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Chamber names Rochester’s Top 100 companies

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday announced the 2021 Top 100 list of the fastest-growing, privately-owned companies in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region.

The Chamber, with KPMG LLP and presenting sponsor ESL Federal Credit Union, will reveal the 35th annual rankings during an in-person celebration at the Joseph R. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center on Nov. 4.

“The Greater Rochester Chamber Top 100 program serves as the perfect illustration that Rochester has indeed moved from a company town of a few major employers to a place made up of industry from every sector,” said Chamber President and CEO Bob Duffy. “This year we are excited to see a strong cross-section of well-established companies and startups competing for a coveted spot on the list. The 2021 Greater Rochester Chamber Top 100 companies employ close to 67,000 people and reported total revenue of over $14 billion in the most recent fiscal year. The economic impact generated by these businesses has real and lasting influence on our community, and we are proud to have them in our region.”

The annual list is presented alphabetically and includes companies in numerous industries, from commercial printing to transportation to manufacturing and more.

To be eligible for the Greater Rochester Chamber Top 100 program, companies must be privately owned, headquartered in the nine-county Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region and have earned at least $1 million in revenue in each of the three most recent fiscal years. The Greater Rochester Chamber Top 100 rankings are calculated based on revenue, considering both dollar and percentage growth. Individual company revenue information is held confidential.

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Chamber IGNITE finalists chosen

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Inc. has named 13 finalists for its 3rd Annual Greater Rochester Chamber IGNITE Award.

The IGNITE Award recognizes a young professional, 21 to 40 years old, for leadership, community service and personal and professional achievements. The award is intended to recognize and celebrate Rochester’s young leaders who serve as positive influences in advancing the community.

• Jamie Bucci, Project Architect/Associate, SWBR Architects & Engineers P.C.
• Amanda Burns, Partner, Ward Greenberg Heller & Reidy
• Emily Cohen, Senior Associate, Harter Secrest & Emery LLP
• Chelsea Conway, CEO and President, Conway Beam Truck Group
• Veronica Dasher, Regional Manager – Government and Community Relations, RG&E
• Sheila Dunne, Co-Founder and President, Dunne Goodwin
• Jeremiah Gryczka, Founder and CEO, Mountain House Media LLC
• Jennifer Hungate, Vice President, Robert F. Hyland and Sons LLC
• Justin F. Marcus, Quality Improvement Business Partner, Wegmans Food Markets Inc.
• Megan Rinaudo, Financial Advisor, Thorley Wealth Management Inc.
• Jessica Wade, Project Architect/Associate, SWBR
• Mary Karen Webber, Founder/President of Webber CPA LLC and Founder/CEO of FraudFindrTM
• Ryan Zegarelli, Project Architect/Associate, SWBR Architects & Engineers P.C.

A selection committee consisting of a diverse group of professional leaders from the Rochester and Finger Lakes business community determined the finalists based upon submitted nominations.

“This year’s IGNITE finalists exemplify the strong, powerful and community-minded generation of young leaders that is emerging in every corner of Greater Rochester,” said Rochester Chamber President and CEO Bob Duffy. “We are proud that the IGNITE Award recognizes those that have lit a spark which continues to burn brightly within our community. Through professional success, service and leadership, these young people are making our region a better place. We look forward to celebrating all that they have and will continue to achieve.”

Registration for the in-person Aug. 11 event at Genesee Valley Club, featuring a keynote address from 2020 IGNITE Award winner Nicole VanGorder, can be found at

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Sandra Parker, former Rochester Business Alliance leader, dies

Sandra Parker
Sandra Parker

Longtime business and community leader Sandra Parker died over the weekend, following a short battle with cancer. She was 75.

During her lengthy career in Rochester, Ms. Parker led the Industrial Management Council, which in 2003 merged with the Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce to become the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. Instrumental in that merger, Parker served as CEO of the RBA from 2005 until her retirement in 2013.

