Operation Oswego County Recognizes Larry Perras’ ‘Exceptionalism’

OSWEGO, NY – Operation Oswego County held its 63rd annual meeting at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center on Thursday.

The event ended on a poignant note as the group honored one of its own.

Nancy Bellow reads the award  citing Larry Perras. Looking on are his wife, Theresa, and sons Christopher and Lawrence II.
Nancy Bellow reads the award citing Larry Perras. Looking on are his wife, Theresa, and sons Christopher and Lawrence II.

Lawrence R. Perras was honored posthumously with the 2015 Martin Rose Economic Developer Merit Award.

His wife and sons, Theresa, Christopher and Lawrence II, accepted the award on his behalf.

The award was introduced by board member Nancy Bellow who retired from the SUNY Oswego Small Business Development Center.

“I had the privilege of working with both Marty Rose and Larry Perras. I can tell you that both individuals oozed integrity. For Larry, no project was too large or too small. I am personally honored to have worked with (Larry) and am grateful to be able to call him a friend,” she said, her voice cracking with emotion.

Bellow read the inscription noting that Perras earned the award “in recognition, respect and appreciation of his exceptionalism, leadership, vision, passion, collaborative skills and dedication to advancing small business development that has lead to a better quality of life and a stronger and more stable economy in Oswego County; for serving as an outstanding small business advisor for the SUNY Oswego Small Business Development Center for more than 15 years; for providing assistance to businesses that invested in more than $68 million and created and retained more than 1,450 jobs; for his role in the SUNY Oswego SBDC winning a National SBA Excellence Award in 2010; for being recognized by the New York SBDC in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2012 for outstanding performance; and for being an integral and invaluable partner with the County of Oswego IDA and Operation Oswego County.”

“I want to thank Oswego County for giving my husband the opportunity to serve you all. And, Nancy Bellow for having the wisdom to hire my husband,” Theresa Perras said in accepting the plaque.

“This is truly an honor to be able to accept this on behalf of my dad,” Christopher Perras said.

“I’m not sure what my father would have said. But I’m sure he would have been humbled to accept this. He’d thank everyone here for the opportunity to do such great work for such a great community,” Larry II added. “Stand up and give yourself a round of applause.”

Kevin LaMontagne, president of the OOC board of directors, opened the event, welcoming the more than 150 representatives of businesses, government, education, labor and other ally organizations to the meeting.

Keynote speaker Norman Swanson, owner and president of the Woodbine Group, shared a video highlighting  the development of the Tailwater Lodge in the town of Albion, from the “Luck and magic” of acquiring the building with a prime location to the plans for future growth.

Norman Swanson talks about the Tailwater Lodge project.
Norman Swanson talks about the Tailwater Lodge project.

Tailwater Lodge caters to fishermen and people looking for a weekend get-away, as well as business travelers to the global companies in the area.

The future addition of The Barn, a 300-seat event center, will further expand the amenities of Tailwater Lodge.

L. Michael Treadwell, executive director of OOC, reported that in 2014, projects assisted by OOC and the County of Oswego IDA resulted in the creation or retention of 286 jobs with more than $40 million in capital investment associated with 34 new, expanded or retained facilities.

Several of those projects were outlined at the meeting including:

K&N’s Foods USA
K&N’s Foods USA celebrated its inauguration in January of 2014 of its new Halal chicken products manufacturing plant in the City of Fulton. Commercial production began in August and employment grew to 64 by yearend. The company produces under the brand license from K&N’s Foods Limited of Pakistan.

Designer Hardwood Flooring CNY, Inc.
Designer Hardwood Flooring CNY, Inc., a new start-up manufacturing company in the City of Oswego, produces “engineered panelized flooring systems.” The $738,000 investment will result in 17 new jobs initially. The company leases 18,000 sf from the COIDA. Financial assistance is being provided by NBT Bank, CNY EDC, USDA, ESDC and COIDA.

Sunoco, Inc.
Sunoco, Inc. invested $4.5 million to make infrastructure improvements and add equipment at its ethanol plant in the Town of Volney. This will also include improvements to the Owen Road access and new scales to enhance deliveries of corn. Assistance is being provided by ESDC and the COIDA. The project will help to create 10 jobs.

Tailwater Lodge
Tailwater Lodge, a 42-room, 32,000 sf hotel located on the Salmon River in the Town of Albion opened in February of 2014. A 10,000 sf conference center is being planned that will create 35 jobs. The $2 million expansion will be assisted by ESDC and the COIDA.

Music Instrument Covers
Music Instrument Covers, winner of the 2014 Next Great Idea business plan competition and a $25,000 prize from Operation Oswego County, Inc. The new start-up company, now named Arco Art, will produce colorful protective covers for string instruments.

Holiday Inn Express
Holiday Inn Express is constructing an 81-room, 4-story hotel in the City of Oswego on a 2.7 acre site at 134 and 140 East 13th Street. The $8.6 million project will create 15 jobs. Assistance is being provided by Community and Pathfinder Banks, USDA, Oswego CDO, COIDA and a SBA 504 loan through OOC, Inc.

