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May 13, 2022 - 1:19pm
posted by Press Release in Upstate Niagara Cooperative, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of Upstate Niagara Cooperative has announced that Kevin Ellis was chosen to become its new CEO, replacing current CEO Larry Webster, who will be retiring.

Ellis is currently the CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients, an Auburn, N.Y.-based producer of high-quality specialized dairy ingredients, and Cayuga Marketing, a 9C cooperative of members who own and manage successful dairy farm businesses in Central New York. He will assume the position of Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s CEO no later than September 6, 2022.

“Kevin is a visionary leader who will be communicative and approachable at all levels of the organization,” said John T. Gould, President and Chairman of the Cooperative’s Board. “It is also our belief that working with Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s dedicated executive team and staff, he will not only help to continue Upstate Niagara’s legacy but build upon and enhance it.”

Webster, who joined Upstate Niagara Cooperative in 2005 and served as CEO for the past decade, announced his retirement in January. The Board began the process of finding and naming his replacement immediately thereafter.

“We wanted to ensure a seamless transition,” said Gould. “And Larry has generously agreed to continue leading the Cooperative until that transfer has been successfully completed. It’s important our farmers and customers are assured nothing will change in the interim, and know Larry is leaving Upstate Niagara in an excellent position.”

Webster’s tenure at Upstate Niagara Cooperative was marked by the company experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and expansion, recently becoming a billion-dollar business.

“I’m extremely proud of the success we’ve seen over the past decade,” said Webster, “but I’m looking forward to relaxing and spending time with my family.”

Ellis has extensive experience in C-Level management, with concentrations in finance and marketing. He was CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients and Cayuga Marketing for 14 years, and has also held positions as a dairy nutritionist, loan officer and financial consultant. He holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University, and an MBA from the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School.

“Upstate Niagara’s tagline - ‘Milk is Our Life’s Work,’ immediately resonated with me,” said Ellis. “I grew up on a dairy farm, which is still in operation. I’ve dedicated my professional life to helping the dairy farming industry produce nutritious milk products. I look forward to building upon Upstate Niagara’s core values and leading the cooperative into even more exciting and fruitful enterprises.”

May 11, 2022 - 5:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Arc GLOW, batavia, news, business, Casella Waste Systems, notify.

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Arc GLOW is apparently set to sell its garbage collection and recycling business to Casella Waste Systems.

The Arc board has not yet approved the transaction, and the terms of the sale are not available.

The Batavian made multiple attempts to reach Martin Miskell, the CEO of Arc GLOW, for comment. 

Joseph Fusco, a vice president with Casella, said, "We don't comment on rumors or reports of rumors." 

Casella is a publicly-traded company, and Security and Exchange Commission regulations can prevent people with direct knowledge of acquisitions and mergers from discussing such transactions. There may also be non-disclosure agreements in place.

The Batavian spoke with multiple Arc-connected sources about the sale of the trash business to confirm that a deal is in the works.

According to a source, Arc GLOW listed the business for sale some time ago and fielded multiple offers before settling on Casella.

Arc of Genesee (which merged this year into Arc of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties) was the exclusive garbage collection service for the City of Batavia for nearly 30 years until in 2013, when the City Council agreed to allow, or require, city residents to contract individually for waste and recycling collection.

According to sources, Arc has lost money on its trash and recycling business for several years.

Arc provides services, including multiple employment opportunities, for people with disabilities.

One source said Arc employees are worried that Arc clients employed by the trash business will lose their jobs once the transaction is final.

"There are multiple people in the trash/recycling (business) worried about losing their jobs," the source said. "Arc is supposed to be an inclusive employer with the goal of servicing the community."

Fusco was given an opportunity to address that concern during a phone interview and declined.

The source also said employees have other worries:

  • Loss of the drive-in recycling service for recycling and redemption; and
  • Employees who receive trash and recycling services from Arc will lose their discount.

There's no information available on when the Arc board might be asked to approve the deal or when the sale might be final.

Casella acquired two local trash haulers in 2019, Trash Away and PSI Disposal.

Waste Management is the other trash hauler with a significant presence in Genesee County.

Top photo: File photo of Arc garbage collection from 2013.

Photos by Howard Owens

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The Arc Recycling Center, 3785 West Main Street Road, Batavia.

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File photo.  Interior of the recycling center.

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File photo: Protest at City Hall in 2013 over the proposal to end the trash contract with Genesee Arc.

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File photo: A packed City Council chamber for a discussion in 2013 of the Arc contract.

May 11, 2022 - 2:41pm
posted by Press Release in UR Medicine, batavia, business, news.

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Press release:

The new UR Medicine Batavia Campus will open its doors to patients on May 16, strengthening the health system’s commitment to increasing specialist and primary care access for patients in Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming counties. 

“The Batavia Campus represents an important investment in meeting the health care needs of the regional communities we serve by providing access to providers and services close to home,” said Steve Goldstein, M.H.A., president and CEO of Strong Memorial Hospital. “Bringing primary and specialty clinics under one roof will enable UR Medicine providers to better coordinate care for their patients and provide a direct connection to UR Medicine’s advanced care network.”

The new 24,455 square foot medical campus – located at 7995 Call Parkway – will centralize specialty clinics and primary care into one location and on-site lab services, making care more convenient for patients.  The building will be home to adult and pediatric allergy/immunology, neurosurgery, oncology, otolaryngology and audiology, and urology clinics, and UR Medicine’s Batavia-based primary care practice.  Additional services will be added over the next 12 months. 

UR Medicine Radiation Oncology will remain in its current Bank Street location.  Eric Wu, M.D., and the Batavia Ophthalmology practice are joining UR Medicine and will move to the Flaum Eye Institute’s location on Liberty Street on June 1, which will be expanded into space formerly occupied by primary care.

