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Fulton Companies’ Engineer Gets ‘Innovator of the Year’ Award

OSWEGO COUNTY

BUSINESS $4.50

June / July 2018

OswegoCountyBusiness.com

INSIDE New Leadership at WRVO-Public Media

June / July 2018

$4.50

Striking Out on Their Own

Six businesswomen share the secret to their success Also: ‘Mompreneurs’ on the Rise


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We are accepting sted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting ort! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a loved one is considering t! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a loved one is considering st six months and greatly appreciate ted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting t! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! Ifteam you or arehabilitation loved one isor considering and benefit package, comfortable and and benefit package, comfortable and ence we would love to meet you. individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services and benefit package, comfortable and Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents Residence insupport Oswego, NY. Our mission to provide our residents enter that provides is a family owned and Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission isis to provide our residents a family owned and and general to help people overcome or adapt to their and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their supportive team atmosphere and high center that provides rehabilitation center that provides a family owned and and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their rehabilitation center that provides rst six months and greatly appreciate provides a competitive and comprehensive wage Morningstar is a family owned and operated Morningstar is a family owned and operated at (315) 343-0880 or at (315) 343-0880 or Morningstar is a family owned and operated ed nursing and and benefit package, comfort and supportive and benefit package, comfort and supportive team at (315) 343-0880 y, activities or dietary. Please give us a call. We activities or dietary. Please give us a call. We hieve their individual best quality of life. eve their individual best quality of life. and benefit package, comfort and supportive team activities or dietary. Please give us a call. We eve their individual best quality of life. sisted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting best quality of life. Contact: Paula Whitehouse Contact: Paula Whitehouse residents to our fourth floor! We have ot a clinician and would like to work in housea clinician and would like to work in houseContact: Paula Whitehouse pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com a clinician and would like to work in houseResidence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their ort! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a loved one is considering t! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a loved one is considering with an active and comfortable environment that promotes with an active and comfortable environment that promotes Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents et you! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! Ifteam yousupportive or a NY. loved one isand considering with an active comfortable environment that promotes adapt to their physical and cognitive adapt to their physical and cognitive benefit package, comfortable and and benefit package, comfortable and dapt to their physical and cognitive and benefit package, comfortable and enter that provides Morningstar isand aand family owned and operated Morningstar isand aafamily family owned and operated and benefit package, comfort supportive s!Thank a family owned skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that a family owned skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that inis Oswego, NY. Our mission is tohealthcare provide our residents Morningstar is owned and operated a family owned and skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that individuality and independence. We provide services comprehensive wage omprehensive wage quality care and service. quality care and service. team atmosphere high mprehensive wage quality care and service. Morningstar isalove family owned and operated competitive and comprehensive wage provides anursing competitive and comprehensive wage Gardens is acare family owned and operated Assisted Living UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center iscenter working we would to meet you. idence we would love to meet you. isted living community being developed in Oswego We are accepting dence we would love to meet you. mosphere and high t! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or aloved loved one is considering Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! IfIf you or aand one is considering you Oswego Onondaga County! 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We dence we would love to meet you. their individual best of life. ieve their individual best of life. physical and cognitive limitations so as to achieve their individual individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services activities or dietary. Please give us a call. We eve their individual best quality of life. individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services supportive team atmosphere and high supportive team atmosphere and high with an active and comfortable environment that promotes supportive team atmosphere and high with an active and comfortable environment that promotes comprehensive wage quality care and with an active and comfortable environment that promotes killed nursing and lled nursing and atmosphere and high quality care service. competitive and comprehensive wage provides a competitive and comprehensive wage competitive and comprehensive wage provides a competitive and comprehensive wage with an active comfortable environment that promotes The Gardens aand family owned and operated Assisted Living The Gardens acare family owned and operated Assisted Living lled nursing and sted living community being developed inwage Oswego NY. We are accepting competitive comprehensive wage provides acommunity competitive and comprehensive The Gardens isiscognitive ais family owned and operated Living skilled nursing rehabilitation center that skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that The Gardens issupport now accepting residents to our fourth floor! We have had skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that and general to help people overcome or adapt to their age, comfortable and ge, comfortable Residence in Oswego, NY. 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We have best quality of life. a family owned and omprehensive wage pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com quality care and service. residents to our fourth floor! We have pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their eet you! et you! and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their t you! best quality of life. age, comfortable and n center that provides center that provides and benefit package, comfort and supportive team and benefit package, comfort and supportive team individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services in NY. Our mission is to provide our residents Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents enter that provides and benefit package, comfort and supportive team Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents supportive team atmosphere and high individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services a very successful first six months and greatly appreciate the community individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services supportive team atmosphere and high supportive team atmosphere and high provides a competitive and comprehensive wage Morningstar is a family owned and operated Morningstar is a family owned and operated supportive team atmosphere and high sed Practical Nurses, qualified home health aides and personal care aides. Morningstar is a family owned and operated competitive and comprehensive wage competitive and comprehensive wage provides a competitive and comprehensive wage with an active and comfortable environment that promotes provides a competitive and comprehensive wage The Gardens is a family owned and operated Assisted Living The Gardens is a family owned and operated Assisted Living UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working competitive and comprehensive wage provides a competitive and comprehensive wage The Gardens is a family owned and operated Assisted Living ssisted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting sisted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting Waterville Resdiential Care Center is a 92 bed, family owned UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working physical and cognitive limitations so as to achieve their individual isted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting Life in Balance atmosphere and high tmosphere and high UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working mosphere and high skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that and general support to help people overcome adapt to their and general support to help people overcome oror adapt to their atmosphere and high d comprehensive wage comprehensive wage quality care and service. quality care and service. general support to help people overcome or adapt to their atmosphere and high quality care service. rt! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or aloved loved one is considering !nter Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! Ifteam you orand abest one considering comprehensive wage in early 2017! Stay tuned! quality of life. quality care and service. Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! 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If you or a loved one is considering and benefit package, comfortable and and benefit package, comfortable and and benefit package, comfortable and enter that provides ssed a family owned and a family owned and comprehensive wage wage quality care and service. quality care and service. a family owned and mprehensive wage quality care and service. to open its community outpatient therapy service nsed Practical Nurses, qualified home health aides and personal aides. best quality of life. best quality of life. 17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 • 315.342.4790 re and service. best quality life. UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working ckage, comfortable and age, comfortable and is considering an assisted living residence we would love to meet you. Please a very successful physical and cognitive limitations so as to achieve their individual age, comfortable and and independence. We provide healthcare services individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services mosphere and high individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services supportive team atmosphere and high supportive team atmosphere and high first six months and greatly appreciate the community a very successful first six months and greatly appreciate the community isted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting team atmosphere high aphysical successful first six months andpeople greatly appreciate the community atmosphere and high quality care service. provides aand competitive and comprehensive wage provides a2017! competitive and comprehensive wage Waterville Resdiential Care Center is a92 92 nsed Practical Nurses, qualified home aides and personal care aides. 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Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a one support! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a loved one and general to help people or adapt to their www.morningstarcares.com support! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a loved one best quality of life. to open its community outpatient therapy service contact Paula Whitehouse at (315) 343-0880 or pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com nsed Practical Nurses, qualified home aides and personal care aides. and operated skilled nursing and rehabiltation facility located The Gardens is now accepting residents to our fourth floor! We have had The Gardens is now accepting residents to our fourth We have had and service. and benefit package, comfort and supportive team and benefit package, comfort and supportive team The Gardens is now accepting residents to our fourth floor! We have had and benefit package, comfort and supportive team physical and cognitive limitations soWe as to achieve their individual individuality and independence. provide healthcare services individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services supportive team atmosphere and high supportive team atmosphere and high supportive team atmosphere and and operated skilled nursing andrehabiltation rehabiltation facility located and operated skilled nursing and rehabiltation facility located to open its community outpatient therapy service to open its community outpatient therapy service atmosphere and high quality care service. provides acommunity competitive and comprehensive wage provides awage competitive and comprehensive wage and operated skilled nursing and facility located to open its outpatient therapy service support! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! Iffloor! you or a high loved one provides a competitive and comprehensive wage care and service. re and service. continuum based here in Central NY. Please contact Joe Murabito re and service. best quality of life. best quality of life. UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working best quality of life. tmosphere and high comprehensive wage omprehensive wage quality care and service. quality care and service. omprehensive quality care and service. 17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 • 315.342.4790 and operated skilled nursing and rehabiltation facility located The Gardens is now accepting residents to our fourth floor! We have had The Gardens is now accepting residents to our fourth We have had is considering an assisted living residence we would love to meet you. Please The Gardens is now accepting residents to our fourth floor! We have had age, comfortable and a very successful first six months and greatly appreciate the community n center that provides enter that provides enter that provides to open its community outpatient therapy service to open its community outpatient therapy service ensed Practical Nurses, qualified home health aides and personal care aides. nsed Practical Nurses, qualified home health aides and personal care aides. tar Residential Care Center. . . . to open its community outpatient therapy service sed Practical Nurses, qualified home health aides and personal care aides. 17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 • 315.342.4790 17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 • 315.342.4790 care and service. re and service. UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working 17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 • 315.342.4790 is considering an assisted living residence we would love to meet you. Please is considering an assisted living residence we would love to meet you. 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The facility is part a92 health care provider comfortable and We accepting applications for Licensed Practical Nursed, www.morningstarcares.com contact Paula Whitehouse atmonths (315) 343-0880 or pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working Waterville Resdiential Center is a92 92 bed, family owned Waterville Resdiential Care Center abest bed, family owned support! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! Iffloor! you or acommunity loved one Life in Life in Balance Waterville Resdiential Care Center isis a bed, family owned atmosphere and high d comprehensive wage comprehensive wage Life in Balance quality care and service. quality care and service. comprehensive wage quality care and service. The Gardens is now accepting residents to our fourth floor! We have had The Gardens is now accepting residents to our fourth We have had support! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! Ifthe you or a had loved one support! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! 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Please contact Joe Murabito atmosphere and high atmosphere and high tmosphere and high 17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 • 315.342.4790 and operated skilled nursing and rehabiltation facility located 17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 • 315.342.4790 17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 • 315.342.4790 and operated skilled nursing and rehabiltation facility located is considering an assisted living residence we would love to meet you. Please 17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 • 315.342.4790 and operated skilled nursing and rehabiltation facility located is considering an assisted living residence we would love meet you. Please to open its community outpatient therapy service is considering an assisted living residence we would love to meet you. Please home health aides and personal carePractical aides. isWe considering an assisted living residence we would love to meet you. 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Gardens now accepting residents our fourth We have had best quality of life. The isisfacility now accepting residents to our fourth floor! We have had very successful first six months and greatly appreciate the community (845)-750-4566 or Judy Harding (315) 525-4473 gstar Residential Care Center. . . (845)-750-4566 or Judy Harding (315) 525-4473 tar Residential Care Center. . (845)-750-4566 or Judy (315) 525-4473 to open its community outpatient therapy service to open its community outpatient therapy service (845)-750-4566 or Judy Harding (315) 525-4473 tar Residential Center. . . Waterville Resdiential is a 92 bed, family owned to open its community outpatient therapy service are and service. e and service. Life in Balance e service. We are accepting applications for Practical Nursed, in NY. facility is part of a health care provider in Waterville NY. The facility is part of a health care provider We We are accepting applications for Licensed Practical Nursed, in Waterville NY. The facility is part of a health care provider We are accepting applications for Licensed Practical Nursed, www.morningstarcares.com www.morningstarcares.com www.morningstarcares.com contact Paula Whitehouse at (315) 343-0880 or pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com contact Paula Whitehouse at (315) 343-0880 or pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com in early 2017! Stay tuned! UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working contact Paula Whitehouse at (315) 343-0880 or pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working support! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a loved one support! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a loved one m atmosphere and high atmosphere and high www.morningstarcares.com support! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a loved one 17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 • 315.342.4790 atmosphere and high contact Paula Whitehouse at (315) 343-0880 or pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com is considering an assisted living residence we would love to meet you. Please w.morningstarcares.com continuum based here in Central NY. Please contact Joe Murabito continuum based here in Central NY. Please contact Joe Murabito Community Outpatient Therapy Service Open continuum based here in Central NY. 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91881_CC_Ad_Vert

T: 9.75” x 13.75”

B: none

4c

Say hello to healthy. NOCHSI is now ConnextCare. Say hello to ConnextCare, Oswego County’s largest connected primary care network. And while our name may be new, our physicians and staff are the same familiar faces from NOCHSI. They’re just a little more connected. To you. Learn more at connextcare.org, or better yet, stop in to one of our six main sites and say hello.

JUNE / JULY 2018 91881_CC_Ad_Vert.indd 1

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

3 5/23/18 11:34 AM


JUNE / JULY 2018 Issue 156

PROFILE CAROL SWEENEY

Entering her 10th year as president of the Agricultural Society of Oswego County, which sponsors the Oswego County Fair, this Sandy Creek resident talks about her journey and ways to keep the fair relevant and interesting during this digital age...................14

COVER STORY

Striking Out on Their Own — Profile of six women who have succeeded in business despite the odds 56 WRVO Under New leadership — The NPR affiliated based in Oswego has a new leadership 52

Women’s Special Issue

• “Mompreneurs” on the Rise — Higher number of stay-athome moms starting home-based businesses • Time in Antarctica — Oswego alumna, now teaching at Le Moyne, ventures to Antarctica 58

SPECIAL FEATURES Where in the World is Sandra Scott? Chile, voted Lonely Planet’s Best Country to Visit in 2018..................................................... 18 Young Mayor 29-year-old Phoenix mayor making a difference in the village.................................................................................................... 40 I, Robot Yes, one day you may be replaced by a robot..................... 44 Nancy Kush Ellis to Retire After 40 years with Fulton Savings Bank, VP for marketing and HR to retire.............................................. 48 Another Blow to Newspapers Tariffs on Canadian newsprint putting crunch on publishing industry.................................................. 68 Seller’s Market Housing inventory shortage results in hiked prices — good for those selling................................................................ 71 Fair Housing Discrimination still highly prevalent......................... 72

SUCCESS STORY Oliver Paine and his wife, Cindy, own Oliver B. Paine Greenhouses. They talk about growing a family business that’s in its fifth generation.......................................82

Manufacturing

• Expansion — HealthWay unveils home I-air purification system • Innovation — Fulton Companies engineer wins ‘Innovator of the Year’ award • Book — B’ville consultant writes book on manufacturing • Heavy Metal — Fabricated metal industry flourishing in Oswego County, nation •Tariffs — How they will impact Novelis? • Trend — What do CNY manufacturers need the most? 4

DEPARTMENTS On the Job How does summer affect your business?.............................. 9 How I Got Started Randy Sixberry, Port City Collision .......................... 12 Newsmakers................................................................................................... 20 Dining Out Mill House Market, Pulaski.................................................. 26 Business Updates................................................................................................................................ 34 Economic Trends The contenders............................................................... 38 My Turn Should honorary doctorate degrees be eliminated? ............. 42 Last Page Paul Stewart, Oswego Renaissance Association ................ 98 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

JUNE / JULY 2018


GLOBAL REACH LOCAL ROOTS Founded in 1949, Fulton is a World Class Manufacturer headquartered in Pulaski, New York. From humble beginnings in an Oswego County garage, Fulton has grown to comprise a dozen locations across three continents. Fulton manufactures complex industrial and commercial heat transfer equipment all around the world, but our commitment to Central New York remains strong. With recent facility expansions in Syracuse, Fulton continues to grow and hire locally.

www.fulton.com FULTON, 972 CENTERVILLE ROAD, PULASKI, NY, 13142

JUNE / JULY 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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ABS — Affordable Business Solutions............................15 Acro-Fab.................................65 Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home...................43 ALPS Professional Services.25 APFW Law.............................13 Amerigas................................21 Ameriprise Financial............57 Barclay Damon......................11 Bond, Schoeneck & King, Attorneys at Law..............26 Borio’s Restaurant.................30 Breakwall Asset Mgmt...........7 Brookfield.................................8 Builder’s FirstSource............23 Burke’s Home Center...........23 C & S Companies..................82 Canale’s Italian Cuisine........30 Canale’s Insurance & Accounting .......................41 Century 21 Galloway Realty...........................16, 25 Century 21 Leah Signature...........................57 Chase Enterprises..................83 Christy’s Motel......................17 CNY TDO...............................85 Colosse Cheese Store............11 Community Bank..................51

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ConnextCare — A Community of Care...........3 Crouse Hospital.....................99 Dental Health Solutions.......45 Dusting Divas........................65 Eastern Shore Associates Insurance...........................45 Eis House................................30 Exelon Generation.................87 Financial Partners of Upstate (David Mirabito)..............61 Fitzgibbons Agency..............25 Foster Funeral Home............61 Fulton Community Development Agency......15 Fulton Companies...................5 Fulton Oswego Motor Express...............................51 Fulton Savings Bank.............45 Fulton Tool Co.......................85 Gary’s Equipment.................21 Greater Oswego Fulton Chamber of Commerce...17 Haun Welding Supply, Inc...22 J P Jewelers.............................17 Johnston Gas..........................25

Laser Transit...........................85 Local 43 (NECA EBEW).......87 Longley Brothers...................47 Mimi’s Drive Inn...................30 Mitchell Speedway Printing..............................47 Mr. Sub....................................30 NBT Bank.................................6 Nelson Law Firm...................61 North Bay Campground......17 Northern Ace.........................21 Novelis..................................100 NYS Parks..............................27 Operation Oswego Co..........99 Oswego County Federal Credit Union.....................43 Oswego County Mutual Insurance...........................41 Oswego Co. Stop DWI..........43 Oswego Health .....................93 Oswego History Collaborative....................17 Over the Top Roofing...........21 OVIA Insurance Agencies....37 Pathfinder Bank.....................57 Patterson Warehousing........51

Port City Collision ................17 Port of Oswego Authority....84 Rainbow Shores Restaurant / Mill House Market...........30 RiverHouse Restaurant........30 Riverside Artisans.................17 Rudy’s Lakeside Drive-In....13 SBDC – Small Business Development Center........47 Scriba Electric.........................23 Servpro of Oswego County.22 Sun Harvest Realty...............23 Sunoco.....................................10 SUNY Oswego, Business and Community Dev...............61 Sweet-Woods Memorial.......25 Tailwater Lodge.....................37 The Gardens at Morningstar .2 United Wire Technology......83 Universal Metal Works.........85 Valley Locksmith...................22 Vashaw’s Collision..................8 Volney Multiplex...................23 Watertown Industrial Center of Local Development.....37 White’s Lumber & Building Supply................................22 Woodland Acres Townhouses........................7 WRVO.....................................96

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NBT Commercial_7.25x4.75_Oswego County Business.indd 1

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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JUNE / JULY 2018


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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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State-of-the-art Repair Facility

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269 West 2nd Street Oswego, NY 13126 Phone (315) 343-7406 Fax (315) 343-0820 www.vashaws.com

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John A. Vashaw • John M. Vashaw

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

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo

Columnists

L. Michael Treadwell Bruce Frassinelli, Sandra Scott

Writers & Contributing Writers Deborah Jeanne Sergeant Payne Horning Maria Pericozzi

Advertising

Peggy Kain Ashley Slattery

Office Assistant Kimberley Tyler

Layout and Design Dylon Clew-Thomas

MAKE SAFETY A PRIORITY!

BE CAUTIOUS WHEN RECREATING NEAR HYDROPOWER FACILITIES. WATER CONDITIONS CAN CHANGE QUICKLY AND WITHOUT NOTICE.

Pay attention to your surroundings and respect all signs and warning signals.

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 © 2018 by Oswego County Business. All rights reserved. Third class postage paid at Syracuse, NY. Permit Number: 244

How to Reach Us

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

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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

JUNE / JULY 2018


ON THE JOB How Does Summer Affect Your Business? “It changes it from weekly, general business in winter to being especially busy during summer. It goes up about 60 percent. I think it’s because we feature a dining area outside.” Martin Borio, co-owner/operator Borio’s Restaurant, Cicero “It’s very active in the spring and rolling into summer. We get more listings in the summer, which is what we need with inventory getting low. We work around vacation times for the families looking to buy. It picks up Sept. 1. But it’s always pretty active.” William Galloway, broker/owner Century 21 Galloway Realty, Oswego “In my industry from Memorial Day to Labor Day business traditionally slows down. We try to budget for this and use this time for training, continuing education, getting in our vacations and brainstorming new programs. We also offer outdoor boot camps and our free wellness Wednesday classes in Clinton Square.” Randy Sabourin, owner Metro Fitness, Onondaga County “It’s pretty steady. It’s wedding season now. At least prom is over. Oh, my, it’s crazy then. I think I sewed dresses for at least six proms and they all had about the same deadline. Prom is only April and May. But wedding season is all summer. It’s spread out.” Patty Haines, owner Seams So Right, Oswego “As a content conversion strategist working from home, summer brings both challenges and opportunities. When warm weather

JUNE / JULY 2018

ushers in a reduction in work flow as clients plan vacations and shorter work weeks, it can be an opportune time to ramp things up with services and offers designed to address this. With my online entrepreneur clients, it’s a great time to create new content and repurpose existing content and the relaxed tempo of summer helps creativity flow for both my clients and for me.” Deb Coman, freelance copywriter, Syracuse “Summer is our high season because we’re in the tourism industry. Those brochure racks at hotels — we own the racks and sell the pockets in them to people across New York and into Ontario, Canada, and into Pennsylvania. We warehouse the brochures. We order enough for the entire term of the contract, six to 12 months. We monitor the displays and go back to them often enough to keep them filled so whenever people go to those locations, the brochures are always available. In the summer, with tourism, the brochures are emptied faster.” Tom Reiter, owner Brochures Unlimited, Hilton. “Summertime increases our business because we have more people walking around. We’re in the heart of downtown. They can see our location. Not many people know about us, so it helps out with the warmer weather and there are more people hitting the sidewalk for lunch.” Darren Chavis, co-owner Creole Soul Cafe, Syracuse “Business picks right up in

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

summer. Summer is what we do. During the winter, we have an indoor tennis facility, which is used more from September to May. We are busiest with tennis in winter but golf and swimming pick up in nice weather.” Anne Flaherty, business manager Drumlins, Syracuse “Our big activity for summer is repairing swimming pool covers. They start to come in the springtime and we work on them all summer as they come in. Also, we do tents, backpacks, boat tops, awnings and summer furniture. There are people who drop off items in the fall and say, ‘I’ll see you in May.’ We have gotten away from being a seasonal business and we’re pretty much equally busy year round. There is no slow time.” Joe Cortini, owner Cortini Shoe Store, Fulton “We do quite a few engagement and wedding bands this time of year and all summer. Obviously, Christmas, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day are prime times. But we’re also busy with repairs all year. It does slow down for the traditional retail sale of general jewelry except for wedding items.” James Pauldine, co-owner JP Jewelers, Oswego “Summer is a slightly slower time for us. But we do quite a few wedding favors, special event orders and of course the weekly farmer’s market on Thursdays. Generally, our busy times are Christmas, Valentine’s and Easter. In summer, we get caught up on other things.” Amy Lear, owner Man in the Moon Candies, Oswego “During summer, we shift gears and have a summer camp for children ages 4 to about 12 with drop-off at 6:30 a.m. and pick-up around 6 p.m. We run all summer long. We still run our tae kwon do classes in the evenings. We also take our demo team all over the community to places like Harborfest, Oswego Speedway and the farmers market, and we did a ‘break-a-thon’ fundraiser for the bookmobile and things like that.” Bernadette Pyor, co-owner Master Pryor’s Tae Kwon Do, Oswego

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New 25 Year SBA 504 Loan The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that it is making available a 504 loan with a 25 year maturity. This loan is in addition to the 10 and 20 year 504 loans that are currently available through the 504 loan program. Small business borrowers will have this additional choice when selecting financing for their long term capital projects. The 25-year loan will lower the borrower’s monthly payments by spreading those payments over a longer term. Interest rates on 504 loans are fixed for the term of the loan. Recent SBA 504 Loan Approvals With the assistance of Operation Oswego County, the projects below recently received or were approved to receive funding through the SBA 504 loan program. • Finger Lakes Stairs & Cabinets, LLC, was approved for $193,000 toward the construction of a new facility in the town of Schroeppel. • Happy Hearts Childcare was approved for $56,000 toward the purchase of a building and renovations in the town of Scriba. • Man in the Moon Candies was approved for $173,000 for the purchase of a building plus renovations in the city of Oswego. • Marmon Enterprises was approved for $143,000 to purchase a building in the town of Williamstown. • Nona Dina Pizzeria was approved for $62,000 toward the acquisition of the business in the town of Hastings. • Off Broadway Dance was approved for $52,000 to purchase and renovate a building in the town of Granby. • Thunder Island was approved for $892,000 toward the acquisition of the business in the town of Granby. • Holiday Inn Express received a $2,513,000 loan to help finance construction of the 89-room hotel in the city of Oswego. • The Eis House received a $152,000 loan to help acquire and renovate the restaurant in the town of Mexico. • Ontario Shores R.V. Park received a $555,000 loan to help acquire and make improvements to the recreational and camping park in the town of Richland. Three additional businesses are currently working with Operation Oswego County to secure SBA 504 loan funding for their projects. JUNE / JULY 2018

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Started How I Got

Randy Sixberry

Owner of Port City Collision in Oswego, in business for 35 years, has survived tumultuous times By Lou Sorendo

Q: You’ve been in business since 1984. How did you get involved in being in business for yourself? A: My dad owned a gas station and tow truck, and would purchase wrecks and get them back on the road. I was 12 when I started, and have always had an interest in cars. Later, I got married and we were living with my sister. I had property, but didn’t have any money. A buddy of mine ended up borrowing $1,000 from his brother, and that’s how we started the business. He worked one year with me. I was the type of guy that was there at 6 in the morning and on some nights, I didn’t go home. I worked around the clock and made sure everything was done. That first year, we bought $6,000 worth of tools. My partner wanted to get out of the business, and I bought him out for $2,000. Q: Have you always wanted to be your own boss? A: I’ve always been like that and never could really work for anybody. Before I created my own business, I worked for Burritt Chevrolet and Big Ben Ford three times and Longley Brothers. I’ve been around. The work there was never steady, and if you were working flat rate, you are not making money. You must have work behind you. While I was at Longley Brothers, I became a born again Christian. I come in here every morning at 6:10. I have the Bible on my iPod and a read couple of chapters and pray a little bit. I go to work at 7 o’clock. Q. What were some of your foremost challenges in the early days of the business? A: I took on a real good friend of mine and gave him half the business, but he actually ripped me off [by misappropriating funds]. I lost $50,000 that year, and I ended up owing everybody in the city money, including Shapiro’s and Stoney’s Auto Parts. I did try to go after my former partner. I scraped up $1,000 for an attorney, but it was a waste of time. I never thought it would happen to me, and I never got a dime back. He started his own little shop. Some people would call me a dummy, but I had his roll-around toolbox and gave it back to help him out. I could have kept that stuff. I forgave him despite never collecting anything back. Q: How did you rebound from that kind of deficit? A: I actually sent letters to my cred-

12

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

JUNE / JULY 2018


itors and wrote if they had patience, I would make good on it. I worked for six years and paid every nickel back. I had a customer who resided at the Pontiac Nursing Home — a Christian as well — who had enough faith in me that he gave me $10,000 to keep going. He called me up out of the blue one day and found out I had lost all that money and I wasn’t in good shape. He told me, “I’ve been praying for you and the Lord wants me to help you.” I took him to my attorney to draw up papers and he gave me $10,000, which kept me going. I did a lot of used cars for Sid Shapiro. He helped me out quite a bit. When my partner did that to me, I owed Sid $25,000. He approached me and said, “We’ll take half the invoice, pay you, and take the other half off the account.” In a matter of five years, that was gone. He treated me well. Q: What other obstacles did you face? A: In 1995, I moved back to West First Street to a back building that I rented from Shapiro. We had a van catch on fire and it burned the building down and we had to start over again. We did have some insurance, but it was not enough. That was kind of tough. I had three or four people working for me then, including a secretary, and Ryder trucks. What was cool about that is the night following the fire, my wife handed me the phone and it was the late Chip Corbett, who owned a collision shop by Novelis. He told me, “Hey, I am sorry for your loss. I am going to get my hips done this winter and you are welcome to have my shop.” As a result, we didn’t lose a day’s work. The fire was on New Year’s Eve of 2002, we were off New Year’s Day, and we went right to work and were still in business. My guys never lost a day’s pay. I bought this place in March of 2003. Q: What has changed in the auto collision repair industry over the years that you have been in business? A: A lot has changed. Paints are nothing like they were. Back then it was all lacquer and acrylic enamel. Now, it is urethane and a base called clear coat. A lot of shops have gone to water borne, which I really don’t want anything to do with. We’re still solvent based. I don’t think you have much trouble with solvent-based paints as you do with water borne. We see a lot JUNE / JULY 2018

of trouble with blending. Many changes have been made due to the Clean Air Act. We get hammered on everything. Every three years, you need to renew a license to do estimates and the business must be registered itself. Of course, lots of insurance is necessary to cover these cars nowadays, which are probably four to five times more expensive now than they were back in the 1980s with electronics and air bags. Today, you must have a scanner now to reset airbags, and also check electronically controlled braking systems. A lot of times, we have to send vehicles to a dealer to have them decode everything and re-flash the computers. Q: What do you drive? A: I drive a 2012 Grand Cherokee that was a wreck I rebuilt. I also have a 2001 2500 three-quarter ton Chevy pickup and a 2003 half-ton. Q: To what do you attribute the business’ staying power? A: When customers come into the shop, I talk to them. I put on all my advertising: “At Port City Collision, you’re not a number. It’s personal.” I want to know my customers. I might have a car longer than anyone else, but I know when it’s done and done right that way. I’m really fair on prices and reasonable on stuff that we do. Customers want it personal. People want to know that you care about them. Q. Have you been thinking about retirement? A: I am 57 now. My nephew Billy Clark is actually the main man here and does most of the work. I do what I can. He went to school to be a machinist and worked for places like Enders Racing Engines. I’ve been thinking about retirement more and more. My family has no interest in it. We have two girls and they don’t want anything to do with it. I think with this business, Billy works hard at it. I always tell him I’m going to leave it to him. Q: What advice do you have for an up-and-coming auto collision specialist? A: Forget about it. It’s too hard. You are actually better off finding an old guy like me that is getting ready to sell and move in with him. I’ve never really hired a guy who worked at another shop. I took them when they didn’t know a lot and trained them here. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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PROFILE By Lou Sorendo

