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Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 10:48 am

Tompkins/Castile CEO Fulmer to retire, McKenna promoted to top leadership post

post by Howard B. Owens in bank of castile, business, Tompkins Financial
Jim Fulmer John McKenna

Press release:

After 26 years as president and CEO of Tompkins Bank of Castile, James W. Fulmer is retiring from those roles at the end of this year, but will remain as chairman of the bank’s Board of Directors, said Stephen S. Romaine, president and CEO of Tompkins Financial Corporation, the bank’s parent company.

“Jim has been instrumental in Tompkins Bank of Castile’s growth and success for the last quarter century, growing the bank from five locations with assets of $85 million in two counties, to an influential financial services organization with 17 offices in five counties and $1.2 billion in assets,” Romaine said. 

In addition to remaining as chairman of Tompkins Bank of Castile’s Board of Directors, Fulmer will retain several other corporate roles, including vice chairman of the Tompkins Financial Board of Directors, chairman of the board of Tompkins Insurance Agencies, and member of the boards of Tompkins Financial Advisors, Tompkins Mahopac Bank and Tompkins VIST Bank, all affiliates of Tompkins Financial Corp. 

“My position with Tompkins Bank of Castile has been extremely fulfilling because of the team of employees who are dedicated to providing top quality financial services and serving our Western New York communities,” Fulmer said. “Any success we have accomplished is the result of their combined efforts and the expertise of so many talented coworkers.

“My continued involvement at a strategic level will allow me to assist further growth of our affiliates, but also to enjoy some of the benefits of retirement,” he added. 

Fulmer is active in a variety of professional organizations, including the board of directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and was recently appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Community Depository Advisory Council. He actively serves as a member of the board of directors of Erie and Niagara Insurance Association of Williamsville, Cherry Valley Insurance Agencies of Williamsville, the United Memorial Medical Center of Batavia, and is vice chairman of WXXI Public Broadcasting Council of Rochester. 

He and his wife, Marjorie, live in Le Roy. They have three grown children. 

John McKenna Named New President & CEO

The company Board of Directors has named John M. McKenna president and CEO to succeed Fulmer. McKenna has been a senior vice president at Tompkins Bank of Castile for five years, concentrating in commercial lending.

“John has the depth of knowledge of banking, our company’s culture and the Western New York community to continue the bank’s success,” Fulmer said. 

McKenna brought more than 20 years of banking experience to Tompkins Bank of Castile when he joined the organization in 2009. 

A Rochester native, McKenna earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Rochester in 1988 and his M.B.A. in finance and marketing from the William E. Simon School of Business Administration in 1992. 

He resides in Brighton with his wife, Martha, and their four children. Active in the community, he is a board member of the Bishop's Stewardship Council for the Diocese of Rochester, Medical Motor Service of Rochester and Monroe Community Hospital Foundation, and treasurer of Al Sigl Community of Agencies.

Tompkins Bank of Castile is headquartered in Batavia, where McKenna will have his office.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 6:57 pm

New home of Reed Eye built with historic preservation and customer care in mind

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Reed Eye Associations

In the past, when Dr. Ronald Reed has expanded his practice, he's erected gleaming new buildings from the ground up.

But not in Batavia.

Reed Eye Associates has opened its sixth location and Reed selected a location with character and ambiance and a bit of history.

The brick building at 39 Washington Ave., across from Austin Park, was most recently the City Schools administration building, but when originally built in 1903 by Edward Dellinger, it was an elementary school.

Batavia's most prominent architectural firm of the time, Henry Homelius and Son, designed the building.

In remodeling the interior, Reed has kept to an art deco theme with a touch of modernism in keeping with the character of the building.

"I saw the building listed online and went to the site and looked at the building and liked it," Reed said. "I called Tony Mancuso, who had the listing, and he gave me a tour. I thought, 'this building needs a lot of work, but it has some great bones.' "

Refurbishing the building also uncovered a little history. One brickmason left behind a note found in the stairwell that said the best men laid the bricks. Another worker in 1939 put a note in a bottle, which was found in a wall, that said "if you're reading this note, it means by now we're all in hell."  

