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M O H AW K VA L L E Y

NOVEMBER 16, 2015 I MOHAWK VALLEY BUSINESS JOURNAL

BUSINESS

JOURNAL

People on the Move News: Mohawk Valley new hires and promotions.

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Geographic Information Systems: Mohawk Valley GIS maps out growth.

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MVCC ready to start construction on solar project PAGE 8

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UTICA ZOO CONTINUES UPDATING FACILITIES, ADDS NEW QUARANTINE BUILDING

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MVBJ Data & Details Next Issue: January 18, 2016 Issue: The List: Colleges & Universities WRITERS/EDITORS: Norman Poltenson npoltenson@cnybj.com 315.579.3916

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Utica business wins FedEx Ground Entrepreneur of the Year award FedEx Ground announced it recently honored three small businesses that it says provide outstanding transportation services. JSD Express, Inc. of Utica, and its owner James De Armond, was named FedEx Ground Entrepreneur of the Year along with one company in California and one in Ohio. The distinction recognizes these businesses for their growth and development, customer service, safety record, community involvement, and business ethics, FedEx Ground said in a news release. FedEx Ground contracts with more than 7,500 small businesses throughout the United States and Canada, and JSD Express and the two other firms were selected from the 17 regional winners representing the best of those companies for the period ending May 31, 2015. “Since 2007, FedEx Ground has recognized as Entrepreneurs of the Year exceptional small businesses contracting with FedEx Ground that deliver reliable, safe, cost-effective, and professional service,” Henry J. Maier, president and CEO of FedEx Ground, said in the release.

PHOTO CREDIT: FEDEX GROUND

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James De Armond (center), owner of JSD Express, Inc. of Utica, accepting his FedEx Ground Entrepreneur of the Year award, along with two other winners.

JSD Express has spent the last 25 years building a reputation based on providing safe, outstanding service, FedEx Ground con-

tended. The company, led by De Armond, employs 30 people who operate a fleet of 27 vehicles in Utica and Albany.

PAR Technology sells hotel-technology business, reports earnings NEW HARTFORD — PAR Technology Corp. (NYSE: PAR) recently announced it has closed on a sale of “substantially all” of the assets of its hotel-technology business, which operated as PAR Springer-Miller Systems Inc. PAR Technology announced the SpringerMiller sale as part of its third-quarter earnings news release issued Nov. 5. Affiliates of Toronto, Ontario–based Constellation Software Inc. (TSX: CSU) bought the assets for $16.6 million in cash, PAR Technology said. Constellation’s wholly owned subsidiary, Gary Jonas Computing Ltd. “and certain of its affiliates” acquired the assets, according to a news release posted on the website of Constellation Software. In its release, PAR also noted the “opportunity for additional payment of $1.5 million

if certain sales targets are achieved.” The transaction closed on Nov. 4. “We believe selling the Springer-Miller business is the best way to focus on our core businesses to accelerate performance and

growth. This sale provides the company with the financial flexibility to explore future opportunities to enhance our strategic position and immediately strengthens our balance sheet,” Ronald Casciano, president and CEO of PAR Technology, said. Based in New Hartford, PAR sells hardware and software to the hospitality industry. Its government business provides computer-

based system design, engineering, and technical services to the U.S. Department of Defense and various federal agencies. PAR reported net income from continuing operations of $1.3 million, or 8 cents per share, in the third quarter that ended Sept. 30. That’s up from net income of $700,000, or 4 cents, in the same period in 2014. PAR generated revenue of $58.1 million in the third quarter, up 10 percent from $52.6 million in the year-ago period. “We are successfully executing our plan to grow revenue with new customers and also achieve our cost reduction objectives. These measurable improvements in results reflect the continued enhancements we have made to deliver cutting edge solutions to the markets we serve that continue to consistently exceed the customer’s requirements,” said Casciano.

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BY NICK KAPTEYN nkapteyn@cnybj.com UTICA — The 101-year-old Utica Zoo, located at 1 Utica Zoo Way in the city, has been updating parts of its facilities in recent months, and will continue to do so, as it seeks accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Projects completed include the construction of a new quarantine building, installation of a new natural gas-powered generator, the repaving of major parts of the zoo, and the conversion of all light bulbs and light fixtures to LEDs to improve energy efficiency, according to a zoo news release. The quarantine building, which is situated behind the Wildlife Building, cost $260,000, and was funded in part by a $100,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Inc., according to the release. The rest was covered by zoo assets that had been set aside for the project, according to the zoo’s communications coordinator, Mike Beck. The quarantine building is used for new animals upon their arrival at the zoo, the release says. Incoming animals are required to undergo a minimum of 30 days in the facility to ensure they aren’t infected with or carrying any sickness that could threaten the rest of the animals. It is also used for other animals that become ill, to prevent the sickness from spreading. It is big enough to house large animals, and also has sections intended for smaller species. The floors of the building can be heated if necessary. In repaving major areas in the zoo, it seeks to improve mobility for visitors with strollers or wheelchairs, two of which the zoo says it will purchase next spring. The front of the Wildlife building is one area that was repaved, as well as the front of the Children’s Zoo. The total cost of the paving was about $100,000, and was funded in part through a $65,000 grant from the state, the release says. Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, who represents the 119th Assembly District, in which Utica is located, helped secure the grant. The paving was also funded with the

