The Partnership announces 2014 election endorsements

On Wednesday, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership announced their full list of bipartisan endorsements for the 2014 November elections.

Earlier in the campaign season, the Partnership issued endorsements for Senator Mark Grisanti and Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes in the primary campaigns.

DGC blog sept 5

Peoples-Stokes (third in from right) joins President & CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen (far right) at the Unshackle Upstate New E.R.A. press conference

The Partnership also proudly endorsed Governor Andrew Cuomo for re-election along with Buffalo-native Kathy Hochul for Lieutenant Governor.

Additionally, the Partnership endorsed the following candidates:

United States House of Representatives:

  • 26th District – Congressman Brian Higgins
  • 27th District – Congressman Chris Collins

New York State Senate:

  • 59th Senate District – Senator Patrick Gallivan
  • 61st Senate District – Senator Michael Ranzenhofer
  • 62nd Senate District – Rob Ortt

New York State Assembly:

  • 140th Assembly District – Assemblyman Robin Schimminger
  • 143rd Assembly District – Angela Wozniak
  • 144th Assembly District – Assemblymember Jane Corwin
  • 146th Assembly District – Assemblyman Raymond Walter

Erie County:

  • Erie County Clerk – Chris Jacobs

I previously blogged about the Partnership’s focus on maintaining GOP/Upstate control of the New York state Senate, and that has held true beyond Primary Day. 

Along with our endorsements of our local GOP Senate slate, including Rob Ortt in the 62nd District, the Partnership also supported GOP Senate candidates across Upstate via its PAC, the Committee for Economic Growth.

We are confident that, given the efforts of the candidates we support along with the efforts of the collective Upstate business community, the Senate will continue to be our stop gap against the anti-employer, tax-and-spend policies from New York City we often have to combat.

“The Partnership engages in political action that supports economic development for the Buffalo Niagara region. We examine each individual race to assess whether or not we should be involved, and which races require our engagement. We feel that the candidates whom we are endorsing support our business advocacy agendas and having those individuals in office will continue the exciting momentum our region is embracing,” said our President & CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen.

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New York–Canada Summit discusses the issues

Earlier this month, City & State, the only media company devoted solely to covering government and politics, launched its Buffalo bureau to provide in-depth coverage of political and policy issues that are relevant to Buffalo and Western New York.

On October 16, in collaboration with the Partnership, City & State hosted a New York-Canada Summit that highlighted the importance of cultivating and maintaining a strong, efficient border relationship to support and expand New York and Canada’s $32.2 billion bilateral trade network.

City and state panel

Left to right: Moderator Jonathan Lentz (City & State,) Bryan Roth (Buffalo Niagara Partnership,) Jeff Walters (Canada Border Services Agency,) Rose Hilmey (U.S. Customs & Border Protection,) Lew Holloway (Niagara Falls Bridge Commission,) Sam Hoyt (ESD & Board Chair, Buffalo & Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority)

The event brought together government and business stakeholders from both sides of the border to discuss how public-private partnerships and collaboration can benefit New Yorkers and Canadians.

I participated on a ‘Shipping and Trucking on the NY-Canada Border’ panel as well as a ‘Trade, Security and Infrastructure’ panel.

In representing the Partnership, and specifically the CanAm Council, it was important to express the viewpoints of the business community that truly understands the tremendous impact that the border and our relationship with Canada has on our regional economy.

For more information, I encourage you to read the City & State article about the summit.

To learn more about the efforts of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the CanAm Council, contact me.

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Supporting a CTE pathway

As the skills gap across the nation continues to grow, many students are unprepared and ill-equipped with the skills needed to succeed in college and the workforce.

Too many students graduate from high school unprepared the workforce, leaving employers without a pipeline of qualified job candidates.

The New York State Board of Regents recently approved a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway for students to graduate with a Regents diploma.

staub tour oct 16 students

Students from Lakeshore’s tech class “Exploring manufacturing with DiDi WNY” took a tour of Staub Additive to learn about additive manufacturing.

We strongly support the adoption of this plan, which we believe will create an important new option for success for high school students in New York.

This alternative yet equally rigorous pathway to a high school diploma will create a much needed talent pipeline for our members by addressing the following needs:

  • Preservation of high educational standards that are aligned with industry needs
  • Input from the business community in program development
  • Emphasis on meeting labor market needs, especially in STEM fields
  • A work-readiness component that incorporates academic, technical and employ-ability skills (e.g. working in groups, critical thinking)

The CTE pathway would allow businesses to find the qualified employees they need right out of high school.

