OCBM 164 Oct/Nov 19

Page 1


BUSINESS October / November 2019



Cruse Control New Novelis’ boss: Jeff Cruse started at the company sweeping floors. Now he is in charge. He talks about his career, plans. Page 56

Covering Oswego, Onondaga counties

Millennials: They Feel More Stressed Out Than Any Other Generation, They Say Propelling CNY’s Growth: Tech Garden and CNY Biotech Accelerator

CNY’s Business Magazine


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.

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Our Mission.

To provide people in our community with healthcare, customer services, support & employment to achieve their individual best quality of life.

Our Vision.


To redefine skilled nursing care through successful team development, use of technology, progressive service and being a strong community partner.

Our Team.

Registered Nurses Licensed Nurses Certified Nursing Assistants Physical Therapists Occupational Therapists Speech Therapists Social Workers Recreational Therapists Dietitians


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Assisted Living Community

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Rehabilitation and Nursing Center

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Sunoco Ethanol is now Attis Biofuels – one of the most advanced ethanol producers in the United States and proudly located in Oswego County. Attis Biofuels is part of Attis Innovations – a division of Attis Industries, Inc. – (NASDAQ: ATIS) – dedicated to producing high performance, sustainable materials for everyday products that are better for the environment.

Out of every bushel of corn (56 pounds), the Attis Biofuels Fulton Manufacturing Plant produces ...

For employment inquiries and corn sales, or DDGs and ethanol purchasing, visit www.attisbiofuels.com Attis Fulton Manufacturing Plant • 376 Owens Road, Fulton, NY 13069 • 315.593.0500 OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019



OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2019 • Issue 164


The founder and administrative director of Fulton Block Builders is in the forefront of upgrading and revitalizing Fulton’s challenged neighborhoods — one block at a time. Find out what keeps this 65-year-old Rochester native going. Page 16



New Novelis’ Boss: Jeff Cruse started at the company sweeping floors. Now he is in charge. He 56 talks about his career, plans



• Safeguards help prevent banking data breaches • Do banks need more brick-andmortar branches?

Economic Development


• Tech Garden sprouts new tech companies, jobs for CNY • Biotech Accelerator helping those developing medical-related products • Q&A with Melanie Littlejohn, new CenterState CEO chairwoman • Private labels boosting profits • Anheuser-Busch becomes a bit ‘greener’

Who Sends Faxes Nowadays As it turns out, many offices still rely on faxes........................................................................................ 30 Hemp Farms in CNY Production of hemp has grown tenfold in a year, becoming one of NYS top 10 specialty crops............................ 43 Poor Millennials Study shows millennials are quite confident that they are more stressed out than any other generation................45 The Power of Retirees They have major impact on NYS — and CNY — economy, says a recent study.................................................... 70 10 Questions to Mayor Ron Woodward As he is about to leave office, Fulton mayor reflects on his 34-year legacy and talks about the future of the city...................................................................... 73 Fulton’s $10 Million DRI Joe Fiumara discusses plans to use state grant to improve city of Fulton...................................................... 78

SUCCESS STORY Under the leadership of Karrie Damm, nonprofit Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County takes on a crippling threat to youngsters: child abuse.............. 89


On the Job What type of marketing do you find most effective?.......... 9

How I Got Started: Bruce Phelps, co-founder of Fulton Tool Co............ 14 Where is Sandra Scott Buenos Aires, Argentina.......................................20


Business Updates........................................................................................... 33

My Turn Why President Trump won’t admit mistakes........................41 Economic Trends IDA recapitalizes popular loan program .................64

Lombardo’s Bridie Manor: Good 28 food, with a great view. 4

Thomas Griffith on charitable planning.................95 Last Page Rodmon King working to bring campus city closer.......... 98 Guest Columnist



Certified Medical Assistant Certified Nursing Assistant

Dental Assistant

Practical Nursing

Infection Control Update

Medical Coding Specialist

The Center for Career and Community Education at the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation






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Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home...................12 ALPS Professional Services..............................17 Arts Parts ‘N More................23 Attis Industries........................3 Bond, Schoeneck & King, Attorneys at Law..............13 Breakwall Asset Mgnt...........36 Buckingham Brothers...........75 Builder’s FirstSource............25 Burke’s Home Center...........23 C & S Companies..................99 C&B Farm, Organic Meats...................12 Child Advocacy Center........89 Canale’s Italian Cuisine........31 Canale’s Insurance & Accounting........................12 Case Supply Inc.......................6 Cayuga Community College.........................5, 100 Century 21 - Galloway Realty.................................24 Chase Enterprises....................6 CNY Community Foundation........................83 Community Bank....................9 ConnextCare..........................85 6

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Crouse Hospital.......................7 Curtis Manor..........................27 Davis-Standard LLC.............75 Demon Acres..........................13 E J USA....................................31 Eis House................................77 Financial Partners of Upstate..........................31 Fitzgibbons Agency..............32 Foster Funeral Home............24 Fulton Block Builders...........68 Fulton Community Development Agency......17 Fulton Oswego Motor Express...............................17 Fulton Savings Bank.............77 Fulton Taxi..............................32 Fulton Tool Co.......................74 Gartner Equipment...............65 Greater Oswego Fulton Chamber of Commerce...27 Harbor Eye Associates..........89 Hematology-Oncology Associates of CNY............89 Howard Hanna

Real Estate.........................32 Johnston Gas..........................25 Laser Transit...........................74 Local 43 (NECA EBEW).......60 Longley Brothers...................40 LW Emporium Co-Op..........27 Mimi’s Drive Inn...................31 Mitchell Speedway Printing..............................55 Mr. Sub ...................................31 Northern Ace.........................25 Novelis....................................63 Operation Oswego County...............................99 Oswego Community Development Office.........15 Oswego County Federal Credit Union.......................8 Oswego County Mutual Insurance...........................42 Oswego Health .....................19 Oswego YMCA......................42 Page Transportation..............60 Patterson Warehousing........77 Port of Oswego Authority....74


RiverHouse Restaurant........31 Riverside Artisans.................27 Salvatore Lanza, Esq.............55 SBDC – Small Business Development Center........40 Scriba Electric.........................23 Spereno Construction...........23 SUNY Oswego, Office of Business and Community Development....................65 SUNY Upstate........................10 Sweet-Woods Memorial.......24 Technology Development Organization (TDO).........75 The Gardens at Morningstar .......................2 The Medicine Place...............89 United Way of Oswego County.................................8 United Wire Technology......68 Universal Metal Works.........74 Valley Locksmith...................25 Vashaw’s Collision................40 Watertown Industrial Development....................65 WD Malone............................23 White’s Lumber & Building Supply...............24 WRVO.....................................82 OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

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)




2017 2018



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.


F. A. S. T.





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 OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019



The United Way provides funding to 31 health & human service programs in Oswego County


Our Mission: End Hunger, Help Children & Youth Succeed, Health and Well-Being for All


Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Editor and Publisher

oswegounitedway.org • 315-593-1900

Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


L. Michael Treadwell Bruce Frassinelli, Sandra Scott Eileen Philbin, Thomas Griffith


Deborah Jeanne Sergeant Christopher Malone Payne Horning, Alex Plate Aaron Gifford


Peggy Kain Ashley Slattery, Jamie Towle

Office Manager Nancy Niet

Layout and Design Dylon Clew-Thomas

Cover Photo

Chuck Wainwright Oswego County Business is published by Local News, Inc., which also publishes CNY Summer Guide, Business Guide, CNY Winter Guide, College Life, In Good Health– The Healthcare Newspaper (four editions), CNY Healthcare Guide and 55PLUS, a Magazine for Active Adults (two editions) Published bimonthly (6 issues a year) at 185 E. Seneca Street PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $21.50 a year; $35 for two years © 2019 by Oswego County Business. All rights reserved. PRSRT STD US Postage PAID Buffalo, NY Permit No. 4725

How to Reach Us

P.O. Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126 Phone: 315-342-8020 Fax: 315-342-7776 Email: Editor@OswegoCountyBusiness.com 8




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ON THE JOB What type of marketing do you find most effective? Interviews by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant “Most of our marketing is accomplished through word of mouth and social media. We are a small, family-oriented business, ambitious to continue to grow and take care of our good customers.” Wayne Goppelt, Owner, Wayne Design, Sign & Print, West Monroe “We use several forms of marketing. Probably our No. 1 is word of mouth. When helping or assisting companies or individuals, they usually will refer us to others, which is wonderful. Our next source would be social media. Again, it’s invaluable. We never use flyers.” Carol R. Fletcher, President/owner, C.R. Fletcher Associates, Syracuse


“All I do is word of mouth. Ninety-nine percent of my business is word of mouth. I’m not looking to expand, so it keeps it manageable for me. It’s year-round bookkeeping, payroll, taxes and accounting. I am also an employee of the school and work for another town. Brenda Weissenberg, Owner Affordable Business Solutions, West Monroe “For me, the most common method that I use is more referrals from other clients, which is always great. I also have some relationships with other businesses where we can complement each other. One of our clients might approach them with an issue about HR and I might do the same about insurance benefits or payroll or something like that.


It works pretty well. As a sole practitioner, marketing is always a challenge as I’m wearing many different hats. It can be difficult when you started out as a consultant. You like to think you know your industry, but sales and marketing can always be a challenge.” Robert Rodgers, Owner 3C Human Resources Consulting, LLC, Syracuse “Word of mouth, because information services is a relationship driven business and people, in general, need to trust their IT engineer.” David Stoutenger, Owner, Computer Outlet North Inc., Oswego “We’ve been in business almost 20 years. We are a high-quality offset and digital printer. Mostly, we rely on our direct sales calls and building relationships with clients for marketing. Since I’ve acquired the company in the last year and a half, we’ve done more to brand the name, like getting involved with community events, helping nonprofits and donating our time and profits. That helps get out our name even more.” Jared Massett, Co-owner ANSUN Graphics, Syracuse



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“We’re really small and focused on what we do, so we rely on wordof-mouth advertising for most of our business. The thing is, people tend to find us through Google searches. Being active in the design community and being present in that community helps. The last thing is trying to do cold calling and networking by showing up at events and identifying companies we’d like to work with to let them know we exist and we’d like to help them with their new website. We don’t do ads. We have a social media account for people to find us but we don’t use it to market ourselves in any way. We show work we do on it. We also have our website with our blog and have thoughtleadership there on topics that are relevant. It’s a very saturated market and the nature of our business, if we help a company with a website, they might tell the world.” Nate Rooke, Owner, Adjacent, Syracuse “This season, we’re really doing our first dive into digital marketing at Jaxon Jovie, pulling in my skills from my other endeavor at Good Monster. We’re growing organically. Even though I have a marketing company, we haven’t invested a lot in marketing. We want it to be lean and have a good strong foundation. If you spend a lot on marketing you can get a good return on investment but if you don’t have a good strategy for pleasing your customers, you can lose them in a second because there is so much noise out there. We want our customers to know us.” John Timmerman, Co-owner Jaxon Jovie, Clay “I have advertised in Oswego County Business Magazine for 20 years.” Rick Rebeor, Valley Locksmith, Fulton “We’re old school so there wasn’t a lot of marketing except church bulletins and that kind of thing. We just updated our website, which is a big thing for a funeral home. We’re toying with doing a radio ad and a TV ad. We had always been just in print ads, but the climate has changed.” Matt Daley, Licensed funeral director, AllansonGlanville-Tappan Funeral Home, Phoenix OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“We use a little bit of everything. We do radio ads, limited TV ads and we use social media and websites. We try to reach anybody and everyone so we can let people know about the travel industry and who we are. We reach a broad range, whether younger people or older.” Marcia LaClair, Bookkeeper and manager, Travel Leaders, Liverpool “The primary marketing is social media, like Facebook; print advertising in the local paper, Shopper and business publications; membership in the chamber of commerce and National Federation of Independent Businesses; listing with the Jeweler’s Board of Trade; and we sponsor local events like the Theatre Du Jour, and donate to things like the Dragon Boat festival and Haborfest and Celebrities for Pediatric Cancer. We try to donate to or support any local cause that approaches us. It’s good for us to be seen in the community and it’s also good to give back to a community that supports you. There are a lot of other events and organizations we support. We work with student groups at SUNY Oswego. We do all of this to try to engage the community as a whole.” Kevin Hill, Co-owner, JP Jewelers, Oswego “We use print ads. That is the most acceptable with our suppliers as far as co-op advertising. We’ll probably see more social media next year.” Maryann Groves, Partner, Ranmar Tractor Supply, Pulaski We do a lot of word-ofmouth advertising. We do a lot of community sponsorships, a tiny bit of social media and a tiny bit of print advertising. We may do some radio spots. It seems to be working as we’re pretty busy.” Christina Dix, Sales and marketing, Volney Multiplex, Fulton “My marketing works pretty good. I don’t ask customers how they heard of me, but I think I get a few through print media. I also sponsor community football and t-ball and that kind of thing. I use social media, too.” Joseph Spereno, Owner, Spereno Construction, Mexico OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

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Started How I Got By Lou Sorendo

Bruce Phelps At 94, co-founder of Fulton Tool Co. reminisces about his many years in the machining industry

Q.: You are a native of southern Ontario, Canada. What brought you to the States and to Fulton? A.: I went into the Canadian Air Force when I was 17½, and when I got out, I went into business with my father, William. He was in the farm supply business, and during the Great Depression, most of that was done by trade. The village I came from had two cars, about 100 people and one doctor. A farmer had products to sell, such as maple syrup, and my father would trade items such as a double harness, plow or stanchions, or whatever a farmer needed. That was basically how people operated back then, and it was good experience. I had a canoe, and when I wasn’t working, I would paddle along the lakes in southern Ontario doing a little fishing and looking for girls. I saw a couple up on a bluff and one of them waved to me. I turned around and went back, and that’s how I met my wife and soul mate, Barbara. She was from Fulton, and we were married for 66 years. Q.: Did you have the means to relocate? A.: We did quite well in business. My father gave me washing machines as part of the products I sold and made profits on, along with refrigerators, stoves and oil burners, that kind of thing. When we relocated to Fulton, we had enough money to buy a house. Q.: How did you become involved in the local machining industry? A.: We came to Fulton in 1947. From there, I served an apprenticeship in the Sealright machine shop. That’s where I met my future business partner, Ed McGuane. After that, I worked for a company that did time study systems, and we time studied machine shops, setting up standard times. The time study experience helped me to understand how long it took to make parts. In 1949, McGuane bought a company that made self-closing barrel faucets. The first market we got into was mail order, which became very popular. We did well with mail order and that became our best marketing method. We also exported to Switzerland — 10,000 units twice a year — and we shipped into Sweden several times. We had that business until 1973, and it was constant. I sold it to a company out





m Office

of Ohio that is still running over in Manchester, New York. Q.: What was next? A.: I then became an estimator with the Black Clawson Company, which made paper-converting equipment in Fulton. By the time I arrived at Black Clawson, I had a pretty good background and was able to price things.

Experience All Oswego Has To Offer!

e Whit e When did you launch Fulton im eQ.: Museum Tool Co.? How did you acquire

Where Nature’s Beauty Meets Historical Adventure

Maritime Museum at Oswego was founded in 1982 your first clients? e end of West First Pierwe in Oswego, the A.: Street In 1959, took onwithin another d Oswego’spartner Historic— Joseph Maritime District. The— and Maritime Metibier cational programming, historyTool lecture series, started the aFulton Co. Ourand first e events throughout the year. Visitors will enjoy a self customer was Black Clawson, which museum which array of Imaritime artifacts wasshowcases fortunateanbecause was there to ugh 19th centuries. Highlights include ship make sure it happened. Themodels, following ment, maritime paintings and an exhibit of the history of year, I went full-time with Fulton Tool ouse.

rt Ontario Fo

and did Visitors the marketing, which I liked Ontario and a unique glimpse to Fort Ontario State Historic Siteexpanded today will seeand the star-shaped to do. We produced into the history of Oswego. erected in 1755 during Visitors can take tours that parts forfort, theoriginally military. However, in visit the site’s two French and Indian War in order to the earlythe 1980s, we were out of work. Guardhouses, a Powder bolster defenses already in place at There were only two places in the Oswego on the opposite side of the Magazine, Storehouse and its original country river. thatSince were busy construction, — one was in Enlisted Men’s Barracks. Fort Ontario beenthe destroyed Dallas-Fort Worthhasand otherand was Windswept ramparts feature rebuilt twice. During World War II, Fort magnificent views of Lake Ontario Oklahoma City. I flew down to Dallas underground stone casemates and Ontario was home to almost 1,000 OTooling SWEGO Y.O RG and with myJewish National &NMachingalleries. refugees. ing Association membership book, Located on the east side of the Oswego FORTOSWEGO.COM and metRiver with John Connolly, owner on high ground, Fort Ontario of Connolly and Machine sharesTool both a beautiful view of LakeShop. I went into his office and introduced myself, and he asked, “What are you here for?” I said, “I have to have HAN K YOU HE FOLLOWING FOR OSWEGONY.ORG OF PHOTOSwork.” IN THIS He said, “I don’t have any CHURE: extra, but you’re a nice guy. I’m going wego Countyto Tourism Office make some appointments for you.” I was then hired by Optic Electronics and worked with them for 20 years. VISIT TOWe THE H. LEE WHITE MARITIME MUSEUM, DO NOT MISS SEEING made the periscope for the M-60 HISTORIC LANDMARK WWII TUGBOAT, LT-5, WHICH SERVED IN THE tank.




How didRESTORED you finance the HAS BEENQ.: CAREFULLY AND IS BELIEVED TO BE THE LAST REMAINING launch of Fulton Tool Co. SHE WAS NAMED TO NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK STATUS DUE TO THE A.: We financed Fulton ToolTO from OF HER CREW ON D-DAY. OTHER VESSELS VIEW ARE THE 1927 CANAL BOAT, the profits we had made with our WHICH SERVED ON THE BARGE CANAL FOR CLOSE TO 60 YEARS AND THE original U.S. metal products manufacLAST REMAINING COMMERCIAL FISHING BOAT TO WORK LAKE ONTARIO. turing company we started in 1949. We also took mortgages out on our homes to help finance it. We didn’t have a lot of money but people took care of you back then. The banks were not good to us and were very difficult at that time, but we had to do business anyways. I would go to see Saul Alderman, a Fulton business and civic leader, for advice and loans. When I had some business decisions that I had to make, I would go talk to him. He was like a father. There were



H. Lee White Maritime Museum

Demetri Andritsakis

The H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego was founded in 1982 and is located at the end of West First Street Pier in Oswego, within the Oswego Harbor and Oswego’s Historic Maritime District. The Maritime Museum offers educational programming, a history lecture series, and hosts several unique events throughout the year. Visitors will enjoy a self guided tour of the museum which showcases an array of maritime artifacts from the 17th through 19th centuries. Highlights include ship models, navigational equipment, maritime paintings and an exhibit of the history of the Oswego Lighthouse.

Safe Haven Museum

Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum is dedicated to keeping alive the stories of the 982 refugees from World War II who were allowed into the United States as “guests” of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. These refugees were housed at Fort Ontario in Oswego, from August 1944 until February 1946. The Safe Haven Museum is open for tours and hosts various events throughout the year.


Fort Ontario

Visitors to Fort Ontario State Historic Site today will see the star-shaped fort, originally erected in 1755 during the French and Indian War in order to bolster defenses already in place at Oswego on the opposite side of the river. Since its original construction, Fort Ontario has been destroyed and rebuilt twice. During World War II, Fort Ontario was home to almost 1,000 Jewish refugees.


Ontario and a unique glimpse into the history of Oswego. Visitors can take tours that visit the site’s two Guardhouses, a Powder Magazine, Storehouse and Enlisted Men’s Barracks. Windswept ramparts feature magnificent views of Lake Ontario and underground stone casemates and galleries.

continued on page 94 OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019



PROFILE By Lou Sorendo

LINDA EAGAN Founder of Fulton Block Builders making progress, one neighborhood at a time


ne block at a time. That is the approach the Fulton community is taking while seeking to upgrade and revitalize its challenged neighborhoods. At the forefront of this effort is Linda Eagan, founder and administrative director of Fulton Block Builders (FBB). Eagan, 65, spent her entire career working in the field of human services. She worked for the Oswego County


Board of Cooperative Educational Services, which is now the Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation. In 2016, she was inspired to start FBB, a grassroots, volunteer-driven community revitalization program. Several years ago, she read an article about the city of Fulton titled “Fulton, New York: America’s Sad Story,” which appeared in now-defunct Syracuse New Times. The piece noted how the city was dying in the wake of closures that included Miller Brewery, Nestle and Birds Eye, and how the city’s population had nosedived by 16% over the last 25 years. “They say you can never go home again. In the case of Fulton, New York, you really can’t,” the article claimed. That is what sparked Eagan’s passion. “When I read the story, it felt like there was no hope and that everything was behind us,” she said. “I was so saddened that people couldn’t see a future for the community. “With that, I said, ‘I can’t sit back any longer. Something’s got to change,’” the Rochester native quipped. Eagan said it started with sitting on people’s front porches and talking about what could be done. “Those conversations began to bring together a strong group of people, including some business leaders, who wanted to spark change,” said Eagan, noting the organization was launched in 2017.” “Over time, I learned of an innovative approach that builds on the strengths of a community,” she said. “This resonated with me immediately because whether I was raising our family, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

working in juvenile detention facilities, engaging in prevention education, teen pregnancy or public health, I looked for the strengths in each person or group.” “I believe strongly that all people have many assets, even though sometimes they are hard to identify when hope is lost,” she said. “Fulton had lost hope, just like so many clients I had worked with over the years. It seemed like a very reasonable idea to transfer my skills to community revitalization.” That first year was all about building relationships. “Those relationships highlighted the love and pride that still exist in our community, inspiring me to keep moving forward,” she said. Soon, there were many people ready to volunteer to make this change happen in the city. “I needed to have confidence and empower the volunteers and residents, just as I had done in my human service work,” she said.

Lessons learned Eagan learned some valuable tenets during her career in human services. “At one point, I worked with a teen mom who was struggling to make a life for her child. When she was growing up, things weren’t so great,” Eagan said. “She desperately wanted a better life for her son, but so many things seemed to be working against her.” Finally, the single mother got a job and things slowly started to turn around. “Then one day when I met with her, I found that she had given almost all of her wages to a friend in need, consequently hurting herself and the baby in the process,” she said. “It didn’t make sense. I wanted to be mad and walk away.” However, Eagan looked at the situation more closely. “That young lady had identified a strong circle of support that she can OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

always count on when the need arises,” she said. “And when you are living in poverty or disenfranchised in some way, that need can always be on the next horizon. That friend was her safety net and she desperately needed to keep a safety net. “We are not helpful when we judge and walk away.” Instead, one is helpful when he or she listens carefully to find strengths, identify supports and give hope, she noted. “It was a slow process but in time, this young mom learned to give her friend some money to help her through her crisis, but not so much money as to hurt the young mom’s own independence or her child,” she added. It’s that kind of thinking that resonated so quickly with Eagan when she heard about the Healthy Neighborhood initiative that FBB was created from. The Healthy Neighborhood approach is a concept promoted by national neighborhood strategist David Boehlke, and it asks people who want to reinvigorate their neighborhoods to invest three things: money, time and energy. “In many ways, Fulton had become disenfranchised. It had lost hope and didn’t see a way out,” she said. Eagan said FBB is all about identifying what’s going well in the city and strengthening that. “It is not just about planting flowers, hanging a new storm door, or trimming the hedges. It is about strategy — getting residents to understand the importance of these little things,” she said. “It is about residents reacting to those little things and feeling better and more confident about their properties, blocks and neighborhoods.” Eagan said it is about building neighborly relationships that foster community, and how this confidence translates into investment, both financial and social,” she added.


Age: 65 Birthplace: Rochester Current residence: Volney Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in social work and criminal justice; master’s level guidance counseling Personal: Husband Mark; three children and three grandchildren Hobbies: Gardening, family cooking, hiking, and spending time at my cottage and with friends OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

“Fulton had lost hope, just like so many clients I had worked with over the years. It seemed like a very reasonable idea to transfer my skills to community revitalization.” Eagan said watching neighbors introduce themselves and seeing new connections made are some of the more “feel good” aspects of being director of FBB. She gets great enjoyment from watching neighbors develop a plan for their block that demonstrates the pride they have for the entire Fulton community. Eagan said another source of gratification is “blowing away” all expectations FBB had set in terms of fundraising, the number of participants and volunteers involved, business participation and community recognition. Eagan has personal strengths that make her a perfect fit for the administrative director’s position with FBB. She studied social work and criminal justices at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. Eagan also studied school counseling at SUNY Oswego. She is a graduate of Churchville-Chili High School in Churchville, near Rochester. “I’m suited for this work because I have tenacity, am optimistic and organized,” she said.

Big bucks a boost FBB was recently fueled by a $140,000 grant from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation to support the growth and vitality of the organization. According to Eagan, FBB would not exist were it not for the foundation’s support. She said the foundation’s motto of “Catalyst for Change” is quite accurate. The foundation also presented FBB $100,000 in matching funds to support continued on page 96 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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Publisher’s note


ime for us to work on the 2020 Business Guide, listing the largest companies in the region. We’re in the process of mailing hundreds of letters to more than 500 companies, asking a variety of figures and information. That kicks off the 26th edition of the Business Guide. It’s an ambitious project, which involves a great deal of research, phone calls, checking and double-checking information, writing and design work. The Business Guide carries detailed descriptions of local businesses, including latest developments, employment information and background. It also carries profiles of business owners and CEOs and their comments on the local economy and their industries. It focuses on four counties: Oswego, Onondaga, Cayuga and Jefferson. A series of graphics shows the largest employers by region, top public employers, manufacturers, auto dealers, home improvement establishments, healthcare providers and others.

