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Vol. XXV • No. 45
Hello, Dolly: Doll company plans to make jump into mass production. Page 3.
Special 8-page pullout section inside. Section B.
QUARTERLY BUSINESS JOURNAL FINANCIAL
November 11, 2011
New business driving increased sales, hiring at Seneca Data
Bond, Schoeneck & King staying downtown with major renovation BY KEVIN TAMPONE
BY KEVIN TAMPONE
SYRACUSE — The law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC (BSK) will invest several million dollars in a major renovation of its 89,000-squarefoot headquarters in Syracuse this month after signing a new 15-year lease to remain downtown. The project will take six to seven months to complete. The law firm has leased multiple floors at One Lincoln Center since its move from the State Tower Building in 1972.
CICERO — A new business Seneca Data entered in recent years will generate more than $30 million in sales in 2011 and lead to 10 to 20 new jobs at the company in the next two years. The business involves creating specialized products for markets including digital security, digital signage, gaming, health care, and broadcasting. Seneca Data is mainly involved in producing servers that perform tasks like running display screens in sports stadiums across the country or powering online games, says PHOTO COURTESY OF SENECA DATA
See BSK, page 15
A Seneca Data employee works in the company’s new engineering lab.
See SENECA DATA, page 10
Small-business optimism inches upward in October BY RICK SELTZER JOURNAL STAFF
PHOTO COURTESY OF BOND, SCHOENECK & KING, PLLC
Linda Berardi, information services assistant at Bond, Schoeneck & King, inventories the firm’s library for relocation during its officewide remodeling project that commences Nov. 14 at One Lincoln Center.
essimism declined slightly among small-business owners in October as firms brightened their projections for sales and business conditions, but owners’ outlooks remained far from sunny. The Small Business Optimism Index, measured by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), edged up 1.3 points to 90.2 in October, rising for
the second straight month. The optimism index had been locked in a nosedive for six straight months before first going up in September. October’s index reading still trails 2011’s year-to-date average of 91.1, according to NFIB. Weak consumer demand is hurting small businesses, the organization says. Owners’ outlook for business conditions and real sales growth drove the rise in October’s index. The seasonally adjusted net percentage of business owners
expecting better business conditions in six months spiked 6 points to negative 16 percent, and the seasonally adjusted net percentage of owners anticipating higher real sales climbed 2 points to negative 4 percent. While both of those index components moved upward, they are still stuck in negative territory, indicating more business owners are pessimistic than optimistic. The NFIB calculates net percentages by See NFIB, page 15
INSIDE: CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE / 11 INDEX BUSINESS CALENDAR
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November 11, 2011
HHS official promotes health innovation at Tech Garden measurements of health-care quality, cost, access, and public health, according to HHS.gov. The data is standardized and structured and can be downloaded at HealthData.gov. The Health Data Initiative is being driven by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the national healthcare reform law, Park says. And new data sets are still being rolled out. For instance, in January 2012, HHS will release detailed Medicare claims data to qualified private and public organizations, according to Park. HHS will determine which organizations are qualified to receive the data, which is intended to allow the entities to research health-care providers and measure the quality of care they deliver. The Health Data Initiative does not award any grants to encourage entrepreneur use, according to Park. It is merely opening information to innovators who want to use data as the basis for new medical services. “It’s really a new paradigm for how government interacts,” Park says. “It’s not the government procuring solutions, issuing grants. It’s the government opening up data as a public resource so that anyone can pick it up and turn it into products and services that help improve health and health care.” The data initiative could lead to innovations as simple as new smartphone applications, Park says. But when he spoke in Syracuse he challenged his audience to try
By Rick Seltzer Journal Staff
SYRACUSE — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is giving entrepreneurs in Syracuse reason to be fired up, according to Todd Park, the department’s chief technology officer. “There’s never been a better time to be an innovator at the intersection of [information technology], data, and health,” Park says. “I’m incredibly excited.” Park visited Syracuse Nov. 4 to try to kindle interest in HHS initiatives aimed at health-care innovation. The city’s intersecting health and technology industries make it an ideal place to develop new products and services, Park says. “Syracuse is a rising hotbed of entrepreneurship innovation,” he says. “Innovation is happening at all stages of the pipeline from students all the way up to the major companies and everywhere in between.” Park regularly travels across the country to talk about the health-care industry and promote new HHS initiatives. He estimates he has visited about 50 cities in the last year. He spoke at the Syracuse Technology Garden and focused on two health-care trends: information liberation and incentive change.
Information liberation can mean allowing patient data to go from provider to pro-
HHS Chief Technology Officer Todd Park speaking at the Syracuse Tech Garden on Nov. 4.
rick seltzer/The Central New York Business Journal
vider so different doctors can have better information and deliver high-quality care, Park says. But it can also mean making certain health-care information available to the public. HHS and the Institute of Medicine, a nonprofit health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, are pursuing information liberation with a program known as the Health Data Initiative. HHS is releasing large sets
of health data so software developers can try to develop new applications. “Open up the data and work with it to make magic happen,” Park says is the idea. “Innovators can use the data as fuel to invent products and service applications that help health consumers and doctors and communities improve health care.” Available data comes from national, state, regional, and county levels and includes
See HHS, page 10
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The Central New York Business Journal • 3
November 11, 2011
Doll company plans to make jump into mass production
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SYRACUSE — Jonathan Made wants to put actor William Levy in the palm of your hand. Actually, Made, a local entrepreneur, wants to put Levy in the palms of many hands. Made, founder and sole owner of Syracuse–based Bezel Doll Group, plans to mass produce and sell dolls of pop stars and famous actors. “I’m creating dolls with extreme likeness to celebrities,” Made says. “I know there’s a market out there of collectors and fans that will want to purchase these.” Bezel Doll Group, which is based in the Syracuse Technology Garden, has negotiated a licensing agreement with Levy, an actor popular in Latin America, Made says. The company needs the agreement to be able to legally sell dolls with Levy’s likeness. Made is also negotiating an agreement with rap artist Nicki Minaj. He wants to make dolls of celebrities that aren’t already on store shelves, he says. “I’ve noticed that there’s a lack of attention to celebrities of minority backgrounds,” Made says. “I’d like to fill that void.” Bezel is trying to raise money to fund an initial production run of 50,000 to 100,000 Levy dolls, according to Made. The dolls would be sold online, and Made has plans to develop a web portal that would allow customers to order dolls with custom clothing, he says. The company is searching for about $72,000 to finance its first manufacturing run. A large part of that price tag is made up of licensing fees. Bezel will need to pay Levy $70,000 to manufacture dolls with his likeness. Made, who has invested $40,000 of his own money in Bezel Doll Group, is visiting with investors and considering selling shares in the company to raise funds, he says. He is also running a campaign through the online crowd-funding site IndieGoGo. IndieGoGo allows projects to cobble together funding from the contributions of web users. If the campaign fails to raise enough money, Made says he will continue searching for enough capital to start manufacturing. “If not now, in two years,” he says. “The whole goal is to sell them in mass production.” Made originally started a crowd-funding campaign at the website Kickstarter, which is similar to IndieGoGo. But that drive ended early after he received a cease-anddesist letter from a lawyer representing actor Johnny Depp. Bezel’s campaign on Kickstarter contained images of dolls that the lawyer said were similar to Depp, Made says. Bezel did not have a license to produce Depp dolls. Made says he took down the images and complied with the letter immediately. He never planned to mass produce dolls of anyone without a legal agreement, Made says. His IndieGoGo page contains a disclaimer that pictured pre-production dolls are not
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One of the dolls produced by Bezel Doll Group. The company is trying to raise money to fund an initial production run of 50,000 to 100,000 William Levy dolls. meant to be models of any specific celebrity.
Made plans two varieties of Bezel dolls: those that talk, and those that don’t. The company wants to record 10 seconds of audio for the talking dolls. Talking dolls would retail for about $35, while non-talking dolls would sell for $25. At those prices, Made estimates his company would break even after selling 25,000 Levy dolls. Bezel has lined up CHL Products of China to manufacture its dolls. It also has a relationship with a sculptor and artist who would design a prototype Levy doll. That doll would serve as the model for largescale manufacturing. “Once the one-of-a-kind is done you would mass produce them through an injection mold,” Made says. “The quality of these is superb.” After mass production begins, Bezel Doll Group will need to lease warehouse space, says Made, who is currently the company’s only employee. He anticipates needing to hire about five workers to handle invoices and prepare dolls for shipping. Made doesn’t currently have any concrete plans to move the company from the Syracuse Technology Garden. Bezel Doll Group is a good fit for the business incubator because Made is dedicated, has a solid business plan, and is pursuing crowd-fundSee dolls, page 13
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• The Central New York Business Journal
CNYBJ.COM BRIEFS News of note for and about Central New York businesses
Jett Industries opens location in downtown Syracuse SYRACUSE — Jett Industries, Inc. recently leased 2,121 square feet of office space located at the Empire Building, 472 South Salina St., Syracuse. Bill Colucci of Pyramid Brokerage Company, brokered this lease transaction. Terms of the lease were not provided. Jett Industries is a general contractor to construct and modify water and wastewater-treatment facilities. The company, founded in 1985, has grown from two employees to more than 100, building projects throughout New York State. Jett also provides general contracting for bridge, utility, and pre-engineered building construction.
Former LaBarge Building sold for $1.3 million DEWITT — The former LaBarge Building, located at 6687 Moore Road in the town of DeWitt, has been sold for $1.3 million. Kenworth of Buffalo purchased the 25,665-square-foot garage-maintenance facility, situated on 2.3 acres of land in October. Its plans include expanding its Syracuse sales and service location. The sale price included a 2,250-square-foot storage building and 4.32-acre parcel of land across the street. William Colucci of Pyramid Brokerage Company brokered this sale transaction.
