Page 1

Voice of Business


November/December 2017

SunCommon NY Leads 2017 Rochester Chamber Top 100


unCommon NY, a distributor of renewable energy generation, including solar and wind projects, took the number one spot on the 31st annual Rochester Chamber Top 100 list of the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the Finger Lakes region. Waste services broker Waste Harmonics LLC and cardiac safety and respiratory services laboratory iCardiac Technologies, Inc. rounded out the top three. The Rochester Chamber Top 100 is a Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG LLP program that ranks businesses based upon both dollar and percentage growth.

held, headquartered in the nine-county Finger Lakes region, and have revenue of at least $1 million in each of the three most recent fiscal years. The program recognizes Rochester’s reputation as a region of innovation spurred by a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, “The Rochester Chamber Top 100 list serves as a wonderful example of the Rochester and Finger Lakes region’s positive economic evolution. The leading number of companies on the list came from the service, manufacturing, technology, and construction industries. We congratulate all of the Rochester Chamber Top 100 businesses and wish them continued success and growth.”

SunCommon NY Founder and CEO Kevin Schulte attributes his company’s growth to two things. “First, the future of solar is now,” Schulte said. “The second is our culture. We started as a value-led business in 2002 and became a certified benefit corporation in 2015. We grow because of our values and commitment to the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. Promoting ourselves as a member of the values led business community has presented us growth opportunities in sales, hiring, and our connection to the community. We have put this at the forefront of our marketing and

To be eligible for the Rochester Chamber Top 100, businesses must be independent, privately

Thank you to our website sponsors!

sales efforts, taking a community organizing approach to marketing and engaging our community in a dialogue about the solar opportunity here in Rochester.” Waste Harmonics President and CEO Michael Hess said, “I don’t believe you can achieve the growth we have without a strategic plan and a focus on customer retention. They feed off each other. Customer retention has always been a core strength of ours, which is our foundation for customer references and referrals for new business.”   iCardiac Technologies President and CEO Alex Zapesochny said, “iCardiac’s rapid growth is attributable to our ability to blend deep scientific insight with unparalleled customer support.  We have always recognized that offering great science and technology is important but it’s not enough. A company must also excel in the human factors, such as proactive communication and dedication to our customers’ goals.” Click here to see the full 2017 Rochester Chamber Top 100 list.

inside FLREDC Endorses 36 Priority Projects


CLIMB Gets Candid with NAB CEO


Workers’ Comp. Reform Update


Gig Economy and Traditional Staffing


2016-2017 Board Officers Rob Sands, Chairman of the Board Constellation Brands, Inc. John Pitton,Vice Chair Bank of America Brian Flanagan, Second Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer Nixon Peabody LLP

Senior Staff

Robert J. Duffy President and CEO

Bill Anderson Sr. Director, Membership, Sales, and Events Colleen DiMartino Chief of Staff/Manager of Administrative Services Colleen.DiMartino@GreaterRochesterChamber. com Kevin Donahue Director, Membership Susan George Director, Events and Affiliate Relations Burt Parks Sr. Director, Business Services Kathy Richmond Sr. Director, Human Resource Services Kathy.Richmond@GreaterRochesterChamber. com Nina Shelton Director, Group Health Insurance Dan Smith Sr. Director, Communications Tammy Stefani Chief Financial Officer Chris Wiest Vice President, Public Policy and Advocacy Kristin Graves, Newsletter Editor Voice of Business is the official newsletter of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, published at 150 State St., Rochester, NY 14614. Articles printed are for information only and are not intended to render legal advice.


November/December 2017

From the CEO


recently attended a meeting of local economic development professionals that included a third-party consulting group. In doing research about our community’s assets, the consultants found that the Rochester and Finger Lakes region is one of the top areas in the country for cost of living and affordability. However, the consultants gave low marks to our region for technology and tech transfer. When this came up during the presentation, I told the consultant that I couldn’t believe it and the problem may be that we have to do a better job telling our story. Those of us with a great deal of experience in Rochester know of our strength in the tech sector, but that strength doesn’t equal reputation. About two weeks before that meeting, I attended an event announcing the University of Rochester Data Science Consortium. Wegmans Food Markets Chairman Danny Wegman took the stage to introduce Governor Cuomo with the Beatles song “Revolution” playing loudly over the speakers. Danny’s first words to those gathered were, “Welcome to the digital revolution.” His remarks before introducing the governor indicated that our region has the ability and the need to lead a digital revolution. The U of R’s Data Science Center is a large step in that direction, taking it to a level with few peers across the country. The center can become transformative, not only for the medical and healthcare industry, but also for businesses and our region’s economy. The data and analytics work being done there has the potential to draw even more companies to put it to use. Add to that the immense talent produced by RIT, which already draws national and worldwide recruiters, and we have much to tout for our region. The AIM Photonics hub, when it is up and running early next year, will have over $100 million in state-of-the-art tools and equipment that do not exist anywhere else. That will also be a magnet for technology companies. I fully agree with Danny’s assessment that technology and the associated talent we have in this region is second to none. While we may not be at the same level as Silicon Valley at this moment in time, I can assure you that we have the brain power to compete and, as the consultant pointed out, the affordability in cost of living that would certainly outshine Silicon

