New owners say Buffalo Bills will stay in Buffalo

Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula has reached an agreement to buy the Buffalo Bills and plans to kep the team in Buffalo according to a statement posted today on the Sabres’ website.

The announcement of the sale came with the blessing of controlling owner Mary Wilson, widow of Ralph Wilson.

“This is a very important day in the history of the Buffalo Bills franchise,” Mary Wilson said in a statement Tuesday. “Ralph brought professional football to Buffalo in 1959 and it was his life’s passion. He loved his team and he cherished the fans and his legacy will remain for all-time. Ralph would have been pleased with the sale of the team to the Terry Pegula family, who has been so committed to Buffalo and the Western New York region.

Roger Hannay, small-business advocate and third-generation leader of a family business, to receive 2014 Corning Award

Roger Hannay, a leader of a nationally successful manufacturer in a rural Albany County town for nearly half a century and a quietly forceful advocate for small business in New York, has been named 2014 recipient of the prestigious Corning Award for Excellence by The Business Council of New York State.

The award, sponsored by Corning Incorporated, will be presented to Hannay on Wednesday, September 17, at The Business Council’s 2014 Annual Meeting at The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing, Warren County.

“The Corning Award recognizes leaders from all walks of life whose success is driven by their achievement and their commitment,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq, president and CEO of The Business Council. “In presenting this honor, we recognize not just achievement in a single business sector or professional field, but also an unwavering commitment to making New York a better place for New Yorkers.

“Roger Hannay embodies those virtues.”

G. Thomas Tranter, Jr., president of Corning Enterprises and a vice chair of The Business Council Board of Directors, will present the award to Hannay.

“Roger has devoted his life to manufacturing things, and New York is better for it,” Tranter said. “He has made reels that businesses and consumers recognize as an unsurpassed standard of excellence. He has made his family enterprise clear proof that small businesses with strong leaders can thrive in New York State. And he has made a consistently powerful case that policy changes in Albany can make this state and its prosperity even stronger.

“Businesses of all size in New York are in his debt, and so are 19 million New Yorkers.”

First awarded in 1979, the Corning Award is a magnificent piece of original Steuben Glass, handcrafted by masters in Corning, New York.

Hannay began to discover his passion for making things and making things work better while working at his grandfather’s side as a lad growing up in Westerlo in the hills of western Albany County. After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Wheaton College and an MBA from the University of Michigan (1964), he volunteered for the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam.

In 1966, he joined the family company, Hannay Reels, Inc. Throughout his many years with the company he specialized in manufacturing, legal issues, health insurance, and human resources. He became president and CEO in June 1990. He now serves as executive chairman. Two of his four children, a son and daughter, now represent the fourth generation of company leadership.

Hannay has always been active in family, community, business, political, and religious organizations, providing strong, active leadership on many boards. As a long-time member of the board of The Business Council, he has been a strong and visible advocate for policy changes of special interest to smaller businesses and manufacturers, including tort reform, estate tax reform, and support for family-owned manufacturers. In 1998, he was recognized at The Business Council’s Small Business Day as Small Business Advocate of the Year Award.

Higher graduation rates! Who cares?

In an editorial, The Middletown Times Herald-Record asks the question, “Who cares about higher graduation rates?”

“If the rate meant something, it would be worth celebrating. But if all it means is that more 18-year-olds won’t be back the following fall, then there’s not much to talk about.

“The trouble is, as a story in the Times Herald-Record clearly illustrated on Monday, that graduation from high school no longer proves anything. It gives students a credential to put on an application. But any employer who digs a bit deeper will find that the diploma that used to mean something now is not necessarily an indication that the person holding it is ready to take on the challenges of the working world.

“We know that because far too many of those with those diplomas are not ready to take on the challenges of the world of higher education either.

“As the story explained, more than half of the students arriving for the fall semester of local community colleges fall short of the minimum requirements on placement tests.”

The editorial points out the added costs those students and their families incur when they have to pay tuition to revisit subjects “they allegedly mastered to get a high school diploma.”

“This is not a new problem, and many had hoped that a more rigorous, standard curriculum would help. But the solution that was offered, the Common Core, had the kind of problems that any serious effort in reform is bound to have and that was enough to turn it into a tool for many manipulative politicians.”

To read the complete editorial, please click here.


Verizon to invest $40 million in on-site green energy

Business Council member Verizon has announced that it will invest nearly $40 million to expand the on-site green energy program that it launched in 2013.  The investment puts the company on track to become the top solar-power producer among all U.S. communications companies, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the U.S. trade association for companies that research, manufacture, distribute, finance and build solar projects domestically and abroad.

This year, Verizon will install 10.2 megawatts of new solar power systems at eight Verizon network facilities in five states, including New York, nearly doubling the amount of renewable power generated by solar energy systems installed at six Verizon facilities last year.  The other four states where the expansion is taking place are California, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

To learn more about Verizon’s investment in on-site green energy, please click here.

Manufacturers: New ozone regulations could tank U.S. economy

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is gearing up to take action on a major policy initiative coming from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it says could be the most expensive regulation in the nation’s history, possibly tanking the economy and costing jobs at a time when businesses, manufacturers and families are making a comeback.

Later this year, the Environmental Protection Agency will decide whether it should tighten the air-quality standard for ground-level ozone.

Just a few years ago, in 2008, the EPA set ozone standards for air quality at 75 parts per billion (ppb). And just recently the second-highest court in the land held that the current standard protects public health.

