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Branding Success: Cooley Group sees boost following rebranding. Page 2.

Scrapsule: Sandbox firm launches crowdfunding effort. Page 3.

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SPECIAL REPORT INSURANCE & FINANCIAL PLANNING

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Dereszynski searches for talent in return to Brown & Brown Empire State

First year of StartFast program wraps with Demo Day

BY RICK SELTZER JOURNAL STAFF

SYRACUSE — Employee recruitment will be one of Brown & Brown Empire State’s major goals now that Nick Dereszynski is back in place as the firm’s president. “We have high expectations that we’re going to recruit talent, develop talent,” Dereszynski says. “And then that talent would have the opportunity to stay here long-term, build their careers with Brown & Brown Empire State, or look at Brown & Brown Empire State as a portal to other opportunities.” Dereszynski has returned to lead the insurance agency, which is headquartered at 500 Plum St. in Syracuse, after a year in Seattle. He had been at Brown & Brown Empire State from 2005 to 2011 See DERESZYNSKI, page 7B

BY KEVIN TAMPONE JOURNAL STAFF

SYRACUSE — The first session of Syracuse’s StartFast Venture Accelerator wrapped up Aug. 16 with the program’s Demo Day. Eight teams pitched their businesses to an audi-

Demo Day attendees network at the event. PHOTO COURTESY OF STARTFAST

ence of venture capitalists, investors, and entrepreneurs at the Everson Museum of Art in downtown Syracuse. It was the culmination of work the startups have been doing since May 14. StartFast’s focus is on helping the young compaSee STARTFAST, page 5

New Mackenzie Hughes group addresses business-growth needs BY RICK SELTZER JOURNAL STAFF RICK SELTZER/THE CENTRAL NEW YORK BUSINESS JOURNAL

Nick Dereszynski, president of Brown & Brown Empire State, speaks at a news conference.

SYRACUSE — Mackenzie Hughes LLP is using a new practice group to try to make it easier for clients to plan for and address legal issues — including those

arising in a growing business. The group, called the Employment and Public Sector Law Group, brings together attorneys in the employment, environmental, grants, labor, land-use, See MACKENZIE HUGHES, page 7

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2 • The Central New York Business Journal

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August 24, 2012

Cooley Group seeing boost following rebranding By Rick Seltzer Journal Staff

News of note for and about Central New York businesses

Tops could replace Wegmans at Pond Street location SYRACUSE — Tops Friendly Markets is attempting to open a grocery store on Pond Street in a building that Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. vacated earlier this summer. Tops and its prospective landlord, Morgan Management, LLC, are seeking tax exemptions before opening a grocery store at the site, according to a news release from Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner. Morgan agreed to purchase the Pond Street location in July, weeks after Wegmans shuttered the store at the end of June. Tops and Morgan want sales-tax exemptions on construction materials. Morgan is also pursuing exemptions from mortgagerecording taxes and property taxes from a payment-in-lieu-of-tax, or PILOT, agreement. The Syracuse Industrial Development Agency must approve the tax deals. “Tops has a strong commitment to the city of Syracuse and the Central New York community, and we are very interested in operating a Tops Markets at the Pond Street location,” Tops Markets President and CEO Frank Curci said in the news release. “While there is currently no final agreement in place, we have identified this location as a good fit within our current network of stores, one that would serve the North Side and give residents access to fresh, affordable food options. We are working closely with all parties involved to ensure the successful completion of this project.”

DeWITT — Cooley Group, Inc., a printing and promotional-products firm, didn’t stop at a new logo when it jumped into a rebranding effort in late 2010 — an effort that focused the firm on its ability to help clients build their own brands. Rochester–based Cooley Group, which operates a Syracuse–area office at 6700 Kirkville Road in DeWitt, unveiled its new brand in November 2010. The firm redesigned its logo, adopted the tagline “brand new,” and renamed its sales representatives, calling them brand consultants. Those changes are giving the company a new sense of momentum nearly two years later, according to Cooley Group Executive rick seltzer/THE CENTRAL NEW YORK BUSINESS JOURNAL Vice President Jim Bonaventura, who is Cooley Group, Inc. Brand Consultant Karie Ballway, right, and Executive Vice President based in the firm’s office in DeWitt. “It’s taken some time to get some traction, Jim Bonaventura, left. The firm unveiled its new brand in November 2010. but we’re starting to reap the benefits of it,” he says. “What we’ve done is tried to give tals represent annual growth of about 6 into different areas like promotional prodgreater clarity to our customers as to what percent, Bonaventura says. He believes the ucts, according to Bonaventura. It no longer our areas of expertise are, as well as greater firm’s rebranding helped it grow that year relies on business forms, he says. clarity to our co-owners, the brand consul- but does not have any revenue growth pro“A lot of that business was taken away by tants, so they feel that the customer knows jections for 2012. technology,” he says. “People print things exactly what we’re there to help them with.” Branding changes at Cooley Group came on white 20-pound paper now instead of inCooley Group is an employee-owned com- after 18 months of company soul-search- voices. So we got involved in some different pany under an employee stock-ownership ing. The company, which Clarence (Scoop) product lines, and, as a result, there was a plan. The firm generated about $11 million Cooley started in 1945 as Cooley Business little bit of a disconnect with our end users in revenue in 2011, the first full year after it Forms, had grown beyond its original focus about exactly who we were and what we revealed its new branding. Its Syracuse–area on business-form distribution. were doing.” office was responsible for $4.5 million of that Changes in technology over the years, The disconnect wasn’t helped by a name revenue. from desktop printers 3to computer proMackenzie Hughes 67804 Estates Ad — CNY Business Journal: 7½" w x 6 ⁄8"h BW See cooley, page 4 The companywide and local revenue to- grams, forced the company to branch out

New York milk production rises nearly 2 percent in July, prices mixed New York dairy herds produced 1.1 billion pounds of milk in July, up 1.9 percent from the year-ago period. Milk per cow increased by 35 pounds to 1,825 pounds as the number of milk cows was unchanged at about 610,000 head, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office. Dairy farmers in the Empire State received an average of $17.10 per hundredweight of milk sold in July, up 10 cents from June, but down $5.90 from July 2011, the field office reported. Milk production in the 23 major dairy producing states in the U.S. totaled 15.5 billion pounds in July, up 0.8 percent from the year-ago period, according to the USDA. Production per cow increased by 6 pounds to an average of 1,826 pounds and the number of cows increased by 41,000 head to 8.5 million head, compared to year-ago levels, according to the USDA.

GIVE YOUR PERSONAL PL ANNING T H E P E R S O N A L AT T E N T I O N I T D E S E R V E S Whether you’re transitioning ownership of your business, planning a secure future for yourself and your family, or gifting to your favorite charity, we know that your personal financial matters are of utmost importance and sensitivity. Our estate planning attorneys are not only among the most highly knowledgeable, respected and experienced in the region, but friendly and easy to talk to—men and women who will speak to you about wealth management (including sophisticated estate, tax and pension planning) in simple, understandable terms, for you to make the best possible decisions about your future. Rely on Mackenzie Hughes for your personal planning needs and let us care for your financial matters as much as you do. Call us at (315) 474-7571 or visit www.mackenziehughes.com.

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The Central New York Business Journal • 3

August 24, 2012

Sandbox firm launches crowd-funding effort BY KEVIN TAMPONE JOURNAL STAFF

SYRACUSE — A business launched over the summer in the Syracuse Student Sandbox is running a crowd-funding campaign to raise startup funds. Two Syracuse University students, Dee Cater and Heather Rinder, founded

Scrapsule and worked on the idea during but says she and Rinder don’t have the techthis year’s sandbox program. Both have nical expertise to build it. They’re hoping to graduated, but are staying in Syracuse to add technical staff in the near future so they keep working on the company. can add more features to the prototype. Scrapsule is a WebSome of the money based tool that pulls from the Indiegogo photos, videos, and campaign may go toSome of the money status updates from ward hiring as well. a user’s social-media Cater, Scrapsule from the Indiegogo feeds and organizes CEO, came up with the campaign may go them into a virtual, idea. She says she colonline scrapbook. The plenty of material toward hiring as well. lects idea is to fund the busito make scrapbooks, ness with micro-transbut never has time to actions, Rinder says. organize it and put it all together. The site itself will be free, but users would She started looking for an online service pay small fees to add personal touches that could help. to their online scrapbooks, Rinder says. “There was nothing,” she says. Personalization could include different font Cater brought the idea to Rinder, choices, backgrounds, templates, and photo- Scrapsule’s chief operating officer, who says cropping options. she has been scrapbooking for years. She Cater and Rinder are running their fund- liked the concept of an online scrapbooking ing campaign at http://www.indiegogo. tool immediately. com/scrapsulecampaign. Indiegogo will Rinder says she spent a week last sumallow the pair to access their funds regard- mer pulling photos together for a printable less of whether they reach their $5,000 goal, photo book after an internship. A product Rinder says. like Scrapsule would have been a big help, She and Cater plan to use the money for she adds. entrance fees to business competitions and The site pulls content from users’ social to improve the site. At the moment, they’re networks based on keyword searches and funding the company with their own money. organizes the results by topic. They’ve contracted with developers at People have been asking when the serBear Fountain Design of Geneseo to build vice will be available, Cater says. a prototype of the Scrapsule site. It’s a basic “I need it,” she says. “I know other people first take, Rinder says. need it.” “There really is a lot left to do,” she adds. Cater and Rinder are planning to launch Cater is handling design work for the site, the site by the end of the year.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SCRAPSULE

Scrapsule co-founder Heather Rinder works on a project for her company. Scrapsule was one of 34 teams to participate in the Sandbox program this year. The initiative began in 2009 with five teams. Housed in the Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse, its goal is to help students from area colleges develop and accelerate their business ideas. Scrapsule was also one of 15 Sandbox teams that presented their ideas at the program’s annual Demo Day on Aug. 15. Craftistas, a subscription service that delivers do-it-yourself fashion kits based on current trends, won the Demo Day pitch contest.  Contact Tampone at ktampone@cnybj.com

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4 • The Central New York Business Journal

August 24, 2012

Inficon profit slips 16 percent in 2nd quarter, but company raises forecast BY JOURNAL STAFF

De WITT — Inficon Holding AG (SIX Swiss Exchange: IFCN) recently reported that its net income fell 16 percent to $9.1 million in the second quarter, from $10.9 million in the year-earlier period. Earnings per share for the latest earnings period totaled $4.08, down 17 percent from $4.91 in the second quarter of 2011. Net sales fell 7.7 percent to $75.5 million in the latest quarter from $81.8 million a year prior.

Inficon, based in Switzerland, produces high-tech instrumentation, sensors, and process-control software. The firm’s products are used in manufacturing devices like smartphones, flat-screen TVs, and even solar cells. Inficon serves the environmental protection and emergency-response markets as well. Its systems can monitor and analyze air and water, for example, and detect contaminants and dangerous substances. The company’s largest facility is in DeWitt, where it employs 220 people.

