Everyone Needs a Boss

Oct 19, 2015

Everyone needs a boss.

At least that is what my dad used to tell me.

For most of us, the boss is the person we report to at our jobs – the manager, director, vice president, or CEO. Someone who provides guidance, direction, and yes – occasionally reminds us of some key priorities, whether we like it or not. But for the person that starts their own business, who serves that role?

It's 4:15 am and I am having trouble sleeping. Nearly every morning I am scheduled to fly I wake up early, full of anticipation, anxiety, and excitement. It's been that way ever since I began this flight journey a few years ago. I hope the feeling never goes away.

As an older first-time pilot, I sometimes wonder if I'm alone with this ceaseless excitement; however the majority of my pilot and instructor friends tell me that it's nothing more than a sign of the addiction that comes from the passion to be in the sky. And I've got it bad.

Over the last several years, I have facilitated hundreds of groups for multiple reasons – CEOs, board members, consumers, members of the U.S. military, marketing and communications leaders, students, faculty members, and others. The groups have considered how to approach a strategic opportunity, key market decisions, or how to work their way through a difficult and sensitive situation. Sometimes the role of facilitator has been assigned to me - other times it was simply something that seemed to occur.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Coyote Moon Vineyards in Clayton is the first winery in the North Country to put their wine in a can. With canned wine, no corkscrew or wine glasses are required. Just throw the wine in a cooler or bag and when you're ready to drink, just pop the top. 

Amy Wort, from Governour, says in her experience, when she first introduces people to wine in a can, they're skeptical.

"When I’m at parties people are like what is that? I'm like, it's wine. And they’re like in a can? Yes, try it!” Wort says.

Jay Colesack visibly recoils at the thought of drinking canned wine.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Start-Up NY is getting good grades from SUNY. Chancellor Nancy Zimpher says it’s taken a while, but the program is taking off on several state university campuses.

Zimpher says she didn’t expect Start-Up NY, which offers new businesses 10-year tax breaks if they set up shop on or near a college campus, to become a massive success out of the gate. But now that it’s had more than a year-and-a-half under its belt, she says new businesses with jobs in tow have settled into several SUNY campuses.

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

Disabled Veterans are getting a crash course in how to become entrepreneurs this week in Syracuse.

Dan Piston spent six years in the Navy.  When he got out two years ago, he realized he had a passion for the health and fitness field. And wanted to put that In action by doing something like owning a gym.

"I do not have much training in business. Right now my undergrad degree is in health and exercise science. And I’ve always had an interest in owning a business, but I didn’t know how to do it, or where to get started,” said Piston.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News


Student teams pitched their start-up companies at the Syracuse Student Sandbox demo day. The sandbox is a six-week program for aspiring entrepreneurs that teaches them how to turn an idea into an actual company. The program has been expanding their reach internationally.



Depending on which source you consider, the average American adult is subjected to somewhere between 2,000 and 20,000 messages each day. In our digitally enhanced, 24/7 world of instant communication, these images find their way to us through email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, web browsing, online and traditional news consumption, television, and more. They come at us whether we want them or not.

No matter how you slice it, we are overrun with information.

Recently, I had the chance to teach corporate communications to executive-level MBA students at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. The class was included as an elective in the iMBA curriculum as part of a long-term effort by the Public Relations Society of America and SU’s Newhouse School of Public Communications to inject formal communications education into business schools. Syracuse University is one of about a dozen universities around the United States to embark on this initiative.

Recently I had the chance to learn about some groundbreaking research being done by my good friend and colleague Dr. Terry Flynn, faculty member at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON. Terry has been working for the past several months with some other researchers on a project sponsored by the Institute for Public Relations that is focused on how cognitive behavior and neuroscience relates to effective communications and senior leaders.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Local police and Sen. Charles Schumer are asking the Secret Service to investigate a rash of counterfeit money that has turned up recently.

A handful of local businesses, from Wegman’s to Empire Brewery have been fooled in the past few weeks by fake bills. In all, law enforcement says 10 businesses in central New York have fallen victim to counterfeit currency in the past month. 

Also victim has been Byrne Dairy, where regional manager James Kehoe says each register has a counterfeit detection pen for employees to use, which he demonstrates on a new $100 bill. 

Central New York’s business and economic development agency is starting a new chamber of commerce for minority-run companies.

According to CenterState CEO, the black and Latino communities in New York have $170 billion in buying power. That’s why, it says, it’s forming the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, the only one in the region.

The news was announced at CenterState’s annual meeting. Edward Cuello will lead the new Upstate MEA. He says its mission will be to harness the minority community’s business and buying power.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand faces an uphill battle in getting paid family leave for workers into law.

Gillibrand, a Democrat, wants to make federal law the ability for workers to take extended time off for childbirth or to care for a sick family member. Employees would receive two-thirds pay while they’re away from work, paid for by a small tax to employers and employees, similar to social security reductions on a paycheck.

Chris Boese / via Flickr

Ski slopes this winter had some of their best snow in years, but record cold temperatures kept many skiers sheltered indoors. Now a cold March is allowing ski resorts to get a late-season boost to business.

