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People on the Move: The Southern Tier’s new hires & promotions. Page 6. BANKING FUTURE: Tompkins Financial embraces ‘fintech’.

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WOODHOUSE: A Builder of Dreams


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STBJ Data & Details

Chemung Financial to pay quarterly dividend of 26 cents on April 3

STBJ Briefs

COMING UP: May 1 Issue: Top Ranks List: Manufacturers June 19 Issue: Top Ranks List: Chambers of Commerce PHOTO CREDIT: DAFFODIL HILL BAKERY FACEBOOK PAGE

WRITERS/EDITORS: Norman Poltenson 315.579.3916

Adam Rombel Editor-in-Chief 315.579.3902 Maria Carbonaro Associate Editor 315.579.3910

Daffodil Hill Bakery formally opens in the town of Owego OWEGO — Daffodil Hill Bakery LLC, which specializes in making homemade pies and other baked goods, formally opened on Feb. 23 with a ribbon-cutting event with the Tioga County Chamber of Commerce. The family-owned business, which is located at 4448 Day Hollow Road in the town of Owego, first opened to customers last September. Daffodil Hill Bakery says it is “carrying on a heri-

tage of pie making and other delectable recipes handed down and acquired through the years.” Its selection of pies includes apple, blueberry, cherry, lemon meringue, peach, pecan, pumpkin, and strawberry pies. The bakery also makes banana bread, cinnamon rolls, and a variety of cookies. The bakery is open Tuesday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Southern Tier Technologies is accepted into the START-UP NY program PHOTO CREDIT: R&C AUTO REPAIR FACEBOOK PAGE

Eric Reinhardt 315.579.3915

NEWS ALERTS Sign up for the Business Journal News Network’s Email News Alerts HOW TO REACH US MAIL: Send letters to: Editor, The Business Journal News Network 269 W. Jefferson St. Syracuse, N.Y. 13202-1230 EMAIL: PHONE: (315) 579-3902

ELMIRA — Chemung Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: CHMG) announced that its board of directors has approved a quarterly cash dividend of 26 cents a share. The banking company will pay the dividend on April 3 to common stock shareholders of record as of the close of business on March 20, according to a Chemung Financial news release. At its current stock price, the dividend yields about 2.9 percent on an annual basis. Chemung Financial is a $1.7 billion financialservices holding company, headquartered in Elmira, which operates 33 branches through its main subsidiary, Chemung Canal Trust Company. Started in 1833, Chemung Canal Trust says it is the oldest locally owned and managed community bank in New York state. Chemung Canal Trust ranks ninth in deposit market share in the 16-county Central New York area, according to the latest FDIC data. It has 20 branches, with more than $950 million in deposits in the region. Chemung Financial is also the parent of CFS Group, Inc., a financial-services subsidiary offering mutual funds, annuities, brokerage services, tax preparation services, and insurance. It also has an insurance company subsidiary called Chemung Risk Management, Inc., which is based in Nevada.

R&C Auto Repair opens new facility on Route 17C in town of Owego OWEGO — R&C Auto Repair, LLC recently opened its new facility at 2100 State Route 17C in the town of Owego. The family-owned business held a ribboncutting ceremony on March 3 with the Tioga County Chamber of Commerce. For 21 years, R&C Auto Repair had been located about 6 miles to the west at 217 Glen Mary Drive in the town of Tioga. The business closed up shop there on Feb. 23 before holding a grand-opening week at its new shop Feb. 27-

March 3, per its Facebook page. Russ Cornwell is the owner of R&C Auto Repair and an ASE-certified master technician with more than 28 years’ experience in the automotive field, according to a Tioga County Chamber news release. The business is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., and Tuesday, 7:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m. It also offers drop-off and pick-up services at Lockheed Martin.

BINGHAMTON — A Southern Tier startup company is among 43 businesses that New York State has accepted into the START-UP NY program. Southern Tier Technologies is a new engineering business in the industrial-electronic industry with a focus on energy efficiency, Empire State Development (ESD) said in a news release. The company will invest $258,000 and create 69 new jobs, ESD said. SUNY Broome Community College is its academic sponsor. START-UP NY is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s offer to new or expanding companies and business ventures to operate completely tax-free in areas on or connected to SUNY campuses. Southern Tier Technologies designs, develops, and manufactures power equipment for process industries to “control costs, reduce emissions [and] energy use and improve safety,” per the release. The company’s first product designed and manufactured “completely” in its facility is called power factor correction (PFC). PFC is designed to reduce customers’ electricity bills by eliminating reactive energy charges. Southern Tier Technologies is one of 43 businesses that have committed to create more than 640 new jobs and invest more than $15 million statewide, ESD said. None of the other 42 businesses are located in the 16-county Central New York area. The figures include 18 companies that the University at Buffalo is sponsoring that have committed to creating 238 jobs, according to the agency’s news release.