Worldwide, the firm employs 850, including 320 in the United States. Going forward, Inficon said in its earnings release that it “remains cautiously confident for the coming months.” The company said that assuming that economies in Europe and Asia stabilize, it forecasts slightly higher sales of $290 million to $310 million (compared to earlier guidance of $280 million to $310 million). Inficon also forecasts operating profit of $42 million to $54 million, compared to its earlier guidance of $38 million to $54 million.

Inficon said it expects to launch more new products into the market soon, after having presented several new products in the second quarter. The company said the products it launched in the quarter — which included a new mass spectrometer for gas analysis, a pressure sensor, a leak detector, and an easily transportable service leak detector — strengthen the company’s technology leadership in its traditional business areas, and are geared toward gaining new market share or entering new market segments. q

COOLEY: Employs a

total of 35 people

Continued from page 2

change to Cooley Group, Inc. about a dozen years ago, Bonaventura says. However, the recent rebranding emphasized four company business groups — printing, promotional products, specialty printing, and branded apparel — and helped to redefine the firm, he adds. Bonaventura wasn’t a part of the committee that handled the rebranding process. Another Cooley Group employee from the Syracuse–area office, Karie Ballway, took part in that effort. “We really looked into, as an organization, what it is we do well for our clients,” says Ballway, who is a brand consultant. “We really want to come in, sit down, learn about a client, and determine if and when there’s a need. If it’s appropriate, then we will make recommendations about what mechanism we would recommend they use to brand their company, whether it’s a printed product, promotional product, or branded apparel.” Emphasizing a consultative approach led Cooley Group to change the name of the sales-representative position to brand consultant, according to Ballway. The company’s new tagline, “brand new,” serves a dual purpose, she says. It pointed out that the company had rebranded itself while also summarizing its new focus. “Cooley was brand new at the initial launch, but we knew that we would follow through with our marketing and branding efforts to help you, as a client, brand new,” Ballway says. The company’s local clients include DeWitt–based Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists, PC, Skaneateles–based ChaseDesign, LLC, and KBM Management, Inc. of DeWitt. Despite its own expertise in branding, Cooley Group hired an outside firm, Trainor Associates of New Hartford, to help with its own rebranding. The outside perspective was important in the process, according to Ballway. Cooley Group employs a total of 35 people in offices in Rochester, DeWitt, Albany, New Hartford, Rock Tavern in the Hudson Valley, and in a recently opened office in Huntington on Long Island. Its office in DeWitt has eight full-time employees and two part-time workers. The company leases 1,250 square feet of space at 6700 Kirkville Road from Oliva Properties, LLC of DeWitt. q

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The Central New York Business Journal • 5

August 24, 2012

STARTFAST: Participants in the program’s first

year included Mozzo Analytics Continued from page 1

nies develop and validate a prototype product and secure enough funding for them to move forward with their work. Organizers chose the teams from a group of more than 300 applicants around the world. StartFast is a private capital-backed accelerator for software, Internet, and mobile startups. Participants in the program’s first year included Mozzo Analytics, which has developed a service to extract all links, documents, and media from users’ Gmail accounts. It provides an organized summary, searchable by topic, people, and time, according to the company. The firm has identified $300,000 of the $750,000 in initial funding it is seeking, CEO Michael D’Eredita said during his pitch at Demo Day. D’Eredita is a professor “There is this also at the Syracuse community University School of Information out there,” Studies. He noted Ali says. that the Mozzo Analytics team “They are didn’t want to eager to build yet another collaboration tool. contribute Most people use and support email for that now and that’s not these likely to change. companies.” The idea was to complement what’s already happening. BitePal, which got its start in Ithaca, is developing a new deal service for bars and restaurants. It gives users one place to search and advertisers one place to post, CEO Paul Faguet said during his Demo Day presentation. The service sends deals for purchase to users’ mobile phones. Users then simply show their phones to the restaurant when they get there and the deal is applied. The service has 30 restaurants on board in Ithaca and Syracuse and is aiming to add new locations in Rochester and Tucson, Ariz., Faguet said. The company is seeking $300,000 in startup funds. Organizers were pleased with StartFast’s first year, says Nasir Ali, one of the program’s managing directors. Investors and company mentors came to Demo Day from as far away as Silicon Valley, he notes. “There is this community out there,” Ali says. “They are eager to contribute and support these companies.” Half the businesses in StartFast already have strong ties to upstate New York, he adds. The others are open to considering relocating here. Much will depend on where their eventual investors are located, Ali says. Ali and StartFast’s other managing director, Chuck Stormon, will be watching this year’s companies closely and helping them make decisions so they can close their initial funding rounds quickly. StartFast is part of the Global Accelerator

Network. The network grew from the TechStars program that began in Boulder, Colo. in 2007. TechStars has since expanded to Boston, Seattle, and New York City and includes a separate program for companies working on cloud computing and infrastructure. The network includes 45 accelerators around the world. Each company chosen for the program receives $18,000 in seed funding. StartFast investors receive a 6 percent stake in exchange. The businesses also get access to a number of in-kind contributions from national sponsors like Google and Rackspace through the Global Accelerator Network. Teams receive regular coaching with mentors from around the country and from Stormon and Ali. The Seed Capital Fund of CNY (SCF) is providing 40 percent of StartFast’s $2 million in funding. The rest is coming from private investors. The initial funding round will allow StartFast to run for four years. Planning for next year has already started, Ali says. He and Stormon have told StartFast mentors to be on the lookout for promising companies. The formal application process for 2013 will probably begin in September.  Contact Tampone at ktampone@cnybj.com

Nasir Ali, one of the StartFast program’s managing directors, speaks to the audience on Demo Day.

PHOTO COURTESY OF STARTFAST

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6 • The Central New York Business Journal

220 Herald Place Syracuse, NY 13202 Phone: (315) 234-2200 www.redcross.org Key Staff

Board of Directors (Officers) Dorothy Hall Rita Reicher

President Sports Physical Therapy of New York, PC Vice President KS&R, Inc.

Board Members Dave Bullard OswegoCountyToday.com Tony Dannible Dannible & McKee Jed Delmonico Delmonico Insurance Agency Sam Elbadawi Sugarman Law Firm, LLP Jeffrey Fetter Scolaro, Shulman, Cohen, Fetter & Burstein, P.C. Rae Fulkerson CNY Central Dorothy Hall Sports Physical Therapy of New York, PC Ashley D. Hayes Hancock Estrabrook, LLP Dave Johnson King + King Architects LLP Robert Just Blue Ocean Strategic Capital, LLC Andrew March M&T Bank Deana Michaels Pathfinder Bank Patrick Powers D’Arcangelo & Co. LLP Rita L. Reicher KS&R, Inc. Lynn Steenberg Sports Physical Therapy of New York, PC Joseph G. Vitale Savannah Bank

programs and services

Its disaster-response efforts provide food, shelter, and care for a disaster of any scope, from single-family house fires to global conflict. It provides 45 percent of the nation’s blood through its Biomed Services program. Its services to the Armed Forces opens the lines of communication between U.S. military members and their families, and also offers courses and materials to help promote coping skills before and after deployment. Its International Services provide global communication during war, help reunite families after disasters and conflicts, and assist with global health campaigns. It also educates people about international humanitarian law.

Recent Organizational Highlights

On Feb. 1, 2012, the North Central New York Region of the American Red Cross merged with the Southern Tier Region to become the Central New York Region of the American Red Cross, comprised of 2.1 million people in 16 counties. “By consolidating into one region, the 16 chapter and branch offices are realizing staff efficiencies, cost savings, and improved service delivery. Streamlining our support services and back-office systems have given chapters more time to focus their energies on mission delivery and preparing communities for emergencies and disasters. Regional management is providing a new level of expertise that’s keeping Central New York’s American Red Cross efficient and competitive.”

Planning/Fundraising Outlook for 2012:

- State Fair Parking Lot, Aug. 23 to Sept. 3: Donated by Crucible Industries. Your parking-tickets dollars support the Central New York Region of the American Red Cross. - American Red Cross Regional Golf Classic, Sept. 19 at the Otesaga’s Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown. - Women Who Mean Business, Oct. 25: Acknowledging successful, engaged women in CNY at the SRC Arena, Syracuse. - Real Heroes Breakfast, Dec. 5 at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center, Syracuse. Recognizing those who acted unselfishly on behalf of a neighbor, a co-worker, even a stranger to change another person’s destiny and, at the same time, their own.

Profiling local nonprofit organizations

Revenue Sources

Contributions & Grants Program Services Investment Income Other Total Revenue

Expenditures

Grants Salaries & Employee Benefits Other Total Expenses Surplus for the Year

$1,013,873,120 $2,328,884,915 $52,283,495 $57,918,857 $3,452,960,387 $382,301,998 $1,694,157,992 $1,345,550,396 $3,422,010,386 $30,950,001

it

Rosie Taravella Regional CEO Judy Fitzgerald Regional Chief Development Officer Matt Michael Regional Chief Communications Officer Paige Thomas Regional Chief Operating Officer Shelley Bierwiler Community Chapter Executive, Southern Tier Chapter Victor Fariello Community Chapter Executive, Mohawk Valley Chapter Jane Gendron Community Chapter Executive, Northern New York Chapter Barry Stein Community Chapter Executive, Cortland County and Tompkins County Chapters

FINANCIAL DATA

Fiscal year ending June 30, 2011 • American Red Cross (national data)

rof r np ne No or C

American Red Cross, Central New York Region

August 24, 2012

*NOTE: The American Red Cross is a single (1) 501(c) (3) chartered by Congress and has only ever had a single annual 990 filed on behalf of the corporation to the IRS. Individual chapters do not file a 990.

Area Red Crosses merge, gain new leadership, forge new direction By Nicole Collins Journal Staff

SYRACUSE — On Feb. 1, 2012, the North Central New York Region of the American Red Cross merged with the Southern Tier Region to become the American Red Cross, Central New York Region. This new region now serves 2.1 million people in 16 counties from St. Lawrence to Broome, from Cayuga to Otsego. A couple of events helped lead to the merger. One was the Southern Tier Region being inundated by major flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee a year ago. Second, both chapter executives from the North Central and Southern Tier regions left the organization in the latter half of 2011. These events helped lead the Red Cross to review the chapters and merge the territories. A new regional executive team was also formed as a result of the merger. The team is now led by Rosie Taravella, regional CEO. With a background in theater that eventually evolved into a fundraising career, Taravella previously was the vice president of corporate advancement at WCNY-TV, the public TV station in Syracuse. “Everything I’ve done has prepared me for this role,” says Taravella. She joined the Red Cross on April 2. “This position was the next logical choice in my career path,” says Taravella, who has always wanted to be a CEO and lead an organization. By consolidating the North Central New York and Southern Tier regions into one area, the Red Cross Central New York chapter can be more efficient in its finances, staff placement, and service delivery, she says. It is able to operate in a centralized way to determine if it can meet needs across great distances. An example Taravella uses is that if the Potsdam and Owego chapters need the same thing, the organization can now connect the dots and share resources. “We’re able to mobilize

within our own boundaries,” says Taravella.