Valley comparatively. Technology is at the very heart of our legacy here in Rochester going back to the days of George Eastman and the founding of Kodak. That legacy lives on right up through Bob Duffy the great tech companies of today that share a connection with the former “Big Three” of Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch and Lomb. Thanks to those legacy companies, new and emerging technology companies, and our great universities and colleges, Rochester and the Finger Lakes region is, indeed, a hotbed for technology. It is everywhere. We have companies that are equipped not only with world-class talent, but also have global customers. These companies abound throughout our region. The City of Rochester’s Downtown Innovation Zone and High Tech Rochester are magnets for start-ups perhaps destined to become the next big thing. I echo a theme that Governor Cuomo has often repeated in that New York State’s biggest export is talent. Again, we must do a much better job telling our story and keeping this talent here. If we keep those high-tech workers here and keep them employed with wages and a quality of life that can, in fact, surpass the larger metro areas of our country we can become a hub for technology. We can become, for a region our size, a Silicon Valley of the east. Other metro areas, including Silicon Valley, have priced themselves out of the market. Home prices, cost of living, and college debt can make those large metros an unattractive opportunity for a young professional leaving college. With all of these disparate successes, we must develop a strategy to bring them all together and then invest, support, and market the region in order to grow even stronger in the future. We have the talent. We have the infrastructure. We have the affordability. We are in the midst of a digital revolution. We can either ride the coattails of others or lead that revolution in this part of the country. I prefer that we lead it.

Voice of Business FLREDC Endorses 36 Priority Projects


he Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council endorsed 36 priority projects for round seven of the New York State investment competition. These projects, from Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties, represent a total proposed state investment of at least $20 million, leveraging $95 million in private and other funding for total project expenses of more than $115 million with a return on investment of 7 to 1. Detailed information about the FLREDC’s 2017 endorsed priority projects is available in the progress report at www. The report also outlines the region’s strong performance record in implementing its strategies and projects since the first round of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative in 2011. 605 projects in the Finger Lakes region have received awards through the Consolidated Funding Application process over the last six years. These projects


Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President Bob Duffy said, “The state support we have received over the last seven years has truly facilitated our region’s transformation and accelerated our momentum in moving the Finger Lakes forward. The  commitment of all council members is certainly evident in the 2017 annual report. As a region, we remain united for success, continuing our shared vision to extend economic opportunities to all of the region’s residents.” Round seven of the REDC initiative will award more than $800 million in state resources across all 10 regions, including up to $225 million in performance-based grants and tax credits from Empire State Development.

housands from the Rochester Institute of Technology community, including more than 40 college and university leaders from throughout the nation, attended the inauguration of David Munson as the university’s 10th president. Along with his duties as RIT president, Munson also joins the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce board of directors and executive committee. RIT is a Rochester Chamber Partner member.

We must continue to rethink our educational systems, so that we are building a broad, multidisciplinary skill set where creativity is exercised at every turn.”

At his inauguration, Munson told those gathered that today’s Rochester Institute of Technology is clearly different from the school created in the 19th century and RIT must continue to evolve to help solve the challenges facing society now and in the future.

“Our university is truly unique in higher education, with its core in technology, the arts and design, and other important disciplines radiating out from that core,” said Munson. “Every student can be involved in creating things that never before existed, and then putting those concepts into motion, in an effort to improve the world.”

Munson said, “Let’s double down on making our campus a thriving ecosystem to stimulate creativity and innovation which is the translation of an idea into a product, service, or process that has economic or social value.

Exploration Elementary Charter School

represent $2.2 billion in total investment, leveraging $266 million in state support by a ratio of more than 8 to1.

Munson Inaugurated as RIT’s 10th President


New Member Profile:

RIT’s new president also praised the university’s excellence in technology and arts and design, while encouraging the community to work across disciplines to help solve the most pressing issues of our time.

To learn more David Munson, go to president.about

ochester Chamber welcomed new member company Exploration Elementary Charter School for Science and Technology in September and had a moment to get acquainted with Lisa Clark, School Leader and CEO to learn more about this business. Tell us about your company: We are a new kind of elementary school, developed with Rochester and our scientifically advanced, interconnected world in mind. As the area’s first science and technology-focused elementary school, Exploration students will be prepared for success in school, college, and life in the 21st century. We currently serve 175 students in Kindergarten and Grade One. Exploration has a full-time Science and Technology Innovation teacher, and offers art, music, and physical education. What prompted you to join?         Rochester Chamber has a solid reputation for networking and connecting with members and community resources in the Rochester area. Our school’s mission emphasizes learning with mentors and experts in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). We look forward to connecting with Rochester Chamber to leverage local Science and Technology resources for our students and families. What business challenges are you facing? Exploration is a brand-new school. We have an extended school year and an extended school day (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.). Our hands-on, minds-on mission is unique with STEM integrated in our curriculum throughout the school day, in all subjects, and special areas. These are positive challenges and new opportunities for staff and students. What is your business outlook? It’s exciting to think about the possibilities as we continue to implement the mission and vision of our school. We look forward to increased collaboration with our families, the community, and the Rochester Museum & Science Center which is a partner.