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No dreamer is ever too small; no dream is ever too big. — Anonymous BY NORMAN POLTENSON TRUMANSBURG — The request arrived while Patrick Seaman was on vacation. The Dream Factory of Central New York was eager to fulfill the wish of a sevenyear-old girl — Isla Landon — who was losing her sight. Her dream did not include a trip to Disneyland; Gummy Bear Lights; a dog-breed umbrella; taco and hot-sauce mismatched earrings; the Orbo Kids Smartwatch with rotating camera, Bluetooth phone pairing, and games; or Tacosaurus knee-high socks. She wanted two custom-built tree houses connected by a zip line. Seaman, who is the president and sole stockholder of Woodhouse, a timber-frame company accustomed to building legacy homes, didn’t hesitate to round up subcontractors to construct the project pro bono. He and Ray Lefebvre, the staff architect at Woodhouse, met with Isla to design the structures, including rope ladders, bunk beds, and a trap door. Woodhouse even rendered the concept into a three-dimensional model. The project was completed last November. “My reward was seeing Isla smile during the construction phase,” says Seaman. “That made every second of our efforts worthwhile.”

Why timber frame?

Seaman’s usual reward is seeing his clients smile after they move into a Woodhouse residence or commercial structure. Timber-frame structures, which trace their beginnings back 2,500 years, are built from large wood posts and beams that form the structural support, thus eliminating the need for interior, load-bearing walls. Once the timbers are set up, the walls are put into place, enclosing the structure on the outside but leaving the timber framing exposed on the interior. The wall panels can be finished with any type of exterior material. “Our clients really appreciate the beauty of a timber-frame structure,” says Seaman. “They also like how eco-friendly this construction is because it is a renewable resource, uses 30 percent less wood than a conventional structure of the same size, and keeps waste to a minimum at the mill and on the job site. In addition, the staging area is greatly reduced, which minimizes tearing up the landscape. Efficiency is another reason customers appreciate our buildings. The Woodhouse building system includes SIPs (structural-insulated panels), which have a foam core sandwiched between two structural facings. The SIPs are extremely strong, light, and cost-effective from a building standpoint,

and the insulation value of these panels along with thermal windows save between 30 percent and 70 percent on energy costs … Another benefit of timber-frame construction is longevity: These structures are built to last. There are countless examples of timber-frame homes, churches, and other buildings that have been standing for hundreds of years. And [finally], timber-frame construction is durable. The structures have a higher fire tolerance than stick-framed homes, they absorb the impact better from seismic shock, and are better at resisting winds from hurricanes and tornados because the joinery that holds the timbers together gives the structure some flexibility.” Seaman describes his typical homebuyer as a couple of empty-nesters in their 60s possessing substantial net assets. The husband probably is a corporate executive. Their dream is to construct a legacy home — ranging from a cabin to a mansion — that can be not only enjoyed but also passed on to heirs as part of the family heritage. On the commercial side, Woodhouse has also built ski lodges, clubhouses, restaurants, churches, and a synagogue using timber framing.


Builder of dreams, Woodhouse on track to double sales

Patrick Seaman, president of Woodhouse, relaxes in his Trumansburg home, an example of a timber-frame structure that his company builds. Woodhouse sells both legacy-residential and commercial structures, but Seaman prefers to say that the 38-year-old company is in the business of building dreams. The firm’s strategic plans call for doubling sales in the next five years.

employs 30 people, of whom 23 work in Mansfield. The six project managers are scattered across the country. The business sells 40 to 50 kits annually, most of which are residential. Seaman didn’t disclose annual-revenue figures.

Time to grow

Seaman says he is in the business of delivering dreams to his customers. Now

he has decided to deliver his own dream — doubling the size of the business in the next five years. “I have a compulsion to grow,” he confesses. “The recession of 2008 put a real damper on our industry, but since 2013 the market has been getting stronger. If the current administration can ease the burden on community banks SEE WOODHOUSE, PAGE 64

Company history and operations

Woodhouse was the brainchild of two partners — Steve Keller and John Saveson — who incorporated in 1979 as Solar Northern, Inc. At the time, the U.S. government was offering incentives to encourage people to build energy-efficient homes. The duo developed a specialty in passive-solar design which, when coupled with sufficient insulation, qualified the homeowner for a monetary grant from Uncle Sam. Responding to a buyer’s request for a post-and-beam structure (now called timber frame), Solar Northern built its first timber frame in 1980. In the 1980s, the Reagan administration eliminated the grants that subsidized solar projects, which led the two owners to shift their business model to timber-frame construction. Saveson sold his share of the business to Keller, who, in 1986, renamed the company Woodhouse. In 1987, Keller created a second corporation called The Murus Co. in order to manufacture his own SIPs. Today, Murus, which is located on the Woodhouse corporate campus, is the leading producer of polyurethane SIPs in the world. In 2003, Seaman bought 50 percent of Woodhouse shares and in 2011 bought the remainder. Keller retained his ownership of Murus. Seaman resides in Trumansburg while the corporate campus is in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, an hour’s drive from his home. The campus, situated about 15 miles south of the New York border, comprises 42 acres and five buildings, totaling 30,000 square feet. Woodhouse currently