help of a $25,000 grant from M&T Bank’s (NYSE: MTB) donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, according to the release. The new natural gas-powered generator, was installed to provide backup power for Reptile Hall, and the zoo’s walk-in freezer and refrigerator. In the past, when power was lost, the zoo was forced to rent a refrigeration truck to save its stores of animal food, which include fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, and at any given moment are worth thousands of dollars, the zoo says. The zoo spends about $21,000 annually on fish for its three California sea lions, alone. The $10,000 generator was paid for with an anonymous donation, according to the release. The zoo also converted more than 300 light fixtures to more energy-efficient LED models, and swapped nearly 400 other light bulbs with LED bulbs. The LED variants are supposed to last about five times longer than the antiquated, high-wattage fluorescent lights it was previously using, which should save the zoo both time and money. In addition to their lower energy consumption, LED lights are also friendlier to the environment because of the ease with which they can be recycled, and their lower emission of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, the zoo says. The LED conversion should reduce the zoo’s carbon-dioxide emissions by more than 74,000 pounds annually. Payment for the LED conversion will come out of the Utica Zoo’s energy bill savings. After that, the zoo says it will recoup about $7,000 annually in energy bill savings. The LED conversion was conducted by Potentia Management Group, an energy management consulting firm based outside of Utica, in the town of Whitestown.

PHOTO CREDIT: UTICA ZOO

Utica Zoo continues updating facilities, adds new quarantine building

A paving crew working at the Utica Zoo.

government leaders and philanthropic individuals within the Mohawk Valley.” The zoo had been struggling financially in the 2000s, and lost its accreditation with the AZA in 2005, according to Beck. Earning that back will help it earn more respect in the zoo community, and improve its capability to bring in more types of animals, including endangered species, he explains. One major project on the zoo’s docket is completing renovations to the primate building. The facility was built back in 1927, and still features the old-style cages with metal bars in many exhibits, which Beck acknowledges are not aesthetically appealing and contributed to the zoo losing its AZA accreditation 10 years ago. The zoo had removed the bars and remodeled the interior of several of the ex-

hibits in the early 2000s, but when the zoo fell on hard times, the work was never completed, says Beck. That half of the building is currently not visible to the public. Fundraising efforts are expected to launch in December, as the zoo hopes to raise a total of $350,000 to cover the costs of the primate building renovations. It has already raised $55,000 from a handful of donors who were shown the static renovations that the zoo wants to complete. Glass protectors still need to be installed in those exhibits, and the HVAC systems need to be redone, Beck adds. The annual deadline for accreditation submissions to the AZA is next March, Beck says. The Utica Zoo does not plan on making a submission in 2016 because it intends to wait until after the primate building renovations are complete, he explains. n

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MOHAWK VALLEY BUSINESS JOURNAL I NOVEMBER 16, 2015

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BY NORMAN POLTENSON npoltenson@cnybj.com UTICA — Linda Rockwood is all smiles. The owner of Mohawk Valley GIS just returned from an awards ceremony where her company beat out 16 other applicants to receive a 2015 “New York State Geospatial Applications Awards Competition.” The award criteria included the quality of the digital application, return on investment, and the value to the user. “In 2009, we created an interactive, digital map displaying over 10,000 miles of snowmobile trails in New York state,” explains Rockwood. “It was a massive project to assemble the data and design the website. Additional features include iOS and Android trail apps that work without requiring [cell] reception, GPS overlay maps for Garmin receivers, and regional track and waypoint files for all brands of recreation-grade receivers. I’m most proud of the route-planner [web] tool and the in-app, turn-by-turn directions along the trail network. The design also incorporates by location over 400 businesses that support snowmobiling, snowmobile clubs and clubhouses, trail IDs, intersections, town and county boundaries, covered bridges, parking areas, and web cams.” GIS stands for geographic information systems. “The term describes a system that

integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares, and displays geographic information,” explains Rockwood. “The industry is about 50 years old, but until Google maps came along a decade ago, it was limited to trained specialists with particular skills. Google maps now gives everybody access to finding locations without any training and updates the imagery frequently. GIS is an amazing tool that has had a tremendous impact on the economy and people’s lives.” Location-based tools and technologies provided by the geospatial-services industry are so common today that most people take them for granted. GIS is used for site selection, fleet management, target marketing, emergency response, farming, trip planning, energy exploration, industry zoning, asset plotting, law enforcement, national security, and strategic planning, just to name some. According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the industry employs more than 600,000 people and generates $100 million in revenue. BCG says the economic impact of the industry drives more than $3 trillion in national GDP revenue and cost savings. In 2013, recently, Research, and Markets, a source for international market and research reports, forecast a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the industry of approximately 11 percent between 2012 and 2016. In September of this year, Global

