OSWEGO, NY – Close to 200 people gathered Monday for Operation Oswego County’s 61 annual business meeting and to recognize the progress the organization has made in the last 12 months and to honor those who are working to improve the county’s economic future.
Kevin LaMontagne, president of the OOC board of directors, welcomed the representatives of business, government, education, labor and other ally organizations to the meeting in the SUNY Oswego Campus Center.
Kevin Gardner, chair of the Oswego County Legislature, congratulated OOC for its work over the years.
“That’s very impressive; 61 years of working for a better Oswego County,” he said. “The legislature will continue to support (OOC) strongly.”
Andrew Quinn, human resources leader for Novelis, was the keynote presenter.
He highlighted Novelis’ position in the automotive market and updated attendees on the status of the $208 million expansion of its aluminum plant in the town of Scriba to meet the rising automotive demand.
Novelis is the world’s largest producer of rolled aluminum and its Scriba plant is the largest manufacturer in Oswego County.
Its 200,000 square foot expansion has created more than 100 jobs and it is the largest manufacturing investment in the Central New York area in 15 years.
For an encore, he performed a magic trick for the audience.
With the help of a lovely assistant, selected at random from the audience, he amazed the crowd. His assistant cut a deck of large cards and then cut them some more. And, then she selected a card.
He removed the sevens of three of the four suits. Sealed envelopes had been placed on three tables scattered around the room. Someone at each table opened the envelope and exposed the card. All were the sevens.
And, when his assistant revealed her card to the audience – it was the remaining seven!
L. Michael Treadwell, executive director of OOC, reported that in 2012, projects assisted by OOC resulted in the creation or retention of 947 jobs with more than $139 million in capital investment associated with 57 new, expanded or retained facilities.
Several of those projects were outlined at the meeting including:
Champlain Valley Specialty of NY, Inc. located in the Town of Oswego to process apples. The company expanded and acquired a second building totaling 70,000 sf for a presorting line and warehousing. The $1.1 million investment will create another 30 jobs. Champlain Valley produces “Grab Apples” which are locally grown pre-sliced apples that are packaged and sold to retail and institutional markets. The project received financial assistance from the County of Oswego IDA.
Cayuga Community College opened its new Fulton Campus. The new 82,150 sf campus was a $16.1 million project and increased the size of the campus by 57%. Classes began at the new campus in the fall of 2012 with 1,100 students enrolled.
St. Francis Commons is being constructed by St. Luke in the City of Oswego. The 60-unit 36,000 sf Assisted Living Facility will serve low to moderate income individuals. The $9.2 million project will create 30 jobs. Financial assistance was provided by the NYS DOH, Oswego CDO and the County of Oswego IDA.
607 Phillips Street Acquisition, LLC acquired the former BirdsEye plant in the City of Fulton to manufacture value-added food products. The $3.2 million project will create 183 jobs and $4.8 million in annual payroll. The project is to receive financial assistance from the County of Oswego IDA, Operation Oswego County, ESDC, NYPA and M&T Bank.
86 State St. Phoenix, LLC is a renovation/restoration of a 8,000 sf vacant building in the Village of Phoenix. The $572,000 downtown revitalization project has 4 market rate apartments and retail space and will create eight jobs/tenants. Funding assistance was provided by the County of Oswego IDA and a Restore NY grant through ESDC.
Premier Living Suites is a 30,000 sf student housing complex in the City of Oswego. The $3.4 million project will create 3 jobs and house 71 students and was financed with the help of the County of Oswego IDA, City of Oswego CDO and Pathfinder Bank.
Mark’s Letters, Signs & Specialties received financing from the County of Oswego IDA and Fulton Savings Bank to acquire equipment from the former Howard Rose Art Service, Inc. The $98,000 project, located in the City of Fulton, will create three full-time and 1 part-time jobs.
Design Concepts and Enterprises in the Town of Hastings constructed a 1,600 sf clean room and acquired tooling and equipment for the manufacture of medical sutures and suture-attaching equipment. The $648,000 project was financially assisted by the County of Oswego IDA and will create 13 jobs.