Leadership team

Paige Thomas holds the position of regional chief operating officer for the Red Cross Central New York Region. Thomas was previously part of a floating pool of interim directors at the Red Cross who traveled to different chapters to help them restructure. Previously located in Denver, she came to Central New York in November 2011. She really liked the area and decided to stick around. Even though her oversight responsibilities are similar, her relationships with the Red Cross team and members of the community are different, she says. “It’s an entirely different animal to invest in the longterm performance of a business unit and deal with the different personalities and issues on a day-to-day basis,” says Thomas. Judy Fitzgerald, the newest member of the team, who started in June, is the regional chief development officer. Previously, Fitzgerald worked for CNY Central for 11 years, then at WCNY with Taravella. Fitzgerald says that her time at WCNY was the first time in her career she was able to mix her media background with a nonprofit mission. In her new role at the Red Cross, Fitzgerald is responsible for implementing fundraising goals for the new footprint. Rounding out the new executive team is Matt Michael, the regional chief communications officer. Michael has an extensive media background that includes nearly 20 years at The Post-Standard, freelance writing, and most recently, as the public-relations manager at WCNYTV. Along with the new territory and leadership team, the CNY Red Cross also has a new program in the works. Tentatively called the Community Resiliency Program, the organization is in the process of rolling out this pilot program for a mid-size metro area, like the Syracuse region. The Central New York team has begun

Red Cross facts n Founded: The Syracuse Chapter was founded in 1881 and is now called the Central New York Chapter, which is the regional hub of the Central New York Region, established on Feb. 1, 2012. n Employees: 52 n Mission: “The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.” n Service area: The Central New York Region includes 16 counties: Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Otsego, St. Lawrence ,Tioga, and Tompkins. the conversation with other community agencies to create a structure for community response. “It will be designed to equip the community with the tools and knowledge it needs to be better prepared for an emergency or natural disaster,” says Thomas. The program will unfold over this fiscal year, running from July 1 to June 30. The program also will build upon the role the Red Cross has in the three levels of emergency response — from being prepared for expected and unexpected disasters (level 1) to knowing how to respond to a disaster (level 2), and then having the steps in place for recovery after a disaster (level 3). The Central New York region already demonstrates a strong record for emergency response. For example, during fiscal year 2011, the chapter trained more than 100,000 individuals in CPR, First Aid, and other health and safety courses. In addition, it gave preparedness presentations to more than 50,000 individuals. Also, the Central New York team responded to more than 558 separate disasters See red cross, page 7


The Central New York Business Journal • 7

August 24, 2012

MACKENZIE HUGHES: Mackenzie Hughes has other practice groups that are not as formal Continued from page 1

municipal, public-finance, and public-officers practice areas. Its goal is to deliver a range of services to clients more efficiently, the firm contends. It could allow clients to avoid multiple meetings with different attorneys, according to Mark Harrington, a partner at Mackenzie Hughes who is a member of its executive committee and chair of its business department. “The group works well together and can provide more comprehensive services instead of focusing on one single practice area,� Hughes says. “This way, it’s more efficient and more cost-effective for the clients.� Clients to which the group will cater include small businesses, large businesses with thousands of employees, and municipalities. Harrington says those clients often encounter similar concerns as they work to

streamline or expand. He cited common problems such as tax, labor, and land-use issues. About six attorneys currently make up the group, although it may grow to include a few more, Harrington says. Harrington Mackenzie Hughes does not have a target number of group members. However, Harrington emphasizes that the group needs to stay small enough for its members to be able to meet frequently without encountering too many scheduling hurdles. Mackenzie Hughes has other practice groups that are not as formal, Harrington says. But the firm decided that giving the Employment and Public Sector Law Group additional structure would help it deliver services to clients, he adds. “This way they can develop a particular

plan with our guidance and our expertise to handle the issues that are always coming out of left field,� Harrington says. “It varies from client to client, but they all have issues with a change in regulations, a change in law, or just a change in economic

Brown

climate.� The Employment and Public Sector Law Group isn’t just about efficiently addressing problems as they pop up, says Jeffrey Brown, a partner at Mackenzie Hughes who is the new group’s chair. He wants it to keep businesses and municipalities informed about potential issues and topics with which they may not be familiar. “One of the main focuses of the practice group is to identify issues that may be of interest to our clients and get them out to

our clients,â€? Brown says. “It’s not just about the current issue du jour, but what we can do to help them avoid issues in the future to make their businesses or municipalities as effective as possible.â€? Mackenzie Hughes LLP is headquartered in suite 600 of the M&T Bank Building at 101 S. Salina St. in Syracuse. It leases 23,000 square feet there. The law firm’s clients include M&T Bank, the Oneida Indian Nation, Turning Stone Resort and Casino, KeyBank, Alliance Bank, O’Brien & Gere, C&S Cos., GHD Inc., Cazenovia College, FayettevilleManlius School District, the village of Manlius, the village of Cleveland, and the town of Van Buren. It has 33 attorneys, including 25 partners and eight associates, and about 80 total employees. Harrington and Brown declined to discuss the firm’s revenue. ď ą Contact Seltzer at rseltzer@cnybj.com

RED CROSS: In 2012, the Red Cross Central New York Region generated just under $4.2M in revenue from donations Continued from page 6

and assisted more than 732 families affected by disaster. The national American Red Cross also recently introduced two new free smartphone apps. In June, the Red Cross First Aid app debuted — raking in 600,000 downloads in the first month. The Hurricane App, launched on Aug. 1, was

designed to provide real-time information for hurricane threats for people who live or vacation in hurricane-prone areas. For the 2012 fiscal year, ending June 30, the Red Cross Central New York region generated just under $4.2 million in revenue from donations. The sources of its funds include the United Way, corporations, foundations, individuals, online, direct mail, and net special events. The or-

ganization expects similar results for the 2013 fiscal year. The national Red Cross’s revenue for the 2011 fiscal year, the latest for which data is available, was $3.45 billion. Its sources included contributions, grants, program services, and investment income. Taravella says that the Central New York chapter is now completely staffed with 52 full-time employees. The organi-

zation also relies on 2,800 volunteers to fulfill its mission. In 1881, Clara Barton established the Syracuse chapter, making it the third Red Cross created. The building at 220 Herald Place has been the home of the Central New York chapter for 14 years. The organization occupies about 8,000 square feet of office space. ď ą Contact Collins at ncollins@cnybj.com

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The Central New York Business Journal • 9

August 24, 2012

opinion

Business Journal C e n t r a l

N e w

Y o r k

Data Update: Economy Will Continue to Muddle Along

Volume 26, No. 34 - August 24, 2012 NEWS Editor-in-Chief........................Adam Rombel arombel@cnybj.com Assistant Editor..............Maria J. Carbonaro mcarbonaro@cnybj.com Staff Writers........................... Kevin Tampone (Online Editor) ktampone@cnybj.com ..............................................................Rick Seltzer rseltzer@cnybj.com ............................................................Traci DeLore tdelore@cnybj.com Columnists...........................Bruce Grieshaber Tom Morgan Production Manager.......................Erin Zehr ewebb@cnybj.com Research Manager.................. Nicole Collins ncollins@cnybj.com SALES Sr. Account Managers....................................... Bernard B. Bregman bbregman@cnybj.com Mary LaMacchia mlamacchia@cnybj.com Marketing .......................BBB Marketing Inc. CIRCULATION

D

  on’t expect any rapid revving   up of the stagnant economy any   time soon. That’s according to the latest economic and budget outlook the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just put out as I write this — Wednesday, Aug. 22. The CBO “expects the economic recovery to continue at a modest pace for the remainder of calendar year 2012, with real (inflation-adjusted) GDP growing at an annual rate of about 2¼ percent in the second half of the year, compared with a rate of about 1¾ percent in the first half.” On the jobs front, CBO says, “the [narombel on tional] unemployment business rate will stay above 8 percent for the rest of the year.” The unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3

adam rombel

percent in July from 8.2 percent in June, according to the last monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS next reports unemployment data for August on Sept. 7. The jobs picture isn’t any brighter in New York State. Its unemployment rate increased to 9.1 percent in July from 8.9 percent in June. But the Empire State was not alone. The unemployment rate rose in 44 of the 50 states in July compared to June, according to the BLS. Four states had no change, while just two states posted declining jobless rates. However, New York was the only state to report a significant year-over-year increase in its unemployment rate. The state’s jobless rate was 8.2 percent in July 2011, or 0.9 percent lower than now. Back to the CBO report. Probably the most concerning part of its analysis was the CBO’s projection of what happens if we go over the “fiscal cliff” in 2013. That means no extension of any of the Bush tax cuts that have been in place the last

decade; the deep, automatic spending cuts that were part of the 2011 debt-ceiling deal actually go into effect; sharp reductions in Medicare’s payment rates for physicians’ services take effect; and finally, the emergency unemployment-benefits extensions and the 2 percent cut in the payroll tax for Social Security are not renewed. If all that comes to pass, because federal lawmakers can’t come to an agreement, the U.S. economy will go into a recession in 2013, according to the CBO’s projections. It estimates that such fiscal tightening will lead to real GDP declining by 0.5 percent next year and the unemployment rate rising to about 9 percent in the second half of the year. Expect to hear a lot more about the potential impacts of the fiscal cliff between now and the end of the year. The upcoming monthly jobs reports will also be closely scrutinized. As always, we’ll be tracking it closely. q Adam Rombel is editor-in-chief of The Central New York Business Journal. Contact him at arombel@cnybj.com

Circulation Management....(315) 579-3927 Administrative Publisher..........................Norman Poltenson npoltenson@cnybj.com Chief Operating Officer......Marny Nesher mnesher@cnybj.com Business Manager.....................Kurt Bramer kbramer@cnybj.com

The Central New York Business Journal (ISSN #1050-3005) is published every week by CNY Business Review, Inc. All contents copyrighted 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Cover Price $2 Subscription Rate $88 per year Call (800) 836-3539

HOW TO REACH US MAIL: Send letters to: Editor, The Central New York Business Journal 269 W. Jefferson St. Syracuse, N.Y. 13202-1230 E-MAIL: letters@cnybj.com PHONE: (315) 472-3104

Have You Done Your Homework About This Presidential Election?

