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Friday, May 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Western OTB picks Belmont Stakes winner, giveaway sponsor is local businessman

post by Billie Owens in belmont stakes, business, OTB, sports

Press release:

Officials from Western Regional Off-Track Betting and Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning announced the winner of this year’s Belmont Stakes Trip Giveaway at the OTB Corporate headquarters in Batavia this afternoon, May 9.

The winner was chosen from the 8,000 OTB customers that signed-up at their local OTB branch on derby day for a chance to win the Belmont Stakes trip. The winner was Ron DiRose of Webster.

Ron wins hotel accommodations for two nights at the Courtyard Marriott, located 12 miles from Belmont Park and $1,000 in expense money.

“Western OTB would like to thank Bill Hayes, president of Turnbull Heating and Air for sponsoring the Belmont stakes giveaway,” said GM of Live Racing at Batavia Downs, Todd Haight. “It’s something we do each derby day and the number entries and interest in the giveaway grows every year.”

Western OTB posted record wagering handles on this year’s run for the roses, at it’s OTB locations, at Batavia Downs Gaming and it’s on-line wagering platform, Batavia Bets.com.

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Regional OTB is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia. WROTB owns and operates 30 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility.

Pictured are trip giveaway sponsor Bill Hayes, president of Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning, and Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing at WROTB, with the lucky drawing slip.

Friday, May 9, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Batavia Allstate Agency named a 2014 Premiere Agency

post by Billie Owens in batavia, allstate, business, Milestones

Press release:

As a business leader and involved citizen in the Batavia area, Allstate exclusive agency owner Jason Juliano has been designated an Allstate Premier Agency for 2014.

The Allstate Premier Agency designation is bestowed on less than 48 percent of Allstate’s nearly 10,000 agency owners across the country. This designation is being presented to Juliano for his outstanding business performance and commitment to putting customers at the center of his agency’s work.

“The Premier Agency designation is not just about Jason’s successful business results,” said Eva McIntee, Allstate New York’s field vice president. “The honor also demonstrates Jason’s commitment in being accessible to customers and using knowledge to help ensure customers have the insurance products they need to protect themselves and their family.”

Juliano’s agency is located at 590 E. Main St. in Batavia and can be reached at (585) 344-1400 or http://agents.allstate.com/jason-juliano-batavia-ny.html <http://agents.allstate.com/jason-juliano-batavia-ny.html>

Friday, May 9, 2014 at 10:08 am

Batavia company gets big contract to help produce new search and rescue boats

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Rebel Liners

You wouldn't necessarily associate artistic flare with pickup truck bedliners, but the ability of Nate Fix to precisely spray protective coating helped him land a contract spraying liner on a new model of search and rescue watercraft. 

Bombardier designed the new craft to meet the needs of fire departments involved in all types of water rescue and developed very exacting specifications for the hulls of the craft.

Fix, an art major in college and owner of Rebel Liners, on West Main Street Road, Batavia, is spraying coating on 100 boat bottoms for the Canadian-based company.

Fix is an emergency dispatcher for the county and assistant chief with the Town of Batavia Fire Department, so the contract hits another sweet spot for the lifelong Batavia resident.  

The boats use Bombardier's Ski-Doo snowmobile platform.

The SARs (search and rescue) crafts are suitable for surf and white water rescue as well as bodies of water that are only eight-inches deep.

Rebel Liners was the fifth or sixth company that was contacted by Bombardier and the first that could assure the manufacturer of a coating application that would meet spec. The coating can't vary in thickness from stem to stern, from port to starboard, by more than 2.6 to 3.2 millimeters. Any greater variation would inhibit the proper water intake of the craft's engine as well as affect steering.

"I've been spraying for a little over 10 years now and when you get into bedliner equipment and machinary -- and being that I'm a speciality guy and I spray $50,000 and $60,000 trucks and I have to make them look pretty -- I was the only one in the country they could find who could do the job," Fix said.

When Fix was first approached about the project, however, he was skeptical. In fact, at one point, he was going to turn it down.

The project was at that time top secret.

"I couldn't know what it was about or who it was for," Fix said. "It went on for two months and got to the point where I told them, you know what, I'm not interested. I don't even know who I'm doing this for."

Then he received the CAD plans and notice the copyright down in a lower corner. Bombardier.

"Then I realized it wasn't just mom and dad making a couple of boats and wanting to see if it would work," Fix said. "I realized this was big time."