Albany–area firm launching Syracuse presence
November 11, 2011
Pfizer grant to help St. Joseph’s buy disease-registry software BY JOURNAL STAFF
SYRACUSE — St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center will purchase disease-registry software for its Family Medicine Center with an educational grant from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Inc. The Pfizer grant, for $26,850, will pay for software that will help St. Joseph’s set up quality-of-care benchmarks for chronic diseases such as diabetes. Physicians and faculty members at St. Joseph’s Family Medicine Center will use the software to
assess patients. The software will be compatible with St. Joseph’s electronic health records, allowing health-care providers to share information. It should help providers manage care, cut delays, and prevent unnecessary testing, according to a St. Joseph’s news release. “St. Joseph’s Family Medicine Center has the opportunity to dramatically improve the health of the community through implementation of a disease registry to
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SYRACUSE — Maguire Cardona, a law firm based in the Albany area, plans to expand into Syracuse. Louis Tripoli, a Syracuse native, is joining the firm as managing attorney in Syracuse. He has worked in the past for area firms including Mackenzie Hughes and Harris Beach. Maguire Cardona is a civil litigation and general practice firm with five employees. “[Tripoli] is well regarded within the legal and medical communities for litigating highly complex medical malpractice and personal injury claims,” Richard Maguire, senior partner at Maguire Cardona, said in a news release. “We look forward to the impact he will make to Maguire Cardona’s litigation practice on behalf of our clients.” Tripoli has tried medical-malpractice cases in various specialty areas, including obstetrics, cardiology, internal medicine, neurology, infectious disease, emergency medicine, nursing home, and medical professional disciplinary matters over the past 25 years.
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support the management of disease risk factors in the diabetic population we serve,” Dr. Matthew Picone, project physician leader, said in a news release. “Such a registry would help to unite the fragmented care the chronically ill so often receive.” St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center is a nonprofit, 431-bed hospital and health-care network affiliated with Franciscan Cos. and sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis. It serves patients from Onondaga County and 15 surrounding counties.
The Central New York Business Journal • 5
November 11, 2011
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• The Central New York Business Journal
November 11, 2011
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Thursday, November 17, 2011 8:00 pm–Wellin Hall at
New York’s Creative Core $200,000 Emerging Business Competition We’re looking for the most innovative, growth-oriented entrepreneur or emerging business in the region! The competition is a project of the Central Upstate Regional Alliance, a 12-county public/private consortium that works on a variety of regional issues and opportunities.
Friday, November 18, 2011 7:30 pm–Crouse Hinds Concert Theatre of the John Mulroy
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www.symphonysyracuse.org *Tickets for the HAMILTON COLLEGE performance are $15, $10 for senior citizens, and $5 for students. Hamilton College tickets can be purchased online www.hamiltonpa. org or through the Wellin Hall box office, (315) 859-4331. **Tickets for the SYRACUSE performance are $15–50 with most seats priced at $25 or less. Senior citizens may deduct 10%. Students with an ID can purchase tickets for $10. Tickets are available at the OnCenter box office (315) 435-2121 and at Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000.
hat many tax-exempt organizations may not know is that the IRS requires them to file either a return or a notice every year in order to maintain their tax-exempt status. Most notfor-profits must annually file Form 990, or Form 990-EZ. Even if an organization is exempt from filing one of those forms because its annual gross receipts are not normally more than $50,000, it may still be required to file Form 990-N — also known as an “e-postcard.” What happens if an organization fails to make the necessary filing for three consecutive years? Unfortunately, the IRS will automatically revoke its tax-exempt VIEWPOINT status. The consequences of losing tax-exempt status are severe. For example: Donors lose the ability to deduct contributions to the organization (to the extent they otherwise would have been deductible) The organization becomes subject to tax on its income and must satisfy the filing requirements applicable to organizations without tax-exempt status Any existing sales-tax exemption may be lost The organization’s “responsible persons,” a class of individuals typically comprised of its officers and directors, may be personally liable for certain unpaid taxes In short, losing its tax-exempt status can be disastrous for an organization. What can an organization do if it overlooks the filing requirements and its tax-exempt status is revoked by the IRS? Luckily, there is help available. The nonprofit may seek to have its tax-exempt status reinstated by filing a new “Application for Recognition of Exemption” and paying a fee. If the organization shows reasonable cause for not filing and seeks reinstatement within the period prescribed by the IRS, the reinstatement may even be retroactive to the date of revocation. Certain qualifying small organizations may even qualify for automatic retroactive reinstatement as long as they properly seek reinstatement on or before Dec. 31, 2012. If an organization does not qualify for retroactive reinstatement, it will have to fulfill all of the tax and filing requirements applied to non-exempt organizations for the time during which its tax exempt status was revoked. If your organization has lost its tax-exempt status, consult an attorney with experience in this area of law to review your options.
TIMOTHY P. CRISAFULLI
Timothy P. Crisafulli is an attorney in the Tax Practice of Hancock Estabrook, LLP in Syracuse and regularly counsels tax-exempt organizations, business entities, individuals, and fiduciaries on tax matters. Contact Crisafulli at (315) 565-4500 Ext. 4517 or email: email@example.com
Syracuse, NY 13202 Phone (315) 234-7500 Phone (315) 234-7500 Fax (315) 234-7508
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• Personal Insurance November 11, 2011
IExcellus NSURANCE outsources senior• Risk Management SPECIAL REPORT • Benefits Insurance
100 Madison Street Suite 100 Syracuse, NY 13202
exercise program to cut costs BY RICK SELTZER JOURNAL STAFF
DeWITT — Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Central New York’s largest health insurer, has replaced its own gym-benefit program for Medicare Advantage members with a senior-exercise program from a California company. Starting Jan. 1, Excellus Medicare Advantage members will have the option of enrolling in Silver&Fit, which is operated by a subsidiary of San Diego–based American Specialty Health Inc. (ASH). Members will Burke pay $25 for a year’s membership to Silver&Fit, which includes access to in-network fitness clubs and exercise facilities, a newsletter, and exercise DVDs. Participating in Silver&Fit will mean Medicare Advantage members will not have to pay monthly gym fees, which can total several hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. The program replaces Rochester–based Excellus’s self-operated gym-benefit, which reimbursed members up to $650 per year for gym-membership fees. The move is an attempt to cut costs and hold down premium increases following federal cuts to Medicare Advantage funding, says Excellus Vice President of Medicare Michael Burke. Excellus’s Medicare Advantage revenue from the federal government is declining by seven-tenths of one percent, Burke says. That decrease prompted the insurer to evaluate the benefits it offers. “The problem is the cost side of the equation on the medical side keeps going up,” Burke says. “The dollar savings that we have to put into other things like a fitness benefit are shrinking, shrinking, shrinking.” Excellus chose to revamp its gym benefit because a relatively small portion of its 84,000 Medicare Advantage members use it, according to Burke. Only 15,000 members ever signed up for the previous gym-reimbursement benefit, and Burke estimates just 5,000 to 6,000 members actively used it. “The whole population was paying for this benefit, but only a small portion was using it,” he says. “We were trying to strike a balance between the declining revenues, a fairly rich fitness benefit, and the need to keep people’s premiums as reasonable as possible.” Excellus weighed the prospect of modifying its gym-benefit program over the last several years but has never considered eliminating it, according to Burke. The program promotes good health and can help Excellus financially, he says. By encouraging seniors to stay active and healthy, a gym-benefit program can lower clinical costs that save Excellus money, he
Joseph Convertino, Sr. President Joseph convertino, Joe placing Convertino, Jr.Jr.amount on says. However, a dollar executive Vice President Vice savings from thosePresident lower costs is no easy
task. Phone (315) 234-7500 “It’s very, very hard to demonstrate a reFax (315) 234-7508 turn on investment,” Burke says. “Trying to quantify it is difficult, because you’ve got to study a group over a period of time.”
Once Excellus decided to subcontract out its senior-exercise program, the insurer put out a request for proposals, Burke says. It evaluated services offered and the cost of the program before choosing Silver&Fit, he says. Burke could not provide Silver&Fit’s cost. He also could not estimate the savings Excellus will realize from contracting with the program. The Silver&Fit program is established in the wellness market and carries a good reputation, Burke says. Its parent company, ASH, covers more than 20 million members in specialty network-management, fitness, wellness programs, and prevention programs. Silver&Fit currently offers memberships at over 11,000 fitness clubs and exercise
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See EXCELLUS, page 8
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• The Central New York Business Journal
November 11, 2011
Mid York Associates merges with Alpha Associates
Check www.eaglenewsonline.com for breaking news, photo galleries, blogs and more
BY RICK SELTZER JOURNAL STAFF
Chelsea Dorado 437-6173
arge groups often have advantages, even for independent insurance agencies. An association of independent agencies in Central New York and the Southern Tier will try to tap into some of those advantages at the beginning of 2012 by merging with a band of agencies to their west. Mid York Associates, Inc., a cluster of six independent insurance agencies in locations south of Syracuse and the Finger Lakes, is merging with Alpha Associates, Inc., a collection of 13 independent agencies with offices in Western New York and Western Pennsylvania. The combination will help agency owners share management strategies and network. It will also give member agencies access to group discounts when purchasing from vendors, according to Alpha President Julius Aebly, Jr. “Think about it from the perspective of competing against the huge behemoth brokerage firms that are out there,” says Aebly, who is also principal of the West Seneca– based insurance firm The Walsh Group. “It enables a smaller to medium-sized agency to be able to come to a client and have tools and markets and carriers and abilities that they wouldn’t normally have on their own,” Aebly says. “That helps the client out, first and foremost. That helps the agent out. That’s good for the carrier.” The merged cluster will keep the name Alpha Associates, Inc. It will have 19 members in 30 locations throughout New York and Pennsylvania. Alpha operates on a one-member, onevote concept, according to Aebly. Individuals who own more than one agency count as one Alpha member only. The two groups have been considering a merger for several years and examined each other in-depth before deciding to combine, Aebly says. Their vetting process included examining carrier reports and interviewing carrier representatives. “It was a very involved and a very long process,” Aebly says. “What we saw was two clusters that looked and felt and operated identically.”
