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April / May 2017

The Recruiters

Recruiters from St. Joseph’s Health, Crouse and Oswego hospitals talk about the extremely competitive job of attracting top medical talent

3 Home Flipping: Trend Peaked in 2006 But it’s Regaining Popularity

April / May 2017


3 Elvis is in the House Tom Gilbo, general manager at Par-K Jeep Chrysler, still dazzles fans as Elvis tribute artist


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Susan Henry Salesperson

Kim McPherson Salesperson

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April / May 2017 OswegoCountyBusi

The Recruiters

o hospitals ’s Health, Crouse and Osweg Recruiters from St. Joseph ing top competitive job of attract talk about the extremely medical talent

Peaked in 3 Home Flipping: Trend Popularity 2006 But it’s Regaining 3 Elvis is in the House April / May 2017


er Tom Gilbo, general manag at Par-K Jeep Chrysler, still dazzles fans as Elvis tribute artist


Professional medical recruiters are working nonstop to attract top medical talent CNY. They explain how they do it 55

Real Estate • Home flipping • Faye Beckwith: serial entrepreneur • How the internet changed the way we buy, sell 42

Healthcare • Sleep medicine: big business • The strategist at Oswego Health • Telemedicine has arrived • Supporting breast-feeding 61

APRIL / MAY 2017

Issue 149

PROFILE KATIE TOOMEY New executive director at Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, a native of Oswego, brings new energy and enthusiasm. One of her goals: get more businesses to join the organization..................................12

SPECIAL FEATURES How I Got Started Randy Yerden, founder and owner of BioSpherix in Parish ................................................................................. 10 Where in the World is Sandra Scott? Penang, Malaysia: Top place to visit this year, according to CNN, Forbes................................ 16 Elvis is in the House General manager at Par-K Jeep Chrysler still dazzles fans as Elvis tribute artist ................................................... 19 What Will We Buy Over the Next Decade? Demographic shifts will dramatically impact consumer spending ............................ 32 Brain Drain Survey shows local college students unaware of presence of small tech companies in the region.................................... 52 Weather Forecasting Program at SUNY Oswego a big draw, thanks in part to unique Lake Ontario weather ................................... 53 Riding the City of ‘Rogues’ Oswego revamps its taxi laws, establishes ‘good moral character’ guidelines for drivers................... 78

SUCCESS STORY Douglas Outdoors LLC, a new company based in Phoenix, is sending shock waves throughout the global fishing community with products and accessories considered second to none...... 83


.............................. 20, 36 My Turn Bad social media reviews............................ 48 Economic Trends Programs help business development, growth. .. 50 Last Page Paul Lear, Fort Ontario director .................. 90 Newsmakers, Business Updates

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APRIL / MAY 2017

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Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home.................... 11 ALPS Professional Services..23 Amdursky, Pelky, Fennell & Wallen...............8 Amerigas................................22 Ameriprise Financial / Randy Zeigler...............................15 ARISE....................................76 Berkshire Hathaway / CNY Realty................................26 BioSpherix.............................63 Bond, Schoeneck & King, Attorneys at Law...............46 Borio’s Restaurant..................30

Brookfield Renewable Power............................. 82 Builders FirstSource...............23 Burke’s Home Center.............22 C & S Companies....................7 Canale’s Italian Cuisine.........31 Canale’s Insurance & Accounting..................23, 25 Century 21 Galloway Realty............2, 25 Century 21 Leah Signature....23 CNY Arts................................63 CNY Community Foundation........................51 Community Bank...................39 Compass Credit Union...........14

Advertisers Crouse Hospital......................91 Dave & Busters Restaurant....31 Disciplined Management Capital.................................5 Dusting Divas...........................7 Eis House...............................31 Excellus - BlueCross BlueShield.........................49 Fastrac......................................6 Finger Lakes Garage Doors...21 Fitzgibbons Agency...............39 Foster Funeral Home..............63 Freedom Real Estate..............47 Friends of Oswego County Hospice..............................76 Fulton Savings Bank..............15 Glider Oil.................................6 Great Lakes Oral Surgery......76 Harbor Towne Gifts...............27 Haun Welding Supply, Inc.....25 Hematology-Oncology Associates of CNY............76 Hillside Commons...................8 J P Jewelers............................27 Joe Bush’s Collision...............21 Johnston Gas..........................25

K & N Foods............................2 Land & Trust Realty..............25 Local 73, Plumbers & Steamfitters........................82 Longley Brothers...................47 Mimi’s Drive Inn....................31 Mr. Sub...................................31 Nelson Law Firm...................35 North Bay Campground.........27 Northern Ace Home Center.....8 Operation Oswego County.....91 Oswego County Federal Credit Union......................35 Oswego County Mutual Insurance...........................47 Oswego Co. Opportunities OCO..................................78 Oswego County Stop DWI....76 Oswego Food & History Tours..................................27 Oswego Health ......................37 Oswego Inn............................27 Over the Top Roofing.............21 OVIA - Oswego Valley Insurance...........................47 Par-K Enterprises, Inc............14

Pathfinder Bank......................37 PC Masters Tech Repair...........7 Peter Realty – Simeon DeWitt...............................76 Phoenix Press.........................25 Port City Copy Center............22 Rainbow Shores Restaurant / Mill House Market............31 Riccelli Northern....................26 RiverHouse Restaurant..........31 Roger Phelps Quality Cars..... 11 Rudy’s....................................30 Scriba Electric........................21 Servpro of Oswego County....23 St. Luke Apartments...............77 Sun Harvest Realty................ 11 SUNY Oswego, Office of Business and Comm..........63 Sweet-Woods Memorial.........47 Tailwater Lodge.......................5 The Gardens at Morningstar ...3 The Landings at Meadowood.15 Tully Hill Chemical Dependency Treatment Ctr.. 76 Uniforms Etc..........................22 Valley Locksmith...................22 Volney Multiplex...................25 White’s Lumber & Building Supply...............................21 WRVO....................................92 Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park...27

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APRIL / MAY 2017


“How much time do you spend each day on reading and responding to emails?”

“How much time do you spend each day on reading and responding to emails? ”Pretty much all day, every day.” Timothy Toomey Banach & Toomey, Inc., Syracuse

Patrick Furlong Furdi’s Homes, Fulton “I spend probably an hour reading, writing and sending emails. We do everything from sending general emails, to contacting engineering firms, to communicating with contractors, and sending purchase orders. Instead of sending a submittal through copies and mailing like in the old days, we just attach and email.” Gary Archer Blake Company Inc., East Syracuse “I spend a lot of my day checking emails, not knowing the actual time as it varies. This agency emails a lot of applications and information as our website is under construction.” Marion Naramore Oswego Housing Development Council, Inc., Fulton

APRIL / MAY 2017

“I’m not one who likes to build up emails to be managed at a later time. Unfortunately, I likely spend more time being managed by email versus managing it effectively. Since it’s available via my computer as well as my smartphone, I have a tendency to respond, act on, or delete within the hour of receipt.” Jamie Persse CEO, JC Persse Consulting, Hastings “I work 10 to 12 hours per work day, seven days a week. Roughly 25 percent of my day is spent reading and responding.” Timothy Bonner PC Masters Tech Repair, Oswego

“One to two hours per day. Emails are the communication source for day to day business of the organization and way too much unsolicited marketing emails.” Nancy Fox CNY Arts Center, Fulton “I spend about 20 percent or two hours of my day emailing. I’m answering customer questions and sending them info on what Furdi’s has to offer. We can send customers flyers and literature about our homes so it makes it easier for them to get the info they need instead of traveling miles to pick it up. I also communicate with home and building suppliers with it.”

Robin Walker Happy Hearts Childcare, Inc., Oswego

“Approximately two and half hours. We use email for everything, including contact with clients as well as media outlets. Many times, it’s easier and quicker than calling. For many, it is the preferred method of contact.” John DeRousie Custom Marketing Solutions, Oswego “We spend about 20 to 30 minutes a day reading and responding to emails.” Morgan Kennedy Sherwin-Williams, Oswego, “I spend 60 to 90 minutes per day on email.” Leslie Rose McDonald Pathfinders CTS, Inc., Liverpool “I spend about approximately three hours a day reading and responding to emails. It’s a preferred method of communicating with clients and the easiest way to provide quick customer service, especially when I am not actually in the office.” Brooks Wright KBM Management, East Syracuse “I check my email often throughout the day. I would say a total of two hours per day, including weekends.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“I check and read my emails multiple times a day. As a business owner, there are so many ways to communicate and you don’t want someone to fall between the cracks. I would say an hour going through them.” Ann-marie King The Connection Point, Oswego “For my business at River Edge Mansion, I spend about 45 minutes a day.” Anne Hutchins, owner/innkeeper, River Edge Mansion Bed & Breakfast, Pennellville “It depends. Sometimes it’s five minutes; sometimes, it could be a half-hour or 45 minutes. I use it for customer contact.” Thom Madonna Attilio’s Restaurant, Syracuse “I wouldn’t say I spend a lot of time. I use it connecting with customers and vendors and corresponding with Best Western hotels and resorts.” Scott Parody Best Western Syracuse Airport Inn, North Syracuse “Seventy-five percent of my day.” Paul Lear Fort Ontario State Historic Site, Oswego

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


How I Got

Started Randy Yerden

Founder, owner of BioSpherix in Parish on cutting edge of live cell incubation. Worked as a one-man operation for 19 years. Business had a record year in sales in 2016 and now employs more than 30 people

Q: How did you come up with the idea of starting a business that specializes in designing, making and selling live cell incubation and processing systems? A: I’m a cell biologist and biochemist. I was in a research lab growing cells, and struggling to do it right. I came up with a little gizmo myself — a retrofitted oxygen controller for my incubator — that had positive effects. I then had people suggest to me that I can sell those. I really didn’t think much about it then because I was on a different track. However, I realized there was an opportunity there. I wasn’t planning to be a businessman at the time and I didn’t really want to be a businessman. I used it for the next six years successfully, and then moved back home to Redfield for family reasons. I got a job at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Syracuse, but it was not a very good commute. I then decided that I should see if I can commercialize that little gizmo I made myself in 1982. Q: Your first job was working as a lab technician at the University of Rochester. You were cloning stem cells in 1976. Do you consider yourself a pioneer in terms of cloning stem cells? A: No. I happened to be in a job that people now recognize as being something that’s fairly modern. But in those days, nobody knew what stem cells and cloning were. I’m not a pioneer in any way. In fact, I’m not even a very accomplished cell person. I was just a technician in a lab and happened to be doing that. It was my first job out of college, and I moved out to Rochester to take this job. When I came home for the first time, my parents were excited to hear what the job was all about. I told them it was interesting to me and I was grateful for the type of job I got. I remember my father saying, “It sounds good, but maybe you ought to get a job that people will hire you for someplace else.” He was thinking this was a dead end job and I was learning to do something that no one needed me to do. Q: What led you to becoming your own boss? A: I had moved out of an area where there was a lot of jobs and back into a relatively rural area where there wasn’t jobs. The one job I was able to get wasn’t very good for me, so I became determined to support myself and live where I wanted. Then after it got going, it evolved into a nice little one-man business where I



APRIL / MAY 2017

had a lot of flexibility. I always did have an interest in being self-sufficient and I liked the idea of not having to depend on the availability of jobs that other people were creating for me. Q: When you first started out, did you ever envision that you would attain this level of success? A: No. I was a one-man operation for 19 years. But there was a moment that caused me to shift from being a oneman operation into starting a new type of business that would hire people and grow. I realized a lot of these things that I had developed were going to be useful for everybody eventually. So I did make a conscious effort at one point — almost 20 years later — to change my approach and try to capture a larger market place that was there. But I didn’t see that for many years. Q. How did you sustain yourself prior to launching BioSpherix? A: I started out with one tool that is something I still sell, but my customers, their associates and acquaintances started to see what it would do for them. Oftentimes, customers would want a slight modification or variation, and I would accommodate their needs by designing and building customized orders. I looked at myself as a custom tool builder and my market was really people who were breaking new ground in science. It’s hard to break new ground sometimes with the same old tools that everybody else has. In essence, customers guided the development of what I was doing. I didn’t realize these were going to be tools everybody would need in the future. At the time, I looked at them as just unique, custom-designed equipment, and that a few people might want in the same area of research. I thought I might sell a few of each different machine. Then every once in a while, a new need would open up and I would design a new machine, or somebody would order an old machine. I evolved into a one-man full-service manufacturer. When an order came in, I would build, deliver and service it. Over the years, those tools eventually turned into products that we now market and sell. Q: What did it cost to launch the business and what were your primary overhead costs? A: There were the basic startup costs associated with getting a location and different administrative tools like computers, which were relatively new then, for word processing, bills and inAPRIL / MAY 2017

‘Cells have become very valuable and the approaches that we take are quite sophisticated, but they cost more. The more cells become valuable, the more people can justify using these quality approaches that we are providing.’ voicing. I had to have a location with an official address. I had to have a little bit of money eventually to put together a piece of sales literature and write a manual. There was need for some capital, which I didn’t have much of. My family and friends basically lent the money to me. My parents lent me some money, and one of my friends lent me some money. They were in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. The biggest loan I ever had from family and friends was probably $10,000. There was one friend that lent me $10,000 twice. The reason they lent it was because they trusted me to pay it back, and they also understood it was an investment. I paid them really good interest rates. But there was some capital necessary. Besides money, my parents helped me with things like dinners and groceries. My wife Karen was very instrumental because she worked and brought home a paycheck for the first three years of our business and supported me. She was probably the one who did the most. Without her, I probably couldn’t have done it. She also helped me after work with word processing and that type of stuff. Q: What kind of revenues did you have during your first year of operation compare to what you gross annually today? A: Our revenues have increased by 2,000 percent since our third year of operation. There have been a few years where we experienced setbacks in sales, but last year we had record sales and profits. There have been ups and downs over the years, but other than that early stage, we are self-funded with no outside investment. Q: How has demand for BioSpherix products been over the

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Profile By Lou Sorendo


New chamber of commerce leader steps into the limelight

atie Toomey is going from being the messenger to the message itself. Toomey, the new executive director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest business organizations in Central New York, with 350 members, has spent her career polishing the images of others as a public relations specialist. Now, the Oswego native is stepping out of the background and into a high-profile position. Her strengths include an ability to interact with people. “I have certainly never been accused of being shy,” she said. However, for as outgoing as she is, Toomey has always found herself in situations in the past when she is working hard to make other people, organizations and brands shine from a public relations standpoint. “You’re always taking a step back, and all of the quotes are attributed to your boss or organization,” she said. “This has been a little interesting just because it’s about me for the first time ever. That’s not to say it’s scary; it’s more like, ‘oh wow, it’s me now.’” “It’s certainly something I didn’t exactly expect to happen in my career,” she said. Ironically, Toomey said she spent a lot of years trying to figure a way out of Oswego and later, New York City, where she and her husband Jonathan both established careers. “Sometimes the stars align and it works out,” she said. “We’re both communications specialists. There’s not a lot of opportunities outside major metropolitan areas, so we’re really excited to be here,” she said. Jonathan works as the chief marketing officer for Eventful Conferences in Syracuse. The choice of having a career and


raising a family in Oswego was an easy one. “When we were preparing for the birth of our first child, my husband and I knew that we wanted to be close to family and friends,” she said. “I grew up surrounded by my family and wanted

the same for my children.” Her husband, a graduate of Syracuse University, considered Upstate New York a second home, which made a move a relatively easy sell, she said. “I am thankful for his support and willingness to move to my hometown. We enjoy being outdoors, participating in local events, shopping and dining here in town,” she said. For nearly 12 years, Toomey worked as a communications professional for a variety of different industries, she said. Whether she was promoting health care IT software for Fujifilm USA, pitching Valentine’s Day segments for or moderating roundtables at Novelis, she was given opportunities to work with and learn from some of the savviest people in their respective industries. Her roles forced her to become a “mini-expert,” she said. “You need to have a strong grasp of the subject

Lifelines Birth date: June 26, 1983 Birthplace: Oswego Current residence: Oswego Education: SUNY Plattsburgh, Bachelor of Science in communications (2005); Iona College, Master of Science in public relations (2008) Affiliations: Volunteer, fitness instructor at the Oswego YMCA Personal: Husband, Jonathan, and two sons, George and Patrick; parents: Patricia Reynolds (Oswego), Steven Reynolds (Norwich); siblings, Nicole Reynolds and brother in-law Daniel Jones (Rochester) Hobbies: Enjoying time with family and friends; wellness and fitness; pop culture


APRIL / MAY 2017

matter when securing media coverage or communicating with employees to be taken seriously,” she said. “I often laugh that I know a lot more about radiology equipment, chocolate-covered strawberries and aluminum than the average person.” Jane Amico, vice president, membership and business development at CenterState CEO, said the top priority for the chamber in 2017 is to create a vibrant, inclusive and connected business community in Oswego County. “As someone who grew up in Oswego and has extensive business experience supporting recognized companies through collaborative relationships, both inside and outside the region, Katie Toomey brings a unique perspective to her role,” Amico said. “Her creativity and passion for Oswego County positions her well to understand and provide thoughtful solutions to the issues and opportunities facing chamber members and the community at large.” Since Jan. 31, the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce has been an affiliate of CenterState CEO.

That hometown feel A graduate of Oswego High School and SUNY Plattsburgh, Toomey, 33, earned her master’s degree in public relations from Iona College in 2008 and spent six years working in that field for multinational companies Fujifilm USA and Novelis. She worked at Novelis for nearly two years before taking time off to care for her two young sons — George and Patrick. Once they became more self-sufficient, she set her sights on what her next step would be career-wise. Toomey discovered the top position at the chamber had become available and, after learning that CenterState CEO was a key partner, she immediately jumped at the opportunity. The chamber formed a strategic partnership with CenterState CEO late in 2015. “Their proven record of economic development, business leadership and advocacy for our region made the role very enticing for me,” she said. “I knew that it was something that I wanted to be a part of.” While she has experience at large organizations, she also worked for a small public relations firm and did freelancing in the past. “The only thing missing in my APRIL / MAY 2017

resume was this nonprofit public organization niche, so actually I am very excited to take on something I haven’t experienced before,” she added. For Toomey, it’s all about balance when it comes to handling her professional and family lives. “At the end of the day, it’s all about balance. For me, my family will always be priority. I just happen to enjoy working,” she said. She adopts the Scout mantra of “always prepared” and organized when it comes to ensuring balance and proper time management. CenterState CEO provides back-end support and resources, allowing Toomey and chamber director Jackie Zaborowski to focus on developing programs and networking events. Some of those programs involve Project Bloom and the farmer’s markets. “It frees us up so we’re able to just really do our jobs and do them well,” Toomey said. The team at CenterState CEO — including senior VP-business development Andrew Fish and VP-chamber services Jane Amico — explicitly told Toomey that she was the voice in Oswego County. Earlier this year, the board of directors of the chamber resigned as the governing body and has evolved into an advisory council. CenterState CEO is the governing body and the Oswego-Fulton chamber is a fully affiliated entity of the Syracuse-based organization. “I think there are some skeptics that were concerned that they are trying to take things over,” Toomey said. “Truly, it’s been anything but that.” “They have a tried-and-true way of doing things,” Toomey said. “They really provide members in Oswego County with this next-level service.”

Off and running Toomey’s No. 1 priority coming out of the gate is to have face time with both members and non-members alike. “I want to put a face to the name and let people know I am an advocate for them regionally,” she said. “Face-to-face communication and interactions are essential to creating strong relationships.” A survey has also been conducted to determine what membership needs. “Based on that feedback, we will develop a new plan and strategy in the coming months,” Toomey said. In terms of membership needs, Toomey said there must focus on inOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

creased communication. “It’s important to put together a communications plan that will include newsletters, an updated website and improved resources,” she said. Also vital is to create access to elected officials, she noted. During the chamber’s recent annual meeting, a roundtable included city of Oswego Mayor William “Billy” Barlow, city of Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward, Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardener and Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO. Toomey is also focusing on shaping the chamber’s calendar of events, which includes professional activities, roundtables and sit-down opportunities with elected officials. What does the business community want from the chamber? Much of it has to do with communications and follow through, she said. “If you say you’re going to do something, do it,” she said. “In my opinion, I think people want access to professional events and a professional organization that offers networking events and brings people together,” she said. “We are a link and connector.” For Toomey, familiarity with her community is a huge plus. “I have many ties to the community, which gives me a greater appreciation for our strengths and challenges,” she said. “I am also someone who has lived elsewhere and been part of businesses and communities that do things a bit differently. The chamber has gone through some challenging times over the last several years, including a drop in membership. Toomey does have a plan to address the situation. “Our operating budget is significantly driven by membership dues and non-dues revenue,” she said. “Over the past few years, we have seen our membership stabilize, and as such also a stabilization in income. We have also seen an increase in new members in the past 12 months.” She said new members will be joining an organization that has a clean slate, an enhanced regional offering, and new leadership. “In my opinion, it’s the perfect time to join the chamber,” she said. Additionally, its new advisory council — consisting of business leaders for both Oswego and Fulton — will help shape strategy moving forward, she noted. 13

Publisher’s note By Wagner Dotto


hat’s the best way to reach residents and visitors this season? No doubt, our Upstate N.Y. Summer Guide is the publication to choose for advertising. Businesses and organizations advertise once and get exposure (and results) all season long. In tough times, advertisers are very careful about how they invest their marketing and promotion dollars — and they should be. We believe the Summer Guide is the best way for them to promote their business this season. Ads are inexpensive and effective. The colorful magazine is widely available free of charge at more than 1,000 high traffic locations all season long. On top of that, the entire publication is available online and viewers can click (and they do) on advertisers’ links. Because it’s free and visually appealing, the guide reaches a substantial number of people who are not usually exposed to local newspapers or TV stations. In that sense the publication adds to the efforts made by

For advertisers, it’s a tremendous opportunity. It gives them the chance to get their message in front of more than 200,000 readers who are visiting or who live here. These advertisers also get a free presence on the web since a clickable edition of the guide is available online at Businesses should advertise in it. It’s the only such guide in the area. It’s available just before Memorial Day weekend and it’s gradually distributed until after Labor Day. As we say in the promotional material we send to advertisers: You place one ad and it works all season long.

county and regional tourism officials in providing visitors with the best experience they can have while in the area. The Summer Guide, now in its 23rd year, is a great value for readers. It’s free, colorful, and has tons of information that can be used throughout the season.

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Where in the World is Sandra Scott? By Sandra Scott

Penang, Malaysia T

Top place to visit this year, according to CNN, Forbes

he Malaysian island of Penang is on several lists of great places people should visit during their lifetime. It is No. 1 on Forbes’ list of budget places to visit, also it is second on CNN’s list of “The 17 Best Places to Visit in 2017.” It is easy to see why. The island has a myriad of things to do from exploring the UNESCO Heritage City of Georgetown to a walking tour through the new Entopia Butterfly Farm to parasailing over the Straits of Malacca.  One of the fascinating aspects of the island is its heterogeneous population,

which is highly diverse in ethnicity, culture, language and religion. In 1786 Captain Francis Light landed on the shore of Penang, making it Britain’s first settlement in southeast Asia. This year Malaysia will be celebrating its 60th anniversary of independence from British colonization. Today the island is about 40 percent Malay, 40 percent Chinese and 10 percent Indian with a variety of other groups making up the rest. History buffs will know that British General Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington after the Battle of

Yorktown ending the American Revolution. One might think Cornwallis returned to England in disgrace for losing one of England’s most important colonies but that is not the case. He went on to serve in Asia and the fort in Georgetown is named in his honor. The main city, Georgetown, is a cosmopolitan center with old-world Asian touches. There are gleaming white colonial buildings, Chinese shop houses, high-end stores, and street markets. A do-not miss is the Clan Jetties, a waterfront village on stilts along a wood-

Visitors parasailing over the Straits of Malacca, near Penang.



APRIL / MAY 2017

en pier that has been home to the Chinese for generations. There are walking tours, hop-on bus tours, and a free city shuttle bus that runs from 6 a.m. to midnight. In the city, there are mansions such as the Blue Mansion, a plethora of museums (including a Camera Museum and the Upside Down Museum), imaginative street art, and many religious places such as the floating mosque and several Buddhist temples. For the best view of Penang take the funicular railway to the top of Penang Hill. The biggest draw for most foreigners, especially Europeans, is the warm, sunny climate during winter — and the beaches, especially those in Batu Ferringhi, on the calm Bay of Malacca. The area is lined with many resorts. There is even a Hard Rock Café Hotel and a Holiday Inn. In the evening there is a mile-long night market. For a touch of America there are McDonald’s and Starbucks but Penang is known for its excellent hawker stalls, open air stalls that sell inexpensive Asian food. Visitors will never be at a loss for things to do. There are the typical beach activities such as swimming, parasailing, and banana boat riding but there are also other spots of interest. The Penang National Park is great for hiking and bird watching. Penang was on the Spice Route so it is not surprising that it is home to the only award-winning tropical Spice Garden with more than 500 tropical plants along their winding trail plus a giant swing, café and gift shop. Penang is visitor-friendly and has encouraged people to “Make Penang your second home.” Language is not a problem because English is a compulsory subject in Malaysian schools. Americans visiting Malaysia only need a valid passport and may stay up to 90 days. Many airlines fly into Penang but from the United States one of the least expensive ways is to fly into Bangkok and take a budget airline to Penang.

