August 2016 20 Questions: Ben Moore III, River Hospital

Critical care redefined

River Hospital CEO Ben Moore III in talks about the future of health care in the north country in his Alexandria Bay office last month. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

River Hospital CEO Ben Moore III in talks about the future of health care in the north country in his Alexandria Bay office last month. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Alexandria Bay’s River Hospital finds its niche in changing landscape

For River Hospital the last 10 years since Ben Moore III became CEO has been a transitional period as it experienced financial challenges, backlash from the Medicaid reimbursement changes, and then growth with the help of programs like the outpatient program for soldiers with PTSD coordinated with Fort Drum and TRICARE. Mr. Moore sat down with us this month to discuss how River Hospital overcame the challenges facing it and the future for the hospital and the north country’s health care industry as a whole. [Read more…]

July 2016 20 Questions: Dani R. Baker, Cross Island Farms

Organic Growth

Dani R. Baker, co-owner and operator of Cross Island Farms, a certified organic farm on Wellesley Island. The farm is in its 11th year of operation.

Dani R. Baker, co-owner and operator of Cross Island Farms, a certified organic farm on Wellesley Island. The farm is in its 11th year of operation.

Diverse Cross Island Farms enters 11th year, moves toward profitibility

After a career as a psychologist, Dani R. Baker never thought she would own the only diversified certified organic farm in Jefferson County, but since establishing Cross Island Farms on Wellesley Island in 2006 she and her partner, David Belding, have turned a small vegetable garden into a diversified farm with about 100 different vegetables, livestock, and her newest endeavor, an edible forest garden. This month we sit down with Ms. Baker to discuss the place of small, niche farms in the north country’s agriculture industry. [Read more…]

June 2016 20 Questions: Rande S. Richardson, NNY Community Foundation

Giving for a greater good

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Rande S. Richardson, executive director of the Northern New York Community Foundation, at the future home of the foundation and the new Northern New York Philanthropy Center, 131 Washington St. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

NNY Community Foundation plans Philanthropy Center, expanded mission

For nearly 87 years, the Northern New York Community Foundation has worked to strengthen communities across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties by investing in efforts to improve the quality of life for all who live, work and play in the north country. Next year, the community foundation will move its offices to a historically renovated building that formerly housed the Black River Valley Club in the heart of downtown Watertown. The move will also open the doors to the Northern New York Philanthropy Center, a new endeavor for the community foundation that aims to put philanthropy within reach of everyday people. This month, we sit down with Rande S. Richardson, executive director of the community foundation since 2009, to learn more about the foundation’s mission and how it continues to serve north country residents. [Read more…]

May 2016 20 Questions: Grant Sussey, Watertown Airport

Growth in full flight

Watertown International Airport manager Grant W. Sussey talks about several projects in his office at the county-managed airport. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Watertown International Airport manager Grant W. Sussey talks about several projects in his office at the county-managed airport. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Sussey: Watertown Airport on pace as driving force for region’s economy

Serving as Watertown International Airport’s first airport manager, Grant W. Sussey, stepped into the role during a period of extensive growth involving substantial projects like the runway extension and an addition on the airport’s terminal to make space for TSA checkpoints. He sat down with us this month to discuss the continued success of the airport’s operations and plans to transform it into a future economic driver of the region. [Read more…]

March 2016 20 Questions: Colleen O’Neill, Jefferson County Sheriff

An agent of change

Jefferson County Sheriff Colleen M. O’Neill reflects on her first year in office at the Sheriff’s Office last month. She is the first woman ever elected to a sheriff’s office in New York State history. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Jefferson County Sheriff Colleen M. O’Neill reflects on her first year in office at the Sheriff’s Office last month. She is the first woman ever elected to a sheriff’s office in New York State history. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

For state’s first woman elected sheriff, spotlight is best shone on staff, deputies

After only two years of retirement from the New York State Police, an agency where she spent 32 years, Colleen M. O’Neill returned to law enforcement as Jefferson County’s and New York State’s first woman elected as sheriff. She sat down with us to share the experience of her first year in office, the challenges the Jefferson County sheriff’s office faces and what it means to lead as a woman in a historically male-dominated field. [Read more…]

February 2016 20 Questions: John L. Blevins, Blevins Motors

Rolling with Change

John L. Blevins, Blevins Motors owner and general manager, Potsdam, talks about challenges and opportunities the auto industry faces as vehicles become more efficient with advanced technology. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