CAROL SWEENEY In her 10th year at the helm, Carol Sweeney epitomizes spirit of Oswego County Fair

T

he more things change, the more county fairs remain the same. This holds true for the Oswego County Fair, which will be featured Aug. 8-12 at the fairgrounds in Sandy Creek. Carol Sweeney, entering her 10th year as president of the Agricultural Society of Oswego County, embraces not only the traditions around the fair but is also thinking in terms of capturing the attention of generations to come. While growing up in Pierrepont Manor in Jefferson County, Sweeney was accustomed to farms in her community. She would visit her grandparents’ farm in nearby Lorraine during the summer, and when of age, would help with crops and learn skills such as shucking corn. “It was a wonderful way to spend summer,” she said. “Today, there’s not a thing kids can’t do and they don’t even have to move out of their spot on the couch,” she said. She said her parents were “very different” from today’s parents in that they underlined the importance of going to school and getting a solid education. “It’s important to learn what you can learn. You need to open your mind and set your course on something,” she said. “You need that background to get there and school provides that if you take advantage of it. “When I went to school, if the principal had called my parents, I would be dead in the road. You just didn’t do that. I didn’t worry about the principal yelling; I was more worried that my parents were not happy,” she said. “I taught so I know the way it is. Today’s parents say, ‘My kid wouldn’t do that.’ Yeah they would do that,” Sweeney said. When she married her husband Gary 25 years ago, they relocated to Oswego County. She now serves as the primary care

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giver for her husband. “I retired at 68 when he had a severe blood infection, so I decided it was time to come home and stay with him. But he’s doing much better,” Sweeney said. She said as a caregiver, it’s extremely important to have a strong support system. Her children and stepchildren help to take care of her mom, brother and husband, she said. “Unfortunately, there are so many things they haven’t found cures for. It’s sad,” she said. In terms of caregiving itself, Sweeney said, “It’s what we’re supposed to do.” The Sandy creek resident graduated from SUNY Cortland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She taught for five years, but stopped when her first marriage failed and she was forced to raise her two children by herself. She met Gary and once comfortable, remarried. “I worked three jobs at one time. It’s hard when you are by yourself raising your kids,” she said. “Thank God I had a four-year degree to fall back on. A lot of young ladies don’t have that. That makes if very difficult for them.” She later worked for Community Action Planning in Watertown, running a program — Project Charlie — that taught children in elementary schools throughout Jefferson County about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. “It was close to home because that OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

is what ruined my first marriage,” she said. Sweeney then worked with a weatherization program for Oswego County before becoming an affordability program administrator for National Grid, an initiative funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. She would later administer the same program that provided weatherization services to low-income customers for their homes at Honeywell. Reaching out to youth At an age when kids are hooked on their cell phones, tablets and social media, it’s a challenge to get them out of the house to enjoy other activities, Sweeney said. The fair director said measures are being taken to attract the younger set. “What we try to do is help parents understand there are a lot of different ways to help their children become well-rounded and good citizens,” she said.’ She said one of those ways is to

JUNE / JULY 2018


see what is offered in Oswego County. Sweeney said her team tries to get different youth-oriented groups in the county to set up displays and talk about what they do. “The youth is why I really enjoy the fair,” she said. “I enjoy seeing us give the opportunity for families to come and be together.” The fair also caters to senior citizens, setting aside one day where various drug stores and agencies such as the county’s Office for the Aging share knowledge with the elderly population at the fair. The fair features a 15-member board and is now a nonprofit organization, having recently earned 501(c)(3) status. Sweeney said that accomplishment is one she is most proud of given the amount of time and money needed to achieve it. Not only are nonprofits allowed to solicit charitable donations from the public, but donors can write off their contributions as well. Agricultural showcase While capturing the attention of youngsters is vital, so is the fair’s ability to showcase the county’s agricultural sector. “I go back every year to remind the board and people who volunteer at the fair that our job is to make sure the public understands how important agriculture is in the county,” Sweeney said. “We really encourage people to go through the buildings and see now important agriculture is in the county.” One year, Christmas trees filled a building as local evergreen growers had an opportunity to showcase their products. The youth building this year will feature a milking cow for youngsters as well as agriculture-related games. She said many young fair goers, even those from small towns, have never seen

Lifelines Birth date: June 12, 1947 Birthplace: Watertown Current residence: Sandy Creek Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in English, SUNY Cortland Affiliations: President, Agricultural Society of Oswego County Personal: Husband Gary; five children (Carol’s son Tim and his wife have three boys and Gary has three grandchildren and one greatgrandson) Hobbies: Reading, walking JUNE / JULY 2018

“The youth is why I really enjoy the fair. I enjoy seeing us give the opportunity for families to come and be together.” a cow give milk. “They never think about it because they get milk from the store,” she said. Born in 1947, Sweeney has seen many other dramatic changes in society, from how women’s roles transitioned following World War II to new technological gadgets such as cell phones. “I’ve seen so many new things it’s ridiculous. My father never would have thought that he would have a phone you could hold in your hand and talk to someone on,” she said. Sweeney noted while she was a freshman at Cortland State, there was one computer on campus and it was housed in a building due to its immense size. “My roommate was a math major, and I would go with her so she could store data on punched cards,” Sweeney said. “Look at how it is today. You are walking around with one. It’s unbelievable.” Born in Watertown, Sweeney turned 71 on June 12. Major inspiration It was former fair director Jerry Thomas and his wife Mary Ellen who were instrumental in bringing Sweeney into the fair fold. About 15 years prior to becoming president, Sweeney was invited by the Thomases to think of ways to make the fair more interesting. “Jerry Thomas was the person who really got me into the fair. I learned so much from him. There is so much to running a fair. It’s a business, and you must have the same skills needed to run a business,” she said. “When I became president, I didn’t realize all the different decisions that have to be made to put on a positive fair,” she said. “I love doing it.” She said a core of volunteers return every year during the fair to help.

continued on page 94 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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Publisher’s note

I

By Wagner Dotto

f you are one of those people who complain there is nothing to do in town, I have good news for you. Rush to the nearest hotel, motel, diner, Wegmans or any high-traffic location in the region and grab a copy of the 2018 Summer Guide — The Best of Upstate New York. Even better, check the guide online at www.cnysummer.com. We just published our 24th annual summer guide and it is one of our best to date. With a colorful, attractive glossy cover, we bring feature stories ranging from paddling along the Erie Canal to enjoying various water parks in the region. My favorite piece is a guide to carousels in Upstate New York. They bring some nostalgic charm and families with small kids should definitely visit some or all of them. On top of the stories, we have more than 1,000 events listed — from Buffalo (the National Buffalo Wing Festival in early September

“destination” guides in the region to promote the tourism industry locally. Over the years, we have invested a great deal on resources into producing and distributing a guide that’s interesting, widely available and inexpensive to advertise in. We’re excited with the new issue. The guide looks a lot more colorful and the colors are sharper, livelier, more eye-catching. As in the past, we hope the guide is an important tool to promote the local tourism industry and the businesses that make this industry work. is a great event to attend) to the Adirondacks. The guide has been successful since the first time we launched it — in 1995. At the time, we had a local tourism industry that was discovering its potential. Ours was one of the very first professional

WAGNER DOTTO is the publisher of Oswego County Business Magazine.

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Where in the World is Sandra Scott?

Chile By Sandra Scott

W

Voted Lonely Planet’s Best Country to Visit in 2018

ith a pacific coastline of 375 miles and the towering Andes on the east, Chile has a variety of adventures to offer visitors. It is the only tri-continental country in Latin America with territories in South America, Oceania and Antarctica where they have a research station. It was voted Lonely Planet’s Best Country to Visit in 2018. Start in Santiago, the capital, with a mix of old and new. Visit the museums that explore pre-Columbian art, the

country’s history, and the new museum that is not for the faint of heart — Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memory and Human Rights) where the exhibits detail the human rights violations and “disappearances” that took place under Chile’s military government between 1973 and 1990. Don’t miss Cerro Santa Lucia, an urban oasis with a castle. At San Christobal Hill ride the funicular to the summit for spectacular city views, walk the trails, botanical gardens and family-friendly

activities. On the top is a gleaming white 72-foot-tall statue of the Virgin Mary, Santiago’s icon landmark that is visible from everywhere in the city. At the base is a chapel where Pope John Paul II said mass. The Santiago Metro is one of the most modern underground railway networks in Latin America. From the city there is frequent bus service to most destinations. Need a respite from the city? Head to the coast. Valparaiso is a port city known for its steep funicular and colorful hilltop homes. It is convenient to Vina del Mar

Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia is characterized by towering mountains, glaciers, and pampas with rare wildlife such as llama-like guanacos. 18

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

JUNE / JULY 2018


with palm-lined streets and sprawling public beaches. In the north the coast is known for heart-stopping surfing. Just a couple hours from the coast there are some of the best Andean ski slopes. Also to the north of Santiago is the Atacama Desert, the driest place on the planet with salt flats, geysers, and some of the world’s best star gazing. In between are the valleys known for growing some of the world’s best red and white wines. Puerto Montt, south of Santiago, is a Chilean city that has the feel of Bavaria. It was founded in 1853 by German immigrants who brought their architecture, customs, and culture with them. Not far away is Chile’s Lake District and Puerto Varas, another town influenced by German settlers as typified by the Sacred Heart of Jesus church with its three towers. It is picturesquely located on Lake Llanquihue with snowcapped Osorno volcano as a backdrop. The most unique way to get from Chile to Argentina is called called Sail to Andes. The day-long trip included ferries across several Andean lakes which are connected by buses that terminate in Bariloche, Argentina. Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia is characterized by towering mountains, glaciers, and pampas (grasslands) with rare wildlife such as llama-like guanacos. Mysterious Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, its Polynesian name, is 2,300 miles from Santiago but it is worth the trip. There is no place quite like it. The archeological wonder is famed for its nearly 900 statues, some 40-feet in height, called Moai, some are on stone pedestals and others are still in the quarry. Visitors to Chile only need a valid passport; US citizens are no longer charged a reciprocity fee. At one time American visitors had to pay a $160 reciprocity fee which was what we charged Chileans for a visa to visit the United States. Credit cards are widely accepted.

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. JUNE / JULY 2018

Vina del Mar with palm-lined streets and sprawling public beaches is one of the top destinations in Chile.

Puerto Varas is another town influenced by German settlers as typified by the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church.

72-foot-tall statue of the Virgin Mary, Santiago’s icon landmark that is visible from everywhere in the city. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

19


NEWSMAKERS NEWS BRIEFS ON LOCAL BUSINESSES & BUSINESS PEOPLE

C&S Ranks 149 on Design Firms List C&S Companies was again recognized as one of the country’s foremost engineering firms by Engineering News-Record (ENR). The magazine’s Top 500 Design Firms rankings for 2018 were published in its April 30 issue and ranked C&S at 149. For the past 10 years, C&S has stayed among top 200 firms nationally, as the firm continues to grow and diversify offerings nationwide. The Top 500 Design Firms list, published annually in April, ranks the 500 largest U.S.-based design firms, both publicly and privately held, based on design-specific revenue. More details can be found at ENR’s website, www. enr.com. C&S is celebrating 50 years of engineering, planning, architecture, and construction services nationwide. The firm is headquartered in Syracuse, with additional offices in Rochester, Albany, Buffalo and Binghamton. It also has offices in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Orlando, Los Angeles and Louisville, among other locations

Rodmon King to Head Diversity at Oswego Rodmon King has been named SUNY Oswego’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, effective July 2. He will be responsible for implementing the college’s strategic diversity and inclusion goals, while leading the cultiKing vation, enhancement and promotion of an environment 20

of equity and inclusion for all at SUNY Oswego. The chief diversity and inclusion officer will report directly to SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley, is a member of the President’s Council and will provide counsel on all matters pertaining to diversity and inclusive excellence on campus. King is the associate vice president for academic affairs and diversity initiatives at Centre College in Danville, Ky., where he oversees the development and assessment of institutional and academic policies, programs and protocols, espe-

cially those pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion. He is responsible for developing and evaluating diversity and inclusion initiatives, programming and training for faculty, students, and staff; investigating bias-related incidents; developing and maintaining a reporting system for bias-related incidents; developing gender identity accommodations; and institutional strategic planning. King received his doctorate and master’s degrees in philosophy from the University of Rochester and a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion and philosophy from Roberts Wesleyan College.

Margaret Scopelianos Joins NBT Bank as New Vice President Margaret Scopelianos has joined NBT Bank as senior vice president and

Oswego County Federal Credit Union celebrated the award 2018 Best Companies to Work for in New York State. From left: Aimee Glerum, Connie Smith, Christine Harriger, Robin Scarantino, Krista McEwen, Brian Cummings, Mary Greeney, Bill Carhart, and Kristin Elkin.

Oswego County Federal Credit Union Named One of ‘Best Companies To Work For’

O

swego County Federal Credit Union (OCFCU) was recently recognized as one of the 2018 Best Companies to Work for in New York State, said Bill Carhart, OCFCU CEO. The New York State Society for Human Resource Management (NYSSHRM), recognized 70 employers recently in Albany as part of this 11th annual program. “We are honored to be among the companies recognized by this award,” Carhart said. “All of our employees form a cohesive, effective team that serves our members well in an atmosphere that’s both rewarding and satisfying.” The Best Companies to Work for in New York list is comprised of companies OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

with operation in New York state, split into three groups: 27small employers with 15 to 99 employees, 19 medium employers with 100 to 249 employees, and 24 large employers with 250 or more employees. OCFCU placed 19th in the Small Employers category. For a complete list, visit nys.shrm.org. “OCFCU serves the financial needs of members from throughout Oswego County,” Carhart said. “Unlike other financial institutions, which need to generate profits in order to satisfy stockholders, we return excess earnings to our members as competitive interest rates on loans, savings and investment accounts, as well as cutting-edge new products and services. JUNE / JULY 2018


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director of cash management and government banking. Scopelianos has more than 25 years • Military Discounts of experience in the financial services • Senior Discounts industry. Prior to joining NBT on Tuesday Bank, she was Grilling has never been easier - just the managing set it and forget it - and let the Traeger director for Bank work its Wood-Fire magic. of America MerTM Traeger’s Wood Pellets are made with rill Lynch’s pub100% pure, natural hardwood giving lic sector bankyou authentic flavor and nothing else. ing division and previously was the treasury We’re here to help! 315-592-2063 solutions execuLOCAL KNOW-HOWTM tive for SpecialWe live where you live. So we know exactly what you need. Scopelianos Store Hours: Location: Contact: ized Industries. Store Hours Location Contact She also has extensive commercial Monday-Friday • 7am-6pm 2721 State Route 3 315-592-2063 Monday-Friday • 7am-6pm Northern Ace Phone: Phone: 315-592-2063 banking experience with Wells Fargo Saturday 3 Find on Saturday • 7am-3pm Fulton,• 7am-5pm NY 13069 2721 State Route Find ususon Sunday • 9am-4pm and JP Morgan. Fulton, NY 13069 Sunday • 8am-3pm Scopelianos has been recognized for her work with awards from multiple OVER THE TOP organizations throughout her career, including the Daughters of Penelope Salute to Women Award for her professional achievements and being a champion for • FLEXIBLE PAYMENT OPTIONS ... including Automatic Delivery • Automatic, Online & Telephone payments. women in the workforce. • Local DEDICATED EMPLOYEES • 24 HOUR Fully Staffed “It’s a pleasure to welcome Margaret 315-564-6938 Emergency Service • World Class Safety to NBT Bank,” said Sarah Halliday, NBT MOBILE Bank president of commercial banking. 315-882-5255 “The wealth of experience she has developed supporting public entities and • Residential & Commercial Roofing businesses with their banking and cash • Seamless Gutters management needs will enhance the • Remodeling services our teams deliver to clients.” Scopelianos, a resident of Ska• Windows, Doors, Siding America’s Propane Company • Reliable, Safe, Responsive neateles, graduated from Pennsylvania www.amerigas.com • Best Roof Warranty Available State University with a bachelor’s degree GUARANTEED Price Programs • 24-hour Emergency Repairs in Russian studies and a concentration Call Today! 1-800-835-7182 OverTheTopRoofingCNY.com in economics. She also completed an international economics program at the University of Exeter in Devonshire, England, and speaks several languages. She is also active in her community as a member of the St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church in Dewitt.

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LaMontagne Joins Operation Oswego County Staff Kevin LaMontagne recently joined Operation Oswego County, Inc. (OOC) as business finance director. LaMontagne will assist with financial underwriting for loan applicants, assist with packaging SBA loans, monitor loans with OOC, the County of Oswego IDA and SBA, and work as liaison to the banking community. LaMontagne, a native of PoughJUNE / JULY 2018

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keepsie, earned a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Potsdam and an MBA in finance and marketing from the University of Iowa. LaMontagne has a background serving as a chief financial officer and has extensive experience in finance and operations at small- to medium-sized family-owned firms, as well as international businesses. He is adept at liaising between clients, bankers, lawyers and CPAs during the course of a project and recently worked with several start-ups. LaMontagne served on Operation Oswego County’s board of directors for six years, including two two-year terms as president of the board. He was also a member of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council from 2011-2015. Among his personal achievements, he is most proud of being an Eagle Scout. LaMontagne has lived in several areas of New York state. He is in the process to relocating to Oswego. LaMontagne “ We a r e very pleased to welcome Kevin to our economic development team,” said OOC executive director L. Michael Treadwell, CEcD. “His background in business finance, his small, medium and start-up business experience and his knowledge of OOC’s operations as a past president of our board of directors, will make him an asset to our staff.”

Robert Butkowski Promoted at Pathfinder Bank

22

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Robert Butkowski has been named Pathfinder Bank’s first vice president of branch administration. His duties will be continuing to monitor and control day to day operations, business development and sales activities of the branch system. “We are excited to announce Rob’s promotion,” said Thomas Schneider, the bank’s president and CEO. “With his strong leadership and guidance of branch staff, Rob has been a key factor in our deposit growth and the expansion of our customer base. His actions are reflective of his strong belief in our values and with this promotion, he will JUNE / JULY 2018


continue to be an integral part of the bank’s operation.” “We are pleased to recognize Rob with this appointment,” said James Dowd, executive vice president chief operating officer and chief financial officer. “Rob’s role with Pathfinder Bank has been instrumental in regards to the operation of our branch delivery system, as well Butkowski as the growth in our deposit portfolio. His leadership skills and industry knowledge have been essential components of our strong recent growth and financial performance. We look forward to Rob playing a more substantial role in the bank’s overall strategic planning process in his new position.” Butkowski first joined Pathfinder Bank in 2010 when he was hired as branch manager of its Cicero branch. After his time in this role, he was then promoted to vice president of branch administration. A graduate of SUNY Cortland with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and management science, Butkowski is also experienced in developing investment and commercial business. He also served as a board member for Childcare Solutions and currently resides in Syracuse with his wife, Tracy, and their two daughters, Riley and Bailey.

Pathfinder Bank Promotes Rusnak to First VP Walter F. Rusnak has been named Pathfinder Bank’s first vice president – finance and accounting, according to Thomas Schneider, the bank’s president and CEO. Rusnak’s primary responsibilities include daily management of the accounting and finance department, internal and external financial reporting, management of the bank’s investment portfolio and direct oversite of the asset and liability management functions. “We are excited to announce Walter’s promotion,” said Schneider. “With three decades of experience in financial management at other institutions, Walter has proven to be an asset to our JUNE / JULY 2018

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team within the short period of time he has been with us, and we are proud to acknowledge his hard work with this appointment.” “With his experience in publicly traded institutions and SEC regulation, Walter has made an impact on our institution,” says James Dowd, executive vice president chief operating officer and chief financial officer. “He has proven to be a significant benefit to Pathfinder Bank and we are excited to see Walter continue to exceed our expectations as our institution grows.” Prior to his time at Pathfinder Bank, Walter was an advisory board member and founding principal of Ovitz Corporation, where he advised and supported the financial operations and corporate governance in a start-up medical device company. Before his role at the Ovitz Corporation, Rusnak

has held several roles in publicly traded banks and regional credit unions across the country. From 1996 to 2002, he held numerous positions at Superior Bank, FSB in Illinois, including vice president and controller, and senior vice president and chief financial officer. In 2002 to 2003, Walter served as senior vice president of finance at Aurora Loan Services, Inc. in Aurora, Colo. He later served as senior vice president and director of finance and administration, as well as chief financial officer, for ESL Federal Credit Union in Rochester from 2004 to 2013. Rusnak is a CPA and received his MBA in finance from the State University of New York, Buffalo with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Canisius College. He is a native of Buffalo, and now resides in Liverpool with his wife, Lauren.

Cynthia Schroeder Promoted at Vision Credit Union Cynthia A. Schroeder, of Visions Federal Credit Union, has been promoted to senior vice president/chief information and innovation officer. S c h ro e d e r has been working with credit unions since she first began her career as a tellSchroeder er. She quickly transitioned into a leadership role in

NOCHSI Changes Name to Connextcare Northern Oswego County Health Services, Inc. has announced it has changed its name to ConnextCare. The health care network, which has served Oswego County residents since 1969, adopted the new name, ConnextCare, to better reflect its growth in staff, services and locations, according to Daniel Dey, president and chief executive officer. ConnextCare, which was founded nearly 50 years ago as NOCHSI, employs a staff of 235 — including a 54-person team of health care specialists — in multiple locations across Oswego County, all integrated into one unified system of care. “We’ve grown quite a bit since we were founded in 1969, in the scope and quality of our services as well as the geographic reach of our care. Our new name, ConnextCare, better communicates the strength of our growing and highly connected system of care,” Dey said. “It signifies that we are more than just one provider, or a single facility. We are an integrated network of care across six locations using the most upto-date technology to deliver the best local care.” ConnextCare recently expanded its service delivery reach from primarily northern Oswego County to the entire county, doubling in size through the acquisition of primary care practices from its community partners Oswego County Opportunities and Oswego Health. 24

Northern Oswego County Health Services, Inc. celebrates the new name of the organization: ConnextCare. From left, Penny Halstead, senior administrative assistant, Richard S. Shineman Foundation; Tricia A. Peter-Clark, vice presidentchief operating officer, ConnextCare; Karen Goetz, executive director, Richard S. Shineman Foundation; Dan Dey, president-chief executive officer, ConnextCare; Michael Backus, chairman, ConnextCare board of directors; and Patrick Carguello, Sr., vice president/chief medical officer, ConnextCare. ConnextCare has six primary care locations and six school-based programs, providing health care services within proximity of every Oswego County resident. The network also recently added several new services, including behavioral health, dental services and diabetes management. The change to ConnextCare does not signify a change in ownership or leadership, according to Dey. “Our new name was developed to better reflect our growth as an organization. Our health care network remains a private, federally funded nonprofit organization governed by a local volunteer board of directors. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Neither the staff leadership or the volunteer board leadership has changed.” Other than new signage, patients will not experience any operational changes due to the name change, according to Tricia Peter-Clark, vice president of operations. The rollout of the new name was recently celebrated with a special breakfast reception for the entire ConnextCare staff and board of directors at the Kallet Theatre in Pulaski. The event included representatives from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation. This project was funded in part by a grant from the foundation. JUNE / JULY 2018


data processing, gaining integrated experience working for four additional credit unions before being promoted into an executive management position with a focus on strategic management, information technology, crisis management, merger acquisitions, data analytics and implementing enhanced information solutions. Schroeder is an active member in the community, currently serving on two local nonprofit board of directors as chairwoman and vice chairwoman, and is involved in many committees that support local nonprofit organizations. She has also served the past five years on the CUNA [Credit Union National Association] Member Resource Council, formerly the CUNA Technology Communication Council. Officials at Visions stated in a news release they are confident that Schroeder’s education, experience, and years of active involvement have prepared her to take on this new role.

Bill Bower Named VP at Pathfinder Bank William Bower has been named vice president / business development officer at Pathfinder Bank. His primary responsibilities will include developing new loan and deposit clients primarily in the Mohawk Valley while maintaining quality relationships with existing clients. “We are excited to welcome Bill to our team,” said Ronald G. Tascarella, vice president, and commercial team leader. “With his previous experience, Bill brings considerable knowledge to Pathfinder Bank. He will be a benefit to our growing customer base in Utica and we look forward to watching him excel in this position.” Prior to his time at Pathfinder Bank, Bower had two decades worth of experience at the Briggs and Stratton Corporation in Munsville, Madison County, working in both the marketing and sales department. In addition, he held the position of commercial loan officer at the Savings Bank of Utica. Bower is a graduate of SUNY Oneonta and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and business administration. He is a native of Ilion and now resides in Clinton with his wife, Lauren, and their daughter, Faith. In his spare time, Bower enjoys golfing, spending time with his family, traveling JUNE / JULY 2018

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and going to the Adirondack Mountains.

Chetney, Greene Promoted at St. Luke Family of Caring

Some members of OVIA Insurance Agencies recently celebrated the Western & Central New York Key Agency Partner of the Year award given by Travelers Insurance.

OVIA Insurance Named ‘Western & Central New York Key Agency Partner Of The Year’ Oswego Valley Insurance Agencies (OVIA) has recently captured the “Western & Central New York Key Agency Partner of the Year” award for 2017. The award was given by Travelers Insurance. OVIA stood out from other agencies operating in Western and Central New York with the consistency of its excellence in all key areas: profitability, new business production, retention and policy growth, according to a news release. OVIA has grown its Travelers business by over 34 percent since 2014, an exceptional achievement, according to Travelers Insurance Regional Sales Director Marcus Reidell.

“It is a tremendous honor for our agency to be chosen from more than 300 other agencies that represent Travelers Insurance in this massive portion of New York state,” said James Poindexter Jr., OVIA’s president. “Anyone who has driven from Utica to Buffalo on the New York State Thruway knows how large this section of the state is. To be selected as the top agency is a very special honor for OVIA. “It feels good to know that focusing on our customer’s needs and protection is paying off. The proof is in the results. Customers learn quickly from our actions that they can trust us to protect them and save them money.”

St. Luke Family of Caring, an affiliation of community-based, nonprofit, non denominational healthcare organizations serving greater Oswego County, announced the following promotions: • Julie Chetney has been appointed new director of senior services, where she will be responsible for managing referrals and resident move-ins at Bishop’s Commons and St. Francis Commons. She will also be responsible for continuing community outreach and engagement. In her 21-year career with the organization, Chetney has held positions at St. Luke Health Services, Bishop’s Commons and most recently at St. Francis Commons where she acted as director of the assisted living residence. • Kelley Greene has been appointed director at St. Francis Commons, replacing Chetney. Greene previously oversaw the social services department, a position she held for the last four years with the assisted living program provider. In her Greene new role, Greene will oversee the daily operations of the

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assisted living residence. “In promoting both Julie and Kelley from within our organization, we are able to retain their extensive institutional knowledge and experience, while providing each with the opportunity to further advance their skills to the benefit of those we serve,” said St. Luke CEO Terrence Gorman. “We are fortunate to be able to extend these positions to two talented, dedicated individuals, both of whom are actively involved in a number of community organizations and causes.”

MPW Marketing Earns Silver Aster Award MPW Marketing, a full-service advertising and marketing firm based in Clinton, Oneida County, recently won a silver Aster Award. Aster Awards honor excellence in healthcare advertising. MPW won for its rebranding efforts for Nascentia Health, a healthcare system based in Syracuse, which specializes in quality homecare services. The 2018 Aster Awards received thousands of entries from across the United States as well as several foreign countries. All entries are reviewed by a panel of industry experts and are scored on multiple criteria with a possibility of 100 percent. Participant’s entries compete against similar-sized organizations in their specific groups and categories. “The quality and creativity of the entries submitted seems to increase each year. The 2018 Aster Awards program brought together some of the best and most creative advertising in the world,” said Melinda Lucas, Aster Awards program coordinator. MPW partner and creative director Geoff Storm was pleased with the win, and cited the collaboration between the MPW creative team and Nascentia Health as a key factor in creating a successful campaign. “The creative team at MPW worked diligently with Nascentia Health to complete this rebranding effort, and as a result, the client was able to move through a complete name change and brand look and feel effortlessly,” Storm said. “The rebranding has been a success for the client, and we could not be happier to provide them with a multi-faceted solution. Winning the Aster Award is a reflection of the care we put into this project for our client.”

JUNE / JULY 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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DiningOut By Christopher Malone

Restaurant

Guide

Façade of Mill House Market in Pulaski. The restaurant, which also has a bakery, a deli and a market, was established in late 2016.