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. APRIL / MAY 2017

British General Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington after the Battle of Yorktown ending the American Revolution. The general went on to serve in Asia and the fort in Georgetown is named in his honor.

A do-not miss in Penang are the Clan Jetties, a waterfront village on stilts along a wooden pier that has been home to the Chinese for generations.

Colonial style English building in Penang. This year Malaysia celebrates its 60th anniversary of independence from British colonization. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS


SPECIAL REPORT By Matthew Liptak

Elvis is in the House General manager at Par-K Jeep Chrysler still dazzles fans as Elvis tribute artist, a gig he has maintained for 20 years



APRIL / MAY 2017


t was 6:30 on a Saturday as the regular crowd shuffled in — Elvis’s regular crowd. Tom Gilbo, an Elvis tribute artist and general manager of Par-K Jeep Chrysler dealership in Fulton, drew a crowd of around 50 to Central Square’s Riverside 916 Restaurant Feb. 10. It was a snowy, chilly winter evening, but Gilbo’s avid fans ventured through the inclement weather to see their favorite Elvis impersonator once again. For some, it is one of the few musical events they go out for. “I just like Elvis,” said Florence Morehouse of Cato. She and her husband Paul follow Gilbo. “We just go see him, sometimes two times a month,” she said. Gilbo loves Elvis. He has since he was a kid. The 50-year-old has been impersonating him for about 20 years, he said. Though on that night he was more Tom Gilbo than Elvis: he wore a simple white blazer with a buttoned-up shirt — no jumpsuit. But the poofy Elvis hair was there, as was the 1970s sideburns. After arriving, he paused for a moment to talk to a fan about a car they were getting from Par-K. Then he chatted with this writer for a few minutes before getting started. Gilbo had arrived just in time for his 7 to 10 p.m. performance. This Elvis isn’t chauffeured by a limo. He drove from the dealership in Fulton through the snow to his home in

APRIL / MAY 2017

North Syracuse, changed into his showbiz attire, and then drove back north to Brewerton and the restaurant. “We’ll be here for three hours and probably 80 percent of these people will stay right till the end,” he said. “They’re very good to me and I know everybody in here. It’s a good time. I’m really thankful.” It took Gilbo 20 years to build up his current following. Though he doesn’t see himself as doing Elvis for another 20, he’s enjoying it while he can. He plays down his own singing talent while talking about the King. “I love his voice,” Gilbo said of Elvis. “I just like the guy. I look up to him. He’s my idol. With that being said, I thoroughly enjoy doing it. I’m thankful that he gave me the opportunity to sing. I guess I’m not good enough to possibly go out there and be Tom Gilbo, but I still do it through him. I’m very thankful for that.” Gilbo’s set-up man, George Snyder, has been putting up the show’s equipment for about five years now. He doesn’t agree with Gilbo’s judgment on his voice. “He’s got a voice that kills,” Snyder said. “It sounds like the real one. He’s really good at it.” And it is obvious, when Gilbo took the floor that night to sing Elvis classics like “See See Rider” and “Burning Love” that he has pipes to be reckoned with. His strong, smooth, soulful voice brought many fans to the


dance floor. He knew his fans by their first names and exuded charm when interacting with them. At one point he even placed pink ribbons around the necks of some of his female admirers while singing and gave them a playful peck on the cheek. It was all in good fun. Gilbo showed a range with his music too. He included blues ballads, gospel, a Sinatra classic like “My Way” and even Willie Nelson’s “Always on my mind.” In May Gilbo plans to travel to Lake George to perform at the annual Elvis festival. Thousands come to see the scores of Elvis tribute artists each year. “If you’re an Elvis fan, yes, it’s still crazy,” Gilbo said. “I go to Lake George every year and they have a huge Elvis festival. Poconos has one. They’re all over the country. When I go to Lake George, this will be the twelfth year, they fill the forum Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Elvis fans watching Elvis impersonators. It’s just amazing.” Gilbo books regularly locally too. He plays parks, bars, halls and even some senior centers. He plays with two bands too — Southern Comfort and Bar Tunes. But he has a special place in his heart for the King. “I idolize him,” he said.



Rev. Canorro Elected to FSB’s Board

New Members at Bond Schoeneck & King

Rev. John Canorro of Fulton has been elected a member of the board of trustees of Fulton Savings Bank, accord ing to Thomas J. Johnston III, the bank’s chairman of the board. “ We are pleased to welcome Rev. Canorro to the bank board. He is an individual who, through his ministries and volunteer efforts, Canorro is well connected to the local community,” said Johnston. Rev. Canorro was originally from the Syracuse area and attended ESM High School. He is currently serving as pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Fulton. Prior assignments include serving as pastor of St.Mary’s Star of the Sea in Mexico, St. Anne’s in Parish and Christ Our Light Parish in Pulaski. Rev. Canorro has also been active as a volunteer firefighter since 2001. He served as a volunteer firefighter/EMT first in the DeWitt Fire District, then with the Mexico VFD and currently with the Volney VFD. He also serves as chaplain to the City of Fulton’s Fire Department. “With a caring approach, Father Canorro has served the community through his professional and volunteer work, as well as his extensive pastoral managerial leadership. We are fortunate to have someone of Father John’s caliber join our board of trustees,” said Fulton Savings President and CEO Michael J. Pollock. The new trustee has a bachelor’s degree from Marist College with a degree in mathematics. He went on to do volunteer work with the Marist volunteer program, working in a parish in Chicago. He entered the seminary at St. Mary’s Roland Park in Baltimore and was ordained a priest in 2001 for the Diocese of Syracuse. His first assignment was to Holy Cross Church in DeWitt and Bishop Grimes Junior/Senior High School.

Bond, Schoeneck & King recently announced that Andrew D. Bobrek and Kerry W. Langan from the Syracuse office have been elected members of the firm. Bobrek exclusively represents employers in all areas of labor and employment relations. He works with a diverse group of priLangan


vate and public sector employers, including small family businesses, school districts, large public companies, municipalities, notfor-profit service organizations, and renowned institutions of higher education. In his practice, Bobrek defends employers against claims of employment discrimination, workplace harassment Broderick and unlawful retaliation. He has defended employers in both federal and state court litigation, and in administrative proceedings before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR). Langan represents private and public sector employers in all aspects of labor and employment relations. She

Country Club Approves Major Enhancement Project

One hundred and twenty years after it was founded and 23 years after its last major renovation project, the membership of the Oswego Country Club has voted in favor of a major renovation project to its main clubhouse and pro shop/locker room building. “This is a very exciting time for Oswego Country Club and our membership,” said Oswego Country Club Board President Tom Van Schaack. “The club is already one of the finest golf courses in all Central New York, and now we will have the facilities to match.” The renovation plan includes a renovation of the dining room area, a new and expanded patio area extending from the present dining room to a patio with fire pit directly behind the OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

1897 Tavern, looking out at the infamous ninth green. The locker room area will be updated with new lockers and shower facilities for both men and women. There will be extensive work to enhance the swimming pool area and renovation to the swimming pool changing rooms, as well as exterior work on the cart barn and maintenance building. New siding will be installed on both the club house and locker room facility. Ground breaking will take place in the near future with plans to open the expanded clubhouse in late-May. An open house and grand opening of the clubhouse will be scheduled sometime in the late summer or early autumn. The last major renovation occurred in 1994. APRIL / MAY 2017

works closely with management and provides counsel on a variety of labor and employment-related matters, such as managing leaves of absence, compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws, workplace investigations, reductions-in-force, plant closings, policy development and review, employment agreements, separation agreements, labor arbitration, unfair labor practice charges and collective bargaining negotiations.

CPA Firm Opens Office in Seneca Falls Peters & Associates, CPAs, P.C. announced the opening of a new office in downtown Seneca Falls. The CPA firm, established in 1985, specializes in a wide range of financial services for businesses and individuals, including tax planning and preparation, small business accounting and consulting services, estate planning and investment advice. It has offices in five locations., including Syracuse, Utica and New York City. The opening of the Seneca Falls office will allow Peters & Associates, CPAs, P.C. to offer specialized professional services for Finger Lakes area farms, wineries, breweries and other local businesses as well as individual tax services, according to a news release. Rhonda Hutchinson, CPA, has rejoined Peters & Associates to head the Seneca Falls office. The SUNY Oswego graduate brings more than 12 years of experience in public accounting. She specializes in small businesses, agricultural and personal tax preparation as well as tax planning, management consulting, estate planning, business transfers and succession planning. She also offers training and support for clients using QuickBooks accounting software. “By combining with our larger presence in Central New York, the Seneca Falls accounting practice will benefit from the broader resources of a much larger firm,” says Mark Peters, Peters & Associates’ president. “This is a great expansion for us,” said Peters. “We specialize in local businesses that want hands-on service from a firm that concentrates on them. Clients want the same individual handling their accounting and taxes each year. However, since we employ 24 people, we also have the expertise to handle any complex issues that may arise.” APRIL / MAY 2017

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New Accountants at Grossman St. Amour Grossman St. Amour CPAs PLLC recently welcomed two new accountants. Amy L. Broderick has rejoined Grossman St. Amour CPAs after previously working at the firm from 2011 to 2013. She is a supervisor in the audit services group and practices in the areas of audit and attest engagements and financial statement preparation. She received her Master of Science degree in accounting from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and her bachelor’s in secondary math education from Niagara University. She is in the process of obtaining reinstatement of her certified public accountant license in the state of North Carolina, and is working toward licensure in New York state. Broderick is a member of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Manlius. Adam L. Kroft is a staff accountant in the tax services group and practices in the areas of income tax preparation, payroll and sales tax return preparation, and bookkeeping. He received his Master of Business AdminKroft istration in public accounting from SUNY Oswego, and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, magna cum laude, from the State University of New York, University at Buffalo. Kroft was formerly employed at the Bank of New York Mellon, and played professional baseball for the Rockford Riverhawks and the San Diego Padres.  Adam is a resident of Manlius.

Barton & Loguidice Promotes Staff Barton & Loguidice announces the following staff promotions: • Keith F. Ewald has been named managing landscape architect within the sustainable planning and design department. A resident of Baldwinsville, Ewald is a New York State registered landscape architect (RLA) and professionally certi-

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fied land planner (AICP) and received his B.S. in urban regional analysis and planning at the State University of New York at Buffalo and his Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Ewald is a member of the American Planning Association and American Society of Landscape Architects. • Dustin J. Clark has been named managing engineer of the wastewater department. Clark, a resident of Adams Center, received his B.S. in civil engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is a registered professional engineer in New York. Clark is a member of the National Association of Corrosion Engineers and the New York Rural Water Association. • Taylor C. Bottar has been named senior project engineer in the wastewater department. A resident of Syracuse, Bottar earned his B.S. in civil engineering from Rutgers University. Bottar is a registered professional engineer in New York. Bottar is also a member of the New York Water Environmental Association and American Public Works Association. • Kyle C. Williams has been named senior project engineer within the environmental department. Williams, a resident of Manlius, earned his B.S. in environmental engineering from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and is a registered professional engineer in New York. Williams is also a member of the Air & Waste Management Association. • George B. Kalkowsky has been named engineer III within the wastewater department. Kalkowsky, a resident of Fulton, earned his B.S. in civil engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Kalkowsky is a certified intern engineer. • Jeremy G. Strong has been named principal engineering technician within the solid waste department. Strong, a resident of Deansboro, earned his degree in computer-aided drafting from Mohawk Valley Community College and is a certified NYSDEC stormwater inspector and certified in civil 3-D. • Diane J. Moose of Port Byron has been named accounting specialist III. Moose earned her B.S. in business finance and accounting from SUNY Empire State College and is a member of the Institute of Management Accountants. Barton & Loguidice, D.P.C., is an engineering, planning, environmental, and landscape architecture firm with offices in Syracuse, Watertown, Albany, APRIL / MAY 2017

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Fulton YMCA Wants to to Raise $50K The Fulton Family YMCA is launching its annual campaign to ensure that everyone in the communities has access to vital programs and resources that support youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The board of directors has pledged to raise $50,000 by the end of the campaign, April 26. “Annually, the Fulton YMCA provides scholarships to individuals who don’t have the financial means to buy a membership or participate in a program

Michael Quenville, vice president / business relationship manager at Pathfinder Bank with Teresa Woolson, president of the The Victor Orlando Woolson Foundation.

Pathfinder Bank Increases Annual Support of the SAFE Fair Pathfinder Banks has again become the major sponsor of SAFE Fair, an event designed to raise awareness of the dangers of synthetic drugs/bath salts, which is organized by The Victor Orlando Woolson Foundation (VOW). “Pathfinder Bank has continually 24

such as Day Camp. By supporting our annual campaign, you allow us to continue helping those in need,” said Jim Schreck, annual campaign co-chairman. Schreck said the Y, as a charity, is dedicated to nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving the nation’s health and well-being, and giving back and providing support to our neighbors. “Every day, the Fulton Family YMCA works to support the people and neighborhoods that need it most by addressing community issues,” he said. Schreck added that YMCA programs help cancer survivors, help fight poverty, nurture creativity, reduce drowning deaths and strengthen families. And through the generosity of donors, the YMCA offers financial aid to ensure that everybody can belong to the supported this event from the beginning, we couldn’t be more pleased with the increase this year,” said Teresa Woolson, president of VOW. The SAFE (Substance Awareness Family Education) Fair will be held on Sunday, April 30, at the Oswego Elks Lodge, located at 132 W. Fifth St. in Oswego. This year’s program will include speakers who will discuss the heroin crisis and community services. Keynote speaker will be Penny Morley, prevention director at Farnham Family Services in Oswego. Pathfinder Bank will be this year’s “gold sponsor,” according to vice president of VOW and sponsorship chairwoman, Karen Perwitz. Two new sponsors this year are Fulton Savings Bank and BioSpherix, Ltd. In-kind sponsors include News Channel 9, Mystic Music Entertainment Services and the Oswego Elks Lodge. Additional sponsors are anticipated. “We are proud to support the VOW Foundation and their dedication to educating our youth on the dangers of substance abuse while providing services for those in need. The organization is a true benefit to Oswego County’s continued effort to reduce the negative impact of illegal drugs in our communities,” said Michael Quenville, vice president, business relationship manager at Pathfinder Bank in Oswego. For more information, to sponsor, donate or volunteer, please contact Teresa Woolson at 315-402-6119. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Y, regardless of their financial situation. To learn more about the campaign or how to donate, contact Tess Kenney, associate executive director at 315-5989622, or, or visit

Promotions at Pathfinder Bank Pathfinder Bank, a New York state chartered commercial bank headquartered in Oswego, has recently announced the following promotions: • James A. Dowd, C PA , h a s b e e n named executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Dowd’s primary responsibilities as executive vice president will be to oversee and direct Dowd the daily activities of the bank’s branch network. He will continue to oversee the bank’s accounting and finance activities, as well as the organization’s marketing and facilities departments. “The appointment and promotion of Jim to executive vice president and chief operating officer, while retaining the CFO role, is part of our long planned management succession and executive development program,” said Thomas Schneider, Pathfinder’s president and CEO. “Jim has long ago moved beyond the traditional financial role, which is supported by our VP of finance and VP controller. This move aligns the branch delivery system with his marketing and facilities oversight, which provides for close coordination of services between deposits and lending. Jim’s 23-year banking career and community Tascarella leadership roles have progressively helped us align our vision with our strategic execution.” Dowd earned his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego with a minor in economics and philosophy. As a lifelong resident of Oswego, APRIL / MAY 2017

Dowd has garnered various community and banking awards for his volunteer and professional work over the years. In 2012, Dowd was named financial executive of the year by the Central New York Business Journal. Dowd also received the 40 Under 40 Award from Oswego County Business Magazine in 2004. Dowd currently serves as a member of the board for the Oswego County Land Bank and as vice president of the board for Riverside Cemetery. In addition, Dowd spent 13 years in a leadership role with Oswego Harbor Festivals, Inc., including two years as the festival’s president. He was also a long-term board member of Arts and Culture for Oswego County. • Ron Tascarella has been named executive vice president and chief credit officer. “We are very pleased to recognize Ron with this promotion,” said Schneider. “With nearly four decades of experience in community banking, Ron has consistently and successfully dedicated himself to providing customers the best banking experience. His leadership, strong vision, business acumen and commitment to our mission will be instrumental in the execution of our strategic plan and our continued growth.” Tascarella’s duties as executive vice president will be to continue to oversee the bank’s commercial, mortgage and consumer lending functions while focusing on providing a strong community presence through growth and service of the bank’s customer base. Tascarella is a 1979 graduate of SUNY Oswego, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He resides in Oswego with his wife, Cindy. Tascarella plays an active role in the community currently holding positions as member of the World Blind Union, adviser of the SUNY Oswego Student Investment Club, treasurer of the Oswego Revitalization Corp. board of directors, a member of the Arise advisory committee, chairperson of the Empire State Employment Resources Board, and a member of the New York State Procurement Council.

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Linda McMahon Named New SBA Administrator


he U.S. Senate recently confirmed President Donald Trump’s nomination of Linda E. McMahon as the 25th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. McMahon is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Women’s Leadership LIVE, as well as the co-founder and former CEO of WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.). “Small businesses are the engine of our national economy,” McMahon said upon her confirmation. “I will work to revitalize a spirit of entrepreneurship in America. Small businesses want to feel they can take a risk on an expansion or a new hire without fearing onerous new regulations or unexpected taxes, fees and fines that will make such growth unaffordable. We want to renew optimism in our economy.” In testimony on Jan. 24 before the Senate Committee on Small Business and


Entrepreneurship, McMahon discussed her hands-on experience managing and helping to grow small businesses. “As an entrepreneur myself, I have shared the experiences of our nation’s small business owners. My husband and I built our business from scratch. We started out sharing a desk. Over decades of hard work and strategic growth, we built it into a publicly traded global enterprise with more than 800 employees. I am proud of our success — I know every bit of the hard work it took to create that success.” “I believe in leadership by example. As a CEO, I never expect employees to do anything I am not willing to do myself. I believe in setting expectations and holding people accountable, but trusting them to do the job for which they were hired. I look forward to working with the SBA staff. I am eager to learn from their experience and expertise. I will


listen, and their ideas, concerns and recommendations will be taken seriously.” As administrator of the SBA, McMahon will direct a federal agency with more than 2,000 full-time employees, with a leading role in helping small business owners and entrepreneurs secure financing, technical assistance and training, and federal contracts. SBA also plays a leading role in disaster recovery by making low-interest loans. McMahon is a graduate of East Carolina University. She and her husband, Vince, have two adult children and six grandchildren.

APRIL / MAY 2017


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DiningOut By Jacob Pucci



La Parrilla Grill & Wine Bar L

Oswego bistro serves seriously delicious food

a Parrilla means “the grill” in Spanish, but this Oswego bistro and wine bar gives diners a culinary tour far beyond the borders of Spain. Before opening La Parrilla in 2010, chef Raymond Jock, an Oswego County native, owned a restaurant in Manhattan and later worked as a personal chef for the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Barbara Walters and others. The West Second Street restaurant quickly outgrew its original spot and moved up the block next to the Oswego Theater, where we found the dining room mostly full on a recent, chilly Saturday evening. The yellow and red walls evoke


the restaurant’s Spanish influence. The wall décor is an eclectic mix of license plates and paintings of chefs, including Anthony Bourdain, Marco Pierre White, Mario Batali and of course, Jock himself. Our first course of chicken chicharrones ($13) blended traditional Spanish technique with innovative flavors. The bites of crispy, rich chicken were coated in a smoky chipotle honey glaze that delivered a punch of floral honey flavor. The accompanying jalapeno blue cheese dip was equal parts spicy and cooling. The generous serving could have served as a meal on its own, so we’re glad we ordered it to share. All the entrees come with choice of OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

soup or salad. The 13 bean and ham soup had great flavor from the ham hocks, all while the escarole helped keep the dish light. French onion soup is a restaurant favorite, so the disappointment is just that much greater if you’re served a crock filled with watery stock, pale onions and too little cheese. Fortunately, La Parrilla delivered a version with a flavorful, herbaceous stock and a healthy helping of cheese on top. It was well worth the $2 upcharge. The menu is largely locally sourced, changes often and seemed to be favoring a bit more Italian on our visit, so we were sure to try one of the pasta dishes. The blue crab portabella linguini ($20) was APRIL / MAY 2017

just that—a generous serving of pasta tossed with a spinach and blue crab alfredo sauce and a whole deep-fried Portobello mushroom. Some restaurants would only add enough crab to flavor the sauce or use imitation crab meat, but at La Parrilla, the crab was both delicious and in abundance. The crispy breaded mushroom and toasted pine nuts on top provided a welcome textural contrast that helped balance the dish. A properly seared piece of fish is one of our favorite foods, so we couldn’t pass up the special of the evening: Seared wild sea bass with parmesan and pea risotto and lemon beurre blanc ($24). La Parrilla lived up to its name with this dish. The crispy, salty skin — dark brown thanks to a proper sear— alone was worth the price of admission. Achieving such a brilliant sear was possible because the filet was so thick, which also helped keep the flesh tender and succulent. The risotto was indulgent without being overly so and the beurre blanc added just the right amount of acid. Overall, it was one of the best seafood dishes we’ve eaten in a long time. We took part of our entrees home so we’d have room to share a slice of orange, almond and ricotta tart for dessert ($6). The ricotta cheese and citrus flavors kept the tart light and the toasted sliced almonds provided a great crunch. And thanks to the almond crust, the tart is gluten free. La Parrilla is an unfussy place where diners celebrating a special occasion or simply lingering over a glass of wine during happy hour would both feel at home. It feels like a hidden gem few people know about, even though it has been a stalwart of Oswego’s dining scene for the better part of the last decade.

Blue crab linguini: A generous helping of linguini pasta topped with a whole fried portobello mushroom and a spinach Alfredo sauce filled with blue crab meat.

La Parrilla

Clockwise, from top left photo: Chicharrones: These crispy, tender chunks of chicken were tossed in a sweet and spicy honey chipotle glaze; Sea bass: A colorful dish of beautifully seared skin-on wild sea bass on top of pea and Parmesan risotto. French onion soup: The soup of the day comes with each entree, or for $2 more, diners can choose a crock of cheesy, rich French onion soup.