The coating fix uses is by SPI, a K5 polyurea. It's the same coating he sprays into pickup trucks. It protects the hull of the rescue crafts if they hit rocks or buried tree stumps. Fix said Bombardier tested one of the boats he sprayed and dropped it 17,000 times.

"If it was just the fiberglass, it would have cracked," Fix said.

That's art.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 11:50 am

Photos: House demolition on West Main Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Castilone Chrysler

A demolition crew spent the morning tearing down the second house on West Main Street next to Castilone Chyrstler Dodge to make room for the dealership's expansion. Rather than move out of the city, the owners Steve Castilone and Greg Strauss decided to remodel their existing showroom and expand on West Main.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 9:37 am

Company pitches idea of plant that converts food waste into energy at planning board meeting

A company with roots in New York, but currently based in Connecticut, is looking to build a plant at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park that would convert food industry waste into heat and electricity.

"We make green power out of organic waste," said Paul Toretta, CEO of CH4 Biogas, while presenting his company's plans to the Town of Batavia Planning Board. "Once the digester does its thing, it captures methane and powers an engine that makes green power and puts it on the grid. The engine produces heat that can be used to heat Quaker Muller and Alpina, helping them cut their heating bill."

The cost of the plant is $15 million and CH4 has already secured a $2 million Cleaner and Greener grant from NYSERDA to help fund the project, but is looking to the state for more help.

Toretta said state officials recommended the company present its proposal to the town planning board because the state wouldn't get behind the idea unless it has community support. The state backing would help the company secure bank loans to completely finance the project.

"We're in a holding pattern while looking for help with funding," Toretta said when asked about the timetable for the project.

Once funding is in place, the plant would take nine months to build. The design is already completed because it's the same design used by the company for plants in Wyoming County and Ohio (for Campbell's Soup).

"We only build one plant," Toretta said. "It's the same plant over and over again."

CH4 would use local contractors to build and maintain the plant, which would eventually employ eight people full time, Toretta said.

"When you put that much concrete and steel in the ground there will be a number of people employed," Toretta said.

The plant would be expected to last at least 30 years.

"The project is upfront capital intensive," said Toretta, who is originally from Potsdam. "It takes 15 years to return the money invested to do this. It's a slow, steady project. You borrow money and it takes 15 years to make any return."

CH4 already processes whey and other waste from the Alpina and Quaker Muller (no whey comes out of the Muller plant) in Wyoming County.

A plant in the ag park would reduce transportation cost and the impact on the environment to truck it more than 20 miles away.

The plant would also help the Genesee County Economic Development Center attract more food processors to the ag park, Toretta said.

Chris Suozzi, GCEDC's VP for business development, agreed.

"It would complement what we're already doing," Suozzi said. "It would definately help with the marketing when you have a green ag park. What better way to market the park and bring in more companies?"

The plant would be set up so it could take any sort of organic food waste, including waste from products that were already packaged but were found to be defective in some way so couldn't be shipped to customers. Toretta said the plant could separate the food waste from the packaging and then recycle the plastic or metal containers.

The plant would produce very little waste itself, but what it did produce would go into the local sewer system, but with much less biological chemicals and suspended salts than could otherwise go into the waste stream.

The plant would also produce little in the way of odor, which is important to Alpina and Quaker Muller because the plant would be upwind from those facilities.

"If there was any type of odor, as you can imagine, Campbell Soup would not allow us to operate our plant there," Toretta said.

Monday, May 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Batavia Downs sets Derby Day record for wagers

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

Press release:

Representatives from Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation (WROTB) announced today that total wagering at WROTB on Saturday’s Churchill Downs races including the Kentucky Derby topped out at $2,173,378. This beat WROTB’s previous record set in 2012 of $2,007,064. The 2014 number is an 8.8-percent increase over the 2013. Wagers placed at Batavia Downs Gaming totaled $26,000, an increase of 30 percent over last year. Wagering using BataviaBets.com, WROTB’s online Web site, was $97,387 -- a one-day record. Nationally, the handle on the Kentucky Derby was about even with last year. Seven winners across OTB’s branches hit the Superfecta for $7,691 each. One patron at Batavia Downs hit the $2 trifecta five times winning $17,500. Total handle taken in by WROTB on May 3rd was $2,529,197.90, a one-day record for the corporation, celebrating its 40th year of existence this month.