H

  ave you read about this presiden  tial election? This guy you plan to   vote for, have you read any books about him? Read them completely through? Have you read any books written by people who don’t like him? Have you read any books about the other candidate? Don’t you think maybe you should? After all, this is the highest office in the land and all that. How can you say you are well-informed for this election if you have yet to read something substantial about both morgan guys? Is your plan simat large ply to depend on a few sound bites and attack ads? And a slip-up in one of the debates? Have you even gone to the website of your guy? How about the other guy? Have you read each candidate’s positions on the issues? If you haven’t done any of this, join the crowd. Most voters do a minimum of prep work before casting a ballot. Well, if you always vote the same party, why bother? We know your vote for the next 10 elections. And if you vote in a state that is not a swing state, why bother? You know your state’s electoral votes are baked

tom morgan

in the cake. We could declare all the electoral votes from the non-swing states months in advance of the election. Then the debates could be directed solely toward voters in the swing states. And on election night we could simply follow the returns from those states. Maybe you should still vote. Even if your vote doesn’t count. Show your spirit. Show your patriotism. To whom, though? Nobody is going to pay attention. Because your state’s electoral votes are already in the bag. Wait a minute. There must be some reason to vote. Well, how about for the honor of it? Many people in this world are denied the vote. Go vote, to show the world you are proud to possess and practice this right. But what if you stick your head up and somebody notices? Somebody like the infernal fundraisers. Those political buzzards. The ones who plug your mailbox with pleas. The ones who call you at night. Correction: The ones whose machines call you at night. They don’t care what state you vote in. They don’t care if you are in the State of New York, a state of confusion, a state of siege, or a state of disarray. As long as you are in a state of grace with your bank or credit card company and can make donations to their coffers. This may be a good thing. They zero in on you and maybe you will give money. And your money will support the effort of

your guy to win Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. Those are the swing states. You cannot vote with your votes in those states, but you can vote with your money. Have you noticed how the candidates give lots of speeches in states they have no hope of carrying? Those speeches are for no other purpose than to raise money. Or maybe to create a headline. Romney’s chances of carrying New York are the same as Penn State’s chances of going to a bowl game next year. His chances of carrying away baskets of money from New York are excellent. He can do the same in Chicago. We could always bring in proportional voting. In other words, the electoral votes of a state would be divvied up. The divvying would be according to the popular vote. Romney would maybe get one New York electoral vote, Obama the other 28. A change like this would have its good and bad points. You could read about them. What are the chances you will? About the same as the chances you will read a lot of stuff about both candidates. I wish you good reading. From Tom...as in Morgan. q

Tom Morgan writes about political, financial, and other subjects from his home near Oneonta, in addition to his radio shows and new TV show. For more information about him, visit his website at www.tomasinmorgan.com


10 • The Central New York Business Journal

August 24, 2012 global sales. For details or to register, visit www.bizeventz.com

October 18 n Pass it On: Estate Planning to Preserve Family Wealth from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at 445 Electronics Parkway, Suite 206, Liverpool. NYFBC members are prepaid; nonmembers pay $25. To register, contact NYFBC at (315) 579-2871 or email: dherlihy@nyfbc.org

Business Calendar

October 20

OF EVENTS

august 28 n BusinessKillers Executive Breakfast: Avoiding the 6 Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Business and Your Future workshop from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at The Tech Garden, 235 Harrison St., Syracuse. This event is free and is open to the public. Geared especially to business owners and those dependent on a small business for their livelihood and future. Presented by: Lisa Miller and Eileen Price of AXA Advisors and Women Wealth and Wisdom. Register at (315) 425-6343 or email: lisa-d. miller@axa-advisors.com or visit www. WomenWealthandWisdom.net

September 6 n Project-ION Regional Internship Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at CenterState CEO, 572 S. Salina St., Syracuse. For more information and to register, visit www.centerStateCEO.com or call (315) 470-1800.

September 7 n 7 Habits of 7 Highly Successful People from 7:30 to 10 a.m. at CenterState CEO, 572 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Join CenterState CEO members to listen to seven speakers share seven habits they feel have helped them become successful. In about 90 minutes, you will receive 49 “habits” that the presenters have used throughout their careers. The cost is $20 for CenterStateCEO members; $30 for nonmembers. To register, visit www.CenterStateCEO.com, click on “Events,” and follow directions, or register by phone by calling (315) 470-1800. Contact Lisa Metot with any questions at (315) 470-1870 or email: lmetot@centerstateceo.com

September 11 n Social Media Community Discussion Group from 9 to 10 a.m. at SUNY Center for Professional Development, 6333 Route 298, Suite 102, East Syracuse. The topic will be “HootSuite.” For more information, call (315) 546-2783 or email: info@cnyastd.org

September 11 & 18 SEPTEMBER 25 & OCTOBER 2 n Event Planning Certificate Program from 6 to 9 p.m. at SUNY Oswego Metro Center, 2 Clinton Square, Syracuse. This is a two-part program. Course one offers an overview of event planning and discusses the FLOP Theory, critical-planning logistics, hospitality, negotiations, and

contracts. Course two discusses risk management, marketing, financing, merchandising, economic impact, and charitable events. You may take one or both courses. The instructor is Bill Motto, of Motto LaGuardia Events. For more information, call (315) 399-4100 or visit oswego.edu/eventplanning

september 12 n Healthy Workplace Awards Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Syracuse, located near Carrier Circle. This event will honor companies who show exceptional dedication to creating a work environment that encourages healthy living among its employees. Register by Sept. 7 by visiting www.bizeventz.com

september 13 n CenterStateCEO Business After Hours event at The Post-Standard from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 1 Clinton Square, Syracuse. Contact Lisa Metot with any questions at (315) 470-1870 or email: lmetot@centerstateceo.com

September 19 n Inspiring Success, The Women TIES Retreat from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Lodge at Welch Allyn, Skaneateles. A post-event reception will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Mirbeau Inn & Spa, Skaneateles. Register before Sept. 9 by visiting www.womenties.com

SEPTEMBER 19, OCTOBER 17, NOVEMBER 14, DECEMBER 5 n  Seminar Series: International Trade for Accounting Professionals from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Mohawk Global Logistics, 123 Air Cargo Road, Hancock Airport, North Syracuse. The cost is $60 per seminar or $180 for four-part series. Register by phone at (212) 719-8383 or (800) 537-3635. The event will be presented by Robert Stein and Jim Trubits of Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. For more information, contact Chuck Miller at cmiller@mohawkglobal.com

september 20 n CNY ASTD Member Orientation from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Sandler Training/ DB&B Peak Performance Management, 443 N. Franklin St., Suite 100, Syracuse. CNY ASTD will discuss why and how to make the most of membership in CNY ASTD. Complimentary attendance. To register, visit www.cnyastd.org, call (315) 546-2783, or email: info@cnyastd.org

n Navigating the Special HR Challenges for Family and Closely Held Businesses beginning with registration at 8 a.m. at 445 Electronics Parkway, Suite 206, Liverpool. The event will feature Kathy Barany, Strategic Management Solutions. Questions to be addressed include: What are some of the common pitfalls that family-owned businesses fall into that bring them out of compliance? How easy is it to be in compliance? NYFBC members are prepaid; nonmember fee is $25. To register, contact NYFBC at (315) 579-2871 or email: dherlihy@nyfbc.org n Maximize Your CenterState CEO Membership from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at 572 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Meet the staff, connect with other members, promote your business, obtain information about educational opportunities and programs and seminars. No cost to attend. Reservations are requested. Visit www. CenterStateCEO.com

september 21 n The Central New York Chapter of SHRM September Breakfast Program, “Diversity: Recruitment & Retention of Veterans” from 7:30 to 10 a.m. at the Ramada Inn. The cost for SHRM members is $40. It’s $50 for nonmembers. More information on the program, including registration, will be available at www.CNYSHRHM.org n Measurement/Evaluation Roundtable from 8 to 9 a.m. at Panera Bread, 3409 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt. CNY ASTD’s Measurement & Evaluation Special Interest Group will hold a roundtable discussing measurement and evaluation questions and problems. For more information, call (315) 546-2783 or email: info@cnyastd.org

september 25 n Networking Mixer from 5 to 7 p.m. at Ruby Tuesday Restaurant, 3220 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt. The event is free. Bring plenty of business cards and come network with other professionals from Central New York. Hosted by Gung Ho Referrals. For additional information, contact Paul Ellis at (315) 475-0392 or PEllis@ ComfortSystemsUSA.com

september 27 n Growing Global Sales: Balancing Opportunities & Risks Conference from 7:30 a.m. to noon at The Crowne Plaza, Syracuse. This event is focused on helping area businesses expand their

n Liverpool Leadership Seminar – Developing Your Leadership Skills & Working in a Team Environment from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Are leaders born or made? Find out by attending this two-part seminar. This is a Toastmasters’ seminar and will be conducted by experienced Toastmasters. The fee is $25 and includes materials and refreshments. Register early as there is a maximum of 10 participants. For details, or to register, call (315) 457-2581 or (315) 271-5152 or email: cdchawan@syr. edu or DTMDanF@yahoo.com

October 30 n Excellence In Health Care Awards recognition event from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at The Oncenter, Syracuse. Excellence in Health Care recognizes our region’s top health-care industry leaders, innovators, and companies. Nominations are open. Visit www.bizeventz.com to view the categories and event details. Nomination deadline: Friday, Sept. 14.

ONGOING EVENTS n Every Tuesday, Cayuga Club Toastmasters from 6 to 7 p.m. at Cornell University, Ithaca, Rhodes Hall, 6th Floor, Conference Room #655. Free and easy parking is available nearby at Peterson Lot. For more information, contact Julia Reich, (315) 364-7190 or email: juliareichdesign@gmail.com n Every Tuesday, Gung Ho Networking Group from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Ruby Tuesday Restaurant, 3220 Erie Blvd E., DeWitt. Possible referrals for you; this is not a tip club. First visit free. Contact Paul Ellis at (315) 677-0015 or visit www.GungHoReferrals.com n Every Wednesday, Small Business Development Center at OCC from 4pm to 6 p.m., Introduction to Business Startup at H-1 Hall. For more information, please call 498-6070 or visit www.onondagasbdc.org. n Every Wednesday, Syracuse Business Networking from 6 to 7 p.m. at Barbieri’s Restaurant (upstairs level) located on Main Street in the village of North Syracuse. For more information, call Kim Bachstein at (315) 414-8223 or email: info@ SyracuseBusinessNetworking.com n First Wednesday of each month, Business Innovation Days meetings from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Tech Garden, 235 Harrison St., Syracuse. Entrepreneurs and small businesses can meet one-onone with a counselor from the SBDC for continued on the next page


August 24, 2012

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE: new hires & promotions

ACCOUNTING

include mechanical and plumbing-system designs.

Green & Seifter, Cer tified Public Accountants, PLLC has hired Linda J. McGraw as part-time human-resources manager. She recently retired from Le Moyne College, where she McGraw served for many years as director of career services. McGraw holds a master’s degree in counseling and student development from Radford University and a bachelor’s degree in education from SUNY Cortland. She is also a graduate of the Leadership Greater Syracuse program. Dermody, Burke & Brown, CPAs, LLC has named James M. Czaplicki partner at the firm. Czaplicki joined DB&B in 2010 with more than nine years public-accounting experience. As a tax partner at the firm, he oversees tax, financial statement, and business-consulting engagements. Czaplicki is a graduate of Le Moyne College and a CPA. He is also a member of DB&B’s “Closely Held Family Business” group.