Mill House Market

Wood fired pizza, among a variety of other food, is a great option at this Pulaski restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner

I

n regard to grabbing a bite to eat, convenience — not gas station stores or fast food chains — is key while traveling or looking for a local spot. Mill House Market on Route 13 in Pulaski is that type of establishment to satiate local and traveling rumbling stomachs. When you take exit 36 while traveling either direction on I-81, keep your eyes peeled for those famous golden arches, but keep driving past to this eatery.

Mill House Market was established in late 2016, and it’s been constantly evolving since it opened its doors. The market serves as a bakery, serving up 28

artisan loaves and sweet treats, and a deli with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses. Upon entering through a welcoming patio, floor-to-ceiling shelves greet OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

visitors with edible and crafty local fare, including bags of beans from house brew Recess Coffee, which is roasted down the road in Syracuse. Kudos to the product placement by owner and chef Rebekah Alford. In order to get to the cozy eating area, the sights of specialty brownies (among other desserts) and scents of baking bread tease the senses and yield tempestuous thoughts. The cleanliness of the bistro resonates well. The dining area of the market provides a bar with eight sturdy barstools, a high top that can seat six to eight people, a table that can seat up to six and several standard tables, which can JUNE / JULY 2018


be utilized by couples or accommodate groups. Long, cushion-free benches line two of the walls. The furniture constructed of light wood appears custom made and are much heavier than they look, especially with the iron stands. The server greeted us and presented us with delightful New York state brews on draft. We opted for a pair of Galaxy Brewing Company (Binghamton) IPA pints ($6 each), which tasted fresh, like Mill House Market cleans their tap lines. The one-page menu and supplemental wood-fired pizza list helps cut down the time for settling on a meal; however, it doesn’t make the decision-making process any easier. The poutine sounded tantalizing as an appetizer, and the $9 price tag wasn’t intimidating. However, the meal was kicked off with the pulled pork macaroni and cheese. The $15 small plate wasn’t exactly small. The Cajun-styled dish was delicious. The amount of pulled pork plopped in the center was proportionate to the rest of the dish, and shreds of the meat could be enjoyed with each forkful. The creamy sauce wasn’t crazy thick, but far from eye-wincing watery. The cilantro wasn’t overwhelming, and the jalapeños added the right amount of heat — pleasurable for the heat seekers, but not deterring for the intimidated palates. The next ventures on the Mill House Market experience included their Vampire Burger and artichoke chicken pizza. The somewhat intimidating $15 price tag for a specialty burger presented itself with French fries. The burger was cooked medium, as requested. The fries were in-house cut, freshly topped with pepper and the right amount of salt. Mill House Market’s burger, funny enough, does boast garlic. Although it’s not the friendliest for vampires, it’s perfect for human consumption. The hintof garlic pairs well with the bacon and pepperoni, plus the melted cheddar and gruyere kept everything on top. The artichoke and fire-roasted chicken pizza, a garlic and olive oilbased pie, was also delicious. The $16 wood-fired pizza lived up to its name with toppings, plus spinach and a blend of cheeses, which included parmesan. The light pizza packed a lot of flavor, but could have rested in the oven for a minute longer. It leaned toward the doughy side instead of a light crispiness. The oven for the pizza was acquired by Mill House Market a year ago. Woodfired pizza is a great option for a menu. To complement the bistro options, pizzas are customizable as JUNE / JULY 2018

The artichoke and fire-roasted chicken pizza, a garlic and olive oil-based pie, is a delicious option.

Pulled pork mac and cheese will make you smile wide. Vampire Burger at Mill House Market. The hints of garlic paired well with the bacon and pepperoni, plus the melted cheddar and gruyere kept everything on top. well. The menu also boasts a handful of breakfast pizzas, which are served daily, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. All menus change regularly, keeping the food and overall vibes fresh at Mill House Market. If that’s not enticing enough, there are weekly date night specials and Wednesday sushi nights, which began last November. Overall, the evening eating out for two cost a little over $58, excluding tip. Mill House Market has a great atmosphere for families, couples and groups to sit down and relax, or take out and enjoy at home. But please don’t eat while driving — it could get very messy. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

The bakery at Mill House Market sells bread baked daily

Mill House Market Address 3790 state Route 13, Pulaski Phone 315-298-4104 Website/Social millhousemarketny.com www.facebook.com/millhousemarket HOURS Market Hours Sunday & Monday: 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday: 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. Bistro Hours Tuesday - Saturday: 4 p.m. - 9 p.m.

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Dr. Padma Ram Medical Services, LLC based in Oswego.

11

Businesses in Onondaga, Oswego Get Excellence Awards from Small Business Administration

Successful entrepreneurs — running businesses as different as medical services and asset management — recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration

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ight small businesses from Onondaga County and three from Oswego County were recognized during National Small Business Week at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 20th Annual Small Business Excellence Awards luncheon in Syracuse May 2. Small businesses are selected for Excellence Awards based on their company’s longevity, innovation, sales growth, increased employment, ability to overcome adversity or community contributions. They are:

1

— NY SBDC Oswego honored AllSource Fire Supply, Inc. based in Parish. In 2014, after 26 years with a major company and after months of soul-searching, along with help from the Oswego SBDC, Holly House started AllSource Fire Supply, Inc. Her strong relationships with national manufacturers of sprinkler system materials over the years were the force behind her new business. Additionally she was able to use her knowledge of sprinkler system JUNE / JULY 2018

materials to sell products to facility maintenance departments, building owners and small installing contractors. One year later, AllSource Fire Supply, Inc. became NYS WBE (Woman-Owned Business Enterprise) certified. The firm is also WBE/DBE [Disadvantaged Business Enterprise] certified in NYC, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, The Port Authority of NY/NJ and with the NYC School Construction Authority.

2

— Operation Oswego County, Inc. honored Mark’s Service Center based in Central Square. Mark Martino opened Mark’s Service Center in 1989 as a small three-bay garage in Central Square. In 2004, with financial assistance from SBA and Operation Oswego County, the company moved down the road and built a spacious 9,700-square-foot, 12-bay garage with ample parking and a comfortable waiting area. Martino’s daughter, Andrea Castro, a Navy veteran, became his business partner in 2014 and is a graduate of OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

SBA’s 2015 Emerging Leaders program. The team at Mark’s Service Center has the skills to repair all makes and models of trucks and cars, plus fleets. Their technicians receive ongoing training through various automotive training centers. The company has also diversified, adding Budget truck rentals, Cruise America RV rental, and MSC graphics.

3

— Pathfinder Bank honored Dr. Padma Ram Medical Services, LLC based in Oswego. In 2000, physician Padma Ram opened the business as an Internal Medicine Practice. The practice is composed of a primary care practice and an urgent care facility, Lake Ontario Prompt Medical Care. Ram currently provides medical services to 33 percent of the Oswego population. She has relocated and expanded her facilities over the years in response to an influx of new patients and the overall growth of her burgeoning practice. Ram employs 35 people between the primary care and urgent care practices and saw a 31


Willow Rock Brewing, Syracuse.

Mark’s Service Center, Central Square.

AllSource Fire Supply, Inc., Parish.

601 Avery Ave, LLC, Syracuse.

Half Moon Bakery & Bistro, Jamesville.

combined 17,000 patients in 2017.

4

—Berkshire Bank honored 601 Avery Ave, LLC/ CNY Asset Management, LLC/ CNYAM Realty based in Syracuse. Sean M. Corcoran is a licensed real estate expert and the owner of CNYAM Realty and CNY Asset Management, LLC. With more than 14 years of experience in residential, multifamily and commercial sales, Corcoran has a proven track record of managing properties for investors. With the help of Berkshire Bank and an SBA loan in 2017, Corcoran was able to purchase and renovate a permanent location for his company. Corcoran has improved the value of real estate investments through his detail-oriented property management approach, excellent relationship building and extensive market wisdom.

5

— M&T Bank honored Willow Rock Brewing based in Syracuse. Willow Rock Brewing Company started as a dream in two kitchens, 200 miles apart, owned by Kevin Williams in Syracuse and Rockney Roberts in Buffalo. Award winning homebrewers, they became professionally trained and vetted. Together, they started the brewery in 2011 and continue to grow with assistance from M&T Bank and SBA. Their most recent loan will help expand brewing capacity, allowing them to meet customer demand and sell wholesale to local pubs and bars. Willow Rock Brewing Company is the highest rated brewery in the Syracuse area, and recently took home bronze and silver at the largest and longest running brewing competition in New York.

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6

— NBT Bank honored Industry Standard based in Liverpool. Chris Dambach recently changed the name of his business from Veteran Lawn Care to Industry Standard to encompass the greater variety of services he now provides. Dambach is a service-disabled U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq in 2009. He started his business in 2010 with a Pennysaver ad and grew it into a lawn care business that now provides ground maintenance services for National Veteran Cemeteries, Army Bases and VA hospitals all over the Northeast. Dambach turned to the Onondaga SBDC for business advice in 2011 and as his business initially grew, he used SBA financial assistance to compete for federal government contracts. He graduated from SBA’s Emerging Leaders program in 2015 and continues to grow with financial assistance from NBT Bank and SBA. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

7

— NY SBDC Binghamton honored Quadrant Biosciences based in Syracuse. Owned by Richard Uhlig, Quadrant Biosciences is a biotech company focusing on large-scale health issues through the development and sale of clinical diagnostic solutions. The company is developing functional assessment technologies and epigenetic solutions related to neurological injuries, diseases and disorders. Quadrant Biosciences recently released its first FDAcleared and listed commercial product, the ClearEdge Brain Health Toolkit. The toolkit provides clinicians with comprehensive and objective tests to accurately assess patient cognitive function and balance in real time. Currently the business is developing saliva-based molecular diagnostics for several medical conditions, including concussion injuries, autism spectrum disorder (funded by JUNE / JULY 2018


Impact Martial Arts, Manlius.

Heritage Homes, Liverpool.

Quadrant Biosciences, Syracuse.

10

Best in Bloom, Inc., Syracuse.

Industry Standard, Liverpool.

the NIH), and Parkinson’s disease. The Binghamton SBDC has provided Quadrant with competitive market analyses, introductions to regional lenders, and strategic guidance.

nowned for their beauty and long-lasting bloom. Although most of Jocz’s competitors are much larger, he continues to gain customers with his outstanding customer care and friendliness.

8

— NY SBDC Onondaga honored Best in Bloom, Inc. based in Syracuse. Best in Bloom, Inc. is a wholesale flower company that specializes in flowers for weddings, funerals and special events. Stephen Jocz started the business in 2012 bringing 23 years of floral experience with him. He had two employees and two delivery trucks, now five years later he has grown to seven employees and six delivery trucks with more than 100 floral customers in Central New York and north to Massena. Jocz graduated from SBA’s 2017 Emerging Leaders program with a strong growth action plan. The company specializes in award-winning roses from Ecuador, reJUNE / JULY 2018

9

— Solvay Bank honored Heritage Homes based in Liverpool. Dan Bargabos has been in the home building business for more than 30 years, having started Heritage Homes in 1984. Bargabos and his team bring a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the building process. The experienced staff at Heritage Homes is accessible to the customer through every step of home construction. Heritage Homes offers developed home plans or works with the customer to create a customized building plan. The employees take great pride in building their customers’ “dream home” in residential neighborhoods throughout Central New York. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

— The 504 Company honored Impact Martial Arts based in Manlius. Jeffery Groesbeck formed Impact Martial Arts in 2012. In 2017, The 504 Company used an SBA 504 loan with NBT Bank to help Impact purchase and renovate a commercial condominium located at the Manlius Marketplace Shopping Center in Manlius. The new location allowed the business to buy instead of lease a facility, as well as to have a better location and layout for the studio. Renshi Groesbeck is a master instructor with a 6th degree black belt and has been a teacher for 25 years. Impact Martial Arts offers martial arts classes for children and adults as well as kickboxing and fitness classes and has six employees.

11

— WISE Women’s Business Center honored Half Moon Bakery & Bistro, LLC based in Jamesville. After a career as a school educator, Debbe Titus decided to open a bakery in Jamesville. With business advice from the Onondaga SBDC and financial assistance from SBA, Titus opened the Half Moon Bakery & Bistro in 2013. Specializing in custom cakes, signature half moon cookies, and a variety of mini cupcakes, she has responded to customer requests for special dietary needs, with daily gluten-free and vegan items. With thoughts of expansion and growth, Titus has accessed the business counseling services of the WISE Women’s Business Center. The bistro serves lunches made with local ingredients. Half Moon Bakery & Bistro has become a gathering spot in the village because of Titus’ hospitality, great food, and the welcoming atmosphere. 33


Chelle’s Bake Shop owner and founder Michelle McVey.

Oswego Bakery Competing in National Contest Chelle’s Bake Shop finished first in New York state in the 2017 Sweetest Bakery in America contest; now it’s competing nationally

C

helle’s Bake Shop in Oswego had only been selling confections for about a year when they got the news. The small business finished first in New York state in the 2017 Sweetest Bakery in America contest. The national competition, sponsored by Dawn Food Products, Inc., a producer and distributor of bakery supplies, had attracted more than 1,600 bakeries across the country. Votes in the competition were cast by customers, which Chelle’s Bake Shop owner and founder Michelle McVey says made the victory all the more surprising. “We didn’t expect it at all because we’re so little,” McVey said. “It was very humbling to know that our little community would help us out like that.” Unfortunately for Chelle’s, there wasn’t a prize for finishing first in New York, save for a plaque that McVey

proudly displays in her shop. But this year, there is. The bakery that wins first place in each state will get $500 for advertising, local public relations support, one entry into a lottery for an all-expense paid one-day trip for two to the Dawn Innovation Studio in Michigan to work on inspirational ideas, social and digital creative to celebrate their title and a plaque. The national winner gets a full-page ad in Bake Magazine and an announcement in BakeNews, $1,000 for advertising and an all-expense paid trip for two to the Dawn Innovation Studio. Buoyed by their results in the 2017 competition, Chelle’s Bake Shop is once again throwing its toque into the ring. And McVey says the community has been extremely supportive. “We have customers that come in daily and they are like, ‘I vote for you

BUSINESS UPDATE

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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

every day,’” McVey said. “I hope that people think of it like [a community effort]. I try to keep them updated on Facebook and just kind of make them feel a part of it.” If Chelle’s does win, McVey can do more than share the news with her customers. The bakery that takes first place will receive a celebration party for staff and customers worth up to $10,000. McVey says they would likely host the party in Canal Commons in downtown Oswego where the bakery leases its space. But perhaps the most meaningful prize for McVey would be the opportunity to study at the Dawn Innovation Studio, the company’s research and development center in Jackson, Mich. McVey never attended a culinary arts program. She learned to bake from her parents, cooking shows and online videos — what she refers to as “YouTube Academy.” “It would be awesome,” McVey said. “It means a lot because in my jobs we are always working with our hands. You can only learn so much from do-ityourself videos. You really have to dig your hands in there and really do it. So that would really help out.” Voting runs through July 31. People can cast their ballots in person at Chelle’s or online at sweetestbakeryinamerica. com. Even if McVey doesn’t win, the experience itself has been worth it. She says their participation required more interaction with every customer to explain the contest and their candidacy. It helped her overcome her shyness, and build a rapport with the local community. “It was good for me to talk with customers,” she said. “I had been a stayat-home mom for nine years and my vocabulary had kind of went downhill. I was talking to babies all day long. So this was really helpful for me to learn and get out of my shell a little bit to even talk to somebody about this.” Those conversations have fostered loyalty among the bakery’s patrons, many of whom are now repeat customers. And that is already paying off. Increased demand is leading to an expansion at Chelle’s in Canal Commons that will almost triple its space. For McVey, that may be the sweetest prize the competition has offered.

By Payne Horning JUNE / JULY 2018


CountryMax store in Oswego to open in mid-to-late summer.

CountryMax: Newest Addition to Retail Mix in Oswego Business focuses on array of offerings fitting for rural lifestyle

A

new CountryMax store is coming to Oswego. The business will be located on state Route 104 East between Shampine and Eugene Saloga drives in the city of Oswego. According to director of sales Brad Payne, the business is targeting an opening date occurring in mid-to-late summer. The company had announced a tentative date of the grand opening sale as July 21-22, but it is not yet official. The size of the store will be 26,000 square feet. Workers were putting the final touches on the store’s interior build-out over the final weeks of May. “We’re doing quite a few new things in the store that we’ve never tried before, and we’re extremely excited to be able to show the Oswego community what we’ve been working on,” Payne said. The response from the community

and anticipation of its opening has been “fantastic,” Payne noted. “We couldn’t be happier with the amount of inquiries we get daily asking when we’re going to open our doors,” he said. “It just goes to reinforce the fact that Oswego is a perfect community for us to become a part of and we’re so thrilled to be able to do that. Payne said the cost of the project is not information the business discloses. “Depending on what time of the year, we will have anywhere from 15-to30 employees at any given store in a mix of full- and part-time positions,” Payne said. “In the busiest season of spring, we aim to employ as many people as we can to take care of our customers during the planting and spring cleaning rush, and then from there we vary throughout the year.” This will be the 17th location for CountryMax in Upstate New York, with stores located primarily in the Rochester and Syracuse areas.

BUSINESS UPDATE

JUNE / JULY 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

In addition to farm and feed supplies, CountryMax offers lawn and garden products, pet supplies, clothing and back yard wild bird feeding products. “The Oswego location will carry all of the products that our customers love in our other CountryMax stores, as well as quite a few new products and product lines,” Payne said. “Every time we open a new store, there is an opportunity to showcase and experiment with new product mixes and layouts. As mainly a brick-and-mortar retailer, “we have to stand out and actively give people a reason to shop at their local CountryMax,” Payne added. “Our edge in today’s crazy retail environment is that we stress above all else that our people are helpful to the customer,” he said. “The term ‘customer service’ gets thrown around a lot and it can become white noise not only to customers, but our employees.” He said what CountryMax focuses on is being helpful. “It’s just such a broad, all-encompassing behavior signal that when you describe it to someone, they just ‘get it,’” he said. “What is our edge over the competition? We’re helpful. In the retail climate today of the 10-acre big box store, that is our edge.” CountryMax is a family-owned and operated retailer based out of the Finger Lakes region. Its first store opened in 1984 in Farmington, Ontario County. “Oswego is such a unique, vibrant place and really has a lot of very appealing aspects that come together to make it a perfect community for us to join,” Payne noted. With SUNY Oswego, the Port of Oswego Authority, and the “great intersection of rural and suburban lifestyles,” all with the backdrop of Lake Ontario, made it a “no-brainer” for CountryMax to locate in Oswego, Payne noted. He said CountryMax’s customer base is made up of “exactly the type of people we know the Oswego community is made up of. “If you’re someone who enjoys being in and working in your back yard, garden, barn, or anywhere else outdoors, you’re our type of person,” he said. “Add in all of the pet supplies and having the largest selection of healthy pet food of any company in New York state, and pretty much everyone is our target demographic.”

By Lou Sorendo 35


Kathy Henry and her husband, John M. Henry, own Mitchell Printing & Mailing, Inc. of Oswego. They recently acquired The Phoenix Press, a print shop that is completing 70 years in business in Phoenix.

Mitchell’s Speedway Press to Acquire The Phoenix Press Company to expand and extend customer reach

M

itchell’s Speedway Press, a leading provider of professional printing, signage and marketing products, recently announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire The Phoenix Press of Phoenix. “We are excited to welcome The Phoenix Press customers into the Mitchell Printing and Speedway Press family,” said John M. Henry, president and chief executive officer of parent company, Mitchell Printing & Mailing, Inc. of Oswego. “We believe the longtime culture of customer service Phoenix Press has been based on fits perfectly with our customer-centered vision, and this acquisition will enhance our new and current customer bases.” Henry continued, “Barbara Reyes of Phoenix Press has successfully built a model that focuses on small businesses, and we feel that this model fits perfectly

with our goals for the future expansion of our company.” Mitchell’s customers consist of local and national businesses, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, along with design agencies and government institutions. According to Henry, what distinguishes both businesses is their history of long time stable ownership with emphasis on an outstanding personalized customer service level. “This acquisition combines The Phoenix Press’s strength of personal customer service with Mitchell’s production innovation, speed, technology and current manufacturing expertise which is needed in today’s global market,” said Henry. “We anticipate hiring additional people during the next year as we grow again with this acquisition,” said Henry. Barbara Reyes of The Phoenix Press

BUSINESS UPDATE

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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

added, “As it was time to retire, we wanted to find a good partner for our customers. We did not want to just close or let just anyone take over accounts we have worked with for decades. I have worked with John and Kathy [Henry] for many years and know they will be the right people to continue the work we have done with our clients, as we share the same values and commitments to our customers. Mitchell’s technology and manufacturing expertise will ensure our customers are in great hands and get to the next level.” Kathy Henry, vice president and director of sales and marketing at Mitchell’s Speedway Press, said, “Phoenix Press has an incredibly loyal customer base and an excellent reputation for value and service. We are lucky and honored that Barbara would choose us to entrust her business and her clients to. We promise to serve them well.” Kathy Henry also described the acquisition Mitchell’s made of Speedway Press 10 years go: “The purchase of Speedway Press was a learning curve for us, and I think that we did very well, with excellent client retention and a seamless transition. I know the customers and clients of Phoenix Press will find the same with this transition as well, because there are people at the head of our organization who truly care about the client first and foremost. John and I personally meet and handle the needs of our clients, and the customers of Phoenix Press can look forward to the same.” JUNE / JULY 2018


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37


L. Michael Treadwell ooc@oswegocounty.org

The Contenders Fifteen semi-finalists competing for a $50,000 prize

T The next step for each of the semifinalists will be to develop a full business plan by July 2.

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. 38

The next step for each of the semi-finalists he first phase of the Next Great Idea Oswego County Business Plan compe- will be to develop a full business plan by July tition has selected the 15 semi-finalists 2. It has to include a detailed narrative on that are competing for a $50,000 prize toward the business, financial statements, including the start or expansion of their business in sources and uses of funds and projections, and key supporting information such as market Oswego County. Next Great Idea (NGI) steering commit- research, resumes and other pertinent data. The judges will evaluate the full businesstee received a record 33 business concept proposals. NGI’s 11 judges evaluated the 33 es plans over the month of July and in early submissions and based on their scores, 15 August will select the finalists to present in semi-finalists were chosen to submit a full person to the judges Sept. 14. An awards cerbusiness plan. They cover a wide range of emony announcing the winner will take place industries — from manufacturing, tourism, on Sept. 18 at the Lake Ontario Conference and Event Center in Oswego. agribusiness to technology services. Other than awarding the winning busiThe semi-finalists are: • Beer Bites, a dog treat manufacturing ness $50,000, some of the anticipated outcomes from the Next Great Idea program include company owned by Amara Ercums; • CHARTA, a mobile application platform developing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurism in Oswego County; improving owned by Fabio Machado; the quality of life for the • Fish Oswego Tackle, Economic Trends community by bringing a custom fishing lure and innovative and needed bait shop owned by Jake businesses and services to Oswego County; Metcalf and Kevin Spillett; • FOMO Bakery, a gluten-free bakery owned fighting the “brain drain” by encouraging the best and brightest to stay local; creating new by Margaret Sherman; • Hope Springs, a new age beverage bottling job opportunities and markets; and expanding the tax base. company headed by Matthew Cullipher; In addition, the $50,000 can potentially be • King of Hops, a hops propagation and leveraged to borrow up to $500,000 in partnerharvesting company owned by Fred Davies; • One Yoga North, a yoga retreat and well- ship with local banks, the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency, the cities of ness center owned by Gina Zagame-Keefe; • Oswego Salon Suites, a new concept stylist Oswego and Fulton community development offices, the U.S. Small Business Administration facility owned by Abby Weaver; • Patchwork Farms, a scalable no-till organic and other partnering economic development agencies. farm owned by Shawn Kimball; The Next Great Idea competition, original• Rail Guard, a rail safety product manufacturing company owned by Nadar Majlaton ly started in 2008, is the result of business and community leaders joining together to launch and Tom Millar; • Revolution 315 Athletics, an indoor cycling an initiative that encourages entrepreneurs to and rock climbing recreation center owned by commit to new business development. Support for NGI comes from Operation Oswego Danielle Bardin; • SET LLC, an advanced security, barcode County, the Richard S. Shineman Foundation, and RFID technology service company owned the SUNY Oswego Business Resource Center, the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Comby Shane Thompson; • Ultimate Mobile Party & Catering, a mobile merce, C&S Companies, the City of Oswego party and event coordination company owned Economic Development Office and Chirello Advertising. by Erin Fountain; The NGI website at www.oswegocounty. • U.S. Beer Brewers, a micro-brewery beverage bottling business owned by Tom Millar; org/NGI/index.htm includes an overview of • Wired Telecom, an advanced technology the event, a competition timeline, guidelines, company providing telecommunications and details on the $50,000 prize, sponsors, partners information technology services owned by and contact information. Ryan Baldwin and Abby Weaver. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

JUNE / JULY 2018


Opening day at U.S. Bowling Congress’ Open Championship in Syracuse, which is running since March. It ends in mid-July. Photo courtesy of USBC.

CNY Lands a Strike with National Bowling Tournament By the time the tournament runs its course in mid-July, the expected economic impact will be $75 million to $100 million,, say organizers

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or the past several months, Syracuse has been home to what is considered the largest participatory sporting event in the world. The annual U.S. Bowling Congress’ Open Championships is a months-long tournament that attracts thousands of bowlers of all ages and skill levels. And the Salt City has been benefiting from all the spoils that come with it. The Syracuse Oncenter underwent a major renovation in anticipation for the event that started in March and finishes in mid-July. It took 50 days to transform the convention center into “bowling’s largest stage.” Onondaga County and the nonprofit organization Visit Syracuse also made a major investment to secure the tournament. The bid alone

cost $2.5 million, but officials say it was worth it. “It’s the largest bowling tournament in the world, and we’re lucky enough to have it here,” said Visit Syracuse President Danny Liedka. “It has a huge, huge impact on our area economically, especially our entertainment options and restaurants and hotels.” By the time the tournament runs its course, the expected economic impact is $75 million to $100 million. That’s due to the fact that USBC Open Championships has attracted thousands to the region for its various divisions and contests. Liedka estimates 35,000 people

could visit in all, resulting in about 40,000 hotel room night reservations. “With the influx of new hotels in the market,

BUSINESS UPDATE

JUNE / JULY 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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there’s a lot of hotel rooms here that need to be filled and this is exactly what the doctor ordered,” Liedka said. Many local restaurants are also enjoying the increased foot traffic. Ale ‘n’ Angus Pub, a restaurant specializing in beer and burgers, is located just down the street from the Oncenter. Owner Randy Beach says thanks to the tournament, their business has increased by 35-40 percent. “For us, it’s very substantial due to the fact at this time of year I would be laying people off, cutting their hours way back now that hockey is done, the plays and the shows are done,” Beach said. “Whereas at this point in time, we have actually hired on 3 or 4 new employees just to get us through the bowling tournament.” Ale ‘n’ Angus Pub has taken advantage of its location, billing it as the closest restaurant to the lanes. But Beach says the bowlers are venturing far beyond the neighborhood during their stay. He’s spoken with many people who are planning trips to Niagara Falls, Cooperstown and area casinos during their visit. Liedka says the diversity of what the region offers is one of the reasons Syracuse was selected to host the bowling championships. “The hospitality here is really off the hook and if you drew an arrow in any direction from Syracuse maybe within 60 minutes, there’s something for everybody to explore in this region,” Liedka said. “It’s just really appealing because we’re not isolated. There’s entertainment everywhere you look, a ton of parks, a ton of resources and a world class zoo and casino.” After the last trophy with a bowler on top is given out, Liedka says the area can expect around $6 million to $8 million in sales taxes, with another $3 million to $5 million in room occupancy taxes. But perhaps even more rewarding has been the opportunity to showcase Central New York to thousands of new visitors. That will help market Syracuse as a destination place, not only for families but also for future events like the USBC. “From a sales perspective when we market the region, to be able to have this feather in our cap is going to help us get other business because we’re a proven commodity now,” Liedka said. “So it puts us on the playing field with some other larger destinations.” The tournament runs from 7 a.m. until 3 a.m. daily, and spectators are welcome at no charge.

