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…]

August 2015 20 Questions: David B. Acker, St. Lawrence Health System and Canton-Potsdam Hospital

A vision for rural health care

St. Lawrence Health System president and CEO David B. Acker talks about health care reform at his Potsdam office. Photo by Melanie Kimbler-Lago, NNY Business.

St. Lawrence Health System president and CEO David B. Acker talks about health care reform at his Potsdam office. Photo by Melanie Kimbler-Lago, NNY Business.

David Acker, St. Lawrence Health CEO sets pace to improve system

The north country’s health care system has undergone major changes in the recent years, from provider consolidations to the complex reforms mandated by the federal Affordable Care Act that address efficiencies with an emphasis on prevention. For our annual health care issue, St. Lawrence Health System and Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s CEO David B. Acker sat down to discuss what health care reform means for the dozens of rural communities in St. Lawrence County and beyond, how new models for the delivery of care are morphing and his goals for his organization’s future. [Read more…]

July 2015 20 Questions: Ronald C. Robbins, North Harbor Dairy

Farming for the future

Ronald C.  “Ron” Robbins talks about the future of the agriculture industry in Northern New York. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

Ronald C. “Ron” Robbins talks about the future of the agriculture industry in Northern New York. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

Diversification, technology, keys to success at North Harbor Dairy

Ronald C. Robbins knew he wanted to be in the agriculture business by the time he was 7. Today, he runs a farm that’s home to more than 1,000 cows, about 7,000 acres of farmland, a visitor’s education center that’s open to the public and more. This month, he talked with NNY Business about what it’s like to work on a family farm, technological advancements that have allowed the industry to bolster efficiencies and the future of agriculture in the north country. [Read more…]

June 2015 20 Questions: Robert J. Giordano Jr., Bassmaster Elite Series

Leveraging natural resources

Photos by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

Photos by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Waddington, St. Lawrence River

Robert J. Giordano Jr. is retired, technically. But anyone who knows him knows that not entirely true. His attention is deeply devoted to two passion: community and fishing. Mr. Giordano is a board member of FISHCAP and the New York State Fish Advisory Board, a fisherman himself and the event coordinator for the Bassmaster Elite series. He is also the president of Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures. This month, he sat down to give us the details of the upcoming Bassmaster Elite series and discuss its impact on veterans, children and the north country community. [Read more…]

May 2015 20 Questions: Jeffrey L. Proulx, Save-A-Lot

Behind a value brand

Save-A-Lot franchisee and store owner Jeffrey L. Proulx in his Canton corporate office and training center. Photo by Melanie Kimbler-Lago, NNY Business.

Save-A-Lot franchisee and store owner Jeffrey L. Proulx in his Canton corporate office and training center. Photo by Melanie Kimbler-Lago, NNY Business.

For Save-A-Lot franchisee, focus on quality, service sets stores apart

Jeffrey L. Proulx owns eight Save-A-Lot grocery stores across the north country and Southern Tier. He employs about 180 people. He’s been in the business for more than 25 years, and his father was a grocer before him. One might say he has grocery business in his blood. This month, Mr. Proulx gave us a look into the industry, dispelled a few Save-A-Lot myths and shared his secrets for success. [Read more…]

April 2015 20 Questions: Rick Caskinette, Caskinette’s Ford

Turning the right keys

From left, sons Jameson, Jess and Craig Caskinette with father Richard B. “Rick” in the showroom  of Caskinette’s Ford, Carthage. The three sons work in the family auto dealership. Photo by Norm Johnston, NNY Business.

From left, sons Jameson, Jess and Craig Caskinette with father Richard B. “Rick” in the showroom
of Caskinette’s Ford, Carthage. The three sons work in the family auto dealership. Photo by Norm Johnston, NNY Business.

Rick Caskinette on family, Ford and what it takes to build a successful brand

Nearly 20 years ago, in 1996, Richard B. “Rick” Caskinette closed the largest deal of his professional career when he purchased Lofink Ford Mercury, which had operated under a well-established family name in Carthage since 1929. In the nearly two decades since, the Ford franchise has blossomed as a respected competitor, expanding to make room for an auto collision and detail center and, down the road, Caskinette’s RV. We spoke with Rick as sons Craig, 30, and twins Jameson and Jess, 22, who graduate from SUNY Oswego next month, settle in to jobs at the family business. [Read more…]

March 2015 20 Questions: Cathy M. Pircsuk, WWNY-TV 7 and WNYF-FOX 28

One more story to tell

Cathy M. Pircsuk, WWNY-TV7 and WNYF FOX 28, talks about her plans after retirement in her office. Photos by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Cathy M. Pircsuk, WWNY-TV7 and WNYF FOX 28, talks about her plans after retirement in her office. Photos by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

After 36 years, veteran broadcaster, manager Cathy Pircsuk eyes retirement

In January 1979, a 23-year-old Cathy M. Pircsuk left an adventure that took her from her St. Lawrence County hometown of Norfolk to Columbia, Mo., and Atlanta, returned to her native north country, and began a 36-year climb through the ranks at the local TV station, WWNY-TV7. Since, she’s held nearly every job in news. She will retire as the station’s general manager in June after almost 20 years leading Channel 7 through technological change and a vastly different media marketplace. We sat down with her as she reflected on what she’s learned and what she’ll miss when she signs off. [Read more…]