Linda Rockwood, the owner of Mohawk Valley GIS, is all smiles. Her company, headquartered in Utica, just won a “New York State Geospatial Award” for creating an interactive, digital map displaying more than 10,000 miles of snowmobile trails.

Mobile Mapping System Market-Trends and Reports projected an industry increase of more than 16 percent CAGR over the next five years. Mordor estimates the mobile-mapping systems market will reach $250 million by 2020. “The astonishing growth of GIS is being driven by the … [ubiquity] of mobile devices,” stresses Rockwood citing her own snowmobile app. “As of this August, our snowmobile website had attracted nearly 170,000 visitors with approximately 20,000 downloads of our trail apps. Last year, the trail apps were used a total of 282,710 times. Snowmobiling is big business in New York. Back in 2011-2012, it contributed $850 million to the state’s economy [according to a study by the New York State Snowmobile Association]. I’m sure that figure is higher today.”

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Mohawk Valley GIS has leveraged its experience with snowmobile mapping and created interactive trail maps of the Adirondacks, the Cazenovia area, Lewis County, and the states of Vermont and Massachusetts. “Tourism and recreation is one of our three specialties,” notes Rockwood. “Our success has attracted attention from all over the U.S. and Canada, because of the program’s accuracy, ease of use, and regular updates. We even incorporate a bread-crumb tracking system so that users can back-track for a safe return trip.” Rockwood sells the apps and annual updates and works with 100 New York snowmobiling clubs to promote the products. She also generates a revenue stream from businesses that advertise on the site. Recently, Mohawk Valley GIS helped a number of convenience-store chains, including Byrne Dairy, Cumberland Farms, Express Mart, Fastrac, Mirabito, Nice N Easy, Pit Stop, Schmitt Sales, and Stewart’s, determine which store locations to promote to snowmobilers based on their proximity to the state’s snowmobile-trail network.

Government work & new niches

While tourism and recreation is a major focus of the company, Mohawk Valley GIS also specializes in serving municipalities. “Government has substantial assets they need to track,” states Rockwood. “They have a lot of infrastructure and buildings in multiple locations. GIS is the only [practical] way of accomplishing this. We create digital maps for them and still, on occasion, produce paper maps. The municipalities also need to do a lot of coordinating with county and state government, and GIS makes the

NORMAN POLTENSON/BUSINESS JOURNAL NEWS NETWORK

Mohawk Valley GIS maps out growth

coordination possible. A third focus of the company is responsive website development. We are particularly skilled at creating custom mobile apps for smart phones.” Not one to sit still, Rockwood is pursuing two new niches, which she expects to bring on line in the next year. “We are currently working with a hardware vendor to develop a fleet-tracking, management system,” she affirms. “The potential in the transportation field is huge. We are also generating new offerings for municipalities to allow their residents to access information easily and quickly.” Mohawk Valley GIS is located at 114 Genesee St. in downtown Utica’s Bagg Square. The staff of four competes successfully with large engineering firms, big marketing companies, and a variety of technology firms. “We have exceptional talent,” contends Rockwood. “That’s how we compete. Dave Vail is our software developer, John Marino is the GIS analyst, and Cathy Light handles the sales. Dave and John started as interns, and I knew Cathy professionally. It’s challenging to find just the right employees, because I am looking for a combination of talent and personality: technical competence, a well-rounded liberal-arts background, inquisitiveness, self-motivation, great communication skills, passion, and someone who sees the big picture. I also need employees who are comfortable with change because, the GIS environment is always … [in flux].” Rockwood’s technology career began with 12 years of experience at Eastman Kodak and W.R. Grace, working as a systems designer and analyst. “My ‘wow’ moment came while attending a BOCES workshop on careers,” recalls Rockwood. “That’s when I first learned about GIS. The family moved from Rochester to New Hampshire, where I set up a tech-consulting business. I went back to school to study geography and GIS. In 2003, the family moved to the Mohawk Valley, and soon after I filed a d/b/a for Mohawk Valley GIS. Once the kids went off to college, I decided the time was right to grow the business.” Rockwood filed for an LLC 18 months ago. At age 55, Mohawk Valley GIS’s owner is not slowing down any time soon. “The potential of geospatial technology is limitless,” avers Rockwood. “I have so many ideas and see so many possibilities it keeps me up at night. The Mohawk Valley is experiencing an economic boom, and we’re going to be part of it. Think of the potential just in the developing drone industry … I can’t help it; I love my work.” n