As president of the IMC, Ms. Parker co-founded Unshackle Upstate, a bipartisan pro-taxpayer coalition that lobbies Albany on behalf of business owners in the Upstate New York region, which officially took off in 2006. She also helped convene the Fair Share Coalition to seek parity in state aid for Rochester, an initiative that grew into the Rochester Community Coalition.

Ms. Parker also led the merger of the RBA with the Rump Group, an ad hoc organization of private-sector business leaders, which was headed by John “Dutch” Summers, the former CEO of Jasco Tools Inc. She and Summers later married.

“Sandy Parker was a warrior and champion for employers in Greater Rochester, helping lead the region through challenging times,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren in a statement. “She was ever vigilant in ensuring that Rochester’s business community was heard by local leaders and that they responded to the needs of our local economy.

“I will remember her from my days working for former Assemblyman David Gantt with whom she had a strong relationship. Her passing is a sad day for our city, but we will remain grateful to her for making our community a great place to live and work,” Warren added. “My sincere condolences go out to her spouse, John “Dutch” Summers, and all of her family and loved ones.”

When it became apparent that the days of Rochester’s “Big Three” employers — Eastman Kodak Co., Bausch & Lomb Inc. and Xerox Corp. — had waned, Ms. Parker became a proponent of diversifying Rochester’s businesses. She also was keen on workforce development initiatives.

Ms. Parker was honored with Monroe Community College’s Salute to Excellence Award in 2017 for her work to motivate students to pursue college degrees. She was a founding member of the STAR Power Women’s Giving Initiative at MCC, which supported single parents attending the school. Ms. Parker also was a former Athena Award winner.

Sandra Parker is seen here with husband, John "Dutch" Summers and former Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo accepting the Monroe Community College Salute to Excellence Award. (file photo)
Sandra Parker is seen here with her husband, John “Dutch” Summers and former Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo accepting the Monroe Community College Salute to Excellence Award. (file photo)

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of my dear friend Sandy Parker. Through her role at the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, as well as the many leadership positions she held, Sandy dedicated her life’s work to advocating for our community and her tireless efforts will be felt for years to come,” Congressman Joe Morelle (D-Irondequoit) said in a statement. “I am proud to have worked with her on so many important projects in our community and to have called her a friend. My deepest condolences to her entire family during this difficult time. Please know you are in our thoughts.”

Ms. Parker was involved in myriad community organizations and philanthropic efforts including the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Rochester Institute of Technology, Lollypop Farm, the Rochester Area Community Foundation and Rochester Regional Health Information Organization, among others.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Inc. President and CEO Robert Duffy — who took the helm of the RBA upon Ms. Parker’s retirement and was instrumental in its rebranding — called Ms. Parker “a trailblazer in Rochester whose vision and contributions have positively impacted our entire region.”

“Sandy was an unsung hero in the Greater Rochester community for decades, contributing her time, resources and expertise to countless philanthropic and economic development initiatives,” Duffy said in a statement. “In partnership with her husband, Dutch Summers, Sandy’s contributions to, and passion for, educational endeavors were unmatched. Without exaggeration, thousands of young minds were shaped and enhanced due to the generosity of Sandy, who saw these kids through from grammar school to their college graduations.

“Sandy Parker had a profound impact on me personally and professionally, often offering invaluable advice and guidance throughout each stage of my career,” Duffy added. “Sandy’s story will be told in the coming days, weeks, months and years by the many, many people whose lives were touched and made better by her.”

For some time, Ms. Parker wrote a column for the RBJ. In her final post in December 2014, she wrote: “I expect to feel sadness when I leave my RBA office on Dec. 31. This work — and the people I have worked with — have become so important in my life. I know that I will continue to find ways to be involved in the community. I am so thankful for the support I have received from the community in trying to make a difference. I have received many questions about what’s next. My response is: You haven’t seen the last of me yet!”

Ms. Parker is survived by a son and her husband. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made public.

