All posts by Jessica Gardner

Sullivan County Chamber names new President/CEO

The Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce Executive Board and Board of Directors are excited to announce the hiring of our new President/CEO, Jaime Schmeiser.

After an exhaustive search the Board feels they have found the perfect fit in Jaime. She will start in her new role as the leader of the Chamber on October 1. Please see the following introductory letter from Jaime.

Dear Sullivan County Business Community,

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. I am Jaime Schmeiser, the new President/CEO of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. I’m incredibly humbled and honored to have the opportunity to assist, support, promote, and advocate on behalf of Sullivan County’s business community.

I am a native New Yorker who comes from a long line of commerce professionals, teachers, artists, philanthropists, and altruists. The principles of continued growth, conscious benevolence, collective advocacy, equitable education and vocation, are tenets that I value highly.

I am coming home to a state, a county and a community that I love after garnering twenty-four years of administration, leadership, and rural community economic development in Wyoming. I have worn many hats – from CEO to Board Member in a rural chamber of commerce, economic development partnerships, main street organizations, and non- profits concerned with affordable housing issues and poverty alleviation.

I also have played an active role in community partnership development, grant writing, and volunteer management with such organizations as Habitat for Humanity and Main Street USA.

These many roles allowed me to create successful programs which assisted in the development and expansion of business-client relationships while building and strengthening coalitions, and working with community stakeholders.

I am someone who supports inclusiveness, genuinely welcomes and celebrates diverse voices and perspectives, and enjoys working in a learning-centered environment.

I am truly excited for the future of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I look forward to building upon the existing member offerings as well as working with the Board to initiate others; all in an effort to expand the capacity of the organization to advance its mission and vision.

I am blessed to be joining a fantastic team and an inspiring community. I am excited to get to know the membership, meet the people, and explore the challenges that can make a true profound difference to our organization.

I sincerely welcome you along for what will be a very engaging and fulfilling ride. I look forward to meeting you and working with you to further strengthen and galvanize an amazing business community.

Please come and say hello. I would love to meet you!

Jaime Schmeiser
Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc.

SCVA brings global awareness & visitors to Sullivan Catskills

The Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association (SCVA), the official tourism promotion agency for Sullivan County, is experiencing substantial results from the implementation of their strategic marketing plan.

The goal is to attract visitors from around the globe to the Sullivan Catskills, increase visitor spending, overnight stays and county bed tax collections. Why are new visitors coming to the Sullivan Catskills?

The concept of “build and they will come” in the global competitive tourism market doesn’t work anymore. Destinations are competing more than ever to attract tourism dollars. They now must be creative, focused and tactical when going after new audiences and returning visitors.

The SCVA is doing just this. They have developed a strategy with a team of marketing and advertising experts to create a progressive plan that has produced results.

“Our plan is a roadmap to success. It is well thought out and targeted. However, we realize that we must be flexible and adaptable as trends change. We have great success so far and expect this to continue. Or numbers demonstrate this!” commented Roberta Byron-Lockwood, President of the SCVA.

The numbers do show that their strategy is working. Since 2015, the Sullivan Catskills has experienced up to a 16 percent increase in visitor expenditures. Tourism spending was over $449 million for 2017 and is expected to continue this upward trajectory in the years to come due to new development of Resorts World Catskills, Yo1 Luxury Nature Cure, Kartrite Hotel & Indoor Water Park, Eldred Preserve and other projects set for 2019-2021 openings.

In addition, media and tour operators from around the globe are taking great interest in the 50th anniversary of the original 1969 Woodstock Festival and other tourism opportunities in the Sullivan Catskills, such as farm to table cuisine, health & wellness, gaming, outdoor adventure and much more.

Visitors, tour operators and media are finding out about the Sullivan Catskills and its distinctive tourism opportunities – and not just by chance.

They are discovering the Catskills because of the SCVA’s focused efforts of marketing and promotion. Just in 2018, the SCVA is targeted to receive up to 4 million visitors. By 2019-2020, it is projected that the Sullivan Catskills will receive up to 7 million or more visitors.

Some of SCVA’s ROI accomplishments in 2018 include:

  • Attendance at Meeting & Convention, Travel Trade and Consumer shows: Reach was to over 25k tour operators, media and potential visitors.
  • Hosting a variety of international and domestic travel writers and bloggers: Articles on the Sullivan Catskills were published in The Irish Times; Scottish Times; Daily News, UK; Wall Street Journal; Architectural Digest; New York Post to name a few. Reach was to over 12 million people and media value worth $6 million.
  • Increasing Social Media awareness: The SCVA is becoming an influencer on social media platforms. In the first 5 months of 2018, compared to 2017 stats, SCVA’s social media grew 64 percent in daily engaged Facebook users, a 978 percent increase in retweets (Twitter), an 864 percent increase in Instagram reach, and a 25 percent increase in followers.
  • Promotional exhibits of the Sullivan Catskills at New York Stewart International Airport: Over 500,000 people arrive to this airport annually.
  • Partnering with I Love New York International offices in China, Australia, UK and Germany on various marketing and promotion initiatives that encourage visitors from these markets to visit the Sullivan Catskills.