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Tompkins Financial embraces ‘fintech’ BY NORMAN POLTENSON ITHACA — Dictionaries define a “disrupter” as someone who throws normal order into turmoil or even chaos. Ask an historian to identify a disrupter, and the response might be Alaric I, who led the Visigoths in the sacking of Rome, or Genghis Khan, who commanded Mongolian hordes in the conquest of Asia and Central Europe. In the business arena, today’s disrupters don’t usually arrive on horseback: They are most likely millennial entrepreneurs such as Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick and Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky, who create digital platforms to bring buyers and sellers together in an unconventional manner and then process the business transaction. The two have revolutionized the way people travel, and in the process, turned the transportation and hospitality industries upside down. Disrupters are not confined to these two industries, however. In retail, the e-commerce giant Amazon has progressed from selling books to merchandising home services, voice-recognition technology (think Alexa), cloud and web services, apparel and fashion goods, and is considering launching its own private-label food business. In 2015, the company generated 27 percent of total U.S. retail growth, accounting for 42 cents of every dollar of growth in the

nation’s e-commerce. Also in 2015, Amazon surpassed Walmart’s market capitalization, making it the most valuable retailer in America. Google is another example. The company has transformed the way we collaborate and conduct research — think Gmail; Google Play, which has more than 1 million apps; and Google Maps. Google’s mobile-operating system has garnered 85 percent of U.S. Android-market sales. Innovation, the tool of the disrupter, is ubiquitous today, leaving turmoil in its wake. The mobile Internet, the Internet of things, advanced robotics, the cloud, drones, autonomous vehicles, genomics, 3D printing, and advanced materials: No industry is immune, including banking. An entire industry of technology companies, dubbed “fintech,” is competing with traditional financial-services institutions. Competition began in the 1990s with companies like PayPal, but the globalfinancial crisis of 2008 spawned additional regulatory requirements on banks, such as capital, liquidity, and oversight — opening the doors even wider for fintechs.

The banking landscape

“The landscape is shifting rapidly,” notes Susan Valenti, executive VP of corporate marketing at Tompkins Financial Corp. (NYSE: TMP), headquartered in Ithaca. She manages marketing, public relations, internal communications, and commercial deposit sales and service for all of Tompkins

Financial’s business units. Valenti heads up a group of 20 employees who focus on innovation, development, and the customer experience. She also leads and supports numerous project teams to bring innovation to areas such as small-business lending and payments. “Customers today are empowered by digital tools to research, evaluate, and choose financial products and services. A good example is the mobile-banking and smartphone revolution that is causing the number of mobile payments … [to explode],” Valenti says. According to Javelin Strategy & Research, September 2015, mobile-online, retail payments will [approximately] double by 2019 to $217.42 billion. The same source projects that mobile, peer-to-peer (P2P) users will increase 180 percent over a five-year period [beginning in 2015]. ATMI and BI Intelligence estimate that mobile, in-store payment volume will grow to $189 billion by 2018, a consolidated annual growth rate of 154 percent over a five-year period that began in 2013. In 2016, reported that 45.8 million U.S. adults accessed P2P payment apps. The report also projects more than 75 million users by 2018. “To remain competitive, Tompkins Financial is not just retooling; the organization is going through a digital-business transformation,” contends Valenti. The non-banking competition is being fueled by wads of venture capital. According to Accenture Consulting, more than $50 billion has been invested in fintech start-ups in the past half-dozen years, of which $20 billion was invested in just the past 18 months. Driving this investment wave is cloud computing, which makes entry into fintech inexpensive; a changed regulatory environment further restricting banking flexibility; and low interest rates and capital costs. “Fintech investment so far has been mainly concentrated on consumers and payments,” continues Valenti. “But we are also seeing fintechs innovating in areas as diverse as audit, compliance, controls, cybersecurity, human resources, legal, and even risk-management. Clearly, fintech poses a number of challenges to our company, but it also offers us opportunities to remain relevant by strengthening our customer relationships.”

Banks’ role

Valenti takes a moment to explain the traditional role of banks. “At the most basic level, banks accept deposits from customers, raise capital from investors and lenders, and then use that money to make loans, buy securities, and provide other financial services to customers,” states the Tompkins Financial executive VP. “The key is to lend money at a higher interest rate than the cost of the funds. Banks also provide security and convenience to their retail and corporate customers. [Finally,] … banks serve as payment agents. If you look at the current landscape, the banking industry is in the process of unbundling and re-bundling its functions. Just in the past few years at Tompkins Financial, we have embraced mobile banking by instituting online bill pay and ApplePay as well as remote-deposit

VALENTI capture for businesses. We’ve added electronic delivery of notifications and alerts as reminders to our customers. “This year, we are offering digital chat through our call center and a new, smallbusiness lending platform, which utilizes technology to enhance credit underwriting. This platform will reduce the loan-application time from 30 hours to 30 minutes, guide borrowers step-by-step through the process, and be in compliance with bank regulations. Tompkins Financial is also moving away from our traditional way of operating with specialists for each area. Banking has become very complex, and we need to be a ‘universal banker’ to ensure the customer connects with all the products and services we have to offer. All of these changes are designed to enhance the customer experience,” Valenti notes.