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Area chambers advise businesses to take precautions during surge in COVID

The Advocacy Coalition of Rochester Area Chambers (ACRAC) is encouraging its member businesses and other organizations to take precautions during an upswing in COVID-19 cases in the Finger Lakes Region.

“ACRAC is not interested in taking political sides on this issue but rather focusing on the health and well-being of our region. We believe that each of us has a role to play in helping to tackle the pandemic,” ACRAC chamber executives said in a statement Wednesday. “To avoid further business interruptions, ACRAC is asking our collective members and the community at large to observe social distancing, wear masks, disinfect regularly and employ good hand hygiene. Employers should set good examples for their employees, and employees should set good examples for customers.”

Recovering from the impact of the virus continues to be a struggle, ACRAC acknowledged in the statement.

“We will continue working with our Congressional Delegation to quickly pass an additional stimulus package that includes support for small business owners. So too will we continue to support efforts by state leaders to increase infrastructure for COVID-19 testing, speed up turnaround time for results and improve contact tracing capabilities in an effort to efficiently curb the spread of COVID-19,” the group said.

Formed in 2019, ACRAC is a group of chamber executives from throughout the Finger Lakes region committed to helping its members grow and promoting the region through teamwork and collaborative advocacy. The coalition includes chambers of commerce from Chemung and Wyoming counties, as well as the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Irondequoit Chamber of Commerce, Pittsford Chamber of Commerce, Tompkins Chamber, Victor Chamber of Commerce and Penfield Business Chamber.

“We commend the work of Gov. Cuomo and his administration in working to keep infection rates among the lowest in the country and stand ready to assist in any way that we can,” the coalition said. “Business owners are rightly concerned about the increase in COVID-19 and the effects that another shut down will have on them, especially during the profitable holiday shopping season. Business owners must take every precaution to keep shoppers safe and remain open.”

ACRAC officials said residents can support their local businesses, economies and communities by shopping locally and by following the recommendations set forth by the CDC, New York State and local county health departments.

“Each of us must ask ourselves if we will be part of the solution, or part of the problem,” the chambers said in their guidance.

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Chambers of commerce seeking additional funding for arts and humanities

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives is seeking additional funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act for nonprofits that serve the arts and humanities. Members of ACCE include the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Inc. and Visit Rochester Inc.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, ACCE contends that while the CARES Act provided much-needed relief to many of the group’s 205 chamber members, critical gaps remain.

ACCE notes that an American Alliance of Museums survey found that nearly one-third of museums surveyed fear possible permanent closures as soon as this fall and that Americans for the Arts estimates the total economic impact on arts and culture organizations to be $9.1 billion in losses to date, with an additional $10.4 billion in event-related spending losses by arts consumers at local businesses like restaurants and retail. More than 327 million arts visitors have been lost since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

ACCE is requesting federal funding of “at least” $6 billion for the Institute of Museums and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide direct economic relief for nonprofit museums, aquariums, zoos and performing arts centers.

The chambers also are asking that the Federal Reserve be required to broaden its nonprofit lending facility under the Main Street Lending Program to specifically benefit mid-size nonprofits to those with more than 500 employees, with loan forgiveness and option.

ACCE has asked to increase and extend the Paycheck Protection Program and loan forgiveness provisions in the CARES Act by enabling a second round of funding for all nonprofits including those in the arts with more than 500 staffers.

Finally, ACCE is seeking an expansion of the universal charitable deduction provision by enacting the provisions of a bill to increase the amount to one-third of the standard deduction, while also allowing all taxpayers to claim the deduction on their 2019 and 2020 returns. The letter also asks for an extension of the charitable deduction provided by the CARES Act through 2021.

“Collectively, the nation’s performing arts centers, museums, zoos and aquariums are losing nearly $33 million a day due to closures and are in desperate need of significant federal support to continue to employ many thousands of people, rebuild our nation’s tourism industry and simply survive the months to come,” the letter states. “As cash-based businesses, their economic stability depends on revenue generated from visitors.”