This will be the last weekend of operation for Labrador Mountain, located south of Syracuse. Peter Harris, who owns Labrador and Song Mountains, says there will be a few more weekends to ski and ride at Song, which has a slightly deeper snowpack.

He says business all year has been about average, balancing the great snow with cold temps.

Destiny USA

  The sixth largest shopping mall in the country says it's taking a recent call to attack Western shopping centers by a terrorist group "very seriously."

Destiny USA, in Syracuse, was not formally named by Al-Shabab, as was The Mall of America and malls in England and Canada, in a video released over the weekend. The video calls on sympathizers to the terror group to carry out the attacks. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Following a trend for downtown Syracuse real estate, an office building is being renovated to have residential space, but with a twist. 

The building at the corner of Jefferson and Warren Streets is transforming into a communal space, with room for both co-working and co-living, making it perhaps the most different addition to the neighborhood’s residential construction boom.

Troy Evans is converting two floors of empty office space into co-living space, where tenants will rent small rooms with individual bathrooms.

Charles Atkelson / via Flickr

The central New York operation of Lockheed Martin failed to secure the third round of a lucrative Navy supply contract.

The first two rounds of funding for a new electronic warfare system known by the acronym SEWIP were given to Lockheed Martin’s plant in suburban Syracuse in 2013 and 2014. Last summers award was worth $147 million.

But the Navy decided to the award the third, and largest, part of the contract to competitor Northrup Grumman. The Navy says the contract is worth skywards of $300 million with all the options.

In this episode, Daniel reflects on the past year in the markets and makes some predictions and suggestions for the year ahead in 2015.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The renovation of Hotel Syracuse has started creating jobs.  The first of several job fairs was held in the lobby of the historic hotel.

There hadn't been so many people in the lobby of the Hotel Syracuse since it closed over a decade ago. Hundreds of men and women filled out applications for Environmental Remediation Services Inc, the company that’s handling the demolition and asbestos removal portion of the renovation of the hotel in downtown Syracuse.

Chad Parks figures he’ll be sifting through between 600 and 800 applications for 30 to 40 jobs.

Too often, organizations are so focused on delivering their messages to the local news, government officials, on social media, in newsletters, and even holding special events – but they step right over their employees in order to get to all of these other channels. Your employees notice this, and they’re likely bitter about it. That is setting yourself up for failure.

There are a lot of good things that lots of organizations do or accomplish every day. Some of them are nice internal efforts or achievements, some involve new initiatives for the organization, and some stuff has a real impact on the community that the organization serves.

In times of trouble, or times of transition, we expect the president or CEO to be the delivering the messages. Sure – if the news is big enough. But the CEO doesn’t always  have to be or organization’s spokesperson. In fact, there are several scenarios in which that can hurt your organization.

For the most part, the more media attention your organization receives, the more your stakeholders will recognize you. But visibility isn’t enough. It’s the content of news stories and online posts that determine whether your audiences will have a favorable impression of you.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Going in to 2015, there is more confidence in central New York’s economy to be found in an annual business survey.

Last year, there was only limited optimism among economists and business leaders for economic growth in the region. But CenterState CEO president Rob Simpson says he has much more confidence for 2015.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Workers in New York who earn the minimum wage are getting a raise today. The state's minimum wage is now $8.75 an hour, up from the $8 it stood at before. It will fatten the paychecks for 284,000 employees across the state, according to the labor department.

"This is a good thing for workers in New  York state. Is it enough? No, it's not enough," said Ron Deutsch from the Fiscal Policy Institute, who argues wages should be be closer to $11 an hour, given inflation.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Madison County is hoping to turn environmental stewardship into jobs. At least one business is putting up  shop near the county’s landfill, with the intent to use energy captured from decaying trash.

Johnson Brothers Lumber, a third generation company out of Cazenovia, is taking their sustainability initiative to the next level. They’re building a kiln that will dry wood next door to the Madison County’s Gas-to-Energy facility in Wampsville, according to company vice president Mike Johnson.

Jenna Flanagan/Innovation Trail

First time farmers gathered at the Stone Barns Center, a teaching farm in rural Westchester County for the Young Farmers Convention. The 3-day conference provides supportive classes and networking opportunities to new businesses in agriculture.

The Stone Barns Center helps young farmers build the foundation they need to for successful, sustainable farms.

jpellgen / via Flickr

The University Hill section of Syracuse is home to two colleges, three hospitals and several businesses that support them. It’s also a quarter of Syracuse’s economy.

There's $650 million worth of investment underway on the hill, according to Dave Mankiewitz, president of the University Hill Corporation.

The University Hill Corporation has been advised that Interstate 81 needs to be removed for the neighborhood to thrive. But the group is waiting to weigh in on the project.

Another 126 layoffs hit gunmaker Remington Arms

Nov 12, 2014
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Triple-digit layoffs have again hit the century-old firearm maker Remington Arms, which employs over a thousand people in the Mohawk Valley.

State Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney confirmed 126 layoffs at the plant yesterday on her Twitter feed. The news was first reported by WKTV in Utica. Calls to the company and a union representative from WRVO were not returned.

Rob Astorino for Governor

Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino received a mostly polite reception from the state’s biggest business lobby at their annual meeting in Lake George.