Considering that New York is facing a jobs skills gap in many of our key industries, we should be doing all that we can to help our students succeed after graduation. Providing them the option to substitute one of their Regents courses for a CTE assessment would be a step forward in that direction.

A CTE pathway is exactly what students in New York need, and we look forward to the adoption of this important and necessary plan.

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Merging the Logistics and Transportation councils

The 2014-15 council season for the Partnership brings both changes and improvements as we aim to strengthen our efforts to engage our members more effectively and efficiently.

The most significant change among our councils is the recent merging of the Logistics and Transportation Councils.

Considering the interdependence that exists between these two industries, the merger serves as an opportunity to provide a more holistic approach to our advocacy efforts in each area.

The fundamental purpose of the Logistics and Transportation council is to advocate for and provide programs aimed at bettering the movement of people and freight throughout the Buffalo Niagara region, and connect our business to new markets in the United States and Canada.

whirlpool bridgeGiven the Partnership’s clout as an organization representing the interests of private-sector businesses, incorporating the goals of the logistics council will give credence to our advocacy efforts for transportation improvements.

The joint council will strengthen our advocacy efforts by lending a wider range of representation and expertise.

Each year, all of the Partnership’s councils strategize and plan for advocacy items to be compiled into our Regional Agenda.

Looking ahead to the 2015 Regional Agenda, the Partnership will continue to advocate for previous action agenda items, including the Peace Bridge Pre-Inspection and major infrastructure projects, as well as the reforming infrastructure project funding and project delivery.

Additionally, the council will coordinate with the International Trade Gateway Organization (ITGO) to advocate for regionally-significant infrastructure projects that are critical to growing our business community.

bryan logistics blog photo march 19The newly formed Logistics and Transportation council will continue many of the current strategies of both existing councils, including:

  • Develop and advocate on behalf of the Logistics and Transportation Action Agenda;
  • Execute the annual Logistics Council tour series (3 tours);
  • Incorporate the annual “State of Logistics” event;
  • Engage other Partnership Councils (CanAm, Manufacturers, Energy & Development Advisory) in joint initiatives;
  • Advocacy for stabilizing and increasing infrastructure funding
  • Advocacy for reform to infrastructure project delivery in New York State
  • Continue to identify uninvolved companies that are important to the regional logistics conversation;
  • Continue to engage external stakeholders for the regional logistics and transportation conversation;
  • Conduct employee outreach visits with industry employers to ensure Partnership activities are aligned with the needs and opportunities of our members.

The Logistics & Transportation council will lead the efforts of the region, bringing the business case to improve our infrastructure and supply chain management.

To get involved, contact Bryan Roth.

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BN360 Spotlight Series: evaluating volunteer opportunities

From volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, to serving as a teaching assistant for Junior Achievement in the Buffalo Public Schools, I’ve tried my hand at an array of volunteer activities since college.

The volunteer initiatives that have stuck with me the most are the ones I’m most passionate about and believe have made the biggest impact in serving the community.

Aliyah Schultz

BN360’s October Spotlight Professional: Aliyah Schultz

Below are some steps to take as you consider finding an organization to volunteer with:

What are you passionate about?

Take some time to think about what really matters to you, such as education or the environment, and identify groups that support a similar mission.

What skills do you have that you could contribute?

Project management, teaching, coaching, and marketing are just a handful of the types of skills that organizations look for in volunteers.

What skills would you like to develop?

Volunteering can be a great way to develop a skill-set that could later strengthen your resume.

Oftentimes, community groups are spread thin and are in need of volunteers that are willing to take on diverse tasks, including administrative and project management work. Start small by volunteering for a task that’s a little out of your comfort zone to test and further develop an underutilized skill.

At the end of the day, it’s important to enjoy the volunteer work you do, as it is an activity that occurs outside of your day job and is something you’ve sacrificed your free time to do.

I recommend starting out with a few one-off events to see what groups you may be interested in taking a more active role in.

A great group to join is B Team Buffalo which connects members with a wide spectrum of volunteer opportunities. Sign up to receive their monthly newsletter which contains a list of upcoming volunteer opportunities in the area.