ENVIRONMENTAL

BANKING & FINANCE Kellyann O’Mara has been appointed vice president and senior branch manager at the M&T Bank branch office on North Triphammer Road in Ithaca. She has more than 25 years experiO’Mara ence in the financialser vices industr y. O’Mara most recently served as a branch manager for HSBC Bank and also previously was a branch manager with KeyBank. O’Mara is a graduate of Cortland Senior High School and SUNY Geneseo and has been involved with a number of community organizations.

ENGINEERING Thomas Manzo has joined IPD:E as a mechanical designer. He has four years experience in mechanical-engineering design. Manzo’s responsibilities with IPD:E will

Environmental planning and EHS management specialist Patrick Salvador has joined Antea Group as a consultant. A registered professional engineer in New York, he brings Antea more than 25 Salvador years of progressive experience in the areas of environment, health and safety, and remediation. Salvador previously led EHS management programs at several firms including Lockheed Martin Corporation and Northeast Biofuels. He is based in Syracuse.

FINANCIAL SERVICES Cor y Driscoll has joined the Syracuse office of AXA Advisors, LLC. He holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Cortland in economics with a concentration in financial management. In adDriscoll dition, he has earned the FINRA series 6, 63 FINRA securities registrations and his New York State life and health licenses.

LAW Elizabeth Cominolli has joined Hiscock & Barclay, LLP as an associate. She will be located in the Syracuse office and focus on corporate law matters, with a concentration in trademark registration Cominolli and licensing. Cominolli is a graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law and Le Moyne College. Before joining the firm, she was associate counsel with PPC. The partners of Mackenzie Hughes have added two members to the firm’s

litigation department as well as a new practice group. Lorraine Rann Mertell joins as a partner. She has more than 30 years experience representing individual and corporate clients in a wide Mertell variety of civil-litigation matters. Mertell graduated from St. Lawrence University and received her J.D. from the Albany Law School of Union University. She is admitted to practice in New York State; the U.S. District Court Tyler for the Northern and Western Districts of New York; and, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Kenneth H. Tyler, Jr. joins as an associate. His practice will include commercial disputes, personal injury, and appellate litigation. Tyler graduated from St. John Fisher College and attended the Albany Law School of Union University graduating with his J.D. He is admitted to practice in New York. Prior to joining Mackenzie Hughes, he was an appellate court attorney at the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department. The new practice group, Employment and Public Sector, will be headed by Partner Jeff Brown who will create a formalized team approach to address client needs in the areas of employment, environmental, grants, labor, land use, municipal, public finance, and public officers.

NONPROFITS 40 Below has elected Steven Marshall, attorney at Harris Beach, as vice chair of the 40 Below Steering Committee. Lauren Crossett, financial advisor at Central New York Agency, has been named treasurer. Marshall and Crossett join Steering Committee Chair Stephanie Crockett, of Eric Mower + Associates, as leaders of 40 Below. Crossett has been with Central New York Agency since December 2010, receiving “Rising Leaders” recognition for success within six months of hire. At Harris Beach, Marshall focuses on economic and community development, corporate and commercial law, and finance law. He has

The Central New York Business Journal • 11

PEOPLE-ON-THE-MOVE NEWS GUIDELINES 1) All people-news items must be sent directly to movers@cnybj.com, movers@tmvbj. com, or movers@tgbbj.com or risk not having them considered for publication. 2) For this section, only new hires and promotions will be published. We do not publish awards or honors, professional examinations or designations, certifications, speaking engagements, and board assignments. We welcome other news regarding your company, which we may be able to use in other parts of the paper, but there is no guarantee that it will appear. 3) Allow at least two weeks for your news to appear in print. 4) Due to the sheer volume of requests we receive, we cannot respond to every inquiry regarding when the people news item was published, nor can we send a copy of the issue in which it appears. It is critical that you watch the paper for the item yourself, or have a colleague or friend who receives the paper do so. If a hard copy of the paper isn’t available to you, your subscription allows you to search the archives online at www.cnybj.com. 5) Items must be sent in a Word doc or a format that can be cut and pasted or otherwise manipulated; no Read Only files will be accepted. Photos should be labeled and attached in a .jpg format. 6) Due to space constraints, we are not able to use all photos. So, your people on the move item may appear without a photo even if you submitted one.

been with Harris Beach for more than two years and previously worked as a research assistant at University at Buffalo, his alma mater.

TALENT AGENCIES Allison L. Woznica has joined the staff at AMS Models & Talent as booking director. She brings several years of talent experience, both in Syracuse and Los Angeles, and is now in charge of client relations, auditions, and bookings. q

Woznica

Send your People-on-the-Move news via email to: movers@cnybj.com

business calendar (continued) advice and customized assistance opportunities. Scheduled by appointment, call (315) 4740910 or email: info@thecleantechcenter.com n Every Thursday, Empire Statesmen Toastmasters meet at 6:30 p.m. at Ruby Tuesday on Erie Boulevard in DeWitt. For more information, visit http://estm.freetoasthost.info or email: president@estm.freetoasthost.info n Every first and third Thursday each month, Liverpool Linguists from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Liverpool First Methodist Church, 604 Oswego Road, Liverpool. For details, visit http://liverpool.toastmastersclubs.org or call (315) 884-2668 or 457-2581.

n Every second and fourth Thursday of the month, The North Star Toastmasters from noon to 1 p.m. at C&S Companies, 499 Col. Eileen Collins Blvd., near Hancock Airport. For more information, contact Sandy Jurkiewicz at sjurkiewicz@centerstateceo.com or call (315) 470-1802. n Every Friday, 40 Above: Workers in Transition from 9 to 11 a.m. at The Westcott Community Center, 817 Euclid Ave., Syracuse. Helping workers/job seekers aged 40 and above in search for work. Contact John A. Cruty at (315) 569-3964, or at crutij@yahoo.com n Every Friday, Tip Club of Syracuse, at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel, 801 University Ave., Syracuse, 8 to 9 a.m. Call

Bernie Bregman at (315) 472-3104, ext. 103 or email: bbregman@cnybj.com n First Friday of each month, Toolkit Day with SCORE by appointment at The Tech Garden. Counselors provide free, confidential, individual business mentoring to prospective or current business owners. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Lynn Hughes at (315) 579-2862 or email Lynn@TheTechGarden.com n Every second and fourth Friday of each month, The SUN Group (Sustainable Upstate Network) meets from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Tony’s Family Restaurant, 3004 Burnet Ave., Syracuse. For more information, contact Andy Picco at (315) 657-0135 or email: an-

drewpicco@gmail.com n Every week, Syracuse Networking Professionals. Five meetings to choose from. For details, call Kevin M. Crook at (315) 4391803, or email KevinSNP@twcny.rr.com or visit SyracuseNetworkingProfessionals.com n CNY Connects is a networking organization offering 12 groups from which to choose. If you are interested in learning more, contact Amy Kaschel of AK Consulting at akconsult@twcny.rr.com or call (315) 8826127 or visit www.cnyconnectsonline.com To have your meetings or events in the Business Calendar, email them to movers@ cnybj.com


12 â&#x20AC;˘ The Central New York Business Journal

August 24, 2012


The Central New York Business Journal • 3B

INSURANCE & FINANCIAL PLANNING

August 24, 2012

Report: Employees waste money on poor benefits choices Aflac study reveals that employers fall short on educating workers about benefits options, which takes a significant toll on employees’ finances. BY JOURNAL STAFF

A

times or not at all aware of changes to their policies each year. The survey found that 89 percent say they simply elect the same benefits options every year. Almost half (47 percent) rarely or never exceed deductible costs. Only 16 percent contribute the right amount to flexible spending accounts. “Workers cannot afford to be in the dark about benefits options,” Audrey Boone Tillman, executive vice president of corporate services at Aflac, said in a news release. “It’s critical that employees understand their benefits options during open enrollment to ensure that they don’t make mistakes that cost them money.”

new survey report found that 56 percent of employees estimate they waste up to $750 because of mistakes they made with insurance-benefits elections. Nearly one of four respondents (24 percent) say they chose the wrong level of insurance coverage or benefits options they didn’t need, and only 16 percent of employees feel confident they aren’t making mistakes during the enrollment process. These new findings are part of the 2012 Open Enrollment Survey of the Aflac WorkForces Report, an online survey of 2,500 U.S. consumers conducted in July. The survey was conducted by Research Now and released by Aflac, which says it’s the largest provider of supplemental and guaranteedrenewable insurance in the United States.

Nearly half of American workers (43 percent) identified rising out-of-pocket medical expenses and health-insurance costs as the most important issues to them right now. The survey found that 38 percent of respondents say they are very or extremely concerned about the possibility of an unanticipated medical expense. Many Americans have made changes in their everyday lives to meet the high cost of unexpected out-of-pocket medical expenses. Forty percent have had to cut back on social activities, 28 percent say they have not been able to take a vacation and 22 percent have had to work more hours, according to the Aflac WorkForces Report.

Common mistakes

Marketing benefits

The Open Enrollment Survey found that 61 percent of consumers are only some-

Health-care costs cause worry

While many U.S. employers surveyed feel they are adequately educating their workers

Nearly half of American workers (43 percent) identified rising out-of-pocket medical expenses and health-insurance costs as the most important issues to them right now. about benefits options, employees disagree. The Open Enrollment Survey found that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of employees feel they are only somewhat prepared or not ready for open enrollment. Meanwhile, almost half (49 percent) of employers believe they communicate very to extremely effectively with their workers about company benefits. More than half of employees (52 percent) say that their company has not communicated with them at all about the open-enrollment process, according to the recent survey. “Workers want to understand their insurance options, but many don’t believe they have the information or the tools they need. Open enrollment is a crucial time for employers to help workers make smart choices about their physical and financial health,” Tillman said in the news release. Half of employees said they would feel more informed about health-insurance choices if they sat down with an insurance consultant during enrollment, and 47

percent typically look to resources other than HR/benefits professionals for advice about their benefits, according to the Aflac WorkForces Report. Tillman recommends that business owners and HR executives take a cue from successful marketing campaigns and consider how to communicate with employees about benefits in ways that will engage and empower them. Some of her best-practice recommendations for employers include:  Choose the right products. Survey employees to determine what they need and want in order to offer the right mix of benefits options to meet their needs.  Consider including more benefits options that don’t have a direct cost to the company by offering voluntary plans. The Aflac WorkForces Report showed that more than half of employees (60 percent) say they would be at least somewhat likely to apply for voluntary insurance plans if they were made available to them by their employer.  Choose the right time to market benefits offerings to employees. Plan to reach employees when they’re most receptive to learning about their options and how they can get the most for their money. The most innovative employers use a mix of online benefits portals, agent/broker enrollment sessions, employee newsletters, lunch-and-learn sessions, customized benefits booklets, frequently asked questions and other educational materials to help employees understand what’s available and how each plan works. The full study results are available at AflacWorkForcesReport.com. 

