May 2017

Between 1980 and 2000, the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs fluctuated between 18–20 million, but by the turn of the century that picture had changed. While the U.S. has shed five million manufacturing jobs over the past 15 years, and the North Country lost Pfizer, we have also attracted an impressive number of new manufacturers and added hundreds of jobs.

In recognition of the increasing impact those jobs have on our area, we introduce this issue of Strictly Business with a look at the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at Clinton Community College. Scheduled to open its doors late this summer, the center will facilitate training and placement in this growing segment of our economy.

Next we offer you a look at the Sample brothers and their successful construction supply business that is headquartered in Mooers, but has built its reputation as a powerhouse in the industry across Clinton and Franklin Counties.

What do Planet Fitness, JC Penny and the Plattsburgh Public Library have in common? They are all clients and fans of the Jost brothers, Bill and Eric, owners of B&E Development. The brothers grew up in the North Country, traveled and worked far and wide and then returned to the area—a familiar story we love to hear.

While Jeffords Steel has been a fixture in the area for more than 30 years, it is still growing and changing. You can read about its newest division and meet the people who are overseeing its variety of services in this issue.

Don’t miss Chris Rosenquest’s article about the FIRST Lego League sponsored by the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) offers students from ages 6–18 an amazing opportunity to celebrate discovery and teamwork. The skills being developed in the FIRST program are the first step toward the learning required by the high-tech manufacturing jobs of tomorrow.

Also in this issue, we are proud to offer you our new “Best Practices” series. For the first installment Michelle St. Onge met with accountant Rick Martindale to discuss Commercial Property: Rent vs. Buy. You won’t want to miss his overview.

And then there is this month’s Insight feature that will introduce you to Dr. John Schenkel, who for decades has provided much needed psychiatric services to North Country residents. As the region tries to address the growing opioid crisis people like Dr. Schenkel offer a look at the issue and possible solutions to the problem.

We concluded with Garry Douglas’s upbeat look at changes under way in our area, from Norsk Titanium, to the completion of the upgrade of Plattsburgh International Airport, to the signing of a partnership agreement between the Chamber and Aero Montreal, Quebec’s aerospace cluster.

This issue of Strictly Business is entitled Big Beginnings as a reflection of all that is happening in our area. The momentum continues, and that’s good for business.