I wish you the best of luck in your volunteerism search!

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Member Spotlight: Lincoln Moving and Storage

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership represents nearly 2,000 members and a quarter of a million employees in the Buffalo Niagara region.

To celebrate our members and their accomplishments, we have created a Member Spotlight blog series.

This month, after recently celebrating 100 years in business, we are proud to recognize Lincoln Moving & Storage

Lincoln moving storageI had the pleasure of speaking with Tim Palisano, President of Lincoln Moving & Storage, to learn more about why they’re happy to be a member of the Partnership.

Q: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, Tim. While I know that Lincoln Moving & Storage is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the family-owned-and-operated Lincoln Securities Corp., I am interested in learning more about how your family grew the business, and what your current mission is. 

A: Thank you, Julia. It started in 1914 with John Palisano and his six sons who grew the business from a horse and buggy.

Through the years, the company has grown steadily, providing quality transportation services to the Buffalo area and around the country. We now have locations in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, NY, as well as Tampa, FL.

lincoln moving team 2

Lincoln Moving & Storage employees show their support for Breast Cancer awareness while posing in front of a straight truck used for local moves.

As an ATLAS VAN LINES agent, we are part of a team of companies that provide transportation services for household goods, commercial equipment and machinery, plant relocations, and high value products.

In addition to moving, we are involved in storage, distribution, general logistics of household goods, high value products, office and plant equipment and general commodities.

Our mission is to provide exceptional service at a reasonable price. The quality of our service, the integrity of our people and the satisfaction of our customers define the success of our company.

Q: That’s great. So, it looks like you have been a member since 1995? 

A: Yep.

Q: What benefits has Lincoln Moving & Storage received or experienced through its membership with the Partnership over the years?

A: The networking has been great! Similarly, the educational programs and political action committees.

Seeing as how we are primarily located in the state of New York, a high-tax state, being affiliated with the chamber helps because they take a proactive approach to bettering the business climate in the state.

lincoln moving group1Q: That is definitely part of our mission. Other than the state’s business climate, what current challenges does Lincoln Moving & Storage face that the Partnership might be able to play a role in?

A: One of the challenges is health care – especially for smaller businesses. The Partnership’s expertise in this area will definitely prove useful for its member organizations who are trying to navigate the changing landscape.

Similarly, the ever-increasing taxes in the state. It’s expensive to have a transportation company in New York because it’s expensive to drive on the roads. That’s definitely a challenge, and the Partnership’s Transportation Summit definitely helped to get this issue on people’s minds.

I think that the growth in the region is definitely an opportunity. The medical corridor and the development of hotels show that the city is on the rise. It seems like everything you read about Buffalo in the news lately is positive.

Additionally, there are a lot of companies coming to the region. When any city grows, that’s great for a moving and storage business.

lincoln moving cake3Q: We couldn’t agree more. So, have you had any recent accomplishments that you’d like the community to be aware of? For example, I know you celebrated your 100th anniversary on September 25. Congratulations!

A: Thank you! Just being in business for 100 years is definitely an accomplishment.

We have great employees who truly are the back-bone of our company; without them, we wouldn’t be here today.

Q: Our Manager of Regional Development, Bryan Roth, also told me that you are a BBB-accredited business with a proven track record of superior service and customer satisfaction. That’s definitely something worth mentioning.

A: Definitely! Another thing is that we are in the fourth generation of the company right now.

According to the national Family Business Institute, only 30 percent of such ventures survive into the second generation, 12 percent into the third generation and only 3 percent continue into the fourth generation and beyond.

Palisano family

Palisano family

That being said, it’s quite an accomplishment for us to have made it past the third generation. We are already grooming the fifth generation for success and are working hard to be in business for another 100 years!

Q: That’s remarkable. Congratulations! 

A: Thank you.

Q: I’m sure that grooming the future generations is what has enabled you to stay in business for so long. So, are there any current opportunities for employment or involvement with Lincoln Moving & Storage?

A: We are always looking for energetic, enthusiastic people. We are currently looking for someone in commercial sales in the Buffalo Niagara area.

Q: That’s great! In summary, what would you say you are most looking forward to benefiting from as a member of the Partnership in the upcoming year?

A: Staying informed, meeting new people and going new places. We want to experience things we haven’t done before, such as the Logistics tour series.