By Wagner Dotto

Last year’s cover. The Business Guide has become reference material for many people and organizations and we’re glad that Operation Oswego County, the county’s economic development agency, uses it extensively as part of its marketing strategies to attract new businesses to the region. For companies, it’s a chance to highlight their growth, expansion, new products, whatever new they

have to share. For readers, the guide provides a great snapshot of what companies are located in the region and what they do. The guide will be published in mid-November. Paid subscribers to Oswego County Business will receive the publication as soon as it’s published. We will also make some free copies available throughout the region. We welcome companies to place advertisements in the publication. Cost to advertise is fairly low and advertising in the guide is a great way to showcase their products, services and their presence in the region.

WAGNER DOTTO is the publisher of Oswego County Business Magazine.


in the upcoming Business Guide 2020 Reaching more than 25,000 key decision makers in Central and Northern New York. Detailed information on nearly 500 large employers. Call 315-342-8020 for more information




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Where in the World is Sandra Scott? By Sandra Scott

Buenos Aires

Argentina’s capital, a place to enjoy the tango, parrilla and wine


uenos Aires is Argentina’s big, cosmopolitan capital city. Its center is the Plaza de Mayo, lined with stately 19th-century buildings, including Casa Rosada, the iconic, balconied presidential palace. Other major attractions include Teatro Colón, a grand 1908 opera house with nearly 2,500 seats; and the modern MALBA museum, displaying Latin American art. The people of Buenos Aries refer to themselves as “Porteños,” people from the port city. Visitors familiar with Spanish will find the Argentine accent different as it has an Italian influence, including the sing-song rhythm that the Italians use. “Don’t cry for me Argentina,” is the iconic song from the movie of Evita Peron’s life. It was from the balcony of the Casa Rosada that she addressed

her adoring countrymen. Interestingly, Argentinians are not fans of the movie. María Eva Duarte de Perón was the wife of Argentine President Juan Domingos Perón and first lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. Recoleta Cemetery with its elaborate tombs would be worth the visit even if Evita was not buried there. The body of Evita after her death is as interesting as her life. Three years after she died of cancer in 1952, her body was removed by the Argentine military in the wake of a coup that deposed her husband. The body then went on a transatlantic odyssey for nearly 20 years before finally being returned to the Duarte family mausoleum in Recoleta Cemetery. She now lies in a crypt five meters underground, heavily fortified to ensure that no one can disturb the

remains of Argentina’s most beloved and controversial first lady. To learn more about Evita, visit her museum where the emphasis is on the good Evita did for her country. While Evita Peron may be the most famous Argentinian, tango will always be synonymous with Argentina. Tango is a musical genre and accompanying social dance originating at the end of the 19th century in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. The Buenos Aires’ neighborhood of La Boca is famed for tango, its colorful houses, and its soccer team — a must visit. The centerpiece of La Boca is the cobblestone strip El Caminito, or little walkway. The one-time railway route is lined with the bright facades that make La Boca postcard perfect. Named for a 1926 tango song, the pedestrian lane features an outdoor fair where artists

Restaurant in Buenos Aires featuring parrilla —parrilla means grill, and refers to the openfire hearth and grates where meat is cooked. Parrillas are everywhere in the city.




Tomb of María Eva Duarte de Perón — Evita —Argentina’s first lady from 1946 until her death in 1952. sell their wares and tango dancers prance along the sidewalk in between photo ops. Some street performers will even grab volunteers and teach them a few steps. Dining at a parrilla while in Buenos Aires is another must-do. Argentina, a country of carnivores, has the second-largest per-capita beef consumption in the world. “Parrilla” means grill, and refers to the open-fire hearth and grates where meat is cooked. Parrillas are everywhere and the meal should include Argentinian wine. Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. The wineries and beef ranches are outside of Buenos Aries but no dining experience is complete without wine and beef. One of the best ways to meet a local and learn about the city is with a cicerone, a greeter who provides a free tour to special places off the beaten path. The arrangement needs to be made at least two weeks in advance. American visitors only need a valid passport for a stay of 90 days, and no longer have to pay the $160 reciprocity fee. The Argentine peso is the currency. Go online and print a handy cheat-sheet for the exchange rate; it saves brain space when dealing with foreign currency. Sandra Scott, a retired history teacher and the co-author of two local history books, has been traveling worldwide with her husband, John, since the 1980s. The Scotts live in the village of Mexico. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

Tango dancers prance along the sidewalk in between photo ops in La Boca, a Buenos Aires neighborhood.

Casa Rosada, the iconic, balconied presidential palace in the center of Buenos Aires. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


NEWSMAKERS NEWS BRIEFS ON LOCAL BUSINESSES & BUSINESS PEOPLE Oswego Health Hires New Director of Communications Oswego Health has hired Jamie Leszczynski as its new senior director of communications to oversee the marketing and communications of the entire healthcare system. “As Oswego Health continues to grow and enhance our services to Oswego County to meet the healthcare needs of its residents, timing could not have been more perfect to bring Jamie onboard,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Coakley. “Jamie has over

15 years of experience building and leading successful, communication programs to drive the strategic goals of companies throughout various industries. She has a deep passion to help businesses grow and reach their objectives through implementing innovative, Leszczynski strategic marketing programs. What’s even better is she is personally vested in

Surveyed students said SUNY Oswego’s “amazing professors” are “knowledgeable about their subject and excited to be in Oswego,” supporting the college’s continuing inclusion in Princeton Review’s 224 Best Regional Colleges-Northeast list.

SUNY Oswego Again Among Princeton Review’s ‘Best Regional Colleges’


he Princeton Review once again has named SUNY Oswego to its list of the 224 Best Regional Colleges-Northeast, a distinction the college has earned every year since the educational services firm started regional listings in 2003. Based on school-supplied data


and on the results of surveys of more than 140,000 students at colleges and universities nationwide, the Princeton Review publishes a wide variety of “Best Colleges” information and student comments about each school’s academics, administration, life at their college, their fellow students and themselves. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

this community and truly cares about the wellbeing of others. We are excited to have her as part of the Oswego Health family.” In this new role, Leszczynski will develop, implement and evaluate the integrated strategic communication plan to advance Oswego Health’s identity and broaden awareness of its programs, priorities and accomplishments. Leszczynski will write and edit all written and verbal communication for the health system internal and external communications and serve as the public information officer and manage all public relations activities. Leszczynski holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego. At the age of 25 she received the Oswego County’s Those surveyed at SUNY Oswego commended the college for “amazing professors” who are “knowledgeable about their subject and excited to be in Oswego” and focused on creating a “personal and comfortable learning environment” for undergraduates. Those surveyed complimented having “a lot of opportunities to work with professors on research and other projects outside of the classroom to help build real-world experience,” according to the profile. Respondents praised many aspects of the college, including its academic offerings, honors program and study-abroad opportunities. Strong community service programs and sustainability efforts also help support Oswego’s rating as a top Northeastern college, the Princeton Review reported. With careers in mind, students at SUNY Oswego can tap the award-winning Office of Career Services, internships, cooperative-education opportunities, alumni services and a vast alumni network now totaling more than 85,000 existing graduates. Among the most well known are Al Roker of NBC’s “Today” show, ESPN anchors Linda Cohn and Steve Levy, authors Alice McDermott and Ken Auletta, and Robert Moritz, global chairman of PwC, formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019


Forty Under 40 award, organized by Oswego County Business Magazine, and then was recognized again at the age of 32 by BizEventz for its 40 Under 40 in Onondaga County. Leszczynski is also a graduate of Leadership Greater Syracuse, class of 2014. Leszczynski is well rooted in the community and for almost a decade has headed the SAVE Central NY Charter (Suicide Awareness Voices INC. PARTS & MORE of Education) to raise awareness surrounding mental health. She has also Lawn Mower, Snowblower, served as the president of Central New Generator, Pressure Washer York’s Sales and Marketing Executives repair, new and used parts. between 2014 and 2016. In her spare team she coaches Leprechaun League. Leszczynski has made Oswego her RESIDENTIAL • COMMERCIAL home and resides with her husband INDUSTRIAL Mike, owner of Dynamic Automotive and Home Accessories, and their three 3 Creamery Rd • Oswego children, Maddie, Tanner and Caden. 82 County Route 24, Minetto NY Immediately after receiving her ARTS_PARTSNMORE@YAHOO.COM degree at SUNY Oswego in 2004, ARTSPARTSNMORE.COM www.scribaelectric.com Leszczynski began her career as the 315-216-6351 marketing manager for what was once Oswego County National Bank, where Home of the Guaranteed Free Same Day Delivery! –For all Orders Called in by 10:00 am she served for three years. Between 2006-2010 she worked for SUNY Oswego as associate director of annual giving. She was responsible for fundraising to specific segmentations, including all reunion giving, young HomeHome of the Free alumni fundraising, parent giving and of Guaranteed the Guaranteed FreeSame SameDay DayDelivery! Delivery! oversaw the management of the student - For all Orders in by 10:00 am –For all Orders Called in by 10:00 am telefund. Leszczynski also assisted with content development of major solicitation pieces, branding of the annual fund campaign and management of a portfolio of prospects. 38 East 2nd St. Oswego 343-6147 | 65 North 2nd St. Fulton 592-2244 For the past nine years, Leszczynski Hours: Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Saturday 7:00 a.m.-4:00 Fulton Store only: Sunday 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Free p.m.; Delivery! has spent the bulk of her career as the senior vice president for ABC Creative W.D. Group, a mid-size advertising agency in downtown Syracuse. There she served as the chief executive in charge of all account services, including oversight of the department that handled account management as well as media buying, social media management and public Est. 2006 relations. Joseph Spereno “I am proud to work for such an 503 County Route 64 Mexico, NY13114 Limited Lifetime Warranty Commercial, Residential, amazing organization and staple in this M: (315 592-1052 Municipal & Industrial H: (315) 963-2022 community,” Leszczynski said of her Sperenoconstruction@gmail.com new job. “To have the opportunity to not Telephone: (315) 564-6784 only promote the skilled talent of our Fax: (315) 564-7050 General Contracting staff, but the opportunity to truly shape www.wdmalone.com FREE ESTIMATES the healthcare system throughout the county is just an amazing opportunity.”






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dents throughout their college years earned Jacqueline Wallace of the college’s Career Services Office the SUNY Oswego President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Staff Service. The award recognizes outstanding and exemplary efforts in promoting excellence at the college, service philosophy and leadership and involvement on and off campus. President Deborah F. Stanley presented the award Aug. 21 at the college’s annual academic affairs retreat. The career coach for students entering the fields of education and public and human services, Wallace is consistently “an extraordinary proWallace fessional who is innovative, adaptable and regularly goes above and beyond in all she does,” said her nominators, Kathleen Evans, the assistant vice president of student affairs, and Michelle Bandla, director of EXCEL (Experiential Courses and Engaged Learning). “Jackie has an outstanding record of service in support of students at SUNY Oswego, and is a highly-regarded and committed member of our local community,” Evans and Bandla wrote. “Jackie has served in several roles in the Division of Student Affairs, working tirelessly to ensure that all students have opportunities and support through each milestone of their college career.” Earning both her bachelor’s degree in business administration and her master of business administration from SUNY Oswego, Wallace played a key role in creating a learner-centered culture for the college’s first year residential experience program in Johnson Hall about 15 years ago. She transitioned to assistant director of advisement and coordinator of first-year retention, where she led efforts that helped the college exceed its goal for retaining first-year students. When two departments merged, Wallace joined the college’s Career Services Office as undeclared advisement coordinator and assistant director of major and career exploration. She led efforts to support more than 200 undeclared first-year students every year, guiding and training a team of about 15 first-year advisors to help students with self-assessment, major exploration OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

and academic advisement.

NBT Has New Business Banking Regional Manager NBT Bank announced the promotion of Jonathan Spilka to business banking regional manager. Spilka is based at NBT’s Syracuse Financial Center located in the AXA Building. In his new role, Spilka oversees a team of business bankers servicing customers across the Central New York Spika region, including Syracuse, Mohawk Valley and the Southern Tier. Spilka has nearly 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to his promotion, Spilka served as a commercial banking relationship manager. He also has experience in credit analysis and branch management. Spilka earned his bachelor ’s degree in business and public management from the SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome.

EagleHawk Hires Three Employees EagleHawk recently hired three employees for the roles of chief financial officer, marketing manager and sales manager. EagleHawk is the leading provider of information services using drones and thermal imaging technology. The company specializes in providing solutions for inspection of commercial roofs, solar panels, building envelopes and facades, district heating systems, bridges and more. EagleHawk is currently in the GENIUS NY accelerator and resides at The Tech Garden in Syracuse with another office in Buffalo. The company won a $500,000 award this year to continue developing its software and intelligent algorithm solutions for facility managers to better manage the maintenance and repair of their roofs, district heating OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

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systems, solar panel installations, and other large-scale facility assets. They new employees are: • Jonathan Byrd, who joined as chief financial officer and senior vice president of business strategy. Byrd began his career as a civilian engineer for the U.S. Air Force before joining Lockheed Martin as an operations engineer Byrd where he held a variety of leadership roles in production and manufacturing. He subsequently held a variety of roles in finance, consulting and business strategy before joining EagleHawk. Byrd holds bachelor’s degrees in computer and electrical engineering from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Central Florida. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. Byrd is based out of EagleHawk’s Buffalo and Syracuse offices. • Jessica Collins joined as mar keting manager. Previously, she worked for Aspen Dental Management, Inc. as recruitment marketing and employer brand manager. She also worked as a content marketing coordinator for BarCollins clayDamon and as a staff writer for SportsBusiness Daily. Collins holds a bachelor’s degree in media and marketing from Ithaca College. She is based in Syracuse. • Andrew Herr joined EagleHawk as Sales Manager. Previously, he worked for EquipSystems as account development manager. Herr holds a bachelor’s degree in public communications from Buffalo State College. Herr is based out of the Buffalo office.

“We’re very excited to start expand ing our team in Buffalo and Syracuse,” said Patrick Walsh, chief executive officer and co-founder at EagleHawk. “We’re growing rapidly, which means that we’re looking to hire key talent Herr to meet a number of operational and strategic goals. We are fortunate to have access to an already deep pool of talented candidates in Upstate and Western New York and are confident that the social and lifestyle perks of living in these great areas will be a great recruiting tool for outside candidates looking to relocate here.”

Child Advocacy Center Welcomes New Staff The Child Advocacy Center (CAC), a local nonprofit organization that works to protect and serve child victims of sexual and physical abuse, has recently added two people to its staff. • Fulton native Sara Dopp has joined as a case manager. Most recently she worked for the Central New York Development Services Offices. The organization provides residential, rehabilitative, and vocational support to people with developmental disabilities and their families. While at CNY DSO Dopp Dopp assisted clients with life planning, coordinating clinical services, and connecting them with other community agencies. As a case manager, Dopp will support survivors and their families by providing practical solutions to the

challenges they may face as a result of being a victim of crime and help them get their lives back on track. Dopp, who is a certified sleep ambassador, will also be involved in the CAC’s new partnership with Cribs for Kids, an organization whose mission is to prevent infant sleep-related deaths by educating parents and caregivers on the importance of practicing safe sleep for their babies and by providing portable cribs to families who otherwise cannot afford a safe place for their babies to sleep. “The work the CAC does truly appeals to me,” said Dopp. “I love seeing a happy ending and that’s what the CAC creates. The CAC has an incredible staff that aids families that are struggling and facing a multitude of challenges and empowers them to get their lives back on track. That’s what I absolutely love about the CAC and I’m happy to be a part of it.” • Tristen Johnson has been named outreach and prevention advocate and Safe Harbour coord i n a t o r. S h e holds bachelor’s degrees in family and social sciences and youth studies from the University of Minnesota and a Johnson master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Syracuse University. Johnson previously worked at the University of Minnesota’s Aurora Center and was the sexual health and wellness outreach coordinator for Syracuse University’s Office of Health Promotion. As coordinator of the Safe Harbour critical team, Johnson will lead a team of community partners focusing on the problem of human trafficking and exploitation.

SPREAD THE NEWS: Got any newsworthy item about your business or organization you’d like to share with 25,000 readers in CNY? Send it to editor@oswegocountybusiness.com 26







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DiningOut By Christopher Malone



Bridie platter ($10.95): Artichoke hearts, dipping oil, tomatoes, provolone cheese, and slices of rye pumpernickel bread baked crostini style. With a couple of tomato and provolone slices, plus an artichoke heart — the combination is great.

Lombardo’s Bridie Manor L

A restaurant where dinner is served with a view

ombardo’s Bridie Manor, located at 1830 Bridie Square, is unmistakable while crossing the East Utica Street bridge in Oswego. The big yellow lettering on the random ashlar stone building is a dead giveaway but, regardless of the bright signage, the immense structure is impressive. Dining with a view of the river isn’t such a bad thing either. First impressions are important and, yes, that’s personal opinion. Bridie Manor, a former flour mill known as Ontario Mills built in the 1830s, has all


the aesthetics. It’s a classy venue for receptions, wedding-related events and simply dinner. Internet impressions, however, are a different story. When quickly Googling the restaurant for hours and information — do I need a reservation, etc. — the times of operation (see box with the story) were inconsistent for Google, Facebook and review sites. Yelp said Bridie was open until midnight, which is not true. The internet is also a brutal place. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

The comments about Bridie are tepid. Some reviewers excel in brevity and are to-the-point positive. Other comments are incomprehensible, vicious rants plagued with hastily written content and poor grammar. Because of the latter, does this void the negativity? Sure. We arrived around 7:15 p.m. to an empty dining area. We were placed by the window looking out to a choppy river and were served water and a decaf coffee ($2.50), which was on the flavorless and watery side. Moments later we put in our order all at once. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

Our starters, a.k.a. “first impressions” per the Bridie Manor menu, included the shrimp diablo ($9.95) and the Bridie platter ($10.95), which was the most expensive starter on the menu. The regular-sized shrimp, which is stuffed with horseradish, is wrapped in bacon and broiled. The bacon-wrapped apps were a little on the chewy side. However, the horseradish flavor and kick were perfect. The cocktail sauce on the side was a good complement. The platter featured artichoke hearts, dipping oil, tomatoes, provolone cheese, and slices of rye pumpernickel bread baked crostini style. The bread was awesome. With a couple of tomato and provolone slices, plus an artichoke heart — the combination is great. Entrées come with a side salad, which consists of basic romaine lettuce with the typical fixings. The croutons tasted homemade and presented a super crunch. A basket of bread joined the second course. The warm, elongated rolls with noticeable garlic and sprinkled parm were warm and not dry. Just as we were finishing the salads, the Tuscan trio ($14.95) and haddock Italiano ($14.95) entrees came out. Timing for each course was spot on. Granted, we were the only people in the dining room. Still, our server Jennalyn balanced her duties well between us and the bar patrons. The haddock was cooked very well and broke apart very well. It was served with green beans and a baked potato. Scallions sat inside the crevice of the spud, which was baked well and not rubbery or bland. The signature sauce that dressed the haddock was something to take note of. The red sauce with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and garlic — the hint of seasoning and a slight kick were well welcomed. The Tuscan trio was [insert your favorite expletive] huge. The haddock was a perfect portion size. The pasta dish was the perfect portion size for three people. Maybe four. Needless to say, leftovers were definitely enjoyed for two meals. The bottom of the plate was covered in penne. On top of the bed of pasta sat two meatballs, sausage lasagna and chicken parm. Melted cheese blanketed the top of the latter two items. Parsley was sprinkled across the entire dish for a finishing touch. Lightly breaded chicken parm cut through easily. Watching the cheese stretch as a piece was pulled away is a pleasing sign. The layered lasagna OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

The Tuscan trio is huge. The pasta dish ($14.95) was the perfect portion size for three people. Maybe four. The bottom of the plate was covered in penne. On top of the bed of pasta sat two meatballs, sausage lasagna and chicken parm. was generous. Penne pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, and the golf ball-sized meatballs were flavorful and not overly seasoned. The oregano-heavy sauce had a chunky, homemade appeal. Before 20% tip, the bill came to a very reasonable $57.58. Bridie Manor was a pleasant experience. There were hits and there were misses, but there was nothing to get up in arms about. The Italian-American cuisine served by the Oswego traditional restaurant is more comfort and familiar than it is gourmet, but this isn’t a bad thing. We all need comfort in our lives.

Lombardo’s Bridie Manor

Bacon shrimp: The regular-sized shrimp, stuffed with horseradish, is wrapped in bacon and broiled. The cocktail sauce on the side is a good complement.

Address 1830 Bridie Square, Oswego, NY 13126 Phone (315) 342-1830 Website/Social bridiemanor.com www.facebook.com/LombardosBridie-Manor-141857079202515/ www.instagram.com/ bridiemanor1830 Hours Sun.: Noon – 10 p.m. Mon. – Sat.: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Daily: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

The haddock is cooked very well and brakes apart very well. It is served with green beans and a baked potato. Scallions sat inside the crevice of the spud, which was baked well and not rubbery or bland. 29

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As it turns out, many offices still rely on faxes By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


axing may seem antiquated technology; however, it’s still relevant and even vital to some industries. And in several important ways, facsimile technology has advanced. Jay Naughton, owner of Naughton & Associates in Syracuse, can’t remember the last time he sold a stand-alone fax machine. “Maybe 15 years ago we sold them,” he said, after a few moments’ musing. “Electronic fax is where people are moving.” Naughton & Associates provides IT and communication support for small to mid-sized companies. Many businesses either use fax servers that send and receive faxes as electronic documents or cloud-based fax services. These transmit faxes as JPeg or PDF files attached to emails. 5 Star Business Machines in Syracuse services, sells and rents office equipment. Mike Pidgeon, manager, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

said that businesses that want a physical fax machine usually purchase multi-function machines that scan, copy and fax. While the fax may seem outmoded by email and texting, some businesses rely on fax. “The fax is important for people with sensitive information,” Pidgeon said. “ It’s harder to hack into a fax. They receive them in a different way.” If a fax is hacked, only the individual transmission is compromised, which can reduce the fallout. Industries such as financial institutions, government organizations, law

Old technology — a stand alone fax machine — still has many users OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

enforcement and insurance companies are among those that commonly use fax, mainly for regulatory reasons. Some types of businesses that use handwritten forms just stick with what works: fax. Especially if they already own a fax machine and are accustomed to communicating this way, they have little reason to change. It would seem that medical use of fax would decline because of electronic transmittal of medical records; however, the incompatibility of the different types of software used between various health systems makes fax the easier and more secure choice. Companies that do business internationally also continue to use fax widely, as it’s still quite popular in certain countries. For businesses that require signed documents, faxing to clients can be more expedient than emailing a document as an attachment that has to be downloaded, printed, signed, scanned and emailed back. Cloud faxing can allow users to add signatures through touch screens or e-signature technology; however, not every organization has access to this capability. The stigma attached to faxing caused Terry Essel to change the name of his North Syracuse-based business a year ago. He had founded it as Superior Fax Repair Company in February 1994 but changed it to The Toner Kings. “I wanted to get the name ‘fax’ out of the name,” Essel said. His firm still services fax machines, among other types of office equipment, but the word “fax” congers 1980s technology: not the kind of up-to-date reference a technology-based company wants to imply. Although most of the 200-plus businesses his company serves in the area still use fax as one of their communication alternatives — albeit, likely not as much as electronic communication — the “stand-alone fax machines with no print, scan or email features are pretty much gone,” Essel said. “Maybe 10% of our customers currently use standalone fax machines.” He doesn’t think that a true paperless business will happen anytime soon because computers, back-ups, servers and hard drives still fail or can be hacked. But to reflect the trend in that direction, he opted to drop “fax” from the company name. “I’d estimate that faxing is split between phone lines and email faxing,” he said. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

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Models wearing Jaxon Jovie jeans. The company, based in Clay, is increasing its marketing efforts. “We didn’t want to market until we were 100% sure the product was right,” owner John Timmerman said.

