Local Matters

Community Sponsors


November 25, 2020 - 6:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in phil pies, max pies, news, batavia, business.


A lot has changed in the furniture business in the past 50 years. Shag carpet is out and twists and burners are in, and good luck finding an avocado green love seat.

But one thing hasn't changed at Max Pies.  Phil Pies is still there every day to greet customers with a smile and a quip. 

"What do I love about the job?" Pies said during a celebration today of his 50 years in the business. "Meeting people. The people are the business."

Phil Pies is the third generation Pies in the furniture business.  Sticking around for 50 years, though, wasn't really something he expected when he started selling furniture.

"When I first came here, I didn't think I would actually stay here and here I am," Pies said. "I got involved in the business and I couldn't stop."

November 25, 2020 - 12:42pm

Press release:

In recognition of National Gratitude Month, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Insurance Agencies and Tompkins Financial advisors are donating a total of $7,500 to several food pantries, churches and school districts throughout Western New York. The initiative — which is rolling this Thanksgiving week — is called “Banksgiving.”

It is being done in honor of National Gratitude Month.

In Genesee County, the organizations benefitting from the Banksgiving donation are The City Church in Batavia and Hope Center of Le Roy Inc.

“At Tompkins Bank of Castile, supporting the communities we serve is one of our core values and highest priorities. We’ve seen first-hand the pandemic’s impact on individuals and businesses in our own communities,” said John McKenna, president and CEO.

“In honor of our customers and in support of those in our communities, we’ve made additional contributions to support local organizations, which have become a lifeline for many during this difficult time.”

The full list of organizations can be found here.

November 24, 2020 - 3:49pm

On Thursday, Nov. 19, money raised locally from selling homemade face masks along with donations and some matching funds were presented to Jeff Allen, executive director of Crossroads House.

Donations totaling $716 from patients at Licata Chiropractic and Wellness Center and their families and friends, plus some matching funds from chiropractor Sandra A. Licata were given to the nonprofit hospice house in Batavia -- $1,000 all together.

The fundraising effort began after Licata purchased the property at 542 E. Main St. in Batavia and she and business partner Michael Grasso LMT moved there in February.

The chiropractor and licensed massage therapist have both been in practice for 22 years, working together since 2001.

The new location's private parking and a bright new cheery office helped seal the deal.

They made the move in March, then COVID-19 struck.

The Wellness Center staff fixed up the “542” and worked seeing patients on an emergency basis through the end of spring. Unfortunately, massage therapy was closed for three months.

At the same time, Benay Chamberlain was trying to find a way to help others. She was among the vulnerable population and feeling helpless. Her daughter sent a pattern of masks and a video to Anna Fenton, who printed it and showed Chamberlain, who took it from there.  

Material, thread and elastic were hard to come by at first. Through connections and donations the two women came up with enough to make some masks. Initially, Chamberlain made 37 masks and said “that’s enough.” But now they're at 245 and counting!

They decided to ask Licata if she would make them available in her office to help raise money for Crossroads House and Licata happily agreed.  

The team at the wellness center has been able to see patients normally and safely with some new COVID-19 protocols in place and they've been steadily busy since.

Allen of Crossroads House said the donation will go to operational needs. He is thankful to all who donated and says he's truly amazed how people can come up with wonderful fundraising ways to help Crossroads House.  

Chamberlain says she will continue to make masks until they are no longer needed. Masks are on display at the “542.”

Anyone wishing to make donations to Crossroad House can do so at : P.O. Box 403, Batavia, NY 14020.

Licata and staff thank all who helped make that donation last week possible and hope to raise more money to donate by spring.

To inquire about a mask call Licata Chiropractic and Wellness Center at 343-5311 or email:  [email protected]

Top photo: Crossroads House Executive Director of Crossroads House, left, receives $1,000 check from chiropractor Sandra Licata. Her business partner Michael Grasso LMT is in the middle.


November 24, 2020 - 1:50pm
posted by Press Release in Tompkins Insurance Agencies, batavia, business.

Submitted photo and press release:

Tompkins Insurance Agencies is pleased to announce that Kim Nevinger has been recently hired as vice president and commercial insurance service manager for New York. 