Members voted to approve the union July 12. It will be effective Jan. 1. The merged group does not have plans to rent any space for an Alpha Associates, Inc. office. That keeps with the practices of both Mid York and Alpha, neither of which had a physical location. Instead, the cluster will hold bi-monthly meetings in Batavia. “Batavia seems to be the most central location,” Aebly says. “Pretty much everybody’s going to drive a couple hours to get to the meeting.” Before the merger, Alpha met in Arcade (Wyoming County), while Mid York rotated the location of its meetings between its members’ offices, Aebly says. Once the merger is complete, Alpha will start working to add new support services for its members, according to Aebly. Those services include cost-effective advertising, website assistance, and social-media help. The merger will also give some cluster members access to new insurance carriers. Members will have access to about 10 new carriers, he says. The enlarged Alpha will be made up of members who employ more than 140 people and represent more than 35 insurance carriers. Its property and casualty and life and health premium volume will total more than $100 million. Before merging, Alpha’s premium volume was about $65 million, according to Aebly. Mid York generated premiums totaling approximately $40 million, he says. No agencies split from merging clusters because of the combination. Aebly will remain as president of Alpha, while Andy Sprague, whose agency had been a member of Mid York, will be vice president. Sprague is president of Corning–based Sprague Insurance. The other Mid York companies joining Alpha include Watkins Glen–based David L. Sidle Agency, Inc.; Tully–based Hayes Agency Inc.; and Cortland–based Tanner-Ibbotson, Inc. George B. Bailey Agency., Inc., which has offices in Dryden and Cortland, is another Mid York Agency joining Alpha. So is Robert C. Dempsey Agency, which has offices in Groton, Auburn, and Moravia. Contact Seltzer at firstname.lastname@example.org
EXCELLUS: Silver&Fit offers memberships at over 11,000 fitness clubs Continued from page 7
facilities in the country. Its website lists various Gold’s Gym and Curves facilities as Silver&Fit participants in the Syracuse area. ASH is currently trying to sign up new exercise facilities within Excellus’s coverage area. Excellus is taking member feedback on gyms that should be added to the network, and Silver&Fit will prioritize the addition of facilities that members frequently used in the past, Burke says. Members who do not want to enroll in Silver&Fit will have the option of receiving a $150 out-of-network benefit that will help them offset the cost of visiting a gym not approved by the program, according to Burke.
The switch to the Silver&Fit program could actually increase the number of Excellus Medicare Advantage members taking part in the company’s senior-fitness program, Burke says. Excellus will run newspaper and billboard advertisements to promote Silver&Fit. The program has a brand and a history that can be useful in promoting the insurer’s gym benefit, according to Burke. “That might increase the overall utilization of the benefit,” he says. “We’re hoping it drives some enrollment in the insurance product as well.” Contact Seltzer at email@example.com
The Central New York Business Journal • 9
November 11, 2011
Eighth Annual Best Practices for Nonprofits for Executive Staff and Board Members Featured Speakers
Ann M. Costello, Foundation Director, Golisano Foundation Matthew D. Babcock, Esq., Assistant Medicaid Inspector General Compliance, NYS OMIG
December 8, 2011 Holiday Inn Liverpool 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. Registration 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 Noon Program
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Philanthropy in an Era of Economic Decline Financial Crises - Mergers, Affiliations, Bankruptcies & Other Strategies Recent Government Enforcement Activities: Medicaid Funding, Managed Care & Cost Reporting Challenges in Accessing United Way & Foundation Funding Navigating Employment Laws in Turbulent Times Best Practices & Recent Compliance & Compensation Issues Funding in the New Era - Social Media & Estate Giving Office of the Medicaid Inspector General - Focus on Nonprofits
Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC, The Bonadio Group, Central New York Community Foundation, Inc., The Gifford Foundation, United Way of CNY and Media Sponsor: The Central New York Business Journal
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November 11, 2011
SENECA DATA: New facility offers space for design and development of new products Continued from page 1
Mike Smith, Seneca Data’s vice president of engineering technology. Customers in the space often have demanding requirements and the products Seneca Data is creating are designed precisely for specific applications, Smith adds. The company aims to grow sales of these products to 40 percent of its total business in the next two years, up from 30 percent now. Sales in the area rose 40 percent last year and should be up 70 percent this year, Seneca Data President Greg Masingill says.
Sales in the space are forecasted to grow to $50 million in 2013. The business launched formally several years ago, a result largely of Seneca Data’s 2006 acquisition of Alpharetta, Ga.–based Concentric Systems, Inc. (CSI). Seneca Data and CSI both had a few customers in the space, and the combination of the two firms offered the potential for expansion, Masingill says. “CSI gave us scale,” he says. To support the new business, Seneca Data invested $350,000 in a new, 3,500-square-foot product-development lab at its Cicero headquarters. The lab opened
over the summer. The facility offers space for design and development of new products and includes areas for extensive testing and simulation. The jobs that Seneca Data expects to add to support the new business will include sales staff, technicians, and engineers. The space is highly stable, Masingill notes. Products are developed to precise, exacting standards from customers. So, if a company invests time and resources with Seneca Data creating a server designed to run a specific digital security system, for example, it’s hard to pick up and move that business to another manu-
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“It makes it tough for them to just walk away,” Masingill says. facturer. “It makes it tough for them to just walk away,” Masingill says. In this new business area, Seneca Data works with companies like NEC on digital signage, Genetec in the surveillance market, and Wide Orbit in the broadcast space. Although Seneca Data expects growth across the company, the new business offers more potential for expansion and better profit margins, Masingill says. In the digital security market, for example, about 80 percent of existing infrastructure is still analog, Smith says. Eventually, all of that equipment and all of those systems will make the transition to digital. Seneca Data also manufactures its own line of desktops, notebooks, servers, and storage devices. In addition, it is a distributor of other information-technology products and services. An affiliate company, Revonate Manufacturing, focuses on refurbishing old equipment. The new business will aid Seneca Data’s other sales areas as well, Masingill says. In some cases, the company is able to sell custom products it creates for individual customers to others. Not every customer allows that. But even when a custom product has to remain with just one customer, Seneca Data may discover a component or design feature it can apply in other areas of its business, Smith says. Seneca Data employs 175 people. Contact Tampone at firstname.lastname@example.org
HHS: Insurance com-
panies are paying to keep patients healthy Continued from page 2
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for something bigger. “Don’t just think of iPhone apps,” Park told his audience. “That’s too narrow. When you think about applications of data, it’s any use at any level that helps patients make better decisions.”
Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers are driving incentive change by moving away from paying for the volume of services providers deliver, according to Park. They’re starting to pay to keep patients healthy, he says. The move is creating a market for innovations that improve health care and cut costs, he says. “That creates much more powerful business cases for innovations that help improve health and cut costs at the same time,” he says. Contact Seltzer at email@example.com
The Central New York Business Journal • 11
November 11, 2011
TOP RANKS: CNY CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE Ranked by No. of Members
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.
Name Address Phone/Fax Website CenterState CEO 1 572 S. Salina St. Syracuse, NY 13202 (315) 470-1800/ 471-8545 www.centerstateceo.com Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce 49 Court St. Binghamton, NY 13902 (607) 772-8860/ 722-4513 www.greaterbinghamtonchamber.com Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce 1241 Coffeen St. Watertown, NY 13601 (315) 788-4400/ 788-3369 www.watertownny.com Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce 904 E. Shore Drive Ithaca, NY 14850 (607) 273-7080/ 272-7617 www.tompkinschamber.org St. Lawrence Chamber of Commerce 101 Main St. Canton, NY 13617 (315) 386-4000/ 379-0134 www.northcountryguide.com Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce 44 E. Bridge St. Oswego, NY 13126 (315) 343-7681/ 342-0831 www.oswegofultonchamber.com Lewis County Chamber of Commerce 7576 South State St. Lowville, NY 13367 (315) 376-2213/ 376-0326 www.lewiscountychamber.org Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce 2 State St. Auburn, NY 13021 (315) 252-7291/ 255-3077 www.cayugacountychamber.com Greater Liverpool Chamber of Commerce 314 Second St. Liverpool, NY 13088 (315) 457-3895/ 234-3226 www.liverpoolchamber.com Skaneateles Chamber of Commerce 22 Jordan St. Skaneateles, NY 13152 (315) 685-0552/ 685-0552 www.skaneateles.com Seneca County Chamber of Commerce 2020 Routes 5 & 20 Seneca Falls, NY 13148 (315) 568-2906/ 568-1730 www.senecachamber.org Commerce Chenango, Inc. 19 Eaton Ave. Norwich, NY 13815 (607) 334-1400/ 336-6963 www.chenangony.org Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce 50 Main St. Massena, NY 13662 (315) 769-3525/ 769-5295 www.massenachamber.com Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce 59 Albany St. Cazenovia, NY 13035 (315) 655-9243/ 655-9244 www.cazenoviachamber.com Tioga County Chamber of Commerce 80 North Ave. Owego, NY 13827 (607) 687-2020/ 687-9028 www.tiogachamber.com Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce 27 Water St. Baldwinsville, NY 13027 (315) 638-0550 www.baldwinsvillechamber.com Greater Manlius Chamber of Commerce 425 East Genesee St. Fayetteville, NY 13066 (315) 637-4760/ 637-4762 www.manliuschamber.com
No. of Members 2,000
Total Revenue ($ thousands) — Total Expenses ($ thousands) Membership — Revenue Fiscal Year ($ thousands) Member Services & Benefits $5,325.95 $1,118.23 business development, insurance benefits, training/education seminars, economic development, development — financing, government relations, convention/visitors services, member events, work-force alignment, regional $5,482.18 marketing — 2009
$1,800.72 — $1,761.45 — 2010
programs, services, networking & advertising opportunities, business-advocacy focused committees, Broome Leadership Institute, convention & visitors bureau, on-the-job training program, Gateway Information Center, information/promotional material
Lou Santoni, President & CEO Matthew A. Vitanza, Chair
$556.27 — $541.98 — 2009
new advertising programs, money-savings programs, energy alliance, health/dental ins., business-to-business exclusives, networking & customer-building events, work-force training programs, business advocacy, enhanced website directory listing, member-to-member discounts, online coupons, and job opportunities
Lynn Pietroski, President & CEO David Malone, Chairman
$1,531.12 — $1,556.03 — 2010
networking, publicity, professional development, business development, committees, special events, sponsorships, referrals, government advocacy, community projects
Jean McPheeters, President & Corporate Secretary John Gutenberger, Board Co-Chair Laurie Linn, Board Co-Chair
$707.61 — $678.72 — 2010
economic development, cooperative advertising and marketing, group health insurance, FISHCAP coordination, tourism promotion agent for St. Lawrence County, representation on business issues at local, state, & federal level, networking opportunities
Patricia McKeown, Executive Director Rita Ostrander, Board President
$346.41 — $323.06 — 2009
advertising for members, networking programs, health ins., member-to-member discounts
Beth Ann Hilton, Executive Director Thomas Greco, President
$166.52 — $160.81 — 2010 $214.08 — $253.1 — 2010
health-insurance programs, networking at BAH and dinners, free listing on website, co-op advertising, listing in membership directory and buyer's guide
Anne Merrill, Executive Director
marketing & networking, energy-cost-savings program, training & education seminars, merchant services discount program, human-resource hotline, leadership training, public-affairs forums, business counseling
Andrew Fish, Executive Director J.D. Pabis, Chair
$63.05 — $60.31 — Oct.-Nov. 2010
education, network, health, insurance, advertising, web advertising, programs that promote business in the area, bulk mailing, member-to-member discounts, printed directory as well as online
Lucretia M. Hudzinski, Executive Director Dennis Hebert, President
$246.77 — $243.47 — 2009
community directory & telephone book, sponsor of Skaneateles.com, monthly meetings, monthly newsletter, business after hours, annual charity golf tournament, organizer of Dickens Christmas, Curbstone Festival, and the Skaneateles Antique and Classic Boat Show
Susan H. Dove, Executive Director Pam Schoener, President
$477.23 — $479 — 2009
group health/dental ins., networking opportunities, visibility to potential customers, referrals, business advocacy, business news & advice
Jeff Shipley, Executive Director Lisa Fitzgerald, Chair
$565.71 — $581.29 — April-March 2010 NA — NA — NA
networking & promotion, health ins., reduced-cost life & disability ins., member-to-member discounts, humanresource hotline, EAP programs, workshops & skills-upgrade training
Steve Craig, President & CEO James Currie, Chair
membership directory, member discount card, health ins., monthly newsletter, member referrals, grandopening ambassadors, constant contact email blasts, event sponsorships
Michael Gleason, Executive Director Susan Flynn, President
$101.48 — $119.32 — 2009
monthly member networking meetings, business seminars, website/area event calendar, visitor’s center, member directory, annual concert series & golf tournament, farmers market, Christmas walk & tree lighting, annual Ladies & Men’s Night Out
Gene Gissin, Chairperson
$111.75 — $122.25 — 2009
annual dinner & community awards, economic forums, newcomers, annual golf tournament, Tioga Business Show, relocation & real-estate info, referrals, ribbon cuttings, grand openings, business-networking events, website, leadership Tioga class, email blasts
Martha C. Sauerbrey, President & CEO James VonEsch, Chair
NA — NA — NA
monthly meetings, newsletter, health ins., networking events before and after business hours, business expo, public relations & business referral services, free listing in printed directory, business-growth education opportunities
Sharon Reiser, Executive Director Anthony Saraceni, President
$32.03 — $39.14 — Oct.-Sept. 2010
monthly meetings & newsletter, reduced-rate advertising, health ins., business development, networking, seminars, chamber-sponsored events
Mike Skeele, President
Note: Information was provided by representatives of listed organizations, their websites, and IRS Form 990. Other groups may have been eligible but did not respond to requests for information. 1
Key Executives and/or Board Chair/President Year Estab. Robert M. Simpson, President & CEO 20101 Allen Naples, Chairman
Formerly Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce
Central New York includes Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Tioga, and Tompkins counties.