Made in Clay, NY. Well, Sort Of… Entrepreneurs betting on Jaxon Jovie, a new line of jeans designed for athletic body types


f your lower body is muscular and fit, you likely can’t find jeans that fit. That’s the problem John Timmerman faced after he started working out more intensely and becoming stronger. “My thighs were getting bigger,” he said. “I liked wearing jeans, but they were uncomfortable. The ‘athletic fit’ wasn’t even a good fit. They increase the size of the pattern but didn’t change it.” Wearing bigger sized jeans to accommodate larger thighs and a muscular backside means the jeans have a bigger waistband — not a good trait for someone with a slim, ripped waist. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

Timmerman said that many people with a muscular, lean build either avoid jeans — plenty of athletic wear fits their body type — or they wear too-large jeans with a belt. He wanted to offer another option. Timmerman spoke with his then-girlfriend Lindsay Dillon about the problem. The couple had been dating two years. She suggested that he start a company. He kicked around the idea for a while until in 2016 he began the process of launching what became Jaxon Jovie (www.jjforthepeople.com), a specialty clothing company creating OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

men’s and women’s jeans for athletic body types. Timmerman started Good Monster, a marketing agency, eight years ago in Syracuse. He knew about entrepreneurship and promotion, but nothing of the apparel industry. “I Googled everything and tried to find someone who knew what he was doing,” Timmerman said. He used office equipment he already had, self-funded other aspects of the business and used credit to fund a production run for jeans. Timmerman tried to find a clothing manufacturer in Central New York, then broadened the search to Upstate, New York City, and the entire Northeast; however, most companies in the area simply outsource clothing manufacturing to Los Angeles. That’s what Timmerman eventually did, while maintaining a small warehouse and the company headquarters at his home in Clay. He renovated a freestanding garage to provide space for Jaxon Jovie. “I wanted it to be American-made 33

Lindsay Dillon and John Timmerman showcase a pair of Jaxon Jovie jeans they shipped to a customer. They started the company in a Clay garage in 2017.

and we were able to stick with that,” Timmerman said. He does some of the finishing, like hemming, repairs and distressing, at his home. Jeans start at $99. He and Dillon chose the name “Jaxon Jovie” as it’s a mash-up of their dogs’ names, Jaxon and Jovie. Enjoying dogs is part of the company culture and resonates with many of their customers who take their canine pals everywhere, from hiking to the gyms. Timmerman said that it’s also a name that sounds masculine and feminine to reflect that the company makes clothing for both genders. Using contractors for clothing design and outsourcing the manufacturing keeps their company as lean and nimble as their customers. Timmerman said that they look to their customers for input for inspiration in their jeans’ design. It’s not only about the fit. Details such as pockets on the thigh large enough for smartphones represents Timmerman’s knowledge of what customers want in an industry 34

often tone deaf to their market. Timmerman said that he directly and personally solicits customers’ thoughts. “Some of them, we shoot them a text and say, ‘What do you think about us doing this?’” he said. “It makes them feel special and gives us feedback. We’re lucky enough to have good communication with our customers.” The first year, 2017, the company offered about 50 pre-sale items to family and friends to test out the styles, along with T-shirts and hats to get the word out. By 2018, Timmerman felt confident enough to start offering jeans in different sizes for customers to try on. He spent all summer from the end of May until September traveling in his RV with products to Crossfit events and other places in Albany, Nashville, West Palm Beach, Connecticut, Madison and other venues, showing and selling his wares to buff customers. Dillon would fly out to wherever he was to help promote Jaxon Jovie. They moved OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

about 500 pairs, which is pretty good considering summertime is usually slow for selling jeans. After he came home, Timmerman and Dillon wed, a capstone to a very busy summer. So far this year, the company has sold more than 500 pairs. That doesn’t represent huge growth, but Timmerman accounts that to their staying at home this summer. Timmerman hasn’t been pushing marketing hard, as he wanted the company to develop a solid customer base before ramping up promotion. In fact, this season is the first time he’s really marketed the company digitally. “We didn’t want to market until we were 100% sure the product was right,” Timmerman said. “We wanted slow and steady growth to get the foundation customers. We’re using some influencers and people on social media who align with our customer values. We’ll start with things like Facebook ads and potential customer base who hasn’t heard of us yet.” He’s also busy running Good Monster and developing yet another yet-to-be-announced start-up. Timmerman would like to bring some of the manufacturing aspects to Syracuse, even if it’s only alterations, hemming and free repair. As another goal, he wants the company to represent an exception among denim apparel producers that typically aren’t sustainable. “Historically, denim manufacturing is not great for the environment,” Timmerman said. “It’s water-intensive. There’s dyes and chemicals.” He and Dillon source denim from a more sustainable factory that recycles water, filters out the chemicals, uses more natural dyes to try to make the process more environmentally friendly. They’re also working on a pilot program to offer members perks including a buy-back when they’re finished with their jeans. “We’ll give them credit to buy a new pair of jeans,” Timmerman said. “We’ll find a good home for them or recycle them.” He hopes to launch the program sometime next year.

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019


Located on the outskirts of the city of Oswego, Curtis Manor is a renovated former dairy farm, with its centerpiece being the historic barn.

Entrepreneur Opens Wedding Venue in Oswego Tony Pauldine invests $1.5 million to convert former barn into an events, wedding center, says it’s the largest wedding venue in Oswego County


eveloper Anthony Pauldine, owner of Canal Commons in downtown Oswego, has taken on another business venture. This time, he has opened a barn-wedding venue. Located on Mark Fitzgibbons Drive on the outskirts of the city of Oswego, Curtis Manor is a renovated former dairy farm, with its centerpiece being the historic barn. Over the course of two years, Pauldine and his company, Anthony M. Pauldine General Contractor, have worked to shore up the barn, which was on the verge of collapse when he bought it in August 2017. “The day after we put the purchase offer in, we were here shoring up the building because it was about ready to drop,” Pauldine said. “This place was a wreck when we bought it. It was literally falling down.” Renovations were completed by early September in preparation for the first of five weddings being held at the manor this year. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

With an investment of about $1.5 million, including the purchase price, the building and grounds have gone through a massive restoration. The main barn and silos were repainted and re-shingled with their main structural supports all being replaced as well. A number of smaller service buildings on the grounds were demolished, making way for the freshly planted apple orchard and a pond. A side building was also renovated into a “ready room” for brides and grooms. The team paid special attention to the history of the buildings, adding historically accurate roof decorations and paying extra attention to the silos attached to the barn. The silos were built in 1920, and originally only intended to last a few years. After finding a donor silo in the area from which to get the proper materials, Pauldine and his crew restored them. The total capacity for the venue is approximately 650 guests, which Pauldine says is the highest capacity of OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

any other event hall in the county. He says that, along with the location and capacity, Curtis Manor is also unique in having a fully operational heating and cooling system. “What makes it different is the capacity. There’s no one in the county that holds nearly that many people. The other thing is it’s the only barn venue in New York state that has heating, ventilation and air conditioning,” Pauldine said. “The nice thing is they can acclimatize in summer, in the heat of August when its 90 degrees and sweltering, or in the cold of winter when it can get to 10 below.”

Business venture

The venue will employ about four part-time staff at first, according to Pauldine, namely grounds keepers and a wedding coordinator to take care of the facilities and plan events. He says there are no plans to open a full commercial kitchen, like many other venues in the area have done. 35

Curtis Manor in Oswego.

Pauldine said the opportunity presented itself when he toured the space in 2017. Even in its dilapidated state, he was seizing the opportunity when he put the purchase offer in, even though he had never expected or planned to run a wedding barn as part of his career. As for a return on investment, Pauldine says he has not put much thought into breaking even. “We know it’ll work. I’ve not been too concerned about the payback. We do know it’s extremely feasible, financially,” Pauldine said. Even with the venue in operation, Pauldine said his plans for the location are not finished yet. Plans call for a hotel on-site in the next few years, he said, and he will be heavily involved with the business as it takes off, which he is confident about. “Everything was an obstacle, but we were able to overcome them,” Pauldine said. “It’s just been a huge labor of love.” Pauldine recently renovated the historic Cahill building into an upscale waterfront residential apartment building in downtown Oswego.

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Allen Chase, president and founder of Chase Enterprises. The company has seen more than 600% increase in business over the last five years. Based in Oswego, the company is now doing business in Ohio, West Virginia, Iowa and other states.

Chase Enterprises Expands Market Through Diversification Oswego-based business wins major contracts with state departments of transportation in Ohio, West Virginia, Iowa


hen Allen Chase decided to delve into providing herbicide application services, little did he know it would lead to a remarkable 600% increase in business over the last five years. The commercial property maintenance and construction company has taken off in recent years after entering the vegetation control business. In the past, Chase Enterprises pro-


vided a wide range of services related to commercial maintenance. Chase Enterprises primarily provides mechanical and chemical vegetation control services for state departments of transportation throughout the northeastern United States. Herbicide applications control undesirable vegetation along rivers, roadways and railroads. Chase Enterprises recently won major contracts with state departments of OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

transportation in Ohio, West Virginia and Iowa. Chase addressed the keys to acquiring these contracts. “We design and build our own application equipment. Our shop in Oswego has built and maintains a fleet of over 150 specialty vehicles and equipment specifically built for the work we do,” he said. Chase said this approach allows the business to control costs and add efficiencies into its equipment designs, giving it a competitive edge. The business has grown to feature a fleet of about 150 fully equipped vehicles and employs well over 100 people. Chase said the business is continuing to look at new markets and expects a 20% to 30% growth over the next several years. “We are looking at opportunities up and down the East Coast,” he said. Chase said the business was generating at or below $1 million in revenues a year from 2001 to about 37

2014. Since then, the business has grown significantly each year, finishing 2018 at about $6 million in gross revenue. “This year, we expect to hit $7 million,” said Chase, noting the goal is to surpass $10 million in gross sales by 2021. Chase Enterprises operates several hub locations in different states. Its headquarters, however, is and will be in Oswego where all vehicle, equipment, maintenance and administrative details are taken care of, he said. However, due to its outreach into other regions of the country, Chase conducts field operations in several other states. Each field office supports a crew of 20 to 30 people with an area manager and several crew leaders. Field offices exist in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and Davenport, Iowa. Its Pittsburgh field office supports work in Ohio and West Virginia.

Keeping travel routes safe Typical herbicide applications are necessary to control vegetation under roadway guide rails of highways and to ensure good sight distance for motorists approaching intersections. Recent outbreaks of invasive species has further driven growth with nuisance plants such as water chestnuts threatening to choke off rivers and impede boat traffic. Also, giant hogweed is dangerous and can cause severe burns. Chase’s largest growth sector involves state DOTs. “Through the use of responsible herbicide applications, DOTs have been able to reduce their budgets while keeping motorists safe,” he said. DOTs utilize Chase’s services to trim trees, mow road shoulders and control vegetation in difficult-to-access areas such as under guard rails. State DOTs are contracting this work out because of the specialized training and equipment needed to meet regulations. Also, states are returning to the use of herbicides to remedy the issue of invasive species. “In many cases, mechanical mowing actually spreads these undesirable species and makes the problem worse,” Chase said. Forest understory regeneration is also a new market that is driving 38

Chase Enterprises generated about $1 million in gross sales from 2001 to 2014. It’s expected to finish 2019 with revenues exceeding $7 million. Goal is to reach $10 million in gross sales by 2021. growth, Chase added.

Upgraded staff Barry Trimble was recently named vice president of Chase Enterprises. “My skill set as president and founder of Chase Enterprises is largely rooted in designing, building equipment and doing the work,” Chase said. “Our rapid growth and expansion into other states has brought a need for a much different skill set.” Trimble brings a diverse background with him. He is primarily focusing on business development. “Planning, finance, compliance issues, training, and risk management are all subjects that Barry is well versed in and are becoming more important by the day at this company or any company,” Chase said. Trimble began working for Chase Enterprises about five years ago as a

Chase Enterprises provides herbicide applications to control undesirable vegetation along rivers, roadways and railroads. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

consultant. “At that point, we had just expanded into Pennsylvania and were experiencing our first big growth spurt,” Chase said. Trimble was instrumental in assisting the company as it navigated the many issues that came with rapid growth. As vice president, Trimble will continue his role of guiding the expansion. Meanwhile, Chase is seeking middle and upper management personnel in Oswego to help support the company’s growth. “Hiring employees has proven to be one of our largest hurdles,” he said. “Low unemployment rates and a strong economy have made it tough to fill our needs as a result of expansion.” Of particular difficulty are filling middle management positions in Oswego. “We are looking for middle management personnel who are able to think outside the box and work through problems,” Chase said. “With our crews working in various states, it’s difficult to have everything or everyone where they need to be at the right time. “Having managers that can problem-solve by thinking on their feet is important in our line of work.” Chase said the work his business offers is a deep-niche service. “Finding employees with experience in our line of work is not practical, so we have not made that a priority when we are hiring,” Chase said. “Individuals with a strong work ethic, organizational skills, a positive attitude and good mechanical aptitude have proven to be our best hires. We provide the training necessary for our type of work,” he added. Meanwhile, Chase also faces a significant problem hiring truck drivers in all markets that the business serves. The business has purposely developed its fleet to be primarily non-CDL trucks in hopes of making it easier to find drivers. “This has been somewhat effective, but hiring personnel, especially drivers, remains our most significant challenge,” he said. Chase said fueling the problem are federal and state regulations as well as insurance requirements that continue to be more stringent, making it harder to find viable drivers.

By Lou Sorendo OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019


Jessica Spano at her new Khepera Coffee, which opened July 17 in the Canal Commons, Oswego.

New Coffee Shop Opens at Canal Commons in Oswego Opening a business a ‘dream come true” for entrepreneur


essica Spano wants to be the person to give you your morning coffee, and she’s opened a café in downtown Oswego to do just that. Khepera Coffee opened on July 17 in the Canal Commons, serving specialty coffee and tea. It’s in the same location as Taste the World, another coffee shop that closed its doors over the summer. Spano, who has worked in the hospitality industry for 16 years, said that she has always wanted to open her own coffee shop. After working at Taste the World for four years, the opportunity arose for her to open Khepera Coffee. “This is a dream to me, I look around and have to pinch myself,” Spano said. The name Khepera comes from ancient Egyptian mythology, where the OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

god Khepera, who is often represented by a scarab beetle, signified renewal and new life. Egyptian religious texts indicate that they believed Khepera was responsible for raising the sun every morning. Spano said that she found the meaning very appropriate, both for what the café does and in what it represents to her personally. Spano said that she has put herself fully into the creation of the Khepera Coffee brand, developing the look, its mission and its menu to reflect herself. “This is my thing, it’s me, a visual representation of my personality,” Spano said. Khepera Coffee serves artisanal coffee roasted in-house, sourced from primarily organic, fair trade, women-owned-and-operated farms. She OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

said that it’s part of her philosophy to support women in the coffee industry, which is largely male-dominated. “There’s a lot of problems in the coffee industry these days, or not necessarily problems, but opportunities,” Spano said. “Farmers don’t get paid well. Most people don’t think of coffee as an agricultural product, but it is one, it’s traded as such. Farmers get barely anything for a pound of their beans. They’re starting to change over to different crops that make them more money.” Spano works with a distributor that focuses on getting the kind of coffee she wants, but said that she would love to directly import specially grown beans for the café, if the logistical and bureaucratic hurdles were easier to overcome. Spano got financial support for the cafe through the city of Oswego’s revolving loan program, which provides low-interest commercial revolving loans of between $7,500 and $50,000 to small businesses in the city. Loans through the program, which was established in 2017, can be used as startup funding, expansion or new equipment funding. Her original loan was for $16,000, and she estimates she spent about $8,000 herself. Spano is running the café by herself as she gets it up and running but plans to have a full-time position alongside her soon. Oswego’s revolving loan program requires recipients to create one full-time position within 12 months of opening. The path to opening has not been entirely smooth for the café, according to Spano. Two of the major pieces of equipment that she purchased for the café came in broken, causing delay and increasing costs. “There were a million bumps in the road getting here,” Spano said. “It was so bad. My ice machine that I bought second hand didn’t work. One of the two espresso machines that I had didn’t work. I got so fed up, I bought a new one of each and committed to that.” Spano already has long-term goals set, once she finishes laying the final touches on the opening. She said that a second location somewhere in Oswego County, a mobile truck and delivery within the city are all in mind for the future. “I just basically want to be successful,” Spano said. “I never even thought in a million years that I would have the opportunity to do what I’m doing here.”

By Alexander Plate 39

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121 East First St. Oswego, NY 13126 • 315-312-3493 40


SUNY Oswego’s Engineering Programs Earn ABET Accreditation


UNY Oswego’s Bachelor of Science degree programs in electrical and computer engineering (ECE), and software engineering (SE) have been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. “ABET accreditation affirms that Oswego’s engineering programs meet rigorous industry standards,” said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley. “Our state-of-the-art labs and facilities, highly skilled and involved faculty, and rigorous curriculum have all contributed to this ‘best practices’ recognition — a testament to how Oswego prepares our students to graduate from an ABET-accredited program, enter critical STEM fields, and lead the way in innovation and emerging technologies.” ABET accreditation assures that programs meet standards to produce graduates ready to enter engineering fields. Sought worldwide, ABET’s voluntary peer-review process is highly respected because it adds critical value to academic programs in the technical disciplines, where quality, precision and safety are of the utmost importance. Following a rigorous review of selfstudy reports prepared and submitted by SUNY Oswego for the electrical and computer engineering and software engineering programs, the EAC (made up of engineering faculty from other accredited, highly reputable engineering programs) visited the campus in fall 2018 for an intense three-day visit, before making its official decision in August 2019. Joseph T. Lauko, senior vice president of the electronic warfare division at SRC, Inc., and chairman of the engineering advisory board at SUNY Oswego, said, “We are thrilled about having another accredited engineering school in the Central New York community. SRC has always been impressed with our hires from Oswego from multiple disciplines. We look forward to bringing in the well-trained, motivated, diverse set of students that the Oswego engineering school will produce.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

Bruce Frassinelli bfrassinelli@ptd.net

Trump has a long history of not admitting errors — the recent episode involving Hurricane Dorian just confirms that once more

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. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019


By Bruce Frassinelli

Why President Trump Won’t Admit Mistakes

oo many business people and professionals believe that admitting that they made a mistake is a sign of weakness and will lower their standing in the eyes of their employees and the public. I see it as just the opposite: Owning up to an error is a sign of self-confidence, ethical behavior and an acknowledgment that everyone makes a mistake now and then. It is how we deal with and learn from them that really shows what we are made of. At the top of the “no apology under any circumstances” philosophy is the president of the United States, Donald Trump, who has made thousands of false or misleading statements since taking office on Jan. 20, 2017. Trump is unwilling and unable to admit mistakes regardless of how inconsequential they may be. He sees admissions of errors as a sign of weakness; I see admitting mistakes as a sign of strength. A perfect example of the lengths the president will go to try to cover up or justify a mistake occurred as Hurricane Dorian was gaining strength during its destructive march through the Bahamas and up the East Coast through parts of Florida and the Carolinas

in September. Trump misspoke at the time he claimed that part of Alabama would be greatly affected by Dorian. The National Weather Service took the extraordinary step to correct the president by issuing an alert that Alabama was not to be affected. Instead of saying, “Whoops! Sorry about that. What I said was a mistake, and I apologize to residents of Alabama who were inconvenienced by my words,” Trump devised various ways to try to “prove” that he had not misspoken. This is such a ridiculously minor episode, but the fact that Trump did what he did made it take on a life of its own. Several days later, he displayed an official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather map of the impact area of the storm on which he had taken a Sharpie and drew an arc extending over part of Alabama as if to say, “See, I was right all along.” Thousands took to social media to ridicule Trump for his weak attempt to save face, despite incontrovertible proof to the contrary coming from a government agency. Columnist Eugene Robinson said it best:

My Turn

Sorry, I’ve made a mistake OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

President Trump has shown an unwillingness to accept that he makes a mistake or says something that was not correct.


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“As smooth goes, it was lamer than trying to forge a $100 bill by taking a Monopoly $1 bill and writing a couple of extra zeros on it.” Stranger still was the issuance of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration memo to supervisors and employees shortly after the president displayed the doctored weather map directing them not to contradict the president. This means that a heretofore respected government agency that is intended to give potentially life-saving information to the public during weather crises has now become politicized so Trump could save face. Even early on in his presidency when Trump tweeted “covfefe,” an obvious typographical error of some sort, he could not bring himself to concede when questioned about it, “Sorry, I goofed. I guess my brain was awake but my fingers weren’t. It was just an unintended typo.” What he did instead was send thenPress Secretary Sean Spicer to explain to the news media and the American people, “I think the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.” Of course, Trump has had a long history of not admitting errors, dating back to long before he was elected president in 2016. When once asked about this tendency, he said, “I think apologizing’s a great thing, but you have to be wrong. I will absolutely apologize, sometime in the hopefully distant future, if I’m ever wrong.” Admissions of wrongdoing are incredibly threatening for non-apologists because they have trouble separating their actions from their character, according to Guy Winch, noted clinical psychologist from New York City. “If they did something bad, they must be bad people; if they were neglectful, they must be fundamentally selfish and uncaring; if they were wrong, they must be ignorant or stupid. Therefore, apologies represent a major threat to their self-esteem,” he said. For most of us, an apology might open the door to guilt, but, Winch said, for non-apologists, it can be a door that opens up to shame. “While guilt makes us feel bad about our actions, shame makes non-apologists feel bad about themselves — who they are — which is what makes shame a far more toxic emotion than guilt,” he added. There is a certain amount of paranoia among non-apologists who believe OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

‘That’s what successful businesses do, too. If an agent of a company makes a mistake, it’s the duty of the responsible employees to make it up to the customer in a way that makes things right.’ that if they apologize they will open the floodgates to further accusations and conflict. “Once they admit to one wrongdoing, surely the other person will pounce on the opportunity to pile on all the previous offenses for which they refused to apologize,” Winch said. Even though “I’m sorry” is one of the first things most children learn, some adults cannot bring themselves to say these words. No one enjoys being wrong. It’s unpleasant, but it happens, and when it does, the easiest way out is to admit the error, apologize and learn from the experience. When we printed an error in the two newspapers for which I worked during a span of 22 years, we ran the correction on page 2, ending with the phrase, “We regret the error.” Regardless that our accuracy rate topped 99% on average, we always felt lousy about mistakes and tried to acknowledge them in a timely and professional way. Depending on the egregiousness of the error, we would sometimes run the correction on page 1 and, in certain cases, I called the affected person or persons to issue a personal apology. That’s what successful businesses do, too. If an agent of a company makes a mistake, it’s the duty of the responsible employees to make it up to the customer in a way that makes things right. Even if the customer gets a refund or something else to make up for a mistake, it should always be accompanied with an apology and a promise to do better. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

SPECIAL REPORT By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Nine Farms Growing Hemp in CNY Production of hemp has grown 10-fold in a year, becoming one of the state’s top 10 specialty crops. 500 farmers in NYS growing plant


emp is growing in Central New York — in more ways than one. Since passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, nine farmers have been approved to grow hemp in Oswego, Onondaga, Cayuga and Wayne counties. About 500 farmers statewide currently grow hemp and it has become one of the state’s top 10 specialty crops. Hemp’s many uses range from fiber to animal feed to human health supplement. Hemp may prove an effective means of saving struggling family farms, as long as farmers have a market for its use. “The industry has increased 10-fold in a year,” said Dale Weed, president of Pure Functional Foods in Savannah, Wayne County. He is both


raising and processing hemp. Ray Namie, hemp consultant for Pure Functional Foods, believes that producing hemp could prevent many small farms from going under, as it could offer an additional revenue stream. Pure Functional Foods wants to contract with farmers to buy their hemp biomass by providing seeds for farmers who would plant their acres in hemp. “It is a risky venture,” he said of growing hemp, because of the learning curve in growing a crop new to most people growing it now and also because of the plant’s temperamental nature. But the 75-year-old said that he’s excited about the potential for hemp in New York. Despite its drawbacks, the crop has sparked so much interest that this OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

year’s Empire Farm Days, held Aug. 7-8, hosted its first-ever Hemp Center with hemp information available, along with representatives of processors and growers. Hosted at Rodman Lot & Sons Farm in Seneca Falls, Empire Farm Days represents the Northeast’s largest outdoor agricultural expo. The event provided guest speakers on hemp each day, such as Larry Smart, Ph.D. professor of horticulture at Cornell University. His presentation was standing-room only. Since 2017, the horticulture program has been researching a variety of hemp cultivars for industrial use. Professor Smart said that in addition to growing healthier crops, it’s important that the hemp contains less than 0.3% THC by dry weight so it 43

remains legal. THC is the naturally occurring compound in cannabis family plants that causes hallucinogenic effects. Most hemp cultivars don’t contain high levels of THC like marijuana; however, some may contain just enough to bump the level over the permitted amount. That’s what happened to Smart last summer with his test plot in Geneva, making his the only one in the state that required destruction after it failed

the mandated test by an agent from the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Smart said that the test plot Cornell grew was very stressed in its wet field. When the plants become stressed, their THC level tends to spike, which could mean a farm would lose thousands of dollars. Each hemp seed costs $1. Hemp brings with a few other caveats. Smart said that it’s rather

Larry Smart, PhD, representing Cornell, spoke about growing hemp at Empire Farm Days. Photo by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant.