She is responsible for the overall direction and management of the commercial lines service department, and as part of the agency’s senior leadership team, supports strategic initiatives across the organization.

Nevinger has more than 30 years of experience in the insurance industry.

She was formerly a vice president with First Niagara Risk Management/Key Insurance & Benefits Services/USI Insurance Services and a principle with Shepard, Maxwell and Hale.

She attended Morrisville State College and has vast experience at multiple managerial levels, as well as the AMS360/ImageRight management and document management systems.

Nevinger earned the prestigious Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation.

November 23, 2020 - 5:49pm

Press release:

A diverse group of agricultural organizations in the state are calling on the 60-hour overtime threshold for farm laborers to remain in place as a New York State Department of Labor wage board determines its fate.

The groups sent a joint letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo outlining why a further reduction in the overtime hourly threshold will be detrimental to the livelihoods of farmers and farmworkers across the state and will expedite automation upon the rural landscape. New York farms already face extreme competitive pressure in the marketplace from farms in other states and countries that can easily undercut New York prices needed to sustain a profitable business. Higher labor costs in New York will only exacerbate that problem.

There is no comparison to other industries in New York state when it comes to farm needs and our labor force. Our food supply is perishable. It depends on weather factors and a changing climate. The competitive commodity markets are dictated by the lowest possible price, prices that farmers must take.

Only those who direct market straight to the consumer off the farm can dictate what they charge and even then, those prices must be competitive with other farm stands and supermarkets. The COVID-19 pandemic also exposed the fragility of our food system as well as its importance to feed fellow New Yorkers during a time of great need. Without those farms, programs like Nourish NY cannot succeed.

The Farm Laborers Wage Board was mandated by the Farm Laborer Fair Labor Practices Act that became law just this year.  The three-member board held public hearings to hear directly from people in agriculture on what a lower overtime threshold would mean. Farmers and their employees overwhelming described the economic challenges they are facing, especially in a pandemic, and how a lower threshold will likely lead to fewer hours available and less income for employees.

Furthermore, the current threshold was agreed upon just last year when all aspects of the farming community and lawmakers came together and negotiated a workable number of 60-hours that struck an appropriate balance to address both the needs of farmworkers and farms.

The letter sent to the Governor reads in part, 

“Please know that if the overtime threshold for New York farm workers is lowered to a level below 60 hours per week, the face of New York agriculture will be irreparably altered and we will no longer remain economically competitive in the crops and commodities that require a labor force. As farmers testified this year before the wage board, varieties of vegetables that require hand labor will continue to disappear, increasingly relying on imports from places that do not have strong worker protections like in New York State. Orchards will be pulled in lieu of field crops that only require machines for planting and harvest. Dairy farms will turn to robotic milking machines at a faster rate than today. Our regional and worldwide competitors—who have no such requirements—will only gain advantage from these changes, not New York farmers.”

The letter concludes by asking that the 60-hour threshold remain the same. Agriculture’s future, particularly the next generation of New York farmers and the communities they support and feed, are dependent upon it.  

November 20, 2020 - 1:05pm

Press release:

Cornell Cooperative Extension – Executive Director Candidate Public Presentations

The public is invited to virtual public presentations of the candidates for the position of Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County.

They will take place on Monday afternoon, Nov. 30:

  • Jocelyn Sikorski -- 4 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Julianna Frisch -- 4:45 to 5:15 p.m.

Please visit genesee.cce.cornell.edu for Zoom links.

Any questions can be directed to Yvonne Peck at (585) 343-3040, ext. 123, or email: [email protected]

November 20, 2020 - 12:56pm
posted by Press Release in business, ESL Federal Credit Union, batavia.

Press release:

ESL Federal Credit Union reaffirms its commitment to Greater Rochester 100 years after its founding on Nov. 20, 1920.

Founded by George Eastman as the Eastman Savings & Loan Association, the institution was initially chartered as a vehicle to encourage thrift among Eastman Kodak employees with the ultimate goal of being able to purchase homes in an effort to build community.

One-hundred years later, as ESL Federal Credit Union, Greater Rochester’s largest financial institution, with more than $8 billion in assets, now employs more than 870 people, and serves more than 374,000 members and 11,400 businesses throughout Monroe and the surrounding counties. There is a Genesee County branch at 4214 Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia.