Integrating fintech

The challenge for Tompkins Financial, according to Valenti, is not whether to adopt fintech, but how best to integrate its technological innovations into the banking company’s operations to stay competitive. “Fintech companies typically operate outside the regulatory environment that strictly controls banking activities, [thus] offering them the flexibility to innovate,” observes Valenti. “They also share a corporate culture very different from financial services, which is traditionally risk-averse. Banks, too, are encumbered with legacy, core-deposit systems that often prevent a 360-degree view of customer activity. As they convert their core systems, banks need to be sure that marketing has a seat at the table, because the marketing department is just as concerned with any conversion as the IT department.” Tompkins Financial sees many advantages in collaborating with fintech companies. “Banks are looking for fast adoption of new technology,” avers Valenti. “[It’s no surprise] … that the industry is not known for innovating. Our customers, however, expect to utilize the latest technology. By collaborating, Tompkins Financial can adopt technology quickly; avoid the ‘bleeding edge’ of development; use its capital efficiently; acquire best practices from the marketplace; and leverage our operating costs, all while improving controls, compliance, and the customer experience. In the near term, our strategy is to look at tactical ways to improve our business model by investing in easily adoptable technologies. In the medium term, we need to figure out how to embed customer-centric thinking here at the bank and develop the skill-sets that will place us in the center of our cusSEE FINTECH, PAGE 5 4

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Cornell report assesses the value of hotel amenities BY JOURNAL STAFF ITHACA — A new report from Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) weighs in on the longstanding debate among hotel owners and brand managers about which amenities to offer guests. It suggests a return on investment (ROI) analysis to figure out which amenities are the best ones to provide customers, according to a recent Cornell CHR news release. Dev The research is described in: “Hotel Brand Standards: How to Pick the Right Amenities for Your Property,” by Chekitan Dev, Rebecca Hamilton, and Roland Rust, which is available from CHR at no charge at: cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1241&contex t=chrpubs. The researchers collaborated with an

unnamed “global multi-brand hotel company” to analyze the return on investment of three popular complimentary amenities — bottled water, Internet access, and fitness center use — for six hotel brands. The research tapped thousands of pre- and poststay guest surveys and archived guest data. The study found “notable differences” between brands for which amenity had the highest payoff, and differences in the impact of amenity use on first-time guests and repeat business. While Internet access had a “significant impact” on attracting first-time guests, for example, complimentary bottled water offered the highest ROI for generating repeat visits. “ROI analysis based on customer lifetime value provides a useful way for owners and operators to assess the incremental value of a particular amenity based on revenue from new and returning guests net of costs,” Dev, who is an associate professor of marketing and branding at the School of Hotel Administration in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, said in the release. “From our

ROI analysis we learned that some amenities are great at attracting first-time guests, while others have a significant impact on generating repeat business. In addition, we found that guests generally overestimate their likelihood of actually using various amenities. This means that a marketing survey that asks potential guests about their intended amenity use may not provide an accurate estimation of their actual use.” The study found that hotel guests especially overestimated their expected use of a hotel’s fitness center and its in-room Internet access — by nearly 25 percent, on average. During the study, some of the hotels began offering free bottled water to guests. “This set up a natural experiment that allowed us to compare revenue changes for hotels that added bottled water with a matched set of those that did not,” Dev said. “We found a noticeable revenue increase for the hotels that started offering this amenity corroborating the results of our earlier analysis.”

To estimate the ROI of offering a particular amenity, the researchers say they compared the effect on revenue and cost of providing that amenity, regarding both new customers and repeat guests. The results of this study will provide hotel owners, operators, brand managers, and consultants with an easy-to-use method for analyzing the value of an amenity based on its impact on customer lifetime value, Dev contended. Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research says its mission is to enable and conduct research of significance to the global hospitality industry and related service sectors. 

FINTECH: Digital technology…is changing the fundamentals of the financial-services industry tomers’ digital lives. Longer-term, the bank must create a service ecosystem around our customers. That requires challenging our current business model to become even more relevant.”