Cornell hosted in August a large display table at Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls about growing hemp. The event represents the Northeast’s largest outdoor agricultural expo. Photo by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant. 44


fussy about soil type, for example. “It will grow only on our very best soil,” he said at the presentation. It tends to need well-drained soil and lots of nitrogen and potassium, which means growers may need to heavily amend their soil. Farmers can receive the most for their hemp if it’s used for cannabidiol, or CBD, a dietary supplement. When grown for this purpose, it must be harvested by hand, which adds a lot of overhead for farmers. Smart also said that hemp grows best when planted from cuttings. “It’s more uniform than seeds,” he said. Seeds can also present more risk, since “it’s a young industry and people will sell you seed not well tested,” Smart said. Mixed cultivars may mature at different times, which can complicate harvest. Hemp also needs weeding and pruning to avoid fungal infections. Workers must also carefully remove male plants. If male plants are mixed with female plants, they go to seed and do not produce the flower bud necessary for CBD. Aside from growers’ ability to raise hemp, the industry also needs sufficient infrastructure to use hemp. Weed, the president of Pure Functional Foods, wants to use CBD in foods his company processes; however, it hasn’t been approved for that use yet. The use of hemp for fiber interests John Timmerman, founder and owner of jeans producer Jaxon Jovie in Clay. He outsources his manufacturing to Los Angeles because of a lack of clothing manufacturers and raw materials in New York. “Original Levi’s were made with hemp,” Timmerman said. “It would be great to manufacture everything in New York, if a hemp producer could find a way to make fabric for stretch denim.” But before Timmerman would be able to incorporate hemp in his athletic-fit jeans, someone would have to grow sufficient hemp varieties suitable for fibers not CBD and process it for this use. The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets operates the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot program and accepts applications for growers who want to join research programs in growing hemp for grain, fiber and CBD. Visit www.agriculture.ny.gov/PI/PIHome. html for more information. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019


Poor Millennials… So Depressed

Debt, a competitive job market, political climate and uncertainty about the future of the planet are some of the reasons millennials are down, says study


illennials are quite confident that they are more stressed out than their parents, or any other generation for that matter. According to a recent report by the Lhasa OMS acupunctural supply company, 78% of American millennials believe life is more stressful today than for previous generations. Their main reasons for feeling this way — debt, a competitive job market, and expensive health care. The survey, which Lhasa OMS completed in June of this year, involved 2,010 Americans between the ages of 18 and 37. The average age of those who completed the questions was 28.5. Fifty-seven percent of the respondents were females, while 43% were male. Millennials are defined as those who reached young adulthood in the early 21st century, which is generally those born between 1981 and 1996. They are also referred to as the “echo boomers” due to the major surge in birth rates during those years, and because their parents would be from the baby boomer generation. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

According to the survey, 80% of millennials experience stress several times each week; 40% experience it daily. In addition to debt, the completive job market and health care expenses, other reasons for this age group’s stress include worries about the future of the nation, the political climate, the future of the planet (environmental concerns), technology/ media overload, online social pressure, dating, risk of identity theft, and dealing with online bullying. As far as the sources that create the stress, not to be confused with specifically what the millennials are stressed about, the survey identified the following: finances, work-life balance, mental health, relationships with family or friends, physical health, U.S. politics, romantic relationships, global threats, living situation, life milestones (career success, weddings, having children), social media, moving or relocating, crime or violence, and mainstream media, according to the survey. Ninety-one percent of those surveyed indicated that having a higher income could make them feel OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

less stressed. The report also noted that only 12% of millennials take time out to destress, and those who do it says they do it by watching television or movies (60%) or listening to music (52%). The other coping mechanisms for dealing with stress were listed as: sleeping (48%), indulging in favorite foods (42%), walking or running (41%), reading (36%), seeing or speaking with friends (34%), masturbation (32%), participating in a hobby (31%), drinking alcohol (30%), outdoor activities (28%), cleaning (26%), sex (25%), meditation (18%), improving one’s diet (17%), drug use (12%), and technology detox (9%).

Psychologist: Everyone is more stressed Ronald Fish, a psychologist and the clinical director of the Psychological Healthcare practice in Syracuse, said he has noticed increased stress levels in younger patients, though everyone seems more stressed these days. “It does seem like it really has increased for all of us,” Fish said. “There’s 45

Passion for an Idea May Help Find Financing


ne would expect that entrepreneurs who pitch their startup ideas with passion are more apt to entice investors. Now there’s scientific proof the two are connected: enthusiasm and financial backing. According to new research from Case Western Reserve University, the brains of potential investors are wired to pay closer attention to entrepreneurs who pitch with passion. Researchers examined investors’ neural responses to entrepreneurs’ pitches, conducting a randomized experiment that explored the response of investors’ brains using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) — finding a causal relationship between passion of the pitcher and interest from investors. “No one has ever invested in a startup they ignored,” said Scott Shane, the A. Malachi Mixon III, professor of entrepreneurial studies in the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve. “Founder passion is essential to establishing investor attention, and our study demonstrates measurable neural effects that offer a biological explanation for their tendency to react positively to enthusiasm and emotion of entrepreneurs,” said Shane, lead author of the paper, published in the Journal of Business Venturing. By showing such energy in pitching their business ideas, entrepreneurs can considerably increase neural engagement in potential investors—increasing the odds these financiers will support a new, untested venture by having strong, measurable effects on their decision-making. “Most of time investors just say ‘no,’” said Shane. “In fact, the vast majority of entrepreneurs never receive a dime from external investors. “Entrepreneurs should know: More engaged brains are more likely to meaningfully evaluate pitches,” he said. “We believe our data makes a strong argument that displays of passion trigger heightened engagement that, in turn, makes investors more likely to write a check.”


Top emotional side effects for those surveyed who reported stress Anxiety


Feeling overwhelmed




Lack of motivation/focus


61% 6%

Top behavioral side effects for millennials who deal with stress Social withdrawal


Poor communication


Changes in diet


Drug or alcohol misuse


Missing commitments


so much unrest.” Fish believes that the era in which millennials were raised and how they were raised plays a role in this trend. This is a group of people who grew up in the post-Sept. 11, 2001 era. “It was the end,” he said, “of a certain sense of security in our country. The optimism that the world will be a better place has eroded.” “They were raised with the cell phone, which informed their social relationships. They are also looking for a sense of connection with what’s helping in their world. A complete story always starts with a problem to be solved,” Fish said. While illegal drugs or illegally obtained prescription drugs are more plentiful, Fish has not seen any spikes to indicate that millennials are more likely to abuse drugs than members of other generations did when they were younger. And stress and anxiety have always played a role in a person’s decision to use illicit drugs. “That hasn’t changed,” he said. “People need help relating to a situation, and they see that as a solution to the challenges they are facing.” He’s treated a number of patients who are into their 20s and still living with their parents because they can’t find a good-paying job. College loan debt is a huge problem for many of them. Their longer-term financial outlook appears to have them much worse off than their parents even if they are more educated and were lucky enough to land a job in their desired occupational field. Home ownership does not appear to be on their horizons yet. And women and

persons of color are feeling the most anxiety, Fish said. “I don’t agree that phones and social media are to blame,” he said. “Social networking is important, but the problem is it can magnify anxiety that’s already there. People are posting about their success — winning a race, getting a promotion. It can make people feel pressured to compete for that attention, and they feel bad about themselves.” This is also a generation that is coming of age in a new era of public shaming, Fish explained. If someone is recording doing something stupid or saying something stupid, the footage and information travels so fast and so far, and it can be permanent. But while that can heighten fear and anxiety, it can also elevate the norms for public behavior to improve, “That can be constructive,” Fish said, “and with the new norms stress levels can eventually level out.” All told, Fish explained, people can collectively reduce stress levels for themselves and others if they get away from scrutinizing others so much. “New rules are being written and a lot of people are not able to find their way right now,” he said. “The psychology has not changed – it’s important to do what they can to help their own nervous systems. We need to be respectful of ourselves and each other, and find a purpose for making the word a better place.”




The Power of Retirees More than wisdom, retirees bring major economic impact By Aaron Gifford


n Central New York, retirees are often seen walking in the mall on winter mornings, congregating in McDonald’s for coffee, going to medical appointments and, yes, lining up for early dinners at Applebee’s. But all of those clichés aside, these folks are major contributors to the economy. They are also buying sports cars, building new homes, running small businesses that employ folks of all ages, playing rounds of golf at the area’s top courses, spending millions of dollars in discretionary income, and contributing to local and state tax coffers in massive fashion. A recent report from the New York State Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) tells only part of the story. In 2017, the latest year for which statistics are available, public retirees (those who worked for the state of New York, public schools or municipalities, OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

or their surviving beneficiaries) generated $12 billion in economic activity across the state. That does not even account for those who were federal employees or worked in the private sector. It should also be noted that not all retirees are senior citizens, and it is not unusual for police officers or firefighters to retire in their 40s or 50s. In addition, many public retirees go back to work parttime or fulltime in the private sector after they complete their service with New York state. And of the 470,596 retirees and beneficiaries in the state retirement system (only 1.9% of the state’s general population), the report said, 79% are living out their remaining years in New York state. The state fund pays out $9.8 billion in pension payments. The report also noted: • In 2017, state public retirees and beneficiaries paid $1.9 billion in local OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

property taxes, and $650 million in local and state (sales and income) taxes. • About 73,000 workers in New York state in various industries, including health care, food service and entertainment, mainly cater to retirees. In Central New York, 40,345 state retirees make up about 3.5% of the population in the eight-county area. The pension fund pays these folks more than $884 million annually, according to the report. From that total, the retirees or their beneficiaries in turn pay about $130 million in property taxes, or 5.9% of the total amount collected for the region. They also contribute about $60 million in state and local property taxes. And the goods and services they consume has resulted in the creation of 7,500 jobs in Central New York. The report also noted that, of the 51,052 public state employees working in this region, more than 18,000 of them will probably retire within a decade. 47

A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey outlines how folks 55 and over spend their money compared to the average American household. According to that list, the average senior household spends $13,432 on food annually, compared to the national average of $14,403. But seniors spend more on small appliances ($88 compared to $81), more on health care ($2,416 compared to $1,758), and more on drugs ($467 compared to $266). Senior households spent almost as much on new vehicles ($2,052, or $3 less than the average U.S. household), and on entertainment ($2,060 compared to $2,142). Robert O’Connor, president of the AARP’s Onondaga County chapter and a legislative coordinator for the New York State AARP chapter, was not surprised by this data. He added that the area stands to lose millions of dollars if area seniors, whether or not they are retired, decide to move out of the state. “Seniors travel a lot, and many have winter homes down south, but they come back,” said O’Connor, a retired teacher and former Office for the Aging employee. He is among the public retirees who receive state pension benefit, but cautions that much has changed in recent years for private sector employees who lost their retirement benefits or savings during or after the Great Recession, which hit Upstate New York particularly hard. “A lot of us cannot travel, many cannot move, and many are still working,” he said. “Yes, that contributes to the economy, but that doesn’t mean

the entire demographic is in a great situation.” As an Office for the Aging employee, O’Connor used to counsel retirees on Medicare plans. Now he is lobbying against high property taxes, high utility costs and skyrocketing health insurance and prescription costs that keep less money in seniors pockets — money that would otherwise help the local economy even more. During a petition drive recently (for lower prescription costs) at the Great New York State Fair, a local woman informed O’Connor that, with the rising prescription costs, it now costs her $1,200 a month for insulin. She has decided to start buying her drugs in Canada from now on. “That’s money going somewhere else,” he said.

70,000 AARP members in CNY

There are about 70,000 AARP members in the Central New York region. But that represents a huge age group (50 and over), and a variety of income levels, O’Connor, 83, explained. “Some of them live well and have big homes “but the trend is still to downsize, and some of those homes or condos can be pretty expensive,” O’Connor said. He added that many of the financially stable and somewhat affluent retirees can afford to move, but they stay here because of family, or because they enjoy the change of seasons. In addition, an increasing number of younger people are working multiple jobs and need their parents help caring for children. It is also not unusual for

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According to the AARP’s “Longevity Economy” report, Americans over 50 only make up 35% of the U.S. population but contribute 43% of total U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By state, 35% of New Yorkers are over 50, but that demographic drives 50% of the state’s GDP of $704.4 billion. The GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period, which is also a measurement of the size of an economy. AARP’s report also said that in New York state, 67% of people between 50 and 64 are employed, compared to 78% of those between the ages of 25 and 49. Folks over 50 represent about 34% of the state’s work force. Among employed people, the report said, 13% between those 50 to 64 are self-employed entrepreneurs, compared with 9% of those 25 to 49. Additionally, 47% of those 50 to 64 work in professional occupations, compared to 49% of those between 25 and 49.

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younger family to live at home longer because they still don’t have the income for their own place and in less of a hurry to get married or start a family than the previous generations were, O’Connor explained. The oldest of the senior citizens, probably spend far less money if they are focused on estate planning and covering medical costs, O’Connor said. “Yes, those in their 50s, 60s and 70s have some money to spend and may spend a lot,” he said, “but when you turn 80, maybe you are more conscious of that.”

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Eileen Philbin

Retirement Advice for Type A’s

R Type A personality traits include competitiveness, time urgency, intensity and a constant drive to achieve goals.

Eileen Philbin is the executive director of the American Senior Benefits Association (ASBA), a nonprofit organization focused on advocacy and education for men and women aged 50 and above. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

etirees are often advised to stay busy. We’re expected to volunteer, take classes or travel. And, for the most part, it is a good idea to stay active. However, for many Type A personalities, it can be challenging to slow down enough to actually enjoy retirement. If you find yourself getting a little twitchy, I have some helpful tips: • Stop pressuring yourself. You’ve worked hard and made substantial contributions. Now it’s someone else’s turn to earn money, support their family and save for the future. Think of your retirement as a gift to that person. • Give yourself adjustment time. After life in the fast lane, it can be a shock to wake up one morning with no demands. Don’t feel obligated to fill your schedule right away. Reflect on how you would really love to spend your time, and plan gradually. • Meditate. No need to sit in the lotus position. Walking, fishing or gardening can do the trick. Just do something each day to quiet your Guest Columnist mind. Eventually, the compulsion to jump from one form of entertainment to another will be replaced by contentment. • Ignore the Above. If there’s a voice Turns out, one shift wasn’t enough. inside you telling you not to slow down, The calls were exciting, but so was the listen to that voice and do what it says. time spent at the station learning about Here’s an example: equipment, drills and other aspects. Three years ago, Dahti Blanchard reBlanchard considers herself a life-long tired from teaching at Swan School in Port Townsend, Washington. Today, at 67, she’s student. “It took me almost 20 years to get my degree.” She earned her bachelor’s dethe oldest resident emergency medical gree in early music from The College of St. technician (EMT) with East Jefferson Fire Scholastica in Minnesota and went on to Rescue. enroll in a year-long course to teach music It all started when she saw a sign to middle schoolers. calling for volunteer EMTs and acted on a Now her schedule is typically 24 dream she’d had for 30 years. hours on, off, and on again, followed by a “I was curious as to whether I’d be able to physically do the test, and went for four-day break. She has her own room and it,” she says. She had to carry a 150-pound looks forward to her turn to cook dinner for her fellow EMTs and firefighters. dummy out of a fire and two 40-pound No doubt, Blanchard has learned buckets into a firetruck as well as acquite a bit, especially about herself. complish time-constrained tasks such as “I didn’t know how I’d be able to hanthreading needles. dle the difficulties, and I’ve been happy She started with one 12-hour shift per week. This allowed her to spend time with and excited to find that I can really focus her husband and two grandchildren, write in the moment, handle those things, and be present for what we’re doing.” novels, train for triathlons and marathons, Yes, retirement can be an opportunity and serve as artistic director with the Ladies’ Chamber Orchestra and Benevolence to slow down. Or not! Society. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS





BANKING By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Safeguards Help Prevent Banking Data Breaches With increase in online banking, banks now use elaborate ways to protect their data


ost financial institutions are insured in case of theft. But a newer form of criminal act can rob them of sensitive information: data breaches. According to the Mobile Ecosystem Forum’s recent Mobile Money Report, 61% of Americans use their mobile phone to perform their banking and of those, 48% use a banking app. Especially since so many people use mobile banking, banks have ramped up their security to further protect their customers. “Criminals try to obtain data because it has value,” said Dan Phillips, senior vice president and chief information officer with Pathfinder Bank in Oswego. “Some criminals use stolen OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

information to impersonate a customer for access to their money. Others sell stolen data to other criminals.” To prevent this from happening, banks employ professionals dedicated to cybersecurity who ensure that only people who need to know can access the data and that it’s handled security. “Non-public information (NPI) is encrypted when stored and when in transit,” Phillips said. “Encryption is a huge piece of protecting information. Pathfinder Bank has extensive processes for using encryption on smartphones, tablets, laptops and of course, desktop computers. “Any device that has data pass through it or stored on it, must have the ability to keep NPI data scrambled.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Like other banking institutions, Pathfinder Bank performs scheduled cybersecurity assessments in addition to continuous scanning for computer changes that could represent a threat. Phillips added that the bank frequently evaluates and updates software to ensure that it’s as secure as it can be. Outside verification of computer configurations and controls also helps, as Pathfinder hires specialty firms to offer third-party verification of its internal computer systems and those of the bank’s business partners. “A good cybersecurity posture requires constant management of the technology and high levels of employee awareness,” Phillips said. It can be tough to balance accessibility to customers while maintaining security for their information. That’s why encrypting mobile connections is so important. “Encrypted data is essentially scrambled until the appropriate computer or phone displays the decoded information,” Phillips said. “Cybersecurity experts use tools to verify that high-value data is truly scrambled and that the ability to unscramble the data resides in appropriate places.” That’s why configuration is so important. When a computer system isn’t properly configured, that’s when criminals can gain access to vital information. 51

Additional steps of verification for large transactions — beyond just a user name and password — also help block criminal activity. Tim Miller, director of information security at Community Bank, said that in addition to firewalls and end point controls that work inside the organization, the bank also uses next-generation computer software that looks at suspicious behavior that is linked to illegal activities and attacks like ransomware or other malware. “It’s all about having the ability to detect this before things happen,”

Miller said. By allowing the information technology department to identify if criminals are “poking around the network,” he said, it allows Community Bank to remain pro-active about potential attacks. Of course, basic steps like employee background checks are also vital to preventing stolen data, as well as meeting with colleagues in the banking industry. “We have peer to peer groups we can bounce ideas off of if there’s widespread phishing attacks and malware attacks,” Miller said. “We can talk with

What Consumers Can Do to Help Protect Data So what can consumers do to protect their personal and banking data? Dan Phillips, senior vice president and chief information officer with Pathfinder Bank in Oswego offered a few ideas. “Consumers, like financial institutions, need to know where their information exists and who has access to it,” he said. “We live in a rapidly evolving digital world. Every day, we face situations where we are asked to share information. Whether we are receiving healthcare, managing our finances or simply purchasing something, we are handing over bits and pieces of our identity. Essentially, there are two areas to focus on when keeping ourselves safe in a digital world.” • “Monitor activity on bank accounts. • “Set up transaction and balance alerts so you get rapid warning if unauthorized activity is occurring. • “If your card information has been stolen or your account number is being used to make unauthorized purchases, you should be prepared to lock down the card and/or account immediately. • “Financial institutions provide hotline phone numbers on the back of all cards. There is nothing wrong with calling these numbers and becoming familiar with the process even if you don’t have an issue. Speak with your financial services representative to become comfortable with steps necessary to manage an unwanted event. • “Manage login credentials effectively. Periodically change passwords and setup additional verification 52

features when available. Facebook, Amazon, etc, all offer account change verification features which require more than just a username and password to change account settings. Use fingerprint reader or facial recognition features of phones to reduce the likelihood of unauthorized access to important apps. • “Make sure your computer or phone has an updated operating system and is running current security software. Criminals use many tactics to obtain usernames, passwords, account numbers and card numbers. Financial institutions don’t ask you for these items; they already know those pieces of information. • “When you no longer need an online service, delete the account. Businesses should periodically review employee access to bank accounts and remove unneeded access to online tools.” Tim Miller, director of information security at Community Bank, offered a few steps to protect against data breaches. “A lot of times, it goes back to the basics to making sure you’re encrypting as much as you can and multi-factorial identification. Miller We try to share information on our website. We try to OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

other financial institutions. It’s important for us to work together.” “The most important means of protecting yourself and your organization against these threats is education,” said Terra Carnrike-Granata, head of the information security team at NBT Bank. “That’s why NBT Bank makes Fraud Information Centers available on both our business and personal websites that provide alerts on the latest threats, information and tips, and details on the steps to take to report fraud.”

work with business customers to help them be aware of phishing.” • “Take the simple steps with security, like patching your machines. If you have MS Windows or Mac on a laptop at home, apply those updates. Don’t ignore them. • “Have up-to-date antivirus and firewalls. • “One thing that people don’t like to do but is really effective is to avoid password reuse. If you use the same password for Facebook as for your banking account, one of the first things fraudsters do after they hack your Facebook is try it on banks. If you use different passwords, it’s harder. Free password managers store them in a secured location so you don’t have to remember passwords. Create any obstacles you can. If you’re a fraudster, they don’t want to work too hard to get into your account. Use more phrasing. It allows us to increase the length but not the difficulty to remember, such as ‘I love horses in summer 5.’ • “Over the last years, there’s been an influx of spam calls. I get them daily and they’re nonsense. If they get in touch with the right people, there’s potential to give away information. We’d never call a customer out of the blue and ask for information and no reputable company would do that. Those are red flags, whether through the phone or email. • “A lot of times when people get tricked, it’s because fraudsters prey on fear like that the IRS is after them or their accounts will be frozen. If you get these calls, take a step back and have someone else take a look at that. That will identify a scam. With phishing emails, if you click on a link, that link for online banking could download malware.”




Is Brick and Mortar Crumbling? Community Bank leader looks at the changing face of finances By Lou Sorendo


rom the post-World War II period through 2009, the number of bank branches in the United States has grown every year. In comparison, from 2010 to today, the number of branches has declined every year. The reason? Online and mobile banking are slowly but surely making brick-and-mortar bank branch locations somewhat obsolete. “Certainly online banking has grown rapidly and continues to grow and has obviously impacted branch traffic, not just for us but for the industry as a whole,” said Mark Tryniski, president and CEO of Community Bank. “And we expect that to continue.” While online banking has been around for a while, that’s not the case for mobile banking. “If you look at the penetration rate on mobile banking, the line goes almost straight up,” he said. The first big innovation in banking OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

— the ATM — took nearly 20 years for half the consumer base to get comfortable with, Tryniski noted. “Then you had online banking, and that had a slightly faster adoption rate with customers, but still somewhat gradual,” he added. Mobile banking, meanwhile, has a penetration rate that has been “almost hyperbolic,” Tryniski said. “Each advance in banking — ATMs, online and mobile — has had faster adoption rates than the one before it,” he added. Tryniski noted big banks have shuttered many branches over the last several years. However, JP Morgan Chase & Co. recently announced that it intends on opening 400 new branches in the Philadelphia area. “Banks are still going all in on brick and mortar, but they are also closing and consolidating lots of other branches,” said Tryniski, noting there is OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

a “real branch rationalization” process happening now in the industry. In terms of activity at brick-andmortar branches, people commonly cash checks, conduct currency transactions, open new accounts or seek loans. “Our branch traffic has not changed a lot, because we’ve grown our customer base over time. What has declined are branch transactions per account,” he said. Community Bank branches are larger in terms of customers and deposit base compared to 10 years ago, but branch traffic has not increased nearly at the same pace, he said. Playing a prominent role in the banking world are online and mobile banking options. “There is not a big difference. Usually mobile banking has somewhat less functionality. The underlying platform for mobile banking is a different software application,” he said. “It’s all interconnected, and it’s all 53

connected to our customer files and data warehouses that stores everyone’s information, but they are different platforms,” he added. “I think typically there is more robust functionality with online than there is with mobile as a general rule.” Online banking refers to using a PC, while mobile banking is a platform specifically made to interact with mobile devices, which means screens have to be the right size and have the ability to scale up and down depending on the size of the device. Also, there are different security protocols with mobile banking than there is with online, Tryniski noted. Both translate into not having to go into a branch, he said. “So whether you are using a PC or mobile device, you have access to your account for the purpose of being able to transact business,” he said.

Running with the pack Tryniski said it is vital to have a user-friendly and competitive website. “It’s helpful if it’s visually attractive. We’re all humans, and you look at things and make judgments based on the look and feel of visuals,” he said. More importantly, however, is its functionality in terms of what it can do, its intuitiveness and how easy it is to navigate around the website, he added. He said quality of website is a function of the size of the bank. He said financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America are channeling billions into technology annually. “I think the bigger banks have better technology and better digital platforms than other banks do,” he said. However, some of the smaller banks do use inexpensive third-party platforms that replicate the bigger bank look. “I would say we’re somewhere in the middle. We are not like JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America, but I would say we have pretty decent digital platforms,” he said. Tryniski said Community Bank customers “do about 90% of what you can or would want to do on a big bank digital platform. “Bigger banks have more functionality, but it’s not the kind of functionality that is in high demand.” “The vast majority of customers want to be able to check their balances, transfer money, pay bills and deposit checks,” Tryniski said. “Those four 54

Studying Past Climate Changes in Death Valley, Mohave Desert SUNY Oswego faculty, students part of team studying weather changes

Mark Tryniski, president and CEO of Community Bank things cover 99% of what most customers want to do online. The other 1% want to be able to do some other things.” Banks such as Community Bank can also do peer-to-peer payments, which allow the transfer of funds between two parties using their individual banking accounts or credit cards through an online or mobile app. Tryniski said the environment is changing rapidly on the technology front, and Community Bank will unveil a new mobile banking platform that features next-generation amenities in 2020. Community Bank does have an online platform that allows customers to open an account without going to a branch. “We can verify your identity, and you can process the funding of the account in your pajamas on your couch if you want,” he said. “We rolled that out recently and already have several thousand new accounts that have signed up on that online platform.” Community Bank is also planning to roll out a platform that allows customers to get credit online. “Customers will be able to apply for online direct consumer loans,” he said. “You also will be able to apply for a credit card online.” The bank is also making mortgage applications and pre-approvals available online. “Everything is transitioning to a digital platform slowly over time,” he said. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


team of researchers from SUNY Oswego and four other colleges and universities recently earned a National Science Foundation grant to study water levels over the last 150,000 years in two of North America’s driest places, Death Valley and another dry lakebed in Southern California’s Mohave Desert, Searles Lake. The study will provide refined analysis of past precipitation cycles and other data indicative of climate change, to develop a model to predict future wet-dry eras in the Searles and Death Valley basins, both in close proximity to one of the country’s most productive agricultural areas, the Central Valley of California. SUNY Oswego’s Justin Stroup, an atmospheric and geological sciences faculty member, has joined an interdisciplinary group from Binghamton University (the lead institution), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Southern California and Keystone College in Northeastern Pennsylvania. “We are studying lake levels over the last 150,000 years to explore precipitation variability in Southern California,” said Stroup, a hydrologist who has a doctorate from Dartmouth College and conducted post-doctoral work at MIT. “In the past, Searles Lake and Death Valley have not been so dry. At times in the past, these valleys contained giant lakes. By studying these valleys, we have an opportunity to understand past climate changes.” Researchers have been workOCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

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ing with core samples — notably www.speedwaypress.com a 250-foot-long core from Searles Lake drilled in 2017 — to determine precipitation cycles, water volumes, shoreline variations, chemistry, sedimentology, mineralogy, leaf wax and pollen content over the millennia. They’re using uranium-thorium dating to determine the precise times of past climate changes, Stroup said. Speedway Press P.O. Box 815 1 Burkle Street Oswego, Ny 13126 Phone: (315) 343-3531 Fax: (315)343-3577

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Studies of the region in the past have left gaps in the data and there are “confusing indications of the region’s hydrological history,” the scientists said in an application for the NSF grant. One goal of the current research is to provide proof of concept for grant applications to study 3.2 million year’s worth of sediment — about 2,300 feet in depth — in the Searles basin, which was part of a chain of five lakes. Stroup said, “these lakes were once connected and may help us to understand the past flow of the Owens River,” which is an essential part of the Los Angeles water supply. The study, titled “Regional hydrologic and vegetation changes over the last 150 Kyr (150,000 years) in the Searles and Death Valley basins,” will involve training and employment of undergraduate researchers from all five higher education institutions and graduate students from the universities. Besides research and travel in the Southern California desert, students will benefit from training and experience in lab work during the academic year, and Stroup intends to incorporate results of the analyses in his courses on paleoclimate, environmental sustainability and hydrogeology. Stroup’s students, Mary Sorensen OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

SUNY Oswego atmospheric and geological sciences faculty member Justin Stroup (right) and David McGee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (left) are two of the principal investigators for a team of five colleges and universities studying water levels over the last 150,000 years in two of North America’s driest places, Death Valley and another dry lakebed in Southern California’s Mohave Desert, Searles Lake. and Rebecca Nesel, completed senior projects this spring examining Searles Lake core samples to analyze various protocols for grain size measurement and testing of sediments. With Stroup, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Sorensen and Nesel both produced conference papers from the research.