By Payne Horning

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Young Mayor Making a Difference in Phoenix From Boy Scout to public office: 29-yearold mayor enthusiastic about new projects By Payne Horning

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t 29 years old, the village of Phoenix’s mayor Ryan Wood is one of the youngest municipal executives in the state. It was a natural transition for the former Eagle Scout, who has been involved in student government since high school. And that leadership experience appears to be paying off. Wood has held public office in the village since 2010, and most recently went unchallenged in his 2017 reelection. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Wood launched his first campaign while still a student at SUNY Oswego. When he was elected to a seat on the village’s board of trustees, Wood had to resign his post with the college’s student government association. He considered it an extension of the community service he started many years ago. “I started thinking about the Boy Scout model what can I do for my community,” Wood said. “They really shaped JUNE / JULY 2018


who I am and gave me so much, so I wanted to give back to them.” He finished school while working as a trustee, and went on to get a job as a math teacher at CiTi BOCES Academy in Mexico. Wood juggled the two positions for several years and eventually took on more responsibility in Phoenix when he was elected mayor in 2015. Balancing two jobs, even when one is part-time, can be challenging at times, Wood says. “Sometimes it is difficult. There are always those emergencies that pop up,” Wood said. “But right now I think we have a really good team here in Phoenix with department heads. They are very knowledgeable and very skilled at what they do, which makes my job a little easier.” Communication with his team is a daily and crucial responsibility. Wood is in constant contact with the village’s engineer, lawyers, department heads and administrator, Jim Lynch. The administrator is a full-time position, tasked with managing the village on a day-to-day basis and its department heads. Lynch, who has held the job since 2014, praised Wood’s willingness to delegate. “He puts his trust and faith into me to manage the village, and I respect that,” Lynch said. “When I need an answer from him, he responds professionally, he gives his unbiased opinion of my requests. The biggest thing I can say about Ryan is his trust in me to do my job is paramount. You’ve got to trust the guys you’ve got working for you.” Lynch has watched Wood’s career since he took his former seat on the board of trustees in 2010. “I’ve been pleased,” Lynch said. “He’s a math teacher so he looked at things at more of an analytical and mathematical perspective, which I thought was a nice touch.” Lynch says Wood’s youth has been an asset to the village. He has pushed for upgrades to its office technology and helped employees utilize their smartphones for work. And Lynch says Wood has also brought an open, fresh perspective to the mayor’s office — critical at a time when Phoenix is in the midst of several major projects. Phoenix leaders have secured a grant from the Empire State Development Corporation, New York’s economic development agency, to complete a feasibility study on building a marina on the Oswego River. Wood says it has the possibility of bringing in a lot of visitors to the community. “There aren’t any marinas around JUNE / JULY 2018

here and we are a very large boating traffic area,” Wood said. “There’s no gas availability between Fulton and halfway to Brewerton, so this would give them a good place to stop” The village is also getting $500,000 from the state’s Restore NY Grant, a program that helps municipalities revitalize commercial and residential properties. The money will be used to build a restaurant and distillery. Another grant secured from the Dormitory Authority of New York State will go toward renovating the Phoenix Pond. When Wood reflects back on his tenure, he counts communication and code enforcement as some of his greatest accomplishments. The village now sends out quarterly newsletters to its 3,000 residents, complete with updates from the mayor’s office and the village administrator. Wood also helped implement a stricter code that the village now uses to conduct regular inspections. Wood says it was developed after he received several complaints about mold. “A couple were living with black mold in there, and they brought it up to their landlord,” Wood said. “Any kind of mold in a house shouldn’t be there and if the tenants brought it up to the landlord and the landlord isn’t doing anything, that’s when I had the issue. Nobody should be living with that.” These initiatives, along with the other projects, are ways Wood says he has helped improve the quality of life for Phoenix’s residents. Lynch, who’s lived in the village for 26 years, says the village is on the way up. But it isn’t always easy. There aren’t the amenities or amount of staff to provide the level of service that other municipalities enjoy. And trying to pay for needed infrastructure upgrades and special projects while keeping taxes down presents a challenge. Still, this is the type of challenge Wood enjoys. He’s served in government organizations while attending high school, Onondaga Community College and SUNY Oswego. And he wants to continue working in the public sector. “I don’t know how soon or what level I want to run for or move onto, but right now we have great representatives in the levels above me and we’re working very well with them and I want to keep them in office because they’re doing an awesome job right now,” Wood said. “Looking down the road, is it a possibility to move on? I believe so. And I think if I do, I am going to pursue more of the education side of a political career, wherever that may be.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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Bruce Frassinelli bfrassinelli@ptd.net

Honorary Doctorate Degrees — Should They Be Eliminated?

I ‘In the wake of so many highprofile revocations of honorary doctorate degrees, some wonder why we have them?’

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. 42

n light of several high-profile revocations of honorary doctorate degrees earlier this year, local colleges and those across the country are rethinking whether these designations should be eliminated all together. The State University of New York, Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., and Temple University in Philadelphia were among the latest to revoke the honorary degrees of convicted sexual abuser, comedian Bill Cosby. They joined several other universities in Pennsylvania, Cosby’s home state, and elsewhere, which acted similarly earlier. The SUNY board voted to rescind the honorary degree given to Cosby in 2000 by the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, which recommended the move. “We continue to take a stand against sexual misconduct,” SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson said. “The actions that led to the recent conviction of Bill Cosby … are inexcusable and oppose the values and mission of our system.” Cosby was revered at Temple, where he sat as a member of the university’s board of trustees for years. He would often give the commencement address. In fact, I saw him in 2006 when my brother-in-law received his Doctor of Education degree from Temple. The Lehigh University board of trustees has been besieged with more than 80,000 p e t i tion-signers to revoke the honorary degree awarded to President Donald Trump 30 years ago. So far, the board has refused. There has been a spate of revocations in recent years as part of the #MeToo movement. The honorary

degrees given to media stars Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, as well as actor Kevin Spacey and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein have come under review. SUNY rescinded an honorary degree granted by SUNY Buffalo to Weinstein . SUNY Oswego, where I was an adjunct instructor for more than 25 years, earlier this year asked the state board of trustees to revoke Rose’s honorary degree issued in 2014 when Rose was a panelist at the annual Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit — and the trustees agreed. “These are credible allegations of predatory sexual harassment that completely conflict with the core values of our institution and significantly degrade the achievements that were the basis for awarding him an honorary degree,” said university President Deborah Stanley in announcing the board of trustees’ decision. Rose was back in the news in May as more accusers came forward about his behavior at CBS and the failure of producers to act on credible accusations. Rose was fired from CBS and PBS after eight women accused him of sexual misconduct. But there are some schools which will not rescind honorary degrees once awarded. Among them is the prestigious Juilliard School in New York, which gave an honorary doctorate to actor and multiple Oscar winner Kevin Spacey in 2000. Spacey most recently was the star of “House of Cards,” a Netflix original series. Athletes are not exempt from revocations. Among them is disgraced multiple Tour de France cycling champion Lance Armstrong, who received an honorary degree in 2012 from Tufts University in Medford, Mass. There are mixed feelings among educators about these degrees. Robert O’Neil, former president of the University of Virginia, said the issue becomes more complicated when the person accorded the honorary degree gives a big donation or endowment to the college. Even trickier is when a prominent building is named in the donor’s honor. That is the predicament that the Marist College board of trustees found itself in when it awarded alumnus and former Fox TV commentator Bill O’Reilly an honorary degree in 2001 after he had donated $25,000 outright and a $1 million scholarship program to the college located in Poughkeepsie.

My Turn

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There are some colleges which will never find themselves in such a bind, because they do not award honorary degrees. Among them are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Virginia. The university’s founder, President Thomas Jefferson called these types of degrees “meaningless credentials.” Former East Stroudsburg (Pa.) University President Robert Dillman disagreed. In awarding the Distinguished Alumni Award to a recipient in 2011, Dillman called the award “the second most prestigious the college issues, next only to an honorary degree.” The reason that colleges and universities hand out honorary degrees are as varied as the recipients who get them. This has been going on for a long time — more than 500 years, in fact, starting in Europe. Looking through the lists of honorary degrees, we can find that they are made not nearly as often to influential scientists, engineers and historians as they are to wealthy businessmen and women, politicians and pop culture stars. Among rappers who have received honorary doctorate degrees are Kanye West at the School of the Arts Institute in Chicago and LL Cool J at Northeastern University in Boston. Those who go through the academic rigors to earn doctorate degrees bristle at the idea that colleges and universities hand out honorary doctorates so frequently to those who do not have the academic credentials. Famed late author Maya Angelou, who was awarded over 50 honorary doctorate degrees from institutions around the world, referred to herself as “Dr. Angelou,” despite lacking an earned doctorate degree.

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SPECIAL REPORT Lou Sorendo

I, Robot

Technology playing exceedingly greater role in workplace environments

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ould your next boss be a robot? Given the rapid pace of technology, the concept is not as far-fetched as one might think. Damian Schofield, the director of human-computer interaction at SUNY Oswego, said no boundaries exist when it comes to technology’s impact on the modern workplace. He teaches a graduate-level course on transhumanism, which is basically a cultural and intellectual movement that believes people can and should improve the human condition through the use of advanced technologies. Companies are increasingly adopting software that uses algorithms to assign tasks to workers, sidelining human managers, reports The Wall Street Journal. “Interestingly, when we read about where these artificial intelligence algorithms are going to be replacing more jobs, it is not necessarily in the sectors one would expect,” Schofield said. For example, IBM’s supercomputer Watson recently watched thousands of

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movies and the trailers associated with each movie, he said. “The computer was then shown a new movie and automatically created the film’s trailer, indistinguishable from the human-made product,” Schofield said. Computer algorithms now regularly complete annual reports, news articles and product advertisements, he noted. “They even create the graphics and images to go along with these text items and produce the page layouts and infographics automatically,” he said. Schofield said self-driving cars are not going away and that they will have an “enormous effect on our economy.” “One only has to travel to the cities where these vehicles are being tested to see the impact,” he said. “I was recently in Pittsburgh and saw hundreds of self-driving taxis running around.” Schofield said when you consider how many people drive for a living (freight, schools, taxis, etc.) and drive as a principle mode of transportation, the economic shift could be staggering. Schofield noted that in the 1960s, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

philosopher Hubert Dreyfus said a computer would never play even a mediocre game of chess. He, like many others, believed chess required so much creative thinking that a computer could never play the game. A few months later, a chess computer defeated him. “This is what he is now famous for, rather than his philosophical writings,” Schofield said. “We all have a kind of human chauvinism, where we believe that the tasks and jobs we are capable of performing are ‘special’ and we could not be replaced,” he said. “What we are actually showing is not that computers are becoming more ‘intelligent’, but that we are realizing the tasks we perform are not that special or difficult.” Nonetheless, Schofield said human managers will always be overseeing job-related systems, but the use of automated systems means that there is a need for fewer managers. “In many situations, humans like to talk to other humans,” he noted. “Look at the kinds of things that are happening already. An employee working for a large fast-food organization may want to switch a shift,” Schofield said. “They submit the request online, the system checks the request and sends an automated text message to employees who are legally qualified to take the shift. “Another employee responds that they are willing to switch shifts, the system automatically adjusts the schedJUNE / JULY 2018


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Tech Takeover Here are a few examples of problems that can be solved by the implementation of a workforce management system: • Avoiding unnecessary overtime, saving between 7 to 19 percent (The Aberdeen Group) • Avoiding disgruntled employees: Time theft costs approximately 5 percent of gross payroll (American Payroll Association) • Avoiding slow, redundant processes, saving 50- to 80-percent of payroll processing time (Workforce Software Data) • Avoiding large fines. In 2014, employers paid $240 million in back wages to 270,000 workers (U.S. Department of Labor) Commercial examples of workforce management software include such leadership/management functions as: • Recruiting (applicant tracking) • Onboarding, or the process of integrating a new employee into the organization and its culture • Performance management (assessment, goal management, succession planning) • Core human resources (personnel administration, benefits, compensation management, payroll) • Workforce management (absence management, activity tracking, scheduling, time and attendance) Benefits that drive leaders and managers to use workforce management software technology include: • Digital transformation of the business in response to new demands, such as online market forces • Restructuring and speeding up of human resource processes • Anticipate and address human capital risks • Better measurement of tasks and risks • Improved scheduling of time and attendance (Source: AppsRunThe World)

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Well-known management consultant Walter Bennis said the factory of the future will have only two employees — a human and a dog. The human is there only to feed the dog and the dog is there to bite the human if he or she touches anything. ules and sends text messages to both employees confirming the new shifts.” What was once a strictly human process is now fully automated and less prone to errors since the system is always updated on the status of all the employees and legal guidelines which a human manager could miss,” Schofield said. In all actuality, no human intervention needs to happen. “However, no one wants to be fired by a text message,” he noted. What can we expect in the years to come in terms of the evolution of this type of software management tool? Well-known management consultant Walter Bennis said the factory of the future will have only two employees — a human and a dog. The human is there only to feed the dog and the dog is there to bite the human if he or she touches anything. Human error is inevitable, and there is no doubt that machines can do many things better than humans, Schofield said. “But humans still like human contact in day-to-day operations. Humans will manage these systems and humans will still communicate with each other when they need to,” he said. Management by software Reportedly, workforce management software sales have risen 23 percent over the last two years and are now worth $11.5 billion, with companies like GE and Shell on board. “Companies have always used algorithms to try to optimize their businesses. Think of the old traveling salesman problems, and the many ways large companies have tried to increase revenue by streamlining their logistics operations,” Schofield said. Workforce management software systems tend to focus on a specific issue in the workplace, such as project scheduling. “Yes, there has been a huge increase in the use of workforce management software in many large companies,” he said. “It is unlikely we will ever see a return to human-based scheduling and management of these resources.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Early systems focused on resource management, such as supply chain optimization and production planning. “However, as in many other industries, the power of the AI [artificial intelligence] algorithms has allowed these systems to begin to be used in other areas such as human resources management, workforce management and corporate strategic planning,” he noted. Human resource management systems are used for tasks such as employee record-keeping, automated notifications and compliance reporting. “There is still a significant human input to the process,” Schofield noted. One of the ways large online retailers benefit from AI algorithms is through access to large amounts of historical data that show what their customers buy and what they have bought in the past. “In a similar manner, one of the key benefits of workforce management systems is their access to large amounts of historical data — such as the number and duration of customer contacts, sales figures, check-out transactions or orders to be handled,” Schofield said. This allows accurate current and future staffing predictions, peak load management, availabilities, holiday planning, and budget constraints. Also, it helps ensure all company policies and procedures follow current labor law guidelines and legislation, he added. In terms of cost / benefit, economies of scale mean that significant savings have to be made by such a system to justify its cost, Schofield said. As a result, workforce management systems are widely used in larger companies rather than smaller businesses. “However, like all pervasive, disruptive technologies, the use of such systems will trickle down and subtly take over the operations of small businesses,” he said. “Eventually, managers will be controlling their businesses through a management app on their mobile phone as if they have always been running their business this way.” Impact of transhumanism “Transhumanism is a difficult term JUNE / JULY 2018


to describe because many groups of people see it in different ways,” Schofield said. “It is an academic discipline, a political movement and, to some, it is a religious organization.” He said it deals with the transformation and augmentation of the human body using sophisticated technologies. “When we think about such things, we often think about the cyborgs we see in science fiction movies,” he said. “But, consider people who wear glasses. They are augmenting their abilities — vision in this instance — with a sophisticated technology.” Schofield said this piece of technology in many ways becomes part of what they are, changing them and giving them abilities they would not have without the glasses they wear every day. “Many of us are already cyborgs,” said Schofield in reference to beings with both organic and biomechatronic body parts. “In many ways, transhumanist technologies pervade our lives and become ubiquitous without us even noticing, he said. “We all own a personal device that connects us to all the known knowledge in the world — and we all see this as normal,” he said. “We talk to this device and it talks back — even in multiple languages, translating in real time. Now we can’t live without these devices.” Schofield noted this kind of pervasive technology is becoming integrated into the workplace. Machines take over more tasks without humans in the workforce explicitly noticing the changes, with new technology becoming commonplace and mundane, he added. “Look around you at the people you interact with. The UPS driver does not manually scan your package,” Schofield said. “A human does not read the information that is scanned; a machine processes this information and incorporates it into a human database. “The sending of packages, the routes chosen, even the products you buy are suggested to you by algorithms that mine huge amounts of data to determine your preferences.” Schofield said AI algorithms monitor the products consumers buy and change all the advertisements and movie recommendations one sees to tailor them to specific preferences. “The technology is already everywhere,” he said.

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BANKING Lou Sorendo

Nancy Kush Ellis Reaches 40-year Milestone at Fulton Savings Bank For banker, new life coming after Jan. 31 retirement

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he’s just like money in the bank. Nancy Kush Ellis will be celebrating her 40th anniversary as a key member of Fulton Savings Bank on July 1. The Fulton native said Jan. 31, 2019 will be her final day at work. She serves as vice president-marketing/human resource at FSB. “We have already committed to a place in Florida after retirement so there is no turning back now,” said the resident of Palermo. For her, Fulton “is home and will always be home,” she said. She began her career in the late ‘70s, and has seen dramatic changes in the banking industry since then. “The biggest thing is the lack of people in the lobby,” she said. When she first started, it was expected that customers would come in to attend to tasks such as processing their Social Security checks on the third of each month, having the bank post their interest or making a mortgage payment. “First of all, people don’t need to come in anymore. Everyone has direct deposit,” she said. Kush Ellis, 61, recalls when customers were lined up outside the door to attend to banking. “People don’t have to come into banks anymore. They come in to open an account, but once they open an account, you rarely will see them again,” she noted. The demographic that patronize the bank in person are normally older folks, often to socialize. Days after she started, on July 3, it was not only Social Security check day, but also a day before the Fourth of July holiday. “The lobby was packed, and I remember standing there and saying, ‘What am I doing here? This is nuts!’” “You go to the lobby now, and you will probably see less than a dozen peo-

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ple there,” she noted. “Not that we don’t have customers, but they just don’t have to come in anymore.” However, she said a brick-andmortar presence is still necessary today, particularly to deal with customers who are facing various problems. “I think our customers like to be face-to-face when discussing problems associated with things like their mortgage or checking account,” she said. But once customers establish an account and direct deposit, they can pay their bills online and have access to an ATM to get money, she added. Impact of technology Kush Ellis noted technology has drastically changed the banking inOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

dustry. “When I started, debit cards didn’t even exist. I remember starting our debit card program,” she said. Internet and mobile banking has also flourished, and Kush Ellis noted that paper checks are now deposited by way of scanners and cell phones. FSB was established in 1871, while its present building at 75 S. First St. was constructed in 1911. When Kush Ellis started, there were also the Baldwinsville and Phoenix branches. That expanded to include Central Square, and FSB established a site at Cayuga Community College in Fulton. While that branch does not exist anymore, branches were established in Constantia, Brewerton and Hannibal. JUNE / JULY 2018


The FSB branch located at Fulton Commons closed at the end of April. She said two bank branches in Fulton are unnecessary given the low traffic count. “You don’t have a constant stream of people coming in anymore,” she said. Mostly because of technology, employment numbers have dropped throughout the years at FSB. At one point, the bank had about 120 employees. Today, that number stands at about 90. While Kush Ellis is the longest tenured on the staff, president and CEO Michael Pollock is close behind. Kush Ellis has worked for three different presidents: Jack Wilcox, Ted Antos and Pollock. She started as a teller and then managed the Phoenix office for four years. She came back to Fulton and did consumer loans, and then was secretary to the board. She became branch administrator with oversight of all branches before settling into her current role as vice president-marketing/human resource. She said this diversity of duties was the key to her longevity at the bank. “I liked the opportunity to move and learn something different,” she said. She said her willingness to learn and ability to adapt to change have served her well throughout her career. Kush Ellis is responsible for ensuring laws involving human resources are followed, such as complying with provisions involving family and medical leave, Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Affordable Care Act. “You have to keep abreast of all the laws they come out with,” she said. Kush Ellis characterizes herself as an advocate for employees. “I have to make sure our employee handbook is accurate, that we treat employees fairly, have proper postings, and determine whether salary ranges are in accordance with the local banking industry,” she said. Kush Ellis, along with her assistant Annette Cotton, attends seminars in order to keep pace with the latest developments. Dad rules She attended SUNY Oneonta, and initially pursued a career in fashion design. She balked at the idea of an internship in New York City, opting instead to stay out of big city living. “I came home and my dad says, ‘OK, JUNE / JULY 2018

Nancy Kush Ellis initially pursued a career in fashion design. She balked at the idea of an internship in New York City, opting instead to stay out of big city living. you have four years of college. Just get out there and find something,’” he said. That “something” would turn out to be a teller’s job at FSB. Wilcox, the bank president at that time, asked Kush Ellis why she wanted to be a teller after four years of college. “I don’t really. My father strongly suggested that I find a job soon. So I told Mr. Wilcox, I’m going to be here until I find a real job,’” she said. Kush Ellis enjoyed being a teller, embracing the opportunity to interact with customers while delighting in successfully balancing her drawer at the end of the day. She leapfrogged from her teller’s position straight to manager of the Phoenix branch, a position she would hold for four years. “That was when banking was more relaxed. You didn’t have to know as many rules and regulations as there are today,” she said. She said today’s threats — such as identity theft — have changed the culture. “Banks have to be very cautious today. It seems there is always a new scam or fraud scheme being concocted,” she said. Kush Ellis would return to the main branch in Fulton in the mid-1980s to focus on consumer and home equity loans. She has a way of entrusting herself to customers. On one occasion, a woman who had come into a significant amount of money had her funds at a competing bank. “She called me to find out if the money was in the account,” Kush Ellis said. After assuring her client that her money was fine at the other bank, the customer insisted that her funds be transferred to FSB. “I trust if you tell me it’s there, it’s there,” the client said. “What a nice feeling that was,” Kush Ellis said. The bank still keeps tabs on retirees, and Kush Ellis often fields requests for help from that older set seeking help on financial matters. “They just trust what I say because they’ve known me forever,” she noted. Community first Kush Ellis said the bank’s board is composed of local folks who “really OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

want to see the community develop.” She noted FSB donates money to various organizations in the city, including Fulton Parks & Recreation and Fulton Community Theatre. “Community is very important to Mike [Pollock] and I think that’s rubbed off on me,” she said. Last year, FSB donated about $135,000 to support organizations that included Friends of Great Bear, a recognition dinner for veterans, and Fulton Block Builders. FSB is presently supporting the efforts of the CNY Arts Center, which is purchasing the former Herron’s Fabric Store in downtown Fulton. FSB also supports an array of athletic teams. Kush Ellis has been active in the community, honing her leadership skills with organizations such as the International Management Council. She also was a member of the Fulton and Phoenix chambers, the Oswego Association of Business and Professional Women, and the Friends of History in Fulton. Presently, she is a board member with the Fulton Rotary Club. In terms of retirement plans, Kush Ellis said she wants to get more heavily involved in Rotary and explore other volunteer options as well. “I want to just chill and do some volunteer work,” she said. She does golf with friends in what she terms “a league of our own.” “You get real frustrated, then all of a sudden you hit a really good drive and ask, “Holy cow, that was me?’ That’s what brings you back the next time.” Kush Ellis also enjoys gardening. She focuses on flowers while her husband Len does vegetable growing. The couple has been married for 32 years. She said keys to her marriage have been honesty and doing things on a separate basis from one another. Len was a former city of Fulton police officer and also owned Bob’s Liquors for many years. The couple has a son, Christopher, who pilots for PSA Airlines, a regional airline under the American Airlines umbrella. The family has a summer home on Lake Ontario as well. 49


BANKING

Fees Are Huge Moneymakers for Banks For clients, fees charged by banks can hit hundreds, thousands of dollars a year. See how to avoid these fees By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

B

anking fees may not seem like a substantial amount of your small business’ overhead but over time they add up to hundreds of dollars, sometimes even to thousands. However, with a few strategies, you can reduce your banking fees. n $15 to $20. Banks can penalize you for dipping below the minimum required balance per month. Some figure it as an average balance; others take it as a flat figure. Regardless, see if your bank offers texts or emails to alert you if your account goes below an amount close to your minimum. Set up online banking so you can keep closer tabs on your account. n $15 to $30. Monthly maintenance fees also add up. Shop around for a bank that won’t charge you for the privilege of using your money. Or see if automatic deposits, adding a debit card or linking other types of accounts will free you from the maintenance fee. n $25 to $35. Overdraft fees can pile up quickly for the business lacking sufficient cash flow. One missed transaction or a typo in the system and you’re slapped with a fee that piles up day after day. As with the minimum balance fee, keep track of your balance to avoid this fee. By signing up for online banking, you can also transfer funds to bolster a meager checking account. n 30 cents to 50 cents per transaction after limit. Transaction and deposit limits “punish” you for doing business. Entry-level business accounts set the figure at around 150 to 200 transactions for cash deposits exceeding a certain amount. Look for a bank with a higher deposit maximum to help you mitigate this fee. If you regularly exceed the limit, it may be worth it to pay a fee for a higher tier account if its fee is lower than the transaction limit fee. Or, to lower the amount of transactions you make, use a no-fee business credit card and pay it off each month.

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“As it pertains to use of credit cards or leveraging credit, I also try to integrate that into the receipt of something that benefits me, whether it be hotel points or frequent flyer miles or whatever to offset the cost with credit card usage,” said Jamieson C. Persse, founder and CEO of JC Persse Consulting and certified member of The John Maxwell Team, who provides executive coaching and consulting from

his office in Hastings. • $5 to $15. Avoid inactive account charges by using your account more often (schedule reminders, if that helps), setting up an automated transfer or switching banks. You may also consider closing the business account and openMitchell ing a general account that you use solely for business if you use a checking account for business very seldom. n $15 to $45. Transfer fees can be easily eliminated if you use a bank that permits these transactions for free. Banks with online account access likely don’t charge transfer fees. “With the variety of different

Hot Business: Banks Make Billions in Fees every Year Don’t think that banking fees are just pocket change. Heather Long, writing for CNNmoney.com, states in a Februart 2017 article that the nation’s three largest banks — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo — OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

rack up $6.4 billion in ATM and overdraft fees annually. Though no distinction was made between private consumers and business banking customers, it’s clear that banking fees for these transactions add up substantially.

JUNE / JULY 2018


financial institutions that offer those programs, it doesn’t make sense to not take advantage of them,” Persse said. n $1.50 to $3. ATM fees for cash withdrawal may not seem worth worrying about; however, if you use ATMs frequently enough, it’s worth locating ATMs associated with your financial institution. Some banks refund ATM fees charged by other institutions if you meet certain stipulations. Otherwise, plan ahead for cash needs to avoid these charges from chipping away at your bottom line. Read all the fine print when opening a new bank account. If you don’t understand any of the policies, ask for further clarification. Sometimes, simply asking how you can reduce fees makes a difference. That strategy worked well for T. T. “Mitch” Mitchell, owner of Mitchell Consulting, Inc. in Liverpool. He noticed his bank had started charging fees he had not previously encountered in 2004 when he began doing business with the institution. “Go to the bank and see if they’ll upgrade your account to take care of fees,” he said. Aimee Koval president, COO and co-founder of Metis Consulting Group in Manlius, likes working with credit unions and community-based banks. “We have found they’re more able to work with us, be flexible and accommodate our particular needs more so than larger businesses,” Koval said. She likes that smaller financial institutions keep her better informed on new banking products or ones her business isn’t using but perhaps should. Rather than a flier in the mail or a mass email, she receives a personal phone call from a bank contact she knows. “We didn’t have that when we were with larger banks,” Koval said. “Usually built into the mission of smaller banks and credit unions is greater customer relationship management at the micro level. Larger banks don’t seem to have that.” She said that some community banks can bundle other kinds of services, like a division that might offer business insurance, financial management, and some human resources management. “When you bundle services, you can reduce fees,” Koval said. “It doesn’t mean should always put all your eggs in one basket. It may not be the only line of credit you have. But it’s like bundling home and auto insurance.” JUNE / JULY 2018

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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

51


SPECIAL REPORT Lou Sorendo

Bill Drake, WRVO’s manager, and Jason Smith, news director.

Riding the Waves I

WRVO Public Media on rebound, adjusts to transitions in industry with new leadership team

t’s the Radio Voice of Oswego. That’s the call sign for WRVO Public Media, a member station of National Public Radio. With new blood leading the charge, the station is recovering from financial difficulties while trying to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive media environment. The nonprofit non-commercial station is licensed to SUNY Oswego, operating from studios in the campus’ Penfield Library. Considered by many as the last bastion of pure journalism, NPR seeks to explore, investigate and interpret issues of national and international import with a local twist. Taking the reins at WRVO is Bill Drake, who stepped into somewhat of

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a hornet’s nest when he assumed the station manager’s duties in 2017. The former general manager — Michael Ameigh — had completed a round of staff cutbacks for financial reasons prior to his departure last summer. Drake noted since that time, positions have not been filled due to attrition. Ameigh’s departure also coincided with the station being in the midst of financial upheaval. “We’re coming out of a tough financial situation and we’ve spent this past year trying to make sure our fiscal boat is where it needs to be while getting our heads above water,” said Drake, who has been at WRVO for the past four years. “We’re fortunate to be able to fill this one news position. Depending on where we sit, which I think is going to be OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

in a pretty good place this current fiscal year, we will reevaluate and see what we might be able to do over the next year,” he added. “I don’t think I would still be here if I didn’t think there was a strong future for the organization.” Drake said WRVO is indeed understaffed. “There’s no way of getting around that. All the staff is putting in more time on multiple projects and wearing multiple hats, just like what a lot of stations and businesses go through from time to time,” he said. Despite this, Drake said WRVO has kept its commitment to listener service, especially news, which is the one area the station has invested in over the past year. “I think we’ve kept our programming strong. We’ve had to make some JUNE / JULY 2018


concessions in some other areas, but we are weathering those and getting through them,” Drake said. After financial problems were discovered, the station received help from The College Foundation to work through its financials. Among other changes at WRVO is the promotion of Jason Smith as its news director. Catherine Loper, the previous news director, left early last fall to teach news-writing full time at SUNY Oswego. Drake said the station would have suffered if it had chosen not to fill that kind of position. “That was an option, but we really didn’t want to go there. So we made sure our news product remained as high quality as it can be given the staff that we have,” he said. “We haven’t cut back on the product.” Smith, who will turn 40 this year, was born in Syracuse and attended Jordan-Elbridge High School. He then attended Cayuga Community College for broadcasting. He worked at WSYR in Syracuse while still in college before coming to WRVO in 2008. WRVO and its affiliated stations serve between 80,000 to 90,000 listeners a week across more than 20 counties in Central New York and southern Ontario, Canada. It does that through 13 frequencies across the region, with its flagship frequency being 89.9 FM. The other 12 frequencies are what are termed repeater stations or translators, which are generally lower power stations that serve more specific areas. WRVO’s main frequency originates in Oswego and reaches west to Rochester and east into the Mohawk Valley. Its reach north and south is about equidistant. In terms of listeners, about half is concentrated in Onondaga County and the balance dispersed throughout the entire region. Drake said WRVO is not considering adding stations. “However, if something becomes available, we would certainly consider it,” Drake said. All stations generally operate at the maximum power and reach allowed by the Federal Communications Commission, and WRVO is no different. “We are maxed out, so to speak, with what we are able to do now,” Drake said.

