Winter Film Festival Success

STEPHEN SWOFFORD / NNY BUSINESS
The board of directors for the Snowtown Film Festival (from left) Marc Knapp, President, Steve Hunt, Member, Kylie Peck, Treasurer, Jason Maurer, Vice President, and Terry Brennen, Secretary.

Snowtown Film Festival sells record number of tickets drawing large crowds to downtown Watertown

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North Country Downtown Development Builds New Opportunity

 

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY Business
Gary Beasley, director of Neighbors of Watertown, explains the layout and reconstruction of the commercial space in the former Empsall’s Building.

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Community is their Business: Watertown Hardware store celebrates 25 years

JUSTIN SORENSEN / NNY BUSINESS
Mike Stratton Sr., left, and Mike Stratton Jr. are marking the 25th anniversary of Stratton Hardware on Washington Street across from Watertown High School.

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Telemedicine use spreading in NNY

Charles Wainwright – Wainwright Photo
A doctor at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse communicates in 2016 with a patient using telemedicine technology.Use of the technology in the north country has grown exponentially over the past three years.

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Flux in Canadian dollar impacts NNY economy

STEPHEN SWOFFORD / NNY BUSINESS
Gary DeYoung, executive director of the Thousand Islands International Tourism Council, stands in front of the Thousand Islands Bridge.

Despite exchange rate IMbalance between U.S. and Canadian dollar businesses maintain vision towards continued economic partnership

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Razing raises hope for future: Officials celebrate demolition at former J&L site in Star Lake

JASON HUNTER n/ WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES  Jerry Noseworthy, an employee for Dan’s Hauling & Demolition, sprays water on a building as it’s demolished at the J&L site Nov. 23 in Star Lake. The water helps to control asbestos fibers from going airborne, as the excavator tears down the building.

JASON HUNTER n/ WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
Jerry Noseworthy, an employee for Dan’s Hauling & Demolition, sprays water on a building as it’s demolished at the J&L site Nov. 23 in Star Lake. The water helps to control asbestos fibers from going airborne, as the excavator tears down the building.

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Under the ‘Rainbow’: Restoration franchise latest venture for seasoned business couple

STEPHEN SWOFFORD / NNY Business Sissy and Michael Colello, owners of Rainbow Restoration.

STEPHEN SWOFFORD / NNY Business
Seasoned business owners Sissy and Michael Colello bought Watertown Rainbow Restoration franchise in April 2015. Mr. Colello was previously a partner with his father and brother in Frontenac Crystal Springs water.

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A natural way of life: Adirondack beef Co. started to provide healthy food for family

From left, Adirondack Beef Co. owners and operators, Michele Ledoux, son, Jake, 20, a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, studying international agriculture and rural development; daughter, Camille, 17, a student at Beaver River High School and a member of the FFA, and husband Steve, co-owner.

From left, Adirondack Beef Co. owners and operators, Michele Ledoux, son, Jake, 20, a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, studying international agriculture and rural development; daughter, Camille, 17, a student at Beaver River High School and a member of the FFA, and husband Steve, co-owner.

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An investment in family

Risk management, trust keys to success for financial firm 

STEPHEN SWOFFORD n NNY BUSINESS From left Nico, Tony, and Michael Morgia, with PJ Banazek from the Morgia Group in Watertown.

STEPHEN SWOFFORD n NNY BUSINESS
From left Nico, Tony, and Michael Morgia, with PJ Banazek from the Morgia Group in Watertown.

By NORAH MACHIA
NNY Business

The extended Morgia family in Watertown has been known to many north country residents for years as financial and estate planning experts, offering investment advisory services and asset management.

Anthony Morgia, 78, Michael A. Morgia, 50, and Phillip “P.J.” Banazek, 51, all serve as managing directors and partners of The Morgia Group of HighTower Advisors LLC, 151 Mullin St.

A third generation has entered the family business as well. This past spring, Nico Morgia, 25, who is the son of Michael Morgia, joined the firm as a client service associate.

All four men graduated from LeMoyne College, Syracuse — Tony Morgia in 1960; Michael Morgia and Phillip Banazek in 1988; and Nico Morgia in 2013.

The three managing directors and partners left the Watertown office of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney five years ago. The Morgia Group, a standalone investment advisory firm, then affiliated with the Chicago-based HighTower Advisors.

In 2011, they constructed a new 3,500-square-foot office on Mullin Street.

Nico Morgia, who worked as an intern at the family business during college, joined the firm this past spring after working at the Bank of New York Mellon.

“I liked the idea of being around my family and working with them,” he said. “I’m actually more comfortable that my bosses are my family.”

“I have no problem asking questions or giving my opinion,” he added.

That’s the type of workplace atmosphere that Tony Morgia, who started in the portfolio management field in 1968, has tried to promote in the family business for years.

“At some point, everyone has to feel part of the business” said Tony Morgia. “Each generation can mentor the next.”

Part of working together as a family involves mandatory meetings, which also include staff, and “everyone is free to say something and offer their opinion,” he said.

“We must be willing to see both sides of an issue,” Tony Morgia said. “But we must still keep the main focus on the client. We put the client first because we have a fiduciary relationship with the client.”

It was 20 years after Tony Morgia began his portfolio management career that his son, Michael Morgia, joined him. Approximately 15 years later, they recruited Mr. Banazek to their team.

Mr. Banazek is related to the Morgia family through marriage. In 1994, he married Tony Morgia’s daughter, Jennifer, who is also a LeMoyne College graduate.

Despite being at LeMoyne at the same time as Michael Morgia, the two men did not meet in college. Mr. Banazek actually met his future wife through a friend of the Morgia family.

Mr. Banazek had spent 13 years working as a certified public accountant for a Syracuse firm before he joiend The Morgia Group.

“Mike and I were looking for a partner, and we wrote down 10 names and started crossing them off,” said Tony Morgia. “P.J. was the only one left on the list.”

But “we didn’t want him to feel pressured, so we decided to just mention in passing that we were planning to hire someone,” said Tony Morgia.

The strategy worked, and Mr. Banazek and his wife relocated to the north country.

“This is one of the best places to raise a family,” Mr. Banazek said.

Having three partners with different backgrounds and areas of expertise is a huge benefit for the client, he said.

“We each have our own skills that we can share with clients,” Mr. Banazek said.

Mike Morgia, who started in the business right after the stock market crash of 1987, said he made an arrangement with his father to try it out for two years, and then re-evaluate his decision.

Both father and son decided it was the right one.

“You need to have very open communication when working with family,” said Mike Morgia. “And you must set expectations at the beginning.”

“Our No. 1 philosophy is risk control,” he added.

While Tony Morgia said “I love the business and plan to continue working,” he also noted, “I don’t want to be the quarterback.”

“I’ve been mentoring, but Mike and P.J. are now setting the direction,” he said. “It was not a difficult decision on my part. I knew their capabilities, and that they would run this business efficiently, and would run it right.”

A sibling ‘rivalry’

For three north country families, the bonds that lead to success in business began as brotherly

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY Business CAPTION Lyndaker Timber Harvest, Croghan, is run by brothers, from left, Wade, Travis, Cody, and Matt.

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY Business
Lyndaker Timber Harvest, Croghan, is run by brothers, from left, Wade, Travis, Cody, and Matt.

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