Submitted by SUNY Oswego’s Office of Communications and Marketing. 55

COVER By Lou Sorendondo

Cruse Control Jeff Cruse takes over as top leader for Novelis’ Oswego Works


ovelis in Oswego is officially on Cruse control. On May 1 Jeff Cruse was named plant manager at Novelis in Oswego — formerly Alcan— an aluminum recycling and rolling facility that employs nearly 1,200 workers. Cruse, an employee of Novelis for over three decades, started his storied career on the shop floor. “I was out there sweeping floors. That’s how I got started,” he said. “I thought this would be a temporary gig then I’d move on,” he added. Obviously, that did not happen. Cruse continued building his career by joining the recycling/remelt unit in Berea, Kentucky, casting ingots for the aluminum coils. After a successful run in recycling/ remelt, Cruse got the opportunity to move into an environmental technician’s role. Later, he earned the opportunity to become the environmental, health and safety (EHS) manager of the Berea plant, eventually moving into the post of recycle EHS manager at the Berea plant as well as the facility in Greensboro, Georgia. Cruse would then move into a Lean Six Sigma role, which involved developing continuous improvement initiatives. Following that role, he spent


the next 18 months in Atlanta, Oswego and in Kingston before he returned to Berea as the operations leader. After two years in that position, he was promoted to plant manager in Berea and then transitioned to the lead role in Kingston for about two years before arriving in the Port City. Through it all, Cruse shares his appreciation for Alcan and Novelis: “I’ve been fortunate to work with, and for, an excellent employer.” Throughout Cruse’s career, there were opportunities to relocate or do something different. “But all of that has to match up with your personal life,” he said. “Before I

“I have the belief — as many people at Novelis have — that success of the company starts with our people, period. If our people are not safe, I’m not sure how successful we can be after that.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

was willing to relocate or do those kinds of things, I wanted my kids to be out on their own and doing their own thing.” Along with his wife, Kathy, Cruse was willing to relocate to Kingston and back to the United States once their three children were grown and out of the house. Jeff and Kathy have three children: Jordan, 28, lives in Birmingham, Alabama; Logan, 25, resides in Huntsville, also in Alabama; and daughter Kourtney, 23, lives in Lexington, Kentucky. When he is not involved at the plant, he enjoys spending time with Kathy. “We try to maintain an active and healthy life style by working out and eating healthy. We especially love the outdoors, which is all the more reason I’m proud to work at a company committed to the environment,” he said.

Familiar territory Cruse, 55, is familiar with Oswego, as he has visited the plant multiple times over his career. In Oswego, the population is about 18,000, with a plant size approaching 1,200. “There is a unique dynamic here,” he said. “We have the opportunity to touch a vast majority of the Oswego community in some way. It’s significant and we take this responsibility very seOCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

Jeff Cruse at Novelis’ Oswego Works on Sept. 11. Photo by Chuck Wainwright. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019



riously — we are committed to making a positive impact on our community.” Another key differentiator for the Oswego plant is that it is the only wholly owned, fully integrated Novelis plant in North America. Products are made from scrap metal or raw material to the final stages at Oswego Works, whereas other plants in the country do portions of what the Port City facility does. “It’s a smaller type community, which I love,” he said. Cruse said he applies the same leadership principles and strategies today that he did in the past. He noted the Kingston plant is a union facility, whereas the Berea plant is a highly team-based non-union plant. Oswego is a non-union plant. “People are people, and people want to be treated fairly, and they want to feel trusted and valued,” he said. “For me, it’s about engaging the workforce. It doesn’t matter whether it’s union or non-union — people just want to know they are making a differ-

“Oswego is a big player in a big pond. If things are not going right here in Oswego, that impact is felt throughout North America and throughout the entire company.” ence,” he said. Cruse characterizes himself as a supportive leader. “I think 1,200 people are a lot smarter than one person or 10 people. For me, it’s about giving employees the tools and resources they need to feel empowered and to make decisions. If you give them the right information, generally people are going to make good decisions,” he said.

“My approach is simple — empower your people. Provide them with accurate information, necessary resources and support. When we do these things, ultimately, I find that we get results that make us successful in a sustainable way and that is my responsibility as a leader.” Cruse is intent on establishing a high level of trust. “People want to hear what I am saying, and I am going to be open, honest and genuine; what you see is what you get,” he said. Cruse said he is “very process oriented.” “If something is not going the way we want it to go, we want to identify what within the process is causing it to happen. Instead of it being a people issue, we address what is broken in the process that we need to fix,” he added.

Culture of safety

As is part of Novelis’ culture, Cruse places a high emphasis on safety. “I have the belief — as many people

From the Ball Field to the Corporate Office Novelis’ new plant manager had shot at Major League Baseball as pitcher


hile former college baseball sensation Jeff Cruse did not play at the major league level, he is certainly in the big leagues in the business world. Cruse was recently named plant manager at Novelis in Oswego. How good was Cruse on the baseball field? Following a successful college baseball career with Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky, the Kansas City Royals drafted him in the 45th round of the 1987 Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft. He would go on to play minor league baseball in the Royals’ farm system. Cruse also was a key player on the Madison Central High School baseball Indians, a team that went 40-0 Cruse in 1982 to capture the Kentucky State base-


ball title. The team that recorded the perfect season has been considered the best high school baseball team in Kentucky history. “When the music stops from that level of sports, it takes a while to figure things out, because for all your life, everything was centered around sports and baseball,” said Cruse, who played sports beginning as a 5-yearold says there are many things that translate from sports into the business world. “For me, I tell people that 90 percent of success is showing up, being there and being on time… Those are the kinds of things that I think translate over to business,” he said. He said exhibiting a high level of discipline — whether it be training or practicing — on the athletic field is no different from the business world. “You have to perform every day. If you don’t, your competitors will. It’s not about getting to the top but about how we perform daily to stay there,” he said. “It’s about always being willing to show up and learn something new… no matter how old or young you are, or where you come from,” he adds. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

According to Cruse, several colleagues and people at Novelis helped shape him professionally. Outside of Novelis, Cruse’s late father, Luther, was instrumental during his upbringing. “He mentored and coached me as my baseball coach up until middle school,” he said. However, it was his baseball coach at Eastern Kentucky University — the late Jim Ward — who made a significant impact. Ward coached Colonels’ baseball for 22 years. “He taught me a lot about how to show up every day, as well as who I should be and how I should be,” he said. “In addition to setting goals, my mentors and coaches along the way have also taught me the importance of surrounding yourself with great team members. You have to get the right people on the bus, and once that is done, you have to get people in the right seats,” he said. “Then you have to build a level of trust and accountability, which we do here. It’s that drive and commitment to being a high performance team that is going to help keep Novelis on top.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

Novelis Inc. is the global leader in aluminum rolled products and the world’s largest recycler of aluminum. It employes nearly 1,200 employees in Oswego, according to the 2019 Business Guide, published by this magazine. at Novelis have — that the success of the company starts with our people and their safety, period.” Cruse said safety is a “very fragile thing.” “You can be safe for 10 years, but in the one moment you are not safe, an accident can happen in an instant,” he said. “If that happens and someone gets seriously hurt, you can never get that back for that individual.” A former coach once told him, “You’re only as good as your next performance.” “You can be great up until you have OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

an injury, then all of that doesn’t matter,” he said. “If you are an employee here and you have kids and a significant other, they want you to come home the same way you left.” He adds safety is a “very personal” aspect of the job. Cruse said safety is not just about the here and now, but about creating a culture from a futuristic standpoint. “The best way we can outperform our competitors is to take care of our employees,” he said. “One of the things the facility does OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

is we look at all the different safety risks we have in the plant, and we actually quantify those risks. We end up taking the highest risks and start working on those to try to reduce our employees’ exposure.” Cruse said. “You can’t eliminate every risk. It’s similar to getting in your car in the morning. There is a certain level of risk as soon as you get in your car and start driving down the street. That’s why we do things like wear seat belts, use turn signals and have traffic lights,” he said. “We have to do similar things here. 59

We can’t eliminate all the risk, but if we can’t eliminate it, then we have to build controls to protect our people,” he said.

King of the hill

Novelis has the largest footprint in the aluminum industry worldwide — with footprints in North America, Europe, Asia and South America. “None of our competitors can match that,” he said. “They may have a big footprint in North America or Europe, but typically it’s only two or three of those regions and never all four.” “Novelis is the hands-down leader in the industry right now,” he said. “Novelis’ North American region is having the biggest impact on the company’s EBITA [earnings before interest, taxes and amortization].” Novelis is a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries Limited, an industry leader in aluminum and copper. It is the metals flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group, a multinational conglomerate based in Mumbai, India. Oswego has the largest impact on the company’s shipments within the North American region. “Oswego is a big player in a big pond,” he said. “If things are not go-

ing right here in Oswego, that impact is felt throughout North America and throughout the entire company.” In terms of handling that level of pressure, Cruse said that is something he embraced a long time ago. “I think sports acclimates you to that kind of pressure,” he added. “I had a baseball coach who used to tell us, ‘Pressure is not having the bases loaded with two outs and a full count. Pressure is having nine kids at home and only one pork chop in the refrigerator. That’s pressure,’” he said. In order to remain successful, Cruse said the right vision must be set for the entire plant on what direction it is heading. “We have a really good performing team here, but good is never good enough,” he said. “If you look at all great athletes, all of them have a coach, whether it’s a Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan. Typically, it’s not about becoming the best; it’s remaining the best,” he said. Cruse said it’s one thing to be on top, but a totally different story to stay on top. The Richmond, Kentucky, native said one key thing to guard against is complacency.

“Over the last seven years, there has been a lot of new business coming into this facility,” he said. “We could sit back and rest on our laurels and say, “we’re good,” but that is not how we become a world class manufacturer and that is the ultimate goal — that’s our hall of fame.” He said it is vital to maintain that competitive edge. “Right now, we have great quality,” he said. “And we have to maintain that great quality with our customers. When they want something delivered, we’re there. A big part of that is while we are keeping people safe and producing a quality product, we are asking ourselves if we are doing it at the lowest cost,” Cruse continues. “We have to be competitive on that front too.” He said it is imperative to understand projects, project management, know how to spend capital and expense dollars properly, and keep projects on budget. “To remain on top, we have to continue doing all of these great things that have made us successful while continually ensuring we learn, grow and collaborate as team every day,” he concludes.





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Syracuse’s Tech Garden Sprouts New Tech Companies, Jobs for CNY


More than 500 startup companies have taken advantage of its services

s the early-morning sunlight broke through the buildings that lined downtown Syracuse on April 18, 1994, people raced to capture the remaining parking spots. It started like any other day in the city. But for those unfortunate enough to find an open spot in the MONY (Mutual Of New York) parking garage at the corner of Warren and Harrison streets, it ended as anything but. On this now infamous day in Syracuse history, a 115-foot portion of the garage’s upper-level buckled and fell. The steel and concrete building, which opened in 1967, partially collapsed due to structural failure. No one was injured, but more than a dozen cars were crushed. MONY would later publish a letter to the public saying that the force of the collapse caused other damage to the structure, forcing them to permanently close it. The garage was soon demolished, with only the ground floor retail space of the building remaining. There it OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

languished for about a decade while lawmakers from the city, county and state worked to find a new and better use for it. Then in 2004, ground was finally broken. The plan was to build a technology business incubator. The goal was to make a “1990s symbol of failure into a hub of innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship.”

Roadmap to Success The Syracuse Tech Garden prides itself as a sort of launching pad for nascent technology companies in Central New York. It provides support for startup companies at various stages of development. Through business planning assistance, mentoring, targeted referrals and networking opportunities, staff at the Tech Garden attempt to foster a business’ growth to the point where these startups can graduate from the program and sustain themselves in the market. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Among its most successful alumni are BrandYourself.com, an online reputation management company that was offered a $2 million deal on ABC’s Shark Tank; Ephesus Lighting, which has provided lighting for the Super Bowl; and the Digital Hyve, a digital marketing agency that is considered one of the fastest growing companies in the country. But perhaps the Tech Garden’s greatest success story is itself. Since opening 15 years ago, more than 500 startup companies have taken advantage of its services. The demand was so overwhelming that the Tech Garden had to expand to a second location in one of the AXA Towers in downtown Syracuse. But even the extra space has not proven to be enough. In addition to its resident companies at the Tech Garden, the organization works with more than 50 virtual members, companies headquartered elsewhere that have access to its services and the building’s coworking space. 61

At the Tech Garden: Kara Jones, content and marketing manager, and Jeannine Rogers, program manager. Part of this demand is due to what is a very harsh environment for startups. It’s estimated that 90 percent of these companies never get off the ground. But at the Tech Garden, it’s a different story. Jeannine Rogers, program manager at the Tech Garden, attributes that to their Roadmap, a system staff developed to pinpoint the services and support individual companies’ need based on what phase of development they are at. “It’s being intentional about the stage that they’re in and giving them the right resources at the right moment in that stage to push them along because what happens is if they’re out there on their own and they’re meeting a whole bunch of people, they might get spun in a different direction and try to pivot and then their whole business model changes or they might be thinking they have a great product but they haven’t talked to any customers,” Rogers said. “So, we help them navigate some of those obstacles so they’re not getting turned around.” The road map has four stops: ideation, acceleration, incubation and expansion; each calculated to help entrepreneurs address the right challenge at the right time. Kara Jones, content and marketing manager at the Tech Garden, says that’s crucial in the startup world where there are not many second chances. 62

“If you’re pitching to an investor and you’re in ideation [still refining your business idea] and you’re not ready, those investors are not going to look at you again,” Jones said. “So, we want to make sure that you are ready for investment, you know who your target market is — everything they need to be successful and get that follow-up investment.” What made the Tech Garden so valuable for Steven VonDeak is the community it offers. VonDeak is co-founder and chief of staff of Density Inc., a data analytics company that helps companies better utilize their real estate space. It’s had an office in the Tech Garden since the beginning, which VonDeak says has been immeasurably valuable. “When you’re in a space like the Tech Garden where there’s 30-something businesses in there — all in the tech space and all of them are in different phases of their maturity — and there are community supporters that are in and around the building as well, you’re really only one degree away from your next great conversation, your next great connection, or the next thing that you had never previously considered,” VonDeak said. Many of the companies at the Tech Garden have struggled with the same obstacles and traveled similar pathways. So, just being around other OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

entrepreneurs can bring its own benefit, VonDeak says. “Oftentimes when you’re an entrepreneur or when you’re an employee at an early stage company, it can be really cold and lonely,” VonDeak said. “Often you’re like so close to something that you’re trying to solve that it’s difficult to take a step back and think about it from a different perspective. Having other people to bounce ideas off of and get varying perspectives and seeing how they went about solving it — there’s a lot of things that can be learned from that.”

Seeds of Growth 2019 is a year of change at the Tech Garden. For the first time since it opened, major construction is underway in the building. Jones says they are tearing down walls and adding glass to offices in the building in an effort to further stimulate collaboration among its members. Government and economic development officials gathered at the Tech Garden this summer to cut the ribbon on a new hardware center. The 2,200-square foot facility will provide companies a chance to product-assemble in downtown Syracuse. There is only one assemble line in place right now, but there are plans to bring another online soon. When fully utilized, the OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

assembly lines are projected to support the production of 30,000 units annually. Density is the first company to make use of the hardware center. The space was in part built for the company after its leadership expressed an interest in wanting to make their units closer to home. “It all started with a conversation and I think the Tech Garden just looking for ways to be able to support our growth, which I’m not surprised by,” VonDeak said. “They supported us from the beginning.” Staff at the Tech Garden try to encourage companies like Density to stay in Central New York, or at least elsewhere in the state. The fruits of that labor are on display along Warren Street, nicknamed Syracuse’s Tech VonDeak Corridor. Multiple technology companies — including some alumni from the Tech Garden — are located there, such as The Clean Tech Center, TCGPlayer, Ephesus Lighting, and others. Much of the work the Tech Garden has accomplished, like keeping these companies in the area, has paid dividends for the entire community, Jones says. These new businesses hire locally, use local services, and provide internship opportunities for local students. “It’s a huge benefit for our community,” Jones said. And now, the Tech Garden is once again playing a role in moving Syracuse forward. The organization has helped lay some of the groundwork for and will be key to the execution of the Syracuse Surge. Mayor Ben Walsh announced the ambitious, $200 million economic development plan earlier this year. The goal is to position the Salt City for the future of the technology industry with major upgrades to infrastructure and the creation of a science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) school downtown. Walsh says they plan to expand the Tech Garden as part of the initiative.


It Starts Here Discover the rewards your talent deserves. Novelis is the world leader in rolled aluminum products, delivering unique solutions for the most demanding global applications, such as beverage cans, automobiles, architecture and consumer electronics. Our business is expanding in Oswego and we are seeking talented mechanics and electricians to join our team. Sound like you? Apply now! www.novelis.com/careers Phone: (315) 349-0121 Novelis.com Not just aluminum, Novelis Aluminum.™



L. Michael Treadwell ooc@oswegocounty.org

Oswego County IDA Recapitalizes Popular Loan Program It’s designed to facilitate business development, growth

I “The IRP program offers low-interest, fixed-rate loans, ranging from 4% to 6%, with terms of three to 10 years, depending on the use of the proceeds. The program also has a low equity requirement of 10%, which is very attractive to small businesses.”

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. 64

following types: (1) manufacturing facilities; n 2011 the County of Oswego Industrial (2) warehousing and distribution facilities; Development Agency (IDA) added the (3) research and development facilities; (4) USDA Intermediary Relending Program service and support industries; (5) tourism(IRP) to its toolbox of financing programs for small businesses. Earlier this year, the IDA related service businesses that are essential to the county’s overall tourism development was successful in obtaining additional funds to recapitalize this program with the USDA programs; and (6) other economic development related projects deemed essential to extend its lending capabilities. and necessary for the county’s economic IRP loans are designed to be used in conjunction with other funding from non-IDA well-being. To further economic development in the sources, such as banks and other economic county, borrowers are strongly encouraged development lenders, to serve as either “gap” to provide opportunities for employment to or “subsidy” financing. “Gap” loans are those lower-income residents of Oswego County which provide funds needed to complete a and award contracts for work to be performed total project which would not be available with loan proceeds to businesses or persons from other sources. which are located in the county. Loans are offered on a first-come first To date, the pro-served basis. To qualify gram has been sucfor an IDA IRP loan, apEconomic Trends cessful in financing 15 plicants must prove credit businesses across Osweworthiness, project feasigo County supporting the manufacturing, bility, job opportunities and environmental service, construction, hospitality and tourism compliance. If the applicant needs help in industries. Local banks have been particudeveloping a business plan to support the larly happy to partner with the program as project, they will be referred to and assisted it leverages funds and reduces all partners’ by the Small Business Development Center exposure. The funding can be used more at SUNY Oswego’s Business Resource Center. flexibly by the borrower and the program has The program offers low-interest, fixedlower equity requirements than traditional rate loans, ranging from 4% to 6%, with terms bank financing which can allow banks to of three to 10 years, depending on the use of finance projects they wouldn’t otherwise the proceeds. participate in. Funding participation is capped at 50% If you have a project that could benefit of the total project cost or $100,000, whichever from a County of Oswego IDA IRP loan, is less. However, in general, the participation contact Kevin LaMontagne, Operation Oslevel is 25% or less. The program also has wego County’s business finance director, at a low equity requirement of 10%, which is 315-343-1545 or email ooc@oswegocounty. very attractive to small businesses. Under org for more information on eligibility and special circumstances, the IDA may consider, to begin the application process. in accordance with USDA guidelines, a loan of up to $150,000. All IDA IRP loans will be secured with real property and assets of the To date, the program has been business or business owners or corporate officers. Loans may also be secured by the successful in financing 15 equipment purchased with the loan proceeds. The IDA can subordinate its loan to a bank. businesses across Oswego IRP loan proceeds may be used to County supporting the purchase machinery, equipment and inventory, or to cover soft costs, startup costs and manufacturing, service, working capital. The use of loan proceeds to construction, hospitality and refinance existing debt is prohibited. Projects eligible for financing under the tourism industries. IDA IRP loan program are limited to the OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


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Central New York Biotech Accelerator on East Fayette Street in Syracuse. Photos feature the Creation Garage, a lab, offices and an auditorium where participants can make presentations.


Bringing Medical Innovations to Life CNY Biotech Incubator helps entrepreneurs work on their medical-related products


ith its rounded, glass-encased exterior, the Central New York Biotech Accelerator on East Fayette Street in Syracuse may not look like any factory you’ve seen before. But inside, breakthroughs are being made and products developed every day. Upstate Medical University owns and operates this incubator, which works to help for-profit startup companies in the healthcare technology field. Participants who license space in


the 52,3300-sq.-ft. facility have access to 900+ square-foot labs, state-of-the art technology such as 3-D printers, communal space for collaboration, and a theater for conferences and presentations. In addition, members can gain access to the facilities and services at Upstate, like clinical trials. Kathi Durdon, executive director of the Biotech Accelerator, says the goal is to see these young companies succeed — and the community along with them. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“It’s not necessarily that they are going to have a breakthrough product that’s going to be phenomenal and make them a lot of money. That’s not really what it is,” Durdon said. “It’s small companies that are going to hire people and stay in our community. Their growth may be mild or moderate, but the small companies are those that help the economy the most. They’re the ones that really are generating the job employment opportunities.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

Although each company is focused on medical innovation, the type of work and products vary greatly from one lab to the next. Quadrant Biosciences, one of the companies with space at the Biotech Accelerator, recently developed a saliva test that can detect concussions in children sooner than current assessments and even predict how long recovery will take. And in the latest round of the medical device innovation competition that the Biotech Accelerator hosts each year, the organization provided support for a range of companies that have designed products to reduce medical errors and urinary tract infections. Since opening in 2012, the Biotech Accelerator has grown from three tenants to 13. Durdon says having more tenants in the building results in more collaboration. Many share lab space and interns. Steven Sperber, director of the Upstate Molecular Diagnostics Lab at the Biotech Accelerator, says that opportunity for collaboration is invaluable. Sperber says the lab is currently looking to double the size of its space at the facility. “This whole building is a phenomenal resource to bring these people together to have a critical mass of brainpower and a space to develop ideas into products or services like our lab offers,” Sperber said. “This building is a fabulous gift.” Unlike other incubators, Durdon says the Biotech Accelerator does not provide intensive mentoring for its tenants. Staff offers resources and logistical support, but she says each company is responsible for its own growth. If a company stops progressing, staff from the Biotech Accelerator will meet with it to determine how they can help. But Durdon says sometimes the best move for everyone is to ask the company to vacate the building to create an opportunity for another startup. Perhaps the biggest challenge for all of the companies at the Biotech Accelerator is the amount of regulation in the healthcare industry. Durdon says it can take more than three years for a medical device to make it to the market, and 12 to 15 years for pharmaceutical products due to required clinical tests. “It is a lengthy process,” Durdon said. “It’s risky because you’re hoping that it will do what it’s intended to do and then when you get it into the real environment where it’s going to be used, there are variables that can impact how that product performs. And if it OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

doesn’t perform safely, you go back to the drawing board.” In addition to the need to comply with strict regulations, startup companies in the healthcare industry also struggle with costs. Labs and medical technology are too expensive to access for the average startup, according to Durdon. That’s why she says the Biotech Accelerator is so important. It’s providing a unique


opportunity for these entrepreneurs that can have a major impact for the people they hope to benefit. “Without these small companies bringing these innovations forward that will ultimately impact our patient community, how do we get these new innovations out the door,” Durdon asked. “How do we get patient access to the new treatments, the better outcomes — it’s through these small companies.”