“Our Purpose at ESL is to help our community thrive and prosper and living up to this Purpose will require us to take significant and impactful actions that help build a healthier, more resilient and equitable Greater Rochester,” said Faheem Masood, president and CEO, ESL Federal Credit Union. “Our Purpose and Mission motivate us to do what is best for our employees, their families, our members and the Greater Rochester community.

"The success of ESL over our century of serving the community by providing financial guidance and solutions, along with a superior customer experience, is all due to the trust and loyalty of our employees and members. The actions we take, whether sharing our financial success with our members through our Owners’ Dividend or reinvesting in the Greater Rochester community, would not be possible without their dedication and support.”

Opening its first community branch off of Kodak property in Irondequoit in 1995, ESL has now grown to a 22-branch network, with the recent announcement of its 23rd branch being built in Victor, and committing to the future construction of branches in traditionally underbanked neighborhoods. As of this date, the exact locations of future branches has yet to be determined, but ESL is looking at neighborhoods within the City of Rochester to better serve residents.

“The physical presence of financial institutions in communities has a direct impact on residents’ access to the financial products, services and resources that can help them thrive,” said Marcelina Nobrega Courtney, senior vice president/director, Retail Banking, ESL Federal Credit Union. “While the services utilized by our members may have changed, we continuously see an increase in traffic in our branches.

"Because of this we believe that we can best serve communities and neighborhoods when our branches and people can work directly with residents to help them live a financially healthy life.”

In addition to evolving its core banking products and services over the years, ESL has significantly increased its level of reinvesting in the community through grants to nonprofits. In 2019, ESL reinvested more than $16 million in grants. The institution expects reinvestments in 2020 to be approximately $20 million, with plans to increase its level of giving accordingly as the institution continues to grow.

“The reinvestments ESL makes through its philanthropic efforts focuses on specific areas that can help build a healthier, more resilient and equitable Greater Rochester,” said Ajamu Kitwana, vice president/director, Community Impact, ESL Federal Credit Union. “By focusing on employment, education, affordable housing and connected neighborhoods, we can make significant impact by investing in the excellent community resources already in place.

"We hope to inspire collaborative work that has a dedicated focus towards achieving common goals. It will take a collective effort to build Greater Rochester into the community we know it can be.”

ESL built its three community building objectives based on where reinvested dollars could have the most positive impact. These objectives are:

  • Expanding Individual Opportunity: supporting programs and efforts to expand professional and education opportunity for all residents of Greater Rochester
  • Building Strong Neighborhoods: investing in neighborhoods across Greater Rochester to ensure they are prosperous, well-connected and inclusive
  • Strengthening Organizations and Systems: supporting organizations and initiatives by investing in the necessary yet less visible systems, capacities and policies that ensure they are successful

Today, ESL Federal Credit Union serves as a full-service financial institution to more than 374,000 members, employs more than 870 people in the Greater Rochester area and holds more than $8 billion in assets.

Since 1996, ESL has paid out 25 consecutive Owners’ Dividends to its members totaling more than $170 million. The company has appeared on the Great Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces list for 10 years since 2010.

ESL Federal Credit Union is headquartered at 225 Chestnut St., in Rochester, and can be found online at www.esl.org

November 19, 2020 - 3:19pm
posted by Press Release in business, ILGR, disabilities.

Submitted photo and press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) welcomes Lucie Griffis (inset photo right) to its staff to be an Independent Living Outreach Specialist in their NYConnects program.

NYConnects is a statewide initiative, led locally by ILGR, offering assistance in finding long-term supports so people can live independently.

Griffis will be assisting older adults and individuals with disabilities, and their families, in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, to access these resources including, securing public benefits and obtaining personal care services, to enable them to remain living independently in the communities of their choice. 

Among her prior positions, Griffis was a Job Coach/Direct Support Assistant in the Pathway to Employment Program of the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities; and was an Adolescent Vocational Exploration Intern at the Genesee County Job Development and Career Center in Batavia.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Human Services from the State University of New York Empire State College, Class of 2018; and an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York Genesee Community College, Class of 1996.