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Strategic Financial tops $1B in assets under management BY NORMAN POLTENSON npoltenson@cnybj.com UTICA — In 2013, Alan R. Leist, III told this reporter, “Our goal is to hit $1 billion in assets within two years. Mission accomplished, says the managing partner and a principal at Strategic Financial Services, Inc., headquartered in Utica. On Oct. 29 of this year, Strategic Financial’s assets under management (AUM) hit $1.03 billion, up from $850 million two years prior. “Our investment and wealth-management group is now $860 million,” says Leist, “and corporate-retirement planning is $170 million.” Not bad for a company with humble beginnings. Alan Leist, Jr. founded Strategic Financial in 1979 with a focus on wealth management and estate planning. He ran out of money after three months and convinced KeyBank to lend him $25,000. Leist, Jr. parlayed that loan into a business that today employs 27 people and generates $6 million in annual revenue. The company is headquartered in a 9,000-square-foot building on Business Park Drive, which it owns, and has additional offices in Syracuse and West Palm Beach, Florida. Leist, Jr.; Leist, III; and Judy Sweet, company president, are stockholders. “We’re committed to growing the business,” says Leist, III. “To accomplish this, the leadership team developed a strategic plan in 2013 which is being rolled out over three years. We benchmarked our business, created a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) exercise, reviewed our value proposition, and wrote a business plan. The priorities are clear: focus on the client experience, team engagement, and infrastructure.” To implement the new business plan, Strategic Financial brought in Michael Leist as the team leader of marketing and business development, and Douglas Walters as the chief investment officer and a team leader. The company also partnered with Charles Schwab’s advisory services, invested substantial capital in two new computer platforms to improve the operational flow, and added subscription services to enhance research capabilities. “We also focused our attention on the staff,” asserts Leist, III. “The leadership team reviewed all job descriptions, formalized individual goals, set up regular quarterly reviews and a formal annual review, encouraged career advancement, and stressed placing the client first. In addition, we promoted community involvement of all our employees, encouraging volunteering on company time, and matching employees’ charitable contributions. And finally, we set up a schedule for the leadership team to meet twice monthly to ensure that we were coordinating properly. Once in place, we regularly review our progress.”

technology lets us reach out to them anywhere in the U.S.” Leist, III contends his firm stands out from the competition through its value proposition. “We don’t sell a prodA. Leist, III uct. We share investment advice based on a thorough understanding of the clients’ goals. It takes time not only to understand the client but also to earn their trust,” he says. “Our clients have access to key executives

at the company to be sure their assets are both protected and growing and to help explain our investment strategy. Despite the growing competition from robo-advisers [over the last decade], who rely on M. Leist Web-based software and algorithms to guide investing, we continue to believe that personal advice based on solid research is the right business model. We add value to the process, because there are [unquantifiable] factors in making

investment decisions, such as planning a child’s education, gifting, and many other life decisions.” Robo-advisers, a/k/a “automated-investment advisers,” “online-investment advisers,” and “digital-investment advisers,” provide portfolio management online with either no or minimal human intervention. The research firm MyPrivateBanking Research forecasts that in five years the robo-adviser industry will have $255 billion in global assets under management. See strategic financial, page 9

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“Strategic Financial caters to high-networth clients and emerging professionals,” says Leist, III. “Our clients [typically] have $1 million to $20 million in liquid assets or the potential to get there and a net worth of $5 million to $100 million. The institutions [we serve] also have endowments between $1 million and $20 million. This is our sweet spot, our core competency. On the institutional side, we have 33 relationships. While most of our clients live and work in the region,

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Health equals wealth — How wellness programs are making business better The challenge of health care costs is one that businesses large and small are constantly trying to manage. In the simplest terms, there are two types of health care costs. The cost of caring for the acutely sick, and the cost of reducing the overall number of sick by managing health and wellness. While both are important, employers have come to realize they can have a meaningful impact only on the latter. And they’re doing so in droves.

Use less, spend less

It’s a simple fact that healthy employees cost less to insure. As a result, workplace wellness programs benefit both employees and employers. Nearly all large businesses and three-quarters of small ones offer some kind of wellness program, and a third are offering incentives to those who participate1, a number that seems certain to grow.