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4B • The Central New York Business Journal

INSURANCE & FINANCIAL PLANNING

August 24, 2012

A Tale of Two … Business Exits “Only 20 percent of all businesses put up for sale actually transfer to a new owner.” — U.S. Chamber of Commerce

M

y apologies to Charles Dickens, but the play on his title exemplifies what can happen with and without proper planning; having the right team in place — or not; having open communication with all the exit-plan constituencies; and having an enterprise-wide, dynamic strategic plan — or not. And if you don’t have these items in place, do you have, or not have, the will to take these steps? The answers are in what follows as a “Tale of Two Exits.” Exit number one is a small, solely owned business with revenue in the $3 million to $5 million range. The owner was beginning to think of what the next stage in his life would look like and approached a consultant who was advertising as an exit-planning THE BUSINESS advisor. The owner EXIT PLANNING was seriously concerned that he ADVISOR would not be able to retire and still leave a legacy and jobs for his loyal employees. He had no management team, but employed

E C

LEN BRUCE GRIESHABER

h

highly capable folks. He had personal financial wherewithal, but it was not quite enough to provide him the retirement lifestyle he felt he had earned with his 30 years of risk taking and hard work. He knew he needed a plan. Over a period of three years, the owner, using exit-planning experts and business consultants, opened himself and his business to all the help he was seeking. A management team was built, he quantified his value gap between what he wanted in retirement and what he had accumulated, and communication flourished. An organization-wide strategic plan was implemented and monitored on a monthly basis. It was determined that no one on his team had the skills and abilities to be a business owner, so he was able to narrow his options on how he would exit his business successfully and focus on making the one true option work in the most positive manner. This owner was able to sell to a local third-party individual, maintain a temporary employment contract, and transfer the business very smoothly and successfully. The now former owner is happy as a clam, the legacy continues, and jobs have been saved for the local community. Exit two is a medium-sized family business with revenue of $50 million to $60 million, but with very narrow profit margins. The two controlling shareholders are in their 60s and have done no planning. They make all decisions in a private conference room with the door closed. Again, the CFO approached a business-consulting firm, with

whom the company had previously done business, to gain some insight into what exit options were available. When the consultant met with the two owners, their primary goal of doing an “exit plan” was to calm the nerves of employees and managers and to keep them loyal. The owners had not achieved personal financial independence, and as the engagement progressed, it became evident that they would need to improve profitability and operational efficiencies for the three key folks in the next generation to be able to afford to buy them out. It was determined through psychological and job-fit assessment tools that there was a leader in the next generation. He was a family member and had gone outside the company for five years to learn the industry and had a very successful experience. There were, however, fatal flaws in the senior owners. They refused to communicate with the next generation and would not accept them as being “seasoned” enough to be potential buyers. They also continued existing non-profitable business practices and would not listen to those inside the business who could do it better. Trusted advisers attempted to convince the owners that the business had no direction or vision and needed to go through the strategic-planning process so they would know what they were trying to build and how they were going to make it happen. Again, pride and inertia won the day. This company has deteriorated from a $15 million market value to $8 million. The

next-generation leaders are jumping ship and probably the only exit plan available now is a sale to an outsider who will pay for inventory and customer lists. Jobs will be lost and the legacy of the business forgotten. All business owners have a choice. They can prepare for the inevitable exit — or not. One of the most informative books I’ve ever read on the subject is “Taking Over — Insider Tips from a Third-Generation CEO,” by Mitchell Kaneff. Read the book and make your choice.  Bruce G. Grieshaber is a senior consultant for Grenell Consulting Group, specializing solely on exit planning. Contact him at bruce@ grenell.com

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8B • The Central New York Business Journal

August 24, 2012

TOP RANKS: EMPLOYEE-PLACEMENT & STAFFING FIRMS Ranked by No. of Employees

2. 3. 4.

Temps

Recruiting

Permanent

Executive

1.

Additional Locations Auburn, Binghamton, Corning, Elmira, Fulton, Oswego, Pulaski, Rochester, Utica, Vestal

Leasing

Rank

Name Address Phone Website Adecco Employment Services 225 Greenfield Parkway Liverpool, NY 13088 (315) 461-1270 www.adeccousa.com NYS ACCES-VR 333 E. Washington St. Syracuse, NY 13202 (315) 428-4179 www.acces.nysed.gov/vr/syracuse The Fortus Group 181 Genesee St., Suite 600 Utica, NY 13501 (888) 387-3625 www.fortusgroup.com Contemporary Personnel Staffing & Professionals Incorporated 904 7th North St. Liverpool, NY 13088 (315) 457-2500 www.cpsprofessionals.com

Contracting

Types of Placement No. of CNY Staff — No. of CNY Employer Clients 49 — 345

Y

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

42 — 7,000

Southern Tier and Utica

-

-

-

Y

Y

-

35 — 4

-

N

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

32 — 150

servicing companies nationwide, with a strong presence in the Washington DC Metro area

Y

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

Staffing Fields Served1 AC, CL, DE, EN, IN, MD, MG, SC, SM, TC, TM, WP

Placement Specialties clerical, light industrial, and perm placement

AC, CL, DE, EN, qualified individuals with disabilities, IN, MD, MG, SC, consultation on reasonable SM, TC, TM, WP accommodations, training on disability etiquette and the ADA MD

physicians, nurses, allied health, and executive-level health-care searches

AC, CL, DE, EN, administrative, accounting & finance, IN, MD, MG, SC, health care, information technology, SM, TC, TM, WP insurance, legal, engineering, warehouse, industrial, advanced manufacturing, hospitality, human resources, sales & marketing, executive search AC, CL, DE, EN, IN, MG, SC, SM, TC, TM, WP

Year Estab. 1950

Dorothy Marinaccio, Regional Workforce Development & Business Relations Coordinator Barry Tatters, Local Workforce Development & Business Relations Rep.

-

Michael Maurizio, CEO, Founder Jeremy Enck, Vice President of Sales

1993

Laurie Liechty, President & Founder Deborah Lerro, VP, Finance Cindy Nave, VP, Professionals Incorporated Meg Sherman, VP, Contemporary Personnel Staffing Joy Rinaldi, General Manager

1989

Mary Reno, CEO

1997

5.

Innovation Professional Placement, Inc. 530 Columbia Drive Johnson City, NY 13790 (607) 798-9376 www.innovationpp.net

30 — 20

-

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

6.

Labor Ready2 301 W. Onondaga St. Syracuse, NY 13202 (315) 426-1634 www.laborready.com First Choice Staffing 7525 Morgan Road Liverpool, NY 13090 (315) 453-5533 www.firstchoicegroup.com Employment Solutions 111 N. Main Street Elmira, NY 13901 (607) 732-7350 www.employmentsolutions-ny.com Modis, Inc 507 Plum St., Suite 102 Syracuse, NY 13204 (315) 422-2480 www.modis.com Stafkings Personnel Systems 66 Hawley St. Binghamton, NY 13902 (607) 772-8080 www.stafkings.com JAS Recruitment 100 Metropolitan Park Drive Liverpool, NY 13088 (315) 299-7168 www.jasrecruitment.com Manpower, Inc. 2 Clinton Square, Suite 125 Syracuse, NY 13202 (315) 423-7213 www.manpower.com ISSI Technology Professionals 5010 Campuswood Drive East Syracuse, NY 13057 (315) 449-1838 www.issitechpros.com C.R. Fletcher Associates, Inc. 126 N. Salina St., Suite 107 Syracuse, NY 13202 (315) 471-1000 www.crfletcher.com CNY Outsourcing 15 E. Genesee St., Ste 270 Baldwinsville, NY 13027 (315) 428-8888 www.cnyoutsourcing.com Pro-Tel People Staffing Solutions 1 Virginia Lane Norwich, NY 13815 (607) 336-1689 www.protelpeople.com Robert Half International 500 Plum St., Suite 120 Syracuse, NY 13204 (315) 478-0288 www.accountemps.com Comforce Staffing Services 5795 Widewaters Parkway Syracuse, NY 13214 (315) 449-1188 www.comforce.com Columbia Place Associates, LLC 401 Columbia St., Suite 8 Utica, NY 13502 (315) 272-2999 www.columbiaplaceassociates.com

24 — 800

Teall Ave., Syracuse, Utica

-

-

Y

Y

Y

Y

CL, DE, IN

on-demand staffing available 24/7

Chris Lasky, Multi-Branch Manager- Onondaga St. Dionne Rucker, Branch Manager- Teall Ave.

1989

16 — 102

New Hartford, Rome

Y

-

Y

Y

Y

Y

AC, CL, DE, IN, MG, SC, SM, TC, TM, WP

industrial and clerical staffing

Michele Washburn, President Lynn Ann Loomis, VP Operations Robert Kuzdzal, VP Sales/Marketing

1976

13 — 100

Elmira, Binghamton

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

AC, CL, DE, IN, MG, SC, SM, TC, TM, WP

-

Daniel Mori, President

2005

13 — 56

Rochester, Albany

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

EN, MG, TC

information technology

Raymond Szczech, Regional Vice President

1969

11 — 321

Auburn, Elmira, East Syracuse, Ithaca, Oswego

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

AC, CL, DE, EN, IN, MD, MG, SC, SM, TC, TM, WP

accounting, legal, medical, finance, marketing

Daniel J. King, President Carter C. King, Vice President Melissa Wheeler, Regional Manager Robin Eccleston, General Manager

1962

10 — 6

Rochester, Buffalo

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

AC, CL, EN, IN, accounting, finance, engineering and MG, SC, SM, TC, supply chain at all levels, and senior WP management/executive level positions in all areas

Joe Szlosek, Partner Stuart Groom, Partner Tim Songer, Partner

-

10 — 500

Cortland, Elmira, Ithaca, Lowville, Norwich, Oneida, Vestal

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

AC, CL, DE, EN, IN, MD, MG, SC, SM, TC, TM, WP

Peter DeBottis, Branch Manager

1948

9 — 122

-

Y

-

Y

Y

Y

Y

EN, MD, MG, TC

9 — 150

-

Y

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

8 — 146

1132 W. Genesee St. Syracuse, NY 13204

Y

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

7 — 66

Syracuse, Cortland, Oneonta, Ithaca, Oneida, Delhi

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

6 — -

-

Y

-

Y

Y

Y

Y

5 — 102

Rochester

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

AC, CL, DE, EN, health care, manufacturing, scientific, MD, MG, SC, SM, administrative, call center, IT, TC, TM, WP payrolling

Linda J. Steele, Managing Director

1961

4 — 40

-

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

-

AC, CL, DE, IN, MG, SC, SM, TC, TM, WP

Garry J. Smith, Marketing Manager

2003

7. 8. . 10. 11. . 13. . 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

full-service staffing—temp, temp to perm, permanent placement

IT and technical professionals, Allison P. Smith, President & CEO mechanical and electrical engineers, Sally L. Chapman, Director Marketing & Strategy electronic technicians, and clinical Tina Lee, Director of Recruiting professionals, direct, contract, tempJohn Burns, Account Executive to-perm, and payroll options AC, CL, DE, EN, accounting, sales and marketing, Carol Ryan Fletcher, CEO IN, MD, MG, SC, administrative, customer service, Thomas Fletcher, COO SM, TC, TM, WP distribution, finance, human resources, information technology AC, CL, DE, EN, administrative & clerical, health care, IN, MD, MG, SC, accounting, IT & engineering, skilled SM, TC, TM, WP trades & construction, commercial drivers, manufacturing, assembly & warehouse AC, CL, DE, EN, manufacturing, engineering, MG, SC, SM, TC, technical, administrative, telecom, TM, WP medical, IT

office/clerical, industrial, manufacturing, warehouse

AC = accounting; CL = clerical; DE = data entry; EN = engineering; IN = industrial; MG = management; SM = sales/mkt.; MD = medical; SC = secretarial; TC = technical; TM = telemarketing; WP = word processing 2 Information as of 8/11 Central New York includes Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Tioga, and Tompkins counties.

