MARCH Program Day:

Economic Development Day was held at AmeriCU Credit Union at their Griffiss Business & Technology Park location in Rome. Vince Schoonmaker, Chief Information Officer of AmeriCU Credit Union, welcomed the class before the class was off and running with a brief discussion on the Ecosystem of Economic Development, led by Jennifer Waters, Director of Communications at Mohawk Valley EDGE, followed by tours of Griffiss Business & Technology Park, Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) and Griffiss International Airport. Christian Mercurio, VP of Planning and Development at Mohawk Valley EDGE, was on hand to to offer the class an overview of their bus tour of Griffiss Business & Technology Park, while class members, Maj. Michael Geer, and Master Sgt. Bernard Jowers guided their classmates on a tour of EADS. The class finished out their tour of the airport in good spirits, despite having to brave the snow that day. After returning to AmeriCU for the afternoon portion of the day, Martin Babinec, Founder of Upstate Venture Connect, led the class in a discussion on Supporting Our Entrepreneurs: New Jobs in New Industries. This session was followed by another panel of great speakers, including: Jessica Watson, VP of Services and Marketing at CABVI; Michelle Truett, Owner of 484 Design and Instructor at Young Entrepreneurs Academy; and Mike Ballman, Executive Vice President of Oneida Square Project; who each offered unique perspectives on Economic Development: Another Perspective. 



FEBRUARY Program Day:

Media & Promotion day was, once again, held at Herkimer Area Resource Center in Herkimer. Kevin Crosley, President & CEO, was on-hand to welcome the class before other notable speakers, including Gary Heenan, Head Coach of Men’s Hockey at Utica College and Ryan Miller, Director at ThINCubator, who each offered important perspectives on the early stages and hurdles of marketing a new brand, as well as the use of social media. Later on, afternoon guests included: Jim Hartnett, Account Sales Manager at Roser Communications Network; Katie Drake-Marhaver, Local Sales Manager of Time Warner Cable; and Erin Pittman, Advertising Director of Utica Observer-Dispatch, each of whom offered their take on marketing within TV, radio and print media. Then, as part of the final discussion of the day, Steve McMurray, General Manager of WKTV NewsChannel 2; and Kristy Nole, AVP of Marketing and Communications at First Source Federal Credit Union offered perspectives on creating headlines in the community.



JANUARY Program Day:

For the second year in a row, Healthcare/Health & Wellness day was held at Rome Memorial Hospital (RMH). Darlene Burns, Interim President/CEO of RMH welcomed the class. Presenters for the day included Loretta Myers, RN and Director of Emergency & Critical Care Services at RMH, who offered a wonderful presentation on Generational Leadership; Greg Mattacola, VP/Hospital Counsel at RMH, who spoke about Healthcare in the Mohawk Valley; Kelli Corasanti, Owner of Studio 8 Fitness, who offered a session on the importance of posture; Noelle Murphy, Manager of Client Experience & Certified Wellness Program Manager at Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy, who spoke about Workplace Wellness and, finally, Dr. Kevin Mathews, who offered the class some insight on the Role of Integrative Medicine in Healthcare.

Of course, the theme of the day was all about wellness; right down to a healthy menu for the day, graciously provided by RMH.



DECEMBER Program Day:

Government day was held in the Robert McLaughlin College Center at Herkimer College earlier this month. Though it was a chilly, rainy day, Daniel Sargent, Director of Continuing Education (LMV ’11), was on-hand to provide a warm welcome to the class. Vince Casale, a political consultant with the Casale Group (LMV ’01), then led the class in a focused discussion on the evolution of political advertising (complete with humorous anecdotes and many examples of “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” of political campaigns). During the afternoon portion, class members heard from several politicians, including local mayors, Lance Bennett (Village of Poland) and Anthony Brindisi (Village of Herkimer), followed by New York State Assemblyman, Anthony Brindisi. Then, to help round out the day, Jeanne Brown, Project Director for Digital Towpath & the Local Government Education Committee (LGEC), offered her perspective to the class on small governments working together.

Also, because the holidays are upon us, class members participated once again this year in the Stuff the Bus campaign; created by Grant Roser (LMV ”12) of Roser Communications and its stations: 97.9/105.5 KISS FM, BUG Country 99.7 & 101.1, and 100.7 WUTQ, in conjunction with WKTV NewsChannel 2 & Birnie Bus Service. Class members arrived with 91 toys on program day, which proved to be a record-setting donation year for any LMV class so far. Great job, #lmv2016!