Next Page

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Big Brother Wants to Turn Off Public Radio WRVO-FM relies on 8 percent of its budget from government source

While public radio stations across the nation — including WRVO on the SUNY Oswego campus — continue to seek members and support, the government in Washington is a naysayer when it comes to federal funding. Without funding, the nonprofit station will have to make up for the loss of about $200,000 per year in federal grant assistance. Oswego-based WRVO receives about 8 percent of its nearly $3 million annual budget from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. President Trump’s budget earlier this year included a proposal to end federal funding for the CPB, which provides monies for the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio stations such as WRVO. The government maintains this federal funding only represents a small share of total funding for both organizations. “It’s always an issue but it has remained steady and static for the past several years,” said Bill Drake, station manager at WRVO. Drake said fortunately, public broadcasting stations are funded two years in advance. “Unless there is a rescission, we already know we will be funded for the next couple of years,” said Drake. “There is always the threat out there that it could be rescinded or revoked at any given time. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened yet,” he said. Drake said slashing federal funding would “change things for us.” “We don’t have a plan in place to replace the entire federal grant that we do get every year, but we would come up with ways,” said Drake, adding listeners will respond “anytime there is a threat.” “We see it in the number of calls we get during our drives and hear it in comments,” he said. “We don’t have a specific plan because it hasn’t been a ‘sky is falling’ situation yet. We would be a different radio station, but we would be all right.” WRVO has unrestricted used of its federal grant funds. Key funding sources Generally, membership dollars OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

pay for programming, while corporate support through underwriting and other types of grants cover other necessities, such as infrastructure and salaries. Several times a year, the station holds special on-air events to encourage potential donors to contribute to keep its mission strong. “This year, knock on wood, we are on track to set a new record for membership, which puts us in line to where we want to be. Corporate support is looking good as well, and we might set a new record there too,” he noted. WRVO is intent on exploring new initiatives and wants to accelerate its level of listener events, which have been cut back due to its dire financial situation. “We want to do things to be a better radio station and to thank a lot of our listeners and corporate supporters for helping us out this year,” Drake said. Would life be easier with a more public radio-friendly administration in Washington? “Right now, we haven’t seen effects to that one way or the other, other than the current presidential administration proposing twice to eliminate Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding,” Drake said. “I say this with a grain of salt, but we are comfortable with what Congress has said up until this point. But obviously, that can change at any given time. During the Obama administration, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives had brought up a vote to zero out the CPB. “I think it’s an easy target and is really very little when you do the math,” Drake said. “The money that public radio gets from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is well under $1 a year per capita.” “They say, ‘Here is $450 million that we could eliminate from the federal budget.’ When everybody is feeling the pressure, it’s a simple thing to eliminate. The effect is pretty minimal on the entire budget for obvious reasons,” Drake added.

By Lou Sorendo 53


Wearing multiple hats Drake, 52, was born in western Pennsylvania. His family relocated to Illinois as a child. He attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where he earned his degree in radio and television. “Like a lot of people, I discovered public radio when I was in college. I became interested in radio and really liked what my college public radio station was doing and what it stood for.” Drake saw it as his calling. He moved over to the operations and programming side and has been there ever since. The Baldwinsville resident did work at a small commercial radio station for a while until a public radio opportunity became available. After Ameigh’s departure, the general manager’s slot has gone unfilled with Drake picking up those duties. He was hired by WRVO to be station manager, which was formerly the program director’s position. While covering most of the duties of the general manager, Drake is also serving as the station’s primary program director. “It’s been a challenging year, but no more challenging than what a lot of small businesses have to deal with,” he said. “As long as we keep our commitment

to the product, and to listener service which is what my personal priority is, I think we are going to be OK.” Drake’s background is in programming and operations, but the position has evolved into more of an administrative role following the departure of Ameigh. “My job is really split between those two areas, and it changes day to day,” he said. Drake said it is a demanding position, but he is used to it. “There are never enough hours in a day,” he said. “I think if you talk to anybody here, and nobody is getting rich working in public radio, we’re all here because we believe in what public radio does, we believe in listener service, and we love what we do.” Drake has been working in the industry for more than 25 years. Experienced approach Smith officially started in December of last year, but had been serving as interim news director since August of 2017 upon Loper’s departure. Smith said he remains in transition because he hosts in the morning while still handling the news director’s job. “Like just about everybody here, I’m basically doing two full-time jobs. But we are in the process right now of

An Industry Transformed Public radio absorbs technology, reaches out to millennials

L

ike virtually any media platform, radio has seen an array of technological changes. “Technology enables us to do things that we weren’t able to do before, and that can be a good and bad thing,” said Bill Drake, station manager at WRVO Public Media in Oswego. Drake said the staff now can attend to emergencies quicker by having remote access to the radio station. Equipment at the station enables staff to use its time more efficiently as well. “At the same time on a larger scale, with some of the larger corporate owners, commercial radio stations end up with a loss of jobs because they can do more with less. We don’t want to go there, but the opportunity presents

54

itself here,” he said. One of the reasons why staff at WRVO performs dual roles is because technology has enabled them to handle a particular task in half the time it took in the past. WRVO used social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. “We don’t get as much engagement as larger stations do, especially with services like Twitter and Instagram,” said Jason Smith, WRVO’s news director. Facebook has proven to be an effective way to interact with audiences. “There have been times we may post a video that will get a few thousand views, and sometimes we will post a news story that might get two views. It’s kind of hit and miss,” Smith said. “Trying to maintain a consistency is OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

hiring a new morning host,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being able to give 100 percent of my attention to the news department.” “When Catherine was still here as news director, whenever she was gone, she would leave me in charge,” Smith said. “She and I worked very closely, and I was able to learn a lot about what she did. Smith said for a news director to be successful, he or she needs to respect their reporters. “I’m not the kind of person that wants to rule the news department with an iron fist,” said Smith, noting he and his only in-house reporter — Payne Horning — often joust about news stories and decisions. WRVO has two other reporters based in Syracuse, and Horning is the only reporter Smith sees on a daily basis. “He’s changed my mind on a number of occasions,” Smith said. “I have to trust them as much as they trust me.” A challenge for Smith is managing two reporters remotely using text messaging, phone calls and Google chats to plan coverage. “We have a system down where it works pretty well,” he said. Homogenized process While trying to enhance the bottom important,” said Smith, who began his career at 570 WSYR Radio in Syracuse. Before he came to WRVO, Smith worked at Clear Channel Communications in Syracuse. “There were seven radio stations in the building I worked in. On my first day in 2006, I walked into the newsroom and I think there were eight computers. There was nowhere for me to sit. When I left two years later, there were only two people left in the newsroom,” he said. With improvements in technology comes the drawback of not needing as many people, he said. “All of those studios after 9 o’clock in the morning were empty for the rest of the day because people would voice track,” he noted. “One lady would come and voice track for stations all over the country. She would sit there all day and voice track for different country and rock stations,” Smith said. Upgraded process Smith said from a news standJUNE / JULY 2018


line and create efficiencies, radio stations for many years have resorted to voice tracking, and WRVO is no exception. Voice tracking — commonly used particularly during the evening, overnight, weekend, and holiday time periods — refers to the process of a disc jockey prerecording his or her on-air broadcast. It is then combined with songs, commercials, and other elements in order to produce a product that sounds like a live air shift. “We prerecord a lot of things such as our local breaks. We program the computer to put them on air,” Drake said. Drake said that trend began many years ago and has created efficiencies at WRVO. “There are pros and cons with that. We don’t have the staff really to go live 24-7. That’s 168 hours a week, and we don’t have the staff to be able to do that,” he said. Recently, the person who records midday breaks was off for a week, so Drake covered for her. Rather than spend four hours on air, he records those breaks in about 45 minutes, leaving him time to attend to other matters. WRVO features a staff of 11. About half work in production, while the balance focuses on business, sales and administration. The staff is relatively smaller compared to when Drake joined the station. point, technology has streamlined the industry. “I came into news after the advent of digital audio, which improved things tremendously. Instead of having to go out with a tape recorder, you use a digital recorder. Rather than coming back to the station and literally cutting tape from your cassette or reel-to-reel, you can just plug your card into the computer and you have instant access to your audio,” he said. Smith said technology has improved the speed of news production while enhancing the ability to communicate with reporters instantly. He said an emerging trend at the station and with NPR is rather than conducting phone interviews, sources will record comments on their smart phones and then send correspondence to the station. “The sound is much clearer,” Smith said. “They are either using Skype or people are just holding their phone in front of them and using the voice app JUNE / JULY 2018

As of this writing in late May, the station was seeking to fill a news position. ‘Let them do their thing’ Drake likes to empower his staff as part of his overall managerial strategy. “Like most managers, you hope to be able to surround yourself with the best possible people and let them do their thing and just stay out of their way,” Drake said. Smith said being a public radio station, WRVO prides itself on covering issues more in depth than one might see on television or hear on commercial radio. “We typically don’t cover things like fires, car crashes and crime, things like that. But if it’s an interesting enough story that people are talking about, then that is something we will have to cover,” he said. Smith said the types of news stories WRVO covers evolve and change constantly. For example, people were recently talking about a situation involving a Syracuse University fraternity video that rocked the local campus with its alleged racist overtones. “We try to come up with new ways to advance that story. Instead of, ‘This is a video that happened and these kids got in trouble,’ we are asking, ‘Is there a deeper issue happening with Greek life on their phone to record themselves and send it to us. We plug it in where the phone audio is, and that’s all it takes.” He said it has enhanced quality. “One thing I like to try to do is avoid as much phone sound as possible because it just doesn’t sound as good,” Smith said. “We have big digital audio recorders, but there have been occasions where reporters go out with their smart phones,” he said. Drake said the “real revolution” continues in terms of how people are using media, particularly in radio, which is coming up on its 100th anniversary in a few years. “For 80 years of that, the one way to use radio was through the box or car,” he said. “It’s only been in the last generation where we have streaming and all these other platforms. Now there are smart speakers. It’s become so segmented now.” Drake said it is a goal to try to capture the ears of millennials. “It’s a challenge, particularly in our OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

at a university of that size?’” he said. What’s particularly challenging for Smith is to provide news within a wide swath of coverage area. “Trying to figure out how to cover news that affects people in our entire region is often difficult,” said Smith, noting the bulk of WRVO’s news comes out of Onondaga County. Drake said NPR listeners don’t expect WRVO to present spot news. “We’ll go deeper on stories,” he said. “What we try to do is augment the NPR listening experience with local context and engagement.” Drake and his wife have a son who recently graduated from college and a daughter who is entering college. He met his wife in college, and she works at Syracuse University. In terms of stress relief, Drake enjoys motorcycling. “I’ll get on and ride and not even know where I end up. Once lost, it’s time to get the phone out and try to figure out where I am,” he said. Smith’s wife is the director of Little Luke’s childcare center in Oswego. The couple has a 1-year-old daughter. The city of Oswego resident said helping to bring up his daughter is his major extracurricular activity. He also enjoys listening to podcasts and playing the guitar. industry because we tend to have an older demographic,” he said. “The inside joke with public radio is that listeners graduate into our demo,” Drake said. “What that means is because so much of our listening is driven by education, that once you graduate from college, then you become a public radio listener if you’re going to be a listener at all.” Drake said there is always going to be a demand for the type of news that WRVO and NPR does. “We just have to be where they want us to be, whether that’s on their phones, Elux speakers or connected cars, which is going to be a huge thing for us in the not-too-distant future,” Drake said. “That’s the big challenge. We’ll get those folks because radio always has. It’s only been recently where there have been so many options on how to consume it. That is going to be our biggest challenge.”

By Lou Sorendo 55


Women in Business By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Mompreneurs on the Rise F

or decades, moms have worked at a home-based businesses. Often, it was working as a representative of an established business such as Avon. But in more recent years, many moms who want to stay home with their families start their own businesses. Several factors have influenced the trend. Tracy Higginbotham, founder of Women TIES in Syracuse, said that technology has played a big role, from business development to operation to marketing. Women TIES (Together Inspiring Entrepreneurial Success) is a female-oriented business networking and promotion business. The Great Recession, from December 2007 to June 2009, slowed the economy; howe v e r, i t a l s o kicked off the gig economy. Businesses look to entrepreneurs for savings and flexibility. Consumers also enjoy savings and supporting their local economy. These factors Higgin created a good environment for new mompreneurs. “Society has changed,” Higginbotham said. “When I first started, I didn’t want anyone to know I worked at home. They’d think I wasn’t professional enough. “I’m happy to see the progression 56

in women who feel comfortable calling themselves ‘mompreneurs.’ That shift has been happening over the past seven years. I’ve had women who’ve come to my events who are trying to have children and wonder how they can manage their business with their children.” In 1995, Tracy founded her first company, Five Star Events, an events management company. Fifteen years later, she started Women TIES. She chose to start a business at home when her children were 3 years old and newborn because she wanted to continue working without missing out on their childhoods. “Entrepreneurship gives me both,” she said. Most mompreneurs don’t have the cash flow to hire staff. For many mothers, the meeting the demands of entrepreneurship is second nature. “Women are naturally multi-taskers,” Higginbotham said. “That comes easier to women.” Another of the effects of the gig economy is that consumers like knowing the back story of the products and services they buy. For example, customers would rather buy from the mother who designed and created soft, tag-free clothing for her son on the autism spectrum rather than the company with just an expertly crafted advertising pitch. Buyers know that the mom has the same experience. She knows their struggles. “If you’re a woman looking to have your life the way you want, entrepreneurship is definitely something to consider,” Higginbotham said. Joanne Lenweaver directs the WISE OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Women’s Business Center, a project of SU’s Whitman School of Management. She said that about half the people who come into the center are women who have left the job market and want to start their own companies. Children accompany about half the women at her “The Building Blocks of Starting a Business” class. “They were feeling the pressure of balancing full-time or part-time jobs so they were trying to determine how to start a business, still keep the family income coming in but not be so tied to answering the phone at all hours and be at a specified location at all the times,” Lenweaver said. She views mompreneurs as women who are honest with themselves about what they want out of life and that working away from home makes it even tougher for most women to stay balanced in their lives. While working at home used to represent a way to help with the family finances until moms could return to their “real” jobs, some mompreneurs don’t want to go back. They enjoy the flexibility of working for themselves at home. “Some make more than those who have a job,” Lenweaver said. Today’s mompreneurs have plenty of resources, including organizations such as Women TIES, WISE Women’s Business Center, and Facebook page CNY Moms in Business, which has about 1,300 members. Its head, Jennifer Edgett Lewis, lives in Baldwinsville. She has been operating a La Bella JUNE / JULY 2018


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Pathfinder Bank is Pathfinder Bank has always been there for me. They have been very helpful in every way. Every question I have ever had they have answered right away. Pathfinder has allowed me to follow my dream and fund this renovation and everything that I’ve built here. Without them I would not be where I am today or where I will be in the future. Pathfinder Bank is My Bank.

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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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Baskets business so she could be home with her children for the past 14 years. She started CNY Moms in Business as a free means to promote networking among not only mompreneurs, but any Lewis Central New York women in business. In addition to online networking through its Facebook page, the group meets face-to-face monthly at a church, restaurant or library meeting room. “So many are looking for flexibility,” Lewis said. “That’s a reason for so many members in our group for working at home. For a lot of us, especially when the kids are younger, we want to be able to be there for that school event and run to that track meet or performance. You don’t have to schedule it with your boss or coordinate schedules with fellow co-workers. You can set a schedule that fits your family.” She encourages anyone who wants to start a business to perform due diligence before starting out by talking with those experienced in that kind of business. “Have realistic expectations for your business and for yourself,” Lewis said. “A business take time to grow, to figure out how to balance what you want to do with your family and what you want to do as a mom with your business. That will evolve over time.” More Women in Business Guidant Financial, a consulting business located in Bellevue, Wash., states that the number of women who own a business has increased by 18 percent in 2017. According to incfile. com, “72 percent of women who own startups operate the startups out of their home.” Of course, not all of those women are moms, but many are, according to Stacy Ann Henderson, editor of Home Business Magazine. “Many moms choosing to run their own businesses from home, with the flexibility this allows for raising a family, inspiring the invention of a whole new term — ‘mompreneur’,” Henderson wrote in the publication. 58

Summertime Childcare Helps Those in Business

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ost working parents don’t want their school-aged children spending their summers watching TV and playing video games all day. A few smart strategies can help parents plan better childcare for the summer. Tracy Higginbotham, founder of Women TIES in Syracuse, said that when her sons were growing up, she tried to reserve one day a week where she didn’t work at her business. “My summer hours changed so I had Fridays off,” she said. “I don’t think people should forget that they should enjoy the time they have with their children.” In addition, she sends her boys to day camps involving their interests. “I put them in sports camp because they were sporty kids and it gave me time to work on the business,” she said. “They were tired after and were quiet for a few hours.” A few day camps in the area include Camp Foundations (www.campfoundations.com), and others listed at www.211cny.com (search for “day camp”) Some colleges offer camps for children that may align with their hobbies and might also interest them in attending someday, such as SUNY Oswego’s STEM programs (www.oswego.edu/extended-learning/summer-stem-camp) and soccer camp (http://oswegolakers. com/sports/2016/4/20/summersoccer-day-camp.aspx?id=540) and Le Moyne’s Summer Arts Institute (www. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

lemoyne.edu). Community organizations such as many churches, YMCA, JCC and the parks and recreation department offer day programming. Library programs proved another favorite for Higginbotham’s children, as the programs helped keep her sons engaged with reading during the summer. “Summer can be a long period of time for children to be out of school,” Higginbotham said. “Look at the passions your children are interested like art camp and music camp.” Jennifer Edgett Lewis, who operates a La Bella Baskets business and networking group CNY Moms in Business, involves her children in summer day camps and, once they’re old enough, overnight camps. Her church also offers a free vacation Bible school for a week each summer. “Take turns with other parents you know in the group for carpooling,” she said. Fourteen years ago, she worked in advertising research for the Syracuse Post-Standard until she decided to stay home with her children. “I used to sign my kids up for other activities with other families doing the same thing so we could work out transportation,” she said. “Without other parents in the group, it would be so hard then.” (By DJS) JUNE / JULY 2018


STEM & Women Oswego alumna, now teaching at Le Moyne, ventures to Antarctica for climate science leadership initiative By Payne Horning

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ilary McManus, a 1998 graduate of SUNY Oswego and associate professor in biological sciences at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, recently returned to Central New York after participating in a year-long program sponsored by Homeward Bound, a project to grow a global network of 1,000 women in STEM over the next 10 years. The goal of the initiative, which launched in 2016, is to increase representation of women within the STEM fields and at the leadership table to influence policy and decision-making as it shapes our planet. As part of the program, McManus spent three weeks in Antarctica. McManus answered a few questions about her journey and what she took away from it.

Q. How did you become involved with Homeward Bound and why did you want to?

A. A friend shared a news article with me which highlighted the first Homeward Bound all-female expedition to Antarctica. When I read more about the goals of the initiative it spoke to my desires to have more impact regarding environmental issues and reach audiences outside the academic walls.

Q. Homeward Bound aims to heighten the influence and impact of women with a science background. What are the benefits of specifically empowering female scientists to combat climate change?

A. As it stands, we are missing equal representation of half the population in JUNE / JULY 2018

STEM jobs and leadership positions. At a time when environmental action needs to be taken and policies need to be revised and developed, we need all hands on deck. But when only a small percentage of women are holding positions at the leadership table, we are missing a unique perspective and the full diversity of ideas and creative solutions that are possible.

Q. The program culminated with a trip to Antarctica. What work was conducted there, and how might it play a role in the climate change debate?

A. We were focused on what action items we can take on as individuals, within our local communities, and as a collective, to address the complex issues OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

associated with climate change. Some actions included producing and distributing educational materials, developing social media-based campaigns to raise awareness and motivate action, work to inform policy, and continue growing the network of Homeward Bound. We visited a number of international science research stations and learned the types of research projects being done by the scientists, how they have witnessed the effects of climate change on the continent, and what it requires to be a part of collegiate, close-knit communities during the long durations of their stays at the stations.

Q. What did you discover or learn during the trip?

A. I discovered a renewed hope that a sustainable future can be obtained if action is taken now, beautiful and growing connections between all of the participants, and there’s nothing like white bread after spending hours hiking amongst the penguins.

Q. You teach a course at Le Moyne called “Poisoning of a Planet” that allows students to become activists and target ways in which the college can become a 59


greener campus. How important is it to prepare students to better protect the planet?

Scenes of a trip to Antarctica. Photos courtesy of Hilary McManus.

A. I think it’s imperative that students are prepared for the challenges we are facing and act to protect the planet and mitigate climate change. All generations need to recognize the responsibilities are on us to create a sustainable planet for our future generations. If not us, who? If not now, when?

Q. You returned to your alma mater SUNY Oswego recently to talk about your trip and the importance of sustainability. What did you impress upon those who attended?

A. I really focused on the renewed hope I feel after Homeward Bound and the importance of all us leading by example and acting on behalf of the environment. I also drew parallels between the gender biases in STEM and climate change, that we don’t need more data to show both exist, we need a diversity of leadership to address the challenges, every action counts no matter how small, and that action needs to be taken on the individual, community, and collective levels.

Q. The world community came together for the Paris Climate Accord in 2015 with hundreds of countries pledging to do their part in preventing catastrophic damage to the planet. Is it enough and if not, what needs to happen to avoid that scenario?

A. I think the Paris Climate Accord is an essential step to addressing the challenges we face, but we cannot only rely on upper government and leadership to make these changes. We need to take responsibility and act at all levels to effect change.

Q. Now that you have completed the Homeward Bound program, how will you take what you learned to bolster your own efforts to protect the environment? What’s next for you?

A. I plan to continue speaking and acting on behalf of the environment and reaching out to audiences of all ages. Homeward Bound provides us with a number of tools to assist with implementing and taking on leadership roles, and they can serve me in reaching out and creating space to have the difficult conversations necessary to address the challenges we face. I hope to connect with more people outside of the academic walls, and help them connect with nature and learn the impacts they can have as individuals. 60

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

JUNE / JULY 2018


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Striking Out on Their Own Profile of six local businesswomen By Maria Pericozzi

All Source Fire Supply

Holly House Female business owner in construction industry gains trust of contractors

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olly House, a woman in the construction industry, has successfully built and grown her own business. In 1988, House began light typing and filing for ABJ Fire Protection. In 2013, her boss semi-retired from the company and new management took over. House left ABJ where she was at the top of the food chain, decided to go in a different direction and opened her own business in 2015. “It was a struggle,” House said. “I had a real eye-opener because I had bigger anticipations.” House knew many people in the business, and some of her customers from previous experiences still bought from her. She still had a hard time breaking into the business. “Contractors knew of me from

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competitors,” House said. “They needed time to trust me and to know that a woman knew these products, because they are technical.” In 2015, House went for her disadvantaged business enterprise certification, which she said was easy to get. She started getting some projects, and the subcontractors began trusting her. House said she had friends who OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

told her that it takes time. In 2016, things were getting better, and House decided to start fabricating sprinkler systems. “Contractors gave me a shot at some small stuff,” House said. “The fabrication was really to just get me more credibility from the subcontractors. They still didn’t trust me that well because I’m a woman in a construction industry of men.” JUNE / JULY 2018


When they started welding in 2017, it was a big deal. The jobs were becoming too big for the pickup truck the business uses, she said. The business is run out of her residence in Parish and House is looking to build a supply warehouse. “I started out selling the materials, and that’s what I really like to do,” House said. “I honestly thought the fabrication was just to get credibility. I had no idea it

would do what it’s doing, and I actually really like it.” House said the contactors trust her, and are beginning to realize she is not just a woman in business. “They’re coming around,” House said. “When I started, I had a couple customers, now I have probably 30 customers.” In the future, House hopes to have an automated fabrication warehouse and

a full supply house. This year marks 30 years that House has been in the construction industry. She worked hard to gain more knowledge in the industry. “No matter how much time you think you’ve got in this industry, as a woman, you have to pay your dues,” House said. “Be ready for it.”

an old Ukrainian recipe. “The typical gluten-free recipe on the Internet usually isn’t that good,” Swartwood said. “I’ve had to tweak all of the recipes.” Swartwood and her husband bought the building in 2012, and have been renovating it as an apartment, a wood shop and a bakery. There are still renovations to be done on the inside and outside of the building. “I hope to hire two full-time people and some part-time people,” Swartwood said. “I hope there will always be a steady flow of traffic.”

Differences north of border

Sweet Cindy’s Gluten Free Bakery

Cindy Swartwood Canadian woman celebrates two years since opening gluten-free bakery in Fulton

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ver since she received her first Easy-Bake oven when she was 10 years old, Cindy Swartwood, a Canadian native, loved baking. Her husband, Todd, who lives in the area, has celiac disease, and Swartwood said there seems to be more people needing to change their diet. She knew there was a demand for gluten-free baked goods and opened Sweet Cindy’s Gluten Free Bakery in Fulton two years ago. “Initially I thought the target market would be kid’s lunches, and parents needing gluten-free food for their kids, but that hasn’t been the case,” Swartwood said. “Certainly, I do have kids, but it has been a lot of adults, especially older adults, that are being diagnosed later in life.” Swartwood’s youngest customer is just under 1 year old, and she has had people in their 90s come to the bakery. The bakery opens at 7 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and Swartwood bakes everything from cinnamon rolls, to cakes, cookies, doughnuts and cheesecakes. She also bakes different breads and bagels. The cinnamon rolls and doughnut holes are the most popular items. All of the recipes Swartwood bakes with were recipes that she used at home for many years and converted well. The popular doughnut holes are JUNE / JULY 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

In Canada, Swartwood baked for 10 years and had customers coming in and asking if there was anything gluten-free. She asked her boss if she could make gluten-free items from home and sell it through the bakery. She did that for a year and learned there was a real market for it. Swartwood said there is an interesting difference in baked goods between Canada and the United States. “There are some things Canadians love and Americans know nothing about,” Swartwood said. “I didn’t 63


know what half-moon cookies were, and Americans know nothing about butter tarts. It’s been fun learning all of that.” Most people ask Swartwood why she opened a bakery in Fulton. Swartwood said she didn’t know there was a reason she shouldn’t open in Fulton,

and it has been a good place for the bakery. “We have a lot of customers who come down from Oswego and we also have people coming from Liverpool and Syracuse now,” Swartwood said. She even has customers that come from Cazenovia.

Local businesses and cafes buy bread and cinnamon rolls as well. “I hope to be known as a nice, cozy place for people to sit and talk, buy a cup of coffee and talk with their friends,” Swartwood said. “We’re getting known in the area, and it’s spreading. I really enjoy what I do.”

ning June 4, will be located at 37 E. First St. while construction is beginning at the Midtown Plaza. “We’re supposed to be coming back to Midtown Plaza when they rebuild it, but it’s another two years away,” Pecora said. After being a woman in business for five years, Pecora said owning a business is still male dominated, but is becoming more accepting of females. “I do still get customers that only

want to be waited on by a guy,” Pecora said. “It’s frustrating that they don’t want my help, but it’s my business.” Pecora is thankful to the community for its support throughout the ups and downs. “I’m thankful to still be going five years strong,” Pecora said. “It’s my hometown. I like having a presence here and contributing something.”

Port City Copy Center

Megan Pecora Do you copy? Young female business owner making an indelible impression

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n 2013 at 22 years old, Megan Pecora opened Port City Copy Center, located in the Midtown Plaza in Oswego. An Oswego native and graduate of SUNY Oswego, Pecora said she always wanted to start her own business. “I used to work at the Staples copy and print center,” Pecora said. “As they were closing down, I decided to open my own take on a copy center. It’s coming up on five years now.” Pecora earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and was glad she opened her business at a young age. “I wanted to start a business ever since I was a kid. There was something appealing about it,” Pecora said. “I’m glad I did it now while I didn’t have a family to take care of.” At Port City Copy Center, Pecora employs one other full-time associate. Finance-wise, Pecora said it is tough starting a business. Pecora learned to always have more insurance than needed. “Fires can break out and you can lose everything,” Pecora said. Last June, the building that housed Paura’s Liquor Store, other businesses and apartments along West Bridge Street were demolished. Port City Copy Center was located next door, and suffered smoke and water damage as well as fallen tiles. All of the electronics needed to be replaced. In the future, Pecora is hoping to have more of a brand name. “I want to become more of a household name,” Pecora said. “I want people to say, ‘Oh you need a copy or print? Don’t go all the way to Staples, there is a copy center right here in Oswego.’” Port City Copy Center is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. weekdays and begin-

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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

JUNE / JULY 2018


Nadine K. Barnett

Your Fabulous deep cleaning experts. 315-591-1762 www.divasdusting.com Fully insured • Fully bonded

A Cut Above

Michelle Hughes Salon owner takes great pride in community, volunteering

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ichelle Hughes always has had a penchant for design, whether it involves transforming someone’s hair from ordinary to extraordinary, rehabilitating and designing a new workspace, or helping to beautify the community. In 2001, Hughes purchased A Cut Above, and moved the salon to 4866 Jefferson St. in Pulaski in 2010. Hughes has lived in Pulaski for more than 30 years. JUNE / JULY 2018

Acro-Fab Ltd.