To date, the letter says, more than 62,000 employees have been laid off, nearly 50,000 furloughed and an additional 8,000 jobs remain unfilled due to hiring freezes in the arts and culture sector.

“Over and above losses in earned revenue and unremitted expenses, these organizations are projecting a decline in charitable contributions as donors reassess their capacity to give,” according to the letter.

ACCE suggests that the request is the “minimum required support mechanisms” to ensure that Americans still have their arts and culture institutions.

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Rochester to get new branding

A new effort is underway to build a greater story for the Rochester region.


ROC2025 — an alliance of Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc., Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Inc., Rochester Downtown Development Corp. and Visit Rochester, as well as the city of Rochester, the State of New York, multiple county officials and higher-education representatives — has launched Greater ROC as a unified brand identity that represents the values of the Rochester region.

Greater ROC is designed to communicate the essence of the region to tourism, business, education, nonprofit, arts and culture, health care and other economic sectors locally and nationwide, officials said.

The initial launch includes a video that will be shown on TV and digital media, as well as a webpage, social media channels, public relations outreach and a toolkit for local organizations and individuals to support and promote the Greater ROC brand.

Joseph Stefko
Joseph Stefko

“The central message of Greater ROC is that Greater Rochester is more than a place and more than geography — and that ‘greater’ is actually what the region and its people are truly made of,” ROC2025 President and CEO Joseph Stefko said in a statement. “The brand embraces the region’s individual strengths to unleash its united potential, tapping the talent, ingenuity and positive energy of Rochester’s many voices, beliefs and experiences. It’s a collective spark that celebrates who, what and where this nine-county region is to ignite a new way forward and a new way of talking about Rochester, and boldly says that this is one region, many strong and made greater by all. It’s galvanizing, empowering, inclusive and about the growth of our community. This new platform boldly asserts — on the local and national stage — that ours is a region on the move.”

The branding was created following months of interviews and opinion gathering with more than 100 community members and leaders representing a broad cross-section of sectors and demographics about how the region identifies itself.

The Greater ROC initiative supports each of the five pillars that form the foundation of ROC2025’s collaborative model: coordinated capacity-building investments in business retention and expansion; talent strategy; business attraction; downtown growth; and regional branding/marketing.

“Developing a unified Greater ROC brand platform enables us to showcase the myriad assets that make the Greater Rochester, New York, region a competitive and attractive place for tourism, talent attraction, business attraction and retention,” GRE President and CEO Matt Hurlbutt said. “Together, we can amplify the highly skilled workforce, world-class universities and cultural arts that make our community a greater place to grow a business and raise a family than any other high-tech hub around the country.”

Greater ROC encompasses Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties.

“I see great strength in our region’s many voices and economic sectors sharing a single message to promote all of the outstanding features that make Greater Rochester an attractive place to live, work and play,” Rochester Chamber President and CEO Bob Duffy said. “With our laser focus on workforce development and talent attraction, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce is pleased to partner with stakeholders across the region to share the message that we are, indeed, ‘Greater’ ROC. I encourage the business community to join the effort as we take our region to new heights.”

One of the key inputs heard frequently during the development of Greater ROC was the importance of hearing from and actively seeking the participation of as many voices and points of view as possible, a concept that’s taken on even more importance given recent events — including the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing dialogue about racial inequity — that have put the collective strength of the region and the world to the test, officials said.

“Like Rochester itself, Greater ROC finds inspiration in our rich business and human tapestry, from farms and Main Street businesses of the Finger Lakes to corporations and startups in our urban center to everyday contributions made by people of all ages, colors, creeds and ethnicities,” RDDC President Heidi Zimmer-Meyer said. “Welcoming unique voices and spurring the movement that Greater ROC seeks to inspire will change how this region thinks about itself, and how the rest of the world thinks about Rochester. Greater ROC represents a totally new and different narrative.”

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Cuomo orders restaurants, bars, casinos to close

With the state closing of restaurants and bars Monday, as well as casinos, theaters and gyms, COVID-19-related restrictions grew more onerous for New Yorkers. 

