Tuesday June 27, 2006

Operation Oswego County a Catalyst for Economic Development

County agency features its annual meeting

    Operation Oswego County held its annual meeting at Fairway Manor in Granby recently.

    George Joyce, president of the OOC board of directors, emphasized the continuing significance of small business development to Oswego County’s economy as well as initiatives in marketing and workforce development. “As we look to the future, Operation Oswego County’s efforts will continue to focus on helping to make our existing businesses more competitive, helping to facilitate investment and job creation/retention of our manufacturing base, and continuing to promote and develop strategic initiatives to compete for and attract new employers to our county,” Joyce said.

    In 2005, projects assisted by OOC resulted in the creation or retention of 384 jobs with over $92 million in capital investment and 52 new, expanded or retained facilities. L. Michael Treadwell, CEcD, executive director for OOC, outlined a number of economic development highlights in 2005, noting that OOC provided or helped arrange assistance to numerous projects, including:

    • Fulton Tool Company re-established its business in the former Oswego Wire building in Fulton, which was retrofitted for the company whose building was destroyed by fire in 2003. The project received funding assistance from the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency and National Grid, employee training assistance by the Workforce Development Board of Oswego County and the Oswego County Department of Employment and Training, and a low-cost power allocation through the “Power for Progress” program;

    • Harbor Lights initiated the expansion of its outpatient clinic for adults and adolescents suffering from alcohol and/or drug abuse-related issues. A new 7,360 square-foot building will be constructed as well as renovations of an existing building at its new location on Scenic Avenue in Mexico. The project received funding assistance from Community Bank, an SBA 504 loan through OOC and the IDA;

    • The Manhattan Moon in Constantia opened a full-service, 90-seat restaurant, which replaced the former Lakeview Inn. The new owner is a graduate of the Micro-Enterprise Training Program and received funding assistance from the IDA;

    • Fulton Machinery, a manufacturer of machinery components for the paper, film and foil-converting industries, located in the start-up facility in the Oswego County Industrial Park in Schroeppel;

    • A new Arby’s located in Pulaski and created 18 jobs. Financing assistance provided by the IDA. The IDA has also assisted Arby’s restaurants located in Fulton and Oswego;

    • Lower Falls Development acquired and is converting the historic Brickhouse Building in Fulton to a mixed-use facility including offices, retail, restaurant and residential space. The $700,000 project will create 21 jobs and received funding assistance from the Fulton Community Development Agency (CDA), the Community Preservation Corporation and the IDA; Brascan Power received an IDA PILOT for capital improvements to two of its hydroelectric plants located in Orwell;

    • Biodiesel manufacturer NextGen Fuel is locating at the Riverview Business Park in Volney. The $1 million project will enable the production of five million gallons of biodiesel a year, which will be sold to fuel distributors. Financial assistance will be provided by OOC and the USDA and the project will be located in the Fulton Empire Zone;

    • KLG Transport expanded its woman-owned trucking business in the town of Granby. The owner is a graduate of the Micro-Enterprise Training Program and received funding from the IDA and Oswego County National Bank. The $146,000 project created and/or retained six jobs;

    • Huhtamaki Consumer Packaging completed its warehouse optimization expansion located in the Fulton Empire Zone. The $2.7 million project received funding assistance from the IDA, the county of Oswego “Power for Progress” low-cost power program, and a New York state grant secured by state Sen. James Wright. The project created 60 jobs;

    • Central Square Farm and Equine Supply is a new retail feed, home, farm and garden products business in West Monroe. The $191,000 project received financial assistance from an SBA 504 loan through OOC, the IDA and Fulton Savings Bank. The new business will create four new jobs;

    • Precision Wood Flooring Products is a new company that will manufacture high-quality, pre-finished flooring to be sold to national and international distributors. The company acquired the 200,000-square-foot former Jefferson-Smurfit plant which is located in the in Volney. The $7.3 million project is located in the Fulton Empire Zone and will create 54 jobs. The project will receive funding assistance from the IDA and the Fulton CDA;

    • Cannon’s Place motel and campground in Albion was acquired through funding assistance from a $370,000 SBA 504 loan through OOC and Adirondack Bank. The project created three jobs;

    • and Old Man’s Place is a new 4,800 square-foot convenience store in Granby, which includes gasoline pumps, propane, a laundromat and a liquor store. The project received funding assistance from Fulton Savings Bank, a SBA 504 loan through OOC and the IDA. The $650,000 project will create 12 jobs.

