VOICE Newsletter

January 2015

Chamber Recognizes Graham, Board, and Staff

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce 2014 Annual Meeting was a celebration of a year of successes as well as the people who make our community and organization tick.

We were pleased to be able to recognize Ron Graham with the third annual Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award.  Ron is responsible for founding both Chautauqua Striders and Infinity Visual & Performing Arts.  Originally from Corinth, Mississippi, Ron came to Jamestown in his youth and Mississippi’s loss was Chautauqua County’s gain.  During our Annual Meeting, Ron shared his stories of the people who influenced his early years as he spent most days after school at the Jamestown YMCA. 

The Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award recognizes an individual who has worked hard to bring groups of people together around a common goal or objective.  The award is presented to someone who has helped move the region forward in a positive direction through collaboration and by building partnerships.  It is especially focused on those who have done their work consistently and often in the background. 

Ron made his points clear when talking about his work with youth over the years.  He said, “Listen to the kids.  They will tell you what they want and what they need.” 

It was an honor for us to present the award to Ron Graham.

During the Annual Meeting we also presented a certificate to Paul Zebraski, formerly of Carriage House/ConAgra and now of Nestle Purina PetCare.  Paul has served for many years on the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, working tirelessly behind the scenes for the good of our organization.  In this case, we are not letting him go too far.  While he is stepping away from the Chamber board, Paul has agreed to join the board of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier.  In this new capacity he will continue to serve the business community beyond Chautauqua County.

We also congratulate Jim Pullan, Dennis Rak, Ann Abdella, Jay Warren, Ken Shearer, Curt Anderson, Virginia Horvath, and Larry Ludemann for their continued efforts on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, and welcome our newest board member, Brian Bugaj of Nestle Purina.

As the leader of an organization like the Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association you are only as good as the people around you.  Over my past six years with the Chamber people have come and gone and I have learned that there are some key personality traits of people who are successful in this work:  belief in the mission, dedication to the cause, a willingness to go above and beyond expectations, the ability collaborate and work in a team environment, kindness, honesty, and loyalty.  For the past ten years, Guy Ditonto has been all of those things for the Chamber.  We recognized his decade of service with a special basket of gifts that represent Chautauqua County, and we look forward to working with Guy for years to come.

The update on the National Center for Comedy presented by Journey Gunderson and Tom Benson was important information for our business community and provided an excellent overview of the project.  The Lucy-Desi Museum and Center for Comedy is fortunate to have such dedicated staff and board people, who not only envisioned a plan for the future, but have worked tirelessly to make it a reality.  The $1.5-million grant from the state announced recently will make a substantial contribution to the project.

New Year Brings New Opportunity

Written by Todd J. Tranum, President & CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

As we cast our vision into 2015 it brings both hope and a sense of opportunity. The year 2015 is significant for the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier. The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will celebrate fifteen years of building an improved business environment in the county and the Manufacturers Association will celebrate one hundred and fifteen years of promoting manufacturing excellence in the region. The organizations have established a strong foundation in the community and region. It is from that strong foundation that these organizations work collaboratively with over 1,000 businesses, various partner organizations, elected officials and individuals who share a common vision to improve our communities. Over 100 volunteers are involved in the work of the Chamber and Manufacturers Association. The energy of our volunteers combined with the investment of our members and a hard working staff makes entering a new year exciting. In 2015 we will grow upon the strategies and programming that have made our organizations a difference maker in the community.

We strive to drive foot traffic into our member businesses. To that end we will focus on growing our successful Restaurant Week, Small Business Saturday, and Chamber’s Gift check programs.  Each year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and our six affiliated Community Chambers in Dunkirk, Fredonia, Hanover, Jamestown, Mayville-Chautauqua and Westfield-Barcelona hold more than 100 events.  Each of these events and the publicity surrounding them helps to boost business in our county and our communities.  We specifically design events that make a difference for businesses:  to bring in new customers, let business people get to know one another, promote businesses, and showcase unique venues and products right here in our county.

We will continue to help our members increase sales by creating opportunities for business to business contacts and business to consumer interactions. We will build upon the success of our networking events, expand our social media presence, and leverage our online presence. Through our web site, on-line membership directory, calls and walk-ins to our office our members have been viewed or received referrals over 2.4 million times in 2014.

Access to cost competitive health insurance remains very important to our members. In serving them we are driven by mission, not commissions, therefore we work to identify the best health insurance options for our members and their employee needs. We were the first in Chautauqua County and in the region to deploy a private insurance exchange called Bright Choices several years ago. Introducing this technology early positioned our organization and our members for the changes that have occurred with the Affordable Care Act. Today we not only offer a private insurance exchange platform but we are also able to help members analyze and access plans within the New York State of Health insurance exchange.

Our members not only get access to a variety of insurance plans, but also receive local customer service and support.
We remain a unified voice advocating for a business environment in the region where our businesses can thrive. A major part of our advocacy effort is focused on reducing taxes. We will continue to be a strong voice advocating for government efficiency, consolidation, shared services and growth of the tax base. In addition, we will remain a strong advocate for economic development projects that enhance our region and infrastructure investments that provide the necessary foundation for business growth.