The future of banking

Digital technology, and its adoption by banking customers, is changing the fundamentals of the financial-services industry. When asked to look into her crystal ball and explain what the future of banking will look like, Valenti says, “I think a good way of explaining the future of banking is to cite an article written in 2015 by Alessandro Hatami, who laid out four scenarios.” She explains, “The first scenario, he called the Better Bank, which couples its legacy platform with a digital-banking interface. The second scenario he … [dubbed] the New Bank, which has a platform built only for digital banking. Ally Bank is an example of the new bank, operating without branches and marketing directly to customers with an array of banking products. The third scenario he identified as the Distributed Bank, in which fintech providers act as banking-services aggregators focused on providing specific products extremely well. One example is OnTrees, which connects a customer’s current accounts, credit cards, and savings accounts using the banking information used to access online banking. OnTrees sorts the transactions automatically in real time into categories displayed in colorful charts. Mondo (recently renamed Monzo) is another distributed bank [eschewing] … physical bank branches and checkbooks, relying instead on contactless, chip and pin, magnetic stripes, or online transactions for purchases. [The company has mobile apps both for iOS and Android phones.] In August 2016, the com-

pany was granted a banking license by the UK. The fourth scenario Hamidi calls the Disintermediated Bank, meaning there is no middleman. These banks have a fintech platform with a social-network banking interface that caters to customers who are increasingly comfortable going through their favorite social network or trusted provider to buy financial services.” Disintermediation has haunted banks for a long time and the threat continues to grow. Names such as ApplePay, Google Wallet, Quicken, Starbucks, Walmart, and Amazon are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to competitors leveraging the ubiquity of iPhones and Android devices. They are targeting small- and mid-size business (SMB) lending and deposit accounts, a bank’s bread and butter that tethers the business to the bank, which, in turn, monetizes the relationship through cross-selling additional services. Treasury management is another area in which the disintermediated companies are targeting using mobile apps and card-swipe/chip devices. Lending also is a core banking function, now challenged by the likes of Google and Amazon, and deposits are a bank’s lifeline. Instead of banks being the only depository option, Square, Intuit, PayPal, Groupon, and others have bundled merchant accounts and gained a share of SMB deposits. In the short term, banks are not likely to become commodity enterprises, but they are paying hefty fees to the companies that create and administer the apps that customers are increasingly using.

The pace of disruption

If you want to understand the acceleration of disruption taking place in global financial services, just review the “2016 FinTech-100” report. Issued collaboratively

by H2 Ventures and KPMG, the report considered capital raised and the rate at which it was raised, geographic diversity, sectorial diversity, and innovation. Of the Top 50 companies, 46 were labeled disrupters, the remainder enablers. The 100 companies attracted $14.6 billion (U.S.) in investment in just in the past 12 months. Fintech innovators are clearly a global phenomenon: 35 companies were located in the Americas; 29 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; 14 in Asia; 12 in the U.K.; and 10 in Australia and New Zealand. Highlights of the report show that of the Top 100, 32 focused on the lending sector, up from 22 in 2015; 12 on the insurance sector, double the 2015 figure; and nine on regulations. Leading the list of companies was Ant Financial, a thirdparty payment platform providing financial services to micro enterprises and individual consumers. A 2016 research study by Forrester Consulting surveyed business leaders representing retail banks, wealth-management firms, and insurance providers. The study found that 70 percent of the firms agreed that consumer adoption of digital technologies was disrupting the industry. When asked what were the barriers to digital innovation or transformation at their respective companies, they responded that three barriers were routinely cited: structural, cultural, and procedural. The structural barriers included overcoming internal silos and divisions in order to work together, lack of support and buy-in, and lack of incentives to encourage innovation. Cultural barriers noted the lack of innovative staff and a risk-averse culture. The procedural barriers comprised the number of hoops to jump through to try anything new and inadequate funding. “Our goal [at Tompkins Financial] is to create shared value with our custom-

Continued from page 4

ers, leveraging digital assets to increase their loyalty,” opines Valenti. “Technology enhances our ability to deliver services and [thus] differentiate ourselves. Our dedicated internal team is focused on driving digital innovation while addressing any corporate barriers. The team prototypes and facilitates digital initiatives according to best-practices in our industry for the purpose of improving financial outcomes for Tompkins Financial and for our customers … We’ve chosen Hatami’s example of the the Better Bank, which marries a digital-banking interface to our legacy platform. Tompkins Financial has elected to embrace fintech rather than just compete with it. We can already see the benefits of our digital strategy in improved customer engagement, customer satisfaction, positive financial outcomes, and helping to drive new revenue to the company.”


Tompkins Financial is the financial-services holding company for four community banks — Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Mahopac Bank, and Tompkins VIST Bank — which collectively operate 67 banking offices serving New York and Pennsylvania. Tompkins Financial is also the parent of Tompkins Insurance Agencies and Tompkins Financial Advisors. Valenti, a member of the Tompkins Financial leadership team, joined the banking company in March 2012 as senior VP of corporate marketing. She previously worked for 23 years at J.P. Morgan Chase in a variety of marketing roles, which included leading the rebranding of the Bank of New York branches and Bank One into Chase and serving as the Chase private client marketing executive. 