A few behaviors drive most costs

The power of wellness lies in the fact that a relatively small number of conditions are driving the lion’s share of costs. In fact, as few as eight risks and behaviors, including smoking and lack of health screening, drive 15 chronic conditions that account for 80 percent of the total cost for all chronic illnesses worldwide. A wellness program that focuses on just three of the eight could produce savings of as much as $700 per employee per year.2

The value of wellness

Studies have shown that every $1 invested in overall wellness efforts yields a return of $1.50, and efforts that target chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity yield $3.80.3 Wellness strategies have been shown to lower workers’ compensation claims by $2,554, lower short-term disability claims by $451 and lower total medical spend by 20%.4 But employers are discovering other benefits as well. Companies with established strategies are seeing nearterm gains in recruitment, productivity and retention. Their employees are 38 percent more engaged and 28 percent more likely to recommend their workplaces.5 These advantages are especially pronounced among millennials, who have come to expect a workplace culture focused on wellness.

Tips for starting a wellness program

If your company doesn’t offer a wellness program, it’s never too late to start. First, take a close look at your employee base to assess your current level of wellness. An employee interest survey can determine what tools and resources may be of interest in your organization. Surveys are available through your insurance provider or online. Next, collect data to identify gaps and potential strategies. Then consult with your insurance provider to set measurable and

Firms offering at least one wellness program to their employees, 2014* All Large Firms (200 or More Workers)

98%

All Small Firms (3-199 Workers)

73%

Percentage of firms offering a particular wellness program to their employees, 2014 Class in Nutrition/ Healthy Living*

47% 19% 87%

Flu Shot*

Weight Loss Programs*

Biometric Screening* Lifestyle or Behavioral Coaching*

52% 48% 18%

All Large Firms (200 or More Workers)

51%

All Small Firms (3-199 Workers)

26% 58% 22% 60%

Wellness Newsletter*

33% 77%

Web-based Resources for Healthy Living*

38% 64%

Smoking Cessation Program*

26%

Gym Membership Discounts or On-Site Exercise Facilities*

26%

64%

* Estimate is statistically different between All Small Firms and All Large Firms within category (p<.05) Source: Kaiser/HRET Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits

achievable goals and create a detailed plan that aligns with your business goals, overall employee health profile and budget. Once the plan is in place, provide ongoing support to ensure your program remains relevant and engaging and implement strategies such as participation incentives to ensure maximum participation. Finally, review your results on a regular basis to see which initiatives are having the most significant impact on your employees’ health and your company’s bottom line.

Workplace wellness shouldn’t feel like work

Aside from keeping costs in check, employee wellness programs are a great way to attract talented people, keep them happy and productive and decrease turnover. The key to success is encouraging well-being while keeping it fun. From on-site yoga to scavenger

hunts to wearable technology challenges — the more creative you are with wellness, the more engaged your employees will be. There’s no better way to create a culture where employees choose to live a healthier lifestyle, rather than being forced to do so. 1. Employer Health Benefits Survey, Health Research & Educational Trust, 2014. 2. Health Care Survey, Aon Hewitt, 2012. 3. “Do Workplace Wellness Programs Save Employers Money?,” Rand Corporation, 2014. 4. “Proof Positive,” Zoe Consulting, 2012. 5. “Workplace Wellbeing,” Quantum Workplace, 2015.

Always be in the know To learn more about how workplace wellness can benefit your business, visit WhyChooseExcellus.com.


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NOVEMBER 16, 2015 I mohawk valley business journal

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MVCC ready to begin construction on solar project ROME — In Greek mythology, the master craftsman Daedalus fashions wings of feathers and wax for himself and for his son Icarus to escape from the island of Crete. Icarus ignores his father’s warning not to fly too close to the sun, and he falls into the sea. If only Daedalus had known about photovoltaics to propel his flight, he could have constructed a more substantial vehicle that wouldn’t melt from the sun’s rays. Photovoltaics is the name given to the process of converting solar energy into directcurrent electricity. In July, Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) and groSolar, a Vermont–based, commercial solar developer, announced a private business-educational partnership to create a large-scale, groundmounted solar project to supply electricity to the college. “We plan to install 9,000 solar panels on a 40-acre site in the city of Rome,” says Tim Heinle, director of business development at groSolar. “The panels will be laid out over 10 to 15 acres, and the remaining acreage, consisting mostly of wetlands and woods, will provide vegetative screening. The project, whose capacity is 2.0 megawatts of alternating current, will produce 3.45 million kilowatthours (kWh) in year one, which is 35 percent to 40 percent of the consumption for both the Utica and Rome campuses. The college’s sav-

ings are projected to be about $90,000 for the first full year of solar production.” MVCC has budgeted about $900,000 in electricity cost for this academic year. groSolar is the owner of the project. “groSolar is purchasing the 40 acres, which were already zoned for this use, from the Rome Industrial Development Corp.,” continues Heinle. “The solar-power purchase agreement with MVCC extends for 25 years at a fixed price. groSolar provides a turnkey service which includes development, engineering, procurement, financing, construction, and maintenance.” According to Heinle, the project is on track to begin construction in the spring of 2016. Construction should take three to four months to complete. To finance the private investment required for the project, groSolar relies on institutional investors, including NGP Energy Technology Partners, which manages a $13 billion fund; SJF Ventures, which provides equity funding for resource-efficiency projects costing $1 million to $10 million; and Calvert Social Investment Fund, which manages $12 billion. The solar project will qualify for a 30 percent federal, investment tax credit on the total cost of the project. In addition, the company and the college received a grant from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority for about 20 percent of the capital cost. SEE MVCC, PAGE 9

PHOTO CREDIT: MVCC

BY NORMAN POLTENSON npoltenson@tmvbj.com

Prof. Bob Decker, left, the director of Mohawk Valley Community College’s engineering technologies program at the Center of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and a student work together in the MVCC lab.