A key component to the success of our region is our workforce. The Chamber and MAST have pro-actively addressed the challenges being faced by businesses that are struggling to find a skilled workforce to fill job openings. We will continue to expand on the successes of the Dream It Do It manufacturing career initiative that has reached over 15,000 school age kids in Chautauqua County. Through these outreach efforts we are communicating opportunities and training pathways that exist right here in our community. Through the Chautauqua County Education Coalition we strive to align resources and build capabilities to meet evolving workforce requirements in our community. Our collective focus through a broad group of community stakeholders is to benchmark and improve kindergarten readiness and identify and develop middle school to high school career pathways that connect to the health care and manufacturing economy. The Coalition has brought together over 30 organizations in the community around our common goals.

Our view for the New Year is bright as we build upon the initiatives designed to enhance Chamber/MAST membership and seek additional opportunities for partnerships in our communities.  All of this work happens because of the people right here in our county:  people who tackle challenges, work hard, and see ways to improve our quality of life.  If you are not already a member, we invite you to join us in 2015 and to share in the positive energy of our business community.  You can learn more on our website at www.chautauquachamber.org  or give us a call at 484-1101 or 366-6200.
We wish you a year of health, happiness, and prosperity ahead!

I Love CHQ Video Contest

Whether you are a year-round resident or a part-time visitor to Chautauqua County, you can show off what you love about our county in the I Love CHQ Film Contest which opens January 1.  The Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau is running the contest through its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Tour.Chautauqua.  Videos can be uploaded any time, and voting began January 1.

The I Love CHQ Challenge will consist of four contest periods during 2015. The first contest runs from January 1 through March 31.  Videos should be 1½ to 3 minutes long and based on one of the following five categories:  Local Flavors, Outdoors and Recreation, Living Here, Working Here, and Arts, Culture, History and Education.  Videos can be submitted through the app on the CCVB Facebook page.  Once they are displayed in the contest gallery, participants can share their work and solicit votes. Those with the highest number of online votes will be reviewed by a judging committee to determine final winners for each contest period.  A $250 cash prize will be awarded to the winner of each of the five suggested categories per contest period. All of the prize winners from the four contests will also be eligible for a $1,000 grand prize at the end of the final contest period.  Complete terms and conditions are available online. 

Jamestown Chamber and Young Professionals to Hold Mixer

The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce and the Jamestown Young Professionals invite you to participate in their first ever joint Networking Event, this Wednesday, January 14.  This event will be held at Shawbucks, 212 West Second Street from 5:30-7:00pm. 

Established in the spring of 2015, the Jamestown Young Professionals group is dedicated to providing opportunities for peers to connect, grow personally and professionally, give back to the community, and enjoy life in the Greater Jamestown area.  The Community Chamber members, their guests and the public are invited to attend.
There is no cost to attend this event.  There will be complimentary appetizers and a cash bar.  There will be door prizes and sponsor opportunities.  For more information, contact Jamestown Community Chamber Coordinator Jason Toczydlowski at jtocz@chautauquachamber.org.  Advanced registration is encouraged through the Chamber website at www.chautauquachamber.org or by phone at 484-1101.  Walks-ins are also welcome.

Doors Open Jamestown is January 17

Doors Open Jamestown is an annual event sponsored by the Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce.  It’s a FREE ADMISSIONS day at a number of museums and attractions in the Jamestown area.  Attractions participating this year are:  Busti Grist Mill, Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, Fenton History Center, Infinity Visual & Performing Arts, James Prendergast Library, Jamestown Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Jamestown Gateway Train Station, Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, Lucile M. Wright Air Museum, Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy, Lucille Ball Little Theater, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, Robert H. Jackson Center, Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History.  Many of the attractors will also offer specials in their gift shops during Doors Open Jamestown, and many local restaurants will be open with specials offered for customers that day as well.  We encourage you to become a tourist in your hometown with Doors Open Jamestown!

Dunkirk Chamber to Hold Awards Annual Luncheon

The Dunkirk Community Chamber of Commerce will hold its Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, January 21 at Katarina’s, upstairs over Demetri’s on the Lake at 6 Lakeshore Drive West. Registration begins at 11:30am.  This year’s award winners are:  Business of the Year, Tim Horton’s Coffee and Bake Shop; Rookie Business of the Year, Bart’s Cove; Years of Membership Award, Big Rick Inc. - One Stop Food Mart; and the Community Service Award, Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association.

Dunkirk Community Chamber Board officers for the coming year will be President, John D’Agostino, OBSERVER; Vice President, Michael Pease, The Chautauqua Center; Secretary, Meredith Patton, OBSERVER; and Treasurer, Ellen Luczkowiak, First Niagara.

The cost to attend is $15, payable at the door.  You can RSVP through the online events calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org, or by calling the Chamber at 366-6200.

Save the Date - Fredonia Chamber Annual Meeting

The Fredonia Community Chamber of Commerce will hold its Annual Election and Awards Banquet on Thursday, February 5 at The White Inn, 52 East Main Street.  A cocktail hour will begin at 5:30, with dinner at 6:30.  Watch for additional details coming soon about this event!