Then there was letter on YMCA letterhead and postmarked 1913, address to a young Myron Fincher. The apparently mimeographed letter speaks of a young man worthy of attention who exchanged a correspondence with Frank Crane, a Presbyterian minister and newspaper columnist. The letter references the enclosed newspaper column, but the column was not in the envelop.

Fincher was born in 1898 in Corfu and worked on the family farm. His fondness for animals brought him to Cornell University. He became an internationally prominent veterinarian. Early in his career he received the Borden Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association. By the 1960s, he was working overseas in places such as Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Greece, Nigeria and Italy.

Reed said it was thrilling for these little bits of history to be found in his old building.

Reed's company purchased the property from the school district in 2012 for $500,000 and its 13,452-square-foot building. The renovations cost more than $1.5 million and helped put the property back on the tax roles. Reed Eye received $140,861 in tax incentives through Genesee County Economic Development Center for the project.

The expansion of the practice, which was founded in Bushnell's Basin (Pittsford) in 1978 has come, Reed said, as the practice attracted more and more patients. Each time an office would grow beyond its capacity, rather than expand that location, Reed looked at his patient list and figured out where he had a concentration of patients who were driving some distance to get to his office.

First, Reed Eye expanded to Greece, then Irondequoit, then Newark followed by Sodus.

Expansion has been driven, Reed said, by his belief that doctors should focus on their patients.

No long ago, he said he was asked to speak to a group about the secret of his success. He declined, he said, because "there is no secret."

"My word of advise is 'take good care of your patients and your patients will take care of you,' " Reed said. "If that's the focus of your practice, the patients will build your practice. If you don't, you won't have a practice."

With more and more patients from Genesee County, particularly because of a partnership with Dr. Bill Lapple in Le Roy, Batavia seemed to be the natural choice for a sixth office complex.

Reed said there were simply no suitable sites for the office, which was one reason he considered the old school administration building.

The fact that it's large, with plenty of parking (and room for more), centrally located in the city and across the street from a park, where all advantages.

"The park helps give it a nice bucolic feel," Reed said.

In the redesign, as much of the old building was preserved as possible -- the arches, the worn stairway trampled by thousands of students over the years, and the old woodwork. There's even an old desk from the library that is being restored and will be a centerpiece of the entry hallway.

"I've had an interest for some time in historic preservation," Reed said. "We have a 100 year old house in East Rochester that we've been restoring. This seemed like the right thing to do."

The focus on historic preservation shouldn't imply that the practice isn't state of the art. Reed's optometrists, opthamologists and opticians (and even a facial plastic surgeon) have all new equipment to work with.

Read also believes in supporting the communities he does business in. He hires locally as much as possible, he said. Four key employees already with the Batavia office are longtime Batavia or Le Roy residents.

"When a patient walks in the door, they should recognize the people who work there as members of their community," Reed said. "I want to support the town because if the town supports me, it has to be mutual. We want to keep the dollars local."

There will be a ribbon-cutting and open house for Reed Eye Associations at 2 p.m., Friday.

Optomistrist Kimberly Rosati with patient Tanner Richardson, who was in the clinic Wednesday learning how to put in his new contact lenses (picture below).

 
Friday, July 25, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Retired collision shop owner enjoying life of rust and restoration

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Old World Collision

Dick McClurg says "they don't call me the dreamer for nothing."

"The Dreamer." That's what's stenciled on his 1932 Ford hot rod roadster. His dream car.

"I wanted one all my life. I waited 50 years for that one."

McClurg has about a dozen classic cars scattered around his shop location, Old World Collision on West Main Street Road, Batavia, that many of us would consider dream cars -- a Mustang, Corvette, BelAir, Thunderbird, Charger,  '41 Mercury, Cadillac El Dorado, and old coupes buried under a a couple of dozen rusted bicycles.

