAN continued from page 15 the most industry-networked school in the SUNY system. “We would like to be a school that both drives practice and is driven by practice,” he said. “If you look at business education, it is at a very interesting time. We are teaching students for careers that don’t exist yet. Businesses are facing consequences of their own decisions that they still are struggling to get their hands around,” he said. “There is a great opportunity here for academic curriculum and programs to be driven by practice and at the same time, have an opportunity to drive practice as well.” From a strategic standpoint, that means developing programs that are of great relevance to practice where students become extremely prepared to be productive from the early stages of their careers, which is what companies want. Kothandaraman added being industry connected and networked also helps place a sharpened focus on undergraduate programs and the development of new minors and programmatic innovations that are supported by faculty. While at William Paterson University, Kothandaraman and his team built many student-centric programs that targeted their ability to be ready for real-world jobs. This was done through a combination that included boot camps, learning. by doing exercises, industry immersion workshops, leadership conference series, and master’s classes.
Solid sales foundation “It is my belief that at SUNY Oswego, we put students at the center of whatever we do,” he said. “Similarly, in sales discipline, we teach students to put customers at the center of a business’ core.” He said having a sales background has prepared him well. “Selling emphasizes persuasion, influence and negotiation along with teamwork. All these are essential for success for a business school dean,” he said. Having been a department chairman, Kothandaraman understands the intricacies of academic operations, stuAUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
I’m human,” he said. “But the idea is to learn from them and don’t make the same mistake.”
Where it all started
Prabakar Kothandaraman is the new dean of SUNY Oswego School of Business. He is known at the the school as Dean P.K. dent advising, faculty aspirations and the crucial supporting role that every member of the staff plays. “This will help me lead the school effectively,” he noted. As executive director of the Russ Berrie Institute, he served as the external face of the institute and built extensive and strong relationships with business leaders from across the country. He also brought in financial as well other resources for the institute and college. “I did this by working internally with many departments, most notably institutional advancement, alumni relations and career services. This has positioned me extremely well to execute my external-facing role and build relationships with friends of SUNY Oswego and the business community at large,” he said. “People are watching. You want to be assured that you are someone they can trust and work with,” he said. “One big achievement that a leader can have is, if you give unlimited resources to people, they can do things. But, if you can pull beyond your weight, that means it’s not just about you. You have a team that has bought into your mission. That’s what happened in my previous position. If I am able to recreate that, it will be a success,” he said. “There will be mistakes on the way; OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Kothandaraman said he had a “very happy” childhood in India, and recalls being able to roam the neighborhood without worry. “I remember being in first grade and going three or four blocks by myself. My people were always watching,” he said. “At the same time, we faced some personal circumstances that meant we had to be responsible at a very early age,” he said. Kothandaraman lost his father when he was 9 years old. He said resources were always tight, but family togetherness helped him through. “It inculcates in you a certain toughness,” he said. “We had to almost be like adults, even when we were quite young. We learned to take responsibilities for our actions, which meant if you want to get ahead, you had better study hard,” he said. Like other Indian families, the emphasis was on education. “There was a premium on education for upward mobility,” he said. Kothandaraman said he and his brothers stood out in groups, and consequently were natural choices for leadership roles in clubs and activities. “That human interaction helped me personally,” he said. “I took on leadership roles early on, and tried to get people to see my point of view and get them to do things they otherwise would not be interested in doing,” he said. “That to me was the foundation in terms of my professional life,” he said. Kothandaraman added that throughout his life, he has received help, encouragement and mentoring from a host of people. On one occasion, a boss of his drove Kothandaraman to an interview for his next job, saying he wasn’t being paid enough. “I carry the gratitude,” he said. “I take more time with anybody that comes to me. I take it serious in terms of giving back.” he said. 95
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wrvo.org: everywhere OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Best Business Directory AUTO SALES & SERVICE Bellinger Auto Sales & Service — Third generation business. Used Cars, Towing, general auto repair & accessories, Truck repair. Oil, lube & filter service. 2746 County Route 57 Fulton, NY 13069. Call 5931332 or fax 598-5286.
CONSTRUCTION Dunsmoor Construction Inc. – Residential-Commercial Construction. Serving Oswego County. Home Improvement Contractor. 315-343-4380 or 315-5915020.
KILN-DRIED HARDWOODS Lakeshore Hardwoods. We stock kiln-dried cherry, walnut, maple, butternut, ash, oak, basswood, mahogany, cedar figured woods, and exotics. Also, hardwood flooring, moldings, stair parts & woodworking supplies. 266 Manwaring Rd. Pulaski. 298-6407 or visit www. lakeshorehardwoods.com.