Address: 156 W.Second St., Oswego. Phone: 315-216-4179 Hours: • Lunch: Tuesday to Friday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday: 4 to 9 p.m. • Happy Hour: Tuesday and Thursday, from 4 to 6 p.m. Website: www.laparrillaoswego. com/

APRIL / MAY 2017



Dining Dining Out Out

Business Council Announces Coalition Calling for Workers’ Compensation Reform


he Business Council of New York State, Inc. recently joined with 58 other statewide advocacy groups in calling for immediate and substantial reforms to the state’s excessively expensive workers’ compensation system. “The current system is too expensive for private and public employers alike,” said Heather C. Briccetti, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “Workers compensation was created to help injured workers by replacing lost wages and providing needed medical care, but it isn’t workServing Lunch from 11:30 a.m. ing. Major payments are being made in Serving Lunch from 11:30 a.m. Business and Office Luncheons Welcome ways never intended by statute. Our Serving Lunch from 11:30 a.m. Our Family Feeding Yours Since 1946 Serving Lunch Dinner from a.m. Business and Office Welcome Served fromWelcome 5Luncheons p.m. | Friday from 4 p.m. loss of use (SLU) awards pay scheduled Business and 11:30 Office Luncheons Business and Office Luncheons | Friday Dinner Served from 5Welcome p.m.from from 4|p.m. large sums Dinner Served 5 p.m. Friday from 4 p.m.for minor injuries that lead to 78 Co. Rte. 89 • Oswego, NY | FridayRooms Dinner Served Three from 5 p.m. from 4 p.m. Banquet available for Wedding little or no missed time from work. We Three Banquet RoomsRehearsal available for WeddingBridal and Baby Dinners, Three Banquet Receptions, Rooms available for Wedding replaced fairness with chance and Three Banquet Rooms available for have Wedding 315-343-2671 Receptions, Rehearsal Dinners, Bridal and Baby Receptions, Rehearsal Dinners, Bridal and Baby Showers, and any other special events. moved away from the fundamental goal Receptions, Rehearsal Dinners, Bridal and Baby Showers, other special events. Showers, and anyand otherany special events. of workers’ compensation replacement Showers, and any other special events. Accommodating up to 300 guests. Accommodating to 300 guests. Accommodating up to 300up guests. for lost wages. It’s time for a change.” OPEN MID-MARCH No partyNoisparty too No small. party is too small. is too small. Current figures show employers Accommodating up to 300 guests. THROUGH OCTOBER across New York are paying nearly $10 No party is too small. (5(5Days week thru thru April) Day aaWeek billion per year in workers’ compensation costs. Of that amount, roughly $1.2 billion goes directly to SLU payments, Fish • Burgers • Hots over $960 million of which went to pay & Homemade Desserts8891 McDonnells Parkway | Cicero, NY 13039 individuals who did not miss any sig8891 McDonnells Parkway Minutes from Routes 81 and 481 | Cicero, NY 13039 nificant time from work. Minutes from Routes Parkway 81 and 481| Cicero, NY 13039 315-699-2249 In a recent Siena Research Institute 8891 McDonnells 8891 McDonnells Pkwy Cicero, NY 13039 315-699-2249 survey, 90 percent of Upstate New York Minutes from Routes 81 and 481 Like us on Minutes from Routes 81 and 481 business leaders said they supported 8891 McDonnells Parkway | Cicero, NY 13039 315-699-2249 reducing the costs associated with work315-699-2249 RudysLakesideDrive-In Minutes from Routes 81 and 481 ers’ compensation insurance. 315-699-2249 “We often hear lawmakers talk about mandate relief, yet too little is being done to cut costs for local municipalities,” said Briccetti. “The reforms we’re calling for would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in savings to the state and local governments. That money could then be used to invest in schools, infrastructure and other spending priorities.” A bipartisan group of senators and Advertise in the assembly members have introduced legislation that reforms key aspects of 2017 CNY Summer the workers’ compensation system. Guide — The Best of “The workers’ compensation system was designed to replace lost Upstate New York. wages, provide necessary medical care, and promote return to work,” Briccetti added. “Our proposed reforms maintain those pillars of the compensation system, Published by Oswego County Business while providing significant cost relief 315-342-8020 for employers.”

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APRIL / MAY 2017

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31 31


What Will People Purchase in America Over Next Decade? Major demographic shifts will dramatically impact consumer spending, according to recent Conference Board study


ajor demographic shifts over the next decade in the U.S. will have a dramatic impact on consumer spending. That includes the types of products and services residents of Central New York will purchase over the next 10 years. Future buying habits of Americans was examined in a recent report titled “The Impact of Demographic Trends on Consumer Spending.” The report was prepared by The Conference Board, a nonprofit organization based in New York City with “a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest.” The organization’s website is at www.conference-board. org/ The report examines the size and age distribution of the future population,


Baby boomers will be a major driving force in the spending habits of millions of Americans, particularly in areas like Central New York, which has a proportionally high population of people at or approaching retirement age. how spending patterns will change as people age, and provides perspective on how population growth trends are likely to impact future spending. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

It breaks projected purchasing habits down by state and region, including Central New York. Key consumption categories examined in the report include health, retirement and education spending.  

Health Care Millions are likely to spend much more on healthcare, reflecting the needs of the aging baby-boom generation. That same dominant age group is also likely to spend more on pets and pastimes like gardening and reading, “well above the rate of total consumption,” according to the report. The numerically large generation of baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 is graying. Life expectancy for the elderly is increasing. APRIL / MAY 2017

As they have throughout their lifetimes, baby boomers will be a major driving force in the spending habits of millions of Americans. That is particularly true in areas like Central New York, which has a proportionally high population of people at or approaching retirement age. “While the U.S. population as a whole will grow by 8 percent between 2015 and 2025, the number of people between the ages of 70 and 84 will spike by 50 percent,” according to the report. “As people age, they also retire. The number of retirees is currently increasing by about 1.2 million a year, about three times as much as a decade ago. Retiring dramatically changes both time allocation and consumption patterns.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there will be more than 133,000 people ages 65 and over living in the Syracuse metropolitan statistical area by 2025. That compares to about 103,000 people in the same age bracket living in the Syracuse MSA in 2015. The Syracuse MSA includes Oswego, Onondaga and Cayuga counties. The 75-to-79 age group, for example, is estimated to total 26,073 people by 2025 in the Syracuse MSA, an increase of 54.7 percent from 2015. Within health spending, categories especially concentrated among the older population like long-term care “are likely to experience even more dramatic growth of about 20 to 25 percent,” the report states. Impacts on consumption will emerge “from the tendency of retired people to spend more time within their homes on various activities and hobbies.” Spending in categories like household maintenance, gardening, reading, and pets “is likely to grow well above the rate of total consumption,” the report said. “America’s furry friends will receive much attention due to the surge in retirees, who tend to spend more time within their homes on various activities and hobbies,” the report states. The report added that consumption of products “targeted at the older population within other broad consumption categories, such as personal care products and vacation travel, are likely to experience rapid growth as well.” Consumption categories that older households tend to spend less on include men’s clothing, food away from home, rented homes, and used cars. Those areas “will experience slower-than-average APRIL / MAY 2017

There will be more than 133,000 people age 65 and over living in the Syracuse metropolitan statistical area by 2025. That compares to about 103,000 people in the same age bracket living in the Syracuse MSA in 2015. consumption growth,” the report states. Demographic population shifts will have a significant upward impact on health care spending. “Over the next decade, health spending will grow 15 percent, due to demographic trends alone, compared with 8 percent for total consumption spending,” said Gad Levanon, chief economist, North America, The Conference Board, and an author of the report. “More so than any other category, health care spending is concentrated among the oldest households. Long-term care, in particular, is likely to experience even more dramatic growth of 20 to 25 percent due to demographic trends alone,” Levanon said.

Education Outlook Central New York is home to SUNY-Oswego, Cayuga Community College, Syracuse University, Le Moyne and numerous other two- and four-year colleges. In the education sector, the report found that spending “will likely see slow growth rates.” “Look to the aging millennial generation. The Generation Z that follows is smaller. Moreover, fertility rates dropped during and after the Great Recession” of 2008-09,” according to the report. Through 2025, population growth in the 5- to 24-year-old age group will remain essentially unchanged, the report said. “First, the large generation of millennials is aging out of this group. The smaller Generation Z that follows won’t replace the aging of the millennials,” the report states. The report states that spending concentrated in those age groups “is likely to grow slowly at best.” Since the bulk of education sector OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Major Findings The study conducted by The Conference Board based in New York City, “The Impact of Demographic Trends on Consumer Spending,” shows some of major changes in purchasing habits over the next decade. Some of the changes will include:

Pets, Gardening, Reading Spending on pets, gardening, and reading will rise well above the rate of total consumption. America’s furry friends will receive much attention due to the surge in retirees, who tend to spend more time within their homes on various activities and hobbies.


Education sector spending will likely see slow growth rates. Why? The aging of Millennial generation; the Generation Z that follows is smaller. Moreover, fertility rates dropped during and after the Great Recession.

Health care

Health care spending will skyrocket, due to the large generation of aging baby boomers. Here, spending will grow 15 percent compared with 8 percent for total consumption spending.

Retirement Destinations A jackpot for retirement destinations. Many retirement destinations are expected to experience more than 30 percent consumption growth due to population growth alone.


spending is concentrated within the 5– to-24 age range, which will essentially remain unchanged through 2025, the industry “is likely to see slow growth rates in the coming decade. Other types of spending concentrated in this age group, such as school supplies and youth clothing, will suffer as well,” the report states.

Geographic Factors In recent years, domestic migration has been recovering after several years of low mobility during and after the Great Recession. States like New York that aren’t considered preferred retirement locations won’t benefit from another finding of The Conference Board study, which predicts “a jackpot for retirement destinations.” In general, the report states, the shift from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West is likely to remain in place through 2025, but with “notable intraregional trends where some locations gain population and others lose.” “Many retirees move their residence to different locations, taking into account weather, cost of living, tax rates and other factors. Since the baby boom generation is so large, the number of baby boomers who are retiring or about to retire will make the shift to retirement destinations an especially important demographic trend from 2015 to 2025,” the report said. The news for states like New York isn’t encouraging. “The flip side of this trend is that states that are typically large sources of retirees moving out of state, such as New York and Illinois [are] likely to lose a disproportionate number of their older and affluent residents,” according to the report. The report states that the U.S. “is likely to experience large variation in consumption growth across states and metropolitan statistical areas due to population trends.” Consumption in states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada is expected to grow more than twice as fast as the national average, while states like New York and Illinois “will barely see any growth at all,” according to the report.

Population and Baby Boomers While overall population growth in the United States from 2015 to 2025 is likely to be similar to the period from 2005 to 2015, the gap widens for specific 34

When it comes to population, the shift from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West is likely to remain in place through 2025. The Syracusearea MSA population of 660,458 in 2015 is projected to drop to 625,134 by 2025, according to U.S. Census Bureau. age groups. Population growth rates from 2015 to 2025 also vary significantly across age groups. The report said that the aging of the baby-boom generation is the cause of accelerated growth rates for certain age groups over the next 10 years. The 70-to-84 age group is likely to grow by 50 percent from 2015 to 2025, versus 8 percent for the total population. In contrast, the 50-to-54 age group is expected to decline by 10 percent as baby boomers exit that age group and are replaced by the much smaller Generation X, the report states. Spending will be affected. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, most household expenditures are concentrated in a few large categories. Using figures from 2014-2015, housing accounted for 33 percent of the total. Other expenditure totals include transportation, 17 percent; food, 13 percent; personal insurance and pensions, 11 percent; health care, 8 percent; entertainment, 5 percent; apparel and services, 3 percent; cash contributions, 3 percent; education, 2 percent; and other categories, 4 percent. Consumer demand growth is likely to vary significantly across categories and compared to the previous decade, The Conference Board report said. The Syracuse-area MSA population of 660,458 in 2015 is projected to drop to 625,134 by 2025, according to U.S. Census Bureau. Report co-author Brian Anderson, associate program director of The ConOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

ference Board, said that models fashioned in preparing the report show that New York state as a whole “is forecasted to have very little change in total population over the next decade. We predict a total of 0.5 percent population growth for the state between 2015 and 2025.” Looking at other MSAs across the state, “We find that the only MSA that will grow its population over the next decade is New York City,” Anderson said. Anderson said that cities like Binghamton and Elmira will decline the most, at over 7 percent each, while Albany will experience the smallest decline, at only 1.6 percent. “The population in all of these MSAs are aging faster than New York City as well,” Anderson said. “So, the prognosis for some of the more ‘urban’ areas of Upstate New York is not particularly bright over the next decade.”

Strategies For Business Businesses in areas like Central New York can be proactive in anticipation of these major changes, and adjust to the market, according to Levanon. That could even mean pulling up roots and relocating to another region. “More accurate intelligence about future demand is an important advantage over competitors,” Levanon said. “Though exact projections of demand are never certain, businesses should grasp the opportunity to use what is known about demographic trends to make better business decisions.” Businesses can use that information to better plan for the future, Levanon said. “While the answer varies across industries, markets and companies, certain factors could be helpful in thinking through strategy,” he said. In considering how businesses should evaluate the evolution of consumption patterns over the next 10 years, Levanon said one key factor to consider is health spending, which is likely to be “affected dramatically.” The report recommends a move to “growing consumption categories.” “Businesses should consider providing products or services in fast-growing consumption categories if they have the skill set and expertise in adjunct products,” it states. The report also recommends that businesses “align capacity across locations for first-mover advantage.” “In 2025, the geographical distribution of consumer spending is likely to APRIL / MAY 2017

be quite different than it is now because projected consumption growth rates vary across locations,” Levanon said. The report poses the question of how businesses should “adjust the production, supply chains, and delivery capacity across geographies.” In many cases, “a physical realignment” is recommended, and the change in demand across locations will require a change in workforce location. In addition, the shift in demand may require a change in the mix of suppliers companies use, as the calculation of optimal distance to market will shift. “Having a plan and making these decisions in advance of the actual changes in demand will provide a first-mover advantage to businesses,” the report states. Finding the right employees will also be a significant advantage. “Changes in demographics don’t only impact the consumer, but also those who produce for the consumer. The key is therefore having the right workers in the right place at the right time to serve the next generation of consumers. With an aging U.S. population, many occupations will experience a shortage of workers in the coming decade,” the report states. In particular, as a result of the rapid growth in the demand for health care, health-related occupations are at especially high risk of labor shortages in the coming decade. This could lead to recruiting difficulties and accelerating wages that put pressure on profit and prices. On the other hand, weak expected growth in education consumption is likely to lower the demand for education workers. In such industries, the challenge may be how to best reduce capacity to meet a lower demand. Slow-growing or shrinking industries provide an opportunity for other employers to recruit high-quality talent. With remote working technologies, the link between location and labor supply “is looser than ever,” the report states. For some types of products, operation reallocation will remain necessary, but in others it will not. Many computer-related jobs, for example, can easily be performed remotely, regardless of where demand is. “As labor shortages become more significant, remote working arrangements will become more popular and better organized,” the report said.

APRIL / MAY 2017


Attorneys at Law Allison J. Nelson, Esq. Rachael A. Dator, Esq. Audrey L. Flynn, Esq.

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John Henry, owner of Mitchell’s Speedway Press says his business added a new Ricoh digital printer, which gives the business considerably enhanced capabilities.

Mitchell’s Speedway Press Makes Major Upgrade Business invests more than $75,000


all it continuing a family tradition with a modern-day edge. One of the longest tenured businesses in the city of Oswego — Mitchell’s Speedway Press — recently made a major digital equipment upgrade to keep pace in an ever-changing industry. Owners John and Kathy Henry are continuing to build a business that was founded in the family basement on East Fourth Street in 1930. The new addition comes in the form of a new Ricoh production printer, giving the business considerably enhanced capabilities. John Henry said the business still


does a lot of press printing and remains the largest printer located north of Syracuse and into the North Country. “We still have four-color presses and a lot of heavy iron,” Henry said. “As the shift goes to more digital and quicker turnaround work, we had to put a digital press in,” he said. “We did that five years ago with the fastest, biggest press in the area. Now that machine is ready to be upgraded and we acquired a new machine.” The machine prints on thicker stock



paper and does perfect registration front and back, Henry said. “It meets what they call the new G7 color standards,” said Henry, noting the unit is highly regarded for it consistent color and tones. “It uses thicker stocks, is faster with better, more consistent quality.” Henry is trained in color and tone values, and is certified in color calibration by the G7 system program. “I understand how to print properly and keep color in balance. Other printers hire me as an outside consultant to come in and train their staff on how to do it,” he said. Henry said the unique feature of the press is it will print a sheet between 13 and 38 inches, allowing the business to print banners and larger newsletters. “We can do four- six- and eight-page foldout newsletters and create some really neat menus or different types of printed pieces,” he said. Henry said the shop now features two digital presses. “So when we have a rush job, and someone comes in with a smaller job, we can still do the smaller job at the same time,” he said. “We had larger jobs that took up to two days and APRIL / MAY 2017

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we had to juggle jobs back and forth to try to get them done. Now with two machines running all the time, we can move the work wherever it needs to be based on delivery time and capabilities. “It has more than doubled our productivity on the digital color end.” No major transition is easy, and Henry had to run three additional power lines to the new unit and take a wall out in the process. The project cost in excess of $75,000. “Part of what we did in 2008 when we acquired Speedway Press is recognize we had to grow to be able to afford the digital that was coming down the line and the changeover that was happening,” he said. After Speedway Press owners Doug and George Caruso retired, Henry had enough buying clout to be able to afford digital equipment. “It’s like a car at this point. We’ll always have a lease payment, and we’re always going to have a lease payment on the digital printer. We’re always going to be rolling every three to five years into a new press,” he added. Henry, who has helped run the family business since 1983, said he hooked into a “great “ lease program with the manufacturer to make financing happen. The business has been using the internet since 1986 with a full-fledged e-commerce website. “About 20 percent of our work comes through the internet,” he said. The shop employs seven people along with the Henrys. Their son Tyler is also working in the business. Five years ago, Henry and 19 others launched the National Print Owners Association. He is on the board of directors and also serves as its national events coordinator. Ink runs in the family’s blood. “My grandfather got me down at the shop when I was young and used to pay me money for doing nothing,” he said. When in high school, Henry worked part-time for both his father and grandfather, who did quite well at running their own businesses. “My dad worked outside in the heat, rain and snow, and my grandfather had an air conditioner, roof over his head and a refrigerator. I said, ‘That’s where I’m going.’” Henry attended the Rochester Institute of Technology for print management. He worked part-time then joined the business as a partner after college.

By Lou Sorendo 38

Gaylord King at his Great Lakes Athletic Training Facility in Volney. “It’s something I wanted to do for a long time, something I wanted to do for the community,” he says.

Athletic Training Facility Opens in Volney Indoor training facility to offer training sessions in soccer, softball, baseball, football, dog agility and more


aylord King had a vison of a means for the youth of Oswego County to train and practice for sports and cross-training. His vision came to fruition when he purchased the former Northern property on Silk Road in the town of Volney. The Great Lakes Athletic Training Facility is now operational, and King said he will be adding more activities provided he has community support. “It’s something I wanted to do for a long time, something I wanted to do for the community,” he said. The 51-year-old is no stranger to business. Along with the Great Lakes Athletic Training Facility, he owns King’s Rubbish Removal, King’s Roll-off Service and King Development Corp. Although geared toward youth, there’s also plenty for both young and older adults and even dogs. King has many ideas for the buildOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

ings he purchased. Plans include a fitness center, an athletic center and an activity center. The athletic center is home to professional turf that can be used for a variety of activities, such as soccer and even running. The activity center can be used for group fitness, dog obedience training, birthday parties, yoga classes, dance classes, baby and bridal showers, meeting space, media presentations and an educational center. It has already been used as a photo studio as well. King wants to offer more than just a place for athletes and aspiring athletes to practice; he wants to offer professional training and has already signed some well-known athletes. “We’re looking at professional trainers to inspire the kids, coaches and the community,” he said.


APRIL / MAY 2017

Among those already committed are Leroy Collins, Jr., former player for the Washington Redskins and the Jacksonville Jaguars and soon to be NFL agent. PGA golf pro Will Weimer will hold both private and group sessions. King will participate in SNAG, the acronym for Starting New at Golf, a program for kids wanting to learn to play golf. Golf is open for kids, men and women and King offers indoor golf cages. “We’re trying to reach out to other pros,” King said, adding he’d like to find pros in other sports, such as baseball, basketball and soccer. The new facility will offer a juice bar and eventually a café. Outdoor deck areas will have tables for those looking to relax before or after training. Future plans also include an elevated running track and King plans to add to the exercise equipment he currently has. For the canine crowd, King offers classes in dog sports, agility, conformation, obedience and puppy manners and socialization. Training is held through en-Tice-ing Agility and Finger Lakes Dog Training. King’s plans don’t stop there. “I want to offer professional services such as sports fitness, acupuncture, chiropractic and a sports psychologist. King has made ample office space available to those wanting to set up shop at Great Lakes Athletic Training Facilities. “I can rent by the hour or day. Anyone interested can go to our website to see when space is available.” King would also like to add another building. “As long as the community participates, I’ll build,” he said. His goal is to draw people from all over the county and neighboring counties. He has reached out to the athletic directors in Oswego County, although he said he did not get a good response. Mexico will use the facility for boys and girls soccer, varsity boys soccer and varsity football. Fulton will use the it for Little League and softball as well as girls varsity softball. “It’s a great opportunity for team coaches for training and also for professional trainers,” King said. Along with the buildings, King purchased 8.5 acres that can be used for expansion. King is a service disabled veteran who retired from the Air Force in 2001. He hopes his multi-use facility will inspire kids to get involved in sports. “I’d like to get more kids motivated. I hope to inspire them,” he said.

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Bill Symons, former owner of Computer Accounting Services (from left), David Canale and his brother, Tracy, owners of Canale Insurance. The Canales acquired Computer Accounting in 2014. The companiesare now under the same roof.

New Home for Canale Insurance & Accounting Services Following acquisition, Canale Insurance & Accounting has new home in Port City


t’s easy to get revved up about Canale Insurance & Accounting Services’ new home at 234 E. Albany St., Oswego. The new location is adjacent to the Oswego Speedway. Formerly located at 35 E. Fourth St., Oswego, Canale Insurance acquired Computer Accounting Services, 157 E. First St., suite 4, Oswego, in 2014. David and his brother Tracy Canale


are partners while Bill Symons was the former owner of Computer Accounting Services. Symons has stayed on to be an integral part of the team. The Canales were at their former location in Oswego for about 10 years, while Symons operated the East First Street office for five.



“Uniting the offices was a goal of the merger that occurred in 2014, and it was just a matter of finding the space,” David said. “It means I can retire someday,” Symons said. “If I ever get tired of doing this.” Symons started his business in 1971. A native Oswegonian and former teacher, coach and administrator, he has been serving customers for more than 45 years. “We’re doing just fine. There’s a great chemistry here. We get along and laugh a lot,” he said. “We’ve already seen some of the insurance folks starting to come here for accounting and taxes, and I’ve seen a few of my clients going over there.” It took about two years to find a suitable location. “It had to meet a few important criteria, the primary one being parking,” David said. The property transaction cost $80,000. APRIL / MAY 2017

“In the city of Oswego, there isn’t a lot of spaces that can accommodate up to 20 cars for parking,” David said. “So we had to look for parking and convenience.” The new space formerly served as the location for Dominick’s Sports Tavern, Thunder Road Bar and Grille and The First Turn Inn. The Canale brothers spent approximately $35,000 on upgrades. “We did a lot of the work ourselves, so we didn’t have increased costs,” David said. He said utilizing space to its fullest potential is critical. “To be honest, we need another 1,000 square feet. We may expand next year. Once the dust settles, we have plenty of space out back,” he said. Uniting the two offices into one location has its benefits, primarily because of expense consolidation. The hidden value, however, lies more in staffing, he said. With two separate offices, there is less depth staff wise in case someone is sick or on vacation, he noted.

Ageless wonder Symons, meanwhile, is defying

retirement by putting in 70-hour weeks during tax season. “When Bill was worried about ownership if he went into retirement or got sick, his primary concern was his clients, while he was secondary,” David said. “He didn’t want to walk away because that is a very difficult thing to do.” Lisa Clark Sova, a certified public accountant, recently joined the team. “I’m not going to have to put the time in that I used to,” Symons said. “It’s great to have a CPA on board. It gives us a whole new opportunity for business.” Tracy has been partnering in the business with his brother Dave since 2003. He handles both commercial and personal lines of insurance. Tracy noted the recent move has led to economies of scale at the business. “Now we are more convenient for people as a one-stop shop,” Tracy said. “You can walk in the door and get anything you need to get yourself started up.” Staff has individual workstations, whereas in prior environments, they just had desks and no cubicles. “Now they have privacy and a place they can call their own,” Tracy said. Ironically, Symons was an administrator at Oswego High School when

Tracy was growing up. “It definitely is a plus having Bill on board,” Tracy said. “I had my sons in the other day to introduce them to Bill and, of course, he had to explain that the whole time I was in high school, his foot was in my … well you know. He called me a frequent flyer.” Tracy said it’s difficult to compete with multinational conglomerates that have deep pockets for advertising. “Most of our work is by word of mouth,” said Tracy, noting in one case, the business has insured four generations of one family. “Our word is our bond, and people appreciate that. We’re old school Italian and what we say is what we mean,” said Tracy. He said the most gratifying aspect of his job is the people. “I’m a townie, and Dave and I were brought up in the flats by a single mother. We’re social people, and I coached sports in this town for 20 years. I know a lot of people and it’s nice when I can help them out,” Tracy said. The business also has offices in Fulton and Stanford.

By Lou Sorendo


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real estate SPECIAL REPORT By Charles Ellis

Jared Barney, a licensed real estate agent with Seven Valley Realty Inc. in Cortland, buys old properties, renovate and sell them for a profit. “I like to flip at least two houses a year,” the Truxton resident says.