“We’re happy to see such robust numbers," stated WROTB CEO and President Michael Kane. “With national wagering flat, it’s great to see that people in Western New York made it a point to visit our gaming facility, branches and EZ Bets on Saturday to get in on the excitement that the Kentucky Derby brings to viewers. As a public benefit corporation, a percentage of money wagered goes back to the counties that own WROTB meaning higher Derby handle numbers benefit all residents of Western New York.”

TV Ratings showed that Buffalo Ranked 4th nationally among viewership in major cities posting a 16.9 rating and 32 share.

“It’s so exciting to see that interest in the Kentucky Derby is alive and well in Western New York,“ said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing of Batavia Downs and WROTB. “We’re all pulling for a triple-crown contender in California Chrome. All our Branches will be open at 10 a.m. on May 17th, the morning of the Preakness, and we’ll be having another party at Batavia Downs with specials which include food, Free Play and a complimentary Preakness wager like we had for the Derby. There will also be live tellers available.”

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Regional OTB is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 30 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility.

Friday, May 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm

GCC trail plan for Batavia wins Spirit Award in business plan competition

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Loop Trail, business, GCC, recreation

Press release:

The "Spirit Award" in the Social Entrepreneurship / Nonprofit category was awarded to five Genesee Community College students after they presented their "Batavia Loop Trail and Bordering Business Development" plan to a team of judges at the fifth annual New York Business Plan Competition in Albany last Friday, April 25, 2014. The annual competition invites students from colleges around the state to submit innovative ideas designed to address a currently unmet need in one of six categories.

The GCC students presenting the Batavia Loop Trail (BLT) included Tara Beckens of Clifton Springs, Danielle Cannella, Richard DelPlato, and Maryssa Peirick, all from Batavia, and Adrienne Payne, of Byron. As members of GCC's CEO or Earth Clubs, they envision developing an 11-mile loop trail that skirts around the edge of the City and Town of Batavia connecting a wide array of businesses and regional resources -- from ice cream shops and restaurants to Batavia's treasure trove of city and county parks.The BLT maximizes the idyllic views of Tonawanda Creek and would provide safer walking and bicycling pathways to GCC, College Village, as well as Batavia High School and Genesee Valley Educational Partnership/BOCES on State Street.

The project builds upon the growing international interest and economy of bicycling tourism, and also on Batavia's proximity to NYS Thruway providing a huge tourist market. BLT also links into the new Ellicott Trail, which was recently awarded $1.5 million through NYSDOT Transportation Enhancement Fund. Students researched state and federal funding resources and were delighted to learn that BLT potentially meets many of the criteria for funds from the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), NYSERDA's Cleaner Greener Communities, and Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

Lastly, and most importantly to the students – the long-term vision poses excellent hands-on learning opportunities not only for GCC students but for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP/BOCES). Next year, students hope to present a plan to GCC's Board of Trustees sharing their idea of creating a small on-campus business, the Recreational Rental Center, giving both students and the general public the opportunity to rent bicycles for the trail and potentially other equipment such as tennis rackets or soccer balls. The new micro-business will provide future GCC students enrolled in Business Administration, Accounting, Sport Management, Travel & Tourism, Web Design, Digital Arts and Physical Education with excellent co-op, internship and work study opportunities. Equally dynamic is providing GVEP/BOCES students enrolled in Conservation, Welding and Automotive Technology programs the chance to help develop and maintain the trail.

The students say the BLT is a "transformative idea that extends out 11 years," but they divided the overall plan into five phases with the most easily implemented segments of the trail opening in 2018. Before heading off to Albany, they shared the BLT idea with local key officials, including New York State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and City of Batavia Manager Jason Molino, and were delighted the concept was unanimously well received.

"When Jason Molino called the project a 'home run' and pointed out how it would enhance Batavia's quality of life, the students were smiling from ear to ear," said Donna Rae Sutherland, GCC's staff advisor for the project. "While they will probably no longer be GCC students when the project becomes a reality, they are excited to pass the torch along to their peers. And, they hope they will be able to use the trail in the future with their own children years down the road -- or perhaps I should say path!"

The New York Business Program Competition is hosted by the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), University at Albany's School of Business and Syracuse University. It has become the premier collegiate contest encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship throughout New York's colleges and universities in the following 10 regional economic zones: Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Western New York, Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island.

