Business briefs: June 9, 2013 - Press-Republican: Local News

Business briefs: June 9, 2013

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Posted: Sunday, June 9, 2013 3:28 am

Leadership transition

GLENS FALLS — Joseph F. Raccuia stepped down as president and CEO of the uncoated paper manufacturer Finch Paper LLC effective May 24. He will be succeeded by Dr. Debabrata “Deba” Mukherjee, Ph.D., who has served as vice president and general manager of specialty papers for worldwide paper manufacturer P.H. Glatfelter since 2008.

“Nearly five years ago, I came out of retirement to transform this century-old paper company into a leading 21st Century manufacturer with high-performance work teams, strong union-management relations, improved efficiencies and a vibrant pipeline of next-generation products that would allow us to compete for the long term in the global paper market,” Raccuia said. “Together, with an outstanding senior leadership team and the help of our employees and unions, I am proud to say Finch Paper is well on its way to achieving this transformation.”

Raccuia said Mukherjee’s expertise as a developer of specialty papers and a driver of innovation in the manufacturing environment make him well suited to continue and expand upon this success. Under Raccuia’s leadership, Finch has developed successful new products for the rapidly growing production inkjet printing market and forged strong working relationships with academic institutions including Cornell University, Clarkson University, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, of which Mukherjee is an alumnus.

Mukherjee earned a Doctorate and Master of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy. He joins Finch after a 15-year career with paper manufacturer P.H. Glatfelter in York, Penn., which in 2012 had $1.6 billion in sales.

“As a senior executive at Glatfelter, I have known Finch as a formidable innovator with an outstanding reputation for quality products and unrivaled customer responsiveness,” he said. “Now I look forward to leading this team and building upon its record of success, particularly in the areas of digital and specialty papers.”

After joining Glatfelter as digital products manager in 1998, Mukherjee earned a series of promotions to specialty products manager in 2000; North American general sales manager, engineered products in 2002; director, engineered products, in 2004; division vice president, engineered and converting products in 2006; and vice president and general manager, specialty papers, in 2008.

In his most recent role, Mukherjee led a business unit with more than $900 million in worldwide sales and six North American locations. Under his leadership, the operating profit of the specialty papers unit increased by 98 percent, and the business achieved a consistent record of generating more than 50 percent of its revenue from new products.


Museum promotion  

LAKE PLACID — This coming week, June 10-16, is the second annual New York State Museum Week. I Love New York and museums throughout the Empire State have joined together to give visitors the opportunity to discover museums and the one-of-a-kind personal experience they offer.

During Museum Week, the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, located in the Olympic Center, will be offering visitors buy-one, get-one-free admission, as well as a 10-percent discount on selected museum store merchandise.

The museum is the only Olympic museum in the United States. It is also the second largest of its kind world-wide, trailing only the Olympic museum in Luzerne, Switzerland.

While the Lake Placid Olympic Museum highlights both the Lake Placid 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games, it also features memorabilia from every Olympic Winter Games dating back to 1924, including the first-ever winter Olympic medal awarded, to American speed skater and Lake Placid native Charles Jewtraw. Other displays include several mascots and torches from several summer and winter Olympics, memorabilia from three-time Olympic figure skating champion Sonja Henie and memorabilia from the 1980 U.S. Miracle on Ice hockey team.

Admission to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and juniors (12 and under), and free for children 6 and under. Admission to the museum is also included in the purchase of the Olympic Sites Passport and Gold Pass.


Bank sponsorship

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Adirondack History Center Museum has received a $1,000 donation from Champlain National Bank, making the bank a major sponsor for the 2013 museum season.

“One of our guiding principles is to invest in our communities by supporting local educational, environmental and cultural organizations,” said Jacqueline Hallock, AVP/director of marketing for Champlain National Bank. “We are proud to sponsor the Adirondack History Center with this donation knowing they will continue their invaluable good works celebrating and sharing our Essex County heritage.”

As a major sponsor, Champlain National Bank will be promoted as “business of the week” at the museum and on Facebook. Its name will be featured in the entrance foyer of the museum and at outside events. The Adirondack History Center’s website will notably list the bank as a sponsor.

“These funds have a significant impact on our ability to present unique exhibits such as The Human Face of the Adirondacks in the Civil War,” said Carol Blakeslee Collin, president of the Museum Board.

The exhibit is accompanied by the Elizabeth H.W. Lawrence Summer Lecture Series, The Civil War and the Adirondack Home Front. This is comprised of eight programs offered on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. from July 9 through Aug. 27.

The Adirondack History Center Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day.

For further information, call 873-6466 or email


Bid secured

SARANAC LAKE — ­Adirondack Research LLC, a Saranac Lake-based ecological-research firm, has been awarded a contract with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to assist the Division of Lands and Forest’s Invasive Species Coordination Unit with the assessment and classification of non-native animals in New York State.

Dr. Ezra Schwartzberg, owner of Adirondack Research LLC, and an entomologist, is contracted to assess the the ecological invasivity and socio-economic importance of non-native animal species in New York State.