What’s Cooking at Biotech Incubator

very year Upstate MIND (Medical Innovation and Novel Discovery Center) at the Central New York Biotech Accelerator, sponsors a Medical Device Innovation Challenge, giving organizations and individuals the chance to bring their projects to life. Winners receive six months of free work space at the Creation Garage at the incubator, plus access to Upstate Medical University research and clinical experts as well as use of Upstate’s core research facilities. Participants also gain intensive mentorship from a cadre of medical device product development, regulatory, commercialization and legal experts. Collaborative partners involved in the program include Blackstone LaunchPad, Innovation Law Center, Upstate Venture Connect and many others. Companies selected as winners of the 2019 Medical Device Innovative Challenge are: • CathBuddy Inc., of Woodbury, which is making reusable urinary intermittent catheters system for people with neurogenic bladder (the loss of bladder control due to brain or spinal cord or nerve problem). The system includes an at-home sterilization unit, a reusable catheter insertion aid and a reusable urinary catheter. • Halamine Inc., of Ithaca, which aims to develop a new category of “hydrogel skin” coated urinary catheters with improved infection control. This coating innovation is based on a new composition of hydrogel materials (named HalaGel) that combines antimicrobial and anti-immunoreaction chemistries, which were invented by Cornell University biological engineering researcher Mingyu Qiao, co-founder of Halamine Inc. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

• MedUX, of Syracuse, which is creating a shoulder-mounted portable IV system (called L-IV, for Liberating Intravenous) that allows people in hospital settings or disaster situations to get IV treatment comfortably and efficiently without being tethered to an IV pole. • Megan Thomas, of Syracuse, which is developing a breast pump that can be used while a women engage in daily activities, whether at the workplace or at home. The product’s goal is to eliminating the time women must spend solely on pumping. Thomas wants to enable women to pump in the physical workplace without the social stigma of having to seek a storage or break room. • Revital Therapeutics, of New Jersey, which is a tissue engineering company dedicated to creating off-the-shelf tissue grafts for a wide range of conditions and surgical procedures. Like donated tissues, Revital’s tissues are composed of 100% native human extracellular matrix, meaning complete biocompatibility and high activity of the growth factors. Revital’s tissues are optimized for wound healing, able to control inflammation, while at the same time stimulating regrowth at sites of damage and disease. • ZephyRx of Albany, which designs breath-powered video game controllers so popular video games can be used in respiratory therapy for conditions, such as pneumonia, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “Through this program, these innovators will find a ready supply of expertise, support and encouragement to move their products and ideas forward,” said Kathi Durdon, executive director of the CNY Biotech Accelerator.


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Q A & with

Melanie Littlejohn By Lou Sorendo

National Grid top executive named chairwoman of CenterState CEO, largest economic development group in CNY 1. Q.: How does your experience as vice president-National GridNYS Jurisdiction enable you to effectively lead CenterState CEO as chairwoman? A.: I certainly think being part of a global organization and to have the responsibility for National Grid’s New York state jurisdiction from a customer, business development, stakeholder and public affairs perspective really puts me in a good space to utilize my experience here. Central New York, much like the utility industry, is in a significant transformation. This is evidenced by initiatives such as the city’s Syracuse Surge, a development plan for the south end of downtown that is encompassing more than $200 million in public and private investment. Growth and development continue as the region finds its niches, whether it involves the emerging unmanned aerial systems industry or traditional strongholds in the education and health care sectors. Transformative issues also involve the rebuild of the I-81 viaduct into a community grid design. CenterState CEO and the region can benefit from some of the lessons we’ve learned to help in the transformation that we see right here in Central New York. 2. Q.: What are some of the more significant economic challenges facing Central New York? A.: One of the most stunning and large issues that we continue to grapple with as a region involves economic inclusion and how poverty levels here in the region must and need to shift if OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

we want to sustain and grow to really come into our full capabilities as a region. Whether it’s rampant poverty in the city of Syracuse or rural poverty plaguing rural areas of CNY, we’ve got to deal with it. I feel there is no greater time than to step up and be part of the change. I believe I have all the experts around me, and now I just need to get them all to weigh in and figure out what the best ways are to thoughtfully move forward to drive the region. 3. Q. What is your perspective concerning job growth in the Central New York region? A.: People don’t wake up saying, “I don’t want good and meaningful employment.” Contrary to what some might think, people don’t do that. That’s not what they want. It is vital to create jobs that will continue to provide a livable and sustainable wage so that everyone can actively play a part in the growth and vitality of the region. Education, housing, employment and then just a good environment — that creates a good recipe for a strong region. 4. Q.: Who have been some of the greatest influences in your life? A.: I have two amazing parents, an amazing brother, and my parents also fostered 24 girls. I learned about service and commitment to others up close and personal. I had two amazing human beings show me how to give unselfishly. I also have three other men in my life that inspire me to get up and give my best every day. I have two OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

sons and a husband that really keep me lifted to do the work that I do. I’ve been fortunate to work with business leaders who have served as powerful inspirations as well. Prominent on that list is the late Leon Modeste, long-time president and CEO of the Onondaga County Urban League in Syracuse. Another major influence has been SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley. She understands the art of collaboration and in order to get things done, you need to bring a full group of people around the table and count on your talents to deliver. President Stanley has done that exceptionally well. 5. Q.: What is your driving force as vice president of National Grid NYS Jurisdiction? A.: I’ve been with National Grid for 25 years, and what I have learned during that time is the power behind the switch. What I mean about the power behind the switch is what the men and women who work here every single day do to help improve the lives of every last person, home and business in this region. And they do it quietly. If there is an emergency or weather-related issue, National Grid is running to it to really be there for our customers. Our objective is to keep the lights on and heat going, because we owe it to our customers. The power of the switch is what makes me come in every single day. I’m really proud of the men and women I get a chance to work with because I know who they are and what they do and how their work really impacts the fabric of all of our lives. 69

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Private Labels Can Boost Profits More businesses finding success in selling products under their own private labels


hether it’s Wal-Mart’s Great Value line of goods or the jelly made and sold by a local farm, a private label brand represents an alternative to a name-brand product. Large store private labels — like Wal-Mart’s — depend upon value for its sales, since “generics” or “store brands” cost much less than brand names or local private label items. Decades ago, private label items were often considered lower in quality; however, since the 2008 Great Recession, they’ve grown in popularity. According to CB Insights, “US private-label food sales grew three times faster than those of national manufacturers’ products” in 2017. 70

“Premium” generics that use upscale ingredients or recipes have also helped stores sell more private label goods. Many consumers embrace products with local private label as they would a premium generic, such as pasta sauce sold by a local restaurant, or jelly sold by a farm, without as much regard to price. Selling these products can provide the business with many benefits. Making private label goods can help a farm curb waste. Perishable produce can be difficult to sell to processors. Factors such as a bumper crop, transportation issues, timing of harvest, too many other producers nearby or little local need for the produce can cause farms to throw away good food. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Ontario Orchards began selling private label items about 20 years ago. “What we look for are items that will complement our business,” said Kathy Ouellette, manager of Ontario Orchards. “They have to have a nice package and label, excellent quality in taste, be available at all times, and be affordable and competitive, and also, something that is different than the other products.” Photo courtesy of Ontario Orchards. “Especially in this area, it provides a shelf-stable, value-added product even though the growing season is short,” said Samantha Clark-Collins, associate director of retail operations for Nelson Farms in Cazenovia. Nelson Farms operates a food processing incubator that enables other businesses to develop their own private label goods to sell as their own. Jars and jars of salsa, spaghetti sauce, Bolognese, and barbecue sauce long after tomato season is over, can keep a farm market’s shelves stocked or provide another item to sell online or at a farmers market that can attract more customers to the booth. Private label items can also help farms sell more of their main product. For example, a farm selling maple syrup may sell more if they provide private label pancake mix to accompany the syrup in a gift basket. Restaurants represent another common business producing private label items, such as a condiment or sauce served at the restaurant. “They get told, ‘You should bottle it,’” Clark-Collins said. “Then they come to us and we’ll help them do it.” While it may seem counterproductive to enable diners to make it at home “just like the restaurant,” private label items from restaurants can provide a means of marketing that draws patrons back while making money on selling the product itself. Selling a private label product to the public isn’t as easy as cooking up a few batches in the kitchen and bottling them. Clark-Collins said that the recipes must be approved through Cornell Food Venture, the legally approved body to do so in New York. The recipes have to be shown safe in how they’re prepared with step-by-step directions and measurements in weight, preservation, scaling and labeling, among other elements. Maple and honey have a lot of exemptions from these regulations because nothing else is added and OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

PR Professor Earns National Award


Nelson Farms operated the Taste New York booth at the New York State Fair this past summer. The farm operates a food processing incubator that enables other businesses to develop their own private label goods to sell as their own. Photo by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant they contain nothing that could cause sickness. “We have a full-time product development person who can help them know what to do from A to Z,” Clark-Collins said. The process to gain approval for a recipe can take months. That is why Nelson Farms has numerous pre-approved recipes on file. If a farm’s bumper crop of red raspberries would otherwise spoil, Nelson Farms can pull out recipes that take red raspberries and cook up whatever the farm would like in the batch size they request. “We own the rights to the product recipe and they can put their own label and branding on it,” Clark-Collins said. “Someone couldn’t bring their grandma’s chili sauce and we’d pack it.” She added that most customers have no idea that the farm itself didn’t develop the recipe or package it; however, using the farm’s own produce adds a layer of authenticity. Buyers also feel good about purchasing local. In fact, many are willing to pay more for a private label item and perceive that their small-batch and locally sourced ingredients offer better quality than a national brand. There’s also the factor of scarcity, which can drive consumers to purchase items they think are in limited supply, such as those made and sold locally. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

“A lot of times the name and story sell the product,” Clark-Collins said. “People look for the brand.” Packaging and labeling that includes how the family developed the product often entice customers. Nelson Farms, a partner of SUNY Morrisville, focuses on items sold in jars, but does produce dry items like spice rubs and mixes. The business has limitations on what it can do with dairy items and cannot produce items containing meat. A local example of private label success is Ontario Orchards. In the Oswego-based store, shoppers can find Ontario Orchards branded mustard, jelly, jam and more — along with private label items from other area farms. “What we look for are items that will complement our business,” said Kathy Ouellette, manager of Ontario Orchards. “They have to have a nice package and label, excellent quality in taste, be available at all times, and be affordable and competitive, and also, something that is different than the other products.” Ontario Orchards began selling private label items about 20 years ago. “Our best tips for other farms, restaurants and entities is that you need to like the product that you want to use,” Ouellette said. “Make sure it is a product that is 100% to your satisfaction.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

indsay McCluskey, assistant professor of public relations at SUNY Oswego, received the First Place Promising Professor Award at the AEJMC (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication) Conference Mass Communication and Society Division Awards Luncheon in Toronto on Aug. 9. The Promising Professor Award annually honors junior faculty who have demonstrated excellence and innovation in teaching. Previous winners have come from schools such as University of South Carolina, University of Alabama, McCluskey DePaul University, University of Texas at Austin and Elon University. Also advisement coordinator for the department of communication studies, McCluskey is entering her fourth year as a full-time tenure track faculty member at SUNY Oswego and has taught a variety of courses, including “Survey of Public Relations,” “Public Relations Writing,” “Public Relations Research,” “Public Relations Case Studies,” “Crisis Communication” and “Social Media Strategy.” “Her student course evaluations are excellent and the students speak very highly of her,” wrote Julie Pretzat, dean of the School of Communication, Media and Arts, in a letter of support.” McCluskey received a 2019 Curriculum Innovation Grant and is developing a new elective course, “Arts, Entertainment and Sports Public Relations” for Spring 2020. Over the last three years, McCluskey has served as faculty sponsor for 73 internships, has overseen 22 independent studies, has mentored 12 teaching assistants and has supervised two undergraduate honors theses. 71

SPECIAL REPORT By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Want to Hire? Social Media Is Key LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter play important role in helping companies attract employees, say experts


early half of job seekers used social media to help them find employment, according to Jobvite’s Job Seeker Nation study. That’s significant if you have roles to fill within your organization. “In today’s marketplace, if you’re not active on numerous types of platforms, you’re absolutely limiting yourself,” said Mike Carr, president of Carr Recruiting Solutions with New York branches in Syracuse and Rochester. “What was borderline non-existent 10 years ago is the most important way to find people.” While he acknowledges that job boards like Monster and Indeed can help attract applicants, social media sites like LinkedIn should be an important part of any company’s outreach to candidates. Carr said that consistent methodology and effort should go into using social media to maintain a company’s online presence and that every candidate should receive a response unless it’s obviously not someone serious about the position.


“We have to be respectful of folks but also respectful of our time,” Carr said. “Some apply frequently or just interact on a volume that’s not sustainable for any employer, not just us.” He said that employers should not do bait-and-switch posts, where they post jobs that aren’t real, just to fill up a roster of potential candidates for some other — usually a lesser — position. It’s unlikely that candidates will fall in love with your company and feel so smitten that they’re willing to work well below the salary they need. Sometimes a company may receive negative comments after posting about a job opening or on employer review sites like Glass Door, such as “Worked there — worst job I ever had” or the like. Carr doesn’t post the name of the clients for whom he’s trying to find candidates so that doesn’t come up for him; however, he advised avoiding a tit-for-tat online war with those kinds of posters. If someone expresses a specific and legitimate concern, respond, take OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

it offline and address it. “With negative reviews, respond to them,” said Todd Consilio, vice president of Business Operations for nine branches of Staffwork, including Syracuse. “Say what you’ve done to address the issues. That negative review will tend to stay there. Generally, posts with foul language, personal attack or a claim that can’t be substantiated might be taken down. If it’s true, it likely won’t come down but you can respond to it. In many cases, they will take it down if there’s a valid reason to do so.” What type of social media you use can make a difference. They may attract different types of candidates or be used for different types of positions. Consilio said that the company uses Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, but in different ways. LinkedIn is the social media platform of many types of business professionals, owners and consultants. “On LinkedIn, we home in on the kinds of candidates we’re really looking for as people have a resume posted as their profile,” Consilio said. “We can see if they’re a potential fit for the job we want to fill.” Facebook is more widely used as a social media platform. Facebook and Instagram may be more accessible for promoting positions of all skill and experience levels. These may also be used to cross-reference candidates while screening them. “We have to keep in mind that people aren’t always honest on social media,” Consilio said. “You’ll find people claiming the education or job title they haven’t really had. You have to be careful of that.” Calling for names and dates of employment or confirming the education can help employers know if they’re getting the real deal. Consilio said that many people play it straight and narrow on LinkedIn, but let their true colors show on other platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram. In addition to looking for job seekers, Consilio said that Staffworks also posts employment ads on social media. He said that when posting ads, it’s important to let potential candidates know about the working environment, benefits and how up-to-date the equipment is. “People will go to the one whose posting is most inviting, who shows how this will help their career,” Consilio said. “Applicants want to know what’s in it for them.”



Questions to Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward

As he is about to leave office, Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. reflects on his 34-year legacy and talks about the future of the city By Alex Plate


What first got you involved in Fulton city politics? I had been on the Common Council since 1982, and I got interested then with some of the things that were going on in city politics, so I decided I wanted to be mayor.


You ran for mayor back in 1985, were in the office for two years, and then there was a break before you ran again in 2008. Why did you leave the office, and why did you come back? When I was first mayor, it was a two-year term, and I was also working full time for the Nestle Chocolate while I was in the office. I did the two years and chose not to run again then. And then in 2004, I was working for the Nestle, but that’s when they were going out of business. Daryl Hayden was mayor then, and he called me up and asked me if I wanted to be his executive assistant. I took the job, and that was a four-year stint. Then, Daryl


decided that he didn’t want to run again, and so I chose to run again.


What was the platform you’ve run on since 2008? Mainly stability and experience. A lot of people look at Fulton in a lot of different ways. The reality is, it’s a $22 million corporation, there are three major labor unions in our city, and under the Taylor law, you are obligated by law to negotiate with fire and police force unions regularly, and then you have the Civil Service Employees Association. Experience helps. Plus, I was born here in Fulton, I’ve lived here all my life. I care about the city, and I want to do right by it.


What would you consider to be some of your greatest successes, while you were in office? I had some bad things happen during my term, I’m proud of being able to keep the city afloat during the OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

times when industries were leaving the state of New York rapidly. We lost a big chunk of business from Birds Eye Foods, Nestle, and out in Volney they lost the Miller brewery. That all affected Fulton, even the close of industrial companies outside the city, because a lot of the people who worked in those places lived here, paid taxes here. I think I’ve been able to keep things pretty stable, point the ship in the right direction.


What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen happening to the city? We never really had industry come in during my term — that was all leaving when I came in. But we’ve had quite a lot of small businesses develop in Fulton. We still have Birds Eye Foods, but in a different capacity. We recently annexed the waste treatment plant that was out in Volney, which was done because of the cost of waste treatment. That was a big cost 73


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for businesses and industry. That alone saved $160,000 a year — we passed those savings off to rate-payers. We were successful in getting North Bay campgrounds into the city, they were in Granby before. We also bought a dredge to clean up Lake Neatahwanta, which was a goal of many administrations before mine. I’m hoping that we’ll have most of that done before the year is done.


What do you think the reason for the huge loss in Fulton’s industrial base was? You have to remember that companies like Nestle didn’t leave for another city in New York state. They left for a whole different state altogether. The two biggest things that I can see for why industry left is the cost of power, and the workmen’s compensation laws. Our workmen’s comp is among the highest in the nation. If you went to Wisconsin a few years ago, workmen’s comp was about $1,100 per year per employee. Here, it’s $10,000. So, you have to produce a lot of stuff, you have to make a lot of money, to make that cost up on your bottom line. And that’s just for one employee. And then they often move to places where you don’t have to deal with the harsh winter weather. Building maintenance in the Northeast is much more expensive than maintenance in the South. There are quite a few reasons for why industry left, but workmen’s comp and power costs are two of the main reasons I saw people leaving.

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So, you see the state of New York itself as the reason so many industries left the area in the last few years? They definitely create the policies that drive the economics of why people are leaving. They’ve been looking for tort reform on workmen’s comp for years, and we’re way behind the times on that. In order for industry to compete, they have to go to a place where they can actually be more competitive, and that just isn’t happening in New York right now. In the final years of Nestle, because I was actually one of the last two employees to leave when they closed here, their workman’s comp bills were huge. They actually had a company line that “accidents don’t happen, they’re caused,” saying that if you got into an accident, you’d get disciplined by the company because it cost them so much. And every case they had drove costs up, and it’s so easy to get hurt in a factory. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

“I love this city and I’ll do everything I can do to help whoever wins succeed. I don’t care if they’re a Democrat or a Republican. I want the city to succeed. We’ve got some good things going.”


What do you see in Fulton’s future? I think Fulton is recovering now. I’ve seen a big difference; we’re getting back a lot of our value now. We recently finished tearing down the old Nestle site, that’s open for development and we’ve already got Aldi’s in a space freed up by the demolition. I just met with our chamberlain about a new outfit that’s coming in, Charter Communications. We’ll fill that in, but it’s not going to be heavy industry that goes in there, those days have passed, by and large.


Why did you choose not to seek re-election this year? A: Well, I’m 74 years old and I’ve been doing this for 34 years in some capacity or another. I need to spend some time with my family, and I have some health issues. It’s time for some new people to come in and bring some fresh ideas.

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What does the future hold for you personally? I’ll be focusing on spending time with family and on my health. However, I’ll be mayor till the end of this year. I love this city and I’ll do everything I can do to help whoever wins succeed. I don’t care if they’re a Democrat or a Republican. I want the city to succeed. We’ve got some good things going.


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Anheuser-Busch Becomes a Bit ‘Greener’ Baldwinsville brewery’s new solar panels generating 4% of its annual energy usage By Payne Horning


s Budweiser-brewer Anheuser-Busch moves toward the ambitious goal of sourcing 100% of the corporation’s electricity from renewable sources of energy by 2025, Central New York has achieved a unique distinction. The company’s Baldwinsville brewery is now drawing power from the largest off-site solar installation of any Anheuser-Busch brewery in the country. The 2.76-megawatt solar project is located on a vacant lot in the town of Van Buren. It boasts more than 8,300 solar panels, which can capture enough sunlight to produce more than 3 million kilowatt-hours each year. That is the equivalent of the power needed to brew 3 million cases of beer annually. “Across the U.S., our employees are united with a deep passion for brewing beer and an unwavering commitment to supporting the communities we call home,” said Bryan Sullivan, the general manager of the Anheuser-Busch Baldwinsville 76

brewery. “It’s another step toward a cleaner and more sustainable future.” This is just the latest action the Baldwinsville brewery has taken to cut down on its ecological footprint. Since 2016, the brewery has reduced water usage by 8 %, decreased fuel usage by 6%, and is now drawing electricity from wind power. The addition of the solar panel farm will only provide about 4% of the Baldwinsville Anheuser-Busch brewery’s annual energy usage. But Sullivan says these incremental gains add up and set an important example for other companies to follow. “As our nation’s leading brewer, we are committed doing our part to protect the environment across the entire supply chain, recognizing our responsibility to lead our industry toward a cleaner environment as well,” Sullivan said. The solar array is owned and operated by AES Distributed Energy, Inc., a private energy company. The cost of construction was approximately $3 million. New York OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul( center) joined local officials during the ribbon cutting for the new solar panels at Anheuser Busch in Baldwinsville. state chipped in about a third of that with funding from the NY-Sun program, a $1 billion initiative to scale up solar across the state. Since it launched, the NY-Sun program has helped pay for more than 84,000 projects. Of those, 379 were built in Oswego County and 1,044 in Onondaga County. Despite that success, the state agency that houses NY-Sun, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), is currently doubling its efforts. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in January that his administration will raise the stakes for its clean energy objectives. Originally, Cuomo set a goal to source 50% of New York’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The target now is 70% by 2030. And, the state hopes to now achieve 6,000 megawatts of solar by 2025, up from 3,000 megawatts by 2023. The announcement of this “Green New Deal” came after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, in which the federal government made the commitment to cut the country’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Cuomo and other Democratic governors have since stepped up to shoulder that responsibility. But David Sandbank, director of Distributed Energy Resources at NYSERDA, says New York won’t be OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

able to meet its share without help from the private sector. “The state can provide leadership and the vision to be successful, but really we need everyone to participate in our ambitious clean energy goals,” Sandbank said. “When companies like Anheuser-Busch and New York state partner together, we are that much more powerful in combatting climate change. I think more companies need to step up with those types of goals to help us work together.” According to NYSERDA, virtually all of the systems supported by NY-Sun have leveraged some private investment more than $3.5 billion in all. That buy-in from private partners not only helps the state’s dollars go further, it also helps drive down prices. Sandbank says the solar panel industry grew in New York by 23% from 2017 to 2018, helping bring down the cost of building solar projects by 15% in that same time. Manuel Perez Dubuc with AES Distributed Energy says that price drop is underway across the country. The cost of building solar projects has fallen 25-30% over the last decade nationwide, Dubuc says, and is now cheaper than some of its fossil fuel counterparts. That is why more companies like Anheuser-Busch are now able to set these lofty clean energy initiatives. “I have seen more and more companies joining this 100% renewable target,” Dubuc said. “You have 170 companies from the S&P 500 that have publicly announced that they want to convert 100% of the consumption into renewable energy. That’s really, really exciting.” Sandbank says it’s not only exciting, it’s necessary. The state is counting on this trend to meet its goals by 2030 and sustain the solar market after. “The whole concept behind the NY-Sun program and our publicprivate partnership is to get us to a self-sustaining solar industry where incentives from the state are no longer needed,” Sandbank said.

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Instrumental in acquiring the state’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative are, front row from left, Steve Chirello, Chirello Advertising; Marie Mankiewicz, co-founder, Fulton Footpaths; Deana Michaels, City Planning Commission; Brittney Jerred, co-founder, Fulton Footpaths; and Karen Noyes, associate planner, Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning; back row from left, Joseph Fiumara, executive director, Fulton Community Development Agency; Heather McCoy of 315 Designs; and David Mankiewicz, senior vice presidentresearch, policy and planning, CenterStateCEO.