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced a pact with adjoining states Connecticut and New Jersey to adopt similar restrictions, lacking federal guidance. Some local establishments — Genesee Brew House and Webster’s Proietti’s — had already made the decision to close. Proietti’s closed its dining room and moved to takeout over the weekend. 

Del Lago Casino & Resort announced Monday it would close at 5 p.m., three hours earlier than the required closing. 

Meanwhile, local colleges have shared more details on their moves, such as the cancellation of April 25’s Imagine RIT, the annual festival that brings tens of thousands of visitors to the Rochester Institute of Technology. 

Under Cuomo’s new state rules, restaurants can remain open for takeout and delivery, providing some employees continued work as well as access to prepared foods for customers. 

The pandemic is causing an unprecedented economic dislocation, officials say. “The economic impact nationally will be in the billions,” said Bob Duffy, president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, in a phone news conference Monday morning.

As for the local scene, Duffy said, “Rochester, with a very large population living at or below poverty, will be heavily impacted.”

Duffy said he hoped employers would hold on as long as they can before laying off workers. Similarly, he said he hopes the state budget being prepared now will include some assistance for affected businesses, particularly in helping them manage increased demand for sick leave. He expects the hospitality industry and other jobs where people can’t work from home to be especially hurt. 

If the rates of infection can be slowed quickly, the economic impact won’t be as bad, he said.  

Duffy urged employers to make smart decisions, follow the recommended precautions and use common sense. And he provided this advice for consumers: “If you’re going shopping, shop for a week. Don’t buy toilet paper for the next three months,” as hoarding causes panic and shortages. “We’ve been assured the supply will not slow down,” he said. 

One exception to the expected downturn are the businesses that supply food and household supplies. To deal with the crush of business, Wegmans late last week changed its schedule so stores normally open 24 hours would be closed at night for cleaning and restocking rapidly emptying shelves.  Wegmans has posted a list of nearly 50 common items, including toilet paper, bulk packages of chicken breasts, pain relievers and sugar on which it now enforces a purchase limit.

Tops on Monday released a list of 14 limited products, and many retailers, including Target, have imposed at least some purchase restrictions to prevent hoarding and supply problems.  

Some non-food retailers, including Lands’ End and Ethan Allen, have issued statements saying they remain open for now but in some cases with limited hours.

A just-released poll from MFour Mobile Research in California shows consumers spent up to 32 percent more in big box stores in March than in February. In-store purchases of home decor and clothing dropped about 31 percent, but online purchases increased 46 percent.  

As for colleges, most are turning to online or other forms of distance learning. The University of Rochester was conducting classes for instructors Monday on how to use the technology, with some of those classes for professors also being taught remotely this week. UR’s daily newsletter, which typically features listings of events, now focuses on the virtual, such as Wednesday’s informational session on MBA programs offered by the Simon Business School.  

Colgate Rochester Crozier Divinity School announced Monday afternoon that the college will delay the inauguration of President Angela D. Sims from its scheduled date of April 14 to Sept. 29. In a separate announcement, the school announced it is closing campus and will continue instruction online.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva remains fully open, but has moved instruction online, allowing students the choice of whether to remain on campus or go home. President Joyce P. Jacobsen shared an essay in which she predicted that the massive turn to online instruction will prove the continued need for in-person classes.

In Rochester Institute of Technology’s announcement over the weekend to parents, besides noting cancellation of the Imagine RIT festival, it said a decision about graduation ceremonies will be made by April 3. Colleges all over are having to decide how or whether to hold commencement exercises when campuses are mostly closed and large gatherings are either not recommended or prohibited outright. 

A state agency for disabled people announced it has suspended its competition for college students to come up with inventions that help people with disabilities. UR, RIT and Alfred University were among the schools that already had submitted projects for the competition. 

The national ACT test scheduled for April 4 has now been postponed to June 13. Students already registered for the April test will be notified by the nonprofit educational company about the new date. 