“Creativity and artistry is my life’s passion and work,” Hughes said. Hughes started her career as a receptionist during her high school and college years. She rose to salon manager, then part-time bookkeeper, and eventually the owner. “I decided to become a business owner when I realized the acronym that I live by, ODAT, opportunity, desire, ability, time, had presented itself,” Hughes said. “I do not take on a project unless those four variables exist for me. I feel like my best self when I have several things on my plate due to the need to continually learn and challenge myself.” A Cut Above offers a variety of services, including manicures, pedicures, facial and body waxing, massages, makeovers, design cuts, hair extensions, eyelashes and indoor tanning. The salon also specializes in bridal hair and makeup services, and staff has traveled off-site for events. Hughes said the staff has outgrown its current space, and they are OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

LASER CUTTING Precision Sheet Metal – CNC Machining PRODUCTION – PROTOTYPE Steel & Aluminum Welding MIL– STD - 1595A Powder Coating Chemical Film Mil-DTL-5541F Class 1A & Class 3 Ro Hs Compliant 55 Rochester Street, PO Box 184, Hannibal, NY 13074 Phone (315) 564-6688, Fax (315) 564-5599 E-mail: info@acro-fab.com Website: www.acro-fab.com

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planning to expand the salon in 2019 to offer a larger, more relaxing space. Going a notch above When the stylists are designing, cutting, or coloring, the idea is to recognize the elements that work and the variables that do not, rather than simply using a technique or a trick, Hughes said. “Hairstylists aren’t taught about inspiration, or how to look for and use references from film, music, books and history,” Hughes said. “They aren’t shown how to analyze what is special, unique, or intriguing about an individual. They are simply taught to cut hair.” Being a business owner, Hughes learned that it is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, experiences. The team is comprised of a group of women who each bring their own unique skill set to the salon. “I appreciate them, value them, treasure them immensely, and consider each one of them to be part of my family,” Hughes said. “We could not be who and what we are, in our salon, without each other.” Hughes enjoys traveling, being on or near the water, decorating and volunteering in the community. Finding balance to motivate her staff, herself, work behind a chair, stay on top of advertising on social media, keep up with bookwork, inventory, staff a salon that is open seven days a week, tend to rentals, volunteer, and carve out “me time” is a daily challenge for Hughes. Being a businesswoman and hairstylist has taught Hughes to communicate succinctly and directly, leaving much less room for misinterpretation. “I have also learned that I am able to have a great impact on people’s lives through the relationships and connections I have made over the years,” Hughes said. “I am able to introduce people to those who can help in different areas of their lives.” As a business owner, it is important for Hughes to give back to the community by volunteering, donating time and skills, and helping anonymously when possible. “I take great pride in my community and enjoy helping my fellow residents,” Hughes said.

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Affordable Business Solutions

Brenda Weissenberg Accountant serves clients in comfort of her own home in Central Square

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renda Weissenberg has spent the last 30 years as an accountant and the last 18 working from home with her own company, Affordable Business Solutions. Weissenberg does lots of accounting, including income taxes, payroll, bookkeeping for local businesses, and forensic accounting. “Right out of high school, I went into accounting,” Weissenberg said. “I always loved accounting. I’ve been an accountant since I graduated from high school and I was lucky enough to go to college in the career I chose, and stuck with it all these years, which doesn’t happen too often.” The business is located at 248 Breckheimer Road in Central Square, and is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. weekdays throughout the year. During tax season, Weissenberg works from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., seven days a week. Weissenberg grew up in Cicero, but her family is from the Central Square area. She previously worked OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

for other big certified public accountants’ firms, but noticed an issue with small local contractors. They were not getting their taxes done because they could not afford the CPA rates big firms were charging. “When I initially opened my business, I specialized in just small contractors,” Weissenberg said. “I help somebody that is just a guy by himself out there working but didn’t know how to do their own book work.” Over the years, her services have evolved to doing the small contractors’ bookkeeping, payrolls and income taxes. Weissenberg’s business features two other employees, but she hopes she never outgrows doing her business from home. “In 10 years, I would like my volume to continue to grow, but at a pace that I can continue to do it from home and employ people,” Weissenberg said. “I enjoy working from home. I find more contractors will come, sit and talk to me and I can help them in this environment.” Weissenberg said she noticed some workers were intimidated to go to big offices. “I don’t want to go open an office someplace else,” Weissenberg said. “The small contractors walk in with boots on, and mud, and they feel more comfortable coming in and sitting here, than if I was in a storefront office.” Most of Weissenberg’s clients are males, and she has received nothing but respect from her clients. JUNE / JULY 2018


“The corporate world that I got out of was a totally different experience,” Weissenberg said. “I felt I was being held back because I was a female. Working for myself, I don’t

feel that in any way.” Most people in small businesses tend to branch out and be involved in the community, Weissenberg said. “You end up having more of a

presence in the community because that’s who you end up serving — your community,” Weissenberg said. “I’m heavily involved in the chambers and I do a lot of charity work.”

Barado’s on the Water

Cheryl Barsom and Donna DiRaddo Determined female business owners face challenges, breathe life into restaurant, marina

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ombining their skills, Cheryl Barsom and Donna DiRaddo opened Barado’s on the Water, 57 Bradbury Road, Central Square, five years ago and continue to expand. Barsom was a dental hygienist for more than 20 years before she went back to school, attending Cayuga Community College for its organizational business program. She is a Boston, Mass. native and moved to the area in 1990. “I wanted to do something different,” Barsom said. “I love this industry. My dream was to own my own restaurant.” She was bartending at Lake Shore Yacht & Country Club in Cicero when she met DiRaddo, who was the executive chef at the time. DiRaddo is from the West Genesee area and did not go to school for cooking. She went to college for criminal justice, but went on a trip to Florida and started working for the Inn Between Restaurant and never left the restaurant business. DiRaddo recently spent 14 days in Italy, mastering her craft. “I never went to culinary school,” DiRaddo said. “I just learned it from hands-on experience. My mom was a great cook too and she did a lot of cooking growing up. It became easy to me, so I stuck with it.” They purchased Barado’s on the Water after the previous owners asked the women to “breathe some life into the marina.” Barsom manages the bar and waitresses, while DiRaddo manages the kitchen. JUNE / JULY 2018

Cheryl Barsom, left, and Donna DiRaddo. “We came down here, we didn’t even know this was here,” Barsom said. “We walked around and we said, ‘Oh my God we can rock this.’” All of the recipes at Barado’s on the Water are homemade. During the summer, an area behind the restaurant turns into a garden to grow herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, and other fruits and vegetables the restaurant uses in its recipes. Keeping it local Barsom and DiRaddo try to use local businesses when doing renovations to build up the community and neighborhood. “We keep everything local,” Barsom said. “You have to support your area. We have so many locals that do work for us.” Barsom said DiRaddo keeps her grounded. “When we first started, I wanted to go all out, and she kept me grounded,” Barsom said. “We do a little at a time, and it has kept us out of debt. It’s the only way you can do business.” Each year, Barado’s on the Water features new improvements and continues growing. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“Our goal is to get a better customer flow,” Barsom said. “We knocked down a wall and doubled the size of the bar, and it increased customer flow so they weren’t stuck in one room. Each year we have our bucket list and we’re going right down it.” As women in business, Barsom and DiRaddo said they face challenges due to how they are treated in the business world. “If it was your husband asking for this to be done, he would have said, ‘Oh, I can do it for $1,000,’ but if [we ask], it’s $1,500,” DiRaddo said. Barsom said on the other end of the spectrum, they have found people who have been very supportive. “It’s nice to have two partners doing completely different things and supporting each other too,” Barsom said. In the restaurant business, DiRaddo said there are not many success stories and it is a struggle to get off the ground. “We rub two nickels together and do what we can,” DiRaddo said. “We have a great name for ourselves, and we’re in the fifth year.” 67


SPECIAL REPORT By Lou Sorendo

Another Blow to Newspaper Industry

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Tariffs on Canadian newsprint putting crunch on publishing industry, which is already going through tough times

t is literally stopping the presses. Since the first of the year, the U.S. Department of Commerce has imposed tariffs of up to 32 percent on newsprint imported from Canada. While that is positive news for U.S. newsprint mills, the tariffs have served to drastically and suddenly raise prices on newsprint not only locally, but nationwide as well. Subscription renewals are reportedly declining with most newspapers nationwide, while newsprint, one of the industry’s largest operating expenses, is becoming significantly more costly. This is occurring while advertising in newspapers is declining and readers are opting to get their news online. The U.S. Department of Commerce enacted an overall tariff of 6.53 percent on about 25 Canadian plants, mostly in Quebec and Ontario, fol-

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lowing an investigation that began in August 2017. Wilbur Ross, commerce secretary, said the preliminary decision allows U.S. producers to receive relief from the market-distorting effects of potential government subsidies while taking into account the need to keep ground-wood paper prices affordable for domestic consumers. He said the Commerce Department will continue to evaluate and verify the accuracy of the preliminary determination while “standing up for the American business and worker.” Canada is the largest exporter of newsprint in the world, with a market dominated by Resolute Forest Products, Kruger Inc. and Catalyst Paper Corp. of British Columbia. Loren Colburn is the executive director of the Association of Free Community Papers based in Liverpool. The AFCP’s mission is to help OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

members enhance their profitability and be a leader in strengthening the free publication industry. Colburn said before a final decision on tariffs is made, publishers will have the opportunity to present their case with the International Trade Commission, which has scheduled a hearing for July 17. Paul Boyle, senior vice president for News Media Alliance, said the ITC has the power to reject the tariffs, but industry experts “are not very optimistic that will be the outcome.” Meanwhile, the tariffs are having a direct impact on media that uses newsprint. Colburn said the cost increase will not be absorbed by producers of newsprint, but will instead be passed on to consumers of newsprint, such as printers, publishers, and retailers for advertising fliers. Kruger Inc., a Canadian corporaJUNE / JULY 2018


tion based in Montreal that manufactures publication papers, is the third largest producer in North America. The price increases it has enacted or announced are evidence of the tariff’s effect. On Dec. 1, 2017, paper was selling for $30 a metric ton. Colburn As of May 1, it increased to $35 per metric ton, and was projected to hit $40 per metric ton as of June 1. That represents an estimated 26 percent cost increase to its average customer in a seven-month period, Colburn noted. The tariff issue has caused media outlets to scramble as they look for strategies on how to offset the increase in newsprint. Colburn said there are several ways to adjust to this unbudgeted, significant cost increase for publications. “Publishers will be forced to further reduce page counts and circulation while increasing subscription and advertising rates, which impacts all consumers,” he said. Colburn said the only other alternative involves reducing human resource costs to offset the impact of the cost of materials. This is because human resources are the most significant cost for most publications and second to materials, he noted. Taking a stand Stop Tariffs On Printers & Publishers (STOPP) is a coalition of associations and companies fighting newsprint tariffs that threaten more than 600,000 jobs across the entire U.S. printing and publishing industry. “We have joined together to fight proposed government tariffs on newsprint that have been initiated by petitions filed by a single newsprint mill, NORPAC,” stated its website. STOPP characterized NORPAC as an outlier in the industry that is owned by a New York hedge fund, with no additional pulp or paper operations in the U.S. or globally. “The proposed tariffs will force our member companies to cut jobs not JUNE / JULY 2018

“Publishers will be forced to further reduce page counts and circulation while increasing subscription and advertising rates, which impacts all consumers.” Loren Colburn is the executive director of the Association of Free Community Papers based in Liverpool. only at newspapers, commercial printing, and book publishing operations, but throughout the supply chain, such as paper manufacturers, ink suppliers, fuel producers, and equipment manufacturers,” the website noted. Colburn detailed what needs to be done in order to reverse the situation. “Companies, consumers and concerned citizens need to contact their representatives in the Senate and House to express their disagreement with tariffs as a solution to a problem that has evolved over the last 50 years,” he said. He said tampering with an information source to millions of Americans and the welfare of several hundred thousand publishing company employees at the request of a company with fewer than 400 employees “does not seem like prudent public policy.” “This complex issue needs to be examined carefully and potential solutions planned to minimize longterm negative impacts in favor of more positive outcomes,” he said. Firing back Michelle Rea is the executive director of the New York Press Association, and said the tariffs are significant on several levels. “The most obvious is that unbudgeted increases of this magnitude create serious problems,” she said. Rea said large metropolitan newspapers are anticipating increases of $2 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

million to $3 million in expenses. Most papers saw newsprint increases of 6.5 percent in January and an additional 22 percent in February, she added. Most Canadian mills implemented price increases ranging from $35 to $65 per metric ton in April and a similar increase in May. Rea said papers of all sizes are paying 30 to 35 percent more for newsprint this year than they did last year. “Another factor is supply and demand. Some mills are moving away from newsprint to more profitable products like the boxes used by Amazon,” she said. Other mills are shipping newsprint overseas instead of in the U.S. “This is increasing the cost of newsprint and making it harder to get,” she said. In fact, The Buffalo News recently reported that staff was concerned whether it would have enough newsprint to put out its Sunday edition. Rea said “the final straw” is the rule changes for truckers that took place in January, resulting in a trucker shortage. Now, publishers not only have to find affordable newsprint, they also must find someone to drive their trucks, she said. The government has mandated that truckers use electronic logging devices, among other rules. Rea said once a tariff becomes permanent, it never gets reversed. “Newspaper publishers have until July to convince the U.S. Department of Commerce that this is going to put a lot of newspapers out of business and a lot of journalists out of work,” she said. Rea said hyper-local journalism and local news coverage will drastically diminish. “Newspaper reporters do the lion’s share of new reporting, investigative journalism, and coverage of local government. Broadcast journalists rely on their ‘media partners’ at local newspapers,” she said. “Citizens will be less informed, our democracy will suffer, communities will suffer, and ultimately paper producers will suffer,” she said. Rea noted that this is a “terrible situation” created by a hedge fund in New York. “It is a clever strategy for getting rid of the press,” she said. 69


Oswego’s Downtown Makeover Gets Underway. Finally!

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t’s been two years since Gov. Andrew Cuomo arrived in Oswego with an oversized $10 million dollar check and promises to transform the city’s downtown region. At the time, the Port City was one of only 10 in New York to receive the Downtown Revitalization Award, a state-funded program to help smaller cities like Oswego turn their downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities. Dozens of other communities have joined that list since 2016, and are getting their own projects off of the ground. But now, Oswego officials say the long-awaited work on their change is about to start. New York state approved 12 projects for funding through the award, and several have recently cleared the licensing process through the city’s zoning and planning boards. “We see these projects finally gearing up to start construction; that’s encouraging,” said Mayor Billy Barlow. “I’m glad to see finally some progress starting.” Barlow says residents will see work this summer on a mini park on Market Street. The so-called pocket park will be built in the alleyway between The Ferris Wheel bar and Coffee Connection in an effort to connect West First Street and Water Street, two popular pedestrian

thoroughfares. According to New York state, the park will be designed to be a “flexible, creative small public space for community gatherings and public event space.” Work is also set to get underway on Oswego’s Complete Streets project. The city has been working for years to secure funding for a streetscape makeover aimed at providing a safe, convenient connection across state Route 104 that links upper downtown and the waterfront area. That includes enhancements to the sidewalks and cross-walks so they can accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists and those with disabilities, as well as aesthetic improvements like green infrastructure. Construction on the much-discussed indoor water park may start in the coming months as well. The two-story facility will be added onto the south end of the Quality Inn & Riverfront Suites, which is located on the Oswego River. Public officials are hoping the Lake Ontario Water Park will be one of the key investments in the Downtown Revitalization project that could make Oswego a destination place for families. Another family attraction could be the new and improved Children’s Museum of Oswego. The grant will pay for renovations and install hands-on educational and cultural exhibits this summer. Barlow says it’s rewarding to see the

Photo of Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow released in 2016 announcing a $10 million award from New York state. More than two years later, some of the projects funded by the award will start to take shape.

wheels in motion for so many projects. Part of what’s taken so long has been the process of selecting what to fund with the $10 million. After winning the award, the city had to collect ideas from residents through several public input meetings and then submit them to the state for approval. The winners were announced nearly a year after Oswego won the competition. Since then, Barlow says the city has been working with private developers on making the projects a reality. “We really have had one year to get these projects secure and get the process rolling,” Barlow said. “So I view this summer and next summer to be really critical and crucial to see how much we can get out of the $10 million and how many of those projects actually come to fruition quickly.” There are many more projects that are still one to two years out — rehabilitating the Historic Cahill Building, the oldest structure in Oswego, into a residential facility with space for dining; upgrading the Oswego Riverwalk to include new landscaping and lighting; adding new residential units in vacant downtown spaces; and redeveloping the Global Buffet building on the corner of West First Street and Bridge Street into a multi-story residential and retail facility. But even the projects that won’t start this summer are moving forward. The Global Buffet redevelopment has passed through the planning board, and the city is accepting applications for another one of the projects — a downtown improvement fund. The $525,000 pot of money will be available to businesses for things like façade improvements and residential or commercial expansions. While Barlow says he’s excited about all that’s set to take place in the coming year, he’s a bit anxious because of the high expectations from the community. “There’s a sense of pressure from my seat,” Barlow said. “This city has become a little weary of grants and studies. We have heard a lot of plans through the last three decades, but the city still looks the same way it did three decades ago. I really want these first few projects to get in the ground so people see progress, they see the money is real, they see we won and they see that these property owners are committed and it’s the real deal. But I’m confident that we will see some real progress here in the next year.”

By Payne Horning 70

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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REAl ESTATE By Lou Sorendo

Seller’s Market Prevails in CNY Housing inventory shortage results in higher than average prices

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arious factors have created a seller’s real estate market in Oswego County and Central New York. Anthony Ciappa and Corinne Komarnicki, licensed real estate agents with New Heights Home Team, an affiliate of Hunt Real Estate in Cicero, said the trend toward a housing inventory shortage is not only a local issue but a national one as well. The number of homes for sale in Oswego County dropped by more than 21 percent from April 2017 to April 2018, according to the latest data from the New York State Association of Realtors. In addition, the number of new listings dropped by nearly 20 percent during the same time frame. Months’ supply also dropped by nearly 21 percent. Corinne Komarnicki, who also serves as director of operations, said because of the housing inventory shortage, housing costs are increasing. The median sales price of a home in Oswego County at the close of the JUNE / JULY 2018

first quarter was $87,450, a 2.3 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2017. Komarnicki said multiple-offer situations are common in the region, and houses are going for above asking price. “If you have a nice home and are in a desirable area, chances are for the buyers out there, there is going to be some competition for it,” she said. “Right now, we definitely have people who want to buy. There’s just not a whole lot of options out there for them,” she added. Komarnicki said a key reason for the shortage is people are deciding to live in their homes longer than they ever have before. “Prior to that, people bought a house and planned to live in it for a couple of years, sell it, and get another house. We’re seeing that as a trend. There’s not so much of that desire to want to go ahead and upgrade quickly or move again,” she said. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Ciappa noted another result of the inventory shortage is sellers are hesitant to put their house on the market in fear that it will sell fast and “they will have nowhere to go because prices are inflated.” Ciappa characterized it as a seller’s market. “We run into bidding wars above the asking price, which is an indication of a seller’s market,” he said. The agents said mortgage reps have reported that interest rates are going to continue to climb throughout the rest of 2018. “If you are going to get a mortgage, now is probably better than later,” she noted. “We’re super busy and ramping up right now,” Ciappa said. “Now is the time when people are just starting to get out. We nurture some leads through the winter and right about now is when people want to get out and start looking and pulling the trigger.” 71


REAL ESTATE By Lou Sorendo

Attacking Societal Ills CNY Fair Housing confronts housing discrimination, segregation, concentrated poverty

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NY Fair Housing celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act in April. While much has been accomplished since President Lyndon B. Johnson inked the legislation on April 11, 1968, the Syracuse-based agency faces a never-ending uphill battle to remedy some of society’s most significant challenges. CNY Fair Housing, a private nonprofit organization, works to eliminate housing discrimination, promote open communities and ensure equal access to housing opportunity for communities in Central and Northern New York. While the agency is celebrating its golden anniversary, the high volume of complaints fielded by the agency still makes it a viable resource. Sally Santangelo, executive director at CNY Fair Housing, said her office is receiving an inordinate amount of calls related to a myriad of issues, including sexual harassment. She said this has coincided with the #MeToo movement, a nationwide effort to help demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. “I think the movement is fueling the rise in calls to some extent,” she said. “With the national discussions, women are more empowered to come forward with their stories. I think it’s difficult to tell a story about something so personal, and it’s painful to have to retell these

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Office of CNY Fair Housing in Syracuse is receiving record number of complaints related to sexual harassment. Gender complaints are now second main reason for fair housing complaints — right after issues concerning disability experiences. So I think as more women have been coming forward about these issues nationally, it is empowering women locally to use their voice to tell of their experiences.” However, she said, “When you look at the breakdown in terms of the reasons or basis for the calls, disability is always the No. 1 fair housing complaint,” Santangelo said. She said at least 50 percent of calls involve issues concerning disability, and that has been the norm since the Syracuse office opened in 1991. This is both a local and national trend, she added. Race has historically been the No. 2 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

reason, while familial status — or families with children — has ranked third. Last year, however, the agency saw gender complaints vault into the No. 2 position. “We’ve never had gender complaints ranked so high,” she said. “Some complaints were related to discrimination against survivors of domestic violence,” she said. Sexual harassment cases Largely spurring the rise in gender-based calls is a case involving Oswego businessman and landlord Douglas Waterbury, Santangelo said. CNY Fair Housing is a plaintiff in ongoing civil litigation involving alleged fair housing violations and sexual harassment against Waterbury. “We talked to 25 women who have had some experience related to Mr. Waterbury,” she noted. The case is pending in federal court. CNY Fair Housing filed the initial complaint last August with six women as well as the agency itself named in that complaint. Two additional women with allegations came forth last fall as well. The agency’s primary goal in this action is to make sure no women face sexual harassment when seeking housing, Santangelo said. “There is no place you should feel safer than in your own home,” she said. “Our primary goal is to make sure JUNE / JULY 2018


there are no women subjected to sexual harassment. “This went on, according to allegations, for a number of years. It created the impression that this it is OK. We need to work to counteract that assumption.” “We need to make sure we’re doing more education and outreach to educate not only individual tenants, but educate the community at large as well as service providers, elected officials and people working with tenants to make sure they understand not only that this is a violation of fair housing laws, but also that there are options for women to protect their civil rights in this area,” she added. A number of these women have suffered real harm, she noted. They’ve struggled to find other housing and they’ve endured homelessness, she noted. “There is, obviously, emotional harm in having gone through these things. There is a goal to make sure they feel whole again moving forward,” Santangelo said. CNY Fair Housing fields and inves-

tigates complaints of discrimination by individuals. “We can hear their stories and review evidence that they may have. We will do things like look through lease agreements, applications and communication between a tenant and housing provider,” Santangelo said. The agency works to verify that what complainants experienced was in fact discrimination. “We do undercover testing to provide independent third-party evidence to try to figure out exactly what did happen to an individual who feels they were discriminated against,” she added. CNY Fair Housing also does advocacy on behalf of tenants when it is warranted, and it usually is related to people with disabilities who are in need of accommodations to help them remain in their homes. The agency also has an attorney on staff that provides legal representation when needed. “We represent individuals in state and federal court. We also file complaints with the New York State Division of

$125,000 Award to Help Education, Outreach The grant would allow CNY Fair Housing to focus on educating woman about their rights when facing sexual harassment by housing providers

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NY Fair Housing was recently awarded $125,000 of federal funding to expand education and outreach related to housing rights, including efforts to stop the sexual harassment of women by housing providers. Provided by HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program Education and Outreach Initiative grants, the funds are set to increase educational efforts throughout the Central New York area, including Oswego County. The funds will be used to conduct training for individuals, service providers, housing providers and others throughout the region to help identify housing discrimination and help housing providers understand their fair housing responsibilities and best practices. The grant would allow CNY Fair Housing to focus on educating woman about their rights when facing sexual harassment by housing providers. The $125,000 is in addition to a $300,000 HUD grant the organization

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was awarded in January. Though primarily used for enforcement, Santangelo said the $300,000 would also be used to provide some education and outreach. The agency also receives funding from the city of Syracuse, Onondaga County, other municipalities, grants from private foundations and through fundraising. CNY Fair Housing also has service contracts with five municipalities throughout its service area. Like any nonprofit, CNY Fair Housing also engages in fundraising in an effort to expand its services and do more with the limited resources it has, Santangelo said. “Funding is a huge concern right now. There are federal budget proposals that could potentially gut funding for not only our work, but the work of many of our partners in the community that do great things to increase housing opportunities,” she said. She said budget proposals for 2019 could eliminate the community development block grant program, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Human Rights and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development,” she said. Gender identity issue It is illegal to discriminate against certain protected classes of people, Santangelo said. The federal government has not added protected classes since 1988, when disability and familial status were added. “It’s not surprising, but it is incredibly discouraging,” Santangelo said. “I think we should have protection for people based on sexual orientation, for examSantangelo ple, at a national level.” “In New York state, we do have protections based on people’s sexual orientation. That was actually passed in which provides essential funding to cities and counties. The contracts that CNY Fair Housing has with municipalities are made possible through the CDBG program. “It’s devastating not only for us, but it also impacts so many other agencies that do such great work, such as providing emergency home repair programs for low-income home owners, providing food service for seniors, and after-school programs for children,” Santangelo said. The grant came as a pleasant surprise for Santangelo, who will have the ability to increase her staff to six. However, there is a funding gap of more than two months. “We did not think we were going to receive the education and outreach grant, so we will be able to reestablish a position that will allow us to do even more work in the communities we serve,” she said. She said once the grants kick in, the agency will be fully funded for the year. “But there is always a demand that we just simply don’t have the resources to meet,” she said. “When demand is as high if not higher than ever for our services, the demand doesn’t go away.” 73


the city of Syracuse, which was one of the first cities to pass sexual orientation protection legislation at a local level,” she noted. In 2002, New York state passed protections based on sexual orientation, “but still, New York state does not have explicit protections for people based on gender identity,” Santangelo said. The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act is a proposed New York law which adds gender identity and expression as a protected class in the state’s human rights and hate crimes laws, prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and other areas. However, the legislation has fallen flat since it was introduced in 2003. “To some extent, there are some protections for people based on gender in New York state,” she said. For example, if a person is gender nonconforming, then gender protection does exist in New York state and can protect people. There are also protections in federal housing for people based on gender identity, “but we don’t have those explicit protections,” she noted. Syracuse also passed protections last year based on source of income. “That means a housing provider can’t deny someone housing based on their legal source of income. If someone receives Section 8 or public assistance, a housing provider has to give them an opportunity to apply,” she noted. The federal fair housing act includes a provision that says programs administered by HUD have to be delivered in a way that affirmatively furthers fair housing, Santangelo said. She noted the provision to affirmatively further fair housing has been in the fair housing act since it was passed in 1968, but it has largely gone unenforced. She said in 2015, HUD provided more clarification and guidance for communities that receive federal housing funding on what they need to do to affirmatively further fair housing. “That rule came out in early July of 2015 and now requires communities that accept funding from HUD to do more to proactively address patterns of segregation and inequality of opportunity for communities,” she said. A few years prior to the rule coming out, Westchester County was sued for failing to affirmatively further fair housing.