Fulton Reclaims its Future Community Development Agency leader Joe Fiumara says $10 million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding will help the city turn the corner Q.: The city of Fulton is receiving $10 million as part of the fourth round of the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. How important is this opportunity to help transform the city and its neighborhoods? A.: This was a complete team effort with many people involved. We had seven people on the DRI committee, but I can’t even tell you how many different people brought in their expertise to really make this a wonderful effort. Even prior to the announcement, we were seeing new development coming into Fulton. There were announcements that Port City Bakery [in Oswego] was looking to buy a building here, and a couple of other businesses were relocating to Fulton. We had a little buzz going on, and when this announcement came, it just truly overtook the city. Social media just went crazy. 78

We were optimistically following the success of Oswego’s DRI as well. A lot of their DRI planning committee members helped us out. We had members of the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism & Planning helping, and associate planner Karen Noyes really made our maps pop. This is truly transformational for the city, especially our downtown. This can turn our downtown into that vibrant downtown that we have been looking for. It also all coincides with many other initiatives that we have going on right now, such as the multi-use trail system. The first stage of that is getting ready to take off at the same time. We received a $900,000 grant from the New York State Regional Economic Development Council OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

to help launch the first phase of that. How perfect is it that it all ties together at the same time? Q.: What do you feel were the keys to being selected as a recipient of the DRI? A.: Keys to being selected include shovel-ready projects, as well as a diverse list of projects. There is everything from public Wi-Fi downtown to family fun centers, retail space and commercial opportunities, not to mention housing as well improvements along our waterfront. One of the biggest attributes of the plan was public engagement. We not only held a public input session, but we had online surveying which generated an overwhelming amount of comments and ideas. I can’t tell you how amazing the input was. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

We did a new activity this year by using SurveyMonkey®, an online survey program. People were amazed at how they could sit at home and come up with wonderful ideas and take the time to do it and not be put on the spot at a meeting. A lot of those ideas came from that, making this truly a public-engaged project. In addition, the presentation of the plan was phenomenal and our video put it right over the top. It brought tears to some members of the committee when we saw it, because it really just told the story. The public engagement this round was the best we’ve ever had for anything, and I’ve been involved in local waterfront revitalization programs and comprehensive plans. You could see it when more than 200 people showed up for the announcement. That is just unheard of. We were told by some of the state DRI staff that it was one of the best turnouts they ever had. We have websites for the city www.fulton.ny.gov, the Fulton Community Development Agency www.fultoncda.com, as well as www.ilovefultonny.com and I Love Fulton NY on Facebook and Twitter as well as. We’ve just been getting tremendous support on all those venues. Q.: When can Fulton residents expect to see some tangible results from the DRI funding? Are there any projections for when initiatives will be implemented? A.: In terms of seeing tangible results, we don’t have a lot of information yet, but we are trying to schedule a meeting in the near future with appointed officials from the state. Once that information gets out there, we want to be able to provide a public engagement type of media that will let people know what to expect. I know a lot of people have questions in regards to what the money will be used for, when the money is available and when results will be realized, and these are all questions that we have as well. Oswego won in the first round of the DRI, so I am sure things have been streamlined since then and activities are probably a little more straightforward. It’s kind of a live-and-learn type process in the beginning. I’ve been talking with other awardees in the region and they said the same OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

thing, that it’s very difficult in the beginning. It was a new program, and even state officials had to go through and find out what worked and what didn’t. I’m hoping that maybe it will be a little bit quicker. We anticipate that it will probably be a year before we see any activity. Q.: What needs to be done during the planning stages of projects associated with the DRI? A.: A local planning committee will be tasked with putting the plan together and getting input from all of us. We were told that not only will there be a consultant to serve as a goto for the group, but there will also be state appointees, our DRI committee and stakeholders that will act as a steering committee. There’s going to be many different facts of input into this, and it’s not only just for this $10 million DRI and possibly $60 million in leveraging. This is going forward on what the vision of our downtown is going to be. Even though it’s a short-term goal for this plan for the next two to three years, I think it’s going to carry us into our downtown development for years to come. Q.: Has the city of Fulton learned from the city of Oswego’s experience of being a DRI awardee? A.: I had a nice conversation with [city of Oswego] Mayor [William “Billy”] Barlow at the announcement and I told him right up front, “We could really take some pages out of your book. You’ve done such a wonderful job.” This is a great opportunity for us to live and learn from what they did to be able to prosper. We have some plans around our river, and they are not only plans for economic development, but also housing and recreational activities. We’re trying to include everything we can. We feel that the river has been an untapped resource for a long time in the city of Fulton, and now this is going to give us an opportunity to really utilize it. Q.: Will riverfront development be a focal point for DRI spending? A.: While the river creates a great natural view, we weren’t sure how people were going to react to development along the river. But the majority of the comments OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

and ideas that came out of public engagement talked about getting projects done on our riverfront. One of the most unique projects that came out of the public engagement was having a Riverfest on the river, complete with a water fire show. We just thought that was wonderful, and why not have a restaurant there with waterfront seating to add to what we already have with Tavern on the Lock and a couple of other restaurants? The riverfront is underutilized, and we really just want to make sure it is a focus of our future development. Q.: In an effort to make Fulton more pedestrian friendly, a system of eight trails will connect city parks, points of history and other Fulton landmarks. How essential is this measure insofar as improving the quality of life in Fulton goes? A.: This goes back to 2002 when we initially wrote our comprehensive plan. We updated it in 2003 and again in 2016. Most of our language in there speaks of making the city pedestrianfriendly. There is a bridge walk right now that features people walking around the bridges, but there are trails identified in that comprehensive plan. The Fulton Footpaths group — led by Marie Mankiewicz and Brittney Jerred — took it to the next level by doing a feasibility study on how we can get these trails done. That actually helped secure the first $900,000 for phase one to get the two multi-use trails started along the Oswego Canal — the Pathfinder Canal Towpath Trail and the Canalview Bridge Walk. We are going to complete that walk around the bridges with signage, lighting, benches, trash receptacles and information kiosks that will present some history of Fulton at certain locations. Also, the north and central sections of the Pathfinder Trail will run from Indian Point Landing down to the West Broadway Bridge, which includes a strip between the canal marina and the library. There are a lot of great plans for that space, including new steps that were secured through funds from Assemblyman William Barclay’s (R-Pulaski) office located right behind the Veterans’ Park. That will actually tie the upper trail that is the bridge walk trail down to the Pathfinder Trail.

By Lou Sorendo 79


Critic Nukes Subsidy Deal Anti-nuke group irate over fallout of state bailout agreement


n anti-nuclear group is taking aim at the state subsidy deal that is keeping Oswego County nuclear power reactors afloat. The Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) heavily criticized the fact that the cost to subsidize Central New York nuclear plants is increasing by $57 million a year, mainly because electric prices are low. New York utility ratepayers are charged about $540 million a year, up from $483 million, to bolster the two nuclear power facilities in Oswego County — Exelon’s Units 1 and 2 nuclear power facilities at Nine Mile Point and the James A. FitzPatrick plant, along with the R.E. Ginna plant in Rochester. Exelon — which owns all four reactors — considers its two reactors 80

By Lou Sorendo at Nine Mile Point as one facility. The nuclear subsidy payments, first implemented in 2017, are scheduled to increase every two years unless market prices for electricity rise. The goal is to guarantee the nuclear plants enough income to stay afloat, with subsidies making up any shortfall from what the plants earn in the wholesale market. The subsidies occurred on the heels of both Exelon and Entergy — then owner of the FitzPatrick plant — saying they would shutter the plants unless they received financial help from the state in 2016. However, Tim Judson, executive director of the NIRS, claims the increasing cost of the nuclear deal reinforces its criticism of subsidizing aging reactors. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

The NIRS is an anti-nuclear group founded in 1978 to be the information and networking center for citizens and organizations concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation and sustainable energy issues. “What other industry gets to come to the ratepayers or taxpayers and demand money because they are not making sufficient profits?” he asked. Alluding to the 2008-2010 bailout of the auto industry, Judson said, “It seems that if you are a big and powerful enough industry, you can do that.” “When the county used to fund schools or increase taxes to fix roads, nuclear plants were the first in line to ask for a payments-in-lieu-of- tax OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

agreement to reduce costs associated with property taxes,” he added. Judson is also chairman of the Board of Citizens Awareness Network, one of the lead organizations in the successful campaign to close the Vermont Yankee reactor. He is also co-founder of Alliance for a Green Economy in New York. Judson said there is a “basic question of fairness” when looking at the subsidy deal. “When New York state deregulated the electricity market 20 years ago, ratepayers were charged over $1 billion to pay off the standard costs on the reactors as part of the transition,” Judson said. “The deal was that this was the last time ratepayers were going to have to cough up the extra money to support nuclear plants. Now here we are 20 years later, and the industry is asking us for a handout.” He said NIRS’ contention has been the reactors in Oswego and Wayne counties are aging reactors that are going to have to close at some point, he said. “The state needs to plan for that transition and these subsidies are just kicking the can down the road very expensively without providing any meaningful economic transition for the host communities,” he said.

Offers counterpoint Tammy Holden, senior site communications specialist for Exelon Generation, said over time, natural gas production has increased significantly, and energy prices have declined dramatically, challenging the sustainability of the nation’s carbon-free nuclear plants. “The wholesale markets are designed to provide electricity reliably and cost effectiveness but have failed to value nuclear energy’s resiliency and environmental benefits,” she said. To continue operating these plants, policy reforms that properly valued nuclear power for its reliability and environmental benefits were necessary, Holden said. New York’s Upstate nuclear plants save New Yorkers $1.7 billion on their electricity bills annually, according to a 2017 report by The Brattle Group. Additionally, the plants contribute approximately $3 billion to the state gross domestic product, account for nearly 25,000 direct and OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

secondary jobs, provide more than $140 million in taxes and avoid 16 million tons of carbon (valued at $700 million), according to the same study. “Preserving these plants allowed New York to maintain the environmental and economic benefits they bring — carbon-free energy and low electricity costs for consumers,” Holden said. Holden noted New York state recently established one of the nation’s strongest policies to address the urgency of climate change with the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), aimed at eliminating emissions from electric generation by 2040. She said nuclear energy is a critical carbon-free resource and Exelon Generation’s three nuclear facilities provide approximately 42 percent of New York’s carbon-free electricity and play an important role in meeting these aggressive targets. Holden said Exelon Generation invests in state-of-the-art technology and keeps the plants in excellent condition, resulting in carbon-free power generation more than 95 percent of the time. “All carbon-free resources, including nuclear, are necessary to achieve New York’s aggressive goals aimed at combating the immediate climate crisis. Without the three nuclear facilities, costs would be higher, emissions goals would be out of reach and the effects of climate change would persist,” she said. Judson said Constellation (former owner of Units 1 and 2) and Entergy “made massive profits” off the reactors for the first 10 years that they owned them. “Ratepayers didn’t get a rebate when they were making up to 100 percent per year profits on those reactors, but now here we are years later being asked to give them a subsidy because they are afraid of the risks inherent in the market,” he said.

CES to the rescue Holden said due to market conditions, the state’s nuclear energy plants were not economically viable several years ago and would have prematurely retired if New York did not adopt the Clean Energy Standard. The CES is a clean energy goal designed to fight climate change, reduce harmful air pollution, and ensure a diverse and reliable low carbon OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

energy supply. The CES acknowledged nuclear generation’s positive environmental attributes, she added. Environmental attributes aside, without these nuclear facilities, consumers would pay approximately $1.7 billion more annually and almost $15 billion in higher market prices over the next 10 years, according to a Brattle Group study. “The CES leveled the playing field for all carbon-free resources, including nuclear energy, which has significant environmental and reliability benefits,” Holden said. “New York’s CES values all low-carbon energy sources, including wind, solar and nuclear.” Judson noted the nuclear subsidy pact is a “fundamentally wasteful program. We could be spending our dollars much more cost-effectively to build up a new energy industry in New York that will have a long-term impact as opposed to what’s coming, which is a deadline when these plants are going to be closing anyway.” Holden said New York has a history of advancing nation-leading energy policies, including the CES and corresponding zero emission credits program, and the recent CLCPA. “Several states have followed New York’s lead with the implementation of similar programs acknowledging nuclear generation’s role in fulfilling clean-energy policy initiatives, particularly when it is cost-competitive with renewable forms of electric generation,” she said. Holden said by maintaining these nuclear plants, New York is leveraging its existing investment in technology and reaping the benefits of carbon-free energy and low, stable consumer pricing. The nuclear subsidy deal is a 12year program ending in 2029. Judson said two of the four reactors that are being subsidized are going to see their operating license expire that same year. “They are going to be closing anyway. The amount of benefit that the public ostensibly is going to receive from mitigating carbon emissions is getting less each year this program goes on, and it has to pay more in order to support this,” he said.

Environmental stance Holden said carbon accumulates 81

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in the atmosphere the same in 2019 as it will in 2029. “Any amount of carbon that can be avoided by running nuclear instead of fossil is valuable, more so in the future as the costs to society of climate change increase,” she said. These costs include recovering from severe storms and flooding damage, heating and cooling during periods of extreme weather and reduced crop yields.” Holden said the premature closure of these nuclear plants would undo most of the clean energy progress made to date and jeopardize New York’s ability to meet its new goals before the CLCPA program even begins. “These plants do not have to shut down. Their licenses can be extended if stakeholders determine it’s necessary as a cost-effective way to combat climate change,” she said. In terms of the program itself, Judson said energy efficiency was largely disregarded in the equation. “The Public Service Commission was given a directive by the governor to provide subsidies for these nuclear reactors. There were other options presented by the public as an alternative, and one of them was to actually invest in energy efficiency programs in the state,” he said. He said a study showed if New York had ramped up its energy efficiency programs like in other states, the state could have been reducing electricity demand by 2030 by as much power as the four Upstate reactors generate every year. Judson said that would have resulted in a net cost savings to ratepayers of $3 billion, which would actually have been a greater reduction of ratepayer costs compared to what it was going to cost the public in increasing renewable energy generation in the state. “They could have actually increased renewable energy up to 50 percent and reduced electricity consumption, and that would have resulted basically in a net cost savings to consumers. Instead, the PSC decided that energy efficiency just wasn’t part of the scope of its decision that they were making, so they opted to subsidize the nuclear plants instead, which is costing $7.6 billion instead of saving ratepayers money,” he said.

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Integrative Medicine: How Far It Has Come By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ven 15 years ago, integrative medicine — using alternative health modalities to complement Western medicine — was pretty rare. Since then, blending many approaches to wellness into integrative medicine has become nearly mainstream. Physician Kaushal Nanavati, board-certified in integrative medicine, assistant professor of family medicine and medical director of integrative therapy at Upstate University Hospital, has worked in medicine in Central New York for 23 years and has observed the shift. He brought integrative medicine to Upstate in 2011. “More faculty are getting board-certified in integrative medicine,” Nanavati said of physicians at Upstate. He believes that consumer demand for complementary health drives the trend. Once he became board-certified in integrative medicine, he said his patients seemed to feel freer to tell him about non-prescribed supplements and other things they were trying on their own to improve their health. “A lot of times, conventional therapies alone don’t help people feel better,” Nanavati said. “Or conventional providers don’t have an answer. Many health issues come from inflammation or some root cause. Conventional medicines don’t reduce disease but tend to stabilize or reduce the progression of it.”


He advocates improving nutrition, physical activity, stress management and spiritual wellbeing to form the foundation for supporting good health, along with trying modalities that can promote these. Nanavati said that even many conventional medicine physicians who don’t use these tools are beginning to refer patients to providers like himself — even other family doctors. “We try to address root causality and get deeper into the history and context of the person’s life like their parental history, financial, spiritual, nutritional and more,” Nanavati said. “People are looking at the root causality to resolve their issues.” Integrative medicine also tends to see more patients with complex medical issues who want to improve the quality of their lives instead of addressing symptoms with multiple medications. For this to happen, patients need a care provider who will partner with them on their journey toward good health. Nanavati views this perspective as a return to family medicine “the way it’s supposed to be,” he said. Physician Az Tahir, who practices holistic integrative medicine at High Point Chiropractic Wellness in Syracuse, began his career in traditional medicine until he attended seminars featuring celebrity physician Andrew Weil. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Weil promotes healthful eating, herbs, supplements and stress management to promote health. Tahir found that following the suggestions improved his health, including arthritis, blood pressure and weight. “Integrative medicine is getting popular,” he said. “Even some prominent universities are getting branches on integrative approaches and functional medicine is widely accepted.” Like Nanavait related, Tahir said that more patients now feel empowered to mention to their conventional doctors that they were using complementary medicine. He also knows more care providers involved with integrative health or who are at least willing to refer patients to those providing it. Amber Gilbo, licensed massage therapist, reiki master and yoga instructor, owns Integrative Healing Spa in Oswego. She said she noticed an increase in referrals from medical doctors to her practice over the past decade. She even has a contract with the VA Medical Center, she said. “There’s more awareness and education that therapy can help them,” Gilbo said. “It works on the root cause, not just treating symptoms.” She thinks that continued education for traditional providers on the benefits of complementary medicine will help the growth of integrative medicine. “We’re working to create a synergistic relationship with traditional medicine and wellness therapies,” she said. She cited the VA as an example of making progress in adapting integrative medicine, including using acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic, all of which she said are “extremely beneficial.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

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Vaping: How Much More Damage Will it Take? Recent vaping death makes FDA threeyear plan for youth restrictions feel like a millennium By Joshua Mansour, M.D.


espite the recent vaping death, the FDA is still allowing e-cigarette makers until 2022 to submit their plans for preventing underage access to their products. But is that too late? While e-cigarettes and vaping were initially intended to help adults quit smoking traditional cigarettes, they have managed to entice younger individuals to pick up this dangerous habit. The colorful packaging, different flavors — it all looks seemingly harmless. These devices were and still are marketed as “being safer,” although they can lead to nicotine addiction, harmful side effects of frequent nicotine 86

use, irritation to the lining of the lungs and hospitalization. Additionally, a new wave of adverse effects has surfaced, many of which are affecting children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now investigating several cases of severe lung disease that is linked to vaping in over a dozen states recently. There have now been over 100 recent cases. Why is this attracting the younger population? One reason is that there remains a façade that this isn’t as dangerous as smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. Many of the possible side effects that we have seen with conventional cigarette OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

smoking, which is now marketed and outwardly displayed to the public, is not done so with electronic cigarettes and devices. This, of course, can be because not enough time has passed to show a correlation or causal relationship. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist though. It took decades before doctors believed that there was a case against cigarettes. It is now known to be the deadliest artifact in the history of human civilization. Unlike the foul taste and musty odor of its earlier counterpart, the new e-cigarettes have a multitude of flavors and colorful packaging available that attract many people. Eddie Fatakhov, integrative medicine and board-certified internal medicine physician, suggests that “this could contribute to the fact that the CDC has seen a decrease in cigarette smoking among teens, but unfortunately a change to a surge in the use of vaping products”. He states that cutting out these flavors would likely make the big difference in their current appeal to teens. What are the different dangers associated with vaping? Although part of it is yet to be understood in its entirety, which is OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

scary, there are already several known dangers. A countless number of these products include a variety of chemicals that have not been tested. Joseph Allen, an environmental scientist at Harvard University, co-authored a study published this year in which they tested over 35 cartridges and 35 different electronic-cigarette liquid products. In many of these, they found microbes and microbial toxins (some of bacteria and fungus) that can have adverse respiratory effects. Patients thus far have experienced shortness of breath, fatigue, weight loss, coughing and even severe lung disease leading to lung collapse. Both the long and short-term repercussions are not fully understood at this time as the FDA does not require the manufacturers to list all the ingredients in these devices. Therefore, there may be unknown carcinogens that may increase a person’s overall risk to cancer compared to someone that does not smoke. In addition to the several lung issues caused and being investigated by the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now investigating over a hundred reports of neurological conditions, including seizures, following e-cigarette usage. Many of these devices contain extremely high concentrations of nicotine, which we know can have both and ad-

‘In addition to the several lung issues caused and being investigated by the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now investigating over a hundred reports of neurological conditions, including seizures, following e-cigarette usage.’ dictive and detrimental effect, even at low doses. Several of the symptoms of nicotine include, but are not limited to tremors, increase in heart rate, profuse

sweating, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and even seizures. Furthermore, the euphoric effect of nicotine lasts for a short period of time, leading individuals to use it more frequently and later require more of it to receive this buzz. There is already data on several of the harmful effects of these devices, with even more set to come. FDA officials have urged others “who have experience unexpected or product issues to report them through the federal agency” as several health issues continue to surface. As more information continues to pour in from hospitals, clinics, physicians, and patients it remains important to know the several health risks associated with vaping and to inform others. Although there remains a lot to be discovered, one thing is for sure: this must be addressed and fast.

Joshua Mansour is a board-certified hematologist/oncologist working and in the field of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cellular immunotherapy in Los Angeles, California. In June 2019 he was a recipient of the ‘40 Under 40 in Cancer’ award. Abstracts, manuscripts, and commentaries by Mansour have been published in U.S. News & World Report and more than 100 other journals and media outlets.

Excellus BCBS Ramps Up Efforts to Curb E-Cigarette Use and Boost Education


xcellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Booth recently ordered clarifications to its own workforce policies to ensure the current ban on smoking in the workplace of tobacco products also applies to non-tobacco products as safety concerns are mounting regarding e-cigarettes and vaping. “Most laws and workplace policies are historically oriented to tobacco-based products, so we thought it was worth the effort to draw attention to the safety concerns of e-cigarettes while also strengthening those policies we can control,” said Booth. The health plan provides its employees and its commercially insured members with a free program that offers nicotine replacement products (patches, lozenges and gum), counseling, medication recommendations


and help guides. Booth further directed the plan to broaden community education initiatives regarding the dangers of vaping, particularly among young people. “There’s nothing hazy about the resolve of the state Legislature and governor on the issue of vaping among young people,” Booth said, citing a law that goes into effect in November that bans the sale of such products to anyone under the age of 21. Excellus BCBS just issued a new educational poster, “E-Cigarettes: What You Need to Know About Vaping.” The poster highlights findings from various surveys and experts who report that one in four New York high school students vaped in 2018, a rate that is 160% higher than what was reported in 2014. “While scientists are still studying the long-term side effects of e-cigarettes, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

their use among young people can lead to chronic coughing, bronchitis and wheezing,” said physician Stephen Cohen, senior vice president and corporate medical director. “This is a product that is way too easy to get and to get hooked on because of the addictive nature of nicotine.” The educational poster has been shared with the New York State Center for School Health and is now being distributed to school nurses throughout upstate New York. More than 100 posters have already been distributed to Onondaga County school nurses, for example. The health plan’s provider relations representatives are also in the process of delivering the educational posters to pediatrician offices throughout upstate New York as a method of reaching both parents and children. 87

Veteran Health Benefits Revised By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


he VA Maintaining Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act (VA Mission Act), which Congress passed and President Trump signed last year, rolled out some important changes in June. Among changes in the Veterans Administration enacted by the VA Mission Act, veteran health benefits are now useable at providers other than at the VA, with a few stipulations. “The changes not only improve our ability to provide the health care veterans need, but also when and where they need it,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in a June statement. “It will also put veterans at the center of their care and offer options, including expanded telehealth and urgent care, so they can find the balance in the system that is

right for them.” Some critics believe that expanding veterans’ options represents a means of dismantling the VA Health System; however, others view the VA Mission Act as a way to empower veterans about their healthcare and lighten the burden on the VA providers. Since healthcare providers — whether the VA or a private entity — are experiencing a provider shortage with no end in sight, opening up the options to other choices makes sense to physician Az Tahir, who practices holistic integrative medicine at High Point Chiropractic Wellness in Syracuse. “The number of patients is a very, very big issue,” Tahir said. “Some patients have multiple issues. The VA alone cannot solve some of these issues. The

ideal approach is complete medicine.” Reducing the patient load will likely help the VA recruit and retain care providers, offer increased continuity of care and allow more time for doctor visits. The VA already refers patients out to practitioners such as Amber Gilbo, licensed massage therapist and owner of Integrative Healing Spa in Oswego, who said she often receives patients sent to her by a VA doctor. But to obtain a referral, a patient must first obtain a visit, which can be difficult when providers at the VA are booked well in advance. Excessive waiting lists across the VA Health System represents a top reason for the legislation, so veterans relying on their veteran health benefits could seek whatever provider they wish. “I think it will be extremely beneficial,” Gilbo said. “The VA has made a lot of progress with that. They’ve had programs with acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic. “I think they are making strides in creating a more comprehensive care for veterans.”

Most U.S. Parents Say Vaccination Should Be Requirement for School: Poll


ore than eight in 10 U.S. adults say kids should be required to get vaccinated in order to attend school, but far fewer trust the safety of vaccines, a new poll finds. The nationwide poll from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health sampled 1,550 adults (704 parents and 846 others) and found 84% support rules requiring schoolkids to be vaccinated against diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella. Thirteen percent oppose a requirement. But only 54% think vaccines are “very safe” for most kids. Thirty-six percent say vaccines are “somewhat safe,” and 8% say they’re “not very” or “not at all” safe. Respondents also have little trust 88

in the information about vaccine safety coming from public health agencies. Thirty-seven percent say they have a “great deal” of trust in the agencies; 47% “somewhat trust” them, and 15% have “little” or “no trust.” “The public’s limited trust in both childhood vaccines and public health agencies makes room for anti-vaccine sentiment in exemption policy debates,” said Gillian SteelFisher, director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program. Respondents between 18 and 34 years of age were less likely than those 65 and older to consider childhood vaccines “very safe” (48% vs. 61%) or to trust public health agencies for vacOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

cine safety information (31% vs. 44%), according to the poll. Fifteen percent of parents with children under age 18 say they have delayed or not had their kids vaccinated due to safety concerns. “Public health agencies need to partner with trusted health professionals, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, in order to protect public policy support for vaccines and ultimately children,” SteelFisher said in a university news release. The poll was conducted July 30 through September with a random sampling of U.S. adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

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Success Story

By Lou Sorendo Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County Executive Director Karrie Damm. She joined CAC in 2010.

The Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County Under the leadership of Karrie Damm, nonprofit agency in Oswego takes on a crippling threat to youngsters: child abuse


uccess isn’t always about dollars and cents. Oftentimes, the number of lives one saves is a more accurate measurement. With sites in Fulton and Pulaski, the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County is a nonprofit organization that serves as a safe, child-friendly site for the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse. Guided by executive director Karrie Damm, the agency confronts one of the most challenging aspects of society: child abuse. The CAC attempts to provide a cushion for youngsters who arrive to tell their stories. “One of the major things we do here is try to take something that is potential-


ly a really scary thing and make them feel comfortable,” said Damm at the CAC’s Fulton site, 163 S. First St., Fulton. The key is to make them understand “that they are not the only ones. Plenty of kids come in here and have to talk about bad stuff that happens,” she said. Upon entering the facility, a chalkboard wall greets visitors and allows children to literally write on the walls. While children are waiting, they have the opportunity to interact with age-appropriate toys, play sets and puzzles. This environment is in stark contrast to the space devoted for forensic interviews. Youngsters coming in for the first time will most likely meet with members of the local multi-disciplinary team that OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

includes personnel from Oswego County-based law enforcement agencies, Child Protective Services, the district attorney’s office and the CAC’s own forensic interviewer — Aimee May — who works on site. The forensic interview involves collecting facts associated with “difficult” crimes against children, such as child abuse, child sexual abuse and physical abuse, Damm said. Children meet with May, a military veteran and retired sergeant with the Fulton Police Department. May is a “very neutral, friendly person who is also very direct in getting details, so we know what kind of charge there is, or if there are no charges involved,” Damm added. Adjacent to the interview room is an observation area attended by law enforcement personnel who want to know details such as how often the alleged incident occurred and where it occurred. This information is critical when OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

questioning the alleged perpetrator, and is vital in terms of the type of charges an alleged perpetrator may be facing as well. The CAC features victim advocates on staff that then meet with parents of youngsters aged 2-18 in age-appropriate settings. However, the CAC can offer therapy for patients up to age 21 or older if they have a developmental disorder or are neurodivergent. As of mid-August, CAC had conducted 70 interviews this year, which is about two children coming forward to tell of a crime every week. Damm dons a pin which says, “One too many.” Nationally, studies show that one out of every 10 children is abused before his or her 18th birthday. Another startling statistic is that someone the victim liked, lived with or loved abused the child more than 90% of the time. “It could be a best friend’s dad, or maybe also their family member,” Damm said. “And they had access to them.” Part of the forensic interviewing process involves a non-emergent medical exam. That is when a medical practitioner collects data and DNA, looks for scarring and bruising, and determines if the child is healthy or not, or whether

Child Abuse: Oswego Ranks Among the Worst in NYS Karrie Damm, executive director of The Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, said Oswego County has traditionally been ranked among the worst counties in the state for child abuse. “We were one of the worst,” said Damm, noting a high point was reached right around the time that Erin Maxwell died in 2008. On Oct. 5 of last year, Alan Jones, who was convicted of killing her, was released from state prison 10 years after her strangling death while living in abusive conditions. A study done by Cornell University following 11-year-old Maxwell’s death indicated that Oswego County — based on the number of abuse incidences per capita — was among the very worst in the entire state. “I don’t know what that is today, but I think we’ve moved the needle a little bit,” Damm said. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

they require further treatment. Damm said a clean bill of health bodes well from a mental health perspective as well. “If they know no one is going to tell they were abused by just looking at them, then they are better off,” she noted. Oswego County-based child abuse cases that come through the New York State Office of Children and Family Services’ Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment or through law enforcement get reviewed at the CAC in order to establish services that victims require. The number of children that are treated at the CAC varies year to year. The highest-ever year was 525 children. Last year, it was down to 468. Damm noted the number fluctuates between 450-550. As of mid-August, the staff at CAC had handled more than 1,500 therapy sessions this year. CAC has four therapists on site in additional to three interns. It formerly ran its Pulaski location with its current staff, and that will change thanks to a $1.3 million grant the CAC received from the state Office of Victim Services that is expected to kick in Oct. 1. Damm noted the grant will enable the agency to increase its organizational capacity in Fulton and also fully staff the North Country location, 3850 state Route 13, Pulaski. “What it does is ensures we are more efficient and have more timely services available for children and their families,” Damm said. She said given the significant amount of therapy sessions, there is a waiting list of 70 children that need services. “As you can imagine, that is not something we are OK with because these children are the most in dire need of services,” she said. “We try to utilize our other partners in the community, such as other mental health agencies and lots of private practitioners as well, and they are full too. There is such a mental health need,” she said. Grant funds mean at least four new positions can be added at the agency. The CAC coordinates efforts with its multi-disciplinary team, an allegiance with is necessary for the agency to accomplish its goals. “We couldn’t do this work without our partners, and that includes law enforcement, the Department of Social Services, the district attorney’s office OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

and probation department, medical personnel, the county Health Department and other nonprofits,” Damm said. The key to continued success is being able to “navigate all the folks who are doing this really important work with us,” she added.

Steady growth at the CAC

When Damm arrived at the CAC in 2010, she was one of four staff members. After nine-plus years, that number will most likely be about 15 or 16. Prior to CAC, she worked as the director of child welfare services for The Salvation Army of Syracuse. Before that, Damm worked as a clinical director for Catholic Charities of Oswego County and as a mental health therapist with the Victims of Violence Program at Liberty Resources in Oneida. Damm, who earned her master’s degree at Syracuse University, has a license in marriage and family therapy, and also owns her own private practice — CNY Marriage & Therapy Place — in North Syracuse. Damm initially had the intention to attend medical school, and spent a year following her undergraduate work volunteering at a hospital operating room. “The part of the operating room that I really liked was going out and comforting families while they were waiting for their people in the recovery room. To me, that’s been my driving force. It’s finding a comforting place when crisis happens,” she said. Among her strengths is a passion for the job. “I think I have natural leadership ability and the ability to connect to people,” she said. Her two mantras are that relationships with others are vital and the only constant is change. “I have the ability to go with the flow and to grow and make sure that we are keeping up with the times and learning new things,” said Damm, noting awareness of certain illegal practices arise probably a year or two after they have already become a trend in the underworld. “We have to stay on our game and can’t just let moss grow,” she said. The field had changed dramatically since Damm jumped in 20 years ago. With the advent of the internet, child pornography, exploitation and trafficking have come into play. “The things that children are subjected to are getting more dangerous and it is becoming more for profit,” she said. “People are utilizing children for 91

their own benefit.” When Damm first arrived on the scene, she noted youngsters from the Pulaski, Sandy Creek and Altmar-Parish-Williamstown areas of the county did not have the resources to seek out services at the primary site in Fulton. She acquired a startup grant for a satellite site that became reality eight years ago in Pulaski. “It was really just bare bones, and it grew over time,” she said. Damm said that growth hasn’t been without its challenges. She said in lean times, questions arose as to whether the Pulaski site was being used to its maximum potential, and it would be placed on the chopping block every so often. “I knew I had to go to bat for it. I knew that this is important and there was stuff going on with kids who were not able to tell or not able to get the support they needed along with their families,” she said. “It was worth fighting for.”

Justice for all

The CAC’s family advocacy program includes case managers and advocates who specialize in helping families navigate the court system. Advocates, armed with degrees in public justice, help to break cases down to understandable levels. CAC’s mental health team then convenes with families to delve through the trauma and stress and attempt to make sense of their now heavily disrupted lives. The nonprofit agency contracts with state agencies such as the Office of Victim Services and Office of Children and Family Services. About 90 percent of funding comes through contracts, and then CAC also bills insurance companies for mental health counseling services. It also received funding through the United Way and relies on cultivating partnerships and community donors. The CAC’s annual Wing Fest allows participants to test local chicken wings of area eateries while Eagle Beverage provides beverages and volunteers. Demand is high for CAC services, particularly the specialized trauma-focused, cognitive behavioral therapy that it performs. It offers a group for parents due to the trend of non-protective parents “who are either looking the other way, just don’t know how or are struggling with their own substance abuse or mental health issues,” Damm said. 92

Community members joined staff of the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County recently to celebrate its Summer Bash. Tours of the facility in Fulton were available and the public had an opportunity to see how CAC’s team of professionals care for the county’s most vulnerable children. “The demand is high for parents to complete our PROTECT parenting group, which aims to increase protections for kids in vulnerable circumstances,” she said. Damm said the agency is seeing a stark rise in this trend because of the substance abuse issues that are going on with adults, and that’s when kids get neglected. “When kids get neglected, that’s prime opportunity for pedophiles to be able to come in and have access,” she added. Damm said it is essential to focus on parenting. “We need to make sure parents are paying attention and getting their mental health needs met, and then it’s OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

helping kids feel better so they don’t go on to harbor this their entire lives, can get an education and be productive in life,” she said. Another significant service in great demand is CAC’s Safe Harbor advocacy team. “We’re building a critical team in Oswego County consisting of other agencies that are becoming aware and are able to educate themselves and ask questions because of the neglect that’s going on with kids,” she said. Damm said youngsters are running away from home and may end up “couch surfing,” or spending evenings at different houses. “That means they are vulnerable for exploitation and trafficking, whether OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

it’s in the form of child pornography or it’s survivor sex, such as the need to perform a sexual act in order to be able to spend the night somewhere,” she added. A factor exacerbating the situation is poverty. “These kids don’t have anything,” said Damm, noting that staff has conducted training with schoolteachers to build awareness of the association between poverty and abuse. “We’re saying, ‘OK, if you see kids coming in and they’ve got brand new sneakers, and you know their family is not able to afford brand new sneakers, that just might be someone you want” to give special attention to, she said. The new behavioral health center being planned for the city of Oswego will help support the CAC’s mission. “What we’re hoping is that the parents that come in here who are struggling with their own mental health and substance abuse issues will finally have a place where they can get some real treatment,” she said. “They can get in, get seen and don’t have to be on a wait list forever.” In addition, the CAC will be able to partner with the Oswego Health staff at the new center.

Ever vigilant

The demand for increased services is inevitable, Damm said, and she said the CAC has to be prepared for more cyber crimes happening on cell phones and computers. The CAC director said the CAC also carefully monitors the mental health of its staff due to the stressful nature of its work. “There’s this concept called ‘vicarious trauma,’ which means you will forever see the world in a different way because of your life experience or some sort of traumatic event you watched or witnessed,” she said. “Vicarious trauma happens to every single person who does this work. We will never look and see things the way we used to.” In order to combat compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress, Damm looks for “compassion satisfaction. “I look at all the beauty in the world too. You can’t just look at the bad people or have a skeptical mind. You also have to take note of the beautiful things, the families that are very healthy, and the dad that has got his kid on his shoulders and is not going home to abuse. So I’m constantly looking for the beauty in the world too,” she added. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

U.S. College Students’ Marijuana Use Highest in 35 Years: Study


ollege students’ use of marijuana in 2018 was at the highest level seen in the past three-anda-half decades, according to the University of Michigan’s annual national Monitoring the Future Panel study. In addition, vaping of marijuana and of nicotine each doubled for college students between 2017 and 2018. Researchers collected information from about 1,400 respondents, aged 19 to 22, and found that about 43% of full-time college students said they used some form of marijuana at least once in the past year, up from 38% in 2017, and previous month use rose to 25% from 21%, the Associated Press reported Thursday. The 2018 rates are the highest found in the annual University of Michigan survey since 1983. About 6% of college students said they used marijuana 20 or more times in the past month, compared with 11% of respondents the same age who weren’t in college, the AP reported. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“It’s the frequent use we’re most worried about” because it’s associated with poor school performance and can harm mental health, researcher John Schulenberg said. In the United States, marijuana use is greater among college-age adults than any other age group, the AP reported. Thirty-day prevalence of vaping marijuana also increased for college students from 5.2% in 2017 to 10.9% in 2018, a significant 5.7 percentage point increase. Among noncollege respondents, 30-day prevalence was level at 8% in 2017 and 2018. “This doubling in vaping marijuana among college students is one of the greatest one-year proportional increases we have seen among the multitude of substances we measure since the study began over 40 years ago,” said John Schulenberg, principal investigator of the Monitoring the Future Panel Study. 93

Bruce Phelps At 94, co-founder of Fulton Tool Co. reminisces about his many years in the machining industry

days. I had a crank telephone on the wall when I was a kid. Today, we have phones that probably have more information than any of the biggest computers IBM ever made back in the day.

Q.: What are your plans for the future? A.: I never planned on retiring. I continued from p. 15 came out of a merchant’s family, and a merchant doesn’t retire. I a lot of people like that who don’t work as hard as I used would help. Operation Osweto. I work mornings from go County is probably one of 8-11 and afternoons from the greatest things that hap1-3. Fulton Tool is going pened to the county. Thanks to continue whether I am to them, we found new ways here or not. There are 48 to finance and get with banks. machine shops in Oswego I don’t think we would have County, and right now my made it without Operation dream is to see a school in Oswego County. Oswego County that will teach machinists. It always happened at BOCES, and Q,: Can you talk about they turned out some of the the devastating fire that greatest people you can have, leveled the business in and I still have one or two 2003? that were trained at BOCES. A.: We’ve had some great There was a time when we times at Fulton Tool and some went to BOCES and hired bad times. We had a fire in just about every graduate. 2003 that totaled the building. I’ve invited the association to While devastating, it turned come in and talk to folks, and out to be good for us because I’d like to get a school going. then we had the opportunity I can get the curriculum from to ask, “What market do we Ohio University, and I’d like really want to work in?” and to be able to train people on then we would tool for that blueprint reading, machining market. There’s times that has and estimating. It’s a 10-week paid off and other times when course that can be done over it’s been a little difficult. The the web. We have skilled market treated us well and Entrepreneur Bruce Phelps at his shop in Fulton last people, but many skilled things turned around. year. File photo. people are retiring. We are fortunate in that we brought Q,: Did you have good on six people last year, and insurance coverage at the Q.: What technological changes have been able to train three. They time? have changed the landscape of have become good operators. I would A.: Jane Garvey, our office the machining industry? like to be able to bring on six people manager, worked for us before the A.: In the old days, there were and keep all six. Right now, we are fire, and said to me, “You have got three handles you had to crank before making the engine for the M-60. That to have the right kind of insurance.” locking up a machine and doing is one of our larger jobs that runs evShe advised me to add replacement all the things you are supposed to ery day on several machines. We are cost to the policy for a small increase make quality work. Today, the part is backed up more than a year on that in premiums. We had one of the new programmed before it hits the shop. work. We have a good management machines — a horizontal CNC mill — The program is put into the computer team, and I think that is why we are that I don’t think cost anymore than on a machine that follows that prodoing so well. $50,000. When we replaced those, gram. Once in a while, there will be a we got equipment that was worth mistake that has to be corrected. We Q.: At 94, how do you manage to $500,000. Looking back at that time, have made parts on those machines stay sharp and active? we collected $5.8 million in insurance with 200,000 bits of information in A.: I’ve had trouble with balance, that went toward a new building, them. Knowledge doubled from 1850 and suffer from macular degenerareplacement equipment and payand 1950, and it doubled again in the tion that results in impaired vision. I roll. That gives you an idea of how ensuing 15 years. From that point, it’s use a screen reader to read text on a important it is to have right people at doubled every five years. By 1995, computer. I have a private trainer that the right time working for you. knowledge was doubling every 72 I work with twice a week. 94



Thomas Griffith

Business Owner Transition and Charitable Planning

F ‘Whether it is unexpected happenings like the “5 Ds” (death, disability, disaster, divorce and disagreements) or the planned changes such as retirement and incorporating the next generation into a family business, the earlier the succession planning begins, the better chance of success.’

Tom Griffith is vice president of development for the Central New York Community Foundation. He can be reached at tgriffith@cnycf.org or 315-8835544. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

or many business owners, a business sale is more than a transaction; it’s a How Does It Work? major life transition. In the simplest case, a cash gift to charity Their business is often the largest asset can be made either before or after the sale of that they own, as well as the key part of the business. As long as this is done in the their financial and estate plans. What’s same year as the sale, a tax deduction will more — their business has likely played help offset the income received. The needed an important role in shaping their daily tax deduction is often much greater than the life and identity. client’s annual charitable giving. Using a A failure to fully align the sale of a donor-advised fund, the gift can be made in company with their personal plans could the year needed and grants may be distributpotentially undermine the long-term ed from the fund to support charities of the wealth preservation and family engageclient’s choice for many years into the future. ment opportunities afforded by the busiThe cash gift, while simple, does not ness deal. This is especially true for owners maximize the tax advantages of gifting. A with charitable components to their plans. preferred approach would be to gift stock or At a recent forum I attended on the ownership shares to a donor-advised fund subject of business ownership, the main prior to the business sale. When the sale octhemes were collaboration and transitions. curs, the fund receives the proceeds from the Preparing for a business sale involves sale for its portion. This creates a charitable assembling a team of advisers, reviewing deduction similar to gifting cash, and also financial and estate plans, assessing the avoids taxation on any capital gains embedded transition and creating a plan of action. This in the ownership because work really needs the fund is administered by to begin early in the Guest Columnist a tax-exempt public charity. business formation, Using a donor-advised because you never fund at a local entity such as the Community know when a transition will occur. Foundation also provides ongoing charitable Whether it is unexpected happenings planning support. Whether it is legacy planlike the “5 Ds” (death, disability, disaster, ning or engaging future generations in giving, divorce and disagreements) or the planned there are often extensive resources to deploy. changes such as retirement and incorpoFor example, the Community Foundation’s rating the next generation into a family flexible discernment process allows donors to business, the earlier the planning begins work at their own pace with a range of tools with a collaborative team that works with to develop their legacy plan. Staff members the business owner’s values as their guide, are available to facilitate family meetings and the better chance of success. to help donors maximize use of their fund as The forum also highlighted the adtheir needs change over time. vantages of having people-focused skills There are also more complex planning and how retaining an adviser with that tools that can be incorporated into a business specialty can be of value. That may mean sale. For example, charitable remainder trusts a psychologist to help coach the business can be used to create income streams for owner on how to have difficult conversaheirs while ultimately creating a charitable tions with key employees or a life coach resource. This type of trust planning can be to help plan a purposeful transition into useful for wealth distribution and addressing retirement; both areas play a big role in spendthrift or creditor concerns with heirs. overall success of a business transition if Another tool is the charitable lead trust, which planned and executed well. creates an initial charitable resource but allows Also, by incorporating effective charifor tax-efficient transfer of the trust corpus to table discernment and planning, business heirs in the future. owners can reduce estate tax, avoid capital Regardless of your charitable client’s gains tax, create a charitable income tax needs, proper planning can result in a more deduction, reduce tax to heirs and generate tax-efficient and comprehensive result for charitable resources to help the now former their financial and estate plans as well as the business owner and their family achieve inclusion of a steward to their charitable plan. their desired impact. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS



Founder of Fulton Block Builders making progress, one neighborhood at a time continued from p. 17 its 2018 Block Challenge program. “The work they have been supporting throughout the county has been truly transformative,” she said. “I believe the key to winning the first award was my deep understanding of the ‘Healthy Neighborhood’ revitalization program approach. I was asked to meet with board members to explain my plan, and they believed in what I shared because it was based on the successes the Oswego Renaissance Association (ORA) had already experienced.” The ORA promotes and facilitates neighborhood revitalization through a variety of programs in the city of Oswego. Eagan said since that first award from the foundation, the road to success became instantly paved. Kathy Fenlon, foundation chairwoman and former executive director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, explained the “transformative” nature of the FBB program at the organization’s kickoff event in 2018. In attendance were more than 250 awardees, volunteers and funders. Fenlon noted the FBB program not only had a huge impact in the community, but was also leveraging additional funds from other sources. The foundation chairwoman also noted FBB was also growing in capacity and finding ways to generate funding to sustain projects and services. FBB continues to grow in sponsors in 2019, allowing the group to broaden its programming efforts. Eagan said that “ratios, ratios and ratios” have been the keys to sustaining this high level of momentum. “We are able to demonstrate to our supporters how each dollar they donate to the program is doubled with the matching 2-to-1 Shineman Foundation grant,” she said. “Furthermore, for every $1 FBB pays out to resident awardees, those home owners are spending three to four times as much, even though only a 1-to-1 match is required.” “Participating homeowners collectively have invested three and a half 96

times the amount that was granted,” she noted. Eagan noted the FBB geographic investment serves a broad range of incomes. FBB Block Challenge awardees have received matching grants from $63.50 to $2,000. “A few even outlined the work that they would complete, yet asked for no money from FBB. They said they wanted to support their neighbors,” Eagan said. However, in other “Healthy Neighborhood” initiatives, the need for challenges does not go on endlessly. “It is predicted that in approximately 10 years the scales will have tipped in the favor of ‘Healthy Neighborhoods’ and Fulton city pride,” she said. The new norm will be continuous investment in properties because residents will have the confidence that their investment will pay off, she added. “FBB will continue to monitor and advocate for this change as we move forward,” she added.

Support from CenterState CEO Meanwhile, Syracuse-based CenterState CEO is now serving as FBB’s fiscal agent. Eagan described this bond as a “fantastic relationship.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“They have been easy to work with and extremely supportive of the FBB program,” she said. The new allegiance features support from the likes of Assemblyman William Barclay (R,C,I, Ref-Pulaski); Thomas Schneider, president and CEO of Pathfinder Bank; Andrew Fish, senior vice president, business development, CenterState CEO; and Katie Toomey, executive director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce. Eagan said enhanced recognition and the opportunities to form connections are the benefits of the CenterState CEO alliance. “There seems to be a stronger recognition among businesses, with more connections being made,” she said. FBB has brought on 13 new business sponsors to date this year. “Fundraising continues to be very time consuming, yet rewarding,” she said. FBB recruits non-city residents to score applications. Eagan said the committee uses a weighted matrix, allowing members to give each application a score. An average of individual scores is used to determine the block score. The group then meets to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the applications and determine awards. This year, the anonymous scoring committee spent two weeks carefully reading the applications and ultimately awarded 21 blocks $174,685,25 in grants to 214 participants. Eagan addressed what the future holds in terms of the organization and the homeowners in Fulton that it serves. “The ‘Healthy Neighborhood’ approach takes into consideration that positive changes are not sustainable without broad resident commitment to involvement and to neighborliness,” she said. Eagan provided an update on the status of establishing “pride grants” like those that are featured through the ORA. Pride grants assist neighbors in implementing projects and improve streetscapes, parks or add cohesion to a neighborhood. Pride grants were recently introduced in the FBB program this year. “We have two blocks participating. One has come together as a group to install exterior lampposts to make their neighborhood more welcoming,” she said. “The second is helping an area church with exterior improvements to its property. “We hope to grow the Pride Grant program and continue to promote it.” OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

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: OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

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Rodmon King Chief diversity and inclusion officer at SUNY Oswego steps up to leadcommittee seeking to connect campus-city communities Q.: Can you give us a sense of what your new role is as chairman of the Campus-City Relations Committee? A.: I came on as a member in the fall of last year when [city of Oswego] Mayor [William “Billy”] Barlow appointed me onto the committee. As chairman, I really want to further collaboration and connection between the campus community and the greater Oswego community. There are some established events in which the committee engages, such as off-campus housing and student involvement fairs on campus, but there are opportunities to explore deeper community building work. As chairperson, I want to ensure that for both the campus and greater Oswego communities, everyone understands what CCRC does and how CCRC can be a resource for them. Q.: What does the committee consist of? A.: It’s a cross-section of our intersecting

communities. We have a representative from the Oswego Police Department and a representative from the Common Council, as well as some local business owners including some landlords. We have local residents and representatives from SUNY Oswego’s student government, as well as staff from the college that include myself and Wayne Westervelt, the chief of communications officer at the college. Q.: How does your role as SUNY Oswego’s chief diversity and inclusion officer help you in terms of skills needed to be chairman of the committee? A.: Overall, I have a community-building role at the college. Part of that role is listening deeply to people in order to understand their needs, and then helping those people connect to the resources that can help them get their needs met. It is also part of my role at SUNY Oswego to recognize the needs of other community members. These skills are directly transferable into my role as chairperson of CCRC. It’s vital for the college and city to have a

By Lou Sorendo close, reciprocal relationship. Things that affect the city and town of Oswego can directly affect campus, and vice versa. Q.: Any action plans? A.: One of the first steps I want to take is to listen to community members, business people, students, and all the stakeholders to determine what needs are being met and what further work needs to be done. Then, we can plan from there. I really want to get some feedback on whether we are meeting the needs of the community and I want the committee to examine our existing practices and look for places where we can innovate. We want to maintain and develop resources to meet the needs of local residents and members of the campus community. I want to make sure that anybody coming to the college or to any local employer for a job looks at our community and says, ‘Yes, this is the place for me.’ Q.: How can the committee upgrade the quality of life in Oswego? A.: Upgrading the quality of life in Oswego is not something that the CCRC can do by itself. This is a collaborative community wide effort and I know that CCRC can have a role in facilitating community collaborations and support ongoing community building efforts. A lot of work is happening already. [SUNY Oswego] President Deborah Stanley is co-chair of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Committee and has worked with that body to foster economic development in Central New York. Mayor Barlow has been very active in securing funds for development projects for the city. Supporting these and other efforts is crucial. Q.: What skill sets do you bring to the table that enhances the role of the committee? A.: There are two central skills that I bring that I believe can enhance the committee. First is a focus on evidence-based practices. I want to make sure the work that CCRC does is supported by and based upon evidence of their effectiveness. Second is a dedication to building bonds of trust throughout the community.




Auto Technology & Services CDL-A (Tractor Trailer)

CDL-B (Dump Truck) Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

The Center for Career and Community Education at the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation


Heavy Equipment Maintenance & Operations Welding