1990

1989

Lori L. Carr, CEO Michael E. Carr, President

2004

Lindsay Drake, Operations Manager

1984

AC, CL, DE, SC, Accountemps - accounting & finance Kimberly D. Ahern, Accountemps Division Director TM, WP positions Andrea Dunn, Office Team Division Director OfficeTeam - administrative positions

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. While The Business Journal strives to print accurate information, it is not possible to independently verify all data submitted. 1

Key Executives Karen Walser, Regional Vice President Karen Standford, Regional Operations Manager Laurlyn Bush, Branch Manager

1948

RESEARCH BY NICOLE COLLINS 08/12 ncollins@cnybj.com


ComprehensiveFinancialPlanning Asin1997,thecurrentsurveyclearlyshowsthebenefitsofhavingacomprehensivefinancialplanforall

Insurance decisionmakers,aplanthatincludessavingsandinvestments,planningforretirementandinsurance SPECIAL REPORT

needs4.Thecurrentsurveyfindingsdemonstratethatdecisionmakerswithacomprehensivefinancial

planaremorefinanciallyconfidentandcomfortablethanthosewithoutaplan.Inaddition,thecurrent researchshowstheyhavemorepositivefinancialoutcomes.

Althoughcurrentandpastresultsshowtheimportanceoffinancialplanning,fewrespondentshaveever createdacomprehensivefinancialplan(seeFigure8).Inthecurrentsurvey,just31percentoffinancial

& FINANCIAL PLANNING

decisionmakers’reportthattheyhaveeverpreparedacomprehensivefinancialplanorhadone preparedforthem. x

ThirtyͲsixpercentofdecisionmakersages45andolderhaveeverpreparedacomprehensive

Survey: 31 percent of decision-makers have a comprehensive financial plan financialplan,comparedwith24percentofyoungerrespondents.

x

thosewithincomeunder$25,000haveaplan,increasingto25percentamongthosewith incomeof$25,000to$49,999,35percentamongthosewithincomesof$50,000to$99,999, and55percentofthosewithincomesof$100,000ormore.

By Rick Seltzer Journal Staff

F

IIABNY cheers law loosening restrictions on insurance agents’ gift-giving

Thosewithhigherannualincomesaremorelikelytohaveafinancialplan.Just10percentof

Figure8:EverHadaComprehensiveFinancialPlan Ever Had a Comprehensive Financial Plan

  ewer than one-third of household   financial decision-makers have   ever had a comprehensive financial plan, according to a recent surYes,HavePlan vey from the Consumer Federation of 31% America and the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. Yes,HavePlan The 2012 Household Financial NoPlan NoPlan Planning Survey, released July 23, found 69% that just 31 percent of financial decisionmakers in the U.S. have ever prepared a comprehensive financial plan or had one prepared for them. That leaves 69 percent without a comprehensive plan that takes retirement planning, insurance needs,  savings, and investments into  account. “Those with a comprehensive plan, follow suit with a large drop. This year, Those with higher incomes were more likely to have a financial plan. Among regardless of what their socio-economic 49 percent of consumers said they had a Inthecurrentsurvey,20percentofthosewithoutafinancialplanreporttheyareveryorsomewhat decision-makers with household incomes statuses are, both feel better about the retirement investment plan in place and of $100,000 or more, 55 likelytohaveonepreparedinthenext12months. percent had a plan and do better as a result of having were saving for retirement, only a slight dip from 51 percent in 1997. financial plan, the survey found. Just 35 that plan,” Keller said. Even so, more consumers expressed Additionally, savings rates were higher percent of those with household incomes for decision-makers with financial plans. feeling like they’re falling behind in savbetween $50,000 and $99,999 had a plan.   decision-makers with ing for retirement. Over half of consumThe portion with a plan fell further to 25 Half of financial 4 Directcomparisonwith1997notavailable,seeAppendix‘Savers’. comprehensive financial plans reported ers, 51 percent, said they felt behind in percent among financial decision-makers with household incomes between $25,000 saving at least 10 percent of their income. saving for retirement in 2012. Only 38 and $49,999. It dipped to 10 percent in the But only 27 percent of decision-makers percent felt behind in 1997. The importance and benefits of finanincome bracket for earners in households without a plan met that savings rate. “Developing a comprehensive plan re- cial planning haven’t changed since 1997, making under $25,000 annually. A misconception exists that financial quires one to think seriously about one’s Keller said. “I’m struck with some interesting simiplanning is only for the wealthy, Kevin finances,” said Stephen Brobeck, execuKeller, CEO of the Certified Financial tive director of the Consumer Federation larities when you compare the research Planner Board of Standards, Inc. said of America, during the conference call. of 1997 to today,” he said. “Those who during a conference call to discuss the “This planning requires one to assess not plan do better and feel better than those only their spending, savings, and use of who do not. That was true in the good survey. “This in my mind is both a problem and credit, but also the complex relationships economic times of 1997, and it is true a challenge,” he said. “It is our job to edu- between their debts, savings, and invest- today as our economy is recovering from cate consumers that there is something ments. This comprehensive assessment a recession.” The Washington, D.C.–based Certified that they can affirmatively and proactively can only improve one’s financial confiFinancial Planner Board of Standards, do, even in difficult economic times, and dence and security.” which grants certified financial planeven if they’re not rich.” ner certification, and the Consumer Financial planning has its benefits, the Changing planning/saving habits Another portion of the survey com- Federation of America, which is a survey found. Those with comprehensive plans are more likely to be confident pared consumer attitudes and habits in Washington, D.C.–based association of about managing money, savings, and in- 1997 to today. For example, it found that nonprofit consumer organizations, jointly vestments than non-planners — 52 per- 38 percent of consumers live paycheck sponsored the survey. Princeton Survey cent of planners said they were confident, to paycheck today, up from 31 percent Research Associates International conin 1997. ducted it. compared to 30 percent of non-planners. This has affected saving for children’s The survey was comprised of telephone Those with financial plans were also more likely to feel on pace to meet their college education, according to the sur- interviews with 1,508 financial decisionfinancial goals. A full 50 percent of those vey. This year, 48 percent of families with makers nationwide conducted between with comprehensive financial plans did college-bound children said they were May 7 and May 20. Its margin of error is q not feel behind on any specific goal, while saving for higher education, down from plus or minus 3 percentage points. only 32 percent of those without a plan 56 percent in 1997. But retirement investments did not Contact Seltzer at rseltzer@cnybj.com felt that way.

By Rick Seltzer Journal Staff

I

  nsurance agencies no longer have to   stick to branded items like coffee mugs   when they give gifts to their clients and prospects because of a new state law being applauded by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York, Inc. (IIABNY). The law, which became effective when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed it Aug. 1, eliminates a requirement that insurance agencies give only articles of merchandise that bear the agencies’ names. In the past, that requirement kept insurance agents from giving gifts like restaurant gift certificates or discounts on defensivedriving courses. In addition, the law ups to $25 the value of gifts that agents are allowed to22give clients. The limit was previously $15. Dodge “This is something that many business owners like to do, they like to give a little thankyou for doing business with them,” says Tim Dodge, director of research and media relations for the DeWitt–based IIABNY. He believes the vast majority of insurance agents want to find other ways of competing beyond the prices they charge and show customers that they are grateful. IIABNY members regularly contacted Dodge to consult about the old restrictions, known as anti-rebating provisions, he says. Inquiries concerned a range of potential presents, from gifts like smoke detectors that are tied to loss prevention to gas cards, he continues. Smoke detectors under $15 in value were permissible as long as they bore the agent’s or agency’s name, according to Dodge. But before the new state regulations went into effect, gas cards were not. Still, they were a common cause of inquiry whenever pump prices spiked, he says. See IIABNY, page 6B


2B • The Central New York Business Journal

INSURANCE & FINANCIAL PLANNING

August 24, 2012

Occupational fraud: It could happen to you The final part of a 3-part series.

W

e began this series (March 30 issue of The Business Journal) with a discussion of fraud statistics, why people commit fraud, and red flags for which to watch out. We then continued the discussion (May 25 issue of The Business Journal) with examples of occupational fraud and how these frauds are perpetrated. In this third and final article of the series, we will focus on how companies can mitigate fraud risk. The fraud cases reported in the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner’s (ACFE) 2010 Report to the Nations lasted a median of 18 months before being detected. Think back to all of the major fraud cases you’ve read about in the news; it is often the magnitude of the dollar amounts involved in such cases that makes them top headlines. You might remember that 90 percent of the cases studied by the ACFE involved asset-misappropriation schemes that resulted in a median loss of $135,000. In any business, regardless of how deficient the internal-control structure might be, it is nearly impossible for somebody to embezzle such a large amount at one time without being detected almost immediately. A successful fraud scheme involves a well-thought-out plan by those with intimate knowledge of how the victim organization operates. In order to “fly below the radar,” the perpetrator will often steal relatively small sums over a prolonged period of time,

as well as take additional steps to cover the tracks left behind. It is typically those in upper levels of management who possess the knowledge and authority necessary to successfully perpetrate and conceal an occupational-fraud scheme for an extended period of time. Organizations are most vulnerable to high-dollar fraud schemes from the top down; therefore, one of the most proven and cost-effective methods of preventing fraud is setting a positive “tone at the top.” While a successful fraud scheme often leads to a significant reduction in employee morale that can permeate the entire organization, an honest and ethical working environment can have an equally significant impact on an organization. In addition to leading by example, it is crucial for companies to make it known to each and every employee that questionable behavior will not be tolerated. Whether your employees are walking out the door with a laptop computer or a box of pens — each is an example of theft and considered to be occupational fraud. By overlooking the small instances of fraud, a typically honest working environment can begin to deteriorate quickly. It is vital for management to maximize the perception of detection throughout all levels of the organization. The perception of detection is a very effective fraud deterrent and can be increased by establishing strict anti-fraud policies, including a whistleblower policy and fraudtip line. Tips from fellow employees have

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long since proven to be the most common method for uncovering occupational-fraud schemes. However, an employee is unlikely to come forward with such information if he/she fears repercussion, whether it be loss of one’s job or being viewed as an untrustworthy co-worker going forward. Nobody wants to be seen as a snitch, which is why it is key to provide a potential tipster with anonymity when coming forward with information regarding his or her co-workers. This can be achieved by establishing a confidential fraud-tip line, as well as a whistleblower policy that guarantees the tipster protection from any negative repercussions. Establishing an ethical work environment and providing employees confidential means to report suspicious activities are the beginning of an effective fraud-riskmanagement program. However, fraud still occurs at these types of businesses every day. Remember that more than 85 percent of perpetrators studied by the ACFE had never been previously charged or convicted of a fraud-related offense. Under extreme financial pressure, an honest person may do things that are thought to be unimaginable. Imagine what an employee struggling to make their mortgage payments or someone with big gambling debts or large medical bills is tempted to do. In these situations, it is easy for the fraudsters to rationalize their actions because the alternatives, such as losing their home, seem worse than the risk of being caught.