    Additionally, one of OOC’s key goals last year was to promote the Oswego County Public Utility Service’s (OCPUS) “Power for Progress” low-cost electrical energy program for new and expanding businesses in Oswego County. The purpose of the program is to create jobs using low-cost electricity produced by Entergy Nuclear Northeast at the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Scriba.

    In 2005, 12 companies were awarded over 1.8 megawatts of discounted power. OCPUS will continue to allocate up to 10 megawatts of low-cost power at $32 per megawatt-hour per year through 2010.

    In addition to announcing the 2005 economic impact summary and recognizing top development projects, the OOC board of directors honored the memory of Dee Heckethorn, who passed away in March, by announcing that the entrance road to the Lake Ontario Industrial Park will be named “Dee Heckethorn Drive. In addition to serving as past president, vice president and treasurer in his capacity as a member of the OOC board of directors for more than 20 years, he also served as a leader in several local organizations including the IDA, Adirondack North Country Association, Workforce Development Board of Oswego County and Greater Oswego Chamber of Commerce.

    The board announced it will also institute a new annual award titled the “Dee Heckethorn Entrepreneur Award,” which will recognize entrepreneurs who have demonstrated measurable growth, increased employment opportunities and innovation necessary for long-term business success.

    Three business organizations and a well-known development leader and public servant were also honored for significant contributions to economic development and job creation in Oswego County.

    The Ally Award for 2006 was presented to the partnership of the International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers, Local 43 and the United Association Of Plumbers And Steamfitters, Local 73, recognizing it as an "ally" organization in the economic development process in Oswego County. Together, the two unions played a crucial role in facilitating the future production of ethanol in the Riverview Business Park in the town of Volney by providing funding assistance of $3 million. They were also recognized for their continuing commitment to fostering economic development and job creation in Oswego County.

    The Business Excellence Award for 2006 was presented to Oswego Industries, Inc. for providing vocational training and long-term employment to people with disabilities in Oswego County for the past 36 years, and through its collaborative partnerships with local businesses, providing capable, reliable workers at cost-effective rates while providing disabled adults with meaningful employment opportunities.

    The 2006 Jobs Award, recognizing significant capital investment as well as job creation and retention, was presented to Lowe’s for its commitment to locate its retail operations in the city of Oswego which resulted in the creation of 170 local jobs and for offering the community quality home improvement products at affordable prices, while delivering superior customer service.

    Corte Spencer, managing director of Oswego Health and Oswego Hospital administrator and CEO, was honored with the 2006 Martin Rose Economic Developer Merit Award for assisting with the development of the Oswego Health system which includes Oswego Hospital, The Manor at Seneca Hill, Springside at Seneca Hill, O.H. Properties Inc., O.H. Services, and Hospitals Home Health Care.

    Spencer was recognized for initiating the recent expansion of Oswego Hospital to include a new surgery center, intensive care unit and maternity department and for helping to expand and strengthen health services provided in Oswego County with the addition of major services not before available, including medical and radiation oncology and cardiac rehabilitation.

    He has also served on numerous community boards and committees that play an integral role in economic development including OOC, Pathfinder Bank, and The SUNY Oswego School of Business Advisory Board.

    The OOC board also elected Mark Hofmeier, manager of Lowe’s in Oswego, Kerry Dorsey, associate vice president for development and alumni relations for SUNY Oswego, Joe Solazzo, business agent for the Laborer’s International Union, Local 214, and Tom Meucci, director of operations for Huhtamaki, to the board.

    Re-elected to another three-year term were Ed Gilson, vice president of manufacturing for Fulton Boiler Works Inc., Thomas McAuslan, executive director of the Port of Oswego Authority, Carol Rutledge, director of the Fulton Community Development Agency, Millard Sullivan, retired from Birds Eye Foods, Gary Toth, business manager for Carpenter’s Local 747, and David Turner, director of Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

    Re-elected for a one-year term was Gregory Kreis, president and CEO of Oswego County National Bank.

    The new slate of officers elected to the board includes George Joyce, president of Laser Transit, Ltd., as president; Nancy Bellow, director of SUNY Oswego’s Center for Business and Community Development, as vice president; Michael Pollock, president of Fulton Savings Bank, as treasurer; and Alan Horna, general manager and CFO of Oswego Wire, Inc., as secretary.

    For more information about economic development services in Oswego County, call OOC at 343-1545.