Tim Palisano

Tim Palisano

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. If you aren’t out there in the community, you miss opportunities to connect and work with others in the community.

Interested in learning how to get your company featured through our Member Spotlight blog series?

Contact our Content Marketing Specialist, Julia Jornsay-Silverberg.

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A month dedicated to manufacturing

Manufacturing is a key component to our regional economy.

manufact day photo1

Ben Rand, Mayor Byron Brown and Partnership President & CEO, Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, celebrate the kickoff of “Manufacturing Month” at the Charter High School for Applied Technologies [Credit: Block Club]

On October 3, the Partnership joined our WNY Manufacturing Day partners – Insyte Consulting, Dream It, Do It (DIDI) WNY, Charter School for Applied Technologies (CSAT) and WNY STEM Hub – to celebrate the impact of manufacturing and its contribution to regional innovation, economic growth and high-quality jobs.

We were also joined by Mayor Byron Brown who issued a proclamation honoring National Manufacturing Day in the City of Buffalo, and CSAT Superintendent Martinez who shared why his school has invested in curriculum, staff and equipment that will prepare students for careers in manufacturing among other industries.

We continued the recognition of regional manufacturers on October 8, when we hosted a breakfast at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Our President & CEO, Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, sat down with manufacturers to talk about the opportunities and challenges that this sector currently faces.

oct 10 photo2

Don Zgoda, production manager at McGard, shares a laugh with CSAT students during a 3D printing demonstration. [Credit: Block Club]

On October 16, our Manufacturers Council, in collaboration with our WNY Manufacturing Day partners will continue the celebration with a tour of Staub Inc.

Winner of the 2014 Business First Manufacturing Award for Innovation, Staub Inc. is known not only for its persistent pursuit of cutting-edge technology, but also its employee-centric culture.

Founded in 1975 and still family-owned and operated today, the company now operates two divisions, Staub Machining and Staub Additive.

After touring Staub Machining, we’ll head around the corner to the company’s second facility where we’ll meet students from Lake Shore High School’s new tech class, Exploring Manufacturing with Dream It, Do It WNY, in order to explore Staub’s additive manufacturing capabilities!

Oct 10 staub logoOn October 23, the DIDI WNY Manufacturing Expo will return, giving 30 manufacturers the opportunity to interact with 800+ high school students through displays and activities designed to get students excited about careers in WNY manufacturing.

Our celebration of manufacturing won’t end there, as every day is Manufacturing Day at the Partnership because we know the value that this sector has on our ability to flourish as a region.

natl manufact dayInterested in learning more about Manufacturing Month, our Manufacturers Council and/or the variety of initiatives we’re working on to boost manufacturing competitiveness here in Buffalo Niagara?

Contact Nadine Powell.

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FedEx opens new facility at Riverview Solar Technology Park

FedEx Trade Networks, the freight forwarding and customs brokerage arm of FedEx Corp. (FDX), recently celebrated the grand opening of its new environmentally-advanced 88,000 sq. ft. facility at Riverview Solar Technology Park.

The cutting-edge office and distribution facility allows FedEx Trade Networks to consolidate its local workforce from multiple locations for greater efficiency, enhanced collaboration and a smaller carbon footprint.

fedex building 2The park, developed by TM Montante Development, is the first solar-ready business complex expected to generate clean power in New York, and represents a significant investment in the region.

The new facility utilizes innovative sustainability technologies including solar energy panels, low-flow water consumption and dedicated bio-beds*, which provide underground water retention for storm water management and soil erosion control, significantly reducing the impact on the native vegetation.
*The company is the first tenant to have its own bio-beds.

By using low-flow technology and fixtures in the building, FedEx Trade Networks has already reduced water consumption by approximately 50 percent when compared to usage of standard fixtures.

fedex ribbon cutting2

Left to right: Jack Muhs, President and CEO FedEx Trade Networks; Assemblyman Robin Schimminger; Developer Tom Montane; Senator Mark Grisanti; Penny Register-Shaw, Senior Vice President and General Counsel FedEx Trade Networks, and Tonawanda Town Supervisor Anthony Caruana.

Furthermore, the solar campus is recognized as a New York State Shovel-Ready Certified Site and is known as a low-impact green business park, limiting the unnecessary removal of trees for construction.

Riverview Solar Technology Park is a place where real estate development and solar project development blend seamlessly.