The Batavia campus, which will operate as an outpatient clinic under Strong Memorial Hospital, will continue UR Medicine’s practice of staffing specialty clinics with providers who are either locally based or consistently practice in the community, allowing patients to maintain a consistent relationship with the same providers. Even if a patient needs to travel to Strong West in Brockport or Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for surgery, their pre-and post-operative consultations can often be conducted via telemedicine from their home or the Batavia offices, making the experience easier and more convenient for patients and their families.

“Almost 30 years ago, I started seeing patients out in Batavia and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience to serve the patients of that community,” said Webster Pilcher, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the UR Medicine Department of Neurosurgery.  “It is often difficult for patients to negotiate a complex care system, especially if that means traveling to Rochester.  By bringing that care to them and simplifying the relationship between our patients and primary and specialized care, we can access world-class care, right in their community.”

Since 1993, Pilcher has practiced in Batavia, treating patients in conjunction with their primary care doctors and providing continuing medical education programs for physicians across the area. In the ensuing years. UR Medicine has added specialty clinics in Batavia for patients who need cancer care, urology, ENT and audiology services, and dermatology. Golisano Children's Hospital also has offered pediatric subspecialty consultations.

UR Medicine consists of six hospitals located throughout the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions – Strong Memorial, Highland, F.F. Thompson, Noyes Memorial, Jones Memorial, and St. James hospitals – as well as Golisano Children’s Hospital, James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, UR Medicine Home Care, the Highlands at Pittsford and Highlands at Brighton, 11 urgent care centers, and an extensive primary care network.

Photo by Howard Owens

May 11, 2022 - 12:06pm
posted by Press Release in GLOW With Your Hands, batavia, business.

Press release:

Sponsors, led by businesses that have made hands-on impressions with hundreds of students, are stepping up to bring career exploration to GLOW With Your Hands.

Genesee Construction, LandPro Equipment, and National Grid will be platinum sponsors for GLOW With Your Hands 2022, which is coming back to the Genesee County Fairgrounds in Batavia on September 27th, 2022.

Launched in 2019, GLOW with Your Hands conducted the first hands-on career exploration event in which over 800 middle and high school students from 25 school districts in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties learn about high-growth and high-demand career opportunities in agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and the skilled trades among others.

“GLOW With Your Hands introduces students to careers that provide good-paying jobs with excellent benefits and opportunities for growth that do not require 4 years of college and the expense of tuition that goes along with that,” said GCEDC Vice President of Business and Workforce Development, Chris Suozzi. “The bottom line is that dynamic and growing companies in the GLOW region need skilled workers now. Sponsors like Genesee Construction, LandPro Equipment, and National Grid have recognized this and make investments that improve students’ awareness and readiness in our region.”

As of May 10, GLOW With Your Hands 2022 has received sponsorships from 20 manufacturing, skilled trades, agriculture, and food and beverage companies across the GLOW region. A complete list of 2022 and past sponsors is available at GLOWWithYourHands.com/sponsors.

“Our sponsors are one of the main reasons we have seen so much success and interest with GLOW With Your Hands these past few years,” said GLOW Workforce Development Board Executive Director Jay Lazarony. “It is important for our students to be exposed to companies that offer career opportunities in their backyard rather than thinking they have to move somewhere else for a career opportunity.”

Hundreds of students will once again experience hands-on activities and demonstrations to enhance their understanding and interest in careers at companies within the GLOW region. Exhibits and workplace simulations will include demonstrations of mechatronics, welding, bricklaying, electrical lineman work and others. Students will be able to learn about careers in food packaging, veterinary sciences, animal nutrition and commercial trucking.

“We want GLOW students to embrace and learn about their career options before graduating from high school. Our corporate partners provide these students a chance to experience a trade or skill they have not encountered before,” Suozzi continued.

For more information about GLOW With Your Hands, including volunteer opportunities and event details, visit GLOWWithYourHands.com.

May 11, 2022 - 12:02pm
posted by Press Release in business, Tompkins Financial.

Press release:

Tompkins Financial announced the appointment of Alyssa Fontaine as chief risk officer, adding to her current role as executive vice president and general counsel. In her expanded role, Fontaine will continue to oversee the Company’s legal and corporate governance functions while also leading the corporate risk management team.  These responsibilities include corporate compliance, audit, information security, bank secrecy act/anti-money laundering compliance, third-party risk management, corporate security, and enterprise risk management. 

Fontaine began her career at Tompkins in 2016. Before joining Tompkins, she was a partner with Harris Beach PLLC. She focused on bank regulatory compliance and securities matters and worked closely with Tompkins as a corporate law partner.  

Fontaine is a graduate of Cornell University Law School and Brown University.  She received the “40 under Forty” award from the Central New York Business Journal and was named a Super Lawyers Rising Star.  She is a member of the Ithaca Community Childcare Center (IC3) and the Ithaca Little Red Lacrosse program. She also volunteers with the Cayuga Heights Elementary School PTA as an event leader. 

“Alyssa is a proven leader, elevating our corporate governance and legal departments to great success during her tenure,” said Steve Romaine, Tompkins Financial president and CEO. “I am pleased that Alyssa will expand her leadership and bring her expertise to our corporate risk management team as our industry continues to navigate an ever-evolving landscape.” 

May 9, 2022 - 4:46pm
posted by Press Release in Cornell Cooperative Extension, business, agriculture.

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Press release:

If you are looking for resources for producing and marketing livestock, then visit the NEW Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Livestock Program Work Team website https://www.ccelivestock.com.

The CCE Livestock Program Work Team recognized New York livestock producers’ need to have a trustworthy central location for all things livestock and developed the website in response. The website is organized into themes based on species and information can be found on a variety of production topics including breeding and reproduction, nutrition, and health as well as marketing.

“Our goal is to continue adding resources and have it be the go-to place for workshops, training, and webinar recordings”, states Nancy Glazier, Regional Small Farms/Livestock Specialist.