Mayville Chamber Presents Business Improvement Award

Andriaccio’s Restaurant of Mayville, New York, is the recipient of the Mayville/Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Business Improvement Award.  Chamber President Ken Shearer presented the award to business owners Nick and Sally Andriaccio at the Chamber’s Annual Banquet & Meeting held November 18, 2014 at Andriaccio’s Restaurant.

The restaurant, located one-quarter of a mile down the road from the Chautauqua Institution on Route 394, has a beautifully renovated interior as well as now sporting a newly constructed outside patio.  They have plans for a Santa’s Workshop for children taking place on the lower level of the patio and an ice skating rink on the upper level.  For information on these special events, please call Andriaccio’s Restaurant at (716) 753-5200 for all of the details. 

Mayville Chamber Recognizes Community Service

The Chautauqua Children’s Safety Education Village located adjacent to the Hewes Educational Facility (BOCES) in Ashville is the recipient of the 2014 Community Service Award presented by the Mayville/Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce at their Annual Banquet & Meeting on November 18th at Andriaccio’s Restaurant, Mayville, NY.  Chamber President Ken Shearer presented the award to the Safety Village’s Executive Director, Terri Kindberg, who accepted the award on behalf of Children’s Safety Village.  The Children’s Safety Village has been open since the fall of 2010, with over 13,000 children having visited the Village to learn about fire, traffic and bike safety.  In addition, they also offer first aid, CPR, and AED training for both students and the local community.  This is truly an educational program that makes a huge difference in the lives of the children who attend, as well as their families.

St. Bonaventure Receives Major NSF Grant for STEM Recruitment

The National Science Foundation has awarded St. Bonaventure University almost $600,000 to help recruit talented students interested in science, technology, engineering and math for fall 2015.

The five-year grant of $594,287 allows the university to provide more need-based aid to talented students who might not otherwise be able to attend St. Bonaventure.

“While we have no way to consider all the variables contained within the FAFSA determination, we would anticipate that most students whose family income is below $175,000 annually would demonstrate need,” said Troy Martin, director of financial aid.

Martin urged prospective students to file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible, and no later than Feb. 15. Students should also apply for admission to the university by Feb. 15, he said.

“This award expresses significant peer recognition by NSF and is a testament to the collaborative vision of faculty, administration and staff in sustained excellence at St. Bonaventure University in STEM education,” said Dr. Wolfgang Natter, former dean of the School of Arts & Sciences.

The grant proposal didn’t simply ask for money to support recruitment of STEM students, but laid out a comprehensive framework that detailed how the students would achieve success at St. Bonaventure.

Titled “Discovery Within Community,” the program’s primary objective is to recruit for the fall 2015 freshman class a cohort of 25 academically talented students with financial need to the biology, chemistry, computer science, math, and physics programs.

But its secondary objective is to enhance STEM support services to improve academic performance and increase student retention rates.

Key components of the plan include housing the students together to form a learning community; taking several core-area courses together; and taking a special STEM course that explores the multidisciplinary character of 21st century scientific discovery.

The grant proposal cited research that a cohort model and sharing classes and a residence hall improve the educational experience, said Dr. Peter Schneible, O.F.M., assistant professor of biology.

“St. Bonaventure has always taken seriously its role as a mentoring community so this program is a perfect fit for us,” said Schneible, who will serve as principal investigator and oversee administration of the program.

Most of the grant money will be dedicated to financial aid, but a small amount will be allotted to cover conference travel of the student fellows, small stipends for the program coordinators, and payments for STEM tutors through the university’s Teaching and Learning Center.

The program will also provide field trips to companies and connect students to internship and job placement opportunities. Critical elements of the program are the internship and career pathways involving local businesses and companies, Natter said.

“GOACC is honored to partner with St. Bonaventure to connect science and technology majors with area employers for internships and experiential learning,” said Larry Sorokes, CEO of Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce. “Facilitating career-development opportunities for young people is a critical element in our economic development strategy, and this new program is an excellent example of business-education collaboration.”
STEM faculty also will engage students in collaborative research, lead trips to STEM conferences, and encourage students to present at these conferences and publish in academic journals.

The program’s ultimate objective is to ensure that at least 90 percent of the students who graduate from the program in four years will secure employment with a STEM employer or enter a STEM graduate school program.

A symposium will connect fellows with STEM professionals and introduce students to career opportunities. Students also will participate in career and graduate school preparatory activities coordinated by St. Bonaventure’s Career and Professional Readiness Center.

The grant proposal said St. Bonaventure exemplified Ernest Boyer’s principles of community in higher education: purposeful community, open community, just community, disciplined community, caring community, and celebrative community.

“This DWC program will build on this heritage and specifically enhance it for students in the STEM fields,” Schneible said.
Dr. Steve Andrianoff (computer science), Dr. David Hilmey (chemistry), Dr. Doug Cashing (mathematics), and Dr. Jerry Kiefer (physics) will serve as co-principal investigators and help Schneible manage and support the program.
For more information on the DWC program, contact Schneible at schneibl@sbu.edu, or (716) 375-2538.



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