Home Flipping The practice of flipping properties peaked in 2006 during the real estate bubble, but it is regaining in popularity


hen Jared Barney was a little boy, he was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said he wanted to be a millionaire. He’s not there yet, but at the age of 26 he might be on his way. Barney is a licensed real estate agent with Seven Valley Realty Inc. in Cortland, and he works in Cortland and Onondaga counties. But his specialty isn’t selling homes per se; it’s home “flipping.” “The only reason I got myself my real estate license was to save myself on


commissions,” Barney said. Flipping is defined as a “real estate investment strategy in which an investor purchases properties with the goal of reselling them for a profit. Profit is generated either through the price appreciation that occurs as a result of a hot housing market and/or from renovations and capital improvements,” according to Investopedia. Nationwide, flipping peaked in 2006 during the real estate bubble, but it is regaining in popularity, according OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

to RealtyTrac ( Its report for the first quarter of 2016 showed that 6.6 percent (43,740) of all single-family home and condo sales in the first quarter of 2016 were flips, a 20 percent increase from the previous quarter and up 3 percent from a year before to the highest rate of home flips since the first quarter of 2014. Barney doesn’t purchase property with the hope that it will appreciate quickly because of a booming housing market. Like most flippers in Central APRIL / MAY 2017

Jared Barney last year bought a house in LaFayette for about $38,000. He said he spent about $25,000 renovating it and then sold it for about $100,000. Since he’s a real estate agent, he didn’t have to pay anyone else a commission when he sold the house.

Home flipper Jared Barney recently working on a home he bought in Truxton in Cortland County. In most cases, he said, he does all the work himself — painting, new flooring, cabinets, whatever needs to be done. He hires other contractors to do the work that he finds more complicated.

Five Mistakes Made by Home Flippers 1. Not having enough money to get started. 2. Not enough time to find and buy the right property, to fix it up, to schedule APRIL / MAY 2017

inspections and to sell it. 3. Not having the skills to do the necessary repairs. 4. Not having enough knowledge to be able to pick the right property, in the right location, at the right price. 5. Not having enough patience. According to Investopedia: “Before OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

New York, he makes his profit by fixing up the houses he has purchased before selling them. He said last year he bought a house in LaFayette for about $38,000, spent about $25,000 renovating it and then sold it for about $100,000. And since he’s a real estate agent, he didn’t have to pay anyone else a commission when he sold the house — or any other house he has sold. “I like to flip at least two houses a year,” he said. In most cases, he said, he does all the work himself — painting, new flooring, cabinets, whatever needs to be done. But some projects are more complicated. “I’d rather not get into gutting it out if I don’t have to, but sometimes it’s necessary,” he said. Most of the renovation projects take three or four months. He enlists the help of a friend on the more extensive projects. When the houses need electrical work or sheet rock work, Barney will hire a subcontractor, he said. “I always want to have a house to work on,” he said, “but right now I don’t.” That doesn’t mean he isn’t keeping busy. He owns two duplexes side by side in New Woodstock in Madison County. He is fixing them up, but he said doesn’t intend to sell them. Instead, he will rent those out, which will be another source of income for him. Barney has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. As a young boy, he wrote a letter to the Tooth Fairy, saying he would rather be a millionaire than get a little money under his pillow. When he was a kid, he raised rabbits. He sold them to local pet stores, zoos, snake owners, you name it. He also worked on a Christmas tree farm and kept stashing away his cash. “I saved every penny I made,” he said. When he was 22 years old, he had saved enough money to buy his first house, for $18,000 in cash. And he was on his way.

you get involved in flipping houses, do your research. Like any other business venture, flipping requires time, money, patience, skill, and it will likely wind up being harder than you imagined.” Source: Investopedia


real estate SPECIAL REPORT By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Jack and Faye Beckwith have been crooning together for decades. They also operate a real estate firm and Christmas tree farm together.

Faye Beckwith: Serial Entrepreneur Real estate broker, Zumba coach, Christmas tree grower, vocalist… Hannibal resident does it all


aye Beckwith: Realtor, Christmas tree grower, vocalist, Zumba coach. The 70-year-old keeps several plates spinning, but doesn’t really think her numerous occupations are all that special. From her perspective, she has simply pursued areas that interested her. “I’m just a regular person with lots of irons in the fire,” Beckwith said. “I am so grateful for the opportunities that have come my way, and I thank God every day for the ability to do the things I enjoy.” She’s glad that she can share most of her interest with Jack, her husband of 52 years (real estate, trees and singing), and her daughter, Noelle Beckwith Sal-


monsen (real estate, trees and Zumba). Though Beckwith works seasonally and part time at each of her business pursuits, she said that “none feels like work, except for some crazy, unexpected things that crop up from time to time. I would not want to give up anything entirely until the time comes when I have to.” Back in the 1970s, Jack started a band that became popular. The couple began performing at a variety of venues, including weddings, parties and a bowling alley. “It enabled us to raise our family,” Beckwith said. Eventually, it became more and more difficult to get band members together for rehearsals. Meanwhile, the Beckwiths OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

obtained real estate licenses and started their real estate firm in 1985. But that didn’t silence these songbirds. A few years ago, while visiting Florida where they spend several weeks a year, the Beckwiths realized they could have a new audience. After noticing local acts in Florida, they thought they could follow suit. “We thought, ‘Who will listen to a couple old people?’ We figured old people would,” Beckwith said. “It’s part-time and something we enjoy and share together. Now it’s like people say we should go down and focus on music. I have no clue what I would give up because I love it all.” APRIL / MAY 2017

The couple performs at parties and weddings, occasionally mixing in pre-recorded music as DJs. Their repertoire includes old and new country, rock, oldies, and the occasional pop tune and Gospel song. Twenty-eight years ago, Faye and Jack started Freedom Real Estate with a “client first” philosophy that has helped the firm grow and endure. Freedom Real Estate serves Oswego, Cayuga and Onondaga counties, selling land, homes and business properties. In 1995, the trees that the Beckwiths had planted a decade before were ready to harvest as Christmas trees at Beckwith Family Christmas Tree Station. Beckwith likes how tree growing dovetails with selling real estate. Just as the real estate market slows down before Christmastime, the tree farm ramps up sales of trees, wreaths and accessories. The Zumba studio grew out of Beckwith’s desire to get back in shape. In her ‘60s, she realized she was slowing down a little and gaining a little weight. Working out at a gym didn’t work for her but Zumba clicked with her. She and daughter Noelle completed a six-week stint of classes at the YMCA in Fulton, and realized that she wanted to share Zumba with others. “I wanted to capture some of those people who are on the verge of becoming couch potatoes because they didn’t have the desire, drive or interest in being physical,” Beckwith said. Nearly eight years ago, she became a licensed and certified Zumba instructor. After renting space a few years, she eventually purchased property in Hannibal that she renovated to become both her Zumba studio and real estate office. “Learning something new is excellent to keep the brain working, especially as we age,” Beckwith said. “We choose to not vegetate and just watch television as we age. “Find things you love and just get out and do it. Try new, creative things to get involved in.” While the Beckwiths spend time each winter in sunnier climes, Noelle keeps the Zumba classes running and performs the face-to-face aspects of Freedom Real Estate. “I thank God every day for the things we have and the opportunities we have,” Beckwith said. “It isn’t anything we do. There are a lot more people who do what we do better. Life is too short to sit around and watch it pass by.”

APRIL / MAY 2017

Internet Dramatically Changes the Way We Buy, Sell Real Estate By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ears ago, buying a house meant a lot of footwork. Trulia, Zillow and represent a few of the websites that have introduced dramatic different ways people buy and sell real state. Instead of relying solely upon real estate agents to dig up new digs, home buyers can look for themselves online. But how has that affected the real estate business from the agents’ perspective? Faye Beckwith, Realtor and co-owner of Freedom Real Estate in Hannibal, views the sites as a boon. “I tend to embrace change,” Beckwith said. “I feel that it has been a positive thing.” She thinks that consumers’ additional knowledge, both about what’s available and what they want, has helped save both agents and buyers time during the buying process. “It was very common in the olden days to show them 20 houses,” Beckwith said. “It’s not like that anymore. Numerous times, people call on a listing and we show them a house they saw online OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

and it’s just what they’re looking for.” She also believes that online listings have helped more people interested in moving back to Central New York since it’s easy to virtually tour a home. In other ways, technology has helped sell homes more readily. Sites such as Google Maps allows prospective buyer to see what the neighborhood looks like before visiting. Many real estate agents use drones to provide buyers with aerial views of properties. But Beckwith does have a reservation about online listings. “The disappointing part is you may have a very fine home with marvelous bones, a wonderful home and sometimes, buyers don’t have a vision for it,” Beckwith said. “They expect to see ‘House Beautiful’ when they go online.” Elements such as old wallpaper or garish paint can be readily changed, but if buyers can’t imagine it, they can ignore a listing that possesses great potential. Bill Galloway, broker/owner of Century 21 Galloway Realty in Oswego, also thinks that the Internet has made it a lot easier to do business. 45

“It’s helped us be more on top of our game and be more aggressive with our marketing,” Galloway said. He also likes using drones to obtain aerial photos, especially for “waterfront and commercial properties, where you’re looking at acreage.” Galloway purchased a drone over a year ago. After overcoming the learning curve of piloting the tiny craft and obtaining the proper licensure, he has enjoyed using it. “It’s a growing field for us,” Galloway said. Brendan Benson, real estate agent with FitzGibbons Real Estate in Oswego, said that although he likes real estate listing sites, sometimes listings are less than accurate. “They say they update it every 15 minutes, but whatever’s input is what they get,” Benson said. “I’ve seen a lot of discrepancies. We don’t use those sites for home values.” Benson said that social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook has helped his office sell homes.

Top 15 Most Popular Real Estate Websites

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

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Women in the Workplace Face Harsher Discipline

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hile most contemporary women’s rights protests focus on workplace issues such as unequal pay, one form of gender discrimination has largely flown under the radar. In their recently published paper, “When Harry Fired Sally: The Double Standard in Punishing Misconduct,” researchers explore how women working in the financial advisory industry are punished more severely than their male coworkers for similar misconduct. The authors are University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ Gregor Matvos, Stanford’s Amit Seru and University of Minnesota’s Mark Egan The researchers acknowledge that such discrimination is less likely to draw widespread attention than issues such as the wage gap because claiming wrongful termination is often baseless. However, “it is only after observing that, on average, male advisers were not fired for similar transgressions that one can detect discrimination,” Matvos said. Following an incidence of misconduct, female advisers are 20 percent more likely to lose their jobs, and 30 percent less likely to find new jobs relative to male advisers, according to the study. Their data set contains all financial service employees registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) from 2005 to 2015, obtained from FINRA’s BrokerCheck database. By obtaining advisers’ registrations, entire employment history and disciplinary events record, the researchers were able to determine which professionals had been disciplined and the consequences faced subsequently. They also determine that males are more likely to commit acts of misconduct, and that the effect on women is more far-reaching. “Although men commit misconduct at a rate that is three times higher than women, women face substantially harsher punishments both by the firms that employ them, and other potential employers in the industry,” the study states. For example, if a woman is fired for breaching a confidentiality agreement, she is going to have a more difficult time getting rehired than if a man went through the same ordeal. APRIL / MAY 2017

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Bad Reviews on Social Media? Businesses Are Taking Action By Bruce Frassinelli

Companies use various techniques to deal with negative comments on social media. What would your company do to handle bad comments?

BRUCE FRASSINELLI is the former publisher of The Palladium-Times and an adjunct online instructor at SUNY Oswego. 48


usinesspeople and organizations are rethinking the concept of allowing comments on their websites. While interactivity has been one of the major goals of social media, the fallout from downright nasty verbal venom has gone too far and is destroying a constructive dialogue, despite efforts to use filters. At one time, companies had shuttered their comments sections because they were too lazy or cheap to monitor or cultivate legitimate conversations. In some cases, they had thin skins and objected to criticisms which they claimed were cheap shots and unfair. Even venerable National Public Radio discontinued its comments pages last August, saying, “After much experimentation and discussion, we’ve concluded that the comment sections on stories are not providing a useful experience for the vast majority of our users.” No matter that social media is now one of the most powerful tools for audience reaction and interaction. Before the comments were walled off completely, NPR listeners blasted the decision. “And the ‘public’ in public radio goes away, except for the pleas for money,” one irate listener wrote. Another criticism of comments sites is that they have been cliquish, inhabited by a few regulars

who try to dominate the conversation. The result is that there is a false sense of the participating demographic vs. the actual composition of the brand user’s audience. Companies use various techniques to deal with negative comments. One is to simply ignore them in the hope that the issue will fade away. Another is to delete the comment in the hope that not many had seen it then start piling on. A third is to respond in a defensive tone. Another is to apologize in a half-hearted but ungenuine manner, and the fifth, and best, approach is to apologize and offer a solution. When you think about it, this last approach makes perfectly logical sense, because if you had a customer in front of you, chances are you would not ignore him or her or simply walk away, or, worse treat the customer in a shoddy or condescending manner. Many social media experts pan the lack of expertise businesses have in executing an effective online strategy, especially in dealing with the comments of customers. Social media consultant Thom Fox advises entrepreneurs that if they are going to do social media they need to dedicate personnel to monitor the site. They should also be human, he said. “Interaction builds loyalty, and loyalty translates to sales,” he added. Adi Bittan, CEO of Own-


APRIL / MAY 2017 told business owners that customers are talking about them online, whether they like it or not. “Customers assume and expect you to be monitoring,” she said. “If no one is listening or acknowledging customers’ posts, customers assume you don’t care.” A business’ greatest fear and nightmare is the fake review that seems legitimate. Sites such as Google and Yelp use filters to try to weed out fake reviews, but as some business owners have learned — the hard way, I might add — is that these filters don’t always work, and it winds up costing them their reputation, or at least a lot of anxiety trying to right the wrong. The other frustration business owners express is that some social media sites tend to accentuate the negative. Why would this happen? There are several reasons: This was the reviewer’s first review, the reviewer has no profile set up with the site, trigger words — both negative and positive — tend to give a review either an overly positive or overly negative review and is removed, or the review is short and lacking in detail. While business owners take a fair share of lumps, there’s no comparison between the amount of abuse taken by them and politicians, who are fair game 24/7. For example, a random search of the comments sections of The Post-Standard showed this result on a story about Onondaga County Executive Joanie Maloney’s brother getting a pay hike while the county tried to reduce payroll costs. “Let us not forget that Joanie Baloney is taking lessons from our crooked governor, whose cronies are all taking bribes. New York state is buried with self-serving politicians.” The person commenting did so anonymously with no accountability. While all of this is serious business, sometimes well-placed humor can win the day. For example, a grocery chain in the United Kingdom responded to a critic who posted a remark saying that the chicken in his sandwich tasted like it was beaten to death by Hulk Hogan. “Was it?” the reader asked. The grocery’s public relations department responded: “Really sorry it wasn’t up to scratch. We will replace Mr. Hogan with the Ultimate Warrior on our production line immediately.” APRIL / MAY 2017


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L. Michael Treadwell

Programs Help Business Development and Growth

O K&N’s Foods USA, HealthWay Home Products, Malone Trucking & Excavating, Fulton Animal Hospital, United Wire Technologies, Teti Bakery, Zink Shirts and EcoFoam Insulators are some of the companies using funding programs available at OOC and IDA.

L. MICHAEL TREADWELL, CEcD, is executive director of Operation Oswego County based in Oswego. 50

IDA EDF financing may be used to peration Oswego County and the County of Oswego IDA offer a vari- purchase machinery and equipment, ety of options to businesses looking inventory or to provide working capital. In some instances, proceeds may be used for for financial assistance for a project. building or site acquisition, construction or Operation Oswego County (OOC) is renovations. a Small Business Administration (SBA) In order to maximize the economcertified development company and is ic impact of the financing available, the authorized to finance projects using the following types of projects are eligible SBA 504 loan program, which is designed to promote economic development growth for assistance under the various IDA EDF programs: (1) manufacturing facilities; (2) and job creation in small businesses. The warehousing and distribution facilities; program can make the overall financing (3) research and development facilities; structure for a new business or project (4) service and support facilities deemed more attractive and affordable. essential; (5) tourism reThe SBA 504 proEconomic Trends lated businesses that are gram offers accessible, essential to the county’s fixed-rate, long-term overall tourism development programs; financing for land, buildings and equipand (6) other economic development related ment. Businesses eligible for SBA 504 loans are independently-owned, for-profit projects deemed essential and necessary for the county’s economic well-being. Housing businesses that are ready to expand and create jobs. An SBA-certified development projects, other than commercial housing such as apartments, student housing, and company, such as Operation Oswego County, can finance 40 percent of the proj- affordable housing, are not eligible for financing assistance. ect with a SBA 504 loan, a bank lends 50 All projects must demonstrate a need percent and the small business provides 10 for financing. IDA EDF financing is desigpercent equity. nated to be used in conjunction with other Local businesses who have utilized funding from non-IDA sources, such as the SBA 504 Loan Program include: River banks and other economic development House Restaurant, Pulaski; Barnett Forest Products, Scriba; Happy Hearts Childcare, lenders, to serve as either “gap” or “subsiScriba; Off Broadway Dance Center, Gran- dy” financing. • “Gap” financing provide funds needby; Holiday Inn Express, Oswego; and The ed to complete a total project that would Eis House, Mexico. The IDA administers several economic not be available from other sources. • “Subsidy” financing becomes necdevelopment fund (EDF) programs that essary when sufficient funds are available we designed to create new jobs through from other sources but the cost of these the expansion of existing or creation of funds is at a level that renders the project new businesses, to retain existing jobs, financially unfeasible. Therefore, the IDA to increase the county’s tax base, to help EDF program funds are required for a lower diversify the County’s economic base and total project funding rate. to improve the quality of life in Oswego Local businesses who have benefited County. from IDA EDF funding include: K&N’s To qualify for financing, applicants Foods USA, Fulton; HealthWay Home must prove credit worthiness, project feasibility, job opportunities and environmen- Products, Richland; Malone Trucking & tal compliance. If the applicant needs help Excavating, Hannibal; Fulton Animal Hospital, Fulton; United Wire Technologies, in developing a business plan to support the project, they will be referred to and as- Constantia; Teti Bakery, Volney; Zink Shirts, sisted by the Small Business Development Oswego; and Eco-Foam Insulators, Oswego. Another loan program used by the IDA Center at SUNY Oswego. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

APRIL / MAY 2017

is the USDA intermediary relending program (IRP). The IRP program offers shortterm, fixed rate loans. This is a unique program that was capitalized by the Agency borrowing funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and relending these funds to eligible businesses. IRP loan proceeds may be used to purchase machinery and equipment, inventory, or to cover soft costs, startup costs and working capital. Local businesses that have used the IRP program include: Debz Diner, Hannibal; Designer Hardwood Flooring, Oswego; Fulton Tool, Fulton; Kleis Equipment, Constantia; UniverRichard and Janice Hezel sal Metal Works, Fulton; and Lindsay Richard and Janice Hezel Aggregates, Scriba. in their Jamesville home. in their Jamesville home. The County of Oswego IDA may also provide financial assistance to qualified business applicants in the form of issuance of tax-exempt or taxable revenue bonds, or by participation in straight lease transactions for purposes of conferring real property tax, sales and use tax, and/or mortOur charitable interests are an extension of the values that we gage recording tax exemptions. Ourlearned charitable interests extension of the values that we growing up andare arean a core component of our business. Companies that have utilized the Having workedup in the sector all our lives,of theour concept learned growing andeducation are a core component business. agency’s straight lease transaction of making quality learning opportunities available to those Having worked in the education sector all our lives, the who concept incentives to grow and expand their seekquality it has since been atopportunities the heart of ouravailable charitableto giving. of making learning those who businesses or to establish a business in seek it has since been at the heart of our charitable giving. Oswego County include the following: To administer our giving, we established a donor-advised fund at Novelis Corporation, Scriba; Tailwater the Community Foundation. The fund and additional estate gifts, To administer giving, field-of-interest we established a donor-advised fund at Lodge, Albion; Allen Chase Enterpriswill form aour permanent fund at the Community es, Scriba; R&D Design and AssociFoundationFoundation. to provide for The causes, organizations and human the Community fund and additional estate gifts, ates, Schroeppel; Sunoco, Volney; The that we care most about wellfund after our passing. will formneeds a permanent field-of-interest at the Community Gardens by Morningstar, Oswego; Foundation to provide for causes, organizations and human Lake Ontario Event and Conference needs that we care most about well after our passing. Center, Oswego; SAM North America, Schroeppel; Fulton Companies and Read more of the Felix Schoeller, Pulaski. Hezels’ story at OOC offers technical assistance to businesses wishing to submit a NYS since 1927 Read more of the Consolidated Funding Application through the CNY Regional Economic Hezels’ story at Development Council. This single (315) 422-9538 application provides applicants access since 1927 to multiple state funding sources. These programs help to vide the means for Oswego County (315) 422-9538 Hezel OCBM.indd 1 3/21/2017 12:15:32 PM businesses to secure the financing they need to expand and grow. The programs can also be used to help a firm remain competitive thus helpEvery year thousands of people buy commercial or residential properties ing to retain and maintain jobs in the in 1the region. Many of these people are new to the area and some are 12:15:32 PM Hezel OCBM.indd 3/21/2017 County. If you have a project that could just buying newer, bigger properties. Either way, they all receive a benefit from one of the above financcomplimentary subscription to Oswego County Business. ing initiatives, contact Operation Oswego County at 343-1545 or visit ooc@ Reaching new property owners., to download Another good reason to advertise in Oswego County Business application forms.

Smart Giving Giving for Smart for theCommunity Community the

New Property Owners

(315) 342-8020

APRIL / MAY 2017



Nasir Ali, UVC's cofounder

Brain Drain: Invisible Students, Invisible Companies Upstate Venture Connect survey shows local college students unaware of presence of small tech companies in the region By Matthew Liptak


pstate Venture Connect, the Syracuse nonprofit that connects new regional tech companies with the assistance they need to prosper, recently developed a survey showing some big surprises and at least one big challenge. The surprises: The Upstate tech field is heartier than expected. The survey questioned the chief executive officers of 115 Upstate New York tech companies and found their companies employ (including spillover jobs) 7,700 people. Those employees take home $469 million in payroll, which supply $35 million in sales and income taxes to the state and local communities. These jobs encompass many industries ranging from sectors conventionally considered “high tech” such as custom computer coding and scientific research and development, to educational and accounting services — 50 industry classifications in all. “Were this a single firm,” the report


states, “It would rank among the largest employers in Upstate.” And it is growing. CEOs surveyed said they were forecasting adding an additional 9,600 direct jobs within five years. That is expected to lead to another 3,200 spillover jobs, the report stated. These are better-than-average paying positions, too. Forty percent of companies reported average annual pay per worker was over $75,000. “The wage picture is actually very interesting,” said Nasir Ali, UVC's cofounder. “We asked people what their average payroll was. About 90 percent of them said that it was over $40,000 per person, which means that these are all in the top half of the Upstate wage distribution. I think generally Upstate wages on average would be between $40,000 and $50,000. Ninety percent of them are paying more than that on average.” High tech jobs generally require higher education. Eighty percent of OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

the staff of these 115 firms hold college degrees. So what's the challenge? Keeping as many of the 13,000 new jobs as possible in Upstate. “We keep talking about the braindrain and so on,” Ali said. “Seventy five percent of these companies said that four out of five of the jobs at their businesses required someone having a college degree. Here we are with having 100-plus colleges and universities in the region, but because not everyone knows who these companies are...all of our students basically graduate and leave.” That's why UVC is devoting much of its time and energy in 2017 to finding ways to connect newly graduated Upstate college students with these, mostly small, but growing firms. “What UVC really wants to do is to pool some of the top performers as the companies to watch.” Ali said. “We're now saying let's go identify what some of these companies are and shine a spotlight on them. Show how they succeeded. Show what types of jobs they have available. Showcase this opportunity that is in our midst, but no one has really tracked. That’s going to be a big part of what we're going to be doing.” Like their prospective college employees, most of these tech companies are young. Half the companies have been in business less than six years, Ali said. Nine out of 10 are seeking to compete for customers nationally/globally, the study states. And the companies surveyed are only a fraction of similar companies that exist across the region, Ali said. But the challenge remains the same for all the companies — keeping those new jobs here. Asked about job fairs. Ali said he didn't believe they would be effective. Many of the tech companies were small and didn't have the resources to set up on college campuses, he said. That old system won't work to capture these jobs, he believes. “The students are invisible to these companies and these companies are invisible to these students,” The groundbreaking UVC survey has shed light on a little-understood section of the Upstate economy, which is larger than many have realized. Now the question is: how do we grow it further, Ali said. For m ore information on Upstate Venture Connect or to see the survey results visit

APRIL / MAY 2017

Molly Matott, an evening and weekend weather forecaster on CNYCentral, started working at the station a few weeks before she graduated in 2015 from SUNY Oswego. About 25 or 30 freshmen enroll annually in the meteorology program.