Dana M. Havas, Ag Team Leader from CCE Cortland, expressed, “It is exciting to have extension livestock experts from all over the state working together to develop a robust and valuable collection of resources for our communities.”

As the website grows we look forward to hearing how you use the website and invite you to tell us what you think by contacting the website administrator https://www.ccelivestock.com/contact-us.

The CCE Livestock Program Work Team is comprised of educators working to build a collaborative network of experts and resources to foster the success of livestock farms across New York State. Find your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office here, https://cals.cornell.edu/cornell-cooperative-extension/local-offices.

May 6, 2022 - 4:20pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors advanced 3 projects with proposed investments of more than $31.5 million in Genesee County at its board meeting on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

The GCEDC Board of Directors accepted an initial resolution for La Fermière’s proposed $25 million project to construct a 50,000 sq. ft. yogurt manufacturing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

The proposed project adds to Batavia’s Dairy Hub of the Northeast, supporting over 900 direct jobs, over $500 million of capital investment, and over 1 million square feet of dairy processing facilities.

La Fermière has pledged to create up to 68 jobs over the first 3 years of operations in Genesee County.  Founded in France, the company has been active in US markets since 2018.

“We are ready to move to the next step. The next level for us is to make our very first big investment in the US and building a new state of the art facility here,” La Fermière US Vice President Lucas Praticci said in a presentation to the GCEDC Board.

La Fermière plans to produce French yogurt and dairy dessert products using fresh milk and cream at the facility.

“We have a unique product, and we are very proud to bring this culture and our culture here to the US,” Praticci said.

La Fermière is requesting $1.8 million in property, sales, and mortgage tax assistance.  The project is estimated to generate $54.9 million of local economic benefits over 10 years, equal to $43 dollars in economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

A public hearing on the proposed project will be scheduled in the town of Batavia at Batavia Town Hall.

The GCEDC accepted an initial resolution from O-AT-KA Milk Products, LLC for a 3,246 sq. ft. expansion of its existing facility in the town of Batavia.

The proposed $3.5 million investment will house two new 18,000-gallon tanks to increase the capabilities of cream-based liquor beverages. The expansion proposes to create two new jobs.

O-AT-KA Milk Products, LLC is requesting approximately $214,406 in property, sales, and mortgage tax assistance. The project is estimated to generate $3.5 million of local economic benefits over 10 years, equal to $27 dollars in economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

A public hearing on the proposed project will be scheduled in the town of Batavia at Batavia Town Hall.

The GCEDC also approved a final resolution for Apple Tree Acres, LLC. The $3.15 million project will construct a stand-alone 50,000 sq. ft. facility in the Apple Tree Acres business park. Apple Tree Acres, LLC plans to create three new jobs.

Apple Tree Acres, LLC has been granted approximately $490,225 in property, sales, and mortgage tax exemptions. The project is estimated to generate $2.8 million in economic activity, equal to $6 of economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

May 5, 2022 - 2:49pm
posted by Press Release in Tompkins Financial, business.

Press release:

Tompkins Financial Corporation (the "Company") reported diluted earnings per share of $1.60 for the first quarter of 2022, down 7.0% from the diluted earnings per share of $1.72 reported in the first quarter of 2021.  Reduced income from Paycheck Protection Program loans ("PPP loans") and a smaller recapture to the provision for credit losses in the current quarter were the primary contributors to the reduced earnings when compared to the same quarter last year.  Net income for the first quarter of 2022 was $23.3 million, a decrease of 9.2% from $25.6 million for the same period in 2021.  

Tompkins President and CEO, Stephen Romaine, commented, "On January 1, 2022 the Company consolidated the four banks under one charter and the banking affiliate is now known as Tompkins Community Bank.  Results for the first quarter of 2022 included several favorable trends when compared to the most recent prior quarter and the same quarter last year.  These included an improved net interest margin, higher fee-based revenue, and lower past due and nonperforming loan balances.  Though net income for the first quarter of 2022 was below the same quarter last year, it exceeded the net income reported in each of the three most recent prior quarters."   

SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE PERIOD: 

  • Total loans at March 31, 2022 were $5.1 billion, down $12.0 million from December 31, 2021.  The decrease was driven by a $47.2 million decline in PPP loans, compared to year-end 2021.  Total loans, exclusive of PPP loan balances, were higher than the prior quarter for the third consecutive quarter. 
  • Provision for credit losses was a recapture of $520,000 for the first quarter of 2022, compared to a recapture of $1.8 million for the first quarter of 2021. 
  • Total nonperforming loans totaled $30.3 million, or 0.60% of total loans, at March 31,2022, compared to $31.2 million, or 0.61% of total loans, at December 31, 2021, and $47.7 million, or 0.90% of total loans, at March 31, 2021.   
  • Total deposits of $7.0 billion at March 31, 2022 were up $225.3 million, or 3.3%, over December 31, 2021 and up $70.2 million, or 1.0%, over March 31, 2021. 

    NET INTEREST INCOME 
    Net interest margin was 3.04% for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 3.01% reported for both the same period in 2021 and the fourth quarter of 2021.  

    Net interest income was $56.6 million for the first quarter of 2022, an increase of $1.6 million from $55.0 million for the same period in 2021. Net interest income for the current quarter included $2.0 million of net deferred loan fees associated with PPP loans, compared to net deferred loan fees of $2.8 million in the first quarter of 2021. 

    Net interest income for the first quarter of 2022 was down $1.2 million from the immediate prior quarter, driven by a decline in net deferred loan fees associated with PPP loans, which totaled $2.0 million in the current quarter, compared to net deferred loan fees of  $3.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2021.   

    Average loans for the quarter ended March 31, 2022 were down $235.3 million, or 4.5%, compared to the same period in 2021.  The decrease in average loans was mainly in commercial loans and driven by a decrease in average PPP loans.  Asset yields for the quarter ended March 31, 2022 were down 8 basis points compared to the same period in 2021, and up 2 basis points compared to quarter ended December 31, 2021.   