RESEARCH BY NICOLE COLLINS 11/11 firstname.lastname@example.org
• The Central New York Business Journal
November 11, 2011
Business Journal C e n t r a l
N e w
Y o r k
Defining the 1 Percent
Volume 25, No. 45- November 11, 2011 NEWS Editor-in-Chief........................Adam Rombel email@example.com Assistant Editor..............Maria J. Carbonaro firstname.lastname@example.org Staff Writers........................... Kevin Tampone (Online Editor) email@example.com ..............................................................Rick Seltzer firstname.lastname@example.org ............................................................Traci DeLore email@example.com Columnists....................................Tom Morgan Production Manager.......................Erin Zehr firstname.lastname@example.org Research Manager.................. Nicole Collins email@example.com SALES Sr. Account Managers....................................... Bernard B. Bregman firstname.lastname@example.org Mary LaMacchia email@example.com Marketing .......................BBB Marketing Inc. CIRCULATION Circulation Management....(315) 579-3927 Administrative Publisher..........................Norman Poltenson firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Operating Officer......Marny Nesher email@example.com Business Manager.....................Kurt Bramer firstname.lastname@example.org
Class envy is not benign
e are assaulted daily by the media referring to the “1 Percent.” Those supporting the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement designate the 1 percent “super rich” and the remaining 99 percent who aren’t. President Obama, promoting what he calls the Buffett Rule, calls the 1 percent millionaires and billionaires, who are shirking their responsibility to pay their “fair share” of taxes. So who actually comprises the 1 percent? According to Internal from the Revenue Service (IRS) publisher tables, the 1 percent includes everyone from your doctor to billionaires. The 1 percent begins with those making $344,000 annually. Half make less than $500,000, while five of six make less than $1 million. The group includes 1.4 million taxpayers who paid 37 percent of all federal income taxes in 2009. The vast majority goes to work every day and the bottom half of the 1 percent relies on salaries for twothirds of its annual income. The top 1 percent pays an average of 24 percent of its annual income in federal income taxes. The IRS also tells us that over half of the 1 percent filing federal tax forms represents small businesses utilizing a sub-S or similar incorporation to avoid double taxation. Most business people I know don’t treat the income
as their personal piggy bank, but rather recognize the majority of income as corporate profits to be reinvested, shared with employees, preserved to ensure corporate liquidity, or paid to satisfy a variety of tax collectors. So is the top 1 percent paying its fair share? The Tax Policy Center (TPC), a center-left joint creation of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, publishes federal tax data by income groups. It reviewed not only the top 1 percent, but also the top 0.1 percent and found that the “super rich” (incomes of at least $1.974 million) paid more to keep the federal government functioning than the bottom 80 percent collectively. According to the TPC, on average, members of the super rich paid $1,147,616 in federal income taxes. That’s 1,000 times more than each taxpayer in the middle quintile pays. That brings us back to the OWS demonstrators and their movement. Who are they? Doug Schoen, a Democratic pollster, interviewed protesters in Zuccotti Park and found that they were opposed to free-market capitalism, supported the redistribution of wealth, encouraged more regulation on business, and demanded higher taxes on the rich. Nearly a third said they would engage in violence to achieve their ends. OWS protestors want to punish the wealthy and demonize corporations. They also seem to wallow in a collective victimhood and assume a right to “entitlements” from the public fisc. The OWS movement is endorsed by media pundits like Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, who recently condemned income growth in America by the rich as “theft.” This kind of rhetoric serves only to promote class hostility and economic envy. Even though OWS and its supporters may talk of “inequality” and “egalitarianism,” what
The Carter Years
The Central New York Business Journal (ISSN #1050-3005) is published every week by CNY Business Review, Inc. All contents copyrighted 2011. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Cover Price $2 Subscription Rate $86 per year Call (800) 836-3539
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his period is identical in so many ways to the Carter years in the White House. Americans were down on America during those years. They had suffered through a lousy economy and high unemployment. They were discouraged by high fuel prices and inflation. The president had little good to say about the opinion country. He did not use the word “malaise.” But his depressing remarks in speeches and interviews made clear he felt America was slipping. “The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways,” Carter told us. “It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation.” Someone could have made a fortune marketing Jimmy Carter glasses — featuring the darkest of lenses. Does any of this sound familiar? Pollsters tell us Americans are very much down on America these days. We are suffering through a lousy economy and high unemployment. Many are discouraged by high fuel prices and inflation. The president tells us we are not up to much these days. Recently, he said, “We
have lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge.” A few weeks ago, he said, “This is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and, you know, we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades.” You could make money marketing the Obama Dark Dark Tinted Teleprompter. In the Carter era, the stock market flopped. For years, it went nowhere. Pundits claimed capitalism was on the rocks. The left cried out for government to spread the wealth around and to rescue the poor. We could change one word in that paragraph and feel it describes conditions today. Change the word “Carter” to “Obama.” People believed America was in decline in the Carter era, and in the years that preceded it. The Soviets and Iranians embarrassed us, and seemed to shove us around. Hello. President Carter cut the defense budget. He told us our fears of communism were overblown. Hello. President Obama is cutting the defense budget. He tells us our fears of Islamic militarism are overblown. President Carter disliked big oil. He punished it with regulations and called for extra taxes on oil companies. He had the government pour billions into programs to produce alternative energy. Those efforts bombed. President Obama dislikes big oil. He
they encourage is covetousness when talking about “the 1 percent who got rich by exploiting the 99 percent.” The Hebrew word for covet is “chamad.” It is inscribed in the 10th commandment: “You shalt not covet….” The prohibition is designed as a fence to control our formidable passions and to keep us away from the sins of theft, adultery, and murder. Class envy is not benign. The belief that you don’t have enough because others have too much is the basis for also believing that others should be forced to do with less. It’s a short step to supporting law breaking as evidenced by the descent of the OWS movement into vandalism, rape, pelting police with rocks and bottles, anti-Semitic-rants, and public fornication. The temptation to exploit envy for political gain is attractive as a tool to ensure re-election. It is part of the mantra that Americans are stuck in their current economic condition and that only government brings about change. This is not the America I know. The 1 percent I meet every day are not successful because of luck or exploitation, but have succeeded largely on merit and perseverance. Most come from middle-class and lower-middle-class backgrounds, confirming that we still live in a mobile society. They deserve what they earn. Sowing class resentment makes America weaker. It is a dangerous path to follow. We would be wise to heed the advice of the ancient Hebrews who understood man’s worst instincts and build a fence around coveting. Norman Poltenson is the publisher of The Central New York Business Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org keeps looking for ways to impede the oil industry. He badmouths oil companies. He had the government pour billions into programs to produce alternative energy. Some of them have bombed, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions. Others do not look too promising. When Carter ran for a second term, his opponent called for freeing oil companies from smothering government regulation. He called government the problem, not the solution, to many of our problems. He called for reforming our tax system. What sort of candidate do you feel will be facing President Obama next year? What proposals will he or she promote? You can already hear the echoes from the last Carter campaign. Here is a good exercise. Google Milton Friedman, the free-market economist. Get his video series or book “Free to Choose.” Listen to his comments on YouTube. He came to popular fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His popularity was a product of the frustrations of those years. The comments he made then sound as if he made them last week. In large part, because conditions today are so similar to those the country faced back then. From Tom...as in Morgan. q Tom Morgan writes about 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
November 11, 2011
ACCOUNTING Kathleen Wells Burke of Dermody, Burke & Brown, CPAs, LLC has been named controller, in addition to her role as tax senior manager at the firm. Wells Burke has been with the firm since September 1979 Burke and has more than 30 years public-accounting experience. She specializes in corporate tax, pass-through entities, and tax-planning strategies, and has extensive experience with NYS Empire Zone credits, multi-state taxation, and shareholder and partner basis. Wells Burke is an experienced speaker on corporate, partnership, and personal taxation. Michael A. O’Shea was named a principal at Firley, Moran, Freer & Eassa, P.C. He has more than 20 years experience in public accounting and private industry, specializing in tax and working with O’Shea a variety of industries. His areas of expertise include taxation of closely held businesses, multi-state tax issues, and tax planning for high-net-worth individuals. O’Shea is a CPA and a 1988 graduate of SUNY Oswego.