Special Report By Charles Ellis

Weather Forecasting N

Program at SUNY Oswego a big draw, thanks in part to unique Lake Ontario weather

icole Miller says she has wanted to be a TV meteorologist since she was 5 or 6 years old. In a couple of years, her dream might come true. Miller, 20, is a sophomore majoring in meteorology at SUNY Oswego, and she’s following in the footsteps of many who came before her. “I have always loved how the weather can change in the blink of an eye,” said Miller, who grew up in Western New York. “That’s always fascinated me.” SUNY Oswego offers a rigorous program in meteorology — with numerous calculus and science requirements — and some of the most, shall we say, interesting weather you can find anywhere. Miller learned about SUNY Oswego when she was a freshman in high school. She visited the first time when she was a sophomore, and was immediately APRIL / MAY 2017

hooked, she said. Molly Matott, who graduated from Liverpool High School, wasn’t sure what to major in when she enrolled at SUNY Oswego, but, she said, the meteorology program quickly “sold itself.” And now, at the age of 23, she is working in her hometown as an evening and weekend weather forecaster on CNYCentral. She started working there a few weeks before she graduated in 2015. SUNY Oswego students are required to take four semesters of calculus, along with physics and chemistry. During their junior year, they take synoptic meteorology, the forecasting class. “That’s the key to your job,” Matott said. After students take that class, they’re prepared for summer internships, she OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

said. About 25 or 30 freshmen enroll annually in the meteorology program, said Steven Skubis, chairman of SUNY Oswego’s Department of Atmospheric and Geological Sciences. The department teaches courses in meteorology and geology, and in the fall of 2016, a total of 88 students were enrolled in the meteorology program, he said. “There’s some attrition,” he said. “The calculus is difficult for some, so they’ll change majors. We lose some, but a lot stay within the sciences.” He acknowledged that many high school students are attracted to Oswego’s location. “We get the unusual weather,” he said. “That’s a selling point. It really is.” But Skubis pointed to several other 53

Nicole Miller is a SUNY Oswego sophomore studying meteorology. “I have always loved how the weather can change in the blink of an eye,” said Miller, who grew up in Western New York. “That’s always fascinated me.” reasons that students enroll in the meteorology program besides the weather: • The observation deck that overlooks Lake Ontario and proves views of lake-effect snow bands; • Two other towers on campus; • An on-campus wind tunnel; • And “fantastic” computer equipment for students that uses the same software as used by the National Weather Service. A lot of people don’t realize that SUNY Oswego meteorology students are not required to take any broadcast courses, though one is offered as an elective. Many meteorology students aren’t interested in going on TV. “A lot of my classmates shied away from it,” Matott said. “There was a healthy mix of introverts and extroverts.” The introverts can still get jobs with the National Weather Service or environmental assessment, especially in the area of air-pollution studies. They can do private forecasting for oil, shipping and environmental industries. Students with an undergraduate degree in meteorology often go on to enroll elsewhere in graduate studies in meteorology/atmospheric sciences, climatology, engineering and statistics. But Miller and Matott are the extroverts. Matott said she couldn’t resist a job offer in her hometown weeks before she graduated. But one of the best experi54

ences she had was a two-to-three-week summer program after graduation spent as a storm chaser. She traveled with other students through 31 states — including

some that were just drive-throughs — looking mostly for tornadoes throughout the Midwest and Southwest and Southeast. She saw vast stretches of land with no buildings and a 360-degree view of the atmosphere. “The only thing we saw were trees and cows, and that was it,” Matott said. She said it was a “thrilling experience” even though “we saw only one tornado, and it lasted like a second.” As for Miller, everything about the weather is thrilling. She said when she was 7 years old, she told her mother that someday she her dream job was to report on the weather. “I told her I wanted to report on a hurricane,” she said. She hasn’t changed much. Now she says she wants to work for The Weather Channel or at least some local news channel in the Northeast as a weather forecaster. On the weekends, in her spare time, she likes going outside no matter if it’s raining or snowing or frigid cold, she said. “I love to go outside and show people what the conditions are like,” she said. “I love the weather and I always have.”

TV Weather Forecasters Some notable meteorologists whose careers began at SUNY Oswego National

• Chris Brandolino ‘96, currently working in New Zealand at National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd. as meteorologist/principal scientist-forecaster. • Tom Niziol ‘77 working at The Weather Channel. • Nicole Ferrin ‘07 is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Juneau, Alaska • Rob Perillo ‘83 is chief meteorologist for KATC-ABC news in Lafayette, LA • Kim Newman ‘09 is on-air meteorologist for WTOL-FOX in Toledo, Ohio • Pat Calvin ‘13 is a meteorologist for WMAZ in Macon, Ga. Editor’s Note: Al Roker, host and meteorologist of NBC’s “Today Show” graduated from SUNY Oswego in 1976. His major was communications, not meteorology.


• Molly Matott ‘15, WSTM meteorologist • Vanessa Richards ‘08, meteorologist at TWC Channel 10 • John DiPasquale ‘99, meteorologist at TWC Channel 10 • Courtney Furtado ‘10, meteorologist at TWC Channel 10 • Carrie Cheevers ‘01, meteorologist at TWC Channel 10 • Dave Longley ‘94, WSYR-TV (just transitioned from chief meteorologist) Syracuse • Matt Stevens, ’06, WSTM NBC-3/WTVH CBS-5/WSTQ CW-6 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

APRIL / MAY 2017


The Recruiters Professional medical recruiters are working non-stop to attract top medical talent to Central New York. They explain how they do it


he question, “Is there a doctor in the house?” could not be more relevant than it is today. New York state is in the midst of a severe primary care physician shortage, while other specialties are lacking as well. This puts a greater emphasis on the role of physician recruiters in the Central New York region. The following segments highlight physician recruiters from four major area hospital systems — Oswego Health, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, Upstate University Hospital and Crouse Hospital. Not only do we explain who they are, but also delve into what their key tasks are in order to recruit top-flight health care professionals in a time of dire need.

APRIL / MAY 2017



John Cerniglia St. Joseph’s Health

Since these doctors could someday have the health of thousands of Central New Yorkers in their hands, Cerniglia called it a matter of “life and death.”

The power of listening

Main concern is about matching physician with hospital, community By Matthew Liptak


he work of a physician recruiter can be intense and competitive, but St. Joseph’s Health recruiter John Cerniglia, 59, is determined not to fit a square peg in a round hole. He wants doctors he brings to St. Joe’s to be the right people not just for the organization, but also for the community. “What I try to do is match the candidate to the right place or the right specialty because it’s a fit not only for our organization I represent, but for their family,” he said. “I’m matching the candidate to the right place. That’s what I’m looking to do.” Candidates must be ready for the Central New York lifestyle where there can be lots of snow and less urban opportunities than other areas. In fact, Cerniglia said if a doctor mentions that he or she really enjoys the urban lifestyle of larger cities, he’ll stop the conversation in its tracks. “I’m sorting through them immediately,” he said. “They’re not going to fit into this community. Sometimes they try to sell me on it that they can do it. They can’t.” Cerniglia reaches out to doctors in fellowships and residency programs on the I-90 corridor between Buffalo and Albany. He also attends physician career fairs in New York state to find prospects. But a lot of his work is done from Syracuse. “Typically, 60-to-65 percent of the day is sourcing, recruiting, site visits and then the rest of the day is follow up and any kind of meetings,” he said. “I try to limit my meetings. I don’t like to meet face to face. It takes too much of my time.” The recruiter sources his physician candidates by “mining” them on the Internet and using online job banks he


has access to. He’ll even do cold calls, something he says most other recruiters are averse to. “I actually do 10 calls in the morning and 10 calls before I leave at night every single day,” he said. “Because then it gives me the numbers where I keep on doing it every day and you’re going to get a hit. It’s like anything in life — the more people you touch the better chance you have.” Cerniglia said many physicians are actually flattered by the interest rather than acting as if they are put off by a phone call from a stranger. The kind of direct and personal interaction garnered through a cold call can generate real traction. Last year, the recruiter got 25 physicians to come on with St. Joe’s. He said a good physicians’ recruiter needs several attributes. “I think having a sense of urgency, ability to continuously learn and being a good listener are probably the ones I try to work on each and every day,” he said. Urgency is required because physicians can get up to 100 emails and phone calls a day regarding openings in health care systems — they are in great demand. “To differentiate yourself from that crowd, you need to display urgency and be willing to respond to the candidates’ requests immediately,” Cerniglia said. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Listening is also a quality he feels is vital. Oftentimes he will be called out for being quiet at meetings, he said. But he insists he is not being quiet; he is listening intently to the needs and thoughts of his fellow staff. In the same way, he listens to the needs and ideas of potential hires to see if they’re a fit for St. Joe’s. Continuous learning is something that has become a habit for Cerniglia. If he’s not reading up on the industry he’s immersed in, he’s reading the latest book he keeps in his car. Right now it’s “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. There are many other aspects to his work that Cerniglia feels make him a good recruiter. One criterion for considering someone for a job is not the candidate, but the candidate’s spouse or significant other. “I’m working on the significant other all the time,” he said. “My question is, ‘Who is going to get bored with Upstate New York? That’s who’s going to get disenchanted with Upstate New York. If they don’t connect with our school district, community, any kind of volunteer work or any of our culture, they’re going to be like, ‘Why are we living here?’ Cerniglia said sometimes he spends more time on the phone with a spouse or significant other than he does with the physician. Cerniglia said he checks weekly with each doctor once they’re hired until he or she has been here a year. After that, he expects them to reach out to him. He knows doctors are going to be here for the long term when they’ve adjusted to the community and mention that they are having fun, he said. For the St. Joe’s recruiter, it’s not about just getting doctors in the door to work. It’s about making a happy marriage between physicians and their family, the hospital and community at large. Not every one is meant to live in Central New York. His goal is to find the physicians that are, and make them aware of the good life that awaits them at St. Joe’s. “I’ve got to make sure that they match. There’s a lot of competitiveness. There are a lot of people trying to sell a doc the wrong thing. That’s what I’m never going to do.” APRIL / MAY 2017

Stacy Varre Crouse Hospital No. 1 priority is offering a high level of customer service By Lou Sorendo


roviding excellent customer service is mandatory in the business world. It’s also applicable in health care administration. Stacy Varre has been the recruitment and retention coordinator at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse since November of 2009. She said the No. 1 priority when it comes to physician recruitment is offering a high level of customer service. “Physicians typically want you to help in coordinating every piece of their interview, including travel and hotel, the on-boarding process, and even sometimes assisting with relocation efforts, including finding real estate agents, moving companies and apartments,” she said. Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders. “You really need the personality to make that candidate feel like he or she is your top priority and show them why you are excited they might consider your team,” Varre said. The Liverpool resident said Crouse has the right amenities to attract health care professionals. “Our culture is the forefront of our organization, and everyone consistently tells us it feels different at Crouse than other hospitals,” Varre said. Crouse’s culture is family oriented and is based on doing the right thing — for its patients, their families and each other, she said. “We are a transparent organization that listens and makes improvements based on what we hear,” she noted. It is this culture of togetherness that helps differentiate Crouse from other health care facilities in Central New York, she said. APRIL / MAY 2017

“Our employees feel that, our patients feel that and our physicians feel that,” she said. Varre said the staff at Crouse actively listens to physicians and provides them with opportunities to collaborate with many specialists in the area, along with the opportunity to be engaged in committees and other hospital initiatives. “We want our physicians to be part of keeping Crouse strong and continually give them the autonomy they are looking for in their career,” she added. She also enjoys sharing news with candidates regarding Crouse’s expansion projects, which include a neuro-ICU as well as a new emergency department to be created in July. “Physicians love to hear that we are focused on consistently keeping the hospital updated to meet the demands of patient care,” she said. Varre said Crouse makes a concerted effort to provide incentives that are designed to retain its staff of health care professionals. “We offer our physicians an option of a sign-on bonus or tuition loan forgiveness, relocation package and annual quality incentives as well,” she said. “We also conduct a physician satisfaction surOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

vey annually to ensure we are meeting the needs of our physicians.”

Ever-changing environment Varre said health care is always changing, with each day presenting new challenges. “I fell into the physician recruitment arena when I started at Crouse in 2009, and it is something that I have grown to enjoy,” she said. “It still allows me to be part of living the Crouse mission, which is to provide the best in patient care and promote community health, but just in an indirect way,” she said. Varre does all the prescreening of candidates and applicants for the hospital, conducts interviews, assists employees with questions, and coordinates annual activities such as a continuing education fair. Over the years, Varre, 32, has recruited for many different areas of the hospital. Last year, she focused solely on physician and provider recruitment for all of Crouse Health, which encompasses 57

the hospital, Crouse Medical Practice for outpatient specialty and primary care, and Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton, a partner hospital. “We have gone through an influx of qualified candidates, to struggling to find candidates, especially in specialty areas,” Varre said. “It also varies based on the time of year with new graduates coming out of residency and other programs.” Crouse also has a vice president of physician enterprise and integration. In that role, Carleen Pensero oversees all employed providers at Crouse Health, and serves as director of provider operations. “She ensures that operations are running efficiently and we work collaboratively with recruitment for all of Crouse Health,” Varre said. Pensero is also executive director of Crouse Medical Practice. Varre, who is originally from Gouverneur, said the Crouse Neuroscience Institute is in a growth mode and staff is looking forward to sustaining expansion of services and access to care.

Outreach essential Of the specialties, Varre said neurology, emergency medicine and family medicine are the hardest to recruit. “There is a high demand and not enough candidates for the areas you have needs for,” she said. Varre noted in terms of outreach, online job postings are used most frequently. Crouse uses Practice Link, Healthecareers and many others. “We also utilize social media — paid and organic. I have also found programs that provide candidate demographics to allow us to send out direct mail, brochures and other information as another means of catching a candidate’s attention,” Varre said. “I think it is important to try a variety of ways and consistently look for new options.” Varre earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial relations and human resource management at Le Moyne College in Syracuse in 2007. She is a member of the Upstate New York Physician Recruiters. She is married to Michael Varre and the couple has a son, Michael, 2. “I enjoy going back to the North Country to see my family, and I enjoy anything that my son wants to do at this moment,” she said. “It’s fun to go to the various parks, museums, and other events in Central New York.” 58

Christopher Mitchell Oswego Health Recruiting the right physicians can take months, sometimes years, hundreds of communications and many meetings By Lou Sorendo


t takes a village to raise a child. Similar to that African proverb, it takes a community to successfully recruit physicians. Christopher Mitchell is the senior director of physician services for Oswego Health. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

From a talent acquisition standpoint, the 33-year-old Syracuse native is responsible for identifying, engaging and maintaining relationships with prospective candidates or practices. “In this process, my contact is only one tentacle of many. It is my role to integrate and involve internal and external stakeholders to the process,” the Oswego resident said. Depending on the candidate and the strategic nature of the effort, Oswego Health includes its leadership team, staff members and oftentimes community stakeholders who assist in the promotion of Oswego County, he said. “As a community-based health system, we rely heavily and are grateful for the support and partnerships we have, and because of that, work very hard to ensure our efforts are inclusive in meeting the health care needs of Oswego County,” Mitchell added. Mitchell said Oswego Health creates a plan specific to the opportunity prior to engaging in any recruitment effort. “We feel it’s important to recognize and tailor each effort based on the position and specialty,” he said. APRIL / MAY 2017

These designed efforts may include targeted outreach, posting online, working with firms specializing in the field, engaging with local medical schools and practices, and frequently traveling to recruitment fairs regionally and nationally. “Each of the methods has worked, but in the end, I credit our success less to the method, but rather the application,” he said. “Our methods are similar to most health systems, but in my mind what has spawned much of our success is intangible. “It’s been the vision of our health system, our leadership and the passion that our staff brings to the interview process that has assisted our department to be successful in the recruitment of prospective candidates.” To recruit successfully, Mitchell said it’s essential to have an energetic and passionate team that is united in its pursuit. “When we recruit someone, it could take months, sometimes years, hundreds of communications and many meetings,” Mitchell said. “Naturally such a large effort cannot be done by one individual, but instead takes teamwork, team development and being a team player.”

Competitive environment Mitchell said health care as an industry is highly competitive. “Whether we are evaluating shifts in physician recruitment or patient volumes, there are many factors that impact where we are today,” he noted. Over the past two years, Mitchell said he has seen supply and demand shifts across several specialties. Some have been to Oswego Health’s benefit while others have created increased challenges, he noted. Numerous factors have contributed to these shifts, whether they were changes in legislation, the delivery model or the demographics of providers themselves, he added. “With that said, we have experienced recent success in some of our most challenging areas historically,” Mitchell noted. One of those areas is psychiatry, considered one of the hardest specialties to recruit nationally. According to PracticeLink, emergency medicine is regarded as the toughest area to recruit in nationally among the most in-demand physician specialties. “We successfully recruited two APRIL / MAY 2017

exceptional physicians within the past year, both of whom have contributed greatly to elevating the service and organization since joining,” Mitchell said. Oswego Health has also been successful in recruiting primary care physicians to Fulton and Central Square, where they are providing care at its Primecare medical practices in those communities. Mitchell said through analysis and outreach, Oswego Health has identified primary care, orthopedics, obstetrics/ gynecology, pulmonology and critical care as specific areas the health system anticipates to grow in the future. While colorectal and bariatric surgery are not on the high-demand list, Oswego Health recently added a “stellar” colorectal fellowship-trained and experienced surgeon to its medical staff, Mitchell noted. “We are also in advanced discussions with surgeons of similar stature that will perform bariatric surgery in Oswego,” he said.

Methodical approach On a personal level, Mitchell said his diverse background within health care and ability to relate situationally is helpful. “I am grateful to know Oswego County, but also rely on my eight-plus years of experience with other health care organizations and markets, which is truly invaluable,” he said. After completing his education, Mitchell went on to work at different health care organizations in Virginia and Maryland prior to returning to the Port City. Oswego Health recently received several quality awards, including earning the grade “A” from The Leapfrog Group in a two-county area for providing safe, high-quality care to its patients. The organization has also been praised for its innovative partnership with colleagues at Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists. Oswego Health also recently received patient satisfaction results placing its above the 90th percentile nationally. “Driven by the determined efforts of many, we as a health system have achieved phenomenal results and created an environment that has and continues to attract high-caliber physicians,” Mitchell said. Mitchell said he is excited about Oswego Health’s organizational renewal and upward progression, which has mirrored what is happening county-wide. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“It’s hard to go anywhere without noticing all of the positive leadership and work that is going on to make our community a great place to live and work,” he said. He said sharing news such as the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative in the city of Oswego with candidates demonstrates the momentum the community has and the vision of elected officials. “Similar to when my wife Sara and I chose to return to Oswego, a candidate is weighing more than his or her professional opportunity,” he said. “Whether it’s housing, education, community or lifestyle, it’s very powerful for us to be able to point toward examples such as the DRI and leverage this during our communications.”

Versatile position Mitchell said his role provides a unique opportunity to cross many disciplines. “It requires me to work vertically and horizontally within the organization and be both strategic and operational all at once,” he said. He said the dynamic nature of the position and its duties have always been attractive to him “and really fit me as a professional and person. “Development is very important to me as a health care professional and the role in essence requires you to be a continuous learner,” he noted. “Naturally, I have set many goals for myself and I believe firmly what I am doing today will allow me to continue making a positive impact within Oswego Health and for the community that my family and I call home.” Mitchell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from SUNY Oswego and a Master of Business Administration degree in health care management from Union Graduate College, which is now part of Clarkson University in Potsdam. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and is expected to earn fellowship status in October. His wife Sara (Pritchard) Mitchell is a teacher at Minetto Elementary School. The couple has a daughter, Evelyn, and a beagle, Sophie. His hobbies including sharing time with family and friends, running, biking, golfing, soccer and traveling.


Deborah Tuttle SUNY Upstate Medical University Unlike other hospitals in the area, SUNY Upstate relies on each department to recruit its own physicians By Matthew Liptak


nlike other hospitals in the area, SUNY Upstate Medical University and Upstate University Hospital don’t retain an employee for the specific position of physician recruiter. Instead, the institution lets individual departments decide the candidates that are best suited to fill the role of physician at Upstate. Deborah Tuttle is the human resource administrator for Upstate’s department of medicine. The department of medicine, Upstate’s largest department, includes 11 divisions — cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, gastroenterology, general internal medicine, geriatrics, hematology/oncology, infectious diseases, nephrology, pulmonary/critical care medicine and rheumatology. “Each division in medicine has its own needs unique to its specialty,” Tuttle said. “Sometimes, we use a search firm to help find qualified physicians. All of our positions are posted on our online employment system, and we place advertisements in medical journals and on their websites. A number of our new physicians either attended medical school here or have completed or are completing their fellowships.” While Upstate doesn’t have a specific recruiter, it does have high standards in what it looks for in a doctor. It looks for candidates who have experience in an academic setting, a history of being


published in research publications and doing clinical research. “We also look at the quality of their medical school and residency training programs,” Tuttle said. “Additionally, we look to see if the applicant has received any awards or honors for patient care, research or teaching.” Although Tuttle’s duties are varied, she does enjoy it when she’s involved in recruiting a new doctor to Upstate.

Revolving door The department of medicine alone recruits from a dozen to 18 new physicians a year to fill vacancies created by retirement, resignation or new positions. Most of the recruits have an interest in academics to some extent, since Upstate’s medical school is unique to Central New York. Recruits must trudge through a great deal of paperwork to come on board with Upstate. Some, who are coming in from overseas, even have visa issues. It’s part of the job that can be the greatest challenge, Tuttle said. But there are parts she enjoys too. “No two days are ever the same for me,” Tuttle said. “I get to meet some great people with interesting backgrounds and OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

stories. One of my favorite questions to ask a physician is, ‘What made you want to be a doctor?’ and “Why did you choose the specialty you chose?’” SUNY Upstate has many items in its toolbox to attract those recruits. Other than the fact it educates many potential prospects, it also draws physicians through competitive salaries, a relocation package, benefits, malpractice coverage and allotments to cover things like journal publication expenses and travel to educational conferences. Then there is the lure of Central New York. “In all seriousness, our beautiful Central New York-Finger Lakes region offers excellent schools, affordable housing, numerous recreational and social activities and is a wonderful place to raise a family,” Tuttle said. As for Tuttle, she shed a positive light on working at Upstate because, after 27 years there, with 20 years in the department of medicine, she’s come to love it, too. “I have many other responsibilities other than just the faculty recruiting piece,” she said. “That’s part of the reason I enjoy what I do. My job is to help make their on-boarding process and their work here easier so they can do their jobs.” APRIL / MAY 2017

healthcare Special Report

n Sleep Medicine is Big Business in CNY n Health Care Providers in Short Supply n The Strategist at Oswego Health n New Age of Medicine Has Arrived n Welcome to Telemedicine

APRIL / MAY 2017



Health Care Providers in Short Supply Medical professional shortage affecting nation, CNY By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


s a nation, we could use more health care providers. The American Association of Medical Colleges states on its website that the physician shortfall is projected between 61,700 and 94,700 physicians by 2025. This includes projected shortfalls in primary care ranging between 14,900 and 35,600 physicians by 2025. Projected shortfalls in non-primary care specialties range between 37,400 and 60,300. But other areas are experiencing shortages in Central New York as well. “We are definitely feeling the effects of the nursing shortage in Central New York at Loretto,” said Julie L. Sheedy, vice president for marketing and Loretto Foundation. “RNs and LPNs, especially, are in high demand in this area and have options when looking for positions.” Primary care physician applicants are hard for local health care employers to find. Dan Dey, CEO of Northern Oswego Health Services (NOSCHI), said that many residents are going into specialties and fewer into primary care. “The specialists focus on episodic care and get reimbursed at a higher rate than those who provide primary,” Dey said. “Only about 10 percent of residents go into primary care.”