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“Syracuse is the worst city in the country in terms of the percentage of both African-Americans and Latinos living in concentrated poverty” Sally Santangelo, executive director at CNY Fair Housing Dire straits Syracuse is among the top 10 worst cities for segregation in the nation. Not only does Syracuse have a high level of segregation, it also suffers from high levels of concentrated poverty. “Syracuse is the worst city in the country in terms of the percentage of both African-Americans and Latinos living in concentrated poverty,” said Santangelo, noting Rochester and Buffalo are not far behind. She noted there are steps that can be taken to address these issues, one being to ensure people have housing opportunities. “We have to make sure people are not being denied housing because of illegal discrimination, but we also must make sure there’s things like access to affordable housing,” she said. “One of the reasons why Syracuse has developed these stark patterns of segregation is because of limited affordable housing opportunities outside of the city. We have to make sure we have more options and are developing things like mixed income housing, where you have a mix of incomes all living in the same neighborhood. That can foster more economic, racial and ethnic diversity,” she said. Santangelo said the community must commit to improving the quality of housing, as well as the educational and economic opportunities within cities. She said the region continues to struggle with issues like lead poisoning in cities that disproportionately affects people of color. “It can lead to a lifetime of issues,” she said. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Santangelo said low-income renters must continue to be aided. “As a country, we spend significantly more actually subsidizing middle class home ownership than we do in subsidizing affordable housing for low-income renters,” she added. For example, the mortgage interest deduction largely used by middle class homeowners is four times more the cost of all programs CNY Fair Housing has for low-income renters. “It’s vital to make sure the benefits that we provide as well as the mortgage interest deduction is a benefit to everyone. I’m a homeowner, and it causes me to pay less for my housing. We want to make sure those benefits are shared,” she said. The education piece Besides the investigative component, CNY Fair Housing also specializes in education and outreach. “We train about 1,500 individuals a year on fair housing rights and responsibilities,” she said. “Sometimes training is geared toward individuals, service providers who are working with people who may face discrimination, and housing providers so they know best practices and have an understanding of the law,” she noted. CNY Fair Housing also does a significant amount of policy work, researching strategies that would help increase housing opportunities, she noted. Staff also conducts fair housing assessments. The agency took part in a public hearing in the city of Oswego late last year related to new changes to HUD’s housing choice voucher program. “We continue to look into those changes to try to understand what the effect of those changes will be and whether they are in compliance with fair housing laws,” she noted. Santangelo has been executive director of CNY Fair Housing for more than five years. “I love that I get to do so many different things. There are always new things to learn and I do love the opportunity to effect change,” she said. She said the gratifying aspects of her job involve keeping someone in their home, being able to help folks get into new housing, or breaking down some barriers that prevent people from achieving their housing goals. “I think that is probably the most satisfying part — the victories we have feel pretty good,” she said. JUNE / JULY 2018


New Age, Old Problems Disabled, persons of color still suffer from discriminatory housing practices By Lou Sorendo

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he more things change, the more they stay the same. As the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act is being recognized April 11, there is a lot of work to be done in terms of stopping patterns of housing discrimination. CNY Fair Housing, led by executive director Sally Santangelo, has handled several cases of differential treatment of people with disabilities and sometimes refusals to rent to people with disabilities. “We also see a lot of segregation of people with disabilities, and sometimes in certain parts of a community as well,” she added. Santangelo said there is a case pending where CNY Fair Housing is representing a woman with a developmental disability — cerebral palsy — who had inquired about renting an apartment. According to what is alleged in the complaint, the housing provider told the prospective tenant that an interview with her doctor was necessary to see if she can live independently and that she would have to pay a year’s worth of rent in advance. CNY Fair Housing has also experienced similar cases where housing providers subject people with disabilities to extensive and intrusive questions that are not asked of others, Santangelo said. “In some cases, they are being denied outright and are being told they won’t be a good fit, not knowing anything about what this person would be like as a tenant,” she said. “They are just making assumptions because the person has a disability.” The other area where the agency sees many cases related to disability involves the unwillingness to provide reasonable accommodations and modifications. “A lot of these are for emotional support animals,” she said. JUNE / JULY 2018

Fighting for autistic child CNY Fair Housing has another case pending involving a family that has an 8-year-old autistic child who has elopement disorder, or the propensity to run away. “The disorder causes her to run away from her caregivers and parents,” Santangelo said. “As soon as she is more than a couple of inches away from a parent or person, she will run.” The family lives off a heavily trafficked road, and the child has nearly been hit by passing motorists. As a result, efforts have been made to install a fence at the mobile home park for the past two years. “They’ve been requesting permission to install a fence, which normally is not allowed,” Santangelo noted. However, the fence is necessary for the family to keep their child safe and to give her the opportunity to be outdoors. Now, the child can’t play in the yard, she noted. “She has a twin sister and they can’t play together on the swing set or do all the things that other children are able to do because it’s such a risk to her life,” she added. Park management denied the request, and CNY Fair Housing jumped into the fray by initially providing advocacy on the family’s behalf. “We tried to contact the housing provider, and tried to explain what the law was, but unfortunately that did not work in this case,” she noted. “We would prefer to resolve these things. Court cases take a long time and are expensive, but unfortunately, that sometimes is our only option,” she said. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

She noted it could take three years from the time they asked to be able to install a fence, and the housing director doesn’t have to pay for it. “It’s not even a cost issue, but they still have been denying the family the right to install the fence,” she said. “It’s unfortunate, and this should be a simple act to grant something like this,” she said. “We always are concerned often in these cases when underlying reasons or the reasons given change frequently, which of course can be a red flag for us.” Santangelo said the agency still sees more subtle forms of race discrimination than perhaps existed 50 years ago. “But we still do see discrimination,” she said. “For example, some of our testing has shown differences in what the application process is based on race.” “You might have a black person seeking to rent an apartment who is told he or she needs to provide threemonths’ worth of pay stubs, a copy of their driver’s license, and a criminal and credit check,” she said. “Whereas, if a white person is asking about the same apartment, he or she is not told they need to provide those things.” CNY Fair Housing conducted a test more than a year ago that indicated just that. “We still do see those differences. We see people being told the apartment is not available, or maybe when they have a racially identifiable name or voice pattern, or show up in person, the housing director tells them it is not available any longer and was just rented,” she said. “You still see those things happening.” “There also are subtle ways in which people are made to feel unwelcome in communities, and that is concerning as well,” she said.

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Manufacturing/Economic Development By Lou Sorendo

Team HealthWay — Touting their new whole home air purification system are HealthWay employees, from left, Suzie Lobdell, brand strategist; Xuchen “Bob” Wang, mechanical engineer; John Damon, account manager; Mitchell Lobdell, sheet metal shop/manager; Jason Francher, business development, and John Pugh, technical customer service manager.

HealthWay Unveils Home Air Purification System

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Pulaski-based business launching an innovative whole home air purification system that’s expect to accelerate company’s growth

hile threats such as obesity, substance abuse and lack of physical activity grab headlines, there is one health concern that demands attention around the globe: air quality. The World Health Organization has ranked air quality as the No. 1 health concern that humans face worldwide. Going beyond the typical concerns of allergies and asthma, people are increasingly trying to understand and focus on the effects of environmental stress on the body and mind. 76

As a result, the wellness industry is booming. “Wellness is huge right now, whether it’s wellness lifestyle, tourism or real estate,” said Vinny Lobdell Jr., president of HealthWay. In fact, a recent Global Wellness Institute report states that wellness is a $3.7 trillion dollar industry, and is growing faster than the global economy. HealthWay recently partnered with the Global Wellness Institute and is sponsoring the 2018 Global Summit in Italy in its pursuit of clean air and OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

healthy living. “We’re really focused on how we can create healthy indoor spaces worldwide,” he said. “Our goal is to provide an environment where you can feel free to live without environmental boundaries.” Jason Francher, sales manager and certified air quality specialist at HealthWay, mentions a recent survey showing that about 70 percent of homeowners are more concerned about understanding the benefits of having clear air in their homes than they are about aesthetics. Francher’s position became possible JUNE / JULY 2018


through a research grant from the U.S. Department of Defense for germ warfare. In response to demand, HealthWay is launching an innovative whole house air purification system. The new air filtration units are being manufactured at the company’s facility located in Pulaski. The innovative whole home system called the “Super V” can be installed by an HVAC professional directly onto a furnace. “We’ve developed, tested and launched the world’s most efficient whole house air cleaning system that basically adapts onto 95 percent of existing residential HVAC systems,” Lobdell said. HealthWay’s patented disinfecting filtration system technology, built into all HealthWay products, allows the air cleaning system to filter up to 100 percent of all particulates. “Other common furnace filters capture up to 70 percent of particulates,” Lobdell said. “It not only captures ultra-fine particles, but eliminates mold, bacteria, virus and fungi inside the media filter,” said Lobdell. The same technology is used in HealthWay’s premiere line of residential portable air cleaners. Out on the market The product went through its testing phase and was expected to be on the market at the close of May. “Our technology actually deactivates all microorganisms as well and still has great efficiency with half the pressure drop compared to typical competing systems,” Francher said. Because it affixes directly to an existing system, it only uses about 4 watts of power. “This is the first time we’ve been able to provide HEPA-type (high efficiency

HealthWay official says new ‘Super V’ system filters up to 100 percent of all particulates while other common furnace filters capture up to 70 percent of particulates. It can be installed by an HVAC professional dirrectly onto an existing furnace. particulate air) filtration from the point of entry where all air is coming into a space,” Lobdell said. “It’s really revolutionizing our business.” In order for the product to be successful, Francher said it is essential to not only get the word out, but also work through educated dealers who take the time to learn the product and its differentiators. With that knowledge, they are able to help homeowners understand why this is so much different and what the health benefits are.” Lobdell said the company has built a solid reputation globally, purifying air for some of the world’s foremost companies and buildings. “We still build a lot of products for other companies and so a lot of our business relies on how those companies perform,” he said. But now, with the whole house system and Intellipure portables, the approach will be more business to consumer, he said.

“We won’t be so reliant on others people’s business. We will be driving the market,” he said. Lobdell said the focus market will be the U.S. simply because in Asia and other markets, people don’t heat and cool their homes the same way. The market in China features a “tremendous amount of inferior air cleaning products being sold on price point,” he said. One of the challenges the company has faced in the Chinese market is the lack of sufficient intellectual property protection. This is an issue they have been addressing with the help from other organizations such as CenterState CEO in Syracuse. On the other hand, other Asian markets including Japan and Korea offer more stringent IP protection, spurring HealthWay’s growth in those countries. “We are now focused more on mature markets, and markets with higher disposable incomes,” said Lobdell, noting that people in Japan and Korea “really value innovation and American-made products.” Lobdell said he anticipates the new energy-efficient line will boost his bottom line by about 25 percent. He also intends on hiring a new business development manager for the Super V product, as well as up to five new production people at the outset. Lobdell stated that the company is a global leader in air quality, but prides itself on being a local manufacturer with a team who is committed to helping people live healthier lives. “If you are not making someone’s life better, you are wasting your time,” he said.

CNY Gets Deal on ‘Super V’ System HealthWay will be offering local discounted prices to customers in Central New York. In terms of cost, the whole air purification system fully installed costs $1,999. “Every install could be a little different depending on what type of setup you have, but it’s right around that price point,” Francher said. JUNE / JULY 2018

CNY customers, however, can plug into the unit for $999 with an additional install fee of about $200. Another benefit of the Super V technology is the filter life. The Super V filter only has to be replaced once every three years, while other air handling units need to be replaced every three months to a year.

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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Manufacturing/Economic Development By Payne Horning

Fulton Companies’ Engineer Wins ‘Innovator of the Year’ Award

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t’s considered a breakthrough that will forever change the steam boiler industry. The new vertical spiral rib tubeless (VSRT) steam boiler line, with its small footprint and high steam quality, is earning The Fulton Companies new business, growth and recognition. The Manufacturers Association of New York (MACNY) on May 24 honored

senior research and development systems engineer Keith Waltz for his work on the product as the organization’s Innovator of the Year. The Fulton Companies is a multinational group of companies headquartered in Pulaski. It manufactures heat transfer equipment for a range of customers — from dry cleaners to distilleries. The business got its start in 1949 after the founder Lewis Palm’s own revolutionary product. Palm, who had worked as a boiler repairman for several years, built the first vertical tubeless boiler, launching a business that today employs more than 875 people worldwide, according to the company. It employs 372 workers in Pulaski, according to the 2018 Business Guide, published by this magazine. Waltz says work on the VSRT started several years ago by a team tasked with achieving a similar type of breakthrough. “The steam boiler industry is kind of a funny industry in that things have largely been done the same way for years and years and years,” Waltz said. “There’s been small changes, but nothing’s been reinvented. So when we took what we call a clean sheet of paper approach to designing this, we kind of threw away all of those assumptions of what’s possible and what’s not possible.”

Engineer Keith Waltz 78

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

The goal was to create a new tubeless boiler that was more efficient and compacter, while still being cost effective to produce. The end result was a product that The Fulton Companies says offers the highest steam quality and smallest footprint in the industry. “Essentially what we’ve created is a product that is a market leader on every single one of these fronts, and we’ve done so in a very innovative way,” Waltz said. “These things are going to position us to be very successful in the market, and in fact we have seen that. The market reception has been fantastic and we’re just trying to get them out of the door as fast as we can at this point.” Carl Nett, who led the team on the project, calls the response to VSRT overwhelming. He says ever-growing demand is driving rapid, significant manufacturing capacity expansion at Fulton. And he credits Waltz for that success. “If I could only pick one engineer from all the engineers I have known in my career to be part of my team, my choice would readily be Keith,” Nett said. “It is in my experience — spanning 30 years of leadership in new product development — very rare to come across an engineer that excels in all phases of the innovation process to the extent that Keith does. Keith has owned the VSRT development process from day one, from concept generation through field release, and is well recognized within Fulton as the father of the VSRT.” The 32-year-old Waltz says he’s honored by the award, but is humble. He gives equal credit for the product to his fellow team members. But it was Waltz whom Nett nominated for the MACNY award, and Waltz’s name listed as the lead inventor on each of the 15 patents attached to the inventions that comprise the VSRT boiler. The MACNY Innovator of the Year Award recognizes individuals who consistently demonstrate forward-thinking ideas in the area of technology, innovaJUNE / JULY 2018


B’ville Consultant Writes Book on Improving Manufacturing Leadership, Plant Operations

S The new vertical spiral rib tubeless (VSRT) steam boiler line is earning The Fulton Companies new business, growth and recognition. It was conceived by engineer Keith Waltz and his team at Fulton Companies. tion and advancement of products and production. President and CEO of MACNY Randy Wolken said the organization received several nominations for well-qualified candidates, but the committee was impressed by Waltz’s innovation and the admiration he received in the nomination from Nett. Waltz joined the Fulton Companies 10 years ago. It was his first job after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and MBA from Clarkson University in Potsdam. Like other engineers, Waltz says he has always been excited about new problems to solve and opportunities for learning. But what he thinks sets him apart, he says, is his creative interests. “How many engineers do you typically meet out there who still draw and paint and do creative works like that at home for their hobbies,” Waltz asked. “One of my hobbies is designing and building custom guitars. So I’m always looking for opportunities to express myself creatively, and that, I think, carries over into my professional work very well.” JUNE / JULY 2018

uccessful plant leadership, managing and improving plant operations and quality are just some of the areas covered in “Building a Showcase Culture: Powerful and Practical Keys for Manufacturing,” a comprehensive guidebook and toolkit for running a world class, showcase facility. Author Mark Lado, a global manufacturing operations consultant based in Baldwinsville with more than 30 years in manufacturing leadership, wrote the book “to provide the tools and guidance as a go-to resource to make managers better leaders, and to elevate their facilities to a higher competitive level.” The foreword, written by Bryce Currie, vice president/general manager delivery operations at GE Aviation, summarizes that the book is broken down into four distinctive divisions. “You can read the entire book or concentrate on areas Lado where you need help,” Currie said. “I have known the author, Mark Lado, for many years and had the pleasure of having him work for me, both directly and indirectly in many roles,” Currie said. “He was quality leader, global warranty director, plant leader in China, and all around strong businessman. Mark led a startup plant in China as that country was first experiencing a tremendous growth. He setup the plant and grew it successfully, while instilling a unique and positive plant culture in a region of the world that did not have experience with basic process controls, quality plans and shift patterns —all quite foreign to the China team. Mark was excellent at finding strong solutions, even for the poorly defined issues.” According to Lado, “This book is OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

intended for a variety of audiences, but especially those who want to become factory showcase leaders. Readers will learn various tools and techniques along a structured path and be able to apply them or evaluate their company’s effectiveness. The information will be particularly useful for: • Current manufacturing leaders • All functional staffs • Supervisors and team leaders • Students studying engineering, operations, supply chain, production planning, finance, human resources, quality, and business administration • Entrepreneurs starting new manufacturing enterprises” The book focuses on the path to developing greater leadership capabilities in manufacturing as a new hire, current employee or developing manager. “Not everyone is as fortunate as I was to have great mentors,” Lado said, “But this book is detailed resource that helps fill that role.” Lado has held leadership roles in manufacturing in the U.S., Asia and Europe for such companies as GE Aerospace, F-TRW, GE Aviation and others. He is president of Asia Manufacturing Services in Baldwinsville, where he provides interim management and consulting services worldwide. He holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from SUNY Polytechnic and an MBA in general management from the University of North Florida. He is also a master Olympic weightlifter, master cross fitter, U.S. Navy veteran and dive master, husband and father of two sons. The book is available on Amazon. com. He can be contacted at mark.lado@ asia-mfgservices.com or 315-720-4096. 79


Manufacturing/Economic Development By Lou Sorendo

Heavy Metal

Fabricated metal industry flourishing in Oswego County, nation

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hile companies and organizations such as Novelis, Oswego Health and SUNY Oswego continue their roles as key drivers in Oswego County, there is a subsector that often gets overlooked when examining the area’s economy. The fabricated metalworking industry flies under the radar despite its dramatic impact on the county’s economy. The county has more than 30 primary metal and fabricated metal product manufacturers. In 2016, of manufacturing jobs in Oswego County, 60 percent were associated with primary metal (33 percent), fabricated metal product (19 percent) and machinery (8 percent). Industries in the fabricated metal product manufacturing subsector transform metal into intermediate or end products, or treat metals and metal-formed products fabricated elsewhere. John F. Sharkey IV is the vice president of Universal Metal Works in Fulton, a position he has held since 2010. Universal is a job shop and fabricates different metal products of varying magnitude. Its customer base ranges 80

from large industrial accounts to municipalities, farmers and individuals with fabrication needs. Sharkey, who earned his Master of Business Administration degree at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2007 — said the fabricated metal product sector is robust in Oswego County. “It’s robust due to several projects involving longtime businesses that have demanded the need for both fabricators and machinists,” he said. Companies like Davis Standard and former companies such as Birdseye, Nestle and Miller Brewing in Fulton all needed the support of local fabricators and machinists to grow and prosper, he said. He noted in Oswego, Exelon Generation, Novelis and Dynegy all rely on the support of local machinists and fabricators for prototyping, new construction and various other projects. “Several decades ago, these different companies needed fabricators and machinists to help establish themselves and now the machinists and fabricators in the area rely on these companies to sustain them,” he said. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Commands strong wages According to the Oswego County Economic Advancement Plan, recently prepared by Camoin Associates, manufacturing jobs represent about 8.8 percent of jobs in the county and approximately 450 new jobs are expected to be created by 2026. These jobs generally pay above average wages, the study states. Primary metal — particularly aluminum produced by Novelis — fabricated metals, machinery and chemical manufacturing pay average wages of $65,000 per year in the county and are expected to continue growing, the study reports. Sharkey said the fabrication sector sustains other industries and businesses in the county and region. Machinists and fabricators in the county help to sustain the agricultural sector, the manufacturing sector, the private sector and municipalities by providing machined and fabricated goods required to keep their equipment operational, he said. Sharkey said the sector also provides valuable components for prototypes and new manufacturing equipment that help JUNE / JULY 2018


these various industries become more efficient and stay current. “In addition, Universal Metal Works provides fabricated goods that help companies stay compliant with ever-increasing safety standards,” Sharkey said. “Several of our customers rely on us for guarding, handrails and other miscellaneous fabrications that improve the overall safety of their operation.” Wiltsie Construction Company, Inc. in Oswego provides steel fabricating, construction, mechanical and plant-maintenance service solutions. “Our customer feedback and sales reports for this year indicate a positive outlook for the industries we serve,” said company president Peter Wiltsie. “We are also hopeful that the recent tax bill passed in Washington will help businesses to expand or upgrade their existing facilities, which will create potential work opportunities for Wiltsie.” Wiltsie noted the most active sector of his business is energy. “We perform services for all types of power-generating facilities such as coal, gas, nuclear, hydro and renewables,” he noted. Wiltsie said the advantage of being a multidisciplinary business allows his team to also provide goods and services to other industries in sectors such as metals, chemicals, biomass, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, and food and beverage. Surging sector Sharkey said with the right conditions, the sector has the capability to be even more significant. “We must continue to train and educate the younger generation,” he said. “Several businesses in the metal product sector have aging workforces.” Sharkey said the knowledge and experience that the veteran generation has will “certainly be difficult to replace.” The experience and wisdom must be actively transferred to the next generation in order for the sector to experience growth, he noted. “The next thing that we need to do in order to grow is to continue to work together and collectively market ourselves to companies that are considering locating in Oswego County,” he said. Sharkey said the support that fabrication and machine shops in the area can provide to a manufacturer is a unique and valuable asset to the county. Many primary metal and fabricated metal product manufacturers in Oswe JUNE / JULY 2018

go County share interdependency and provide products or parts to each other, Sharkey said. “The reason that so many primary metal and fabricated metal product manufacturers work back and forth Sharkey with one another is because there are so many niches in the sector,” he said. “We acknowledge that we are stronger and more diversified as a coherent entity than operating independently.” He said certain machine and fabrication shops in Oswego specialize in areas that differentiate themselves from the competition. “Working together, we are able to provide a one-stop solution for our customers,” he said. Many companies value the convenience of dealing with one supplier to get the job complete, he added. “We work with several local machine shops throughout the county to process our fabricated weldments,” he said. “We understand our weaknesses and rely on the strengths of our partners to deliver the best product we can.” Plenty of upside The local metal manufacturing sector makes highly customized parts for the aerospace, military and energy industries, as well as specialized machinery. Prototyping capabilities are

available as well. Sharkey said there are still niches available for additional metal manufacturers. For instance, Phoenix Welding does several unique and complex projects and often works with mixed media such as wood and glass, making them unique to the area, Sharkey noted. “Despite the fact that we are similar in some ways, we still work together on various projects and they have become a great customer of ours,” he said. “Having visited different operations throughout the state over the years, I can tell you that there still are several different niches to be filled.” He said at this point, it is difficult to say what those niches will be, but with the talented and skilled machinists and fabricators in the community, he is certain new niches will be realized. In terms of number of jobs, manufacturing is ranked fifth among Oswego County’s top industry sectors, providing 3,257 jobs in 2016. Of manufacturing jobs in Oswego County in 2016, more than 1,000 were in primary metal (Novelis) while about 615 were involved in fabricated metal production. Oswego County is projected to experience a 14 percent growth in manufacturing jobs, while the region and Upstate are projected to experience plus2 percent and minus-3 percent losses, respectively, according to the Camoin Associates study. More than 2,000 new jobs are projected in the county through 2026. The sectors projected to experience the largest increase are manufacturing, health care and social assistance, and construction, adding over 400 jobs each.

Metal Fabrication Surging Subsector Nationwide, sturdy metal fabrication industry rides wave of economic uptick

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hile the U.S. economic outlook is healthy according to key indicators, certain subsectors in manufacturing are flourishing under a wave of apparent optimism. Included on that list is the fabricated metalworking subsector of manufacturing. Dan Davis is the editor-in-chief of OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

The FABRICATOR magazine, a publication of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International. The magazine is North America’s leading publication for the metal forming and fabricating industry. Most of its readership features businesses with 250 or fewer employees. “We’ve been on quite a run in terms 81


of economic expansion, although it didn’t spike as it typically would coming out of a recession,” Davis said. “It’s been a gradual climb, but folks in the fabricated metal industry have had a pretty good year. While it’s not a record-breaking pace, a lot of people have been constantly on the lookout for employees, which indicates opportunities for business expansion. Metal fabricators are also replacing older workers and purchasing equipment,” Davis said. He said that is one of the reasons the industry’s trade show — FABTECH — continues to grow in size.FABTECH will occur in Atlanta Nov. 6-8. “There is a lot of activity and it reached a crescendo when the current administration got elected,” he said. “A lot of small business owners in particular were very supportive of that political development. It had a lot to do with Donald Trump being elected,” Davis said. “You had a case of business being pretty good, and now all of a sudden, energy and optimism is igniting that base. I think that is what you are seeing now,” he said. The U.S. GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate was 2.3 percent as of mid-May, which means the economy

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grew at a rate of 2.3 percent in the first quarter. Economic growth is within the ideal growth rate of between 2-3 percent. According to the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, nearly 50 percent of fabricated metal businesses nationwide report that new order activity is increasing. “ R i g h t around the close of 2017 and early 2018, the global economy seemed to pick up a bit,” Davis said. Davis “When that took off, it’s just another element to a lot of things aligning and producing a pretty healthy manufacturing economy,” he said. Davis said the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last December provided significant tax reform for the fabricated metal working industry. The bill includes several provisions that are set to impact small businesses,

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

including the qualified business income deduction. This deduction, which applies to pass-through entities that include partnerships, S-corporations and sole proprietorships, allows taxpayers to deduct up to 20 percent of qualified business income. “In essence, it gives these individuals a little bit more money to either invest in the organization, purchase new equipment or pocket it,” he said. Tariffs impact prices Recent tariffs enacted by the federal government on steel and aluminum pose challenges to the subsector, Davis noted. The number of companies reporting an increase in steel and aluminum prices was 81.9 percent, according to the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International. “Albeit there is a lot of exemption activity taking place, some people are really scrambling for material sourcing as it relates to stuff like tubing and hydraulic equipment,” he said. “Without a doubt, prices have been going up with the knowledge that the current administration would enact

JUNE / JULY 2018


something like this. It just took them a lot longer than some people anticipated,” he said. Davis said steel prices are “up tremendously, and aluminum is “even up that much more.” There was nearly a 100 percent increase in steel prices in the U.S. from May to December 2017. However, the metal working sector “is not ready to crash the gates of the White House yet,” Davis said. “Everybody is taking a wait-and-see approach because the belief is perhaps overall increases in business activity might be able to soften the blow of rising material prices,” he said. “There are some people who are just permanently rolling their eyes into the back of their heads with this whole tariff activity, but it’s safe to say the majority of them feel that they are willing to give the president benefit of the doubt,” he noted. Davis said the president is taking steps to bolster the manufacturing capabilities of domestic metal producers. “If you can somehow make it that domestic sources buy more material from domestic mills, that makes sense. But can you bring back jobs? The simple point is it takes less people to do what it did. Will the number of jobs increase

Recent tariffs enacted by the federal government on steel and aluminum pose challenges to the sector, according to Dan Davis, editor-in-chief of The FABRICATOR magazine, a publication of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International. tremendously? I can say definitely no. That doesn’t mean it won’t increase some,” he said. According to the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, employment data is solid. Businesses reporting an increase in hiring made up more than a third of its recent survey. High-tech experience Without a question, the metal work-

ing sector is inseparable from advanced manufacturing. For instance, Universal Metal Works in Fulton features a water jet machine capable of cutting extremely high tolerance specialty metals such as titanium. Besides high-level machine tools doing the work, there is the expertise involved in designing equipment that comes with experience. “Probably one of the biggest opportunities for American manufacturing is letting people that know how to work with metal do their jobs,” Davis said. Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International is the nonprofit parent organization of The FABRICATOR magazine. “We are dedicated to providing education and guidance to people involved in the metal fabrication industry,” Davis said. “A big thing is trying to find people to go into this industry. We do that with scholarships through our foundation, and promote fabrication as best we can. We think we do that through our publication and trade show. But the skills gap is a nationwide trend and something we’ve been following for the better part of a decade,” he added.

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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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Manufacturing/Economic Development By Lou Sorendo

Tariffs Impact Novelis

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Tariffs misguided in light of Chinese aluminum overcapacity, aluminum manufacturer says

resident Trump imposed metal tariffs on U.S. trading partners recently, a decision that was received with disappointment by Novelis, which operates its Oswego Works aluminum fabrication plant in Scriba. Canada, Mexico and the European Union are subject to a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. Brazil, Argentina and Australia reportedly agreed to limit steel exports to the U.S. to avoid tariffs, he said. The president’s objective is to reduce the nation’s trade deficit,” according to the Commerce Department. “We are disappointed to learn of the tariffs on aluminum imports into the U.S.,” said Marco Palmieri, senior vice president and president, Novelis North America. He said aluminum trading partners that operate as market economies such as Canada and the EU should not be subject

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to tariffs, he said. “This action does not provide relief from our industry’s most significant trade issue, which is subsidized Chinese aluminum overcapacity,” Palmieri said. “Instead, the tariffs bring the unfortunate potential to increase cost for the end consumer.” American aluminum producers had issued pleas to Trump to grant permanent tariff exemptions to trading partners including Canada. They argue the levies would hurt downstream manufacturers such as Novelis that rely on imported metal, according to business.financialpost.com. “Novelis believes in free and fair trade to ensure a level playing field globally, and we appreciate the administration’s focus on strengthening the U.S. aluminum industry,” said Fiona Bell, director, communications and government affairs for Novelis North America. “However, we do not believe that broad tariffs on aluminum imports will successfully target the core problem of Chinese aluminum overcapacity boosted by government subsidies,” Bell added. Though the U.S. consumes 5.5 million tons of aluminum each year, it produces just 700,000 tons of the metal. The majority of that deficit is covered by Canada, which ships 2.8 million tons of aluminum each year. China produces more than half of the world’s aluminum — up from 11 per cent in 2000 — and has been accused of providing subsidies to domestic producers that have suppressed global prices. Novelis’ aluminum plant in Scriba, near Oswego, employs 1,159 people, making it Oswego County’s largest manufacturer. The facility makes rolled aluminum for use as vehicle body panels by automobile makers such as Ford. Novelis is the world’s largest buyer of aluminum. It gets about one-third of its supply of aluminum from Canada and the remainder from recycling used beverage cans and scrap aluminum shipped back from its automotive customers. U.S. aluminum suppliers say they have been hurt by low-priced imports. “In addition, we firmly believe that Canada, as a strong and reliable trade partner to the U.S., can be a significant ally along with others to correct the Chinese overcapacity issue,” Bell said. “To preserve the health of the U.S. aluminum industry, which depends on the critical supply of Canadian primary aluminum, the administration must grant a long-term tariff exemption to Canada.”

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

JUNE / JULY 2018


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Manufacturing/Economic Development By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Cayuga Community College Professor John Campbell and first-year student Pat Slobodiak use a Vernier caliper to measure the pocket depth of a gasket. Schools like Cayuga Community College are working to increase the quantity and quality of the applicant pool.

What Do CNY Manufacturers Need?