6 I



People on the Move NEWS ADVERTISING, MARKETING & PR BRIESE PENAHERRERA recently joined Riger Marketing Communications as junior graphic designer. She is a graduate of SUNY Oswego with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and minor in photography. Most recently, Penaherrera completed a two-semester internship with Riger and brings a variety of skills to the job Penaherrera including web design, visual ideation/creativity, digital marketing, and critical thinking. She also worked in the photography print lab in SUNY Oswego’s art department.

ARCHITECTURE/ENGINEERING Keystone Associates Architects, Engineers

and Surveyors, LLC announced that LEIGH MORRISSEY has joined the firm as an administrative assistant. She holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from SUNY Albany and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Niagara University. Morrissey is also an adjunct instructor in criminal justice and homeland security at SUNY Broome.

BUSINESS SERVICES AnswerUSA Group, a division of Finger Lakes Business Services, Inc. has hired JOE KOCAK as the AnswerBinghamton customer-service manager at its new location in Binghamton. He previKocak ously was a customer-service manager at Tri-Cities Communications, Inc. in Binghamton. Kocak

is a graduate of SUNY Broome Community College with an associate degree in liberal arts, with a minor in business management.

HOSPITALITY Tioga Downs has announced STEPHANIE ROGERS as its new director of sales. She most recently worked for DoubleTree by Hilton Binghamton as association and corporate sales manager, and previously as a sales associate in the rooms division at Traditions, at the Glen Resort & Conference Center. Rogers has a bachelor’s degree from Keuka College and a master’s degree from the University of New England.

INSURANCE XENIA ALLEN has joined Preferred Mutual Insurance Company as a payroll specialist. She brings more than 30 years of experi-

ence to the position, having served most recently in a similar capacity at Excelsior College. Allen is a graduate of SUNY Empire State College. KENNETH CICCARELLI has joined Preferred Mutual Allen Insurance as a business analyst. He previously served in a similar capacity for 18 years at Utica National Insurance Group. Ciccarelli graduated from SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and holds the Ciccarelli chartered life underwriter; fellow, Life Management Institute; associate, customer service; associate, insurance regulatory compliance; associate in claims; and the health-insurance associate professional accreditations. 

WOODHOUSE: Seaman: “I'm a corporate guy who is process-oriented…this is something I brought to the company.” imposed by the Dodd-Frank legislation, I think there will be more lending available to spur more buyers. It may sound counter-intuitive because our customers could readily pay for their dream house, but they are savvy in recognizing the spread between current interest rates and their return on assets. Even wealthy people are happy to take out a 3.5 percent mortgage. [In short], they would rather not reach into their portfolios to pay the construction cost. “We’ve been planning our growth for some time,” observes the company president, “starting with extending our ISP (independent-selling partners) network, especially in the Southeast. The company has invested heavily in our building-design capabilities and studied how to make the company accessible to buyers with a more limited budget. This will open up a market with huge potential. Woodhouse has retained Communiqué, [an Ithaca– based] integrated-marketing and design company, to develop marketing markets, enhance the website, and leverage social media. We have a campaign to advertise in trade pubs and are committed this year to participating in a dozen home shows … Historically, the company has grown organically, but I’m also considering the potential of leveraging our growth through acquisition. Taking everything into consideration, the time is right to

expand the business.”


Woodhouse sells its dreams across the U.S. “When I joined the company in 2003, states Seaman, “we sold 80 percent of our kits in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Today, we generate only one-third of our sales in that region with another one-third in the Midwest, 20 percent in the Southeast, and the remainder in the West.” He continues, “Our timber-frame packages are sold directly to the end customer and through our nationwide network of ISPs, who can take ownership of the building system, manage the construction process, resell the finished home to the end customer, or even sell the Woodhouse building system and earn a sales commission. These options create an opportunity for builders to expand their business and differentiate themselves from the competition. We offer our ISPs a thorough training program, sales aids, marketing tools, and ongoing staff support, because we know that timber framing can be intimidating to contractors and sub-contractors, especially those with no experience.” The Timber Frame Guild has 400 corporate members, of which perhaps 15 are the same size as Woodhouse; most are tiny hand-cutters who may construct a timber frame every five years.

“What differentiates this company from competitors is our commitment to quality and continuous-process improvement,” Seaman says. “We’re fortunate to have a staff where the average tenure with the company is more than 11 years and a core group whose tenure is more than 30 years. This experience is invaluable. Many of the employees working on the shop floor grew up as farm kids who come to us with a lot of common sense and can work on anything. That makes it easier to establish cross-functional teams that are both talented and flexible. Our sales and marketing people are all knowledgeable and have experience in the industry.” “I’m a corporate guy who is process-oriented,” continues Seaman. “This is something I brought to the company. I spend a lot of my time taking action to change the way we function in order to bring about a better result. Being process-oriented has mandated considerable investment in areas such as CAD (computer-aided design), supported by internal and external training to make the customer experience both educational and enjoyable. The structure design is presented not only in three-dimensions, but it also includes a ‘flythrough’ of each room sketch. This is all part of communicating with the customer to ensure they visualize what the final product will look like and they get more involved in the space.”