Many health care providers deal with the shortage by expanding their care team with nurse practitioners and physician assistants. “We’ve partnered with several teaching programs to expose primary care providers to our environment with the potential to recruit them,” Dey said. “We can do that successfully with SUNY Upstate by training a number of their nurse practitioner candidates and recruiting them to practice with us when they graduate.” George Chapman, owner of GW Chapman Consulting in Syracuse, said there are shortages among some specialties, including mental health providers, especially for children, rheumatology and dermatology. Chapman is a health care consultant. “It’s a tough business to be in right now,” Chapman said of health care. “The reimbursement rates are low and [providers] just don’t have the money to pay staff. Trump’s right. We Chapman

have so many regulations in so many industries that the trade off for safety isn’t there. The regulations are tying people’s hands and they can’t make payroll. That’s a lot tougher that a few regulations. Rolling back some regulations would help.” The answer of educating more care providers seems simple enough; however, Chapman said that hospitals receive only a limited number of Medicare-funded slots for residents. “Medical schools make monDey ey,” Chapman said. “If they had their way, they’d open the gates and let more people in, but they can’t without residency. “What’s the point in cranking out more residents if they don’t have slots? If you don’t increase the residency slots which Medicare pays for, you’ve got no place to put them.” Hospitals can choose the specialty in that their residency slots offer. They give preference to residents that will bring revenue to the hospitals, not specialists such as family doctors, rheumatologists and dermatologists that tend to practice outside the hospital doors. “They want vascular surgeons, orthopedics and others that use their hospitals,” Chapman said. “But more of those are becoming outpatient.” Chapman believes that a family practice residency program in a hospital can help reduce that shortage.

Why There Is a Doctor Shortage So why do we have a shortage of medical providers? The Association of American Medical Colleges offers a few insights on its website, www. • Physician retirement. “Over one-third of all currently active physicians will be 65 or older within the next decade. Physicians between ages 65 and 75 account for 11 percent of the active workforce, and those between ages 55 and 64 make up nearly 26 percent of the


active workforce.” • Population growth and aging. “The older population is expected to experience the greatest growth in demand from 2014 to 2025. The population under age 18 is projected to grow by only 5 percent, while the population aged 65 and over is projected to grow by 41 percent. Because seniors have much higher per capita consumption of health care than younger populations, the percentage growth in demand for


services used by seniors is projected to be much higher than the percentage growth in demand for pediatric services. • Greater health services consumption. “Expansions in medical insurance coverage due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the economic recovery have reduced the number of uninsured, increasing demand by another 10,000 to 11,000 physicians (1.2 percent).

APRIL / MAY 2017

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Special Report By Aaron Gifford

Sleep Medicine is Big Business in CNY Competition to treat people with sleep problems grows dramatically in the region. Sleep lab owner says field is ‘very lucrative’


n 1987, physician Antonio Culebras had the only show in town when he established a sleep lab at Community General Hospital, Syracuse. Thirty years later, there are multiple sleep labs in the Central New York region, some accredited and some not, and a variety of other types of specialists who provide treatment in the area of sleep medicine, including neurologists, pulmonologists and even dentists. “It has literally exploded,” said Culebras, who currently runs a sleep lab at Upstate University Hospital. “We have competition all over the place.” That list would include sleep centers at Upstate, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, Crouse Hospital, St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, Rome Memorial Hospital, the Ghaly Health and Wellness Center in East Syracuse, a sleep lab in Syracuse operated by physician David Davin, the Sleep Disorders Lab of Central New York in Utica, the Northeast Sleep Lab in Fayetteville, the Pulmonology


and Sleep Services in Auburn, and the Sleep and Wellness Center on Route 31 in Cicero, near the Oswego County border. Ghaly used to operate a sleep institute out of the Quality Inn hotel in Oswego, but that facility has since closed. There were plenty of patients to support the practice, explained Ramez Ghaly, owner and operator of the sleep lab, but the hotel owner needed the rooms back to accommodate a growing number of guests. Ghaly relocated the lab to its East Syracuse facility, which has grown to six bedrooms with tests taking place there six nights a week. “Three nights a week,” Ghaly said, “all six beds are full. We’re booked a month out at this point.” With no sleep lab in Oswego County, many patients from Oswego, Fulton, Cleveland, Pulaski and all of the communities in between make the trip south down Route 481 to the Ghaly Sleep Center, Ramez Ghaly said. The practice also has a number of patients OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

from Jefferson County. The Ghaly Sleep Center is affiliated with Sleep Insights out of Rochester, which provides support services for several sleep labs across Upstate New York and is accredited with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). According to AASM, there were 2,500 accredited sleep centers in the United States at the end of 2012. The number of sleep labs from 2007 to 2012 more than doubled. Medicare reimbursement for sleep testing increased from $62 million in 2001 to $565 million in 2011, according to the U.S. Office of the Inspector General. Sleep specialists estimate that the number of unaccredited sleep labs nationally, which could include physicians conducting studies in rented hotel rooms, is easily in the thousands. All told, Americans spend more than $30 billion on sleep studies and sleep disorder treatments annually. Sleep studies start at about $300. Labs are used for diagnosing conditions APRIL / MAY 2017

Number of sleep labs from 2007 to 2012 more than doubled, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It’s estimated that Americans spend more than $30 billion on sleep studies and sleep disorder treatments annually. like insomnia, snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia and narcolepsy. About 70 million Americans experience sleep problems, according to the National Center on Sleep Disorder Research. In a typical sleep study, called a polysomnography, a sleep technician uses sensors and monitors to record a patient’s biological functions when they are asleep. These functions can include eye movement, heart rhythm, breathing and brain wave activity. A supervising physician interprets the findings before recommending a treatment plan. Sleep apnea is a condition where the muscles in the back of a person’s throat relax, causing an airway obstruction that can stop a person’s breathing for a matter of seconds or even minutes. Aside for causing restless sleep, sleep apnea can also result in dangerously low blood oxygen levels. Sleep apnea is more common in obese people. As the American population gets older and fatter, the need for treatment continues to grow. Sleep apnea is commonly treated with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine where a mask is placed over the patient’s nose and mouth while the machine provides air pressure to keep breathing airways open. CPAPS are often prescribed after sleep specialists observe a patient’s sleep patterns. Culebras estimates that only about 25 percent of patients who get a CPAP use the devices properly and regularly; it takes quite a bit of getting used to before one can sleep comfortably with it.  There are a variety of dentists locally who, as an alternative to uncomfortable CPAP devices, advertise mouthpieces that are designed to keep breathing airways open. According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine APRIL / MAY 2017

(AADSM), there are nine accredited practices in the Central New York area — seven of them in the city of Syracuse, one in Liverpool, and one in Camillus. AADSM has about 3,000 members. As an alternative to CPAPs, Ghaly sold a device called “The Winks,” a mouthpiece that uses suction to pull the pallet of a mouth forward instead of pushing the pallet back, which is what a CPAP does. But so far, The Winks has not been a popular alternative. “I think it was a flop,” Ramez Ghaly said, adding that Ghaly does not sell the types of mouthpieces that dentists offer, but the practice will make referrals to dentists who do sell them and will do follow-up sleep studies for patients who want to give such mouthpieces a try. “If it’s [any type of device] out there, we want it in our sleep lab to give patients a choice,” he said. CPAPs became hot sellers starting around the mid-1980s when the medical community started paying serious attention to apnea and other sleep disorders. Pulmonary physicians naturally took an interest in the growing business, but a variety of other specialists soon followed suit. Sleep disorders are serious conditions that necessitate treatment, Culebras said, “but it also became very lucrative.” Standards for sleep labs hadn’t been established, so there were many fly-bynight operations, Culebras said. And for decades, the insurance reimbursement for sleep medicine was generous.  “There was a time when anyone could get a sleep lab and get paid by insurance,” Culebras added. “My recommendation has always been to look for an accredited sleep lab with a physician who has specialized in this for at least 10 years. Experience is the mother of all sciences.” The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has stringent standards for accrediting sleep labs, and insurance companies are getting stingier. In New York state, sleep studies are only covered as ambulatory or outpatient procedures; insurance companies won’t pay for sleep studies that take place on a hospital inpatient basis. Culebras says that’s frustrating, because a patient’s sleep issues could very well be related to the conditions they are being hospitalized for. “Everyone is trying to find a way to reverse that,” he said. “We have portable equipment that could be used overnight. It really isn’t an expensive procedure. In the stroke unit, 75 percent of the patients have sleep apnea, but we can’t treat them properly.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Physician Antonio Culebras runs a sleep lab at Upstate University Hospital. “We have competition all over the place.” Ron Waldron, a senior sleep lab technician and manager of the Upstate sleep center, said the accreditation process for sleep labs involves a long checklist, including handicapped accessibility and OSHA compliance. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine also has strict guidelines for what type of equipment is used in the studies and the methods for conducting the studies. The physicians who oversee the labs must be board-certified in sleep medicine. Waldron said accredited sleep lab technicians are focused on patient comfort, whether it’s the temperature of the rooms, the level of darkness for sleeping, or even the quality of the mattresses. The specialists must offer the best level of comfort possible in order to help the patient fall into a deep sleep so an accurate diagnosis can be made. “The set up should be more like a hotel room,” Waldron said, “not just an office with a pull-out bed in the corner. These things are important. Sleep is one of those wide-reaching health issues.” While CPAPS or mouthpieces prescribed by dentists are common for treating sleep apnea or snoring, many patients are looking for other solutions. Throat surgery is one alternative, but that’s usually reserved for the most serious cases. A relatively new implantable technology called “Inspire” was developed for patients who can’t get comfortable with CPAPs. The Inspire device stimulates nerves that control movement of airway muscles. “They are about $25,000 right now,” Culebras said. “But eventually they will be more affordable and readily available.”  65


The Strategist at Oswego Health Jeff Coakley is Oswego Health’s chief strategy officer, a key administrator on front lines of constantly changing health care battle


or Oswego Health Chief Strategy Officer Jeff Coakley, his career has paralleled sustained growth at the facility for nearly two decades. Over the last 19 years with the Oswego Health system, the SUNY Oswego graduate has also experienced massive changes in the health care system itself. Among his accomplishments is spearheading the development of a physician practice — Physician Care, PC. “It allowed Oswego Health to meet the growing request of physicians to be employed,” Coakley said. “In today’s complicated health care environment, physicians are opting to be employed rather than developing and managing their own practices.” Coakley said Physician Care, PC is an important affiliated organization where 12 physicians and advanced care providers achieve their professional goals while serving residents in Oswego County. When he first arrived at Oswego Health, Coakley worked with then-CEO Corte Spencer’s team to understand physicians’ concerns and needs. “At that time, nearly all practices were owned by the physicians providing primary care and specialty services. Our single goal was to assist them in developing strong, successful practices. The motto, set by our strategy executive Mac McKinstry at the time was, ‘When physicians do well, patients and the health system will do well.’ This maxim holds true today,” he said. Since that time, however, the management of these practices has grown more challenging due to increasing regulations and declining reimbursement for doctors, Coakley said. “The challenges for independent physicians have led to one of the greatest


changes in health care over the last 20 years — physicians today are asking to be employed versus [asking] support to start a practice,” Coakley said. “With the need for additional physician services in the community and reimbursements also declining for hospitals, our health system is tasked with the cost of employing physicians and their staff. The greatest tasks today are to continue supporting independent practices while employing physicians in the community. Oswego Health’s specialty practices include orthopedics, cardiovascular services, general surgery associates, Lakeshore ENT, and Primecare in CenOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

tral Square and Fulton. Physician Care PC operates both Primecare medical practices, which are located near both urgent care centers. Primecare offers primary care services to those of all ages. The Oswego native said among the greatest challenges he has faced professionally over nearly 20 years is working with medical staff and administration to grow services through recruitment of physicians in key areas. These areas include orthopedics, cardiology, gastroenterology, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), obstetrics, general surgery and primary care. APRIL / MAY 2017

“There are few things in a health care organization as important or rewarding as supporting the growth and success of our physician practices,” he said. Coakley said one of the greatest strategic challenges for the health care industry and Oswego Health is the same today as it was 20 years ago — building a strong physician community.

Opting for Port City Coakley earned a bachelor’s degree at SUNY Oswego. “As I look back to my time in college and the start of my career, the most enjoyable aspects of my time at SUNY Oswego included living and working in the community. I was lucky enough to have a scholarship but also needed to continue to work while I attended school,” he said. While attending SUNY Oswego, he met his future wife, Gretchen, while she was attending SUNY Oneonta. Following graduation, she started teaching in the Oswego City School District and enrolled in the master’s program at SUNY Oswego. At the same time, Coakley was offered a management training position with Yellow Freight in Syracuse. The position, however, required that the Coakleys be transferred to several locations throughout the country before they would be able to settle in a city for any length of time. “We made the decision at that time to make this our community — a location where we could see ourselves raising children in the future,” he said. About 12 years into his career at Oswego, he also had an opportunity to take a position at a three-hospital system in Massachusetts. Again, the couple made a decision to stay in Oswego when Oswego Health asked Coakley to take on more responsibility. “I have been able to work in nearly all areas of the health system, which has given me greater experience than I could have received if I was limited to a narrow position within a larger health system. Oswego Health is still my first choice to continue developing my career,” he said.

Catalyst for change During his tenure, Coakley has had a front row seat during a time of major transition for Oswego Health. Many changes during that time have seen Oswego Health continually upgrade its facilities, programs and APRIL / MAY 2017

services. As Oswego Health was completing construction of The Manor at Seneca Hill, its 120-bed skilled nursing facility, past board members — including George Joyce and the late Dee Heckethorn — identified a need for a retirement living community in Oswego County. From that point, it was Coakley who led the development of a new health system service in Oswego County with the establishment of Springside at Seneca Hill. The facility is a retirement community located on 36 acres at the Heckethorn Health Community at Seneca Hill, halfway between Oswego and Fulton. “Today, some 16 years later, residents continue to be impressed with the facility and its services,” Coakley said. Another one of Coakley’s career highlights came in 2009 when Oswego Health introduced urgent care services to Oswego County with the opening of the Fulton Medical Center. He collaborated with the New York State Department of Health and A.L. Lee Memorial Hospital administration to acquire and redevelop the facility. The closing at Lee Memorial in Fulton left a significant void in health care access in the Greater Fulton area, and the urgent care center was available within a day of the hospital’s shutdown. In 2010, Oswego Health opened the Central Square Medical Center, offering additional urgent care, lab and medical imaging services.

Full work day As chief strategy officer, Coakley has a diverse array of responsibilities, including organizing the strategic planning process and activities for the health system. He also coordinates and leads business development activities, including the certificate of need application process for new services with the state DOH. Coakley also serves as leader for marketing and public relations activities, as well as occupational and community health services at Oswego Hospital. The Fulton resident is also assisting in leading the development of Oswego Health Home Care. Co-owned by Oswego Health and Embracing Age, a nonprofit affiliate of St. Joseph’s Health, Oswego Health Home Care is the only hospital-owned certified home health care agency in Oswego County. He said the daily requirements of the position demand moving from strategic OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

thinking to operational implementation, or from concept to execution. “Stressors typically come from the need to constantly accelerate the pace of change in an industry that is often complex and bureaucratic,” he said. Coakley said the most gratifying aspect of his job is the opportunity to work with “incredibly intelligent and talented people who are committed to their craft of medicine and our community.” He said it takes balance to perform tasks associated with his position on a successful level. “More specifically, it’s about knowing when to listen, ask the right questions or take action to support and motivate stakeholders, typically working in teams, to find the best solutions given our time and resources,” he said. “I have been reminded often that we all instinctively add meaning to what we hear based on our own experience, which often distorts the message,” he said. “Once we have properly listened to stakeholders on an issue, we can then assemble a strategy that creates a win-win in an industry that offers an ever-widening and more complex array of options.” Coakley has some words of advice for those contemplating entering the field of health care administration. “To be an effective health care leader, you will need to have patience because there is no substitute for working through experiences that will clarify your understanding of the industry, as well as the internal dynamics of your community and organization,” he said.

Lifelines: Age: 47 Birthplace: Oswego Residence: Fulton Education: Bachelor of Science, SUNY Oswego; Master of Business Administration, Le Moyne College, Syracuse; Certificate in health care leadership, Cornell University, Ithaca Affiliations: Board member, Oswego County Opportunities; member, Society of Health Strategy and Market Development; member, Medical Group Management Association; member, Association of Fundraising Professionals Personal: Wife, Gretchen; two daughters, Olivia and Amelia Hobbies: Boating, golfing, reading and spending time with family and friends 67

Special Report

New Age of Medicine Has Arrived Telemedicine streaming into the lives of health care consumers By Lou Sorendo


elemedicine is giving added meaning to screen time. With all the different electronic means people use to communicate — cell phones, email and social media — it’s no surprise that telemedicine is being used more extensively to remotely diagnosis and treat patients by means of telecommunications technology. Patients and providers, despite be-


ing in two different locations, are linked by telephone or a secure two-way video connection. Peter Caplan, founder and managing consultant for eHealth Systems & Solutions in Auburn, said to expect telemedicine to explode starting now. CapIan said telemedicine is expected to experience a 10 percent-plus growth spurt this year. Several years ago, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

he said, experts predicted telemedicine would really take off during 2015-17. “These are the breakout years where we’ve reached a tipping point. At least 50 percent of hospitals in this country are doing some form of telemedicine,” he said. “They are leveraging their current telemedicine infrastructure, and the cost of adding telemedicine to a university or hospital’s overall IT bill is negligible.” APRIL / MAY 2017

Caplan said in the “old days,” hospitals would spend $50,000 to set up a video conferencing studio. “Now, they’re tending to go to decentralized carts. So they can spend $10,000 to $15,000 on a cart and move it from room to room. In many cases, it’s desktop telemedicine where the requirements would be a high-quality digital camera, a good monitor and maybe some blue-tooth enabled peripheral devices like blood pressure cuffs, glucometers and weight scales, or things that can be deployed in a remote clinical site or even in a patient’s home.” Telemedicine has been in effect since the mid-1970s, and in the mid-1980s really began to gain traction. “Telemedicine is like an overnight success that took 30 years,” Caplan said. Meanwhile, tele-homecare is going to be “an enormous industry just given the basic demographics of the boomer generation. The fact is most people use technology and are comfortable with it. Now it’s just a matter of how doctors meet that demand,” he said. Today’s smartphones have apps that can do many health-care related tasks. Apple is presenting a watchband featuring a built-in monitor that can record blood pressure and blood sugar data. There are also electronic stethoscopes that can be used at home. “For under $500, most consumers can buy a number of peripheral devices that can be in their home and transporting real-time data to their electronic medical records in their doctor’s office,” he said. Caplan said generally, telemedicine is reliable and secure. “It takes a certain amount of engineering to ensure privacy under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, but it’s no different for telemedicine than it would be for sharing information through electronic medical records.” Caplan is a strategic planner and health care economist with more than 30 years’ experience. His consulting firm specializes in telemedicine, telehealth, and information technology solutions for hospitals, rural clinics, and physician practices. Telemedicine is a service that provides convenient access to patients, he said. “It just provides convenience for patients from not having to travel. That could be for patients in rural areas as well as under-served urban centers,” he said. Approximately 61 percent of the population in Oswego County lives in rural areas, compared to 12 percent for APRIL / MAY 2017

Robotics Arrives in New Era of Home Health Care Monitoring Isabelle Bichindaritz, associate professor-director of biomedical informatics
at SUNY Oswego’s
computer science department,
displays a telepresence robot at the Shineman Center. Also referred to as “Skype on wheels,” the controller of the robot is able to control what he or she wishes to see. It is commonly used in the homes of elderly patients in Europe to monitor their health status. The device comes from Sweden, and SUNY Oswego acquired it because it is completely the state and 19 percent for the nation, according to the 2014-2017 Oswego County Community Health Assessment. Insurance companies are providing telemedicine at least in the form of consumer-facing services, Caplan said. “You can call a doctors’ hotline and have either a telephone or potentially video-based consult with a doctor to OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

programmable. Other versions in the United States are not programmable. “For example, with the device, a daughter would be able to remotely correspond with her elderly mother to see how she is doing, talk to her, have her take her blood pressure and even connect to a doctor’s office,” Bichindaritz said. Biomedical informatics deals with applications of information and technology to the medical and health fields with the intent to improve health outcomes. address non-emergency issues,” he said. Meanwhile, there are many companies nationwide offering the service in several different business models, whether clients are charged a monthly membership fee or a per call fee. “Telemedicine is needed at 2 a.m. when a mom is woken up by an ailing 69

child and needs to deal with it rather than take a day off from work. She can call and talk to someone on the phone and conceivably get a prescription if it were required,” he said. “There are a lot of scenarios when it is needed, whether you are talking about seniors in nursing homes who shouldn’t or don’t need to be transferred or transported to the hospital. Kids in schools and people at work can also use it.” Caplan said telemedicine can be used practically everywhere. “In my work and research, for internal medicine specialties, the vast majority of patients can be seen remotely for what most of them come into clinics for. The treatments and conditions can be easily managed virtually by more than half of patients, at least in internal medicine, psychiatry and certainly radiology where images can be shared, which they’ve been doing,” he noted. Telemedicine gained steam — particularly with radiology — as bandwidths increased and the cost of videoconferencing came down. “It’s a much more viable and efficient way of connecting patients and providers,” Caplan said. He said telemedicine is available through any interactive device such as a phone, tablet or laptop. There is synchronous or real-time video interaction, as well as asynchronous such as a store-and-forward technique in which information is sent to an intermediate station where it is kept and sent at a later time to a final destination. The asynchronous method is commonly used in dermatology and other areas where health care professionals can take an image, attach it to a report, and send it to a specialist for review at his or her convenience. “The whole point behind telemedicine are the visual cues that a doctor can get in addition to talking to the patient,” Caplan said. Doctors can also simultaneously be looking at electronic medical records and health data on a split screen at the same time. “For a lot of patients, just looking at them — especially with seniors — you can tell if they are under stress or duress. The idea is to add that extra visual data point to the assessment and visit,” he added.

Trend gains momentum Caplan said there are a number of prominent projects happening regionally promoting telemedicine. 70

Some of the more common conditions that can be treated remotely include the cold or flu, allergies, poison ivy, sore throat, insect bites, vomiting, pink eye, urinary tract and yeast infections, diarrhea, rashes, bronchitis, ear infections, mild asthma, pediatric conditions and sports injuries. Source: United Concierge Medicine, a provider of concierge telemedicine services based in Albany. One of them is the North County telemedicine project, which is part of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. “They are probably doing as much as anybody as far as reaching out to the Fort Drum population. It’s the largest military installation in the country without its own dedicated hospital, so they rely a lot on regional specialists in Watertown, Syracuse and some in Rochester,” Caplan said. The Veterans Administration is also using telemedicine across the country. “They are the single largest user of telemedicine. They support veterans all over the country, especially in rural areas. Each of the hospitals, at least here in Syracuse, are slowly doing telemedicine, but it’s not very well coordinated or integrated as an enterprise-wide service,” he said. Caplan said telemedicine in Central New York is “a bit behind the curve compared to other parts of the country that have been much more aggressive in deploying the technology.” He points to an older demographic of doctors that tends not to be as technologically engaging. “There’s resistance, or had been recently, by payers. There are a number OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

of reasons why it’s been slow on the uptake. Fortunately in every hospital system and academic medical center, there are individual clinicians or individual departments that have embraced telemedicine. Most of them sadly have been funded through grants, which the federal government has spent billions over the last half dozen to 10 years on proof of concept demonstration, but when grant funding is no longer available, a lot of these programs have sort of withered and died.” Caplan said the main thrust for the last half-dozen years across the country is building sustainable programs. With the transition away from fee-for-service reimbursement to value-based contracts, “you can look at ways to build this technology and these tools into an overall care population health management strategy, which is the direction many are going. “But here in Upstate New York, the number of value-based contracts, risk-shared contracts or outcome-based contracts are very limited.” Caplan said doctors are not being compelled either financially or clinically to make the transition to value-based contracts, but with initiatives such as the Delivery System Reform Incentive APRIL / MAY 2017

Payment program and others that are reshaping and reforming health care, the technology will become more integral to managing patients effectively. Caplan said physicians will be reimbursed by patient satisfaction metrics and whether they are achieving their outcomes. “Now, telemedicine is becoming a very important tool in monitoring patients post-discharge so they don’t end up back in the hospital within that 30-day readmission time frame, which then penalizes — at least with Medicare — the hospital and doctor,” he said. “With hospital readmission rates running at about 17 to 20 percent, anything you spend on reducing that readmission is something everyone is looking at,” he said. Caplan said companies and vendors building telemedicine products and solutions are partly driving the upward trend. “We’re talking Fortune 500 multi-billion dollar companies all the way down to very small entrepreneurial companies. The American Telemedicine Association website’s vendor marketplace section features hundreds,” he said. Caplan said to expect more than 200 vendors at the ATA conference in April, where about 6,000 attendees from around the world will visit. “You have push and pull, meaning you have vendors and companies pushing technology out there, and you have consumers increasingly wanting it, especially among the young Millennials and Gen Xers, and even among us baby boomers. There’s a real need to have services available with our communication devices,” Caplan said.