Experts say not enough skilled workers in CNY to replace aging workforce

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entral New York needs one very important resource to continue its growth and attract further manufacturers: skilled workers. “Every manufacturer we walk into a lot says the same thing: I need qualified workers that I can’t find,” said Robert Kocik, center director for manufacturing extension partnership for the Central New York Technology Development Organization in Liverpool. He said that enough youngsters aren’t replacing the retiring baby boomers. Kocik believes that many aren’t aware

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of the career opportunities in advanced manufacturing, but think that attending a four-year college is the only way to go. The younger applicants many manufacturers do receive often lack “soft skills,” Kocik said. “They struggle to find people with basic communication skills and the ability to show up for work and stay at work.” Plus, they lack the skills necessary to perform tasks with increasingly technical aspects. Schools like Cayuga Community College are working to increase the quanOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

tity and quality of the applicant pool. John Campbell, professor of mechanical technologies and program director of mechanical technologies, said that CCC has placed many new graduates at local manufacturing companies. But some students don’t even wait until completing the two-year degree. The need for skilled workers is so keen that some start working before graduation and attend classes part time. Much of CCC’s coursework is hands-on and visually oriented to complement the learning style common among people with mechanical aptitude. Possible career paths include CAD designer, machine designer, tool designer, architectural/mechanical drafter, engineering technician, mechanical designer, tool design, quality assurance and CNC machining. “I can’t get enough of those grads to meet the local demand,” Campbell said. “The issue they have is they have trouble replacing qualified workers because everything’s automated. They need electrical and mechanical technicians.” Campbell said that some companies have turned to recruiting from out of state or becoming part of the New York state apprenticeship program, which involves either partnering with a school like CCC or providing classroom education, plus on-the-job training. About a dozen students are enrolled in CCC’s program. Among them is Pat Slobodiak, a first-year student. “I want to have the ability to design something, and someday see the part in a vehicle or a machine and to know that I designed that part and it works correctly,” he said. Warren Hartman, also a first year CCC student, noted the need in manufacturing as more baby boomers retire. “I saw an opportunity, and this is one of the best degrees you can invest in,” he said. Martha Ponge, director of apprenticeship at Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) in Syracuse, wants more students like Hartman to see the opportunities in manufacturing. She said many manufacturers have numerous unfilled apprenticeships. Most start their paid apprentices at around $13 per hour and by the end of the four years, pay around $20, according to her. JUNE / JULY 2018


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“I think there’s a lack of awareness of what manufacturing is,” Ponge said. “They think it’s dirty, dark and dangerous. We haven’t overcome that old stigma.” She added that most people aren’t aware of the technology, problem-solving challenges and ongoing advancement in manufacturing. And most manufacturers don’t realize the return on investment that apprenticeship programs offer. “When you make a commitment to an employee over a four-year period, generally, that person becomes more loyal to you,” Ponge said. “What you’ve shown them is that you believe there is a place for them at your company and you value what they do. It’s not the norm for them to do their training and leave.” She said that many companies think that apprenticeship programs will reduce productivity, but just the opposite is true. MACNY is kicking off a high school-level program this September that will offer pre-apprenticeships to students to prepare those with mechanical aptitude for a manufacturing apprenticeship. JUNE / JULY 2018

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“Students should be able to go directly from high school into an apprenticeship with advanced standing,” Ponge said. She believes that more community relations would help more students become aware of the employment opportunities in manufacturing. Many students have no idea what local factories make and how their products relate to their lives. “Manufacturers really need to put themselves out there and involve themselves in opening their doors to tours, providing job shadows or internships,” Ponge said. “They should hold lunch and learn sessions in classrooms. Or participate in career day or hold an open house for high students.” More cash needed In addition to qualified workers, Central New York’s manufacturers could use more money. CNYTDO’s Kocik said that especially among smaller manufacturers on the cusp of expansion, getting cash is particularly hard to do. “Some of them maybe already have a line of credit at the bank and they’ve OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

1/25/18 10:33 AM

tapped that out, or perhaps they don’t want to take out a loan to buy the equipment for whatever reason,” he said. “Or maybe they’re worrying about making payroll and they could grow their business with a little cash and support.” Although grants may help, they’re not always timely to make a difference when opportunities arise, such as the chance to buy more efficient equipment at an auction or purchase adjacent land while it’s yet available. Kocik said that another challenge for small businesses has been affording health care insurance premiums. Those large enough to fall under the requirement but not so large to absorb the annually rising premiums struggle to purchase health coverage for employees. While some businesses cope by filling their ranks with more part-timers and thus skirting the requirement, that’s not practical for some manufacturing environments. “If a group could come together to put a system in place to help small manufacturers and create a larger employee pool, that could help lower costs,” Kocik said. 87


SPECIAL REPORT By Lou Sorendo

On the Rebound Port of Oswego Authority buoyant after bumpy stretch “A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.” — Ovid

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f you’re not going to be competitive, don’t bother showing up. That sums up the approach of William Scriber, the acting executive director of the Port of Oswego Authority. Not only is he attending to duties of executive director, he is also maintaining his tasks as manager of port logistics and administrative services. He has worked in the latter role for more than eight years. “I haven’t slowed down since taking over in early December of last year,” he said. “We have a lot of positive things happening here at the port that are probably understated but will prove very large over the new few months and into the fall,” he said. Scriber said the port’s board of directors has given him the directive to be competitive. “I am competitive for one reason: I live here. This port is important. It’s not like I am making a name for my self and moving on. We have to be more competitive, more customer oriented, and more willing to provide a better service.” “We’re competing against other modes of transportation that can beat us, such as truck and rail,” he said. “We’re also competing against other ports for projects. Nothing is guaranteed in this world.” New port chairperson Amy Tresidder recently called hiring a new executive director one of the top priorities for the board going forward. Scriber said he is “mulling over” the decision whether to apply for the executive director’s position. When he first took over as the interim leader, his major task involved rebuilding the morale and direction of the port following a series of setbacks experienced under the tenure of former

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emphasizing a collaborative effort helps people realize that he is intent on setting a mission and goal for the port. “My mission and goal is basically to be highly competitive on everything,” he noted. “It’s almost like people are just drawn to us on projects.” He noted a competing port was able to beat the Oswego facility on a windmill project in 2017. “I told my people here that we’re not going to let that happen again,” he said. “When business comes to Oswego, people don’t realize that it puts people to work here where they get paid more than the average wage,” he said. “When truckers come in, they buy diesel and rent hotel rooms. Everything is centric to the city and county.” Longshoremen are normally from the Oswego area and spend locally, he added. “They are pushing money into the economy,” he said. Staffing is a function of workload. Scriber said the port usually uses six to eight longshoremen every day. When a barge is in port, there could be between 24 to 36 workers. For most of the longshoremen, it is a part-time job. Scriber said port officials on Lake Ontario are anticipating an economic impact report in early June. In 2010, the last time a report was done, the port created 514 direct and spinoff jobs and had an impact of $38.5 million on the region. “We expect that to go much higher,” he said.

director Zelko Kirincich. Kirincich resigned in early January reportedly for family issues and personal reasons. However, he left during a pending State Inspector General investigation, a dispute with Perdue Agribusiness over $1 million in missing soybeans and approximately $16,000 in expenses for which he reportedly left no receipts. In July 2017, Perdue Agribusiness notified the port of the apparent disappearance of 24,000 tons of soybeans. Perdue was preparing a shipment when it noticed a shortage of about $1 million worth of soybeans. However, a third-party company that buys soybeans from Perdue had under-reported the amount of soybeans it received, laying the issue to rest. Now that he has been calling the shots at the port for the last several months, Scriber is focusing on the future. Scriber has worked under three directors. He said the best teacher is what someone does wrong. “I have been very cognizant of the fact that this port needs communication. I strive to have everybody on the same page, that way no one feels left out and they feel part of it. When we have success, it’s our success,” he said. Scriber’s managerial approach is to utilize and maximize everybody’s abilities at the port. “A good manager utilizes his people to their fullest potential and doesn’t try to place himself as key to everything,” he said. “I have people here that I utilize because they have expertise.” The acting port director has overseen eight quotes during his brief tenure, more than what the facility has William Scriber, the acting executive director done in the past four of the Port of Oswego Authority years. Scriber said OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

JUNE / JULY 2018


Port of Oswego. Photo provided.

Scriber also served as commissioner of elections for the Oswego County Board of Elections for 13 years. Prior to that, he was the operations manager at Air Express International and Voltainer Ocean Services for more than five years. Scriber attended SUNY Oswego and also went to the U.S. Army Logistics Management School. Scriber has extensive military service. He served in the United States Army’s 18th Airborne Corps-Special Operations Command, is a veteran of Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991) and was an active and reserve member of Special Operations Command from 1989-2000. He gained certified port executive status through the MacDonnell Group in 2014. The port is the first U.S. port of call and deepwater port on the Great Lakes from the St. Lawrence Seaway. Security net Since 9-11, the port has vastly tightened security with extensive use of cameras, fences and gates. Scriber has been instrumental in writing a number of grants that led to acquisition of the security equipment. JUNE / JULY 2018

“Our customers like it. The more secure a site is, the more it creates a sense of how serious we are about running a port,” he said. He said those involved in the Galloo Island windmill project in Sackets Harbor “were very impressed” with the security measures at the port, particularly since expensive equipment will be unloaded and stored on site. “We are a port which is dependent on location for what we receive,” he said. “But we’ve tried to expand our facilities logistically to make ourselves more sellable to a wider range of customers.” He noted the port has accomplished major initiatives with grants it has activity sought through state and federal governments. Of critical importance have been monies garnered through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant, essential for infrastructure improvement. The port has upgraded its rail system to enable it to support such endeavors as the recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers $18.9 million project to repair part of the Oswego Harbor breakwater last year. The Army Corps will now restore the West Arrowhead Breakwater, part of a series of walls to shield Oswego Harbor OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

from waves off Lake Ontario and reduce damage to the shoreline and port. “It’s a major project that will take all summer and fall and will bring longshoremen jobs and money into the port,” he said. Scriber has had a number of jobs throughout his career, all involving management. When he was division manager at Voltainer Ocean Services, he dealt with an array of transportation companies. Scriber has extensive experience as a freight forwarder, a person who organizes shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from the manufacturer or producers to a market, customer or final point of distribution. This experience allows him to correspond effectively with those who come to the port with requests for proposals. “I was on that side of the fence,” he said. Profit margins realized at the port go toward resupplying maintenance and buying leases for equipment that maintains the facility. “That’s our profit. We don’t make a profit to give it back to investors. Our investors here are the port’s facilities and people,” he said. Scriber not only counts on staff for support, but also plugs into a net89


work of International Longshoremen Association members who share their knowledge to help him navigate through issues at the Oswego port. “This has become a family,” he said. Ravages of weather In 2017, the port suffered about $6.5 million in extensive damage due to high waters, leaving portions of dockage and roadways in disarray. “That took us out of contention in a lot of areas,” said Scriber, noting one affected area is being prepped for a possible project that bodes well for the region from an economic standpoint. Scriber said due to confidentiality reasons, he cannot disclose the details of the project. To underline the importance of allegiance with governmental entities, however, Scriber described how the Federal Emergency Management Agency promptly responded to the damage situation. He said once repairs are made, the port looks to be fully operational. The port is working with C&S Engineers out of Syracuse on the project. “This is going to be a multi-million reconstruction for the port to bring us back to whole again,” he said. Another major project at the port involves one of its largest customers — Perdue Agribusiness — and the increase in soybean traffic. “Purdue has decided to invest in the port as a major trans-loading station for water [transport],” said Scriber, noting the port’s conveyer system is proving lucrative for the company. Purdue is also investing in a U.S. Department of Agriculture scale system. Scriber noted soybean volume has gone from less than 15,000 metric tons to around 60,000-plus metric tons this year. Purdue uses large grain ships that sail the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, sending shipments of grain overseas. “This will mean more longshoremen hours, more revenue for the port, truckers are going to run longer hours, and more equipment and people will be involved. This is when the economic impact takes off,” he said. Scriber said storage capabilities needs to be increased at the port. Grain has always been vital to the port, and local soybeans are rated at the highest grade due to perfect growing conditions. The port also handles corn, much of it being absorbed by Sunoco’s ethanol 90

“This will mean more longshoremen hours, more revenue for the port, truckers are going to run longer hours, and more equipment and people will be involved. This is when the economic impact takes off.” William Scriber, the acting executive director of the Port of Oswego Authority as he refers to higher volume of cargo going through the port. plant in Volney. “Soybeans are the new market now and its not going to go away. Europe and Asia wants them,” he said. However, what the port lacks is capacity to store material. Scriber is in the process of applying for funds from the state’s Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance Program in order to build storage capacity. The proposed three-phase project will initially feature a 5,125 metric ton storage bin. The succeeding two phases will see two more bins added to the mix. “We will be able to then actually bring more soybeans in and load them directly onto a ship,” he said. Scriber forecasts that 2019 could see 75,000 metric tons of soybeans handled at the port. Public-private relationship With Novelis a major port customer, Scriber has been reaching out to various companies that supply aluminum. He noted over the last two years, the port has only received four rail cars of aluminum, an area that Scriber said “we were sinking in.” Since last December, however, the port has received more than 60 rail cars of aluminum, with an average of about 140 ingots of aluminum per rail car. The metal is coming from Alcoa Corp. as well as Canada. That is a record-setting pace. “That’s a record amount of rail cars of aluminum for the port. We have OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

received more rail cars of aluminum this year than we have in the last seven years,” Scriber said. “We’ve tried to be competitive and now the fruit is being picked,” he added. The acting director said he is anticipating at least a 10 percent increase in aluminum traffic. Scriber said he is going to revisit the new U.S. tariff rates on aluminum in the coming months, adding that he will take a competitive stance when it comes to bringing aluminum into the port, storing and trans-loading it. “We will do what we have to do to bring aluminum in. Aluminum means local jobs,” he said. Scriber also wants to reestablish the port’s membership in the Onondaga County Federal Trade Zone. FTZs are secure, designed locations within the U.S., in or near a U.S. Customs port of entry, where foreign and domestic merchandise is generally considered outside the stream of U.S. commerce. Scriber said this allegiance provides advantages to not just aluminum suppliers, but also windmill component manufacturers and agents that bring in customers. FTZs guarantee a duty deferral, wherein duties and federal excise taxes are paid when goods leave the zone. Goods may also be stored indefinitely in an FTZ. New lay-down area With space limited, the port has to temper itself by its current size and what staff actually has facilities for, said Scriber, noting a complete restructure of the port is cost prohibitive. A significant project involves the former vacant FitzGibbons boiler site located east of the port. A port crew is attending to cleanup duties at the 15-acre site with the plan being to make it into a large, major laydown area. “A lot of people I’ve talked to in the last several months want lay-down areas, and that is perfect,” said Scriber, noting the area is connected to the port by new rail. “Outside of that, we’re landlocked,” he said. “We can’t expand anymore on what property we own.” The port also owns the Oswego Marina, and unveiled a new state-of-the-art gas dock in May. “When boaters come through the barge canal, it’s going to be their welcome in,” he said. JUNE / JULY 2018


Success Story

Oliver B. Paine Greenhouses Oliver, Cindy Paine continue to show their true colors

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on’t let the dazzling colors and daintiness of hanging baskets, bedding plants, combination planters and perennials spread over 65,000 square feet of greenhouses fool you. Many folks who visit Oliver B. Paine Greenhouses on South Granby Road in Fulton get the impression that the brilliant displays are a result of a terrific and easy-going occupation. “It’s really a big fallacy for people to believe that we just stand around and watch pretty flowers,” said Oliver Paine, who along with his wife Cindy have owned and operated the iconic greenhouses for more than 40 years. “We have a boss. We have to drive ourselves. We have the bank to deal with. This isn’t the biggest, most wonderful thing. It’s work. That’s why they call it work. It’s not play,” he said. JUNE / JULY 2018

Cindy said it is no different than any factory or production job. “You are producing a product, getting it out the door on time, getting paid, and meeting payroll and expenses,” she said. “Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t see that.” “You know what? It looks good when the benches are empty. They are pretty right now, but it looks good when the benches are empty and I know the product got out the door,” she said. The business, which started in 1975, has a traffic flow that is seasonal, with not a lot of activity happening during the winter. However, peak time occurs in May and the first two weeks of June. The big holidays for the business are Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Business does surge again around Christmastime, and then the Paines OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

By Lou Sorendo

and staff focus on potting baskets, transplanting bedding plants and many other production aspects in preparation for spring. The planting schedule is tweaked each year to accommodate the many different variety of crops that trend upward in the industry. “Things ebb and flow,” Cindy said. “We try to keep up to date on varieties and things that perform the best in this area,” said Oliver, noting he does research as well as attends many field trials and shows to keep pace with what is happening. “You have to work really hard and be committed to it seven days a week, 365 days a year,” Cindy said. “We don’t go off to Florida in the winter because we have greenhouses and heat running and a crop we have to make sure is OK.” She likened it to being dairy farmers. “They don’t run off. Cows have to be milked,” she noted. “There’s not a lot of people who are willing to hang around and do that for you.” “I tell a lot of my friends, ‘It’s no different than being in a dairy, except you don’t get stepped on and it smells 91


better,’” Cindy added. The couple does visit family at the end of October and during Christmastime. “We can steal a few days here and there to go do something,” she said. However, “You got to be here and you got to be married to the business,” she added. “If a person goes into any business, and I don’t care who it is, and thinks they are going to start a business and work 9 to 5, they can stop right now. They won’t make it,” she said. While they did not disclose business finance particulars, Cindy said for anyone in his or her own business — particularly a small one — “margins are reducing every year. It gets tougher and tougher.” Working harder and controlling expenses, inventory and labor are the only options, she noted. Deep roots Oliver’s great-great grandfather fought in the War of 1812. In return for his service, he was given land instead of money. Oliver represents the fifth generation of farmers that have worked that same land. “I worked as a kid growing up here. It was just part of the whole farming culture. You grew up in it,” Oliver said. He started out in school pursuing a degree in chemical engineering. “I then decided that it was not for me. I found once I was away from the farm, I really loved it more than I did when I had to be there,” he said. His godfather, who he knew as uncle Roy, was in the farm business in the Syracuse area. “I really didn’t want an awful lot to do with the farm,” said Oliver, noting both Roy and his father helped to persuade him to stay in agriculture. His uncle served as his mentor, and the pair constructed some small greenhouses on the farm. “I wanted to put up something a little more modern than what my parents had,” Oliver said. His uncle took him to a local lumber yard and purchased $800 worth of materials necessary to build an all-wood “Cornell 21” greenhouse, considered highly innovative in the 1960s. At first, his parents operated one half while Oliver and Cindy focused on the other half. “I didn’t think we could possibly fill up the whole greenhouse ourselves,” 92

Cindy Paine at Oliver B. Paine Greenhouses in Fulton. Oliver said. At the end of the first season, Oliver brought his uncle $800 in an envelope to repay the loan. “What’s this?” his uncle asked. “It’s for the greenhouse,” Oliver replied. “You made this much money on the greenhouse this year?” his uncle inquired. “Yeah,” Oliver said. “After he handed me back the $800, he said, ‘Build another one,’” Oliver noted. And that he did. “We just started building greenhouses from there,” Cindy said. The Paines were good at what they did, and proved they could produce a good crop that sold well. “I get great satisfaction out of turning out a nice crop,” Oliver said. During their early days in business, the couple did offer produce. “I started dating Cindy when we were freshmen in high school. From our sophomore year on, we were working partners on some produce projects,” Oliver said. They got out of the produce business several years after marrying and concentrated strictly on greenhouses. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

In terms of why they chose to operate greenhouses, Cindy said jokingly, “Hanging baskets are lighter than a 50-pound bag of potatoes.” “Oddly enough, about six or seven years ago, I got into my old man gardening and started growing pumpkins,” said Oliver, noting that they do a sizable wholesale business with pumpkins. “Our kids worked here right up until they graduated from high school,” Cindy said. “They didn’t have jobs at McDonald’s; they worked here until the job was done.” The couple said their two sons are successful in what they do. “They learned a good work ethic here and decided to apply it someplace where they would maybe realize a little more return than this did,” Oliver said. Oliver Paine IV resides in Connecticut with his wife and two children and works as vice president in sales and service for Joseph Merritt & Co., a large graphics firm. Their other son Michael resides locally and works in the insurance industry. Giving back The Paines also engage in many JUNE / JULY 2018


onsite fundraisers, and feature an entire fundraising program whose market extends across Central New York. In terms of offering fundraisers, Cindy said she was on the “other end” of that for a long time as her kids participated in marching band in school. “They were always raising money. They sold things like beach towels and candy bars. I was involved in the booster club, and it didn’t make much money for an awful lot of work,” she said. That’s when the Paines designed and offered a fundraiser using their greenhouse delights. “We try to make it as easy as possible. We make sure they have a good product, get it out to them for distribution, and it’s done. We try to make it simple,” she said. The program has expanded from spring fundraisers to include an event in the fall featuring mums and another for the holiday season offering poinsettias. The Paines have seen many changes in the industry over the years. The latest trends include a lean toward container gardening. “People don’t put in giant vegetable gardens anymore,” Cindy said. “They don’t have time for that.” She said with containerization, people pot up their plants and put them wherever they please. Vegetable gardens are smaller and people grow a lot more herbs, she added. “Everybody wants instant gratification,” said Oliver, noting people “don’t want to wait all season” by starting with small plants. Cindy said bedding plants are shrinking in demand while individual potted annuals are more the rage. The business also sells potted plants on rolling benches, which allows homeowners to roll out their crops during the day and bring them back in at night when it is cold or bad weather ensues. Oliver noted that hardly anything in stock today was grown at the business five years ago due to changing varieties and genetic modifications. “Things come in and out of fashion just like clothes,” Cindy said. Customer service is still king, Cindy said, even though online sales are increasing. “People crave one-on-one contact with someone who grows and knows the product,” she said. “This is a real ‘experience’ kind of business, because there are colors, sounds and textures. You can’t get that over a computer screen,” she said. JUNE / JULY 2018

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Carol Sweeney: ‘For the [Oswego County Fair] to be successful, we have to at least break even.’ from page 15 “When volunteers are asked why they work for free, they say because of love for the fair,” Sweeney said. “If we didn’t have volunteers, we wouldn’t have a fair.” Board members are responsible for inviting folks in their respective areas to take part in the volunteer effort. One valuable source of volunteers is the county’s Office for the Aging. “We have to make sure our volunteers know how much we appreciate what they are doing,” she noted. “It’s a family. You become very close to the people that you work with,” she said. Financial balancing act In order for the fair to be successful, Sweeney said “we have to at least break even. “If we don’t go in the hole, I figure we are a success.” There have been years when the fair ended up in the red, largely because poor weather conditions dampened traffic flow. Patrons do need to pay for grandstand acts and food, but other than that, everything else is free. “The fair to me is not a couple months’ activity,” Sweeney said. “I work the fair all year long, and since I have been retired, I’ve been able to do more than I was before.” With its nonprofit status, the board expanded to include 15 members and has access to a lawyer to ensure the fair is in compliance with mandates placed on nonprofits. The larger board has resulted in board members hailing from different areas of the county versus the traditional Sandy Creek and Pulaski areas. “We have farmers and legislators on the board, which is very important,” she said. “We draw a lot of expertise from different areas, and they will bring in more ideas.” Sweeney said what has helped her the most is being a manager for most of 94

her career, and she has managed large staffs for several different entities. She said this managerial background makes a difference, particularly when she needs to be diplomatic in getting things done her way. “That’s the biggest hurdle I feel that I’ve ever had is trying to make sure everyone has a niche here at the fair and everyone is positive and not negative,” she said. “Somebody has to stay positive and that’s the president of the fair, regardless of what’s happening,” she said. “It’s a mindset. You can always get something positive out of anything. If there isn’t, you need to say so to make sure it stops or does not happen again,” she said. She also depends on the board and its expertise, noting a five-year plan is being drawn up. “After all, we are a business and need to know where we are going from here,” she noted. Sweeney also hones her expertise by attending the annual New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs in Rochester. Sweeney has two children — Tim and Janelle — and Gary has three daughters. “They come every summer to my fair,” she said. An avid reader, Sweeney enjoys working the fairgrounds. In fact, it’s part of her exercise regimen. “It’s a good, healthy thing to do and does make a difference,” she said. When all is said and done, Sweeney said she would like for “people to remember me as being the person with the biggest smile who welcomed them the most.”

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Cynthia Clabough Gets Award for Faculty Service Professor Cynthia Clabough, chairwoman of the SUNY Oswego art department, has earned the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service, a system-wide honor recognizing her 24 years of working toward positive change on and off campus. Clabough “Year after year, Professor Clabough continues to go above and beyond her professional obligation as a chair and faculty member in terms of her service to her department, this institution, and to the broader community,” said the college committee charged with forwarding nominees worthy of SUNY awards to Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “One of my themes for SUNY is individualized education, meaning the work we do to help our students navigate the opportunities within our 64 campuses,” Chancellor Johnson noted. “Our faculty and staff educate, inspire and support our students to pursue their passions; they are the driving force on campus.” Clabough’s numerous supporters for the award noted her students-first passion. She always involves students — some facing significant life challenges — in the many academic and service projects she and the department have undertaken, they said. “Cynthia emphasizes social justice in her teaching, scholarship and service through the projects she designs, the individuals she mentors and supports, and the scholarship she produces,” wrote Barbara Beyerbach, a professor in the School of Education, in a letter supporting Clabough’s nomination. “I have seen her spend tireless hours mentoring students who had experienced serious trauma, and over the years watched these individuals go on to become successful artists and professors in the field.” Clabough started at SUNY Oswego in 1994. She has been chairwoman since 2007. JUNE / JULY 2018


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Best Business Directory AUCTION & REAL ESTATE Dean Cummins – Over 35 Years Experience. All Types of Auctions & Real Estate. Route 370 in Cato – 315246-5407

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

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

CONSTRUCTION Dunsmoor Construction Inc. – Residential-Commercial Construction. Serving Oswego County. Home Improvement Contractor. 315-343-4380 or 315-591-5020.

EXCAVATING Gilbert Excavating. Septic systems. Gravel & top soil. Septic tank pumping. 685 County Route 3, Fulton, 13069. Call 593-2472.

FIREWOOD Northern Firewood & Earth Products – www. northernfirewood.net 315-668-9663 – Seasoned and Unseasoned split hardwoods. Block or Log Length. FREE DELIVERY! We Accept all major credit cards

and HEAP. Call today to place your order.

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

TRACTOR/LAWN EQUIPMENT RanMar Tractor Supply, Sales and Service of New and Used Tractors and Farm Equipment – 5219 US Rte 11 Pulaski.

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

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

LUMBER 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 (315686-1892); Gouverneur: Depot Street (315-287-1892).

OUTBOARD MOTORS Arney’s Marina. Route 14 Sodus Point. Honda fourstroke motors, 2 HP to 250 HP. Repower your boat with the best! Call 315-483-9111 for more information.

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

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Paul Stewart Founder and director of the Oswego Renaissance Association, a neighborhood revitalization group, talks about the organization’s fifth year anniversary and plans on how to use a recent $200,000 grant Q.: The Oswego Renaissance Association has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation for its neighborhood revitalization work in 2018. How vital is this grant? A.: Support from the Shineman Foundation is huge. It is our strongest institutional sponsor. I think to some extent, the increase in the award amount this year sends a strong signal of its belief in the change that is being effected. It allows us to accomplish more. We are always limited by the dollars we have. With more funding, the larger our footprint can be and we can expand into new n e i g h b o rh o o d s , which we are doing

this year. It also helps us leverage other funds and increases the visibility of our program. It gives us more momentum even beyond what we already have. Q.: The ORA is now entering its fifth year of operations. What have been the keys to its longevity? A.: The key to our longevity has been our success. You can’t expect any institution to continue to fund something on this level that does not show significant and substantive outcomes. We have been able to do more in the last four years in Oswego’s neighborhoods than had been done in the prior 40 years. The key to our success and longevity is the strategy we employ, which involves many components. It’s a build-on strength strategy that is essentially 180 degrees from a traditional community development approach. With our strength-based strategy, we start in somewhat stronger areas of the

By Lou Sorendo city and build on the strength of neighborhoods from the center outward, as opposed to traditional approaches that would typically start in weaker areas and try to get a foothold there. Q.: What is the long-term strategy of the ORA? A.: For the first several years, we’ve strengthened neighborhoods by doing a lot of incremental improvements that are really driven by neighbors through our matching grant program. But eventually, neighborhoods start to get to the point where, with some judicious strategy, we can begin to make some significantly bolder moves. For example, we have what I call micro-developers, or residents who live in some of our Renaissance blocks. They organize and say, “We’d like to purchase this house, rehab and sell it as a single-family home.” With things like that, we actually can provide higher levels of funding, called the Big Impact Grant. It involves granting awards between $5,000 to $10,000 on a strategic property as long as the rest of the street is strong and has a history of momentum. If you want to see neighborhoods turn around, it has to make sense to its residents to invest there, it has to make sense for people who don’t live there to buy into the neighborhood, and it has to make sense from a financial point of view to buy and invest in a rehab house. Q.: How does the ORA benefit the community from an economic development standpoint? A.: Ultimately, it has critical import to the economic health of the city. People buy and rehab houses in neighborhoods that used to be in decline, and it turns neighborhoods around. Also, the value of those houses goes up. You take a house that is worth $50,000 and now it’s $150,000. That’s a significant change in the economic health in terms of the tax base. The families that move into these neighborhoods are the people that are going to keep that neighborhood and city strong over time. Essentially, it is improving the cultural and social fabric of the neighborhood and economic health as well. For additional information about the ORA, visit www.OswegoNYonline. com or follow the ORA on Facebook.

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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

JUNE / JULY 2018


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