    Average total deposits for the first quarter of 2022 were up $253.1 million, or 3.8% compared to the same period in 2021.  Average noninterest bearing deposits for the quarter ended March 31, 2022 were up $159.2 million or 8.2% compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2021.  For the first quarter of 2022, the average rate paid on interest-bearing deposits of 0.17%, was down 10 basis points from the same period in 2021.  The total cost of interest-bearing liabilities of 0.21% for the first quarter of 2022, represented a decline of 17 basis points versus the same period in 2021. 

    NONINTEREST INCOME 
    Noninterest income of $20.0 million for the first quarter of 2022 was in line with the same period in 2021, and represented 26.1% of total revenues. For the first quarter of 2022, all service-related fee categories showed improvement when compared to the same period prior year:  Insurance commissions and fees (up 1.7%), Investment services income (up 5.2%), Service charges on deposit accounts (up 21.0%), and Card services income (up 6.7%).  Offsetting improved service related fees was a loss of $47,000 on securities transactions, compared to a gain of $317,000 in the first quarter of 2021, and lower gains on sales on residential loans that were down $425,000 compared to the same quarter in 2021.   

    NONINTEREST EXPENSE 
    Noninterest expense was $46.8 million for the first quarter of 2022, up $2.3 million or 5.2% from the first quarter of 2021.  Salaries and employee benefits were up 3.3% compared to the same period in 2021, mainly due to normal annual merit increases and an increase in health insurance expense.  Other expense for the first quarter of 2022 increased by 13.1%, with the increase mainly due to higher marketing expense and technology expense when compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2021.   

    INCOME TAX EXPENSE 
    The Company's effective tax rate was 23.1% for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 20.7% for the same period in 2021.  The increase in the effective tax rate for the three months ended March 31, 2022, over the same period in 2021 is largely due to the anticipated loss of certain New York State tax benefits due to the expectation that average assets will exceed $8.0 billion for the 2022 tax year.     

    The Company's banking subsidiary has an investment in a real estate investment trust that provides certain benefits on its New York State tax return for qualifying entities.  A condition to claim the benefit is that the consolidated company has average assets of no more than $8.0 billion for the taxable year.  The Company expects average assets to exceed the $8.0 billion threshold for the 2022 tax year.  As of March 31, 2022, the Company's consolidated average assets, as defined by New York tax law, were slightly under the $8.0 billion threshold.  The Company will continue to monitor the consolidated average assets during 2022 to determine future eligibility. 

    ASSET QUALITY 
    Improved credit quality and improving macroeconomic trends contributed to a lower allowance for credit losses at March 31, 2022, when compared to March 31, 2021. The allowance for credit losses represented 0.83% of total loans and leases at March 31, 2022, down from 0.84% at December 31, 2021, and 0.93% at March 31, 2021. The ratio of the allowance to total nonperforming loans and leases was 139.20% at March 31, 2022, up from 137.51% at December 31, 2021 and 103.38% at March 31, 2021. 

    Provision for credit losses for the first quarter of 2022 was a credit of $520,000 compared to a credit of $1.8 million for the same period in 2021. Net recoveries for the quarter ended March 31, 2022 were $17,000 compared to net recoveries of $180,000 reported for the same period in 2021.   

    Nonperforming assets represented 0.38% as of March 31, 2022, down from 0.40% at December 31, 2021, and 0.59% at March 31, 2021.  At March 31, 2022, nonperforming loans and leases totaled $30.3 million, compared to $31.2 million at December 31, 2021, and $47.7 million at March 31, 2021.   
     
    Special Mention and Substandard loans and leases totaled $135.1 million at March 31, 2022, reflecting improvement from $137.6 million at December 31, 2021, and $185.2 million at March 31, 2021.  The decrease in Special Mention and Substandard loans, compared to the same period prior year, was mainly due to improved asset quality in the hospitality industry as occupancy rates continue to show improvement.  
     
    As previously announced, the Company implemented a payment deferral program in 2020 to assist both consumer and business borrowers that may be experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. As of March 31, 2022, total loans that continued in a deferral status amounted to approximately $2.6 million, representing 0.05% of total loans.  At March 31, 2021 total loans in deferral status totaled $195.6 million.  
     
    The Company began accepting applications for PPP loans on April 3, 2020, and continued through the initial program end date in 2020.  On January 19, 2021, the Company began accepting both first draw and second draw applications for the reopening of the PPP program.  The 2021 PPP program funding closed for new applications on May 12, 2021.  The Company funded a total of 5,140 applications totaling $694.1 million in 2020 and 2021.   

    Out of the $694.1 million of PPP loans that the Company funded, approximately $663.9 million have been forgiven by the SBA under the terms of the program as of March 31, 2022.  Total net deferred fees on the remaining balance of PPP loans amounted to $1.0 million at March 31, 2022.
     
    CAPITAL POSITION
    Capital ratios at March 31, 2022 remained well above the regulatory minimums for well-capitalized institutions. The ratio of Total Capital to Risk-Weighted Assets was 14.23% at March 31, 2022, compared to 14.23% at December 31, 2021, and 14.62% at March 31, 2021. The ratio of Tier 1 capital to average assets was 8.89% at March 31, 2022, compared to 8.72% at December 31, 2021, and 8.89% at March 31, 2021.

    During the first quarter of 2022, the Company repurchased 130,168 common shares at an aggregate cost of $10.4 million. These shares were purchased under the Company's Stock Repurchase Program announced in the third quarter of 2021. 
May 4, 2022 - 3:43pm
posted by Press Release in GCASA, business.

Press release:

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse continues to be recognized as one of the state’s “best companies to work for.”

For the fifth consecutive year, the New York State Society for Human Resource Management (NYS-SHRM) has included the Batavia-based substance use treatment, prevention and recovery agency on its list of Best Companies to Work for in New York.