“I’m glad to be joining the Independent Living of the Genesee Region team. I look forward to assisting those in need in the Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming County areas,” says Griffis.

ILGR is delighted that Griffis is bringing her passion and experience in helping people with disabilities to serve the GOW region in her new capacity.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

November 16, 2020 - 12:10pm
posted by Press Release in business, coronavirus, business planning.

Press release:

Business Planning during the Covid Crisis” will be the subject of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s latest business workshop on Dec. 3.

“Never has been business planning more important or more challenging than during this pandemic,” said Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.  “This workshop is designed to help our local businesses plan and navigate through this difficult future.”

Richard Petitte, a Certified Business Advisor for the SUNY Brockport Small Business Development Center, will discuss taking a look at how your business can realize success in these uncertain times.

He will be concentrating on developing your business ideas through the business plan process and evaluating the feasibility of those ideas before investing time and money in them.    

The workshop will be held via Zoom and is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. and should last approximately one hour.

This event is free for Chamber and Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District members. There is a $10 charge for non-members. To register, contact Kelly Bermingham at the Chamber by phone at (585) 343-7440 or by email at [email protected]

November 16, 2020 - 11:50am

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District Board of Directors regretfully announces cancellation of Christmas in the City and the Holiday Parade.

Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, the need for social distancing, and our concern for the health of the community, vendors, volunteers and attendees, we have decided to cancel this event for 2020. 

We encourage our community to continue to shop small and support our small businesses that need us now more than ever.  

For more information on B.I.D. and Downtown events please visit our website at www.downtownbataviany.com.

November 14, 2020 - 7:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Great Kutz, batavia, business.


When Natalie Cervone's boyfriend first proposed that she become the owner and operator of her own hair salon, Great Kutz in Valu Plaza, she resisted the idea.

Her boyfriend, Ryan Pyatt, is a local entrepreneur -- a real estate agent and owner of WNY Powerwash. He's always looking for business opportunities. He saw that Great Kutz was for sale and suggested Cervone seize the day and go into business for herself.

The more she thought about it, though, the more it made sense. She could walk into an established business doing what she already knew how to do.

"I’ve been in small salons the past eight years," Cervone said. "This is the biggest place I’ve been in and I’m loving it so far"

Great Kutz was opened in 2009 by Byron and Chris Ariyaratnam to primarily provide haircuts and stylings to a walk-in clientele. Cervone said the shop will continue to serve those who prefer walk-ins to appointments but she is looking to focus more on appointments, more coloring, and more specialized service.  

"We want the girls building up their clientele because they’re all very talented," Cervone said.

Currently, there are six stylists working at Great Kutz with a seventh joining the crew in December.

Great Kutz is located at 4152 W. Main St. Phone is (585) 201-7070. 

November 13, 2020 - 12:11pm

Press release:

Genesee Community College's BEST Center (Business Employee Skills Training) has been awarded the New York College Apprenticeship Network (NYCAN) grant. The award is perfectly timed with the celebration of the U.S. Department of Labor's sixth annual National Apprenticeship Week which runs November 8 to 14, 2020.

The NYCAN grant which totals $15,000 is a result of a partnership between The State University of New York (SUNY) and the New York State Department of Labor and is designed to focus on advanced manufacturing.

"As the BEST Center's primary focus is employee development and skills training, we are highly attuned to the workforce needs of our communities," said Director of the BEST Center John McGowan, Ph.D. "The programs we offer are specifically designed to grow highly skilled and employable personnel to ensure the economic health of our region."

Genesee Community College's BEST Center has begun to engage small, medium, and large employers to secure paid apprenticeships in high demand, competitive wage occupations throughout Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties, and -- through online capabilities -- far beyond!

"The NYCAN grant allows us to support employers with Registered Apprenticeship programs, as well as assist current and future Registered Apprentices," McGowan said.

New York State has provided $9 million of funding for SUNY community colleges, to create one of the largest statewide public/private partnership apprenticeship programs in the country.

At Genesee Community College, the BEST Center's programs house the expertise and support that identify workforce needs, determine skills gaps, and engage employer sponsors to expand apprenticeships throughout the Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties, and far beyond.