The Gardens by Morningstar
The Gardens by Morningstar is the conversion of the former Loretto Skilled Nursing Home in the City of Oswego into a 106-bed assisted living facility utilizing 54,000 sf on four floors. The new assisted living capacity for the Oswego area will be increased by 77 beds as Medicaid ALP and 29 as private-pay adult beds. The $4.9 million project will create 30 FT and 15 PT jobs. Assistance was provided by Pathfinder Bank and the COIDA.

Fulton Animal Hospital
Fulton Animal Hospital, a 32-year-old business, was acquired by Andrea Dattelas, DVM, with assistance from Pathfinder Bank and the COIDA. The woman-owned business will create 1 new job and retain 3 jobs. Project cost was $509,200.

Eis House
Eis House, formerly Arena’s Eis House Restaurant in the Village of Mexico, was acquired and the new owners will continue to operate it as a restaurant, bar and event center. The $630,000 project was assisted by Pathfinder Bank, a SBA 504 loan through OOC, Inc. and the COIDA. The Eis House will employ 5 FT and 20 PT employees.

Treadwell also outlined several future projects and initiatives in progress including the Incubator Development at the site of the former Price Chopper in the City of Oswego, the development of Dollar General in the Town of Minetto, the development of the Central New York Raceway Park in the Town of Hastings, the redevelopment of the Salmon River (Selkirk) Lighthouse and Marina in the Town of Richland, the expansion of Universal Metal Works/Davis Standard in the City of Fulton, the relocation and expansion of HealthWay Home Products in the Village of Pulaski, the redevelopment of Legacy House (Valehaven) Adult Home in the City of Oswego, the development of SolarCity in the Towns of Scriba and Volney, the Port of Oswego’s development of an inland port in Central NY, Port City Logistics’ acquisition of a 172,000 sf building for expansion in the City of Oswego and the development of  Byrne Dairy in the Town of Schroeppel.

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.

Besides Perras being honored with the 2015 Martin Rose Economic Developer Merit Award, other winners included:

The Ally Award for 2015 was presented to the Oswego County Division of Employment and Training – One-Stop Center, in recognition and appreciation of its significant contribution to the economic development process in Oswego County; for its outstanding support in enhancing job creation and economic development by providing effective job training services and assisting companies with employment recruitment; for meeting or exceeding all Federal and State performance goals; for its exceptional record for the 2013-2014 Program Year by assisting 5,581 job seekers, helping 2,305 individuals enter employment, providing customized and OJT training services to 387 jobseekers and realizing a 97% level of customer satisfaction for services provided.

The Business Excellence Award for 2015 was presented to Behling Orchards in recognition and appreciation for demonstrating adaptation and continued growth in a competitive agricultural business environment; since 1947, the orchard has grown from 6 to 200 acres and offers 70 varieties of apples; primarily a u-pick farm, it also features hayrides, pony rides, mazes for children, snack bar loaded with pies, popcorn balls and cider; to add diversity, the farm offers u-pick strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries; for its outstanding reputation of providing quality produce and customer service; for employing 23 full-time and 142 part-time employees; for producing 75,000 to 100,000 bushels of apples a year; and for doing business in Oswego County for 68 years.

The 2015 Jobs Award, recognizing significant capital investment as well as job creation and retention, was presented to Champlain Valley Specialty in recognition and appreciation of its very significant contribution to the Oswego County and Central New York economies by establishing in 2012 a multi-million dollar apple processing and packaging plant that has grown to be over 100,000 sf in the Town of Oswego; for creating over 175 manufacturing jobs in the food processing industry; for being the 5th largest manufacturing employer and 15th largest private employer in Oswego County; and for utilizing locally and regionally grown apples to produce pre-sliced ready to eat apples for school, retail and restaurant markets.

Norman E. Swanson received OOC’s 2015 Dee Heckethorn Entrepreneur Award. In recognition and appreciation of exceptional entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and dedication to fostering economic, community and tourism growth in Oswego County and Central New York through excellence in transforming a closed and vacant 32,000 sf elementary school in the Town of Albion into the fabulous Tailwater Lodge; a 42 room hotel, restaurant and conference center located on a 35 acre site on the fabled Salmon River; your vision and commitment has greatly enhanced the tourism and hospitality sector in Oswego County and beyond.

The OOC board of directors re-elected board members Brian Anderson, National Grid; Edward Gilson, Blake Equipment; Ellen Holst, Oswego County Opportunities; Vincent Lobdell, HealthWay; Thomas Meucci, Huhtamaki; John Sharkey, IV, Universal Metal Works; Joseph Solazzo, Construction and General Laborers, Local 633; Gary Toth, Carpenter’s Local 747; and David Turner, Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

For more information about economic development services in Oswego County, call OOC at 343-1545 or visit www.oswegocounty.org