Voice of Business CLIMB Cohort Gets Candid with NAB CEO Kris Sirchio


ur chance to query this invested, supercommuting executive would come soon, but first—North American Breweries’ CEO Kris Sirchio welcomed the CLIMB class at its October 18 event with an impromptu Q&A, getting to know the 31 rockstar YP reps from 28 Rochester Chamber member companies, and hearing more about what the cohort has been up to since the program kicked off in August 2017.

own decisions and figure out what’s best for their product category and the business as a whole.

Kris Sirchio: I heard you’re the best of the best- that’s what I was told.

Ashley DiDia, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust: I’ve been looking forward to seeing how some of these companies, like Wegmans or G-S Plastic Optics, are continuing to make Rochester the community to be in, to keep us on the map. It’s going to be a challenge for our generation to see the collaboration not only across industries but also cross-industry.

John Miller, O’Connell Electric: We are the best of the best of Rochester’s young professionals. It was a rigorous application process – we all had to be selected and commit to it. The last event we went to was in the Finger Lakes at Three Brothers Wineries, where we learned about the wine industry. We’re asking great questions and learning a lot about the places we go. We went to G-S Plastic Optics, and that was a great panel discussion. We’re learning a lot from industry leaders, and networking with each other has been great, too. KS: What is it that you really want to learn and take out from your experience this year? Megan Alchowiak, Image360: It’s really interesting to see the workings of companies that you hear and read about, and get to understand their business philosophy. We went to Wegmans Organic Farm for the first event, and got to understand how they empower their employees to make their

KS: What would you like to learn from us?

Kris agreed that businesses play a crucial role in helping a community thrive, setting up the upcoming discussion of NAB’s Triple Bottom Line strategy. Craig Gingerich, Sage Rutty Co.: I enjoy getting an opportunity to talk directly with people who are running super successful businesses. KS: That’s very generous, we’ll take it. [Laughter] Gingerich: I’ve tasted how successful your business is. [More laughter] We’re all young professionals, so any opportunity to learn from

mistakes or opportunities that you’ve seen throughout your career is helpful. Manuel Karam, Genesee Valley Publications: It’s helpful to learn about the challenges these companies have come across and the ways they’ve solved them. Kris reminded the group that Genesee had seen its share of challenges in years past, facing bankruptcy and closure before being acquired by a private equity company. Shaquana Divers, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield: Another area I’ve enjoyed hearing about from the leaders is how you keep your corporate culture positive and encourage your employees to give back to the community. KS:You just served us a beachball, thank you! [Laughter] Kris introduced the panelists, including Mary Beth Popp, Director of Corporate Relations, who leads their stakeholder-driven approach—a topic discussed in much more detail in Kris’ formal presentation. To have an opportunity to participate in oneof-a-kind, intimate conversations with some of the Rochester/ Finger Lakes top businesses and executives, apply or nominate a YP leader in your organization for the 2018-19 CLIMB class, beginning August 2018.

Rochester Chamber welcomes its new members American Red Cross of Greater Rochester... Peter Burke, HUNT Commercial Real Estate... Batavia Downs Gaming & Pink Rose Home Service (Skyline Builders, LLC) Beam Mack Sales & Rochester Army Recruiting Benderson Development Co. Rochester BlueRock Rochester Fringe Festival, Inc. Chris Hildebrant SRH Ventures....................................... Craig Tuttle Marketing - RochesterSEO... The Workforce Diversity Network............. Exploration Elementary Charter School for Science and U.S. Security Little Italy No One Left Behind - *Company listed in blue denotes our Partner Member* Panther Graphics, Inc.


November/December 2017

Connecting Business Rochester Chamber offers a variety of events each month. For more photos, visit our Facebook page. The YouTube logo next to the photos denotes a video posting on our YouTube channel.

Representatives from Monroe Community College, Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES, Wegmans, and Optimax Systems Inc participated in our workforce development discussion.

Partner member Hammer Packaging hosted this Rochester Chamber SPOTlight Tour. Hammer Packaging processes billions of highquality labels per year.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $20 million in state support for the creation of a Rochester Data Science Consortium at Rochester Chamber Partner member University of Rochester.

Guests put their Rochester/Finger Lakes region knowledge to the test at a team trivia quiz night to compete for great prizes.

Bob Duffy met with a group of STEM professionals from Japan to discuss women in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Our September Speed Networking event went by too fast (in a good way)!

CLIMB participants competed in a “Marshmallow Challenge” in a team building exercise during a leadership session.