ENGINEERING Beardsley Design Associates Architecture, Engineering & Landscape Architecture, P.C. (BDA) has promoted Michael V. Romano to electrical discipline head. In addition to his new duties, Romano will continue to serve as electrical engineer. Romano joined BDA in 2009 as an electrical Romano engineer and recently
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE: new hires & promotions became a stockholder. He is licensed in New York, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and Hawaii, and is a LEED BD+C accredited professional.
INSURANCE Joseph Sheen has joined Falcone Associates, Inc. as a benefits consultant, specializing in employee benefits for small and large businesses, including self-employed individuals. He was formerly Sheen with Haylor, Freyer & Coon as an assistant vice president in the group-benefits department.
MANUFACTURING Bill Warwick has been hired as The Eraser Company’s newest lab technician, and will help oversee tune-ups, repairs, and samples that come into the lab. Warwick most recently worked as a diagnostic Warwick electronics technician at United Radio. He brings to the position more than eight years experience in the technician field.
NONPROFITS Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York has hired Lee A. Wilder as house program manager. Prior to joining Ronald McDonald House Charities, Wilder was an account executive for CenterState CEO in Syracuse.
Galson Laboratories has promoted Katie Drogo, Kyle Kaelin, and Ashley Choquette at its Syracuse laboratory. Drogo was named GC supervisor. She has been with Galson Laboratories for five Choquette years, most recently as a GC senior chemist. Kaelin was named XRD supervisor. He has been with Galson Laboratories for eight years, most recently as gravimetrics supervisor. Choquette was named gravimetrics supervisor. She has been with Galson Laboratories for four years, most recently as an HPLC analyst.
The Central New York Business Journal • 13
SRC, Inc. has announced the promotions of Bob DelZoppo to assistant vice president, advanced technology programs; Dave Sprague to assistance vice president, contracts; and Rick Wells DelZoppo to assistant vice president, information technology. In addition, the company has hired Tracey McCarthy as assistant vice president, operations, in the information science and engineering business area. DelZoppo holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from SUNY Fredonia and has completed post-master’s graduate work in
computer science at the University at Buffalo. He has published more than 20 professional papers, articles, and studies. Sprague has a bachelor’s degree from the University at Albany, SUNY and a Sprague juris doctorate from the Vermont Law School. Wells has an in-depth understanding of many technology disciplines. He is proficient at understanding emerging technologies and their potential business advantages. Wells has Wells been honored as one of the nation’s Premier 100 IT Leaders by IDG’s Computerworld magazine. McCarthy comes to SRC from National Grid, where she served as vice president, customer financial services. McCarthy has a bachMcCarthy elor’s degree in electrical engineering from Clarkson University and a juris doctorate from Syracuse University College of Law. Ray Forrister has joined Inficon as a semiconductor applications engineer. Before coming to Inficon, Forrister worked as a fault-detection engineer for Freescale. Forrister holds a masForrister ter’s degree in chemical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from The University of New Mexico. Pat Irwin has joined Inficon as an electrical engineer for the thin film business line. Before joining Inficon, Irwin worked as a design engineer for Indikon in New Hartford and Anritsu in Utica. Irwin holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from SUNY Buffalo. q
DOLLS: “Selling the dolls on eBay was a test,” he says Continued from page 3
ing, according to Seth Mulligan, director of venture development at the Tech Garden. Bezel has produced dolls in the past —
the 18-month-old company has made oneof-a-kind prototypes for sale online. Those prototypes have brought in as much as $1,800 on the Internet auction site eBay. But they take four to five months to
produce. They can also cost up to $11,000 each. Bezel Doll Group has lost money on the 15 prototypes it has sold, according to Made. “Selling the dolls on eBay was a test,” he
says. “I started to form the business plan and worked to determine what celebrity’s fan base would actually support a doll.” q Contact Seltzer at email@example.com
• The Central New York Business Journal
November 11, 2011
usiness B alendar C
november 11-12 n MIC Music Industry Conference at the Oncenter, Syracuse. This is an annual two-day conference offering a tradeshow, workshops, panel discussions, and showcases. For more information, visit www.micnys.com
november 15 n Unlock the Secrets of Civil Service informational discussion from noon to 1 p.m. at Curtin Auditorium, Robert P. Kinchen Central Library (The Galleries of Syracuse), 447 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Jennifer Wells, director of Civil Service Administration for the Onondaga County Personnel Department, will explain the civil-service process at this free seminar and answer questions. This is a free event. Please call (315) 4351900 to register. n CenterState CEO Business After Hours event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Onondaga Community College, H-1 Hall, 4926 Onondaga Road. For more information, visit www.centerstateceo.com n IAAP Meeting at 6 p.m. at The Maplewood Inn, 400 Seventh North St., Liverpool. The topic will be “MS Office 2007 Tips & Tricks,” presented by Robin Bridson from New Horizons Computer Learning Center. Program meeting-only fees are $5 for members and $15 for nonmembers, and program and dinner buffet is $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers. RSVP via http://www.jotform.com/form/12401111357. For more information, visit www.iaap-syracuse. org or contact Suzanne at firstname.lastname@example.org
november 16 n Navigating Awkward Conversations - The Leading Element - Family Business Breakfast Forum from 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. at Justin’s Tuscan Grill, 6400 Yorktown Circle, near Carrier Circle. Family businesses can be very rewarding, but often present a number of communication challenges. Sponsored by Syracuse Glass Company, members of the New York Family Business Center are prepaid; nonmembers are charged $45. For more information or to register contact Donna Herlihy by email at email@example.com or call (315) 579-2871. n B.I.G. (Believe, Inspire, Grow) meeting for women from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Café 407, Tulip Street, Liverpool. The topic for November will be “Building Your Business Confidence,” presented by Joanne Lenweaver, director of the WISE Women’s Business Center. For more information, B.I.G. Leader Kristen Mattison at (315) 451-3427 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about becoming a member of
B.I.G., visit www.justthinkbig.us n Greater Syracuse Mini-Holiday Showcase and Luncheon, entitled “15 Top Sales Tips,” from 11:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Inn Between Restaurant, Route 5, Camillus. Co-sponsored by Women TIES and the Skaneateles Chamber of Commerce, the event features a mini-holiday showcase where women entrepreneurs can promote and sell products or services for the holidays or promote their companies for the 2012 business year. The cost of the event is $30 and includes small display space, lunch, program, promotion, and strategic networking. For more information or to make reservations, visit www.womenties.com or call (315) 708-4288.
november 17 n Introduction to Small Business Start Up class from 1 to 3 p.m. at Onondaga Community College, H-1 Hall. This class is designed to create awareness and introduce the topics relevant as you start your business. It covers legal issues, business plans, financing, marketing, and the realities of being a business owner. The cost is $30. For more information, or to register, visit onondagasbdc.org; email: sbdc@ sunyocc.edu; or call (315) 498-6070. n Social Media Community Discussion Group from 9 to 10 p.m. at SUNY Center for Professional Development, 6333 Route 298, Suite 102, East Syracuse. CNY ASTD hosts an informal group for discussing on social media in research, sharing experiences, and learning environment. This meeting’s topic is “Mobile Phones Contact.” For more information or to register, call (315) 546-2783 or email: email@example.com
november 18 n Pecha Kucha: The UnConference from 7:30 to 10 a.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Syracuse, near Carrier Circle. CNY ASTD will hold a miniconference where various learning and performance topics will be presented. The cost is $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers. For details, visit www. cnyastd.org; call (315) 546-2783 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
november 30 n 40 Under Forty Awards from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center. For more information, contact Marny Nesher at (315) 579-3935 or email: email@example.com.
december 1 n Introduction to Small Business Start Up class from 6 to 8 p.m. at Onondaga Community College, H-1
Hall. This class was designed to create awareness and introduce the topics relevant as you start your business. It covers legal issues, business plans, financing, marketing, and the realities of being a business owner. The cost is $30. For more information, or to register, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (315) 498-6070.
december 15 n Introduction to Small Business Start Up class from 1 to 3 p.m. at Onondaga Community College, H-1 Hall. This class was designed to create awareness and introduce the topics relevant as you start your business. It covers legal issues, business plans, financing, marketing, and the realities of being a business owner. The cost is $30. For more information, or to register, email: email@example.com or call (315) 498-6070. 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. No cost to attend. Register at www.cnyastd.org or call (315) 546-2783 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ONGOING EVENTS 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 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-on-one with a counselor from the SBDC for advice and customized assistance opportunities. Scheduled by appointment, call (315) 474-0910 or email: email@example.com n Every Wednesday throughout 2011, Salt City Technical offers free consultation to entrepreneurs or inventors who would like to have their product ideas evaluated by a staff of trained engineers. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (315) 456-8461, or visit www.saltcitytechnical.com n Second Wednesday of each month, Salt City Technical assistance by appointment at the Tech Garden; free consultation to entrepreneurs or inventors who would like to have their product ideas evaluated by a staff of trained engineers. For details or an appointment, call (315)
474-0910 or email: info@thetechgarden. 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (315) 569-3964, email@example.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: andrewpicco@ gmail.com n Every week, Syracuse Networking Professionals. Five meetings to choose from. For details, call Kevin M. Crook at (315) 439-1803, or email KevinSNP@twcny.rr.com or visit SyracuseNetworkingProfessionals. com n CNY Connects is a networking organization that currently offers 12 groups from which to choose. If you are interested in visiting or joining any group, please contact Amy Kaschel of AK Consulting at akconsult@twcny. rr.com or call (315) 882-6127 for more information. To have your meetings or events in the Business Calendar, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Central New York Business Journal • 15
November 11, 2011
NFIB: Sales remained a major problem for small firms in October Continued from page 1
subtracting the percentage of negative survey answers it receives from the percentage of positive responses. Business conditions and sales growth indicators also continue to lag behind levels seen earlier this year. The seasonally adjusted net percentage of owners expecting better business conditions in six months is 26 points lower than it was in January, while the seasonally adjusted net percentage of owners expecting higher real sales lags 17 points below its January reading. The NFIB, a small-business association with members in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals, based its optimism index on October polling. The organization surveyed 2,077 of its member businesses throughout the month.