GCASA was one of 23 companies selected in the medium employers’ category (100-249 employees) for 2022. Additionally, 27 small employers (15-99 employees) and 25 large employers (250 or more employees) were honored at a reception last month in Albany.

“It is truly an honor to be selected for a fifth straight year,” said GCASA Executive Director John Bennett. “We were one of four agencies certified by the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, with the other three in the large employer category. We actually ranked higher than those other three. This is a testament to our employees, who have shown remarkable resilience and commitment to their profession over a challenging last couple of years.”

To be considered for participation, companies had to fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be a for-profit, not-for-profit business or government entity;
  • Be a publicly or privately held business;
  • Have a facility in the state of New York;
  • Have at least 15 employees working in New York; and
  • Must be in business for a minimum of 1 year.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part survey process to determine the Best Companies to Work for in New York. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company's policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. This part was worth approximately 25 percent of the total evaluation.

The second part consisted of a survey to measure the employee experience. This part was worth approximately 75 percent of the total. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final rankings.

Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process in New York and also analyzed the data and used their expertise to determine the final rankings.

For more information on the Best Companies to Work for in New York program, visit www.BestCompaniesNY.com.

May 4, 2022 - 2:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Empire Access, news, batavia, Le Roy, notify.

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A publically traded private equity firm based in France has acquired a portion of Empire Access, a Prattsburgh-based broadband company that provides Internet and TV service to several WNY communities, including Batavia and Le Roy.

It's unclear from the news release how much of a stake in the company Antin Infrastructure Partners acquired.

The release stated that the Wagner family, which has controlled Empire since 1946, will retain an ownership stake in the company and Brian Wagner will remain on the company’s board of directors. Jim Baase, Empire’s COO, will become CEO.

Antin's stock is traded in the European Union and the company reported more than $48 million in revenue last year and has more than $23 billion in assets.

Founded in 1896 in Prattsburgh, New York, Empire offers high-speed FTTP ("fiber to the premises") internet, voice, and digital TV services.

The company reportedly manages a network of 1,280 fiber route miles servicing more than 92,000 addresses and 24,000 customers.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in late 2022, subject to obtaining regulatory approvals.

“Empire is one of the preeminent FTTP providers in the regions we serve and the Empire-Antin partnership will enable us to grow more quickly," said Baase, quoted in the release. "With still a substantial opportunity ahead, we are excited to partner with Antin to help secure that future growth and provide high-speed broadband access to consumers across our footprint.”

Kevin Genieser, Senior Partner at Antin, promised growth for Empire with his company's investment. 

"Empire is uniquely positioned to leverage its expansive fiber network to provide broadband services to underserved parts of New York and Pennsylvania," Genieser said.

Citizens, CIT (a division of First Citizens Bank), and Webster Bank acted as lead arrangers on the debt financing for the transaction.

May 2, 2022 - 4:57pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider three projects proposing approximately $31.6 million of financial investments in Genesee County at its board meeting on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

The GCEDC Board of Directors will consider an initial resolution for La Fermière’s proposed $25 million investment. La Fermière plans to construct a 50,000 sq. ft. yogurt manufacturing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

The proposed project adds to Batavia’s Dairy Hub of the Northeast, which supports over 900 direct jobs, over $500 million of capital investment, and over 1 million square feet of dairy processing facilities.

La Fermière has pledged to create up to 68 jobs over the first 3 years of operations in Genesee County.  Founded in France, the company has been active in US markets since 2018.

La Fermière is requesting $1.8 million in property, sales, and mortgage tax assistance.  The project is estimated to generate $54.9 million of local economic benefits over 10 years, equal to $43 dollars in economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

If the project application is accepted, a public hearing for the proposed agreement will be scheduled in the town of Batavia.

The GCEDC will also consider an initial resolution from O-AT-KA Milk Products, LLC regarding a 3,246 sq. ft. expansion of its existing facility in the town of Batavia.

The proposed $3.5 million investment will house two new 18,000-gallon tanks to increase the capabilities of cream-based liquor beverages. The expansion would create two new jobs.

O-AT-KA Milk Products, LLC has requested approximately $214,406 in property, sales, and mortgage tax. The project is estimated to generate $3.5 million of local economic benefits over 10 years, equal to $27 dollars in economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

If the project application is accepted, a public hearing for the proposed agreement will be scheduled in the town of Batavia.

The GCEDC will also consider a final resolution for Apple Tree Acres, LLC. The $3.15 million project includes construction of a stand-alone 50,000 sq. ft. facility in the Apple Tree Acres business park. Apple Tree Acres, LLC proposes to create 3 new jobs.

Apple Tree Acres, LLC is requesting approximately $490,225 in property, sales, and mortgage tax exemptions. The project is estimated to generate $2.8 million in economic activity, equal to $6 of economic activity for every $1 of public investment. A public hearing on the proposed agreement was held on Feb. 2 in the town of Bergen.

April 30, 2022 - 5:00pm
posted by Joanne Beck in batavia, elba, fitness, business, notify, news.

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A new business on Harvester Avenue is taking an old concept of “brick-and-mortar” and feeding it with some bright thinking, owner Macy Paradise says.

Paradise, a 2003 Batavia HIgh School grad and owner of Paradise Fit in Elba, has branched out to include an all-inclusive facility for kids, adults, seniors and developmentally disabled folks. His logo is a brain inside of a lightbulb to represent a bright idea.

“The goal of this space is to have a more skill-building style,” Paradise said during the grand opening of The Brick Community Enrichment Center on Friday at The Harvester Center, 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia. “The Brick concept comes from an original idea that Joe Mancuso had in 1959, offering kind of a brick and mortar flex-use space for entrepreneurs. We wanted to rebrand that here, this being a flexible space, using it for all sorts of reasons. So we are trying to rebuild the community brick by brick.”