The SUNY Apprenticeship Program will assist in developing 2,000 pre-apprentices and Registered Apprentices over four to six-years in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, information technology/cybersecurity/ artificial intelligence and more.

November 12, 2020 - 4:47pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Oakfield --- Families will have the opportunity to visit a local dairy farm without ever leaving the couch. Genesee County’s Oakfield Corners Dairy is the next stop on American Dairy Association North East’s “Fun on the Farm” series, which can be seen on Facebook at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14.

This week, dairy farm team members Adam Dresser and Jamie Black will discuss how Oakfield Corners uses genetics when breeding their cows, leading to healthy animals who produce a lot of high-quality milk.

“We’re excited for the opportunity for families to visit our farm virtually and learn about the great work farmers do every day,” Dresser said. “Our session focuses on the work we do with genetics and breeding, which is a great way to bring science class to life.”

This is the second season for the popular “Fun on the Farm” series, which launched in March. More than a dozen dairy farms throughout New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland have hosted these virtual tours, with topics ranging from sustainabilitypractices and technology on the farm to animal care, among others. 

Past New York dairy farms featured have included Mapleview Dairy in Madrid, Barbland Dairy in Fabius and Ivy Lakes Dairy in Stanley.

November 9, 2020 - 2:22pm

Photo: Aaron Leone, right, practices his welding skills on the Miller LiveArc machine, as welding instructor Andrew Geyer, guides him.

Submitted photo and press release:

When Graham Corporation and the Genesee County Economic Development Center approached the executive principal of the Genesee Valley BOCES Batavia Campus about donating a welding simulator, Jon Sanfratello knew that this was a huge bonus for the Metal Trades Program.

“When businesses invest in our programs, our students are the true benefactors," Sanfratello said. "This welding simulator, that Graham Corporation has so generously donated,will provide our students with an additional training tool to test their skills.

"One of our top priorities here at GV BOCES is the integration of both applied and practical skills into curriculumso our students are college and career-ready. This training tool is another means of achieving our goal. We are so very appreciative of Graham’s investment in our program and students.”

At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, Graham Corp. provided them a Miller LiveArc Welding System. It provides a simulation scenario for a student to practice welds in a live-arc training mode.

Andrew Geyer is the welding instructor at the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center.

“The Miller LiveArc has cameras and infrared sensors that will read students’ welds and grade them accordingly based upon the parameters that are set,” Geyer said. “It is our hope that representatives from Graham can spend some time with us and program the machine with industry-based welds, so students can get a better understanding of what is expected in industry.” 

Geyer and Metal Trades students recently met with Graham Corp. representatives and Chris Suozzi, GCEDC vice president of Business & Workforce Development, via Zoom. During this online meeting, students asked many questions about employment opportunities at Graham Corporation.

Graham Corp. is well known for being a major employer in the region as well as a big supporter of schools especially, Genesee Valley BOCES. Graham has gifted other materials used in the Metal Trades Program at the GV BOCES Batavia Campus, too.

“The Welding Program at the Batavia CTE Center is very important to Graham Corporation and to our community," said Alan Smith, general manager of Graham Corp. "As Graham continues to grow, access to skilled welders is vital. Welders make up approximately 50 percent of Graham's skilled workforce.

"Graham has a long history of supporting the welding program at the Batavia CTE Center with donations of plate steel and weld wire. Graham's latest donation of the weld simulator will enable students to learn proper welding techniques by providing immediate feedback while saving the expensive cost of weld wire.”

Graham Corporation also has a track record of hiring welding students from the Batavia CTE Center and from other BOCES around New York State. Don Fonda, superintendent at Graham Corp., says this partnership goes back decades.

“We have close to 75 employees who went to a BOCES program, and add in some recent new hires, the total is over 80 employees," Fonda said. "We have 53 employees who came to Graham from the Batavia GV BOCES program.

“From what I could find out the Graham/Batavia GV BOCES connection goes back to the 1970s when GV BOCES was next to the industrial center. Bob Torrey was one of the first co-op students at Graham. He started at Graham working three days and Saturdays in January of 1974 while he was in school. He was hired full time in June 1974, 46 years ago.”

Suozzi says partnerships like this benefit the community.