The CLIMB cohort held their second event of the year, visiting G-S Plastic Optics and Three Brothers Wineries in Geneva.

The Committee for a Strong Economy held a reception for members to meet candidates endorsed in elections for Rochester mayor, city council, and Monroe County legislature.

A group representing eight countries met with Rochester Chamber and its Women’s Council as part of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

The College at University of Rochester President Joel Seligman, Monroe Community College President Dr. Anne Kress, Brockport President Dr. Heidi Macpherson, and Nazareth College President Daan Braveman discussed the future of education and the role of business.

Major General John Batiste, U.S. Army (Ret.) and founder of Batiste Leadership, shared his insights on leading high-performing teams.


Voice of Business Affiliate Events


reater Rochester Chamber of Commerce is made up of employers big and small, in just about every industry imaginable. While our programs and events are designed for all, we recognize that there are times when employers and employees want to be among a smaller group that shares their specific business issues. Here are some of our affiliates’ upcoming events: Associated New York State Food Processors • Dec. 8: Holiday Lunch Greater Rochester Quality Council • Nov. 30: Leadership Forum with Chris Houston • Dec. 7: Holiday Reception & Annual Meeting Small Business Council of Rochester • Nov. 8: Boot Camp: Succession Planning for the Small Business • Nov. 17: SBC Cares Thanksgiving Appeal • Dec. 13: Boot Camp: Lending for Business Growth Rochester Hispanic Business Association • Nov. 14: Breakfast with Pablo Biggs • Dec. 8: Holiday Party The Women’s Council • TBD: ATHENA Roundtable Breakfast

Applications Sought for 2017 GRQC Performance Excellence Awards Awards will be presented in three categories: Operations Excellence, Customer Excellence, and Team Excellence. Organizations from business, healthcare, education, government and not-for-profit are eligible to apply by Jan. 26.


November/December 2017

2018 ATHENA Awards Finalists


reater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and its Women’s Council affiliate announced finalists chosen for the ATHENA Award, the ATHENA Young Professional Award, and the ATHENA Organizational Award. Rochester Chamber and the Women’s Council plan to present the internationallyrecognized awards, which honor and empower women in business, at the 32nd annual ATHENA Awards dinner January 25, 2018. The ATHENA Award is given annually to a professional female leader who has demonstrated significant achievements in business, community service, and the professional advancement of women.

The 2018 ATHENA Award finalists are: •Laurie Baker, The Summit Federal Credit Union Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer •Pamela Fennell Baker, Tom Reed for Congress Finance Director •Cindy Becker, Highland Hospital Vice President and Chief Operating Officer •Alice Calabrese, Lollypop Farm, Humane Society of Greater Rochester President and CEO •Kristen Clark, The Bonadio Group Partner •Ann Marie Cook, Lifespan of Greater Rochester President and CEO •Sitima Fowler, Capstone Information Technologies Co-CEO •Jodi Gaines, CRFS, LLC Vice Chair and Founder •Seanelle Hawkins, Wilson Commencement Park – Sojourner House Executive Director •Wendi Heinzelman, University of Rochester Dean of the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences •Sharon Napier, Partners + Napier CEO •Marisol Ramos Lopez, City of Rochester Department of Recreation and Youth Services Commissioner •Mary Richardson, iuvo Bioscience Executive Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer, and Co-Founder •Pam Sherman, Business Advantage President •Deborah Stendardi, Rochester Institute of Technology Vice President for Government and Community Relations The ATHENA Young Professional Award recognizes emerging female leaders in the

30 to 45 year old range who demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession and serve as a role model for young women both personally and professionally. The 2018 ATHENA Young Professional Award finalists are: •Kim Allen, Dixon Schwabl Managing Partner, Communications •Courtney Cotrupe, Partners + Napier, President •Rose Feor Cooper, Martino Flynn Lead Planner for Integrated Marketing Strategy •Susan Glenz, Keller Williams Realty Operating Principal of Keller Williams Gateway and Team Leader of Susan Glenz Team •Sharitta Gross-Smith, Rochester Institute of Technology Assistant Director, Student Development •Nicole Kingsley-Brunner, Manning & Napier Director, Marketing Strategy •Jessica Lewis, ROC the Future Communications Specialist at The Children’s Agenda •Angelica Perez-Delgado,Villa of Hope Chief Compliance Officer and VP, Administration •Natalie Sinisgalli, Natalie Sinisgalli Photography Founder, President, and Photographer •Maria Thomas Fisher, Rochester & Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation, AFLCIO Chief of Staff The ATHENA Organizational Award goes to a woman-owned or woman-led business or organization that creates a culture encouraging women employees to achieve their full leadership potential and supports leadership development opportunities for women and girls in the community. The 2018 ATHENA Organizational Award finalists are: •Butler/Till •Dixon Schwabl •Latinas Unidas •Mirror Show Management •Willow Domestic Violence Center To purchase tickets or explore sponsorship opportunities for the ATHENA Awards dinner, visit