Riding the wave Caplan said specialty systems such as the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have been using telemedicine extensively both domestically and internationally.” “They are building relationships in communities where they don’t have a physical footprint. That’s a big issue with licensure because a lot of doctors are fearful of telemedicine because it may start to pull patients away from them,” he said. “If you’re a specialist in New York, and all of a sudden your patient has the ability — for the same amount of money — to consult with the Mayo Clinic or MD Anderson, you may lose that patient. That’s where there’s been APRIL / MAY 2017

Peter Caplan, founder and managing consultant for eHealth Systems & Solutions in Auburn, said to expect telemedicine to explode starting now. “These are the breakout years where we’ve reached a tipping point. At least 50 percent of hospitals in this country are doing some form of telemedicine,” he said. a lot of what I call political-economic protectionism that state licensing boards have tried to maintain. They try to make it difficult and expensive for out-of-state doctors to treat patients in their states.” Caplan recently did a presentation at the New York State Medical Society’s annual meeting for medical students, residents and young doctors. “They are already engaging, although they are not using their devices yet on a clinical level. They all know that will be part of their ultimate skill set and tool kit,” he noted. Caplan noted measures are being taken by health care organizations to promote telemedicine. “But just as importantly, there is outreach through chambers of commerce who are getting employers on board with these services,” he said. “A business community can put up some money to help health care facilities buy equipment and help underwrite broadband service charges. Then you will have all these services and your employees don’t have to leave for the day to see a doctor,” he said. Caplan said a significant demographic that will be using telemedicine are the Medicare and Medicaid populations. “They are certainly very much at the OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

forefront of using this. Medicaid is going to be looking at telemedicine aggressively because they have so many people who are challenged to get to the doctor’s office. They miss doctor’s appointments and they end up being readmitted to the hospital. For them, there is a great urgency and motivation,” Caplan said. Historically, doctors and hospitals have viewed telemedicine as something a rural community does when patients are hundreds of miles away from a hospital. When Caplan initially began doing telemedicine work, it was in Colorado where folks in rural areas were literally hundreds of miles from a health care facility. “In New York, the perception is that you are never more than maybe 40 to 60 miles from a reasonably well-equipped and staffed hospital where they can slap you in an ambulance or on a flight for life and you are there,” he said. “But in reality, for a lot of these communities, if you have telemedicine, you get to retain many more of the patients that traditionally would have been transferred and sent somewhere else. Now, you can manage a lot of these patients and maintain revenue locally by having the equipment.” Caplan has been retained by the New York State Medical Society to go out and do presentations to help doctors and institutions understand why they should be doing telemedicine. Doctors’ initial fear concerning telemedicine is its potential to take up a lot of time, Caplan said. However, he said a mid-level practitioner or nurse will deal with the majority of patients requesting a telemedical consult. Patients with more serious conditions will be directed to the physician. “The limiting factor across the country and for the industry in general is the willingness of clinicians to set aside the time to do this. You have specialists saying, ‘I can’t see doing this. I’ve got a busy waiting room and I’m filled up everyday. When would I have the time?” What I say to them is, “A lot of patients that are in your clinic don’t need to be in your clinic. They can be seen either in a local doctor’s office or conceivably in their home. You can now free up your clinic and see people who are the ones who really need to be there as opposed to the ones who have to wait a week or two for something they could have had resolved very quickly over the phone.”



Welcome to Telemedicine Excellus BCBS connecting with telemedicine trend


oday’s health care professional is not only developing a bedside manner, but also honing their communication skills while dealing with patients remotely. Telemedicine is giving health care professionals the ability to diagnose and treat patients remotely by means of telecommunications technology. Physician Martin Lustick, senior vice president and corporate medical officer for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, said the trend is taking off. In 2016, Excellus BCBS allied with its telemedicine vendor — MDLive — and presented a pilot program to its employees. It was made available to the public in January in all of the insurer’s commercially insured and Medicare products. In the pilot, two-thirds of Excellus employees registered with MDLive over a seven-month period. Of those who registered, 8 percent used it for an appointment. Lustick said in general, responses from employees were positive. He said 61 percent rated it as excellent. “If you include the ‘goods’ and ‘very goods,’ it was up over 90 percent,” he said. A recent survey commissioned by Excellus BCBS found that nearly five out of 10 Upstate New York adults are aware of telemedicine, and 80 percent of those who used telemedicine rated their experience as “very good” or “excellent.” About one-quarter of respondents said they plan to use telemedicine, while an equal number said they did not plan to. About half of the respondents were undecided. Preference for live interaction is the main reason why respondents don’t use telemedicine, according to the survey. “Based on what we have seen in other parts of the country where there is higher adoption rates, we expect it to catch on fairly quickly this year and over the next few years,” Lustick said.


He said given that increasing numbers of people have high-deductible health plans, telemedicine is a relatively low-cost alternative, particularly when compared to an urgent care of emergency room visit. If a patient is participating in a high-deductible health plan and has not met his or her deductible, the cost of the visit is $40. Also, he said, the service is available 24 hours, seven days a week. “When you don’t have access to your own primary care doctor, which is where we would hope and expect people to go for their minor illnesses, it a very convenient and relatively low-cost alternative,” he said. “Based on those issues, we are going to see significantly increased use.”

Attracting Millennials Lustick said he is not surprised by the upward trend of telemedicine, and “it tends to be younger folks who are more likely to use it, particularly the 18-to-35 year olds.” “It’s very user-friendly. You can access it with an app on your phone, or you can use any sort of iPad type device or your computer,” he said. “All you really need is internet access. It takes less than five minutes to go on, download the app, and register. Once you are registered, you got it on your device.” Lustick said if people use telemedicine wisely, that is for minor, acute illnesses and not as a substitute for primary care, and use it instead as a substitute for urgent care or emergency room visits, it lowers the cost of care overall. “As a result in the long term, you would expect it to moderate the trend in costs and help reduce annual premium increases. Like everything else in health care, if it’s used inappropriately, it can have the opposite effect,” he added. “I think telemedicine if used wisely is a win for everybody. Patients have less out-of-pocket costs, health plans OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Physician Martin Lustick, senior vice president and corporate medical officer for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield: Telemedicine trend is taking off. have lower costs and employers and ultimately the government that funds health care also will see both savings and improved access and service for their employees,” he noted. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid has become the largest insurer in the United States, covering almost 25 percent of all Americans. New York state is using the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program in an effort to restructure the health care delivery system by reinvesting in the Medicaid program. Its primary goal is to reduce avoidable hospital use by 25 percent over the next five years. Lustick said while the MDLive program is not yet available to Medicaid patients because of New York state regulations, but it does fit in well with the concept of what DSRIP is trying to achieve. “You look at this as a substitute for emergency room visits for minor illnesses,” he said. “We know that in the safety net population, their visit rate to the emergency room is three to four times more than what we see in the normal commercial population.” Lustick said a potential reduction in unnecessary emergency room visits will be realized “if we can get that population to use telemedicine visits when appropriate. “That’s a huge step forward in fulfilling the goals and objectives of DSRIP.” APRIL / MAY 2017

The percentage of respondents who plan to use telemedicine varied by region Western New York


Finger Lakes


Central New York


Central New York’s Southern Tier


Utica/Rome/North Country


Just Published

Excellus Survey Shows Acceptance of Telemedicine


early five out of 10 Upstate New York adults are aware of telemedicine, and 80 percent of those who have used telemedicine rated their experience as “very good” or “excellent,” according to a survey commissioned by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. The online survey administered by the polling firm One Research contacted 2,000 Upstate New York adults, a representative sample of the region’s U.S. Census Bureau demographics. “Telemedicine services are widely and quickly being made available in the region, so we thought it was important to get a handle on levels of awareness that exist and regional responses to a broad spectrum of related questions,” said Martin Lustick, senior vice president and corporate medical officer for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Respondents who had health insurance were not asked to identify their insurance carrier. About one-quarter of survey respondents indicated that they plan to use telemedicine in the future, while an equal number said they did not plan to use it. About half of the respondents were undecided. Respondents who reported that they had either used or were familiar with telemedicine were asked their first and second choice for having any future minor medical condition needs addressed. An in-person visit with their doctor ranked highest, followed by a telemedicine visit with their doctor. Use of an urgent care center, and a telemedicine visit with a provider other than their own doctor ranked third and fourth. Going to a hospital emergency room ranked last

APRIL / MAY 2017

as a preference for treating minor conditions. “That initial ranking was gratifying as a finding to us,” Lustick said, “because our repeated promotions around a telemedicine option have been very clear. Ideal medical care is when a patient can see his or her doctor. We’ve said the second best choice, if available, is a telemedicine visit with their physician. A new option we’ve been suggesting is to consider a telemedicine visit with another provider for treatment of minor conditions. With time, we expect that will gain in popularity over going to an urgent care center.” Other highlights in the survey show: • Approximately one-third of Upstate New York respondents who are between the ages of 18 and 44 plans to use telemedicine. Interest in using telemedicine declines with age. • Preference for in-person interaction is the main reason why respondents don’t use telemedicine. • People who use telemedicine are significantly more likely to report using it again. • On weekdays, telemedicine is mostly used during daytime hours, however weekend use is typically at night (between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.). The survey results establish a benchmark for consumer acceptance and use of telemedicine. Excellus BCBS will conduct additional surveys to track possible changes in attitudes. View results of the Excellus BCBS survey online at jecwp6b OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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Special Report By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

The Case to Support Breast Feeding Moms in the Workplace


y law, employers must protect nursing mothers’ need to nurse or pump breast milk in the workplace; however, it also benefits employers to do all they can to help new moms. With more new moms returning to work than ever and the American Academy of Pediatrics promoting breast-feeding, it only makes sense for business owners to do all they can to support nursing moms. “This is an excellent time for encouraging businesses in Oswego County to think about this topic, for a number of reasons,” said Elizabeth G. Crockett, a certified lactation consultant who works as executive director of REACH CNY, Inc. in Syracuse. “One is that the Population Health Improvement Project, led in Oswego County by the Oswego County Rural Health Network, is looking to increase support for breast-feeding in 74

community settings.” Crockett said that health care providers in the area have been actively promoting breast-feeding and women have also demonstrated more interest in breast-feeding recently. Supporting these healthful initiatives demonstrates that a company is proactive about employee health. “It can actually lower the medical costs and health insurance claims of breast feeding employees and their infants,” Crockett said. “Breast-feeding can reduce up to three times the expenses because it’s so protective against infections for the infant. It reduces the need for infants to go to the doctor. It can reduce turnover rates. They’ve found that 86 to 92 percent of breast feeding employees return to work when there’s a lactation support program. Otherwise, it’s 59 percent.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

For these reasons, Crockett believes lactation support can increase employee loyalty. In addition to complying with the New York Department of Labor guidelines ( wp/LS702.pdf), employers can go the extra mile to make sure lactating moms feel supported in the workplace. Crockett wants to have more employers clearly communicate about their break policy for moms and have them offer some flexibility in letting moms use unpaid breaks for pumping. Some moms may need to use part of their paid, hour-long lunch break early to pump more frequently. Though the law requires employers to provide a private place for women to nurse or pump milk, little touches can make that more comfortable and welcoming. For example, carpeting, a cozy APRIL / MAY 2017

chair, footstool and tasteful decor can improve a lactation room. If possible, a room with a small sink can make it easier for moms to clean their pumping equipment after a pumping session. A small refrigerator just for breast milk costs little but helps moms keep their milk chilled instead of dealing with icepacks or storing their milk in the break room fridge among other employees’ lunches. Providing a lactation area “might take a little ingenuity,” Crocket said. Communication is key. “Employers can provide printed information and resources during pregnancy or links to the types of online information,” Crockett said. “A positive, accepting message from management and coworkers goes a long way to helping a woman feel confident about breast feeding the length of time she wants to.” Crocket recommended that a small committee of employees who include nursing moms could work with management on ways to support working moms and how to find solutions that work for everything. Leigh Anne O’Connor, an international board-certified lactation consultant and representative of LaLeche League of New York, thinks some employers could offer telecommuting as an option to help lactating moms. “That allows the mom to ease into work more slowly, like coming in two or three days a week,” O’Connor said. Allowing a caregiver to bring the

baby into work for feeding can also help out working moms. “It’s about being flexible, creative and accommodating,” O’Connor said. “If you have a good employee, you want to keep them and invest in them. If there’s some conflict, employees should be able to come together and work on ideas. They should be allowed to collaborate. I hope this next generation, the Millennials, are bold enough to make these requests.” Help other employees understand a new lactation policy and accommodations are important and part of following labor law.

Nursing mother Selena Miller, office assistant in SUNY Oswego’s School of Education, at a lactation room on Hewitt Union’s lower level. “It’s a blessing,” to have lactation rooms aroiund the campus, she says.

College’s New Lactation Rooms Support Working Mothers


Elizabeth G. Crockett, a certified lactation consultant who works as executive director of REACH CNY, Inc. in Syracuse. APRIL / MAY 2017

“Education is big,” said Lisa Emmons, owner of Mother Earth Baby in Oswego. “More and more people are nursing and nursing in a work setting.” Emmons said that when she worked as an office supervisor, she used to vacate her office for employees who needed a place to pump since her office provided the privacy they required. “Understand that the employee has a need and then ask about what they want to fill that need,” Emmons said. “Ask what would work for them. Decide what’s mutually useful. Make it an open and honest conversation about what the employee needs.”

UNY Oswego recently opened 11 lactation rooms in buildings across campus, providing privacy and comfort for nursing mothers among its employees, students and visitors. “It is terrific that faculty, staff, visitors and students that are nursing mothers now have access to the use of lactation rooms on campus,” said Amy Plotner, assistant vice president for human resources at the college. “This is an important aspect of ensuring accessible, private, safe, and specifically designated spaces that will help provide a supportive environment on campus.” Under President Deborah F. Stanley, SUNY Oswego has focused resources on recruiting a diverse workforce, and addressing issues that are uniquely important to women is a part of that effort. Fall 2015 figures show the college has about 761 women among its 1,478 full- and part-time OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

employees. “The philosophy behind this project is employee-centered and it is my goal to ensure maximum flexibility in the use of these spaces,” Plotner said. “I am thrilled with the momentum and the impact of this important project and hope that having convenient access will serve as a true benefit to the campus community.” Lactation rooms, with more to come, are in Marano Campus Center, Sheldon Hall and Penfield Library, a variety of academic buildings and in several residence halls and a dining center. “We as a college are really on the cutting edge, having so many lactation spaces in such a relatively small footprint,” said Linda Paris, project manager for facilities services, whose passion for the endeavor has sprung from personal experience. She’s a nursing mother to Grayson and Damian. 75

OCO Establishes Paid Leave for Cancer Screening


swego County Opportunities (OCO) recently announced a new policy that provides its full and part-time employees with up to four hours of paid leave annually to undergo cancer screenings. The policy is wide ranging and may be used for any form of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, skin cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer or lung cancer. OCO stated that the organization is among the first to implement a paid leave policy for cancer screening in New York state and the first nonprofit agency to do so in Oswego County.   “OCO’s administration is well aware of the benefits of routine cancer screenings,” said Carolyn Handville, coordinator of OCO’s Cancer Services Program. “Regular tests such as imaging,

Oswego County Opportunities has implemented a new paid leave policy that provides its full and part-time employees an annual paid leave allowance to undergo preventative cancer screenings. Above from left are Carolyn Handville, coordinator of OCO’s Cancer Services Program, OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier, OCO Director of Human Resources, Cindy Seeber, and OCO Benefits Manager Denise Russell. biopsies, Pap smears, prostate screenings, mammograms, blood tests, and even surgical procedures for the purpose of detecting cancers are essential to maintain good health. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in New York state. Early detection can save lives as it finds cancer when treatment is more likely to be suc-

cessful and in some instances before it even develops.” Diane Cooper-Currier, OCO’s executive director, said, “We care about our employees and their health and felt it was important to offer them paid time off to obtain life-saving cancer screenings” states.

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Your Sex Life May Work Wonders for Your Work Life

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hat makes for a happy, productive worker? It could be a good sex life. At least that’s the suggestion of a new study that included 159 married employees who were surveyed daily for two weeks. Those who had sex were in a better mood at work the next day, which led to higher levels of work engagement and job satisfaction. The beneficial effects that sex had on work were equally strong for men and women and lasted for at least 24 hours. “We make jokes about people having a ‘spring in their step,’ but it turns out this is actually a real thing and we should pay attention to it,” said study author Keith Leavitt, an associate professor at Oregon State University’s College of Business. “Maintaining a healthy relationship that includes a healthy sex life will help employees stay happy and engaged in their work, which benefits the employees and the organizations they work for,” he said in a university news release. The study in the Journal of Management also showed that work-related stress harms employees’ sex lives, a finding that highlights the importance of leaving work at the office, Leavitt said. “This is a reminder that sex has social, emotional and physiological benefits, and it’s important to make it a priority,” he said. “Just make time for it.” Leavitt noted that sex triggers the release of hormones involved in feelings of reward, social bonding and attachment, which means sex is a natural mood elevator. This is more evidence of the importance of a good work-life balance. “Technology offers a temptation to stay plugged in, but it’s probably better to unplug if you can,” Leavitt said. “And employers should encourage their employees to completely disengage from work after hours.” APRIL / MAY 2017

Special Report By Lou Sorendo

Paul Murphy (left) with Port City cab legend Bob Mills.

Ridding the City of ‘Rogues’ City of Oswego revamps its taxi laws, establishes ‘good moral character’ guidelines for drivers


swego is rallying against the rogues. The city recently approved a taxicab ordinance reducing licensing costs while increasing fees for violators, or “rogue” cabs. In addition, drivers must now pass a “good moral character” litmus test in order to obtain a license. With city of Oswego Mayor William “Billy” Barlow’s support, legislation was created by council vice president John Gosek Jr. (R-5th Ward) with full support of the council to lower fees and include a “good moral character” clause in the law covering cab drivers. For Port City cab legend Bob Mills, these rules took a decade to achieve. Mills said “rogue” or unlicensed APRIL / MAY 2017

cabs have been infiltrating the city and picking up riders on an unauthorized basis. Rogue cabbies operate under the radar and are savvy on being elusive. They won’t answer their phones if they don’t recognize a particular number, or if they are stopped, they will pretend customers are friends just needing a lift, Mills said. Customers take the risk of not being covered for injuries should a rogue cab get into an accident, he added. The city lowered the license fee from $300 to $200. Of that, $100 is for the license while the other $100 is for a nationwide background check. The new law also increased nonOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

compliance fines to between $150 and $500 or 15 days in jail. “They may as well get licensed, because if they get caught, they may pay heavily in fines,” Gosek said. The new taxi law is Gosek’s first foray into enacting his own local legislation. The intent of lowering the taxi fees was to make it easier for cabs to obtain licensing, Gosek said, while ensuring a safe environment. Mills, owner of Lone Wolf Taxi, said several cabs from the region have already applied for official licenses in light of the reduced fees. He said when compared to fees in other municipalities, Oswego’s rate was no less than four times and as much as 12 times more. Barlow said revising the taxi law was important because taxi companies not only regularly serve area residents, but also any visitors the city may have. “We need decent, reputable, clean and safe taxi cabs and drivers in our community to ensure quality service to the community and to best protect those in our community who use taxi cabs for transportation,” he said. “The more the city of Oswego can do to help reputable cab companies thrive the better, and we 79

can do that by forcing cab owners who disobey the rules to fix their cabs, get their license and background checks and be compliant.” Barlow said Mills is “a reputable and fair person who owns and operates the best cab business in town.” “He wants what is best for the city and the cab industry as a whole and he has a lot of information on the cab industry and how it operates,” he said. “He has helped us raise the level of service in the city of Oswego using his company as a model and encouraging other companies to emulate his approach.”

Image is everything Mills said the overall image of some cabbies “is not good.” That image helped drive the legislation to clean up the local industry. The “good moral character” clause was patterned after federal immigration law by the city attorney’s office. Those convicted of egregious offenses such as sex crimes, murder, prostitution, and racketeering will not fit the “good moral character” clause and could be prevented from obtaining or renewing a license. Oswego Police Chief Tory DeCaire has final say on taxi license applications. Mills’ expertise in the business came in handy as lawmakers carved out the new law. “We wanted to level the playing field,” Gosek said. “Rogue cabs were cutting into the revenues of licensed taxi drivers.” “The least we could do was to make an effort to protect and reward local cab companies. It’s only fair,” he said. There are seven cab companies registered in the city of Oswego. Gosek said for him, the most significant issue revolved around public safety. “We need to have reliable, clean cabs with credible drivers. When people come to Oswego, they know they are going to be safe. To me, that was a big issue,” Gosek said. “Riders should know who is behind the wheel of the cab and that they are licensed with the city.” “The bottom line is that people are supposed to feel safe when they get in a cab,” Mills said.

An Oswego icon Mills — who has been in the cab business either on a full-or part-time basis for 36 years — has established a 80

core of regular customers, some of whom have been with him for 30-plus years. “I know where I have to be at every point of the day, Monday through Friday,” he said. He estimates that he carries in excess of 200 customers per week. August will mark his 12th year as Lone Wolf Taxi. He also worked for Horan and Zeller’s taxi companies, and owned Empire Taxi in the 1990s. “I don’t even know if I want to call them customers anymore. They are more like an extended family,” he said. Recently, Mills’ brother-in-law, Paul Murphy, opened his own independent taxi business in the city of Oswego. For Mills, it’s not about competition. He is actually mentoring Murphy. “No one is going to take my business. There have been cabs that charged as much as $2 less per ride. They gave it a whirl but never got my customers. I was out four weeks for an operation, and my customers came back the very day I did,” he said. How does Mills manage that? “Great customer service; that’s the bottom line,” he said. “I don’t just pick people up and drop them off. If I don’t hear from one of my elderly customers, I call them up or stop by their house to check on them,” he said. It’s not uncommon to see Mills pick up medicine or a quart of milk, especially in a snowstorm, for his elderly customers. “That’s how I am. That’s why I retain customers, because of the extra service. Plus they trust me,” he said. The major challenge for cab companies is covering overhead costs, particularly insurance. Mills estimates it takes 820 calls a year to cover his insurance expenses. Insurance costs hover in the $4,000-plus a year range. When licensing fees are added in, that is an additional 40 to 50 calls. “With all the costs it’s probably more than 1,100 calls that you give away for free,” he said. “We probably lose about two-anda-half months a year income that goes toward bills,” he said. Mills teams with Murphy handle the flow of calls they receive. “When I get overly busy or have a really good customer that I don’t want waiting, I call Paul to see where he is at and if he can help me,” Mills said. “We feed off each other.” He is open from 3 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays, and does special out-of-town OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

calls on weekends when available. Many years ago, Mills contemplated opening the Oswego Taxi Association, and having various companies join to offer structure to the industry. However, the concept never materialized. “It would not have worked with certain companies,” he said. “Sometimes you cannot train or teach certain people.” Creating the new law is one thing, but enforcement will be another, Mills said. Eventually, cabs need to be labeled taxi, delivery or medical, he said.

Taxi! New independent cab hits the streets in Oswego By Lou Sorendo


t’s always helpful when starting any business to have a great mentor. For Paul Murphy, owner-operator of Murph’s Taxi in Oswego, he has just that in Bob Mills. Although independent, Murphy teams with his brother-in-law and mentor. The trio works together to efficiently handle calls and manage overflow. Mills, owner of Lone Wolf Taxi, has been in the cab business for 36 years. When Murphy first arrived on the streets in April of last year, Mills introduced him to the majority of his customers. “They know who he is and are comfortable with him,” Mills said. “My customers are devoted to me. I have some seniors, for example, who will cancel doctor’s appointments or hair appointments if I am unavailable,” he said. With his brother-in-law on the road, Mills can pass the torch in case he is sick or his vehicle is broken down. Murphy picks up many of the same customers that Mills had dropped off earlier in the day. He is also establishing his own clientele, which includes customers who had poor experiences with other cab companies. Murphy is also picking up business at area senior citizen facilities. He said word of mouth is vital to APRIL / MAY 2017

build clientele, as well as providing excellent customer service and cleanliness. “I want to be clean cut and make sure the car is clean and smells nice every time customers get in,” he said. Murphy said people also are in a rush, and he makes every effort to get to them as quickly as he can. “You have to be respectful and help out customers. That’s really critical,” said Murphy, noting he helps people with groceries, opens doors and assists people with walkers. Murphy likens being a cab driver to the job of a counselor or bartender. “You need to have open ears, but can’t take much to heart,” he said. “Also, you can’t let road rage get to you. You deal with a lot on the road on top of dealing with people’s personal problems,” Murphy said. He relies on the experience he has gained throughout the years working distribution for Local News, Inc. in Oswego. “It really came in handy in terms of being able to map out routes and change routes on the go,” he said.

