John Marino has spent almost all of his 58 years on Long Island.
But when his daughter took a job in the area and he became a grandfather, Rochester began looking more and more like home.
Marino began work Feb. 19 as manager of the U.S. Small Business Administration office in Rochester. He replaced Victoria Reynolds, a Batavia resident who took a job as deputy director at the SBA’s district office in Buffalo, which oversees the Rochester branch.
Reynolds replaced her former supervisor, Robert Novak, who retired as deputy district director in 2007.
“Knowing Victoria for the short time I have, I think our philosophies are similar,” said Marino, who graduated from the New York Institute of Technology with a degree in accounting.
He came to Rochester from the SBA’s New York City office where, as the lead business development specialist, he was responsible for delivering SBA programs to 14 downstate counties.
The Rochester office, like SBA offices nationwide, provides small businesses with opportunities to access credit, loans and government contracting opportunities.
It works with the Service Corps of Retired Executives, an independent organization of business volunteers who provide free consulting and low-cost training to small-business clients.
It also is affiliated with the Small Business Development Center at SUNY College at Brockport.
“We are advocates for small business,” Marino said. “We want to make a difference, enabling small businesses to get the resources they need. Our SCORE counselors do a tremendous job (downstate). I’m sure they will continue to do that up here.”
The local SBA office signed off on 530 government-backed 7(a) loans totaling $56 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. It approved 40 504 loans for fixed-asset acquisitions such as real estate or equipment totaling $21.7 million.
“Providing capital for free,” he said of the loan programs, “you can’t beat it.”
The funding comes from participating financial institutions, in consultation with the SBA, which guarantees repayment of the loans.
The SBA’s Rochester office began in 1972 as a limited-service operation providing information on programs and services. It was upgraded to a branch office in 1989 as part of the Buffalo district office.
Marino has been with the SBA since 1992. Prior to that, he was a private accountant and was a controller with a Long Island-based engineering firm. He also spent four years in the U.S. Navy.
“We are happy to have a seasoned SBA professional take over the reins in our Rochester office,” said Franklin Sciortino, the Buffalo office’s district director.
Marino welcomed the chance to come to Rochester when Reynolds, who joined the SBA in Rochester in 1990, took the job in Buffalo. Marino’s 32-year-old daughter, Heather, lives in Perinton with her husband and 2-year-old daughter, and is expecting her second child in May. The Rochester Institute of Technology graduate works in clinical research for Novo Nordisk A/S.
Marino is looking for a place to live downtown, not far from the Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building on State Street, where the SBA’s Rochester office is located. He is encouraged by what he has seen since coming to the area.
An adjustment, however, may be the weather, he said.
“It was kind of mild when I left,” he said of his former home. “We do get some cold days. But for the most part, being close to the ocean, Long Island has a very temperate climate. … I think it’s about 10 degrees colder up here. But I’m getting used to it.”
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02/29/08 (C) Rochester Business Journal