"The Genesee County Economic Development Center applauds Graham Corporation for investing in equipment and experiences that will benefit every 11th- and 12th-grade student learning in GV BOCES' welding lab," Suozzi said. "This partnership strengthens the skills of our students for the great careers at Graham Corporation.”

November 9, 2020 - 1:07pm

Press release:

The successful GLOW With Your Hands career exploration project hit a major milestone Nov. 2 with the launch of a new virtual platform to benefit all students in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming County (GLOW) Region.

A year after engaging with more than 800 students in hands-on experiences, GLOW With Your Hands Virtual (glowwithyourhandsvirtual.com) expands the experience with innovative, on-demand exploration of 34 careers across four growing sections of the regional economy.

“After seeing the direct impact GLOW With Your Hands produced in a single-day event in 2019, we are excited to bring careers in agriculture, food processing, advanced manufacturing and skilled trades directly to even more students,” said Karyn Winters, director of the Genesee County BEA, who led the project with Angela Grouse, director of Education to Employment Initiatives at the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Students who swung a hammer, laid a concrete walkway, practiced welding and dozens of other activities at GLOW With Your Hands 2019 can now have an even deeper connection to explore these careers,” Grouse said. “GLOW With Your Hands Virtual takes those experiences into the production facilities, job sites and farms, with meaningful results.”

Schools received early access to the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website a week ago. The full website encourages the public, students, parents and educators to immerse themselves in the platform.

Careers highlighted include assembly and fabrication, welding, concrete and masonry, project manager, food packaging, veterinary technician, animal nutritionist, and drivers with commercial driver's licenses (CDL).

“Each career page includes an extensive ‘day in the life’ profile of professionals at great companies in the GLOW region, and an outline of the general duties, earnings and educational requirements,” Grouse said.

“Most importantly, students are shown a pathway of classes, clubs, volunteer opportunities and local training programs that they can pursue during middle and high school and beyond with training programs and post-secondary opportunities.”

In addition to the Genesee County BEA and Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce, volunteers from all participated in generating career information, filming and editing of videos with companies across all four counties, and preparing the website.

“We are already planning how to grow GLOW With Your Hands for the future,” Winters said. “In addition to continuing to expand the Virtual platform, all of our organizations are ready to assist our students, educators and businesses.”

GLOW With Your Hands Virtual was made possible by generous 2020 sponsors, led by Platinum Sponsor Genesee Construction; Gold Sponsors Clark Patterson Lee, O-AT-KA Milk Products, National Grid and Livingston Associates; Silver Sponsor USG Oakfield; Bronze Sponsors Batavia Rotary, Cargill, CY Farms, Koike Aronson, Pfisterer Lapp, Torrey Farms and the Workforce Development Institute; and General Sponsors Ed Hulme General Contracting and Stein Farms.

“The support that our volunteers, businesses, schools and sponsors all brought to our inaugural event continued throughout the past year and throughout the development of the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual project under Karyn and Angela’s leadership,” said Jay Lazarony and Chris Suozzi, GLOW With Your Hands cochairs, in a statement.

“The entire GLOW With Your Hands team invites you to explore glowwithyourhandsvirtual.com, and we look forward to seeing everyone in person very soon for the next hands-on event.”

Here are a few links to explore:

November 8, 2020 - 1:44pm

Photo: Paul Marchese, founder and president of Marchese Computers, has written his first book, “Business Owner’s Guide to Cyber Security." 

A Batavia businessman with a passion for computers since he was in high school has written his first book.

Paul Marchese, founder and president of Marchese Computers on Ellicott Street, is author of the recently released “Business Owners Guide to Cyber Security.” His goal is to keep clients safe from the increasing and sophisticated hackers of today.

Marchese was at a peer-training seminar about a year ago where they talked about what things they could do in their industry to help clients.

“Someone said they had written a book, and that got me thinking,” Marchese said. “I decided to share my years of knowledge and expertise to help people understand what cybersecurity is and how to protect themselves from the cyber bad guys in this world.”

He said today’s hackers are not the 14-year-olds in the basement any more.

“I consider them worse than the Chicago mob,” Marchese said. “Hackers are getting more intelligent every day.”