LAND SURVEYOR Robert M. Burleigh, licensed land surveyor. Quality land surveying. Residential, subdivision, commercial, boundary surveying. 593-2231.
COPY & PRINT Port City Copy Center. Your one-stop for all of your copy + print needs. 37 East First St., Oswego . 2166163.
DEMOLITION Fisher Companies. Commercial & residential demolition. Great prices. Fully insured. Free estimates. 48 years of experience. Call Fisher Companies at 315652-3773 or visit www.johnefisherconstruction.com.
White’s Lumber. Four locations to serve you. Pulaski: state Route 13, 315-298-6575; Watertown: N. Rutland Street, 315-788-6200; Clayton: James Street, 315-6861892; Gouverneur: Depot Street, 315-287-1892.
OUTBOARD MOTORS Arney’s Marina. Route 14 Sodus Point, NY. Honda four-stroke motors, 2 hp to 250 hp. Repower your boat with the best! Call 483-9111 for more information.
EXCAVATING Gilbert Excavating. Septic systems. Gravel & top soil. Septic tank pumping. 685 County Route 3, Fulton, 13069. Call 593-2472.
RanMar Tractor Supply, Sales and Service of New and Used Tractors and Farm Equipment – 5219 US Rte 11 Pulaski, New York – 315-598-5109.
$159 for 1 Year Oswego County Business • P.O. Box 276 • Oswego, NY 1312697 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS
Just fill out this form, and send it with a check to: AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
By Lou Sorendo
what our listeners are asking for right now.
WRVO-FM manager talks about the station’s 50th anniversary and the efforts to reach millennials Q.: How is the station celebrating this important milestone? A.: We’ve been doing a lot of things on air. We had a retrospective feature that we aired earlier in the year on the actual date back in January. We had an open house that was well received recently in conjunction with SUNY Oswego’s annual reunion weekend. Lots of former employees dating back to the 1970s and 1980s were there. We also had a “Tuned to Yesterday: At the Movies” event re-
cently at the Auburn Public Theatre. In September, we’ll be welcoming Rachel Martin, who is one of National Public Radio’s co-hosts. Also, the radio quiz show “Says You!” will be back in Central New York for a couple of shows in November. Q.: Generally speaking, how did programming differ in the early days of the station compared to what is offered today at WRVO? A.: As I was going through some the old documents, I came across a note from Bill Shigley, founder of WRVO, to his boss, that was a proposed WRVO schedule. This was even before WRVO hit the airways. It was as you might expect: a combination of locally presented music and educational programming. So the early days had a lot of that: classical music and odds and ends that really defied categorization. It was combined with public service and primarily local news programming. WRVO predates NPR, so all of this happened even before NPR had programming available. Eventually, WRVO became an NPR member station. It picked up NPR’s first news magazine, “All Things Considered,” in the early 1970s, and “The Morning Edition” when that became available in 1979. It’s just added to that mix, mainly in response to listeners’ demands. We’ve become more of an NPR news station over the years, and that certainly is
Q.: Can you give us a sense of how power increases and number of listeners has trended over the years? A.: WRVO first went on the air as a 10-watt radio station. Not long thereafter, we were able to increase to 1,000 watts, which enabled us to get beyond the city of Oswego. Through the years, the station made gradual, incremental increases to the point where we are at 50,000 watts right now, which is the maximum allowed for our type of station here in Oswego. Obviously, along with that comes a larger footprint and listenership in addition to programming, which we like to think is what really increases our listenership over the years. We have 13 total frequencies that we are on across Central New York, so that expands our reach beyond the main 50,000-watt tower and transmitter. Q.: Is there room for growth at WRVO? A.: There’s always potential for growth because we’re not reaching the whole market. There is a large percentage of the market that either doesn’t know about us or for whatever reason, chooses not to listen to us. So we’re always working on increasing our share that way. Q.: Is the station reaching out to millennials in efforts to capture younger listeners? A.: We know that historically, listeners don’t really start listening to public radio until they are in their mid-20s. That’s when they find public radio stations like us. Millennials are really the first generation to have so many different options. It’s been 100 years or more since radio broadcasting has been around to a mass market. They said television was going to kill radio, and cable was going to kill radio, and of course, none of this happened. Millennials are really the first generation that has many different options such as Pandora and Spotify. We are now competing with these digital platforms for their time and ears. We are very aware of millennials and are trying to reach them as well. It’s important for our future.
Bill Drake is the manager at WRVO Public Media, which Jan. 6, 1969 aired its very first broadcast. The station is celebrating 50 years on the air. 98
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Five to Keep You Alive Because someone on shore loves you.
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