This facility serves as an example of how our members serve to constantly impress us through innovative use of technology.

FedEx focuses on minimizing the corporation’s impact on the environment by integrating innovative, sustainable practices.

I look forward to seeing the impact that this facility has on our region’s economy and environment.

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Turning Rust to Blue

On September 29, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo and the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable, hosted “Turning Rust to Blue: The Great Lakes New Economy,” a conversation about the role of water as not only our region’s defining asset but also as an economic development driver and critical component of business competitiveness in the 21st century.

rust to blueGiven our status as a founding member of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, maximizing the economic potential of our Great Lakes region while preserving and enhancing the quality of our Great Lakes are two of our top priorities at the Partnership.

Similarly, we were excited about the opportunity to join forces with Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper to frame the conversation around the intersection of economic development and environmental stewardship.

Our goal was to not only look at this issue from a regional economic development perspective, but to view it as a resource to our members as they think about the “triple bottom line” as a source of competitive advantage.

glmcc logoJohn Austin, the Director of the Michigan Economic Center & non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, spoke to attendees about the importance of building on the Great Lakes region’s abundant water, access to water, water education and innovation assets to grow jobs and incomes.

Here are Mr. Austin’s five ways that water matters to the economy today:

  1. Legacy Uses: Shipping, Ports, Commercial Fishing – Impact: 200,000 jobs*
  2. Big Water Using Businesses: Agriculture, Beverages, Energy & Manufacturing – Impact: 5.3 million jobs*
  3. Emerging Water Products and Services for Trillion $ Global Water Technology Market – Impact: 1.2 million jobs*
  4. Centers of Education, Research and Innovation – Impact: up to $2 billion in water R&D **
  5. Water Place-making and lifestyle – Impact: up to $1 million jobs, $50 billion**

The panel also included business leaders from:

  • HSBC: discussed their Global Water Programme and recent partnership with Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper
  • Honeywell: featured their clean water initiatives and continued commitment to the restoration of the Buffalo River
  • National Grid: highlighted the importance of mapping water and energy infrastructure development in the Buffalo River Corridor (with the Partnership’s help – click here to read more about the RiverBend Area Infrastructure Needs Assessment)
  • RiverWorks: talked about the connection between water and their development plans
  • Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association: explored the importance of clean water to good beer through a beer tasting offered by Resurgence Brewery

We want to thank Jill Jedlicka and her team at Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper for including us this blue economy conversation.

Stay tuned for future events focused on the value of clean water to the economic prosperity of our region here in Buffalo Niagara and across the Great Lakes!

*Jobs numbers of Great Lakes states and provinces
**Impact extrapolated from Michigan’s experience in leveraging their “blue economy”

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RiverBend Area Infrastructure Needs Assessment: Updates

Just over a month ago, we shared our latest project in collaboration with National Grid and University at Buffalo Regional Institute, the RiverBend Area – Infrastructure Needs Assessment (RAINA).

Since then, we’ve been hard at work gathering data from stakeholders in the project area.

The first step in the outreach process involved isolating the project area and developing a survey to send to all of the developers and business owners in the area.

Over the past few weeks, we have received a substantial amount of feedback from survey participants, and have started to gain insight into what the most important needs are for this quickly growing area.

riverbend map

RiverBend project area

This complex process requires teamwork and cooperation to get all relevant parties on board. We have met with stakeholders, as well as utility and infrastructure groups, such as the NFTA, National Fuel, telecommunication companies, the Department of Transportation and several others, to share information about the project.

On September 23, Governor Cuomo was in town for the official groundbreaking at the RiverBend site and announced the creation of 3,000 permanent jobs for this one million square-foot solar panel manufacturing facility.

This massive facility will require major infrastructure upgrades and will lead to many spin-off developments in the area, which is precisely why we are conducting this Needs Assessment.

With so much about to happen in this area, it is essential that we are smart about development in order to ensure the long-term success of our city.

The next step in this project will be to send all the data to UBRI to be compiled so that they can create a “heat map” of where development is primed to occur, and where utility upgrades are most needed.

This will involve a stakeholder forum (to be held at the end of the month) in which all parties involved will be able to convene and view the data before the assessment is finalized.

We look forward to continued collaboration with the parties on this project, and are very excited to see the developments of the RiverBend Area take shape.

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