Paradise spoke while taking a short break from his DJ gig at the event. A versatile host of all things music for special events, celebrity debuts and even dance parties for, in this case on Friday, kids aged three to 12. The site’s overall concept was to host group fitness classes for all ages, and that grew into allowing space for skill-building classes, private events and to offer a more affordable rental option for bridal and wedding showers, birthday parties and the like. 

Paradise, 37, is a Batavia native who returned after a stints in each of Los Angeles, Calif. and Colorado. While living out west, he frequently returned to host events at the former City Slickers and Billy Goats, plus TF Browns. He also ventured into Erie County to host various entertainment gigs, such as international Electronic Dance Music producer and DJs Barely Alive and Virtual Riot, in Buffalo.  

The Brick Community Enrichment Center offers fitness classes from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays in May, and Paradise is planning other sessions for young and older alike, and also for people with developmental disabilities. It complements his main business, Paradise Fit, which offers personalized training, coaching, nutrition programs and meals, and an app for support. A personal trainer who also owns and operates the Elba-based fitness facility, Paradise initially started with personal training in Elba, doing one-on-one training sessions with clients. He proudly calls Elba home, having purchased one there in 2019, two years after moving back to Western New York. 

Meanwhile, he began to look for a space to do group fitness classes and was also hired as the Harvester Center's marketing director. 

“I found this space … and decided to open it up,” he said. “It’s another thing to do in Batavia.”

For more information or to get in touch with Paradise, call (585) 356-7737, email [email protected] or visit www.brickcommunitycenter.com or check out @TheBrick on Facebook.

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Top photo: Owner Macy Paradise cuts the symbolic ribbon to his new place, The Brick Community Enrichment Center, during a grand opening dance party Friday at The Harvester Center, 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia. Macy Paradise and partner Nici Johnson show off the logo for The Brick Community Enrichment Center. Photos submitted by Steven Falitico/Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

April 30, 2022 - 12:03am
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, rrh, batavia, business, Health Care.

Press release:

The Genesee County Funding Corporation (GCFC), an affiliate of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), approved tax-exempt bonds to support projects by Rochester Regional Health (RRH) expanding healthcare services in Genesee County and throughout New York State at its April 28th board meeting.

The tax-exempt bonds approved by the GCFC support the construction of a 105,393 square-foot healthcare facility on Oak Orchard Road in the Town of Batavia and 56,147 square feet of related ground floor parking.

In Batavia, Rochester Regional Health will offer outpatient cardiac care, women’s health services, primary care, urgent care, outpatient surgical services, gastroenterology, outpatient radiology and other outpatient services.

The Batavia project is projected to create approximately 70 full-time equivalent jobs with an average salary of $110,000, and over 200 construction jobs.

In addition to new bonding, the project also includes improvements of machinery, equipment and other tangible personal property, the refunding or refinancing of all or a portion of the outstanding principal amounts of existing bonds, and the construction of a 96,189 square-foot healthcare facility in the town of Potsdam in St. Lawrence County.

The projects will generate over $172.6 million of economic benefits to Genesee County and other communities over 10 years, including $161.4 million of payroll for temporary and ongoing jobs, and $11.2 million of tax revenues.

April 29, 2022 - 7:30am
posted by Press Release in Oak Orchard Health, business, Health Care.

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Press release:

Yesterday we introduced the new Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) at the ribbon-cutting event at our Brockport location. The MMU will operate like a primary care site bringing healthcare to Monroe, Orleans, Wyoming, Steuben, and Genesee counties.

“The Mobile Medical Unit would not have been possible without the support of our Board of Directors and The John R. Oishei Foundation that gave us a grant to fund this state-of-the-art medical facility,” said Mary Ann Pettibon, CEO, Oak Orchard Health.  The John R. Oishei Foundation enhances the economic vitality and quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region through grantmaking, leadership and network building. For more information about The John R. Oishei Foundation, visit www.oishei.org.”

“Oak Orchard Health will be working collaboratively with the County Health Departments, partnering agencies, the Head Start programs, and the homeless to bring the Mobile Medical Unit closer to those in need. This is all part of our mission. We will also serve farmworkers, as we always do, but with this new unit we will be able to provide access during the times and the places that are convenient for them,” said Mary Ann Pettibon, CEO, Oak Orchard Health.

Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Michael Mendoza also spoke at the event and said, “one thing this pandemic has taught us is that we haven’t done a good job meeting people where they are, where they live, and where they are comfortable. Our region suffers from a lack of primary care access -- doctors, nurses, behavioral health professionals, the gamut of healthcare professionals. This Mobile Medical Unit will help to bridge that gap. Without Federally Qualified Health Centers like Oak Orchard Health, many, many, people would be going without healthcare. This unit will provide more primary care to more people especially those who are underserved.”

The Mobile Medical Unit will also provide vision screenings, behavioral health services, COVID testing and vaccinations, other vaccinations, routine health screenings, chronic disease management, EKGs, and so much more.

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April 27, 2022 - 11:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake, business, Darien, entertainment.

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Regional media got a first look at the still-under-construction Wahoo Wave at Six Flags Darien Lake on Wednesday morning.

The 60-foot-tall thrill slide will rank as one of the tallest water rides in Hurricane Harbor.

The ride features a 30-foot vertical plunge.

First, riders will barrel down an enclosed tunnel slide, twisting around tight turns and slipping and sliding downward for 30 feet. Then they will drop three stories into Wahoo Wave’s signature feature, a huge water wave wall. Riders slide vertically up the wall and let gravity pull them back down with weightlessness into the splash pool below

The Wahoo Wave includes a twist through a hairpin turn, followed by a corkscrew, and then without warning, riders in four-person tubes will plunge down a three-story drop.

Darien Lake management promises an "adrenaline-packed adventure that will send riders into near-vertical motions to experience extended hang times and zero g-forces."