Keynote Dr. Todd Hutton, Utica College Networking & Beverage Tasting (Featuring Saranac Beer & the Whitesboro High School Jazz Band)

11:00am-12 Noon Awards Program 12 Noon-1:00pm

December 9, 2015 Twin Ponds Golf & Country Club

To view our finalists and register, visit www.greateruticachamber.org! You my also register by contacting the Chamber at 315-724-3151.


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STRATEGIC FINANCIAL: Attracting talent to the firm appears not to be a major concern

The Strategic team

Leist, III has high praise for Strategic Financialâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s team members, starting with the leadership team. Leist, III and Aaron Evans head the adviser group, David Lemire retirement plans, Walters investment management, Kasey Williams client service and compliance, Michael Leist marketing and business development, Jeremy Stewart IT and data integrity, and Nancy Meininger office management and finance. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Strategic Financial has an outstanding team of employees,â&#x20AC;? says the managing partner. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ten are focused on research, 16 on service and support, and one on marketing and business development. Their educational levels and professional credentials are very impressive. Half of the staff is under the age of 40, which gives us a good mix of fresh ideas and those with years of experience. We also support a number of interns annually, some of whom, upon graduation, are hired as employees.â&#x20AC;? Attracting talent to the firm appears not to be a major concern, as exemplified by Waltersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; experience. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I spent 13 years with Deutsche Bank and EVA Dimensions, living in London and New York,â&#x20AC;? reflects Walters. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I appreciate the opportunities and experience I gained, but I woke up one day and decided that commuting to a [mega] city was putting too much stress on me and my family. I felt the pull to return to Upstate, where I was born and raised â&#x20AC;Ś I was delighted when the professional opportunity opened up at Strategic Financial. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very different way of life here. I feel like I am part of the community. People have reached out to me to get involved, something that was rare in New Jersey â&#x20AC;Ś I think the local area is undersold.â&#x20AC;? Michael Leistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role as the team leader for marketing and business development is

Continued from page 5

critical to the continued growth of the company. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have a good share of the local marketplace and in the last two years have made strides in expanding our business in Syracuse. In order to grow, the strategic plan puts an emphasis on communications both internally and with our clients. [To that end,] â&#x20AC;Ś we built an in-house video studio to allow the staff to share their investment perspectives,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Educating our clients is part of the mission. We also overhauled the website as part of our rebranding effort and expect to launch the new site on Dec. 1. We email a weekly newsletter summarizing the events of the week and their impact on the markets. In addition, the company is ready to roll out an advertising campaign to support the rebranding efforts.â&#x20AC;? As Strategic Financial enters the third year of its strategic plan, the company is already looking ahead to the next five years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have clear goals and benchmarks as we move forward,â&#x20AC;? asserts Leist, III. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to grow our revenues at 8 percent compounded annually. That means in 2020, we should have $1.5 billion in AUM. Half of that will come from investment growth and the other half will come from client referrals for new accounts. We want our efforts to satisfy our clients to generate one referral from each one. The plan also includes efficiency metrics to measure operations and team surveys in order to understand the employeesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; point of view of what itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like to work here. And finally, we want to know what our clients think of how well we perform. If I were to summarize the strategic plan in one sentence, I would â&#x20AC;Ś [cite] my fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite saying: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Make sure the clients achieve their goals.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;? n Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s note: Poltenson is personally a client of Strategic Financial Services.

MVCC: The solar project is a win-win for both the college and

groSolar

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The company assumes all risks and liabilities; the college is a customer who pays for the energy as it is produced,â&#x20AC;? notes John Miller, groSolarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s project developer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As the panels produce electric energy, the electrons pass through a utility meter which then routes the energy into National Gridâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s electrical system. The utility, in turn, credits MVCCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s monthly bill. The process is called net metering.â&#x20AC;?

