December 2019

So close and yet…

As I sat down to write my December Publisher’s View it was announced that the Democratic House of Representatives and the White House had reached an agreement on the USMCA (NAFTA 2.0) and yet total victory slipped away a short time later when a follow up statement released by the Senate indicated they would take no final action until after their Trump impeachment vote.

A quick conversation with North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas helped to assure me that we will get to final ratification albeit more slowly than we would like.

USMCA will be good for the country and especially good for the North Country. As we demonstrate in this issue of SB, the effect of our cross-border working relationships is felt by so many area businesses and workers. Whether it is the big guys like Bombardier and Nova Bus or a host of smaller companies and individuals, the impact of our Canadian neighbors on our economy is incredible.

Our cover article for this issue focuses on the Giroux Family Farm. What does a farm have to do with our cross-border connections you ask? Read Todd Giroux’s story and you will discover how fire departments on both sides of the border, as well as those in Vermont, were there when his barns went up in flames. You’ll also learn how trade allows him to sell his milk to Mexico and, with the passage of the USMCA, he will be able to sell milk in Canada.

From NAFTA to USMCA is a step-by-step look at how cooperative trade with our North American neighbors started, where it is today and where the soon to be signed USMCA agreement will take us. Don’t miss this concise explanation.

Although G.M. Collin has operated in the North Country for more than a decade it has kept a low profile. Learn how its products were developed and how they are used today in some of the finest spas in the world.

Metro Customs Brokers has 11 offices in three countries — Canada, the U.S. (locally in Rouses Point) and China. A little-known fact about this prominent Customs brokerage and international freight company is that its president, Steve Segal, was born in Plattsburgh and spent his early years here. Make sure to read how Metro, a subsidiary of Omnitrans, views its relationship with the North Country business community.

Our proximity to the Canadian border and the province of Quebec brings good fortune and yet it presents complications — language being one of them. Translators like Annie Rochon help to bridge the divide. You can find her plying her trade in a business, a hospital, a jail or a classroom.

For 65 years dance has defined the Langlois-Gerace family of Plattsburgh. They have taught everything from tap to ballet, to contemporary jazz, and hip-hop. Please join me in applauding Nancy, Susan and Kyra as they mark their anniversary.

And then we offer our Insight feature with Sylvia Nelson, the Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board. Sylvie was born and raised in Canada and has worked from Texas to New Mexico and now in Plattsburgh. Her dedication to people who are searching for their place in the labor force has made a great impact on our community.

Garry Douglas closes out this issue of SB with a startling suggestion — Never Waste Failure. Not a concept I ever considered but after he explained it, it makes sense. It is a philosophy that got us where we are and will get us where we are going… and that’s good for business.