Knows territory The lifetime Oswego resident said he knows all street locations as well as retail sites, again knowledge gained through handling distribution duties.

“It makes customers feel at ease when they realize I know the areas,” he said. As Mills’ protégé, Murphy learned many important aspects of a demanding job. “Bob showed me little tricks, such as what to keep in the cab in case there are problems or issues,” he said. “We always have jumper cables and battery jump starter packs in the winter if an emergency arises, plus blankets, and spare extra food and water,” he added. Murphy contemplated the move to launch his own business for a few years before he and his wife decided to take the risk and leave a steady income. “It’s really scary going into it” because of some of the costs associated with it, he said. However, he saw a demand and with Mills’ support, is striving to meet those needs. Mills was looking to cut back on hours, which opened the door for Murphy to step in and fill the void. Murphy is employing social media to get the word out concerning his new business. In just several months, he already has nearly 400 followers on Facebook. He is also developing a website, plans on using Twitter and is exploring the advantages of to attract out-of-town customers.

Not a subscriber?

Wanted: good character Murphy said the recent new legislation that requires drivers to meet “good moral character” criteria erases those with checkered pasts. “We have to install a lot of trust back into the taxi business,” Murphy said. “When I got in, a lot of people said they had a problem trusting a lot of the drivers.” He intends to stay independent and perhaps expand with family members in the future. Murphy said among the job stressors are traffic, “unbearable” weather and customers wanting to cut deals on fares. “I get that a lot,” he said. Mills said in the cab industry, parttime hours are 40. It is not uncommon for drivers to work 12- to 14-hour workdays while working strictly on commission. “After all these years, the downside of it is you develop insomnia, sleep apnea and the whole caboodle,” Mills said. “I think my alarm goes off maybe once or twice a year. I am automatically up, even on my days off,” he said. “The bottom line is if I didn’t get out, a lot of people wouldn’t get to work on time or get to work at all.” Murphy works from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. His contact phone is 484-0944 and he can be emailed at murphstaxi@

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APRIL / MAY 2017

Success Story

By Lou Sorendo

David Barclay runs Douglas Outdoors LLC

Douglas Outdoors LLC Outdoor Equipment Manufacturer in Phoenix Taking Fly-fishing World by Storm


local fishing equipment manufacturer is casting all of its resources in hopes of landing a prize catch. Douglas Outdoors LLC, located in the Oswego County Industrial Park, county Route 59, Phoenix, is sending shock waves throughout the global fishing community with products and accessories considered second to none. David Barclay — a member of the renowned Barclay family in Pulaski — runs the business that produces fly and conventional fishing rods and reels, available through dealers around the APRIL / MAY 2017

world. Barclay is the CEO of QMP Enterprises and manages the day-to-day operations of Syracuse Supply, Syracuse Supply Industrial, APT Machine Tool, APT Industrial, Super Coil, High Strain Dynamics and Douglas Outdoors. The Barclays, Oswego County’s legendary conservation family, owns Douglas Outdoors. They are the prominent owners of the Douglaston Salmon Run on the famed Salmon River in Pulaski. The property has been in the family OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

since 1807. “Oswego County has a great story to tell and can feel proud about the three world class fisheries it has in the Salmon River, Oneida Lake, and Lake Ontario,” Barclay said. “Douglas Outdoors is hoping to give the same sense of pride with a brand that is becoming world known.” While fly rods have yet to be manufactured commercially at the Phoenix facility, the business will be releasing its new Upstream Plus rod in May. John Boyle, vice president of sales, said casters at the elite Golden Gate 83

Anglers & Casting Club in San Francisco noted it was the best rod they ever used in terms of close casting and control. Other plans on the fly rod side include line expansion, or adding different rods to existing series, and getting into producing switch, spey and micro spey rods. On the spinning and spin-cast side, Douglas has more than 40 models and another 40 in development and will be adding to its current series. Boyle noted professional fishermen on tour now are using spin cast equipment made by Douglas. “We have the same expertise for spinning and spin-casting,” he said. “As we grow, it will be more this year and even more the next year.” “We have a process in creating and managing products that is not like any in the industry,” he said. “Every element within what we are doing we plan, then monitor and change as needed to degrees I’m positive that others don’t.” Boyle said competitors can try to match Douglas Outdoors’ rods, but the materials and design remain unmatched. “They can take it apart and come close, but good luck,” Boyle said. The rods feature a unique combination of lightness and strength. Speed is enhanced with the use of accessories such as Fuji torzite guides that maximize performance. Douglas Outdoors also applies the latest material science breakthroughs to fishing rod design. Barclay has an engineering background and is a Cornell University alum, and applies his knowledge to create automated production and precision quality control processes.

absolutely first class,” Boyle said. The opening price point for a Douglas DHF series 9-foot 5-weight is $169. Douglas Outdoors was featured recently on the covers of two international trade magazines: Tackle Trade World and Angling International. “That’s the kind of impact this little company in Phoenix is making on the world,” Boyle said. That level of recognition has led to increased demand for the product across

the globe. Boyle said distributors in Europe and Australia inquired about the rods because of the notoriety. “Douglas has put a lot of time into developing our products and listening to potential customers,” Barclay said. “We thought we would be successful in the United States, but never thought we would get the international recognition as quickly as we have.” Topher Brown, the highly acclaimed

Helping to drive marketing at Douglas Outdoors is national sales manager Dave McKenna. He drives a touring company van that Boyle refers to as an “urban assault vehicle from ‘Stripes.’ “We can go in and take over a small country with that thing,” said Boyle.

Ace up the sleeve Douglas Outdoors’ rod designer Fred Contaoi brings a vast range of experience, including having fished over 50 countries along with over 20 years of tournament competition. Contaoi has designed and built rods for internationally known brands while fine-tuning his craft over the years. At the Yellowstone Angler’s 2016 6-weight shootout, the Douglas SKY fly rod dominated and earned first place, while the Douglas DXF was the top mid-priced rod ($349). Its SKY series fly rod sells for $695. It comes with a lifetime warranty for $35, and even the rod sock is aerated and padded. “Everything about these rods is 84

The team at Douglas Outdoors includes, from left, Danny Edward, social media specialist; Tammy Sharkey, client services; Mike Pikulinski, operations director; Dina Christian, client services; and John Boyle, vice president of sales. In the back row is design director Jesse Clayton. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

APRIL / MAY 2017

Atlantic Salmon guru and spey casting master, told Boyle, “I can give you three names and you would be behind in production for 18 months,” according to Boyle. Boyle added that in Montana, considered the fly-fishing capital of the world, dealers are saying Douglas is the hottest brand there today. Boyle said in the fly fishing area, the company has the products, price points and customers, and “just needs to continue to put effort into gaining more dealers.” In just over two years, the company has established well over 100 dealers in the U.S. The company has also entertained the possibility of moving its production to Pulaski. “The family has a strong attachment to Pulaski, not just because of their houses, but because of the community,” Boyle said. It is estimated that approximately a quarter-million people come to the Salmon River for fishing annually. “It would be neat to have a connection with production, a place you can see,” he said. “It isn’t a now thing,” Boyle added. “It’s always been talked about, and if that ever comes about as an opportunity and our growth is continuing at the trajectory that we’re doing, I’m sure that will become a reality.”

Learning the ropes Douglas Outdoors began shipping products during the fourth quarter of 2014. Prior to that, Barclay and Boyle delved into acquisitions, from small to large fishing-related multi-national companies. “We had written agreements, but we found some issues that we felt were not going to be addressed the way we needed,” Boyle said. However, during that time, the pair earned a ‘PhD’ in knowing what they wanted to do, what the industry was doing, who was doing what, who was coming up and going down, and the supply chain, he said. “We at that point started our own brand knowing it would take a little longer,” he said. “We didn’t want to grab anyone’s baggage, debt or problems.” The company had the opportunity to partner with a manufacturer in South Korea, and took full advantage of it. All Douglas rods are currently made in APRIL / MAY 2017

South Korea. “We had an opportunity to come in at a certain price level for certain products, and we are now getting incredible brand recognition out there,” Boyle said. As a result, the company has developed a robust brand. “We don’t talk internal numbers,” Boyle said. “We’re a private company, and we are making some very big strides out in the market. I enjoy having our competitors not know exactly where we are.”

Luring in the customer Douglas Outdoors has a dedicated person in Dan Edwards, a Le Moyne College alum who drives the social media engine. Social media outreach is the largest part of its marketing plan. The company has a database of customers for email distribution, and also features giveaways at its shows. “People opt in and tell us about what they like and what they like to hear about,” Boyle said. Its Facebook page following has nearly 3,500 followers to date. User-friendly content is generated from in-house staff as well as its dealer and guide network. Douglas Outdoors also uses conventional means to market its brand and products. The company features an annual salmon camp at the DSR in October. There, dealers from across the country visit to enjoy the environment and check out Douglas products.

“There is zero hard selling. We don’t sell a thing while we are there. We just want them to try out different stuff we have and get to know us as people,” Boyle said. “As David always tells us, ‘All I am asking is that you take my phone call.’” “That type of relationship building is absolutely outstanding,” Boyle said. Barclay said the people at Douglas are what is making a difference and leading to the company’s success. “It takes not only a good product and a good plan, but most importantly, people who have a passion for what they are doing,” Barclay said. “Our customer service is becoming second to none with a need to help customers out — from the guy who wants to purchase one rod to the needs of the big box stores that have different demands.” Helping to drive marketing is national sales manager Dave McKenna. He drives a touring company van that Boyle refers to as an “urban assault vehicle from ‘Stripes.’” “We can go in and take over a small country with that thing,” said Boyle, noting it carries the company’s inventory and travels to “dealer days” and trade shows. “When we go to a special event, we can pull out panels that have every rod lined up with a reel and line for you to cast,” he said. There is legwork involved as well. In early March, Boyle was in the midst of attending eight trade shows spread over 11 weekends, from San Francisco to Boston.

John Boyle, vice president of sales at Douglas Outdoors, based in Phoenix.



content users prefer. For example, if you sell cat supplies, you can target people who frequently open cat video clips and stories about cats. You can set up how much you want to spend per day and how long you want ads to run to keep sponsored posts within your budget. “We’ve had campaigns that have their budget at $5 per day and get as many as 150 click-through in the month,” Chirello said.

Cross Promotion

Beyond SEO Experts discuss ways to increase Web traffic and increase search engine optimization


By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant hat can your business do to improve your website ranking? Plenty, according to local

experts. Steve Chirello, owner of Chirello Advertising in Fulton, said that email blasts can get your web address in front of more potential clients and current customers and it’s one of the most effective ways to increase web traffic. “You can set them up so they work directly with an offer on your website,” Chirello said. “You can be very surgical with who you reach with those.” Purchasing research data can help you target the population you want to reach, such as people living within a certain ZIP code, or those looking to purchase what you’re selling. Offering creative writing on your social media feed can divert traffic to your site as well, he said. “The audience we’re dealing with now has a shorter attention span than ever,” Chirello said. “It’s become a challenge to people in my business.


It’s a challenge to get people to read it. But you can with the combination of a graphic and numbers. You might push a specific model of truck and the specific deals. We’ve found this particularly successful.” Offering information that solves a problem, employing humor to make your point or creating an engaging video all represent good ways to draw people through social media. Chirello Chirello has also observed that sponsored social media posting can “be very effective, from political campaigns to hotel lodging.” Usually, the ad features a graphic and a link to your Facebook page or website. Like e-blasts, you can target sponsored posts to ZIP codes or the OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Creating a complementary online presence among social media platforms and your website helps create a cohesive image to which customers relate. Shane R. Stepien, president of Step One Creative in Oswego, said that using each social media platform properly makes a difference, too. “We try to cross-promote to get people to the website as much as we try to get Stepien people to the social media platforms,” Stepien said. “I look at each as a little different extension as to how we brand ourselves.” Think of the website as the business card and portfolio, but link it to social media for news. Instagram and Pintrest tend to be more visual. Twitter and LinkedIn orient on news, with Twitter offering short bits of information and LinkedIn the longer form. LinkedIn relates more to business-to-business information, and Twitter and Facebook provide more business-to-consumer communication. If a media member writes an article about your company, ask if your website may be included and a hyperlink added to the online version. To keep people on your site, make it easy to navigate on mobile devices. Keep the page headings easy to find and contact information on each page, including your phone number, city and state. Even if your business functions globally, showing where your headquarters operates helps build trust. Stepien believes that a website (not just a Facebook page) also helps “show there’s meat behind the business,” he said. “Those who do it right see a huge response and positive feedback.” APRIL / MAY 2017

William Schiemann

Top 5 Secrets Fulfilled People Use Everyday ‘Many people who I knew to be successful in their professional lives had many hidden stories of failures and bounce backs’.


help them overcome setbacks. We all have re there real tricks to becoming setbacks, it’s how you get up that makes fulfilled in life? You bet. My research and that of others sug- the difference. gests that there are key street-smart acTake risks. A really interesting findtions that those who are most fulfilled ing in my research is the quantity use every day. I interviewed over 100 of people who either took risks and vouched that those risks stretched them successful people — some who were fulfilled and others who were not — to and enabled them to reach new heights, or those who regretted not taking more risks. understand why It appears that wisdom success does not brings with it perspecGuest Columnist always bring about tive. What appeared to be huge risks to many fulfillment. There was amazing convergence around sev- when they were young, now seems insignificant in hindsight. Although hinderal things that fulfilled people do. sight is often 20-20, it would be too easy


Here are the Top 5:


Have strong values—and stick with them. Does your work environment, family and friends allow you to behave consistent with your values? Having to behave contrary with your values can be debilitating.

2. WILLIAM A. SCHIEMANN, Ph.D., is CEO of Metrus Group. He is a thought leader in human resources, employee engagement, and fulfillment and author of “Fulfilled! Critical Choices – Work, Home, Life” published in October. For more information, connect with him on LinkedIn at wmschiemann. APRIL / MAY 2017

Practice resilience. The ability to face adversity and bounce back. One part of resilience is having grit, a firmness of character or as psychologist Angela Duckworth describes it, the “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” It was a rare person who could pursue their long-term goals without setbacks in their lives — divorces, failed promotions, cancer, family members coming off the rails. Many people who I knew to be successful in their professional lives had many hidden stories of failures and bounce backs. They used a variety of approaches to get around those adversities that you can borrow in your own life, such as building a great support network of friends, or family that can support you as you plough through challenges. Those who had developed mentors found them particularly helpful. Some dug deep into their long-term vision or spirituality to OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

to dismiss this advice simply as sages looking through the rear view mirror. Instead, many felt so strongly about this that they have gone overboard in encouraging their children to take more risks. This is one of the most difficult lessons in the art of fulfillment, but you can help yourself by have a longer term vision, with many intermediate lighthouse goals along the way—stepping stones—that allow you to see the big picture. Imminent risks are often much less threatening when viewing the big picture. Another key is talking to those who have faced those risks before, often providing sage advice that allows one to reduce the fear and anxiety that comes with perceived risk.


Find a good network. One of the most frequent pieces of advice among our sages was taking time to build networks. One out-of-work pharmaceutical executive told me that the only time he networks is when he is out of work, lamenting that he has not learned from past mistakes. It takes so much longer to reconnect with people and build trust, he shared. This is an increasing challenge to those who are overloaded at work today. Many interviewees said that time pressures reduced their attendance at meetings outside work, limited hobby 87

I realized that one of our greatest sources of fulfillment is enabled others to become fulfilled and family time, and reduced the time to simply keep up with friends and professional colleagues on Facebook or Linked-In. Most realized that having a good network is a key skill, particularly in the world we live in where networks and connections are increasing key to scoring the next great job, or finding a life partner or getting into the right school. If you are not building your network continuously, you are falling behind.


Give back. An often forgotten element that brought fulfillment to many was giving back. Sharing your skills and experiences with others can bring an incredible sense of fulfillment when you see what it can do for others. I began volunteering for nonprofits later in life and I can attest that it has been one of the most rewarding experiences. One group I encountered during my investigations was Rosie’s kids—a program to help inner city kids go ahead in life by teaching them stage skills—dancing and singings their hearts away. I first heard the backstory of so many of the disadvantaged kids, crack houses, abusive parent, abandoned, homeless. Then I saw these kids performing with huge smiles on their faces—and one child summed it up for me when I spoke with him at the end. He said that he was excited about his future, his chances. And with a tear in my eye, I realized that one of our greatest sources of fulfillment is enabled others to become fulfilled. Take a moment to think about your own fulfillment. Do you have a vision, are you taking enough risks, have you built the networks to help you during difficult setbacks, and are you giving back to others more in need? Try it. I think you will find yourself more fulfilled. 88

How I Got

Started Randy Yerden: ‘In the world, nobody is doing what we are doing’ continued from page 11 past year? Is it starting to accelerate? A: The masses in the industry are starting to catch on to some of these leading techniques that they could employ now with our equipment. The leaders in the past — the scientists who broke ground — were studying stuff that was way beyond anybody’s comprehension. It takes time for a lot of these things to come out into the open. Now, more people are starting to recognize they should be doing it. In fact, we haven’t even scratched the surface. But we’re pretty confident that our brand will become very important and dominant in the industry some day. We’re highly respected in the industry, at least by the people who know us. We think the advanced ways of doing things that our customers originally had us design are going to become the standard. It’s really driven mostly by the importance and value in cells. Cells have become very valuable and the approaches that we take are quite sophisticated, but they cost more. The more cells become valuable, the more people can justify using these quality approaches that we are providing. Q: What were some of the foremost challenges involved in launching your business? A.: There are just massive amounts of laws and regulations that have to be dealt with. That administrative overhead is just mind-boggling and no one can really do everything perfectly. The people who make all these regulations might have some really remote reason why it might be important to 1-in-100,000 businesses, but then they make a rule that every business must comply to one thing. The paperwork is unbelievable OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

and so overbearing that the administrators — the people who make the rules — can’t even follow themselves. For example, the government wants you to deal with rules, certain procedures, inspectors and certificates. They come in like gangbusters and it just costs us a lot of money and time, and scares us. I have a stack right in front of me of things I can’t even understand much less comply with. Q: What kind of competition do you face? A: In the world, nobody is doing what we are doing. There are fringe competitors everywhere, and there’s competition in every product category we have. But they are not approaching it in the holistic way we are. Part of it is because the industry itself still doesn’t look at it as necessary, but I’m sure we will have direct competitors some day. Q: What types of plans do you have for BioSpherix going forward? A: Automation is probably one of the biggest directions that we’re taking. We always planned on it, but now it’s getting started and we’re partnering with some of the best automation partners in the world. We are not ourselves designing robotics as much as we are partnering with some of the automation leaders to bring automation to the live cell industry. It’s widely agreed upon that it is the most important factor to bring the value of these cells really into commercialization. If you can take people out of the picture and make robots do it around the clock, that’s where commercialization is going to be.

By Lou Sorendo

APRIL / MAY 2017

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

AUTO SALES & SERVICE Bellinger Auto Sales & Service — Third generation business. Used Cars, Towing, auto repair & accessories, Truck repair. Oil, lube & filter service. 2746 County Route 57 Fulton, NY 13069. Call 593-1332 or fax 598-5286.

Best Business Directory GLASS


Fulton Glass — Oswego County’s only full service glass shop. Residential. Commercial. Shower enclosures. Auto glass. Window and picture glass. Screen Repair. Window Repair. Beveled Mirrors and Glass. Hrs: M-Th 8-4, Fri 8-noon., 840 Hannibal Street, Fulton, NY 13069, 593-7913.

D & S Landscaping office. Servicing Oswego & surrounding areas. Quality work, prompt & dependable service. Free estimates. Fully Insured. Backhoe services, Lawn mowing, Snow plowing, Top soil, Tree work. Hydro-seeding & asphalt seal coating. 315-598-6025 (cell 315-591-4303).


White’s Lumber. Four locations to serve you. Pulaski: state Route 13, 298-6575; Watertown: N. Rutland Street, 788-6200; Clayton: James Street, 686-1892; Gouverneur: Depot Street, 287-1892.

Wet Paint Company. Paint, flooring, blinds & drapes. Free estimates. Call 343-1924,

AUTO SERVICE & TIRES Northstar Tire & Auto Service. Major/minor repairs. Foreign & domestic. Alignments. Tire sales. Call Jim at 598-8200. 1860 State Route 3 W. in Fulton.

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

KILN-DRIED HARDWOODS Lakeshore Hardwoods. We stock kiln-dried cherry, walnut, maple, butternut, ash, oak, basswood, mahogany, cedar figured woods, and exotics. Also, hardwood flooring, moldings, stair parts & woodworking supplies. 266 Manwaring Rd. Pulaski. 298-6407 or visit www.


EXCAVATING Gilbert Excavating. Septic systems. Gravel & top soil. Septic and tank pumping. 691 county Route 3, Fulton, 13069. Call 593-2472.

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



D & D Logging and Lumber. Hardwood lumber sales. Buyer of logs and standing timber. Very competitive pricing. Call 315-593-2474. Located at 1409 county Route 4, Central Square, NY 13036.

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

PAWN BROKER Pawn Boss. We buy everything from game systems to gold & silver. Coin collections, guitars and flat screen TVs too! Check us out on or call 415-9127.


$159 for 1 Year Just fill out this form, and send it with a check to:

APRIL / MAY 2017

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


Last Page

By Lou Sorendo

Paul Lear

Fort Ontario director spearheading international archeology conference in Oswego Q.: What is the purpose of the 10th annual Fort Ontario History & Archeology Conference April 21-23? A.: It’s to showcase Oswego’s great international history. Fort Ontario has figured highly in all our nation’s wars, especially in the 18th century during the French and Indian War (1754–1763) and World War II with the refugee center. History is business. People come from all over the world to visit Fort Ontario. Q.: Does this type event help in promoting the area? A.: We want to develop Fort Ontario and reach a worldwide audience. That’s what this conference accomplishes. We started with county bicentennial projects last year and the War of 1812 Symposium, so now we are breaking into the French and Indian War right up to the war in Afghanistan. This year, thanks to the great Canadian modern military historian Donald E. Graves, we have Rene Chartrand, another top military historian, as the conference’s keynote speaker. He has written over 60 books and wrote the first professional publication on the Battle of Fort Ontario in 1756. Historians and archaeologists around the world always have known about Oswego and its great history. This conference gives us a venue and a way to bring that across and get them all here. Once they are here, they speak about Oswego all over the world. Q.: What does it mean for Oswego to host an event of this stature? A.: This really establishes Oswego as a history center in the United States and Canada. This is very much an international effort. This means that Oswego has arrived. We’re on the world stage. Q.: What type of demographic do you expect to visit on that particular weekend? A.: People in all walks of life are interested in history. You get students and regular people who are interested in history. People watch the American 90

Heroes Channel and the History Channel on TV. Hollywood can’t make up the stuff that happens in history. Professors and local historians really like the annual conference, and we always feature local historians as speakers. Another speaker at the conference, George Bray, is a re-enactor and French and Indian War historian. Chartrand has been a senior curator with Canada’s National Historic Sites for nearly three decades. We have professional historians and museum people. We draw a very well rounded clientele here. It’s not targeted toward the elite. It’s targeted toward every man and woman.

attraction on the Haunted History Trail’s website, and had the most hits on our video segment last year. It’s been a big effort that reaches far beyond Oswego. Q.: House Resolution 46, authorizing a study by the National Parks Service on the feasibility of adding Fort Ontario and the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum to the National Park System, has passed the House of Representatives. How will the fort benefit from such a designation if it happens? A.: We will have vastly increased promotions and will be part of a much larger network that goes around the country and world. We will be able to have school and overnight programs, and people who will build up a volunteer corps. The whole infrastructure of people, staff and other aspects will greatly increase.

Q.: How important is it to have historical events of this type in Oswego County? A.: As far as establishing a reputation, it’s vital. If you don’t have events like this, and only have little local events, nobody is going to hear about you. So prestige is one, and it carries the reputation of Oswego far beyond the area. Q. What are your thoughts in regards to Fort Ontario’s ability to sustain itself in the future? A.: Remember, I’m in the business of predicting the past and not the future. The fort’s stock keeps rising. More people and organizations are getting behind it, which is a very positive thing. It leads to many good things for the fort, including increased visitation, and revenue to the state park coffers and also to the local economy. Q.: What other types of activities and programs can readers expect in 2017? A.: We are a leader in ghost tours and programming. We work very closely with the Oswego County Community Development, Tourism and Planning department and with the Haunted History Trail of New York State. We are a featured


Paul Lear is Fort Ontario Historic Site superintendent. APRIL / MAY 2017

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