Yet even before states have fully implemented the 2008 standard, the EPA is expected to propose revising it to as low as 60 ppb. In 2010, the EPA estimated that the annual compliance costs for a 60-ppb standard would be $90 billion in 2020.

But, according to a new study commissioned by the NAM and conducted by NERA Economic Consulting, the new ozone standard could cost Americans $270 billion annually, put millions of jobs at risk, and drastically increase energy prices for consumers and manufacturers.

In an op-ed published recently by the Wall Street Journal, Jay Timmons, president and CEO of NAM states, “No single regulation has come close to rendering this level of self-inflicted and ultimately unnecessary economic pain. Remarkably, the EPA has only identified one-third of the controls and technologies that companies and state governments will need to implement to meet the new standard.”
Click here for more information on this issue from the NAM website.

Hillside Children’s Center Receives $1.1M Innovation Grant

Business Council member Hillside Family of Agencies has been awarded a $1.1 million grant from the New York State Department of Health for its affiliate, Hillside Children’s Center, to pilot a Proactive Respite Services model that will provide access to planned and emergency overnight respite care for 20-30 of the highest need Monroe County and Western New York youth in Hillside’s Home and Community Based Services program. The program aims to keep high-needs children and youth out of residential care and in their homes by providing families with short term periods of respite from the day to day demands of meeting their children’s behavioral health needs.

Hillside was one of 54 agencies awarded funding through the Department’s Balancing Incentive Program (BIP), and is one of the top four agencies receiving the largest award statewide.

The BIP Innovation Fund is designed to engage New York’s broad network of providers, advocates, and community leaders in developing systemic improvements that address barriers encountered when providing community-based long term supports and services across all populations of Medicaid beneficiaries in the State. The BIP Innovation Fund promotes provider expertise by offering eligible entities the opportunity to create solutions that impact the long term supports and service delivery systems required to keep high need children and adults out of unnecessary institutional placements.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from the New York State Department of Health,” said Hillside Family of Agencies president and CEO, Dennis Richardson. “Respite as an alternative to hospitalization and emergency department use has been identified as a high need across New York State. Hillside Children’s Center is looking forward to providing planned and emergency respite for high needs children and youth in Monroe County and Western New York while also working to help save the state financial resources long term.”

Role of business in education to be topic at Business Council Annual Meeting

Many jobs in New York go unfilled because employers are unable to find highly skilled workers. IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs and President, IBM International Foundation Stanley S. Litow and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher will discuss the importance of public-private partnerships and high education standards to ensure that students will be able to compete in college and the work world upon graduation from high school, during one of several panel discussions at The Business Council of New York State Annual Meeting.

The discussion, “The Role of Business in Education,” will take place on September 18 at 10 a.m. at The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing, NY.

Businesses in New York state are projected to create one million jobs that require more education than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year college degree, between 2008 and 2018, according to data compiled by Jobs for the Future and The Business Council.

Referred to by the Brookings Institute as “the hidden STEM economy,” middle-skill jobs will make up 39 percent — the largest portion— of all jobs in New York state by 2018. Jobs requiring a four-year college degree will comprise 34 percent of the workforce while low-skill jobs, those requiring a high school diploma or less, will make up the remaining 27 percent of the workforce.

The data also shows that this gap will continue to widen as the supply of recent graduates prepared for these jobs is projected to decline by 2025.

“The business community recognizes the urgency in closing the middle skills gap, and that jobs in the STEM field play a major role in driving the state’s economy. This data shows that New York’s growing STEM economy will be stifled if we do not find innovative new ways to help schools better prepare graduates to fill good paying middle-skill jobs,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council.

For more information on The Business Council’s Annual Meeting please visit:


Rochester D&C: Stay the course on Common Core

The Common Core Learning Standards are a “necessary step toward ensuring success for New York students,” The Editorial Board of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle said in an editorial published today.

Excerpts from the editorial:

“While newly released results of state-mandated Common Core math and English exams are nothing to pop champagne corks about, neither are they cause for an educational about-face. On the contrary. Educators at the state and local levels must reaffirm their commitment to helping New York’s students master the new, more-rigid curricula.

“They [the Common Core] have the support of the state Business Council and the national Chamber of Commerce because such groups understand the value of a highly educated workforce.

“There is still a long road to travel. But students took a step in the right direction this past year — and that was amid the substantial headwinds of vocal opposition. Think what they could accomplish with a tailwind,” the editorial concluded.

Business Council members partner to design nation’s first micro grid

Two Business Council members, National Grid and Clarkson University, are partnering to design an underground electric microgrid in Potsdam, NY. In an emergency, the microgrid will operate as an electrical island independent of the main power grid, and serve the critical loads with local generation. It will use existing natural gas, fuel oil, and hydroelectric generation, as well as a planned two megawatt photovoltaic installation.

When completed, the microgrid design will be the first of its kind, providing resilient electric power service for essential community services during an emergency, and optimizing operating efficiencies under normal conditions. The Potsdam microgrid will serve as a model for other installations around New York and across the United States.

The project, made possible through a $381,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), was recently announced by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Other partners in the initiative include GE Energy Consulting, Nova Energy Specialists, the Village of Potsdam, SUNY Potsdam, and the Canton-Potsdam Hospital.

In an emergency, the microgrid will operate as an electrical island independent of the main power grid, and serve the critical loads with local generation.

In an emergency, the microgrid will operate as an electrical island independent of the main power grid, and serve the critical loads with local generation.