Many in some state of restoration; some in permanent disrepair and destined for Ed Arnold's.

"Rust is my life," he said.

Now that McClurg is retired, he has more time to work on his own projects (he emphasized, he's not looking for new business), hence the completion of the roadster.

He's just about finished the restoration on his shop car, a 1949 Chevy panel truck. It hasn't been on the road for 31 of the 36 years he's owned it.

What was wrong with it?

"Everything," he answered. "Body off the frame, every nut and bolt. It's probably one of the most rotten pieces I've never tackled."

The old delivery wagon sat out front of his shop for awhile this morning, gleaming in the July sun.

"I've probably had plenty of opportunities to sell it, but if the day ever came where I could handle getting it on the road, then I'd have to go buy another one, so I'm glad I didn't."

My stop in McClurg's shop this morning -- a stop I've intended for a long time -- was prompted by a 1957 Caddy. 

At the accident near Wortyndyke today, I was reminded of a classic Caddy I'd seen -- and a firefighter had seen -- parked over on Pearl Street, at LaWall's Collision.

The shop owner there told me, yeah, it had been parked out front, a real traffic stopper while it was there, but after some rear end repairs, it had gone back to Old World.

McClurg said the baby blue Caddy is a project for one of his few remaining customers.

Another dream car about to become reality.

Friday, July 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm

New documentary highlights immigration policy that harms local dairy farmers

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, immigration

Via Orleans Hub, a documentary on the difficulty WNY dairy farmers face because of current immigration policy.

Fruit and vegetable farms have access to legal foreign workers through the H2A program, but the federal government hasn’t made that possible for dairies because the work isn’t considered seasonal. Dairies haven’t had much success finding local Americans to work the night shifts.

Many dairies say they have been forced to hire Mexicans who don’t have proper documents. They are hard-working and dedicated, but they are also vulnerable to sudden removal by immigration officers. Germano interviews one dairy farmer who will soon have long-term milking employees deported.

“I am tired of the inaction in Washington,” a WNY dairy farmer tells Germano. “We’re trying to run a business. We’re the ones caught in the crosshairs between the government that makes the laws and the other agency that has to enforce the laws.” 

Friday, July 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Watson Guitars in Le Roy offering handmade quality for local musicians

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Watson Guitars

Guitarists tend to have dream guitars -- a Gibson Les Paul, a Fender Stratocaster, a Guild Starfire, a Martin D-28 ... all expensive guitars.

And these days, often machine made.

What if there was a guitar available locally that was handmade and affordable?

That's the market Dave Watson is going after with Watson Guitars.

Watson has been making custom guitars for more than 20 years and started selling his handcrafted creations in 2009.

This week, he finally was able to open a storefront where he can sell guitars he's finished or take orders for custom guitars (soon, he'll have a new Web site that will allow customers to order custom guitars).

"A lot of your handmade guitars are three, four, five thousand dollar instruments, which, you know, I've made a few that are up in that price range, but for the most part, I try to keep my basic models affordable," Watson said. "My basic models start at $399. If you can find a better guitar for $399, buy it."

Once a professional musician, Watson found that it was hard to find bass guitars really suitable to his size. Bass players tend to be tall and lanky. Watson's under six feet tall, so he wasn't entirely comfortable with an off-the-shelf model.

He decided to build his own bass.

He found he really liked working with wood.

"It's in my blood, just as much as playing," Watson said.

After suffering some hearing loss, Watson had to step off the stage and away from bands, but he couldn't stop making guitars.

He figures he's made and sold hundreds of guitars.

Each one handmade, unique.

"I always put it this way: It's the imperfections that make a guitar perfect," Watson said.

He thinks something has been lost for the discriminating guitar player with the market flooded by cookie-cutter guitars, sliced and sanded to identical specifications by computer-controlled machines.

"There isn't a personal touch," Watson said. "As far as I'm concerned, there isn't a guitar made today that will ever be as valuable as a '59 Les Paul, because someone made that guitar with their own two hands."