The assessments will help with implementation of recommendations of the New York Invasive Species Council, a group created to coordinate among multiple state agencies and partners in addressing the environmental and economic threats of invasive species. The work will inform the official lists of known invasive animal and plant species for the purpose of regulating their sale and transport through the Invasive Species Prevention Act.

Adirondack Research focuses on climate-change and invasive species issues within the Adirondack Park and is collaborating with the New York Natural Heritage Program on this project. The contract period concludes Dec. 31.

Adirondack Research works within forest and agricultural landscapes to promote healthy ecosystems. This includes research on invasive animals, agricultural pests, beneficial organisms, climate-change resilience, ecosystem connectivity and biodiversity. Adirondack Research contracts with state and local agencies as well as with non-profits.


Bank rated

GLENS FALLS — Arrow Financial Corporation, parent of Glens Falls National Bank, was recently recognized on the ABA Banking Journal’s list of Top-Performing Mid-Sized Banks, ranking 28th out of almost 500 financial institutions.

The list, published in the May 2013 edition of the magazine, looked at all federally insured domestic depository institutions with assets between $1 billion and $10 billion. It ranked a total of 476 banks by their return on average total equity (ROAE) for 2012.

Arrow was 28th on the list with an ROAE of 12.88 percent. It is the only bank in Northeastern New York and one of just two statewide that appear in the top 30. The complete article listing all 476 banks can be viewed online at

The ABA Banking Journal ranking follows a series of other recognitions for Arrow from national industry publications, including most recently being named by Forbes as one of America’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies.

Arrow Financial Corp. is a multi-bank holding company headquartered in Glens Falls serving the financial needs of Northeastern New York. 


Business mixer

WESTPORT — The Galley at Westport Marina will host the next North Country Business Council mixer.

The marina, located at 20 Washington St., Westport, invites everyone to Business After Hours on Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Participants will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar while getting together with old friends and networking with new business contacts.

Business After Hours is open to members of the council, the North Country Chamber of Commerce and all partner chambers. The council is a division of the North Country Chamber.

Anyone who is not a member of the NCBC or any partner members may contact the council for a guest pass. Admission is $2. For more information, or to make reservations, call Arlene at 523-2445, Ext. 133.


Standards exceeded

UTICA — Excellus BlueCross BlueShield exceeded federal and state standards by $330 million in the amount it spent on medical benefits on behalf of its membership in 2012, officials reported. 

To cap profits and administrative costs of health plans in order to maximize medical benefits to consumers, the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and state regulations set certain medical benefit spending levels for insurers. For the second consecutive year of the new rules and reporting, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield exceeded the standards.

“Our mission is to provide competitive, affordable access to quality health care,” said Christopher Booth, chief executive officer for the health plan. “What this means is that our members collectively got more hospital and physician services, prescriptions and other medical benefits throughout the year than what federal and state government standards require.”

Some health insurers that didn’t meet the standards will be required to pay refunds.

State and federal standards, as they apply to New York commercial insurance customers, set the minimum level of benefits to be 82 percent of premium revenues in the individual direct-pay market along with small groups and 85 percent for large groups. Excellus BCBS reports that it spent 94.9 percent of premium revenues on medical benefits for its individual direct-pay membership, 92.5 percent for small groups and 92.1 percent for large groups.

Out of $4.1 billion in premium revenues collected, the health plan paid out $3.8 billion in medical benefits for its customers, about $330 million more than federal and state mandates require.

Last year, federal officials reported that hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds were paid by other health plans throughout the country, even in states where the minimum standards are lower than those in New York.


Job-shadow program

PLATTSBURGH — Ryan Brienza, an eighth grader at Beekmantown Central School, recently spent the day job shadowing Neil Fesette of Fesette Realty, LLC.

The job-shadowing program is part of Dawn Finley’s Home and Career course.

“I commend Beekmantown Central School and Mrs. Finley for implementing the job-shadow program, recognizing the importance of giving students the ability to explore different professions before pursuing a certain field,” Fesette said.

While shadowing Fesette, Brienza was able to experience various aspects of the real-estate profession, including attending the company’s weekly sales meeting, observing a real-estate development meeting at the Town of Plattsburgh and participating in a house showing to perspective buyers.

Fesette recognized Brienza’s natural entrepreneurial qualities.

“Ryan has already invented and manufactured a nifty dog leash called the beer buddy, which is impressive for an eighth grader. With continued education and hard work, there is little doubt this young man will be successful,” he said.

Ryan Brienza is the son of Greg and Linda Brienza, owners of Triangle Electric and Solar Novar in Plattsburgh.


License received

WILLSBORO — Ryan E. Davies has received his professional engineering license, according to Steven K. Benway, president of the integrated design-build engineering and construction company ESE/Zebra-Tech of Willsboro. 

Davies, P.E., of Plattsburgh, is a 2003 graduate of Peru Central School and a 2008 graduate of Clarkson University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. Davies has been employed at ESE/Zebra-Tech since 2008, was promoted to project engineer in 2009 and became project manager in 2011.

Davies is responsible for the engineering and project management of ESE/ZT’s civil and environmental projects including lakeshore stabilization, retaining-wall design and construction, water/sewer installations, wetland mitigation and UST removals/remediation.