New York director comments
Business owners’ sentiments in New York State are mirroring the results of the NFIB’s optimism index, which reflects the national mood, according to NFIB New York State Director Mike Durant. “Ultimately, consumers in New York and
across the country are having issues keeping pennies in their pockets and spending them,” Durant says. “Until consumers have more money in their pockets, and until businesses and taxpayers across the board feel a little more confidence, we’re not going to see significant [index] gains.” It is too early to attribute October’s confidence uptick to holiday sales, according to Durant. Effects from the end-of-the-year shopping season will not be felt until Black Friday and the period after Thanksgiving, he says. “There’s been a little bit of positive movement,” Durant says. “The holiday bump I don’t think is something that we’ve seen start.” It is also too early to say business owners feel the economy is headed in the right direction, Durant says. “Until something flushes out that’s going to have a positive impact in [Washington,] D.C., then we’re going to be somewhat stagnant,” he says. “Both business owners and consumers feel like there’s a leadership void.”
Other survey findings
Sales remained a major problem for small
firms in October, with 26 percent of owners reporting poor sales as their top business problem. Seasonally adjusted, the net percentage of owners reporting higher sales over the last three months dipped 2 points to negative 12 percent. Not seasonally adjusted, 22 percent of owners reported higher sales, down 3 points from last month. Also not seasonally adjusted, 30 percent reported lower sales, up 1 point from September. The seasonally adjusted net percentage of owners planning to add new jobs fell a point to 3 percent. That measurement should be in double digits during an economic expansion, NFIB noted. The percentage of owners planning capital outlays in the next three to six months increased 1 point to 21 percent, which is still a recession-level reading, according to the NFIB. And seasonally adjusted, 7 percent of owners believe it is currently a good time to expand facilities, up 1 point from September. The complete survey findings are available at http://www.nfib.com/sbetindex. Contact Seltzer at email@example.com
BSK: New lease includes the option to take over another floor of the building Continued from page 1
When the most recent lease was approaching expiration, firm leaders looked at a variety of options for new space, BSK Chairman Richard Hole says. They included constructing a new building from the ground up, as well as moving to existing structures in the city or suburbs. Both the city of Syracuse and CenterState CEO encouraged the law firm to remain downtown, Hole says. BSK also heard requests to stay downtown from clients. “That was influential,” Hole says. “We didn’t disregard that.” The firm takes its presence in the city seriously, he adds. BSK began downtown in 1897 and is a major presence in its current building, occupying a total of five floors. The firm lost Empire Zone benefits in a shakeup of the program in 2009, but that
was not enough to push BSK out of the city, Hole says. “Losing those credits was a factor, but not the only one we looked at,” he says. The new lease includes an option for the firm to take over another floor in the building. That would expand its total space to 100,000 square feet. Although there is no timeline in place to occupy the new space, firm leaders fully expect they’ll need it. The firm recently added six new associates, Hole notes. BSK has more than 400 employees, including 200 in Syracuse. The renovation project will include upgrades to the firm’s reception area and secretarial stations. The law firm will also expand and reconfigure some conference rooms and upgrade electronic communications capabilities. BSK holds numerous meetings, semi-
nars, and conferences at its main offices and the increased space and improved technology will help those events, according to the firm. More efficient support staff work stations will be added and some offices will also be remodeled. “This is going to be our home for another 15 years,” Hole says. “It’s time to update it.” BSK has additional offices in New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Garden City, Ithaca, Oswego, Rochester, Utica, Overland Park, Kan., and Naples, Fla. One Lincoln Center is owned by CommonWealth REIT, while Reit Management & Research LLC, Real Estate Services manages the property. Contact Tampone at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Mary Cariola Children’s Center, founded in 1949, serves children with multiple, complex disabilities that public and private schools aren’t able to accommodate. The agency strategically maps out a customized plan, clinically and educationally, for every child who comes through our doors. Send cover letter and resumes in confidence to: The Search & Transition Committee, Mary Cariola Children’s Center, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Suite 100, Rochester, NY 14620. EOE
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• The Central New York Business Journal
November 11, 2011
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PANEL INVESTMENT INVESTMENT
Editor’s note: The Investment Panel feature appears regularly in our Financial Quarterly publication, spotlighting area investment professionals and their views on the markets and investments. In this issue, we chat with Jim Burns, Alan Leist, and Brian Schmidt. We interviewed them separately, but asked the same questions. Burns talked via telephone with Adam Rombel, editor-in-chief. Leist and Schmidt communicated through email with Traci DeLore, staff writer. James (Jim) Burns, president of J.W. Burns & Company in DeWitt.
Alan R. Leist, III, managing director and leader of the investment committee at Strategic Financial Services in Utica. Brian Schmidt, financial planner with NFP United Advisors, LLC in Endwell.
Business Journal: What is your view on where the financial markets are headed in the coming months? Burns: Volatility is the order of the day. For example, what many people don’t know is that in August of this year there were four consecutive days of 400-point swings in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. That’s the first time in history this has happened. So, if investors are anticipating subdued market action over the next few months, I think they are in for disappointment. The sovereigndebt crisis in Europe is clearly fast moving and you’re going to have continued high volatility based on the news — positive or negative —
Vol. II, No. 4
ITT completes spinoff of defense business Editor’s Note: The Newsmaker Interview portion of Financial NEWSMAKER Quarterly features a conversation with a CEO of a publicly traded company with significant Central New York operations every quarter. The story discusses key financial issues affecting the newsmaker’s business and industry.
BY KEVIN TAMPONE JOURNAL STAFF
ROME — The spinoff of ITT Corp.’s defense business will lead to few immediate changes for the company’s Rome workers, but the site works in areas important to the new firm’s long-term future, an executive says. ITT’s defense business is now known as ITT Exelis (NYSE: XLS). It debuted on the New York Stock Exchange for open trading on Nov. 1. All employees in the defense unit simply transferred over to the new company. ITT Exelis’ Rome location, located at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park, is part of the company’s information systems business. “The folks in Rome are in a sweet spot of the kind of work we want to grow,” says Mike Wilson, president of information systems for ITT Exelis. The Rome site employs 150 people. The entire defense sector is facing some
See PANEL, page 6B
November 11, 2011
Mergers and Acquisitions
challenging times as budget pressures force spending reductions, Wilson adds. But, ITT Exelis is helped by the fact that it does not depend on large platform-based projects like building ships or aircraft. Wilson says company leaders are confident they work in spaces that will continue to see attention from the Pentagon. That includes projects in areas like electronic warfare and work on equipment like night-vision goggles. The firm also works on tasks like modernizing the Federal Aviation Administration’s air-traffic control system. “Some areas of spending will be reduced while other areas are staying steady,” Wilson says. “We will see our share of challenges. But we feel bullish that we are in the right spots.” The firm’s information-systems business works on everything from research and development to engineering and implementation. The Rome location works largely on software, networking, and engineering projects, Wilson says. The site has a long history with its neighbor at Griffiss, the Air Force Research Laboratory. Workers in Rome have been involved in development of a system aimed at creating a secure environment where users at different security levels can share information. The site has also been part of other security projects, including designing ways to test and verify the contents of files before opening them, Wilson says. In addition, the location is home to the network defense operation for all of ITT Exelis. The team in Rome protects the company’s entire network through tasks like searching for intrusions
and probing the system for weaknesses. Wilson declined to speculate on future staffing levels in Rome, but notes that the company has invested in the site. In 2007, ITT acquired another information company in located at Griffiss, called Dolphin Technology, and added it to its operations in Rome. “The future is bright for the Rome operation,” Wilson says. “We intend to continue to expand. We see lots of opportunity for growth.” ITT Exelis employs more than 22,000 people overall and is expected to generate $5.8 billion in revenue for 2011. The company is headquartered in McLean, Va. Its information-systems business has about 2,500 employees and generates $800 million in sales. See ITT EXELIS, page 2B
Market shows increased activity. Page 2B
Charts provide data on the regional housing market (Page 4B & 5B) and airport-passenger traffic (Page 7B). Olin
FO SALR E
2B • The Business Journal
November 11, 2011
Mergers and acquisitions market shows increased activity BY TRACI DELORE JOURNAL STAFF
ews of NBT Bancorp Inc.’s (NASDAQ: NBTB) acquisition of four former Legacy Banks branches in Massachusetts, and the planned acquisition of four more branches in New York, wasn’t a big surprise to Clifford Olin, principal at Olin Capital Advisors, an Afton– based mergers, acquisitions, and exit-planning advisory firm. That’s because after several years of lagging activity, the mergers and acquisitions market is picking up again, he says. “That indicates business confidence in the future economy,” Olin Olin says. It’s also a sign that businesses have some cash to spend, after several years of hording during the recession, and are looking for growth opportunities. “Businesses are all about growth,” he says. “They have to grow or they die.” There was little to no growth happening from 2008 through 2010, he says, as the nation struggled through the recession and tepid economic recovery. Businesses that had any extra cash held onto it as banks reduced lending in the poor credit environment. Now, those businesses have some cash to work with and have a few choices of how to
spend it, Olin says. First, they can disperse it back to their shareholders, in the case of a privately held company, or pay out a dividend, if it’s a public company. Alternatively, Olin says, firms can look at acquisition opportunities, and there are plenty of prospects these days. According to his research, more than half a million businesses will be for sale between 2015 and 2025, and 50 percent of privately owned businesses will change ownership in the next five to 10 years. Those numbers mean there will be some great opportunities for acquisitions over the next decade, Olin says. And that’s good news for companies looking to grow. “The only way to increase your sales in this kind of market is to buy your competitor,” he says. However, things aren’t as simple as just listing your business for sale or putting in a purchase offer on your competitor, he cautions. “Here’s the problem,” he says. “It’s all about quality.” Of those 500,000 businesses expected to go up for sale nationally, only some will be good investments. And the ones that are attractive investments won’t be a good fit for every potential buyer, Olin says. However, a business owner can take steps to make his/her firm an attractive acquisition target or position the company to make the right acquisition to foster growth, he says.
Preparing for sale
For business owners looking to sell, the
first and most basic step is to make sure the business has a strong management team in place. While an owner might savor the payroll savings that comes with being owner, sales manager, and chief bottle-washer, an acquiring company would much rather see a solid management team in place with each player having his/her own role. The second big step is to clean up the company balance sheet and make sure you run it like a business. While it’s probably common practice to write off a personal vehicle or a vacation home, those things should really come off the tax statements before a business is even listed for sale, Olin says. “It’ll just make things cleaner when it comes time to sell,” he says.