The typical Watson guitar has his signature look -- both the headstock and bottom of the guitar are cut out with a kind of W shape.

Watson's target market is the local musician -- the player with an ear tuned enough to recognize a quality sound, fingers sensitive enough to pick up the response of quality material and an eye for beauty, but who can't afford to lay down thousands on a guitar.

"There's a big difference between the sound of a machine-made and a handmade guitar," Watson said.

Watson's shop is at 57 Mill St., Le Roy, and he had to get a zoning code variance to open the front up as a retail shop, but with that done and the space spiffed up, he's ready to meet with players who either want to select something hanging from his walls or sit down and design the guitar of their dreams.

"As long as it's not a copy of something, we try to build their design the way they've always wanted it," Watson said.

Customization can include airbrush designs by a local artist and fiber-lighted top dots on the fretboard.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Pasquale's already a big hit with Batavians

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Pasquale's, restaurants

The New York Times writer Eliane Sciolino says, "the perfect bistro is a place where the dishes are traditional, the ingredients seasonal, the service attentive, the price acceptable and my relationship with the chef close enough that I can visit the kitchen when the meal is over."

Welcome to Pasquale's.

Mama Fasano promised us an intimate eatery filled with the treasures of family and the recipes of generations served in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

She's kept her promise.

The restaurant, at 341 Ellicott St., opened two months ago -- lunchtime only -- and is packed every afternoon.

It's the perfect kind of small lunch place for Batavia -- Italian classics such as ravioli, chicken cacciatore, tripe soup, pasta fazool, prepared and served by a longtime, local family, seated among your friends and neighbors (if you know anybody in Batavia at all, you'll run into people you know at Pasquale's).

The menu features a regular rotation of daily specials, plus a select few daily standards (for example, pasta and meatballs, of course, or beans and greens). Everything is fresh and homemade and as delicious as it looks. For your sweet tooth, try the cheesecake, which is thin and scrumptious, and comes with a dollop of real whipped cream on the side.

Batavia is blessed with a bounty of excellent, locally owned restaurants. Pasquale's is another great addition.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:47 am

UMMC and Rochester General announce finalized alliance agreement

post by Howard B. Owens in business, UMMC

Press release:

Definitive agreements have been finalized by Rochester Regional Health System (RRHS) for previously announced alliances with two hospitals in the greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region. United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) in Batavia, Genesee County, and Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic (CSHC) in Ontario County are both expected to join RRHS by the end of 2014.

The formal binding agreement with each hospital, which lays out the terms and conditions for the hospitals becoming a part of Rochester Regional Health System, was developed by the leadership of Rochester General Health System (RGHS) prior to joining with Unity Health System to form RRHS and the leadership of each hospital. The agreements were unanimously approved by the boards of RGHS, CHSC and UMMC late last month, and then assigned and accepted by the newly formed Rochester Regional Health System at its inaugural board meeting in July.

RRHS was officially formed on July 1 as a union of Rochester General and Unity health systems, with a mission to provide a 14-county region with seamless, highly coordinated care. By joining Rochester Regional Health System, the two hospitals will ensure that the patients in their communities will have the same high quality care they are accustomed to as well as improved access to an integrated network of nationally recognized specialty services when required. 

“As health care reform continues to cause the most sweeping changes to the hospital industry in more than a century, rural hospitals in particular are struggling throughout the U.S.,” said Mark Clement, co-CEO of Rochester Regional Health System, “Through these alliances, the forward-thinking leaders of United Memorial and Clifton Springs will enable the residents of Genesee and Ontario counties to continue to have access to and receive world-class care, right at home in their communities.”

Warren Hern, former CEO of Unity Health System and now co-CEO of the new system agreed, noting that this growing regional footprint was among the many factors that caused the Unity Board to decide nearly 18 months ago to join forces with Rochester General.

For a number of years Rochester General Health System had maintained clinical collaborations in key service lines with United Memorial and CSHC as well as other area hospitals, to help those providers better meet their communities’ needs.