Public Policy Workers’ Compensation Reform Update

Election Day 2017

By Chris Wiest Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy



igh workers’ compensation costs continue to be one of the biggest employer challenges we hear from members. As a result, Rochester Chamber and its Workers’ Compensation committee have been actively involved in efforts to reform our costly, outdated workers’ compensation system. Earlier this year, these efforts were partially rewarded by some of the first significant reforms in more than a decade. This past May, Governor Cuomo announced a decision by the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board to approve a 4.5% rate decrease, resulting in approximately $400M in savings. Click here to view a summary of the reforms and related Rochester Chamber actions this past April on 2017. A significant component of the 2017 reforms included the development of new medical impairment guidelines for scheduled loss of use (SLU) awards. The current guidelines have not been updated in more than two decades and fail to take into account advances in modern medicine that produce better patient outcomes. Under the current system, some

injured workers have received six digit SLU awards without missing a single day of work. It is projected that if done correctly, updated guidelines could lead to $100-$300 million in savings. This past August, the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) assembled a committee of representatives from business, labor, and the medical community to review and provide feedback on draft guidelines. Draft guidelines were released for public comment on September 1. The WCB is to be commended for its work to update guidelines in the face of strong opposition from reform opponents. While the draft guidelines offer the opportunity for improvement, the lack of clarity and level of subjectivity surrounding some of the new rating factors raise concern. Rochester Chamber and its Unshackle Upstate partners have all provided feedback to WCB on these areas. You can view Rochester Chamber’s public comments here. Final guidelines are slated to be released by January 1, 2018. It is our hope that the new guidelines will address the concerns raised by Rochester Chamber and the broader business community. We will remain actively engaged on this issue. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this or any other policy matter in more detail, please contact me at (585) 256-4626.

2018 Public Policy & Advocacy Member Survey


reater Rochester Chamber of Commerce is developing its 2018 Public Policy and Advocacy Agenda, and we need your help! To ensure that our members’ most important concerns are included in the agenda, we’ve created a brief survey to identify your organization’s public policy and legislative

priorities. Please complete this short survey (estimated to take no longer than 5-10 minutes). Your responses will be kept strictly confidential. Thank you for your assistance. Your input is invaluable to setting Rochester Chamber’s upcoming Advocacy Agenda. Complete the survey here.

Recent Member News Partners + Napier Expands Eastman Business Park Seeking Developers for Coveted West Ridge Road Lot Constellation Brands to Acquire Minority Stake in Canopy Growth Corporation

Capstone Information Technologies Expands Into South Florida Panther Graphics Announces Expansion and Job Creation Rochester Regional Health Opens Wegman Center for Workforce Development

hen the polls open on November 7, registered voters will have the chance to once again elect officials whom they believe will best represent their and the community’s interests. The business community and area residents are directly affected by the decisions made by local governments and our community faces significant challenges that elected officials will have to address. Some of the concerns most commonly cited by Rochester Chamber members include high taxes, job creation/retention, worker shortages, poverty, and economic development for our region. Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, through its political action committee (PAC), The Committee For A Strong Economy, has endorsed candidates in local races this fall. A candidate seeking the PAC’s endorsement must complete a questionnaire that focuses on issues that affect our region’s employers and citizens. In late September, the candidates were interviewed by representatives of the 11-member PAC board to determine which candidate, if any, deserved endorsement. This year, The Committee for a Strong Economy endorsed seven candidates in races for City of Rochester Mayor, Rochester City Council, and Monroe County Legislature. Endorsements were officially announced at our annual Endorsement Night and have been posted on our website to assist employers and employees with voting decisions. View the complete list of endorsements here.

Please encourage your employees to participate in this year’s elections and exercise their right to vote. Visit www. for more information on candidates, races, and voter registration. If you have any questions or would like to participate in next year’s candidate interview process, please contact Chris Wiest at (585) 256-4626 or Shannon Ealy at (585) 256-4658.


Human Resources

Rochester Chamber 2018 Holiday Closing Survey Highlights


his is the time of year when the Rochester Chamber HR Helpline receives many calls from members asking which holidays other Rochester-area employers are observing in the coming year. To meet this need, Rochester Chamber conducts the annual Holiday Closing Survey on behalf of its members. Best practices continue to show that when holidays fall on a Saturday, employers observe it the Friday before, while holidays that fall on a Sunday are typically observed on the following Monday. When a holiday falls mid-week, employers adjust accordingly. A few highlights from the 2018 Holiday Closing Survey follow.

holidays, and high of 17 holidays. • Full-time employees are eligible immediately upon hire according to 78 percent of respondents. • Independence Day 2018: Most respondents, 98 percent, will observe the holiday on Wednesday, July 4, and 9 percent also plan to close on Tuesday, July 3. • Thanksgiving 2018: Most respondents, 99 percent, will observe the holiday on Nov. 22, and 79 percent will give employees Friday off as well. • Christmas 2018: 99 percent will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 25, while 57 percent plan to close for a full day on Monday, Dec. 24.