Project benefits

The benefits to MVCC are several: electricity cost savings, no capital required, use of clean energy, and no maintenance costs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But there is another benefit that makes this project especially â&#x20AC;Ś [important] to MVCC,â&#x20AC;? says Seyed Akhavi, the collegeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dean of the Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and that is the academic benefit. The college can now incorporate solar-power training on a large, commercial scale into its electrical-service technology curriculum. This gives our students real-life training.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a unique opportunity for our students,â&#x20AC;? adds Prof. Robert C. Decker, director of the engineering technology program at the center. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a chance to study a solar installation. Companies that hire our graduates know that they come with more than just theoretical learning. Our courses include installation, maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of solar systems with plans for site visits to the

Continued from page 8

Rome installation.â&#x20AC;? In the 2014-2015 academic year, MVCC enrolled 4,024 full-time and 3,124 part-time students. The staff of 433 includes 269 professors of whom 150 are full-time employees. The budget was $52.6 million, and in-state tuition was $7,620. The president is Randall J. VanWagoner. The institution was founded in 1946. groSolar, headquartered in White River Junction, Vermont, was founded in 1998 by Jeff and Dori Wolfe. The company, which is privately owned, started with residential solar installations and later created distribution services for dealers nationwide. In 2010, groSolar sold the residential division in order to focus on commercial and utility-scale projects. To date, the company has more than 2,000 installations nationwide, specializing in projects with a capacity between 1 megawatt and 30 megawatts. The company has designed, built, installed, and procured equipment for more than 150 megawatts of solar photovoltaic systems. The solar project is a win-win for both the college and groSolar. Too bad the project/ program wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t available when Daedalus and Icarus planned their escape. The MVCC students could have shared their knowledge of photovoltaics to create energy, and Daedalus could have created an alternative to feathers and wax. n

-PDBMMZTQPOTPSFECZ


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People on the Move NEWS ACCOUNTING & FINANCE Calogero & Associates has hired JENNIFER KERR and TIMOTHY MARACIC in the New Hartford office. Kerr joins as a tax senior associate. She received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from SUNY Kerr Empire State College and an MBA in forensic accounting from Jones International University. Kerr brings six years of public accounting experience to the firm. Maracic joins the firm as an associate. He holds a bachelor’s Maracic degree in accounting from SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Prior to being hired on a full-time basis, Maracic worked as an intern at Calogero & Associates.

ADVERTISING, MARKETING & PR MPW Marketing had added a new media buyer, MICHAEL GAETANO, to its team. He comes from Maverick Express in Battle Creek, Mich., where he was the accounting coordinator. Prior to that, Gaetano was an accounts payable administrator at I I Stanley Co.,

Gaetano

Inc., also located in Battle Creek. He graduated from Utica College with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Paige Marketing Communications Group, Inc. has promoted CATHERINE (CAT) MANION from PR account executive to public and media relations manager. She joined the Paige Group in 2010. A former journalist, Manion has worked with a wide range of industries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ithaca College.

COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY DAN DELLECESE recently joined Quadsimia LLC as assistant project manager/social media support. His previous experience includes more than five years as an in-house graphic designer at ConMed’s Utica headquarters, and 10 years as a freelance graphic designer. Dellecese received his bachelor’s degree in marketing from SUNY Oswego and his associate degree in graphic design from Mohawk Valley Community College.

EDUCATION & TRAINING Mohawk Valley Community College has appointed SARAH LAM as director of its Education Center. She has been with the college for three and a half years, previously serving as the coordinator of the Educational Opportunity Center on Elizabeth Street. Lam holds a bachelor’s degree in childhood education and a master’s degree in literacy from SUNY Cortland.

INSURANCE

FINANCIAL SERVICES M. Griffith Investment Services announced that CELESTE WITCHLEY has joined the firm as an accountant in the operations department. MEGAN YOUNG has joined the firm as an administrative assistant. She has a diverse background and experience with client customer service from both Manhattan and Tampa.

HEALTH CARE MICHELLE HANLEY has been appointed Rome Memorial Hospital’s operating room unit nurse manager. She will oversee the clinical requirements of the operating room (OR) and post-anesthesia Hanley care unit (PACU), as well as working with surgeons and anesthesiologists. Hanley has been a member of the OR nursing staff since 2010. She is a graduate of St. Elizabeth College of Nursing and received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Keuka College. She has been employed at Rome Memorial Hospital since 2006. She will participate as a member of the hospital’s leadership team and contribute to OR policymaking decisions. Hanley oversees a staff of 12 in the OR and four in the PACU and will handle staff scheduling and coordination of surgeons’ and anesthesiologists’ requirements.

PATRICIA DEL BUONO has rejoined Gilroy Kernan & Gilroy Inc. (GKG) as personal lines account manager. A 1988 graduate of SUNY Oswego, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies, Del Buono began her insurance career Del Buono in 1991 with State Farm Insurance. She joined the personal lines division of GKG in 2007 and served there until 2013, when she briefly left the agency side of the insurance business to become a long-term disability claims specialist with MetLife in Oriskany. Del Buono is a New York State licensed agent for property/ casualty, life and health insurance products and services.