Advice for buyers
For buyers, it’s important to look at the big picture, Olin advises. “I think people making acquisitions need to have a 30,000-foot view [of] why they’re making the acquisition and what they hope to accomplish.” Olin cites Owego–based Upstate Shredding, owned by Adam Weitsman, as a company that has a clear vision — being the leading scrap recycler on the East Coast — and only makes acquisitions that foster that vision. “If he all of a sudden decided to buy a florist, it doesn’t fit into his overall business model,” Olin notes. All companies should follow that path and not just buy any business for the sake of making acquisitions. Every acquisition should bring something to the table that
benefits the acquirer, he says. After an acquisition is made, it’s important to integrate the new company into the existing organization, Olin says. Any new employees that come with the acquisition need to be introduced to the new company culture and duplications of services should be eliminated. These steps can be tricky, Olin says, so businesses may want to consider bringing in an outside expert to help smooth the process. Both buyers and sellers alike also need to think globally. The ideal buyer for your business may be from across the country. The ideal firm for you to acquire could be located in another country altogether, Olin says. He advises business owners to keep an open mind and review all the merger and acquisition possibilities. While businesses of all sizes can be listed for sale, the typical acquiring company has at least $5 million in revenue, Olin says. Smaller firms certainly aren’t excluded from making acquisitions, but may struggle to find financing. Olin is also principal of Olin Group, LLC, a commercial real-estate appraisal company. Along with being a certified exit-planning adviser, Olin says he is a certified mergers and acquisitions adviser, a state-certified general real-estate appraiser, a Society of Business Analysts-certified senior business analyst, and a National Environmental Balancing Bureau-certified machinery and equipment appraiser. Contact DeLore at firstname.lastname@example.org
ITT EXELIS: Employs
more than 22,000 people overall
Continued from page 1B
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In addition to the defense business spinoff, ITT spun out its water-technology unit into another new company, White Plains–based Xylem (NYSE: XYL). Both spinoffs took place at the same time. ITT Corp. (NYSE: ITT), also based in White Plains, continues as a separate company focusing on engineered and customized products and services for the industrial, aerospace, transportation, and oil and gas industries. ITT’s share price rose sharply in the first two trading days following the spinoff. The spinoff will allow a sharp focus for ITT Exelis going forward, Wilson says. In a company serving multiple, disparate industries, business units often compete for resources and leaders are faced with challenging decisions on what areas to prioritize, he notes. Contact Tampone at email@example.com
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The Business Journal • 3B
Expanding Your Investment Choices: Alternative Investments
t’s been said that the great thing about investing is the wide variety of choices available to investors. However, it’s also been said (probably with more frequency) that the frustrating thing about investing is the wide variety of choices available to investors. As if deciphering various investments associated with traditional asset classes — stocks, bonds, and cash — wasn’t confusing enough, nontraditional investments, or alternative investments, are increasingly gaining attention and popularity.
Let’s examine alternative investing
Alternative investments are investments that are generally something other than ownership of stocks and bonds. Alternatives include commodities, currencies, managed futures, absolute return, and arbitrage. While alternative investments come with their own risks, they also offer certain benefits, both of which we will discuss later. In the past, alternatives have been
available primarily through complex and expensive partnerships to ultrawealthy and institutional investors able to meet minimum investment and net-worth criteria. Fortunately, the growing appetite of the average investor for less-volatile investment approaches has driven the development of a way to access alternatives in a more recognizable and affordable investment vehicle — the mutual fund.
What alternative investments can offer
The benefits of owning alternative investments can be very significant and desirable. Adding alternatives as an asset class in a portfolio, by definition, helps increase diversification. Alternatives can also help reduce overall portfolio volatility since they are not correlated to stocks or bonds. In other words, there is no relationship in the performance of stocks and alternatives or bonds and alternatives. Some alternatives are designed to participate when traditional markets are performing well and mitigate losses when they are performing
poorly. Others are designed for modest positive returns regardless of market conditions. Ideally, this all may potentially lead to more consistent portfolio returns, particularly in extreme market downturns.
Know the potential risks
As with any investment, investors must be understood risks when contemplating alternative investments. Risks common to alternatives — such as liquidity, use of leverage, and portfolio transparency — can be lessened by owning alternatives through mutual funds instead of through partnerships. Well-established rules governing all mutual funds also govern alternative-investment mutual funds. While not unique to alternatives, a notable risk of owning them is loss of principal. Adding alternatives to a well-diversified portfolio of traditional assets such as stocks, bonds, and cash tempers this risk.
Are alternative investments for you?
Don’t let the world of alterna-
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tive investing intimidate you as just another baffling investment choice. Thanks to alternative mutual funds, now you, too, can access this asset class like endowments, foundations, and wealthy individuals have been doing for years. As always, consult with your financial advisor to determine if alternative investments are suitable for you. Mark Demo is first vice president – investments, and Raymond Patraw is a financial advisor, both with Wells Fargo Advisors in DeWitt. Contact them at (315) 449-4344. Authors’ note: The opinions expressed in this report are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of Wells Fargo Advisors or its affiliates. The material has been prepared or is distributed solely for information purposes and is not a solicitation or an offer to buy any security or instrument or to participate in any trading strategy.
MARK DEMO VIEWPOINT
RAYMOND PATRAW VIEWPOINT
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4B • The Business Journal
DATA FILE FQ
November 11, 2011
HOME PRICES IN 16-COUNTY CNY REGION Median sales price of existing single-family homes sold in the 3rd quarter of 2011 compared to other quarters.
HOME SALES IN 16-COUNTY CNY REGION Number of existing single-family homes sold in the 3rd quarter of 2011 compared to other quarters. County
% Change 2Q 11 to 3Q 11
% Change 3Q 10 to 3Q 11
BROOME CAYUGA CHEMUNG CHENANGO CORTLAND HERKIMER JEFFERSON LEWIS MADISON ONEIDA ONONDAGA OSWEGO SENECA ST. LAWRENCE TIOGA TOMPKINS CNY TOTAL
345 162 205 92 95 66 289 45 168 416 1,151 234 84 190 59 213 3,814
305 115 140 55 58 59 207 26 119 302 949 162 74 174 67 193 3,005
271 153 154 75 63 40 247 32 143 389 924 167 61 182 47 173 3,121
+13.1 +40.9 +46.4 +67.3 +63.8 +11.9 +39.6 +73.1 +41.2 +37.7 +21.3 +44.4 +13.5 +9.2 -11.9 +10.4 +26.9
+27.3 +5.9 +33.1 +22.7 +50.8 +65 +17 +40.6 +17.5 +6.9 +24.6 +40.1 +37.7 +4.4 +25.5 +23.1 +22.2
Median Price 3Q 2011
Median Price 2Q 2011
Median Price 3Q 2010
% Change 2Q 11 to 3Q 11
% Change 3Q 10 to 3Q 11
BROOME CAYUGA CHEMUNG CHENANGO CORTLAND HERKIMER JEFFERSON LEWIS MADISON ONEIDA ONONDAGA OSWEGO SENECA ST. LAWRENCE TIOGA TOMPKINS
$120,000 $115,750 $104,000 $89,500 $116,500 $96,990 $154,000 $104,000 $140,000 $120,450 $134,900 $104,440 $113,250 $80,000 $112,000 $185,000
$106,382 $120,000 $118,000 $80,000 $124,000 $85,000 $145,000 $105,000 $157,500 $102,880 $130,500 $94,880 $108,750 $76,750 $119,680 $187,500
$108,500 $110,000 $111,250 $75,000 $106,000 $92,330 $149,900 $123,000 $123,000 $119,480 $138,000 $96,000 $108,000 $82,725 $90,000 $200,000
+12.8 -3.5 -11.9 +11.9 -6 +14.1 +6.2 -1 -11.1 +17.1 +3.4 +10.1 +4.1 +4.2 -6.4 -1.3
+10.6 +5.2 -6.5 +19.3 +9.9 +5 +2.7 -15.4 +13.8 +0.8 -2.2 +8.8 +4.9 -3.3 +24.4 -7.5
SOURCE: NYS ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, INC.
FO SALR E
FO SALR E
FO SALR E
FO SALR E
SOURCE: NYS ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, INC.