The thrill wave is scheduled to open when the park opens on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 28, 2022.

Photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service

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April 25, 2022 - 4:07pm
posted by Press Release in lawley insurance, batavia, business.

Press release:

Lawley, an independent family-owned insurance broker, and employee benefits firm, is proud to announce the promotion of Susie Ott to Branch Manager of the Lawley Batavia office.

Ott has been with Lawley for 10+ years. Prior to that, she worked in the banking industry.

“There is nobody better out there to lead Lawley’s Batavia office,” said Bill Lawley, Jr., Principal of Lawley. “We wanted Susie in the Branch Manager role because of her experience, innovation, and leadership at our organization.”

Ott will lead Batavia’s office and help to strategize their personal insurance and business insurance divisions. She will also work to bring in farm/crop insurance specialty niche after the Lawley Southcott merger earlier in 2022. The Southcott merger brought in three new Lawley associates that will work under Ott’s leadership.

Ott is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), a Notary Public, and maintains her New York State Property & Casualty Brokers License and her New York State Life License. She is a past member of the Genesee Region Insurance Professionals and the Cornell Cooperative Extension Board of Directors Selection Committee. Ott is a graduate of the Nationwide Insurance Basic Farm Certification Course and she also attended the Hartford School of Insurance’s Commercial Lines Producer Development Program.

Ott is a very active member of the Batavia community and insurance industry. She is a past member of Genesee Region Insurance Professionals and the Cornell Cooperative Extension Board of Directors Selection Committee.

Ott is a graduating member of Leadership Genesee and Leadership Wyoming. In 2018, she was honored as the Nationwide Insurance Community Service District Winner, in 2017 she won the Genesee County United Way Barber Conable Award, in 2016 was awarded Geneseean of the Year by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and is a 2011 member of the Outstanding Alumnus of Leadership Genesee.

Ott currently serves on the Rochester Regional Health, United Memorial Medical Center Board of Directors. She also chairs the Quality Committee at United Memorial Medical Center. In the past, she has served on the United Memorial Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors for 9 years, serving as President for 2 years.

She is Co-Chair of the United Way Day of Caring and has served in this role since 2008 when it began. She has also served on the United Way Allocations Committee for Genesee County and co-chaired the Genesee County United Way Campaign in 2008 and 2019.

Ott has been involved in the Batavia Rotary Club since 2004 and will be the 2023 incoming President. She is a past Batavia Development Corporation Board Member. In 2018, Ott was selected to be one of the 20 committee members for the Batavia Downtown Revitalization Initiative where $10 million dollars was awarded to businesses in Batavia’s Downtown.

“It is a privilege to be part of the Lawley organization. I am excited to move into the Branch Manager role to help lead the team I have been a part of for over a decade,” said Ott.

April 25, 2022 - 9:39am
posted by Press Release in darien lake, Darien, business.

Press release:

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, the world’s largest regional theme park company and operator of water parks in North America, is looking for 15,000 energetic and motivated team members nationwide who want to work where they play. Recognized for the fifth year in a row as one of the Nation’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, Six Flags is hosting a National Hiring Week, April 23 through May 1, at all of its U.S. locations, including, Six Flags Darien Lake and Hurricane Harbor.

The company is hiring for rewarding positions in areas such as food service, ride operations, lifeguarding, retail, janitorial, maintenance, security and many more. Applicants may apply online at SixFlagsJobs.com, where they can be interviewed one day, and start paid training the next. Those who join the team receive a Team Six Pass along with an allotment of free tickets for family and friends.

“With spring in full swing, and summer just around the corner, it is the perfect time to join Six Flags,” said Vice President of HR, Compensation and Benefits Reyna Sanchez. “We offer many perks along with competitive wages for all our positions. We have a job for every lifestyle, including seasonal and part-time positions, along with our new Core program that offers full-time hours and exclusive benefits. Six Flags is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace with great opportunities for leadership development, on-the-job training, and the ability to grow with us,” Sanchez continued.

Six Flags also offers other benefits including paid internships, in-park discounts, rewards and recognitions, exclusive Team Member events, and flexible scheduling.  The positions are great for students, teachers, retirees, or anyone looking for a second job that allows them to work around a busy personal schedule. To apply, visit SixFlagsJobs.com for immediate openings.

Locally at Six Flags Darien Lake and Hurricane Harbor,1,500 team members are needed to fill positions. Most jobs are available to those 16 years of age and older, with select positions open to 14- and 15-year-olds. Applicants 18 years of age and older can make $15 an hour.

How to Apply:

  • Complete a job application at; SixFlagsJobs.com or
  • Text the word “JOBS” to 585-207-8400; or
  • Visit the Six Flags Darien Lake Employment Center in person April 25 – April 29 from 9 am to 7 pm daily. No appointment necessary

 

Fast-Tracked Hiring & Training:

  • Candidates can interview the same day they apply
  • In-person and video interviews are available
  • Training can be completed in person or virtually online

Available Positions:

  • Operations: Ride Operations, Park Services (Custodial), Public Safety (Security, EMTs)
  • In-Park Services: Food and Beverage Operations, Retail, Games
  • Guest Experience: Admissions, Guest Relations
  • Lifeguards
  • Accommodations: Hotel Front Office, Housekeeping, Reservationist
  • Landscaping

Six Flags Darien Lake and Hurricane Harbor will open for the 2022 season on May 27. Applicants with employment-related questions can call 585 599 5108. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com/darienlake

April 21, 2022 - 5:58pm
posted by Press Release in General Electrict, wind power, bergen, business.

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Press release:

GE Renewable Energy today held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate a new research and development facility that will conduct research on how to 3D print the concrete base of towers used in wind turbines. The research will enable GE to 3D print the bottom portion of the wind turbine towers on-site at wind farms, lowering transportation costs and creating additional employment opportunities at the wind farms where the technology will be used.

