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…]

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…]