NOVEMBER Program Day:

Education and Lifelong Learning day was held at Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy in Clinton, during which Don Polczynski, Chief Financial Officer (LMV ’08), welcomed the class with reflections on leadership. The class also heard from education professionals in the community, including Rocco Migliori, Superintendent of Schools (Westmoreland Central School District); Robert Nole, Superintendent of Schools (New Hartford Central School District); Elizabeth Rossi, Director of K-12 Outreach (SUNY Polytechnic Institute), Franca Armstrong, Rome Campus Dean and AVP, Workforce Development (Mohawk Valley Community College); and Chris Hill, Assistant Superintendent Instructional Services (Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES). 

The class then finished out the day with a Toastmasters exercise facilitated by Scott Leonard, President of CNY BizTalkers, before breaking out, once again, into their project teams. 

As a fun end to the day, many class members chose to mingle with LMV alumni at a post-program day Alumni Network Happy Hour. This event was held at the Elks Lodge in Utica and offered yet another great opportunity for attendees to build their network.



OCTOBER Program Day:

Quality of Life/Arts & Culture day was held at various locations within and around Baggs Square and Downtown Utica. We began the day at the ThINCubator, hosted by Ryan Miller (LMV ’04), after many class members gladly took advantage of the location to stop in at Utica Coffee Roasting and Utica Bread for quick morning treats. On the sidewalk outside the ThINCubator,  many class members were also lucky enough to receive flowers from Chester’s Flower Shop as part of their #petalitforward campaign. To get things started, Ryan welcomed the class warmly, before Michelle Truett, owner of 484 Design, Inc., shared and debriefed her recent TEDx Utica Talk, entitled Microbranding Utica-Mile by Mile before leading the class on a narrated walk through Baggs Square and Downtown Utica. The tour led the class to the Landmarc Building, with a guided tour of one of the newly renovated loft apartments, as well as a sneak peek inside Ocean Blue-Utica’s first rooftop restaurant; Gerber’s 1933 Tavern; the Utica Children’s Museum; Baggs Square Commemorative Park and Union Station. Phew! The class really got their exercise in that day!

Around midday, the class sat down for lunch at Fort Schuyler Club. As you can imagine, not much time was allotted that day for sitting down, though nobody was heard complaining! Lunch was followed by a tour of the Stanley Center for the Arts. The final location of the day was F.X. Matt Brewery where the class heard from Nick R. Matt (Brand Manager of F.X. Matt Brewing) about the Brewery’s economic impact on the Mohawk Valley.  Brenda Episcopo (CEO/Executive Director of the United Way of the Valley & Greater Utica Area) and Alicia Dicks (President & CEO of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties), closed out the day, talking to the class about their team projects.

To wrap up the day, class members broke into their project teams (facilitated by Jan Squadrito, Senior Program Officer, The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties and Robin Robinson Director of Community Investment, The United Way of the Valley & Greater Utica Area). Brewery tours and a social hour were held afterward in the 1888 Tavern. This was our first foray in moving Quality of Life back to a fall program day (it’s been the final program day for several years), and it appears that the day has found a new October home!

Ocean Blue, class photo


SEPTEMBER Program Day:

Philanthropy and Trusteeship Day, held at Kids Oneida, Inc., began with a warm welcome from our host organization’s CEO/Executive Director and LMV alum, Steve Bulger (’14). Steve, who is also the Class of 2014 representative, reflected on his own LMV experience, emphasizing relationships built and sustained since graduating from the program, while urging current class members to make the most of the opportunities each program day has to offer. Through the remainder of the day, the class engaged in discussions on topics including a TED Talk (featuring Dan Pallotta): The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong; Boardsmanship 101 (facilitated by J.P. Kidwell, Vice President of Advancement at SUNY Polytechnic Institute); and Team Dynamics (facilitated by Cindy Masingil, Partner/Executive Coach & Trainer at PLS).

The day was further punctuated with lively, team-building activities, which included the Grab the Gavel challenge (facilitated by Jeremy Earl, Executive Director of the Root Farm (’09) and Bill Read, Corporate Officer for Day, Scarafile and Read (’06)), as well as initial meetings for Team Projects. The highlight of the visit may have been the host facility itself, which featured a large chalkboard wall that proved to be too tempting for class members and alums to pass up. Class members and alums used the board all day long to express their LMV pride, and also to grapple over which of them belong to #thebestclassever.