In a press conference Monday morning, Cuomo said a national set of recommendations is needed, and states can’t anticipate every conflict in individual states’ coronavirus rules. 

“I want federal guidance. You can’t have one state taking actions that are different from other states,” Cuomo said, noting it can cause some dangerous situations. “If I close down my bars and New Jersey doesn’t close down their bars, everybody drives to Jersey to drink and everybody drives home,” he said.  

[email protected]/ (585) 363-7275. 


Conservative’s talk will put free enterprise spin on climate change

When Republican Congressman Bob Inglis presented legislation in 2009 that would create a tax to battle climate change, South Carolina voters thought he had gone rogue, or at least liberal.

And so Inglis lost his re-election bid in the subsequent Republican primary.

Bob Inglis
Bob Inglis

Today, though, Inglis believes Conservatives and Republicans are more willing to listen to ideas on curbing climate change if they come from people like them.

Inglis will be presenting a talk on “A Free Enterprise Solution to Climate Change” April 17 in Rochester. His talk is sponsored by an unlikely pairing: the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club.

Now the head of, a grassroots organization, the former U.S. representative spends his time promoting ways to address climate change in accordance with traditional conservative values.

“Free enterprise can fix climate change,” Inglis says in his TEDx Jacksonville talk. He is once again suggesting a carbon tax but in a way that doesn’t grow government and includes preventive steps so countries that continue to produce carbon emissions won’t have an upper hand.

The tax would not add revenue to government coffers, Inglis says, but will counter other taxes people must pay, resulting in a revenue-neutral tax. Meanwhile, he says, the tax would be added to imports made with carbon-generating energy.

In a recent phone interview, Inglis said, “As I see it, conservatives are people who believe in the salad bar of life. You can take what you want, but you’ve got to pay for what you take because otherwise, havoc arises,” Inglis said. “Climate change is that havoc.”

“There’s nothing more conservative than maintaining the purity of the earth,” he said.

The November 2018 midterm elections, when the Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives, have helped bring to Republicans and Conservatives “the awareness of if you want the majority back, you’ve got to win in suburban districts. And those suburban districts don’t want to hear you say climate change isn’t real,” Inglis said.

Beyond the political change of tide, times have really changed, Inglis said. The recession is over, there’s a growing environmental movement on the right, and “we’re feeling the effects of climate change and we’re beginning to notice,” he said.

“When grandpa is having chest pains, he will stick to the diet and regimen the cardiologist is recommending,” Inglis said.

It is essential to reach a bipartisan solution to climate change, Inglis said, because when the political pendulum swings, one party will scrub the gains that the other enforces unilaterally. He proposes appealing to the bottom line by including the hidden costs of pollution in energy use.

Inglis supports “the creation of a transparent market price where all the costs are in all the fuels, including the biggest subsidy of all, which is the implicit subsidy that enables fossil fuels to pollute for free.”

He continues, “We have a problem with economics. It has an environmental consequence. If we fix the economics, the environment is going to take care of itself.”

And with economics favoring clean energy, Inglis said that’s when things get innovative.

“Then you have an energy revolution that’s sort of akin to the tech revolution we’ve had. It’s a tremendous opportunity to re-power our lives,” he said.

In his TED talk, Inglis admits he had opposed Al Gore’s climate change policies without examining them too much because they came from a Democrat. Once his children became voters and suggested they wouldn’t vote for him if he didn’t become more environmentally friendly, Inglis took a second look at his stance and came around to much of what Gore was proposing, but with some conservative tweaks.

Inglis said he believes Republicans and Conservatives are willing to consider a similar leap if they hear the message coming from someone like themselves.

“We all learn from people who are like us and like us. We generally don’t learn from people who don’t like us and aren’t like us,” Inglis said.

Inglis’ talk will be at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Admission is free but a $10 donation and prior registration is suggested.