Whitewater Commons in the City of Oswego was a 12,500 sf expansion project on the Oswego River to increase existing commercial space and add eight market rate apartments. The $1.9 million dollar project received funding assistance from the County of Oswego IDA and Pathfinder Bank and created six jobs.
Kallet Theater built in 1938 in the Village of Pulaski is being redeveloped into a 400-seat capacity event and training center. The $1.3 million rehabilitation and historic restoration project will create two full-time and four part-time jobs. Financial assistance was provided by NYS Restore/Main St. grants through ESDC, as well as loans from CNY EDC and the County of Oswego IDA.
Puddle Jumpers, a new restaurant in the Town of Volney, opened its doors at the Oswego County Airport. The project received funding assistance through a COIDA micro-enterprise loan. The woman-owned business created four jobs.
Physical Therapy Plus expanded its practice in the City of Fulton through the acquisition of two buildings at Schuyler Commons. Assistance for the $585,000 project was provided by the County of Oswego IDA and Alliance Bank. Two full-time and three part-time jobs were created.
Seaway Lofts is the redevelopment of the former Seaway Supply building in the City of Oswego. The $6.9 million historic preservation project has 26 affordable-housing apartments. Financing assistance was provided by the County of Oswego IDA, City of Oswego CDO and NYS Housing & Community Renewal.
Reflections A Collective Salon in the City of Fulton renovated and purchased new equipment. The $50,000 project was assisted by the County of Oswego IDA and created five jobs.
Teti Bakery USA is locating their first US plant in the Town of Volney. The $3.3 million project to acquire and renovate the 200,000 sf building received financial assistance from Key Bank, ESDC and the County of Oswego IDA and will create 63 jobs. The Canadian based company produces flat breads, pizza crust and dough.
World Gym was the rebranding, expansion and modernization of New Image Fitness in the City of Fulton. Financing for the $50,000 project was provided by the County of Oswego IDA. Six jobs were retained and 1 new job was created.
United Wire Technologies relocated and expanded their business in the Town of Constantia after their former building was destroyed by fire. The $1.4 million, 20,000 sf project retained eight jobs and created six new jobs. The manufacturer of copper-based alloy wire was assisted financially by the County of Oswego IDA and USDA.
R.M. Burritt Motors renovated and expanded their dealership in the City of Oswego. The $2.2 million project retained 37 jobs and created 17 new jobs. Financial assistance was provided by Pathfinder Bank, NYSERDA, and the County of Oswego IDA.
McIntosh Box & Pallet rebuilt a 12,000 sf section of their building in the Town of Constantia after it was damaged by fire, as well as expanded their pallet manufacturing into the Town of Palermo. The $1.4 million project will retain 44 jobs and create six new jobs. The County of Oswego IDA provided financial assistance.
George Gratton’s Mobility for the Handicap, Inc. purchased an 8,000 sf building in the Oswego County Industrial Park in the Town of Schroeppel. They service, install and produce equipment for the handicap. The project will retain four jobs.
Barnett Forest Products in the Town of Scriba is an exporter of logs. The $41,000 expansion project to acquire logging equipment created one job. Financial assistance was provided by County of Oswego IDA.
Central Square Medical Center was opened by Oswego Health to provide urgent care, medical imaging and physical therapy services. The 22,000 sf, $5 million, project was funded by the NYS DOH and employs 40.
Treadwell also outlined several future projects and initiatives in progress including the redevelopment of the Mid-town Plaza in the city of Oswego, the redevelopment of a vacant APW CSD school into Tailwater Lodge in the Town of Albion, the acquisition of a 10,000 sf building on 2.5 acres in the Oswego County Industrial Park, in the Town of Schroeppel, by SAM North America, LLC, The rebuilding of Pathfinder Industries in the City of Fulton, the redevelopment of a vacant APW CSD school in the Town of Parish by BioSpherix, Ltd., the development of the Central New York Raceway Park in the Town of Hastings and the expansion of Eagle Beverage in the Town of Oswego.