• On average, employers give an average of 8.6 paid holidays per year, with a low of 6

The above highlights are only a small portion of the data provided in the survey. Data is also collected on holiday pay policies pertaining to new employees, part-time employees, employees working flexible schedules, requirements to work the day before and/or after the holiday, etc. Participants automatically receive the free results when published. Those Corporate and Partner members that were unable to participate can request a free copy of this and most other Rochester Chamber research reports as a benefit of membership. Corporate and Partner members can contact Kathy Richmond at (585) 256-4618 or Jennifer Suppé at (585) 256-4608 for more information on other annual benchmarking surveys conducted by Rochester Chamber.

Build Your HR Network: Register Now for the 2018 HR Forums


ochester Chamber is now accepting registrations for the 2018 Benefits Forum and 2018 HR Professional Forum. If you missed the opportunity to join either of these forums in 2017, here is your chance to connect with your peers and build your HR network. Each year, the Rochester Chamber HR forums give members an opportunity to connect with peers who understand the challenges HR professionals face every day. The HR forums help keep you up to date on state and federal labor laws and help build on the experience you already have through active participation and interaction with

peers. All forum participants are expected to maintain the confidentiality of discussions at the meetings so forum members can be free to have open discussions. Participant qualifications are reviewed to ensure the level of expertise is commensurate with the group. Below is a brief summary of the two forums starting in the next few months. Benefits Forum: Provides senior level benefits professionals with the opportunity to benchmark and network with peers on benefit trends and issues including benefits practices and strategic planning. Meetings begin in February 2018.

HR Professional Forum: Presents mid-level human resource professionals the opportunity to benchmark and network with peers while sharing HR knowledge through roundtable discussions and presentations from guest speakers. Meetings begin in January 2018. The registration deadline for the HR Professional Forum is December 7, 2017. The Benefits Forum registration deadline is January 11, 2018. Space is limited and will be offered on a first-come, first served basis. To learn more about these forums, including meeting dates, or to download a registration form, click here. If you have any questions, please email Jennifer Suppé or call her at (585) 256-4608.

Rochester-Area Wage Surveys Starting Soon


ochester Chamber’s first quarter 2018 benchmarking surveys begin in January. Only Corporate and Partner members are eligible to participate and those who participate receive complimentary results when released. There are three different surveys starting in January. The local Annual Wage and Salary Surveys begin the week of January 8, 2018 and provide Rochester-area wage and salary data. The four local surveys include Nonexempt, Professional/Managerial,


November/December 2017

Manufacturing, and Health & Human Services. The National Executive Compensation Survey begins the week of January 1, 2018 and covers compensation and perquisites for 47 key executive positions. The Turnover and Absenteeism Survey starts the week of January 15 and gathers data on turnover statistics and absenteeism rates for calendar year 2017. Questionnaires for all surveys will be emailed to those members who requested to participate in the timeframes specified above.

Sign-up for all first quarter surveys will begin the week of December 4 via an e-mail invitation which will be sent to HR contacts at Corporate and Partner member companies. Members are welcome to sign up early for one or more of these surveys. Click here to go to the online signup page. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Richmond at (585) 256-4618, or contact Jennifer Suppé at (585) 256-4608. To discuss upgrading your membership so that you can participate in these valuable benchmarking surveys, please contact Kevin Donahue at (585) 256-4651.

Legal Briefing OSHA Electronic Injury Reporting Update Meghan M. DiPasquale Ward Greenberg Heller & Reidy LLP


n May 2016, the U. S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule related to injury and illness data collection from employers. See Standard 29 CFR 1904. This rule requires electronic submission of information from OSHA Form 300A by most companies with 250 or more employees at an “establishment” currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and employers with 20-249 employees in 67 specific industries that historically have higher rates of occupational injury and illness. The final rule also allows OSHA to collect information from employers that are not required to submit information to the agency on a regular basis, upon written notification from OSHA. Employers must submit a summary of occupational injuries and illnesses reported the previous year each February through April. Such records must be kept at the worksite for at least five years and provided to current or former workers if being requested. While OSHA believes that public access to information regarding workplace injury occurrences will provide public health researchers with an opportunity to advance injury and illness causation and prevention research, it also opens the door for additional OSHA citations and penalties, as well as negative consequences from other third parties utilizing this data. OSHA argues that this new reporting requirement will help employers and employees identify hazards and prevent additional injuries and illnesses. The business community has expressed concerns throughout the rule making process about a number of unintended negative consequences that could result from this provision of the recordkeeping standards. Specifically, the business community is concerned companies may have to reveal business detail that had in the past been considered privileged and confidential. Businesses have also expressed concerns that the reporting rules may give access to their business processes to