MANUFACTURING Indium Corporation has promoted MIKE MCKENNA to the position of VP and chief financial officer. His previous position was director of business finance and controller. McKenna has more than 25 years in global finance and manufacturing, and his areas of expertise include McKenna business planning and analysis, cost accounting, financial reporting, and controllership. He has a degree in business administration from Youngstown State University and is also a CPA with nine years public-accounting experience.

NONPROFITS

H E R E ’ S W H AT C O U N T S

The Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired recently promoted SARAH HOLOVITZ to human-resource generalist, and JIM PARKES to Base Supply Center (BSC) assistant operations manager. He has been a successful manager at CABVI’s BSC located in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine for the last four years. JOHN SWANN, formerly associate VP at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, has joined The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Inc.’s senior leadership team as VP for development and community investment. He oversaw SUNY Institute of Technology public relations for more than 15 years, and previously worked in broadcast journalism at WUTR-TV and WIBX radio. GILLES LAUZON, director of finance at The Foundation, has been promoted to chief operating officer; and DENISE SALVATORE, The Foundation’s controller, has been appointed VP for administration. The E. John Gavras Center has named DANIELLE AMBROSE as its new executive director. She has been with the center for 15 years in numerous roles, including chief financial officer and Ambrose chief operating officer.

MAKING IT WORK. When it comes to business, it takes a team to make it work. At NBT Bank, we’re committed to understanding your business and being a responsive and valuable member of your team. Your NBT business banking team can provide for all your deposit, lending, cash management, retirement planning and investment needs. So, when everyone else is counting on you, you can count on us. John Buffa, Regional President, 315.738.8711 Dennis Surace, Regional Executive, 315.337.0109 Member FDIC

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


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MOHAWK VALLEY BANKS

THE LIST

Ranked by Mohawk Valley Market Share, 06/30/15

Research by Vance Marriner vmarriner@cnybj.com (315) 579-3911 Twitter: @cnybjresearch

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1. 2.

Mean Annual Wages and Employment of Selected Banking and Credit Union Occupations in the Mohawk Valley Region Mean Annual Employment Wage Tellers Loan Interviewers and Clerks Loan Officers Credit Analysts

810 100

$27,900 $33,570

210 n/a

$55,350 $90,200

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

Source: New York State Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, Q1 2015

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MOHAWK VALLEY CREDIT UNIONS Ranked by Total Assets Rank

1. NOTES 1. Data for this list came from the 6/30/15 FDIC Deposit Market Share Report, previously reported data from other lists, and the institutions’ individual websites.

2. 3.

2. Information from the NCUA 5300 report and credit union websites. Financial data through 6/30/15. Year-to-year comparisons from 6/30/14.

4.

ABOUT THE LIST

5.

Information was provided by representatives of listed organizations and their websites. While The Business Journal strives to print accurate information, it is not possible to independently verify all data submitted. We reserve the right to edit entries or delete categories for space considerations. Mohawk Valley includes Herkimer and Oneida counties, except where noted.

6. 7. 8.

Need a copy of a list? Electronic versions of all of our lists, with additional fields of information and survey contacts, are available for purchase at our website: cnybj.com/ ListResearch.aspx

Want to be on the list? If your company would like to be considered for next year’s list, or another list, please email topranks@cnybj.com

9. 10. 11. 12.

Name Address Phone/Website Empower FCU ������,4,8,,�$9� &90*)�� (������ �������������� ,365<,7-*:�*53 AmeriCU Credit Union ������2)*1�#0;,7��2;+� #53,�� (������ �������������� )3,70*:�57. First Source FCU ������533,7*0)2��70;, ,<��)79-57+�� (������ �������������� -85:7*,�57. GPO FCU ������0++2,�$,992,3,49�#5)+ ,<��)79-57+�� (������ �������������� .65-*:�*53 Access FCU ���7)41204��;,� �204954�� (������ �������������� )**,88-*:�57. Utica Gas & Electric FCU ����!2+��)36054�#5)+ ,<��)79-57+�� (������ �������������� :.,-*:�*53 Remington FCU ����,497)2�"2)>) �2054�� (������ �������������� 7,304.954-*:�*53 Utica District Telephone Emp. FCU ������,4,8,,�$9� &90*)�� (������ �������������� :9,2-*:�4,9 Rome Teachers FCU ����%:704�$9� #53,�� (������ �������������� 79-*:�*53 Mohawk Valley FCU �����,4,8,,�$9� &90*)�� (������ �������������� 35/)<1;)22,=-*:�*53 Rome FCU ����$,4,*)�$9� #53,�� (������ �������������� 753,-*:�*53 Oneida County FCU ����")71��;,� &90*)�� (������ �������������� 54,0+)*-*:�57.

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