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Continued from page 3

Seaman returns to his orientation on process. “You can’t really compete today unless you are dedicated to CPI — continuous-process improvement of the product and the operation. I believe so strongly in this that I’ve hired a CPI leader to keep finding ways to be more efficient, control costs, and cut lead times while maintaining or improving quality.” Seaman, 53, grew up in the Finger Lakes and in 1985 earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature, philosophy, and fine arts from Nazareth College, near Rochester. He joined Vickers, Inc. in 1988 as a marketing trainee. During his 12-year tenure, he held 13 different jobs culminating in his position as director of sales and marketing, Asia Pacific. In 1999, he became the VP of sales and marketing at Western Filter Corp. In 2003, while living in Detroit, Seaman and his wife Tracy decided to move back to the Finger Lakes to raise their children. Seaman joined Woodhouse in 2003 as a regional manager to determine how well the company supported its sales force and how easy or difficult the product was to sell. In 2004, he became the company’s president and an owner. “I love this business,” avers Seaman. “People think that Woodhouse builds upscale homes with rustic elegance, which we do. But our customers know we are in the business of delivering dreams. How many companies can make that claim?” 

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THE LISTS Research by Vance Marriner (315) 579-3911 Twitter: @cnybjresearch

SOUTHERN TIER CONFERENCE & MEETING FACILITIES Ranked by Maximum Exhibit Area in Square Feet Rank

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Max. Exhibit Area Max. Seating (Sq. Ft.) Capacity: — Banquet Meeting Rooms Theater

Name Address Phone/Website Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena 1 Stuart St. Binghamton, NY 13901 (607) 778-1528/ Wings of Eagles Discovery Center 339 Daniel Zenker Drive Horseheads, NY 14845 (607) 358-4247/ DoubleTree by Hilton Binghamton 225 Water St. Binghamton, NY 13901 (607) 722-7575/ Hill Top Inn Restaurant, Banquets, & Catering 171 Jerusalem Hill Road Elmira, NY 14901 (607) 732-6728/ Terra Cotta 81 State St. Binghamton, NY 13901 (607) 348-0518/ Brothers 2 2901 Watson Blvd. Endwell, NY 13760 (607) 785-5550/ Holiday Inn Binghamton 2-8 Hawley St. Binghamton, NY 13901 (607) 722-1212/ Celebrations Banquet Facility & Conference Center 2331 Slaterville Road Ithaca, NY 14850 (607) 539-7416/ The Statler Hotel at Cornell University 130 Statler Drive Ithaca, NY 14853 (607) 254-2500/ La Tourelle Hotel * Spa * Bistro 1150 Danby Road Ithaca, NY 14850 (607) 273-2734 /


1. 2.

Information was provided by representatives of listed organizations and their websites. Other groups may have been eligible but did not respond to our requests for information. Organizations had to complete the survey by the deadline to be included on the list. While The Business Journal strives to print accurate information, it is not possible to independently verify all data submitted. We reserve the right to edit entries or delete categories for space considerations. The Southern Tier includes Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Tioga, and Tompkins counties.

NEED A COPY OF A LIST? Electronic versions of all of our lists, with additional fields of information and survey contacts, are available for purchase at our website:

WANT TO BE ON THE LIST? If your company would like to be considered for next year’s list, or another list, please email:

Top Management

Year Estab.

30,000 — 2

150 7,000

chairs, tables, sound system, podium, easels


Chris Marion, Arena Manager


15,000 — 2

390 40

AV equipment, podium, microphone, projector


Mike Hall, President & CEO Karen Robbins, Executive Officer


11,350 — 19

650 1,100

AV equipment


Michael Pemberton, General Manager Patty Weist, Director of Sales


8,000 — 4

200 250

screen, projector, podium, microphone, laser pointer with remote, flip chart, and easel


Michael P. Sullivan, President


7,200 — 3

270 300

podium, microphone, screen


Suzanne Clark, Director of Sales


7,000 — 5

350 400

Wi-Fi, projector, screen, sound systems


Domenic Fata, Manager


6,156 — 12

500 700

complete AV inventory


Paul Lawrence, General Manager


5,000 — 1

300 300

AV, customized menus, breakout areas, podium, wireless microphones, private parking, fantastic meals, custom menu's, outdoor activities, full bar


John Morse, Owner Laurie Morse, Owner


4,140 — 14

270 250

on-site audio visual support


Richard Adie, General Manager


3,000 — 2

135 180

LCD projector, screen, sound system and microphones, white boards and flip charts, WiFi


Scott Wiggins, Managing Director Eileen Ahart, Catering Manager Kristen Stucky, Sales Manager Cameron Ostmeier, Resident Manager


General Manager or Top Management

Year Estab.