Marchese was born and raised in Batavia. His favorite subjects were always math and science. While a senior at Batavia High School, he and several friends spent a good part of the year developing a program to compile information and rank students. The school was paying a full-time individual $30,000 a year to do that, he said. The program he and his friends developed took half a day to enter the data and minutes to print out the rankings.

“At that time, the technology in our high school was a teletype machine connected to Wayne/Fingerlakes BOCES,” Marchese said.

In his senior year, he was pulled out of class to accompany school personnel to the Apple store in Rochester to help them choose what computer program to purchase. He also taught computers to students in the Excel Program during study hall. 

Marchese graduated from Batavia High School in 1982 and entered the University of Rochester to study Chemical Engineering. Half way through, he switched majors, getting a degree in the college’s first Computer Science program. 

Marchese had started his company in 1981 at age 17 and ran it part time while he finished school and college.

“I soon realized it was in my best interest to do this full time,” he said. “I’m blessed I got into it at the beginning stage. I’ve been in the business longer than anyone else in the area.”

Marchese Computers is now one of the oldest full-service computer stores in Western New York, having grown to seven employees. In the late 1990s, early 2000s, Marchese Computers offered E-Z Net dial-up to almost 30,000 subscribers, making it the largest such provider in Western New York.

He helped pioneer the current voice-over IP (Internet Protocol) system, and did beta testing with Multi Tech. Today, Marchese Computers offers a suite of products, such as telecommunication, internet, phone systems and installation of New York State authorized alarm systems, video protection systems and fire protection alarms.

“My goal as a company is to remove the burden of IT (Information Technology) from a business person’s plate so they can concentrate on growing their business and better serving their customers. That is what has driven me for 39 years. I’m always looking for better technology that better serves our clients.”

Writing his book is another step toward that goal.

His book addresses why business owners can’t ignore cybercrime and why a particular business may be the target of a cybercriminal. He explains how a cybercriminal can attack one’s network without the business owner or employee even clicking on a site. Then he explains what to do to protect a business’s network and how to prevent identity theft. 

Another chapter discusses staying secure while working from home, which many people have been forced to do during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I tried to make the book as well-rounded as possible,” Marchese said. 

Copies are available at his store at 200 Ellicott St. or on his website at www.mcpinc.com

“What makes me happy with my choice of career is I’m in an industry which changes every day,” Marchese said. “There’s not a day goes by that I don’t learn something.”

Photo by Virginia Kropf.

November 6, 2020 - 5:29pm

Don’t go grouping Genesee County with five other rural counties outside of the heavy-populated hubs of Erie and Niagara when it comes to private-sector job losses over the past five years.

That’s one of the themes emanating from a Nov. 4 story in Buffalo Business First that reveals the findings of a federal report, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, pertaining to the Western New York business climate prior to the economic shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the BBF article, Genesee County “is an exception to the generally gloomy news about the six outlying counties” – the others being Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Orleans and Wyoming.

Genesee County, per the QCEW, created an additional 718 private-sector jobs between 2015 and March 2020, a period that culminated before the adverse effects of COVID-19 took hold. That represents a 4.4-percent increase.

Citing the BBF story, “The six outlying counties (including Genesee) collectively lost 4.1 percent of their jobs during the 2015-20 span, a period in which the national economy was prospering. A total of 4,303 private-sector positions vanished” from the six counties.

The number jumps to a 5.7-percent decline in employment for those other five counties when removing Genesee’s performance.

Steve Hyde, president and chief executive officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, contacted today said he’s not surprised by the report’s favorable news.

“In Genesee County, the continued collaboration among the various levels of government with our strong private sector is resulting in economic growth through capital investment and jobs,” he said. “The results shared since 2015 are visible at Genesee County’s eight shovel-ready business parks and the sustained growth of many Genesee County companies.”

Hyde contributed the growth to investments made by the county’s major employers as well as smaller businesses that have expanded their operations.

Some of those major employers include HP Hood, O-At-Ka Milk Products, Liberty Pumps, Wright Beverage and Tompkins Bank/Insurance.

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said the QCEW report validates that Genesee County “is indeed a great place to work and live.”

“We are fortunate to have excellent companies in our backyard that are growing and investing right here in Genesee County,” Landers said today. “The combined efforts of the GCEDC, Batavia Development Corporation, Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District, and Chamber of Commerce have helped to attract and retain many of these private-sector jobs, and have us positioned for continued growth for years to come.”