Friday, May 2, 2014 at 8:50 am

GCEDC board approves Liberty Pumps expansion project

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, business, GCEDC, liberty pumps

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for the Liberty Pumps project at its May 1 board meeting.

Liberty Pumps is planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its existing facility at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen. The renovation will include new spaces for production, warehouse, research and development, as well as an office, auditorium and training center. The capital investment for the expansion project is $9.8 million and will create 27 new jobs while retaining 124 employees.

In 2000, Liberty Pumps invested $3.7 million for the acquisition of the land and construction of a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. It underwent another expansion project in 2008, which entailed the investment of an additional $4 million for the construction of a 64,000-square-foot addition to the existing facility.

“We are pleased to see Liberty Pumps continue expanding its operations in our region, adding to the growth of employment opportunities in Genesee County,” said Wally Hinchey, GCEDC board chairman.

Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Conversion of former Carr's Warehouse into apartments nearly completed

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, 14 Jackson Square, business, downtown, Jackson Square

By the end of the month, 14 Jackson Square -- an address that never existed until recently -- will come to life in a new, and reinvented way.

The former Carr's Department Store Warehouse will contain three two-bedroom apartments (a fourth should be ready by the end of June) and a downstairs office space.

Paul Thompson and his partners will have invested more than $500,000 in the project, with the help of a state grant of $115,000, to convert the three-story structure into a mixed-use space.

The project fits a few of the city's goals to reinvigorate Downtown, said City Manager Jason Molino. It creates more residential space Downtown, more new office space and it converts a building that was doing nothing for the city into something vibrant.

"It takes a building that was always a warehouse and turns it into a useful and meaningful space Downtown," Molino said.

Thompson said his Byron-based company was interested in the project because they have some experience in redeveloping mixed-use spaces. It was a way to provide employment for his workers during the winter, and based on his experience with rental properties in the city, there's a strong demand for apartments designed to appeal to young professionals.

Study after study shows, young professionals want to live in environments where nightlife and shopping are in walking distance and there's a sense of urban life to the neighborhood (related story from USAToday).

This project brings the total of new apartments Downtown to nine, said Julie Pacette, coordinator for the Batavia Development Corp. All of the previous apartments rented to young professionals within days of becoming available.

By assisting Thompson and his partners, Pacette said, a property that was off the tax roles for a few years is now in private, property-tax-paying hands.

Thompson said the project has helped him expand his company. His staff of 14 is now a staff of 20, though not all of the new hires are directly related to this project.

Related: For those interested in new urbanism, the Congress for New Urbanism meets in Buffalo, June 4 though 7.

Paul Thompson

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 12:54 pm

U.S. Chamber to host 'Hiring Our Heroes' job fair in Rochester for vets

post by Billie Owens in announcements, business, veterans

Press release:

ROCHESTER, NY — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, along with lead sponsor, University of Phoenix, will host “Hiring Our Heroes – Rochester,” a hiring fair for veterans and military spouses. More than 55 employers are expected to participate with jobs available for veterans and military spouses of all ranks and levels of experience. Companies range from America's biggest employers to dozens of small companies from the region. The event will also include a free Hiring Our Heroes employment workshop focusing on resume writing, interview skills, and job search techniques for military members – past and present – as well as their spouses.

Since Hiring Our Heroes began in March 2011, more than 1,500 companies have hired 21,600 veterans and military spouses as a result of more than 700 hiring fairs. In March 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Capital One launched Hiring 500,000 Heroes, a national campaign to engage the business community in committing to hire half a million veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014. Thus far, more than 1,400 businesses of all sizes have pledged to hire 411,000 heroes toward this goal. To date, 255,000 hires have been confirmed toward this goal.

WHAT:    Hiring Our Heroes – Rochester
WHEN:   Thursday, May 8  -- 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Workshop begins at 8:30 a.m.

WHERE:    National Guard Armory
76 Patriot Way
Rochester, NY 14624

Interested job seekers should register for free at hiringourheroes.org. Walk-in job seekers are allowed (veterans must provide proof of service).

This hiring event is also being held in partnership with the New York National Guard, Rochester Business Alliance/RBA Staffing, NYS Department of Labor, Veterans Outreach Center, Inc., NY Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR), U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS), U S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Goodwill Industries International, The American Legion, and other local partners.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness by addressing developments that affect our nation, our economy, and the global business environment.

HiringOurHeroes.org            @hiringourheroes           FreeEnterprise.com

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