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Greece Chamber panel discusses regulations, educating young workers

Human resources regulations can be a pain in the neck and costly, agreed educators, business people and legislators participating in a wide-ranging panel discussion at the Greece Regional Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

Even those regulations with the best of intentions can be difficult to enact. Casey Kosiorek, superintendent of the Hilton Central School District, noted the requirement that all teachers and staff obtain training in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and the use of a cardiac defibrillator.

“Who can argue with that if you’re going to save someone’s life?” he asked. But fitting in and paying for the training still isn’t easy.

Heidi R. Macpherson, president of the State University College at Brockport, reminded the audience of about 60 that there’s a reason for those regulations. She said Brockport hired a full-time Title IX compliance officer who has created a better experience for female students than previous generations had, transformed college culture on sexual harassment and dating violence, and educated male students about what obtaining consent should look like in a sexual situation. All of that was due to regulations.

“They have improved our culture,” Macpherson said.

Understanding those regulations can be complex, though, added Jeffery Tredo, director of Rochester Colleges, Bryant & Stratton. He said New York’s “Enough is enough” sexual abuse regulations are in direct conflict with some federal rules.

New York regulations are like “water torture,” said David Perotto, vice president of Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home. “I threw up my hands last year and hired Paychex.” The HR and payroll company does a great job, Perotto said, but the service comes at a cost.

Another topic many agreed on was that youngsters frequently are not prepared for work.

“We know from our business partners that the kids are unprepared,” said Kathleen Graupman, superintendent of Greece Central School District. She said schools have to be intentional about the partnerships they provide, including real work experience, to help students learn about work. But they must also teach students how to learn before they teach them to work.

More students, including in the Greece district, are growing up in poverty or without two parents working, she said, so students haven’t necessarily witnessed what it means to go to work every day.

Graupman said she grew up in Greece and her father, like many in Greece at that time, was a lifelong Kodak worker. “The challenge is that’s not our community anymore,” she said.

Perotto said it would be good for students in high school to apprentice in a line of work before choosing their higher education path. That might head off a situation he faced recently: A young woman finished two years of schooling for working in a funeral home before beginning her one-year residency at Bartolomeo & Perotto. He felt she brought a lot of talent to the job. But two weeks later, she quit, saying she didn’t want the night work and long hours.

Greece Superintendent Bill Reilich said, “The most basic elements (of work) have to be stressed early on.” In town government, he’s required to hire from the top three scorers on civil service exams. But that doesn’t mean he’ll get a worker who will show up on time, he said.

Deborah Whitt, owner of the Deborah Ham Whitt Agency, said she’s had to tell high schoolers working for her to remove inappropriate nail polish or to change into business attire. But the students can become loyal and hard-working employees.

“As business owners, we have that opportunity to help our young people learn good work habits,” Whitt said.

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Victor, Canandaigua chambers of commerce consider merger

Two area chambers of commerce could be merging, officials reported last week, as part of an effort to better serve their communities.

The Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce and the Victor Chamber of Commerce are looking at how their two organizations can collaborate in support of continued growth and prosperity in their communities and the region as a whole, officials said. The two chambers collectively serve more than 750 members.

“We’re excited by the prospect of collaborating with the Victor Chamber,” Canandaigua Chamber President Lauren Kolb said in a statement. “Their organization is well-run and well-respected.”

A collaboration “makes perfect sense,” Kolb said, to foster deeper relations with the two close-knit communities.

“Our respective teams are dynamic and our board members exemplify leadership and a shared vision for the future,” Kolb added. “Exciting times, to say the least.”

The two groups have put together a joint task force to assess options, identify opportunities and recommend next steps. Results are expect by mid-2018.

“Our communities can accomplish so much more together. As neighbors that share many of the same member organizations we see a huge benefit in creating a broader organization where we all have access to more: more education, more networking and more business,” said Jessica Nava, Victor Chamber’s president. “At the end of the day it’s our job to help drive bottom line revenue to help businesses grow, and together I believe we can do that.”

The Canandaigua Chamber has served the community since 1910, while the Victor Chamber traces its roots to 1962.

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