Three business organizations, a successful entrepreneur and a long-standing economic development advocate were also honored for significant contributions to economic development and job creation in Oswego County.
The Ally Award for 2013 was presented to Pathfinder Bank, recognizing it as an “ally” organization in the economic development process in Oswego County.
Pathfinder Bank was recognized for its partnership with Operation Oswego County utilizing the SBA 504 Program and the County of Oswego IDA in financing projects resulting in more than $20 million in capital investments and the creation of more than 200 jobs, for its active support of the Next Great Idea, the Annual Meeting, and the marketing of Oswego County and for being an essential partner in growing and sustaining the economic base in Oswego County.
The Business Excellence Award for 2013 was presented to R.M. Burritt Motors, Inc. in recognition for demonstrating adaptation and growth in a competitive business environment.
Burritt Motors was also recognized for its commitment to invest $2.2 million to make major renovations and add more than 10,000 square feet to its Chevrolet and Buick dealership, for its green initiative by incorporating a new solar power system, for plans to create 17 new jobs and for employing over 40 people and for its outstanding reputation of providing quality services and products to the Oswego County community for 58 years.
The 2013 Jobs Award, recognizing significant capital investment as well as job creation and retention, was presented to Novelis Corporation for its significant contribution to the Oswego County and Central New York economies by investing in a $208 million expansion of its manufacturing complex in the Town of Scriba to manufacture aluminum products for the automotive industry, for being the largest manufacturing employer in the County with over 800 employees and for its 50 year history in manufacturing in Oswego County.
Vincent G. Lobdell was the recipient of OOC’s 2013 Dee Heckethorn Entrepreneur Award.
Lobdell was recognized for his exceptional entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and dedication to fostering the growth and development of HealthWay Home Products into a global leader in the production of state-of-the-art air cleaning products, for his commitment to helping revitalize the Village of Pulaski through the historic renovations of the 1832 Ontario Iron Works into HealthWay’s corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant and for the restoration of the 1938 Kallet Theater into a 400-seat capacity conference, event and training center.
Ronald L. Woodward Sr. was honored with the 2013 Martin Rose Economic Developer Merit Award for his outstanding record of exhibiting leadership, support and cooperation in helping to further economic development efforts and improving the business climate and quality of life in the City of Fulton and in Oswego County.
Woodward was recognized for his dedicated service as Mayor of the City of Fulton for more than eight years, Common Council alderman for 12 years and executive assistant to the mayor for four years, for his devotion and commitment to neighborhood restoration and revitalization, development of the Pathfinder Trail, Lake Neatahwanta restoration to expand tourism and recreational opportunities, Brownfield enhancement efforts and playing an integral role supporting business attraction, expansion and retention in the City of Fulton for more than 24 years.
Woodward thanked the IDA for being a good partner with the city.
He believes something good will happen soon at the former Nestles and BirdsEye sites.
“Fulton is economically depressed, no doubt about it. We’ve got some struggles ahead of us,” the mayor said. “We have some good developers looking at doing stuff with these properties. Everything we can do in this direction is going to help us.”
The OOC board of directors re-elected board members Barbara Bateman, NBT Bank; Eric Behling, Behling Orchards; Nancy Bellow, retired, SUNY Oswego Office of Business & Community Relations; Thomas Greco, Fulton Savings Bank; George Joyce, Laser Transit Ltd.; Kevin LaMontagne, Fulton Companies; Edward Mervine, Pathfinder Bank; Ken Sherman, Sherman Vincent Associates; David Vickery, Vickery Insurance; and Michael Quenville, Pathfinder Bank.
The board also elected Nancy K. Weber, Owner of Mexican Pride Farm to the board.
Retiring from the board was Paul Kurtzman, retired executive director of Oswego Industries.
For more information about economic development services in Oswego County, call OOC at 343-1545 or visit www.oswegocounty.org