John L. Blevins, Blevins Motors owner and general manager, Potsdam, talks about challenges and opportunities the auto industry faces as vehicles become more efficient with advanced technology. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

For Blevins Motors owner, automotive industry is one innovation after another

Forty-seven years after Leland Blevins opened his standalone Dodge dealership, Blevins Motors, Inc., has transformed through decades of change in the auto industry to a multi-brand dealership with an eye for new prospects, including an RV dealership and partnering with Farmers Insurance to open Blevins Insurance Agency. Owner and general manager of Blevins Motors, Inc., John L. Blevins, sat down with us to discuss the evolution of the auto industry and how local dealerships can succeed in a highly competitive, shifting landscape. [Read more…]

January 2016 20 Questions: Joseph M. Butler Jr., City of Watertown

Charting a new course

Joseph M. Butler Jr., talks about his vision for Watertown during an interview in the conference room at his Community Bank office on the eve of his swearing-in as mayor of the City of Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Joseph M. Butler Jr., talks about his vision for Watertown during an interview in the conference room at his Community Bank office on the eve of his swearing-in as mayor of the City of Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. shares his
vision for a city that celebrates its victories

On the eve of his swearing-in as mayor of Watertown, Joseph M. Butler Jr. is decidedly optimistic about the city’s future while talking about its challenges. In short order, he hopes to see a city where people talk more about “our victories over drugs opposed to our defeats.” He also envisions a downtown “that flourishes morning, noon, afternoon and evening.” After serving two terms as a city councilman, the 48-year-old financial advisor took the same oath of office on Jan. 1 that his father, Joseph M. Butler Sr., took in 2000. We sat down with the young mayor hours before he began a new four-year term, taking the reins from the same man the elder Mr. Butler defeated in 1999 to become mayor. [Read more…]

November 2015 20 Questions: James W. Wright, DANC

Regional solutions at work

Development Authority of the North Country executive director James W. “Jim” Wright talkes about the Authority’s 30-year history in his office at the Dulles State Office Building, Watertown. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Development Authority of the North Country executive director James W. “Jim” Wright talkes about the Authority’s 30-year history in his office at the Dulles State Office Building, Watertown. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

30 years later, DANC develops tools for success

A landfill hauler dumps trash at a regional solid waste management
facility. Workers install new fiber-optic cable for a high-speed telecommunications line. An entrepreneur acquires a loan to start a seasonal resort.

Those are but a few activities in Northern New York made possible by the Development Authority of the North Country, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. The authority has seen many growing pains since it was established in June 1985 by the state Legislature, finding numerous ways to contract with municipalities and residents across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. On the occasion of 30 years of service, we sat down with DANC Executive Director James W. “Jim” Wright to learn more about his agency’s mission and its future. [Read more…]

October 2015 20 Questions: On Leadership

On leadership

Lessons and advice from north country leaders

Since NNY Business began publishing monthly in December 2010, we have featured a wide-ranging, in-depth interview with a different north country business or leader 11 times a year, skipping December for our 20 Under 40 emerging leaders issue. Our 54 featured interviews to date have not been limited to the for-profit sector. We’ve sat down with nonprofit and not-for-profit leaders, and educational and health care leaders. The 20 questions that follow are the best of leadership from nearly five years of interviews. [Read more…]

September 2015 20 Questions: Erin E. Gardner, Superintendent, parks and recreation department, City of Watertown

A vision for parks & rec

City of Watertown Parks and Recreation Superintendent Erin E. Gardner reflects on her three-year tenure last month in her temporary office at the Watertown Fairgrounds off Coffeen Street. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

City of Watertown Parks and Recreation Superintendent Erin E. Gardner reflects on her three-year tenure last month in her temporary office at the Watertown Fairgrounds off Coffeen Street. Photos by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

After three years, excitement still stirs in city’s parks chief

When Erin E. Gardner transitioned from executive director of a senior living residence to superintendent of parks and recreation for the city of Watertown in April 2012, her new job came with a few surprises. Since that time, Mrs. Gardner has worked to improve the department’s relationship with the community and make a positive impact on the area. This month, she sat down with NNY Business to discuss the work she’s done, the state of local projects such as the city arena and dog park, and her vision for parks and recreation. [Read more…]