competitors, plaintiffs’ lawyers, and activists for use against the company. Under the new rule, OSHA re-emphasized the requirements of the whistle-blower protections found in Section 11C of the federal law for employees to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation. The final rule contains three provisions to highlight/ expand the retaliation protection. Specifically, an employer must inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. OSHA has indicated that employers may meet this obligation by posting the “Job Safety and Health-It’s The Law” workers’ rights poster from April 2015. In addition, an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and must not deter or discourage employees from reporting. Finally, an employer may not retaliate against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses. Accordingly, under this expanded retaliation provision, arguably an employer can be specifically cited for retaliation under the recordkeeping standard and at the same time an employee can file a Section 11C retaliation complaint. If so, this enhances the potential liability against an employer for any discipline issued for violation of safety rules. The compliance schedule initially required employers to submit electronic information by July 1, 2017 and 2018, and March 2, 2019 and every year thereafter. However, in mid-May OSHA announced it would delay compliance. In August, following months of uncertainty, the agency officially launched its Injury Tracking Application (ITA). The first submission deadline now is December 1, 2017. OSHA extended the original deadline so that affected businesses had time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system and to give the Trump administration an opportunity to review the new reporting requirements before they were implemented. It is widely expected that OSHA will issue a separate proposal to reconsider, advise, or remove other provisions of the electronic recordkeeping rule in the future.

into a web form; another option lets users upload a C file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time; and a third option will allow users of automated recordkeeping systems to transmit data electronically via an application programing interface. The ITA was temporarily suspended on August 21, 2017 due to a potential security breach. A spokesman for OSHA said it received an alert from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team in the Department of Homeland Security indicating that there was a potential compromise of user information from the ITA. On August 25, 2017 OSHA announced that the DHS determination was incorrect and no ITA information was compromised. OSHA stated that the National Information Technology Center performed a complete scan of the website and confirmed that the ITA portal was not breached. What caused DHS to determine that the portal had been breached has not been disclosed, and it also is not clear what added safeguards OSHA has put in place to protect data submitted through the ITA portal. Note that the servers of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) were recently breached, involving government employee data. This event is a reminder to private sector employers that they must consider their fiduciary obligations to protect company data, specifically employee information, when complying with OSHA’s electronic disclosure regulations.

According to OSHA, the secure website offers three options for data submission. One option will enable users to manually enter data


Voice of Business U.S. Chamber VP Delivers Federal Update


reater Rochester Chamber of Commerce welcomed U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Congressional and Public Affairs Ron Eidshaug to deliver an update on the federal state of affairs at a Policy Matters event. Eidshaug covered several topics, including the prospect for tax reform.

“Americans are at a competitive disadvantage to their competitors overseas. Right now, the tax code provides incentives for American companies to keep money overseas,” Eidshaug said.  We are the only industrialized country that taxes earnings earned overseas twice.  They’re taxed there and then we tax them here.  Our competitors in the international arena don’t.  We need to deal with that now.  We need to deal with rates. It’s a big package.  We need to see what it all looks like together.  Certainly the devil is in the details.  Certainly

rates are a priority. But dealing with the international component is probably the first priority. Eidshaug also told those in attendance that it’s up to the business community to work together to get its voice heard in Washington and make a difference. Eidshaug said, “Things are difficult. You hear a lot of noise out of Washington. Washington can do a lot for you, but Washington can also do a lot to you. At the end of the day the business community has a huge voice. If we are quiet, the other side is going to win. We need to continue to work together. It’s easy to get frustrated. It’s easy to get complacent. We need to all work together. It gets things done.”  For more from Rochester Chamber’s Public Policy and Advocacy team, click here.

New Amtrak Train Station Open


group of Rochester Chamber staff members attended a grand opening ceremony for the new $44.3 million Rochester Amtrak train station. The new station is designed to speed up travel with expanded track service, streamline operations with a modern concourse and baggage handling system, and improve the overall passenger experience with enhanced accessibility, retail amenities, and a larger building inspired by the aesthetics and architecture of the historic Bragdon Station, which once stood on the same site. Funding for the project includes $23.4 million from the State Department of Transportation and $20.4 million in federal funding, including a $15 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Program. The City of Rochester contributed $500,000. Amtrak contributed to the new Passenger Information Display System at the station.  

City of Batavia Awarded $10M to Revitalize Downtown


he City of Batavia, Genesee County, took the top award of $10 million dollars in round two of New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) competition. The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council went through a competitive review process of proposals from communities throughout the region before recommending Batavia as its nominee for winner. At a ceremony at Batavia City Hall presenting a ceremonial $10 million check, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “This $10 million award will help attract jobs, spur private investment and transform Batavia’s downtown into a vibrant, diverse and economically active business and cultural center. By investing in the unique strengths of local communities, we are driving economic resurgence and continuing to move the Finger Lakes forward.” Batavia will now begin the process of


November/December 2017

developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders will lead the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan for downtown Batavia will examine local assets and opportunities and identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. The downtown Batavia Strategic Investment Plan will guide the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that will advance the community’s vision for its downtown and that can leverage and expand upon the state’s $10 million investment. Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski, Jr., said, “The governor’s

commitment of $10 million from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative comes at a time when Batavia is on the edge of major economic development and growth. The award will propel our efforts forward as our community continues to work together to strengthen and grow downtown. There’s no doubt that jobs and private sector development will follow this investment.” Assemblyman Steve Hawley said, “Batavia is an extraordinary place and growing up here I’ve seen its businesses, infrastructure, and residents blossom and flourish. This funding will help fund various projects in Batavia’s downtown and business district that will bolster our business community, foster new tourism, and create a better quality of life for Batavians, and I look forward to seeing the progress firsthand.” Batavia now joins the City of Geneva, which was the Finger Lakes region’s winner in the first DRI round.