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November 11, 2011
New York State Consumer Real-Estate Sentiment Scores
Consumer Real-Estate Sentiment Syracuse 3rd Quarter 2011
40 30 20 10
0 -10 -20 -30
The Business Journal • 5B
3rd Quarter 2011 Real-Estate Sentiment:
New York State
Consumer Real-Estate Sentiment Utica 3rd Quarter 2011
20 10 0 -20
Overall Future -4.0
Future Sell -7.0
-30 -40 -50
NEW YORK STATE
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SOURCE: SEINA RESEARCH INSTITUTE
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6B • The Business Journal
November 11, 2011
PANEL: Schmidt: “Identifying which alternative investments [to invest in] is one [key decision]…” Continued from page 1B
that comes out of the euro zone. However, much to the doomsayers’ surprise, the U.S. economic data of late has been better than expected. And, if we continue to muddle through with this sub-par economic recovery, which I think is the likely scenario, then I would anticipate that equities will remain volatile with a modest bias to the upside as we head into 2012. Leist: Our base-case scenario calls for the equity markets to trade into a higher range over the coming months. Solid company fundamentals should begin to provide support against the uncertain macroeconomic backdrop. The “risk-on/risk-off” short-term focus of the markets will continue to dominate investor behavior. As a result, stocks will undergo additional bouts of unusual volatility in the months ahead. Several situations bear watching as investors navigate these choppy waters. Specifically, the euro-zone debt crisis and a stalled economic recovery in the developed world are all too familiar narratives. Competition for the lead story is heating up, however, as social unrest, the election cycle, and a potential slowdown in China enter the picture. In the midst of such uncertainty, it should be no surprise that investors are largely ignoring company valuations and earnings — for now. Schmidt: A strong earnings season has fueled this recent market rally, but I would caution investors, [since] too many of the fundamental issues from 2008 remain. I hate to sound like a pessimist, but the lack of stability and the high level of uncertainty does not play well for the equity markets. The dilemma for most investors is that their conservative or safe investments possess much greater risk than they have historically. The municipal default in Harrisburg, Pa. will affect the psyche of investors, whether warranted or not, placing the municipalbond market again on watch. Business Journal: Provide specific recommendations for investments that clients should be making right now. Burns: With this heightened volatility, I think investors should position their portfolios to get paid while they wait for more clarity on the global economy. In fact, I think that dividends can offer effective protection against these wild market swings. The key here is to look for companies that are raising their dividends consistently, preferably at double-digit rates, and also seek special opportunities with high dividend payers. You want a little of both. I like ConocoPhillips (ticker symbol: COP). It offers a 3.9 percent dividend yield, at current levels. What really makes ConocoPhillips an attractive investment at this time is they are embarking on a huge restructuring that will result in a company with significantly lower debt, more exposure to finding and producing oil — as opposed to refining it — and even a much bigger dividend. Conoco has announced that they will be selling billions of dollars in assets, buying back their stock, and ultimately splitting the company in two. And again, you get paid the attractive dividend while you wait. Some other equities that I like, continuing on the dividend theme, include Target (ticker: TGT), which has a very impressive record of raising its dividends at doubledigit rates almost every year over the last
What do you see as the greatest risks investors need to be aware of and seek to avoid in the coming months? Burns: … I think the heightened volatility represents a real risk for the unprepared individual investor. 10 years. Target is aggressively expanding into Canada and I believe they will probably be increasing their earnings at about 17 percent a year, starting in 2013. And with a price-earnings (PE) ratio of about 12, this stock is undervalued. I also like cigarette maker Altria Group (ticker: MO), which has a dividend yield of just about 6 percent. That looks mighty juicy compared to either a 10-year Treasury bond or a money-market fund. Finally, a high dividend payer that has a stable track record is Permian Basin Royalty Trust (ticker: PBT), which is yielding 6.4 percent now. Leist: Strong performance at the corporate level has been overshadowed by big-picture concerns. Investors have become increasingly risk-averse, overlooking strong bottom-up fundamentals in favor of the perceived safety of bonds, gold, and even cash. And although we expect to see earnings estimates come down a bit in the coming months, investors can now find value in many segments of the stock market. Over the past decade, for example, the earnings of large companies as tracked by the S&P 500 Index have more than doubled while share prices have remained relatively flat. And while stocks can stay inexpensive for an extended period, we see this trend reversing, perhaps powerfully, in the years ahead. Strategic believes that stocks are positioned to outperform bonds over the next decade and that today’s prices offer an attractive entry point. Patient investors could be rewarded handsomely for taking prudent risk in the stock market now. Future performance is never guaranteed. While we prefer to approach the discussion of investment recommendations within the context of a portfolio perspective, we understand that specific stock picks are more likely to garner the reader’s attention. With that said, the communications-equipment company Qualcomm Inc. (Ticker symbol: QCOM) deserves a look. Significant intellectual-property rights in the growing wireless business make the company a leading beneficiary of the mobile smart-phone revolution. A clean balance sheet, strong cash flows, and attractive valuation add to the stock’s appeal. Disclosure: Strategic owns Qualcomm in at least one of our equity strategies. Schmidt: I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but I encourage investors to get paid while they deal with this volatility and have found success in high dividend-paying equities. Greater diversification is available with exchange-traded funds like the iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index (Ticker symbol: DVY) and the iShares S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index
(Ticker: PFF). The real challenge is pairing low-cost indexes, with institutional-style management, including the use of privateequity investments and senior secure bank loans. Investors have to be aware of who is handling the credit or investment risk when utilizing these portfolios. My clients have experienced great success with a portfolio managed by The Blackstone Group; they have been able to maintain an attractive yield with limited volatility. Business Journal: What are some specific alternative investments (ie: commodities, currencies, hedge funds, real estate, etc.) that clients should be considering now? Burns: I think that for the high-networth investor, hedge funds should be considered. While we are not a hedge fund, I do believe it’s part of the evolution of money management. And, there are ways of accessing top-quality, proven hedge-fund managers on different platforms. However, as is always the case with most alternative investments, investors must be aware of the fees, inherent risk of the trading strategies they employ, and the lack of transparency. Nevertheless, it is something that my firm and I are looking into personally. Speaking of hedge funds, I do follow probably the world’s most successful hedgefund manager, Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates. He is a big believer that emerging-market currencies are almost certain to rise over the next five to 10 years. I think he may be right on that. WisdomTree has an emerging-markets currency fund (ticker symbol: CEW). Leist: In an uncertain macroeconomic environment featuring extraordinarily accommodative monetary policy, the looming threat of inflation, and extreme volatility, hard assets certainly warrant a place in investor accounts. These holdings tend to offer diversification benefits within a traditional portfolio of stocks and bonds. At Strategic, marketable alternative investments are included in client portfolios where suitable. These investments include exposure to precious metals, natural resources, and real estate. Schmidt: Identifying which alternative investments [to invest in] is one [key decision] and the other is identifying the managers of those investments. The realestate investment trust market continues to be volatile as investors struggle with occupancy and the transparency of the investment. I found success for clients in the business-development coproration, or BDC, marketplace. It pairs the senior bank-loan portfolio managed by Blackstone with similarly structured vehicles that focus less on bank loans and more on energy infrastruc-
ture. Traditional commodities positions remain important as a hedge for inflation, but should generally not exceed 5 percent of the overall [portfolio.] Business Journal: What do you see as the greatest risks investors need to be aware of and seek to avoid in the coming months? Burns: Going back to my first answer, I think the heightened volatility represents a real risk for the unprepared individual investor. When the European Union announced this recent Greek bailout, markets rose significantly. And, the less sophisticated investor might inadvertently have assumed that the worst was behind us. In fact, this recent Greek bailout is very tenuous at this time and may only be a band aid on a cut that needs much more medical attention. In fact, much of the power of the recent market rally was led by many short-term investors, such as hedge funds, high-frequency traders, and short-term market timers, who might just as quickly sell if the news turns negative. So, I continue to advise investors to “know thy self,” maintain adequate liquidity levels, understand the positions you own, and accept that this volatility will probably be around at least over the next few quarters. While I continue to be constructive on financial assets over the mid- and long-term, the heightened macro-economic risks would also encourage me to be positioned somewhat more defensively. I would say the risks are a bit skewed to the downside, because the European situation is a real unknown. In conclusion, I suggest individuals always remember my 3 D’s of investing when deploying their hard-earned money: defensive, dividends, and diversified. I think I should trademark that! Leist: Benjamin Graham, the original practitioner of value investing, opined that true investors, as opposed to speculators, need not be overly concerned with the daily fluctuations of the stock market. This is, of course, easier said than done, but there is certainly a kernel of truth in his wisdom. When a market is overly focused on macroeconomic issues, there exists the heightened risk that individual stock prices will overshoot to the downside as investors react to headline stories. Emotions, left unchecked by a disciplined investment approach, can lead to ruinous investment decisions. Investors must prudently allocate investment capital within a customized framework of well-defined risk and return objectives so that portfolios are properly positioned for the inevitability of the occasional stock market sell-off. Schmidt: Investors are right to be skeptical, regardless of what they perceive to be happening with this recent market recovery. If you look around, unemployment remains too high, the real-estate market continues to struggle, and the events overseas are clearly not helping confidence. Europe seemed to take a page from our bailout book, which addressees symptoms not problems. When you throw into the mix the notion of economics and politics so closely intertwined, investors need to trust their instincts and remain prudent. The U.S. credit rating is again at risk and inflation is bound to take place — it is more a question of when? Turbulent times like these are the right time for investors to revisit their risk profile and ensure they are comfortable with the volatility in their portfolio.
November 11, 2011
SYRACUSE HANCOCK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT 2011 AUGUST
AUG. SEPT. TOTAL JULY
AUG. SEPT. TOTAL 34,463
ITHACA TOMPKINS REGIONAL AIRPORT 2011 JULY
ELMIRA CORNING REGIONAL AIRPORT
The Business Journal • 7B
2010 SEPT. TOTAL
2011 AUG. SEPT.
2010 AUG. SEPT.
11,025 11,957 10,595
GREATER BINGHAMTON AIRPORT JULY
20,757 20,942 20,447
8B • The Business Journal
Congratulations to the 2011 40 Under Forty Honorees
November 30, 2011 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center
November 11, 2011
Kristin Angello • ARCADIS U.S., Inc. Brian Balash • Pyramid Brokerage Company Tim Barnhart • Northwestern Mutual Financial Network Michelle Bersani • TAG Group, LLC Jeffrey Biesiada • M & T Insurance Agency, Inc. Shane Bogardus • Cumulus Broadcasting Chantell Dalpe • Women’s Wellness Place, P.C. Nate Desimone • Professionals Incorporated Desalyn De-Souza • SUNY Empire State College Krispin Dolbear • Eric Mower and Associates Terry Duffy • TERACAI Kellie Ellis • Syracuse Children’s Theatre Gregg Evans • Testone, Marshall & Discenza, LLP Rabbi Daniel Fellman • Temple Concord Andrew Fish • Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce Eric Fung • Syracuse ENT Surgeons Timothy Gaughan • Thompson & Johnson Equipment Co., Inc. Jana Haldenwang • Campbell-Dean Funeral Home, Inc. Aaron Harris • ElderChoice, Inc. Heather Hudson • Food Bank of Central New York Darrek Isereau • SRC, Inc. Gretchen Jolly • Fidelity Investments Stacey Keefe • Syracuse University Thomas Kogut • O’Brien & Gere Julia Martin • Green & Seifter, Attorneys, PLLC Christian Mercurio • City of Rome Julia O’Donnell • M&T Bank Colleen O’Mara • Pinckney Hugo Group Victor Parker • First Niagara Financial Group Beneﬁts Consulting Jose Perez • Smith, Sovik, Kendrik & Sugnet, P.C. Ed Prue • Latorra, Paul & McCann Advertising Emad Rahim • Globali365 LLC Eric Ridley • Action Company Vincent Salvagni • Dermody, Burke & Brown, CPAs, LLC Brody Smith • Bond Schoeneck and King PLLC Levi Spires • Site-Seeker, Inc. Joe Stabb • CrestHill Suites Company Raymond Toenniessen Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Syracuse University James Trasher • CHA Consulting Inc. Amy Vanderlyke • Sugarman Law Firm Presenting Sponsor:
Syracuse To register to attend the luncheon, please visit www.bizeventz.com or contact Joyl Clance at 579-3917, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Published on Nov 11, 2011