The research being conducted in the Bergen facility is supported in part by a grant from the US Department of Energy. A team of 20 people will continue to work on optimizing the 3D printing technology with the first applications in the field anticipated within the next five years.

GE Renewable Energy Chief Technology Officer Danielle Merfeld, who spoke at the event, said, “Innovation will continue to be a key driver in accelerating the energy transition. It is particularly important to continuously improve the ways we design, manufacture, transport, and construct the large components of modern wind farms. We appreciate the support of the US Department of Energy for the research we are doing here and are confident it will help make the wind farms of tomorrow even more efficient, economical, and environmentally responsible.”

“Reaching the Biden administration’s ambitious goals of carbon-free electricity by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050 will require vastly more wind energy capacity. We’re proud to partner with GE Renewable Energy on this innovative 3D printing technology which has the potential to be a game-changer in how we harness this resource,” said U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power Alejandro Moreno. “With American-made taller towers assembled on-site, we can cut costs, overcome logistical hurdles, and accelerate progress toward our goals.”

A number of GE Renewable Energy’s key local partners as well as Enel Green Power, a customer interested in potential applications of the technology, also attended the event and offered comments on how it can add value to the local community and the renewable energy industry.

Luca Seletto, Director of Innovation, Enel Green Power, said, “To rise to the challenge posed by the climate crisis, the renewable energy industry must prioritize innovation and sustainability as it scales. We are glad to keep working with GE in the development and evaluation of new technologies, like the 3D printing of wind foundations, and we thank the Department of Energy for funding this important work."

Bill Pollock, PE, Director of Rochester Operations at Optimation, an organization providing many of the employees working at the GE research center, said, “At Optimation we have a focus on made in America and we also believe strongly in renewable energy. Working with GE on this project gives us an opportunity to pursue both of those goals. We are happy to be able to contribute to the development of new technology, to help reduce the cost of wind power and at the same time provide technically challenging jobs in western New York.”

Henrik Lund-Nielsen, Founder & General Manager, COBOD, said, “We are extremely proud to have delivered a completely new type of 3D concrete printer -- the largest of its kind in the world -- for this world-class and state of the art facility. The printer we have delivered is second to none: not only can it print in excess of 10 tons of real concrete per hour, but in addition, it is the first 3D concrete printer in the world with two X-axes on the printer. With the multiple functions of the printer, the printer can better be described as a multifunctional construction robot than a printer.”

“The announcement by GE Renewable Energy of its new R&D facility in Bergen is the latest example of the significant and continuing diversification of the Genesee County economy,” said Rochelle Stein, Chair, Genesee County Legislature. “While the agricultural, tourism, and small business sectors are the mainstays of our local economy, GE Renewable Energy’s project shows why Genesee County is experiencing new capital investment and the creation of jobs in advanced manufacturing and how the renewable energy sectors which means new career opportunities for our residents.”\

Edelio Bermejo, Head of Global R&D, Innovation and IP at HOLCIM, said, "Holcim has a key role to play in accelerating the transition towards clean, renewable energy. We have been studying 3D printing in concrete for nearly a decade and the potential of this technology just keeps expanding. Projects that would have been impossible yesterday are now a reality. We are particularly proud to be part of this ambitious project with GE and Cobod where we can propose the right mixture of ink to build more efficient wind turbines, directly on site. We are convinced this innovation will grow very quickly in the upcoming years and help us all significantly in our net-zero journey."

The research being done at the Bergen, NY facility will enable GE to better serve the growing US wind power market. The American Clean Power Association (ACPA) reports that there are more than 68,000 wind turbines across the country that are generating clean, reliable power. Wind power capacity totals 135 GW, making it the fourth-largest source of electricity in the country. GE Renewable Energy was recognized by ACPA as the top manufacturer of wind turbines in the US in 2021 for the fourth year in a row. 

Photos by Steve Ognibene

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Tim Brown, GE Renewable Energy

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On the stage, Tim Brown, GE Renewable Energy, Matt Landers, Genesee County Manager, Henrik Lund-Nielsen, Founder & General Manager, COBOD (R&D partner), Edelio Bermejo, Group Head of Research & Development, Innovation and Intellectual Property, Holcim (R&D partner), Luca Seletto, Director of Innovation, ENEL Green Power (customer), Danielle Merfeld, Chief Technology Officer, GE Renewable Energy, Alejandro Moreno, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power, US Department of Energy

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Danielle Merfeld and Alejandro Moreno

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Henrik Lund-Nielsen and Edelio Bermejo 

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April 20, 2022 - 6:16pm
posted by Press Release in liberty pumps, bergen, business.

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Press release and submitted photo:

Liberty’s new Material Handling Center is under construction and on track to be completed by the end of 2022.  The 107,000 square foot expansion will house component inventory – both raw and finished; and allow for more efficient tracking and flow of components to the manufacturing areas. The expansion will also allow for additional manufacturing space in the current building as material storage is moved over to the new facility.

April 20, 2022 - 6:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, business.

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Katrina McCracken impressed the judges yesterday at GCC in a business pitch competition with her creativity, giving her a second-place prize.

The competition was open to the general public though it was mostly GCC students who shared their entrepreneurial dreams with the judges.

The first-place prizes went to Brielle Jennings, BriixBandz Clothing, as most likely to succeed, and to Kayla Warwick, Swift Tea, as most creative.

First four photos by Howard Owens.

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Submitted photo.

From left to right:

  • Amy Conley, BCC Co-advisor
  • Jake Kasmarek, BCC President
  • Brielle Jennings, 1st Place Most Likely to Success with BriixBandz Clothing
  • Katrina McCracken, 2nd Place Most Creative with Flower Farm Girl
  • Kayla Warwick, 1st Place Most Creative with Swift Tea
  • Lina LaMattina, BCC Co-advisor
  • Not pictured is Ashley Bliss, 2nd Place Most Likely to Succeed with AB Construction
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