The BBF story called Genesee County “the one exception” to a downturn in job growth in the rural counties when compared to increases in the number of private-sector businesses in Erie and Niagara counties, per the QCEW study.

“A total of 4,303 private-sector positions vanished from Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties … while at the same time Erie and Niagara counties were adding 11,845 private-sector jobs, representing an increase of 2.7 percent,” according to the BBF article.

The story also pointed out that Orleans and Wyoming counties "essentially broke even" during the five-year span.

November 2, 2020 - 2:15pm
posted by Press Release in Scarecrow Contest, BID, business.

Submitted images and press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District hosted its third annual Scarecrow Contest for Downtown Batavia. As a creative way to add some more fall flavor to Downtown decorating, the BID invited any business, organization or family to enter the contest.

For $20 each business was provided basic supplies of straw, a post and zip ties along with their pole assignment. Each business could then get creative in creating their scarecrow. All voting for favorite scarecrow ended Friday, Oct. 30th. 

  • First-place Winner for 2020 is Eli Fish Brewing Company
  • Second-place Winner is Islands Hawaiian Grill
  • Third-place Winner is The Moskal Family

First-place winner receives $100 cash prize, second-place winner $75, and third-place winner gets $50.

For more information on B.I.D. and Downtown events please visit our website at www.downtownbataviany.com.

October 30, 2020 - 12:56pm

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2021 at its board meeting on Oct. 29. The budget anticipates cash outflows of approximately $2.1 million. 

“The mission of the GGLDC is to foster local economic development by making real estate development investments that prepare sites in Genesee County for new corporate tenants,” said Don Cunningham, chairman of the GGLDC. “The GGLDC also provides strategic investment funding to support the GCEDC’s ongoing economic development and workforce development programs.”

The anticipated 2021 expenditures of the GGLDC include operations and maintenance for the MedTech Centre building, site/corporate park maintenance, an economic development program support grant to the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), continuing to support a dedicated workforce development consultant, and professional services.  

Other significant items include an $820,000 pass through grant from the New York State Department of Transportation that furthers the ability of the tenants of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (Ag Park) to access rail, $407,000 in debt service payments supporting development at the MedTech Centre campus, as well as $93,000 in expenses related to the GGLDC’s commitment to expanding utility capacities at the Buffalo East Technology Park for current and potential future tenants. 

A major source of revenue is rent of $696,000 from the MedTech Centre facility. Additional cash receipts will include $320,000 in principal and interest payments from several companies repaying loans made in previous years.

“The GGLDC will continue to actively market our shovel-ready parks in collaboration with the Genesee County Economic Development Center in 2021,” Cunningham said. “We have been working on a few projects that we anticipate will come to fruition by the end of 2021.”

October 28, 2020 - 11:52am
posted by Press Release in graham corporation, business.

Press release:

Graham Corporation (NYSE: GHM), a global business that designs, manufactures and sells critical equipment for the oil refining, petrochemical and defense industries, today reported financial results for its second quarter of fiscal 2020-21, which ended Sept. 30. Graham’s current fiscal year ends March 31.

  • Second quarter sales of $28 million yielded $0.27 earnings per share
  • Orders were $35.0 million in the quarter; Backlog improved sequentially to $114.9 million;
  • Revenue guidance increased to $93 million to $97 million and gross margin expectation improved to 21 percent to 23 percent.

James R. Lines, Graham’s president and chief executive officer, said, “Results in the second quarter benefited from strong defense industry sales, including a materials only order.  We also had the benefit of improved efficiencies in both our supply chain and our production facilities which enabled us to accelerate conversion of both large and short cycle orders in the quarter. As a result, higher volume drove operating leverage which is inherent in our business model.

“We had strong orders in the quarter of $35 million. This order level was driven by our strategy to further our geographic market reach and diversify our end markets, which includes increasing our participation in the defense industry. We remain confident in our ability to achieve the long-term goal of significantly growing our business organically, as well as continuing to consider acquisition opportunities.”

Click here to view the entire release, including financial statements.
Click here to view the teleconference slides.

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