LINDA GABOR & CHRISTOPHER ALGER FIGHTING FRAUD Therefore, an organization must also design and implement an effective system of anti-fraud controls through a fraud-risk assessment. In a fraud-risk assessment, an organization does exactly what the name suggests: it assesses the risk of fraud throughout the organization and then looks at ways to keep frauds from occurring. The first step is to determine where fraud risk exists within the organization. What are the areas most susceptible to fraud? Next, who has the ability to commit the fraud, and how might he or she go about perpetrating the fraud? Sometimes, asking your employees how they would go about stealing money from the company if they wanted to, will flush out vulnerable areas. While you can imagine the look on your staff’s face as you ask this question during the Monday morning meeting, it is actually a very reasonable question when asked in the appropriate situation, such as in the preliminary stages of a fraud-risk asSee FIGHTING FRAUD, page 5B

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The Central New York Business Journal â&#x20AC;˘ 5B

insurance & financial planning

August 24, 2012

fighting fraud: Occupational fraud can impact any organization Continued from page 2B

sessment. In order to effectively identify an organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most vulnerable areas, management must involve those who would be most likely to take advantage of such vulnerabilities. The next step to developing effective anti-fraud controls is communicating the results of the fraud-risk assessment to the appropriate people. There is no point in undertaking a fraud-risk assessment if there is no plan to take corrective action soon after risks are identified. An organization has one of four options once a specific risk is identified: â&#x20AC;˘ Avoid the risk altogether â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Close a particularly high-risk business area â&#x20AC;˘ Transfer the risk â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Contract with an insurance company to assume the risk â&#x20AC;˘ Mitigate the risk â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Implement additional anti-fraud control procedures â&#x20AC;˘ Assume the risk â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Continue with current operations and live with the risk Once the approach has been decided, it is important to assign responsibility to individuals that possess the authority and respect necessary to follow through with the implementation process. This will reduce the likelihood of certain employees undermining such efforts. Finally, it is important for the business to continually monitor the results of this process. As in any implementation process, milestones should be set and benchmarking should be performed to assess the progress of the implementation efforts. Even after these efforts are completed, the initial risk assessment should be continually revisited in order to identify any new risks that may have developed over time, as well as to determine whether or not the initial action plan is still an effective response to the identified risks. Occupational fraud can impact any organization. Although smaller businesses are more susceptible, given the relative lack of anti-fraud resources, even the most well-designed anti-fraud systems can be compromised by the right combination of incentive, opportunity, and rationalization. However, the appropriate control processes can significantly mitigate the risk of occupational fraud occurring, as well as to ensure that a successful fraud scheme is identified in a timely manner. Such anti-fraud controls may include the following: â&#x20AC;˘ Appropriate segregation of duties

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â&#x20AC;˘ Adequate supervision and review processes â&#x20AC;˘ Safeguarding of an organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s assets â&#x20AC;˘ Surprise internal audits â&#x20AC;˘ Job rotations and mandatory vacation time â&#x20AC;˘ External audit of an organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s internal controls and/or financial statements Regardless of the size of your organization, there is almost always room for

improvement on designing internal-control procedures. Although fraud professionals are often sought to investigate suspected perpetration of fraud schemes, there is no need to wait until your organization has been victimized by occupational fraud to seek the assistance of a fraud professional. These individuals are well-versed in the types of occupational fraud that is likely to occur based on the activities taking place within an organization, and can assist with

the fraud-risk-assessment process to greatly reduce the chances of your business becoming another fraud statistic. q Linda Gabor, CPA, CFE is the partner in charge of audit services at Green & Seifter CPAs PLLC. Contact her at lgabor@greenseiftercpas.com. Christopher Alger, CPA, CFE is a supervisor in the audit department at Green & Seifter CPAs. Contact him at calger@greenseiftercpas.com

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6B • The Central New York Business Journal

INSURANCE & FINANCIAL PLANNING

August 24, 2012

IIABNY: Represents the business interests of

more than 1,750 insurance agencies in New York State Continued from page 1B

With over 42 Years of Experience, they know how to help you Join the Journal. Call today! BERNIE BREGMAN (315) 579-3903 bbregman@cnybj.com

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The new regulations are not a gutting of the former law, according to Dodge. “The spirit of the law has never been to prevent people from giving out Panera Bread gift cards, but that was the way it was written and that was the way the regulators had to enforce it,” he says. “The purpose of the rebating law is to prevent insurance producers and insurance companies from illegally discriminating, saying, ‘I really like this customer, so I’m going to give them a car.’ ” The $10 increase in the value limit for permissible gifts isn’t enough to allow insurance agents to really favor some customers over others, Dodge argues. He compared the new $25 limit to half of a tank of gasoline. “We don’t think it’s an invitation to corruption or indecent behavior,” he says. “When people think of kickbacks, they think of larger sums than $25.” The law is also beneficial to insurance agents simply because it cuts many of the strings attached to giving thank-you gifts, Dodge says. Agents will appreciate the new simplicity, while consumers aren’t likely to notice much of a difference, he says. Dodge contends the newly loosened restrictions probably aren’t the end of calendars and coffee mugs emblazoned with

N O M I N AT I O N S O P E N !

40

“When people think of kickbacks, they think of larger sums than $25.” — Tim Dodge, director of research and media relations for the DeWitt– based IIABNY. insurance agencies’ names. Those gifts are a good way to improve an agency’s visibility, and agencies typically order them in large quantities, he says. “I don’t think these things are going away, if for no other reason than that agencies have closets full of them that they ordered,” Dodge says. IIABNY represents the business interests of more than 1,750 insurance agencies in New York State. Those agencies employ more than 13,000 people, according to the association, which is a not-for-profit organization focusing on legislative advocacy, continuing education, and industry support. It is headquartered at 5784 Widewaters Parkway  in DeWitt. Contact Seltzer at rseltzer@cnybj.com

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August 24, 2012

The Central New York Business Journal â&#x20AC;˘ 7B

DereSzynski: Brown & Brown Empire State generated about $20 million in revenue in 2011 Continued from page 1

before departing for Washington State to become regional vice president for the insurance agencyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parent, Floridaâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;based Brown & Brown, Inc. (NYSE: BRO). This July, Dereszynski started traveling back to Syracuse. Then the Central New York insurance agency officially reintroduced him as its head on Aug. 2. Dereszynski will now be both regional vice president for the parent company and president of the Syracuse agency. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It gives me better access to the leadership of Brown & Brown,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And I think in the future I will probably assume some oversight of other Brown & Brown offices.â&#x20AC;? Dereszynskiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oversight of Brown & Brown Empire State charges him with leading the insurance agencyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 95 employees in three offices. Its Syracuse headquarters is home to 85 of its employees. The remaining personnel are divided between offices in Endicott and Clifton Park. At an Aug. 2 news conference marking his return to Syracuse, Dereszynski spoke of hiring anywhere between a â&#x20AC;&#x153;handfulâ&#x20AC;? of people to 25 candidates. But he says those were just examples â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t willing to focus on adding a specific number of workers. Instead, Brown & Brown Empire

Stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rate of hiring will depend on how many high-quality candidates it can find, he says. In part, the recruitment efforts are a piece of a larger push at the parent company Brown & Brown, Inc. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Brown & Brown nationwide has a goal of $2 billion in revenue,â&#x20AC;? Dereszynski says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re currently at about $1.1 billion, roughly. We know that in order to get to $2 billion in revenue, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to double the number of team members that we have. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So in order to do that, we have to look to our foundation offices or our flagship offices,â&#x20AC;? he continues. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Syracuse is definitely a flagship office for Brown & Brown.â&#x20AC;? New recruits will not be expected to leave upstate New York, Dereszynski says. But those who wish to follow opportunities in other parts of Brown & Brown will be given the chance to do so, he adds. Potential opportunities could include working in internal auditing, quality control, mergers and acquisitions, and leadership positions, according to Dereszynski. Brown & Brown Empire State is starting out by looking for professionals to work in both sales and service positions, he says. The Syracuse insurance agencyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recruitment efforts include radio and print advertisements. They are in the process of rolling out, Dereszynski says.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Brown & Brown nationwide has a goal of $2 billion in revenue,â&#x20AC;? Dereszynski says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re currently at about $1.1 billion, roughly. We know that in order to get to $2 billion in revenue, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to double the number of team members that we have.â&#x20AC;? A majority of Dereszynskiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s duties in Seattle centered on mergers and acquisitions, he says. He worked to find agencies that could be acquired and to help recently acquired agencies integrate into Brown & Brownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organization. That was a different job than leading Brown & Brown Empire State, he says. But he would not rule out the Syracuse agency making acquisitions in the future.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think the only thing I can say is that we do have ongoing discussions, but thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing that we can identify by name,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a big focus for Brown & Brown around the country. I think in upstate New York, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got our fair share of candidates that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve identified that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d either like to talk to or we have some ongoing conversations with.â&#x20AC;? Brown & Brown Empire State generated about $20 million in revenue in 2011, Dereszynski says. He projects growth of 5 percent in 2012. In returning to the Syracuse agency, Dereszynski replaces Linda Taylor as its president. Taylor is returning to Brown & Brown, Inc.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Buffalo office, where she worked as executive vice president and profit-center leader before coming to Syracuse. The leadership change came as Brown & Brown worked to find the â&#x20AC;&#x153;right personâ&#x20AC;? to lead its Syracuse office, according to Dereszynski. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My company reached out to me and said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Would you consider it?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think from the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective, from Linda Taylorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective, and from my perspective, this was the right move and good for everybody.â&#x20AC;? q Contact Seltzer at rseltzer@cnybj.com

Agenda Highlights: presents

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Central New York Business Journal - 8/24/2012  

Central New York Business Journal - 8/24/2012