Voice of Business Gig Economy and Traditional Staffing By Burt Parks Sr. Director, Business Services


here is a lot buzz around a different kinds of business model taking shape in the United States and around the world. This model goes by many different names such as the sharing economy, the gig economy, ondemand peer, or platform economy. The premise is basically placing an order for people to perform work or services, from decorating your house to picking you up and taking you to your destination. In addition, there is a mechanism to rate them online based on performance and users can make payments directly through the app. Some examples of these companies include

TaskRabbit, Dogvacay, AirBnb, Thumbtack, and Uber, just to name a few. Basically for these online human cloud platform businesses, the process of hiring is based on an algorithm. So it is not who has the most people but who has the better algorithm. You hire somebody to do a job or service based on a set formula and a rating. Now that seems easier and in some ways it is. Kind of like a dating app for workers. There is a movement by some of these online human cloud platform businesses toward the traditional staffing arena. On paper that seems like a great idea. If you need 5 people for a day, it could work.

checking software. We have, and will continue to automate the process of recruiting, the process of hiring for our customers, and the performance of background checks. But it will never take away from a key part of RBA Staffing’s success, which is the human interaction between hiring manager, our placement and background checking specialists, and the candidates and employees. This is a basic tenet of who we are. The use of an app, an algorithm, and online ratings can be used for hiring, but the value of trained staff interaction and direct human interaction can’t be ignored. There may be a few people reading this who would not be in their position if the human contact aspect was not involved. I know I would not be.

This past year, RBA Staffing has invested in both new recruiting and new background

Rochester Chamber Debuts Forklift Training Program


reater Rochester Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Partner members Foodlink and Monroe Community College’s Corporate College to offer an introductory forklift and industrial vehicle training course. The program is an initiative driven by input from Rochester Chamber member companies in need of entry-level material handling employees. Rochester Chamber Strategic Initiatives Manager Adrian Hale said, “Our objective is to prepare the applicants for the workforce by giving them a general fluency and proficiency in how to operate forklifts as well as the safety procedures and regulations, so that we can produce a higher quality applicant for employers. That business is then able to train them for their specific site and their specific equipment.” After a three hour classroom session, the trainees hit the floor at the Foodlink warehouse for five hours of hands-on training with stand-up forklifts, sit-down forklifts, and electric pallet jacks. The training provides participants with OSHA certification to operate the machinery, allowing them to pursue further training and certification on equipment with employers.

dates are November 27 and December 18. For more information, contact Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Strategic Initiatives Manager Adrian Hale at Adrian. or (585) 256-4605.

Hale said, “We would like this program to become the go-to for Rochester Chamber’s nine-county Finger Lakes region service area. If a company is looking for people to operate forklifts, hopefully we can establish a level of reputation that we can pipeline people into work.” Foodlink Executive Director Julia Tedesco said, “Partnering with Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce has enabled Foodlink to deepen our commitment to workforce development. Our partnership with the chamber has allowed us to leverage our combined resources and assets to train individuals with tangible skills and expand their employment opportunities. In the long run this helps us accomplish our mission by helping them to feed themselves and their families.” Nine participants received job offers from area employers immediately following the first two day-long training sessions. The next Rochester Chamber forklift training program session

Friday HR Briefings Nov. 3 - Employment Arbitration - Current Trends and Useful Tools Nov. 27 - Planning the Holiday Office Party: What HR Shouldn’t Forget Dec. 2 - TBD Time: 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Location: Rochester Chamber 150 State St., Rochester, NY 14614 Open to: Members only (no cost) To register, email Michele.Hefferon@


Rochester Chamber Top 100 VIP Reception

Upcoming Events For more details and to register, visit

November 8 Speed Networking November 9 Rochester TRENDS: NovemBEER Showcase SOLD OUT: November 14 Chamber Member SPOTlight Tour: Zweigle’s November 15 Teamwork Makes the Dream Work:YP Development December 6 Rochester Chamber Holiday Party December TBD Policy Matters: Business Outlook

Sponsorships sell out quickly! For detailed information, contact Susan George, Director of Events, at (585) 256-4612.

Congratulations to this year’s Buffalo Bills tickets winners!

Follow us on...

November/December 2017 Newsletter  

Voice of Business is the official newsletter of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Articles printed are for information only and are not...

November/December 2017 Newsletter  

Voice of Business is the official newsletter of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Articles printed are for information only and are not...