“This is the logical progression of a longstanding relationship between United Memorial and Rochester General, which has enhanced our hospital services and benefited our community,” said Mark Schoell, CEO of United Memorial Medical Center. “With this permanent, comprehensive alliance, United Memorial will become the western hub of an emerging leader in integrated health services.”

“We’re excited to finalize our plans to officially join Rochester Regional Health System,” said Lewis Zulick, MD, acting CEO of Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic. “In order for us to sustain the highest standards of community health, our patients must have access to the complete continuum of high-quality care. Working closely with Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, we look forward to serving the Finger Lakes region as the leading provider of comprehensive care.”

“We’re very pleased to be moving forward with formal plans to join forces with these respected organizations,” said Robert Dobies, board chair of Rochester Regional Health System, “and extend our footprint of extraordinary quality, patient satisfaction and value to the west and east.”

Monday, July 21, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Photo: Construction begins in Eastown Plaza on new McDonald's

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Eastown Plaza, McDonald's

Work has finally begun on the new McDonald's location in Eastown Plaza, Batavia.

First order of business, removing the paving on the parking lot of the site pad.

Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Batavia financial advisor wins coveted award from Edward Jones

post by Billie Owens in business, edward jones

Michael R. Marsh, financial advisor at the Batavia office of Edward Jones, recently won the firm's coveted Zeke McIntyre Pioneer Award. It recognizes new financial advisors who achieve high levels of success early in their careers with the financial services firm.

Marsh was one of only 405 of the firm's more than 13,000 financial advisors to receive the award.

Jim Weddle, the firm's managing partner, said the award is a strong indicator of a financial advisor's future success.

"We recruit and hire our financial advisors from among the best, so we expect them to do well," Weddle said. "But to achieve such success early in his career with Edward Jones is outstanding, and I commend Michael for his performance and dedication."

The award is named after Edward Jones legend Zeke McIntyre, who opened the firm's first branch office in 1957 in Mexico, Mo.

Edward Jones, a Fortune 500 company, provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities in which they live and work. The firm's 13,000-plus financial advisors work directly with nearly 7 million clients to understand their personal goals -- from college savings to retirement -- and create long-term investment solutions that emphasize a well-balanced portfolio, diversified portfolio.

Edward Jones embraces the importance of building long-term, face-to-face relationships with clients, helping them to understand and make sense of the investment options available today.

Headquartered in St. Louis, Edward Jones ranked No. 4 overall in FORTUNE magazine's 2014 100 Best Companies to Work For ranking. Visit our Web site at www.edwardjones.com and our recruiting Web site at www.careers.edwardjones.com. Follow us on Twitter @EdwardJones. Member SIPC. FORTUNE and Time Inc. are not affiliated with and do not endorse Edward Jones products or services.

Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 9:35 pm

GCEDC approves USG project in Oakfield

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Oakfield, U.S. Gypsum

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for application for assistance from United States Gypsum Co. (USG) at the July 10, 2014, board meeting. 

United States Gypsum Company Co. (USG) is planning to upgrade its paper mill at 2750 Maple Ave. in Oakfield, NY. The project will include replacing and relocating equipment, stock cleaning and enhanced manila production to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of the facility.

The upgrades will consist of three phases and is expected to commence in 2016. The projected capital investment is approximately $23 million and the investment will retain 98 manufacturing jobs and create 12 new production jobs.

In other matters, Graham Corporation’s 2013 project with the GCEDC involved expansion of its operations on Harvester Avenue, Howard Street and Florence Streets, in the city of Batavia. There has been a longer than anticipated construction time on these projects and Graham Corporation is requesting a PILOT amendment in order to delay the commencement of the PILOT by one year. This amendment will not result in any additional incentives for the project.   

“The significant investments in businesses right here in our region is strongly reflective of the ongoing economic growth we continue to witness in all industry sectors,” said Wallace Hinchey, GCEDC Board chairman.

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