Monthly Archives: December 2013

Callanan Industries announces leadership transition


Callanan Industries Inc., a leader in aggregate, asphalt and concrete products and construction services in the Capital Region for 130 years, has announced a leadership transition.

Donald E. Fane has been promoted from executive vice president to president, effective January 1, 2014. He succeeds Jonas E. Havens, who is retiring as president after six years in that role and 26 years with the company.

Fane said his leadership plans call for continued geographic growth and for remaining at the forefront of product innovation in Callanan’s markets. He also plans to continue to elevate Callanan’s role beyond a traditional contracting business to that of a strategic consultant to customers.

A Troy native, the 53-year-old Fane joined Callanan in 1995 but has spent his entire life in and around the heavy construction industry. He began his career with Warren W. Fane Inc., the Troy-based wholesale gravel, sand, excavating and trucking business still operated by his father. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to branch out on his own, opening Fane Concrete in 1986 and Fane Asphalt six years later. In 1995 Callanan purchased both businesses, and Fane came aboard as a vice president, beginning a steady climb through the managerial ranks.

Photo2Havens will retire from Callanan after more than 40 years in the construction industry. He began his career as a professional engineer in New York City, designing bridges around the world. In 1977, he relocated to Upstate New York and joined Callanan as a vice president. In 1985, he left Callanan temporarily to begin his own business, returning in 1995 as senior vice president. He was appointed president of Callanan in 2008.

As president, Havens successfully led Callanan through the challenges of a severe national economic downturn, invested heavily in new facilities, introduced innovative new products and positioned the company for future growth. Among the highlights of his tenure is Callanan’s $24 million investment in a new state-of-the-art asphalt plant and aggregate processing plant in the hamlet of South Bethlehem in Albany County, returning the company to the community where it was founded in 1883.

SEQR changes needed in NY

Ken Pokalsky, vice president of government affairs for The Business Council of New York State, Inc. joined E.J. McMahon yesterday on WCNY’s Capitol Pressroom to release a new Empire Center Report on the need to reform State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), New York’s “Environmental” Planning Law.

Listen to the interview on WCNY’s website.

As currently written and interpreted, SEQR can be exploited to produce costly delays and uncertainty for the kind of job-creating projects New York needs. Several of the state’s regional economic development councils have identified SEQR as an obstacle to development.

The law is layered on top of environmental regulations that already exist, and go beyond already established zoning provisions. Ultimately, it stands in the way of growth and investment in NY state.

Pokalsky highlighted The Business Council’s work on the issue over the years and said in the interview, “We are not asking to get rid of SEQR. We’re asking to make it work. We are not asking for changes in environmental standards but we are asking for a streamlining of the process.”

The report, Streamlining SEQR: How to Reform New York’s “Environmental” Planning Law  is available on the Empire Center’s website.

McMahon also appeared on Time Warner Cable News’ Capitol Tonight.  View the interview the Time Warner Cable News website (TWC ID required).

NY Times editorial: Who says math has to be boring?

In an editorial, the New York Times notes the declining number students pursuing science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) majors at exactly the moment that most employers are seeking workers with those skills.

In the editorial, The Times Editorial Board notes that The Common Core math standards now being adopted by most states are an important effort to raise learning standards, particularly in primary and middle school, when many students begin to fall behind.

Health care reform surprises some self-employed professionals

One provision of the Affordable Care (ACA), which took effect this year is surprising some New York City professionals and members of the City’s cultural elite such as writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others who purchased health insurance as sole proprietors through chambers of commerce and trade associations.

Prior to the advent of Obamacare, sole proprietors could join chambers of commerce and trade associations and purchase health insurance at rates slightly higher than small businesses would pay. The plans cost significantly less than coverage in New York state’s individual market.

New York Times reporter Anemona Hartocollis finds irony in the fact that many of those affected include some of President Obama strongest advocates for health care reform.

Anahita Williamson: Connecting companies to sustainability

The Rochester Business Journal recently profiled Anahita Williamson, director of the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology, also known as P2I.

The institute is a statewide research and technology center that offers expertise to businesses seeking to create a more sustainability for workers and the environment.

Williamson told The Journal, “There are so many opportunities to improve overall sustainability and impact on the environment.  You can touch it in almost any sector, and now it’s just up to us to find out where we should put our resources to find the biggest impact.”

Read the full profile of Williamson online.

Empire City Casino’s 7th Annual Toy & Coat Drive

Business Council member Empire City Casino teamed up with Catholic Charities for the for the seventh consecutive year to provide New York area families in need with a bit of warmth and some holiday cheer through the casino’s Annual “Christmas Spirit” Coat and Toy Drive. Timothy J. Rooney, president and CEO of Empire City Casino, presented the organization with hundreds of toys and coats.

From November 22 through December 8, Empire City Casino patrons donated new, unwrapped toys and gently used coats.  A sampling of the items collected was on display in Empire City Casino’s Entertainment Lounge.

The toy and coat drive has become a holiday tradition at Empire City Casino, and thousands of toys and coats have been donated since 2007 when the campaign was launched. Empire City Casino has a long history of philanthropy and charitable service, providing assistance to thousands of non-profit organizations.

Empire City

New York tax credit productions receive nominations

Thirteen of the New York-based productions that participate in the State’s Film Tax Credit program received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award nominations.

Governor Cuomo congratulated the many New Yorkers involved in the productions and said, “Fostering growth in the film and television industries in New York has created thousands of new jobs and generated billions of dollars in economic activity for our State. The Empire State’s film and television industry is experiencing its most active and productive period in our history, and we look forward to continuing to celebrate the nominees and winners from our New York State productions.”

The State’s Film Tax Credit program is cited as a leading factor in the decision to film and produce in New York. The 13 productions earning nominations contributed approximately $558 million in spending in New York and approximately 31,400 new hires.  In 2013, 121 films, 33 television series, and 24 pilots are participating in the State’s program, estimated to produce 127,428 new hires and $2.1 billion in new spending for New York.

The recently expanded and enhanced New York State Film Production Tax Credit program includes new incentives that attract television shows produced in other states to New York to create jobs, spur tourism, and generate new spending.

Forbes on proposed changes to NY estate tax

A Forbes article outlining the recently released proposals of the New York State Tax Relief Commission focuses on proposed changes to estate tax in New York and features The Business Council’s Vice President of Government Affairs Ken Pokalsky.

Pokalsky says the expectation would be that the changes would be phased in over time, just as last year’s state corporate franchise tax rate reduction was and that The Council would expect to see implementation starting in 2015.

The article highlights how the recommended changes to the estate tax would have a lower top rate and a higher exemption to match the new permanent federal estate tax exemption. The proposal is expected to be presented in Governor Cuomo’s executive budget due out in mid-January.

Forbes also features an interactive map for the state estate tax landscape for 2014, see Where Not To Die In 2014: The Changing Wealth Tax Landscape.