Ranked by Total No. of Rooms

May 1 Southern Tier Manufacturers


No. of Sleeping Rooms



June 19 Southern Tier Chambers of Commerce

Equipment Available

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Name Address Phone/Website Holiday Inn Binghamton 2-8 Hawley St. Binghamton, NY 13901 (607) 722-1212/ DoubleTree by Hilton Binghamton 225 Water St. Binghamton, NY 13901 (607) 722-7575/ Quality Inn & Suites at Binghamton University 4105 Vestal Parkway E. Vestal, NY 13850 (607) 729-6371/ Hotel Ithaca 222 S. Cayuga St. Ithaca, NY 14850 (607) 288-2096/ The Statler Hotel at Cornell University 130 Statler Drive Ithaca, NY 14853 (607) 254-2500/ Holiday Inn Elmira Riverview 760 E. Water St. Elmira, NY 14901 (607) 734-4211/ Ramada Hotel & Conference Center Ithaca 2310 N. Triphammer Road Ithaca, NY 14850 (607) 257-3100/ Hilton Garden Inn Elmira/Corning 35 Arnot Road Horseheads, NY 14845 (607) 795-1111/ Trip Hotel One Sheraton Drive Ithaca, NY 14850 (607) 257-2000/ Binghamton/Vestal Hampton Inn & Suites 3708 Vestal Parkway E. Vestal, NY 13850 (607) 797-5000/ Hampton Inn Ithaca 337 Elmira Road Ithaca, NY 14850 (607) 277-5500/ La Tourelle Hotel * Spa * Bistro 1150 Danby Road Ithaca, NY 14850 (607) 273-2734 /

Meeting Rooms Toll-Free No. of — Reservation Rooms Max. Exhibit No. Suites Area (sq. ft.)

Sample of Guest Amenities


237 14

12 — 6,156

executive floors, business center, high-speed Internet, fitness facilities, valet laundry service, room service

Paul Lawrence, General Manager


(800) 723-7676

207 9

19 — 11,350

wireless, high-speed Internet access, on-site athletic club with salt water indoor pool, room service, complimentary parking, airport shuttle

Michael Pemberton, General Manager Patty Weist, Director of Sales


(877) 424-6463

195 -

— 1,800

complimentary full hot breakfast buffet, Wi-Fi, non-smoking, pet friendly, outdoor seasonal heated pool, exercise room

Ray Crouse, General Manager



177 2

5 — 3,000

free parking, free Wi-Fi

Sonny Karimi, General Manager


(800) 541-2501

153 15

14 — 4,140

complimentary Internet

Richard Adie, General Manager



149 3

8 — 4,800

Sheila Thomas, General Manager


(800) 2-RAMADA

121 4

12 — 10,340

high-speed wired/wireless Internet, refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, flat panel LCD TV, spacious work areas and telephones w/ voicemail, Anthony's Restaurant & Lounge, indoor pool, fitness center 100 percent smoke-free, free high-speed Internet

Stan Witko, General Manager


(844) 516-8301

119 18

7 — 2,340

business center, fitness center, pool, Wi-Fi, convenient microwaves, mini refrigerators

Chuck Palmatier, General Manager



106 2

11 — 4,250

business center, deluxe continental breakfast, wireless Internet

Daniel Homik, Owner Art Loran, General Manager



79 40

1 — 575

refrigerator, guest laundry, valet service, highspeed Internet, AV equipment, meeting facilities

JoAnne Muniak, General Manager



66 0

1 — 0

complimentary hot breakfast buffet, free Wi-Fi, free parking, guest rooms furnished with microwaves and refrigerators

Amy Magdon, General Manager


(800) 765-1492

54 3

2 — 3,000

pillow-top mattress, complimentary Wi-Fi, minirefrigerator, cable TV with DVD player, clock radio, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, coffee maker, telephone with voicemail

Scott Wiggins, Managing Director Eileen Ahart, Catering Manager Kristen Stucky, Sales Manager Cameron Ostmeier, Resident Manager


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CONGRATUALTIONS 2017 HONOREES! If you know any of these amazing honorees REGISTER TODAY!

or nonprofits, help us congratulate them on March 28th at the 9th Annual event! q qq qq







Oswego Health Foundation






q qq qq



Honor Flight Syracuse, Inc.

DR. FRED GILBEAUX On Point for College

Menorah Park




Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare


PEACE, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters


Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, CNY Chapter


Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Cazenovia Public Library & Museum

Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare



WARREN PFOHL David’s Refuge

SADA Charity Preview Committee


First Source Federal Credit Union.



Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter




American Red Cross

q q q qq



Reach Kidney Care of Syracuse


Purpose Farm


United Way of Central New York


in collaboration with Mohawk Valley Community College


in collaboration with Syracuse City School District


9th Annual


Date: March 28, 2017 Location: Holiday Inn, Liverpool Time: 11:00am – Noon: Networking Reception (optional but encouraged) Noon – 2pm: Luncheon & Awards Program Parking: FREE Emcee: Brandon Roth, CNY Central


2017 Follow Us:

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