People are rediscovering the Catskills! The marketing and advertising strategy is working. The success is also due to SCVA’s partners and members. The SCVA is a membership driven organization. “We are successful because of our members. Without them and their support, we wouldn’t have the quality experiences visitors are looking for,” stated Roberta Byron Lockwood. “We have many more exciting things in store for the Sullivan Catskills.”

“We have hired more staff to handle the influx of visitor interest. We expect to be New York State’s and the Northeast’s premier destination for gaming, luxury, family and outdoor adventure travel,” Byron-Lockwood said. “We are confident we will accomplish this because of our commitment to the Sullivan Catskills as well as all of the support we have from our Board, politicians and membership.”

Interested in becoming a member of the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association to attract new and returning visitors to your place of business? Contact Holly Gassler at or 845-747-4447.

Q&A with Resorts World Catskills’ Charlie Degliomini

Last updated on November 14th, 2018

What exciting new developments are happening in and around the casino since its opening earlier this year?

Since opening our doors earlier this year, we have opened most of our amenities that our integrated casino resort has to offer. In addition to our 332 all-suite hotel which features 27 premium accommodations, we have launched the opening of the Crystal Life Spa, the RW Epicenter, our 2,500 seat event venue that has welcomed the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Gavin DeGraw and Sebastian Maniscalco, and the exclusive Palace High Limit Gaming area, which is designed for top-tier players and features private gaming salons, an experience you cannot find anywhere outside of Las Vegas and

We also look forward to opening our second hotel in December which will allow us to increase the number of guests we can host, in turn, bringing more people to Sullivan County.

Resorts World Catskills has already had a tremendous impact on the Sullivan County employment scene. What opportunities are there for residents to join your staff and what qualifications should they come with?

Resorts World Catskills currently employees over 1,600 team members, with over 63% of that number coming from Sullivan County.

As we look to 2019, we plan to employee over 2,200 people throughout our campus. The positions available at Resorts World Catskills provide a unique opportunity to begin an exciting and rewarding career that offers opportunities for continued career growth, great benefits and development and we encourage Sullivan County residents to visit the careers page of our website to apply. We are looking for enthusiastic new team members who exhibit a positive attitude and a desire to provide our guests with unparalleled experiences.

What new attractions and promotions are being offered inside the casino to attract new visitors?

This summer, Resorts World Catskills introduced a series of incredible promotions for our guests that speak to the caliber of our brand. Since July 1, we have hosted “Imagine a Million,” giving guests the chance to win their share of millions of dollars in prizes each day they play, including four players who won VIP experience packages, and one lucky winner who will take home $1 million, guaranteed on Saturday, September 15.

In addition to the exceptional promotions that we will continue to offer our players, we look forward to opening our second hotel, restoring the Monster Golf Course and welcoming the Kartrite Waterpark and Lodge to our campus, all of which will put Resorts World Catskills on the map as a top integrated destination.

What restaurant do you recommend for the perfect night out?

With 10 eclectic bar and restaurant outlets, Resorts World Catskills is the perfect place for a night out. Whether you are indulging in dinner and a glass of one of our 500 varieties of wine at Cellaio, an Italian inspired steakhouse with a menu curated by celebrity chef Scott Conant, or enjoying drinks and live entertainment at Bar 360, located in the center of the action of the casino floor, we are truly able to offer a unique experience for every guest.

Helping people a rewarding experience for County Manager Josh Potosek

Last updated on November 14th, 2018

The Distinguished Service Award is given each year by the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development to a person who has shown extraordinary service to the county, and with more than 11 years under his belt, Sullivan County Manager Joshua Potosek is being honored this year for his dedication and hard work.

Potosek was offered the County Manager position in March of 2013, and upon accepting, has been steadily working on improving public safety for residents of Sullivan County, infrastructure and getting projects moving that are desperately needed for consistent economic growth.

One of those projects, that has been a discussion at the table since the early 80s, was a new county jail.

“Building a jail isn’t necessarily what a politician or even the public wants but 10 percent of our workforce works there,” he said. “So how do we face them every day and say ‘no,’ we don’t care that you’re working in these deplorable conditions. “It’s something that has been needed for the better part of two or three decades.”

After moving to Livingston Manor with his parents when he was just four or five years old, Potosek never really imagined himself in a position like County Manager.

“My family and I were never really into politics. I could have probably told you just a handful of things about the government,” laughed Potosek, “like the DMV and the Board of Elections. So I went into the private sector after high school. I worked at IBM for a while.”

Potosek then began looking at some opportunities in Sullivan County, and with a Masters from Marist College, he took a civil service test.

Six months later he was canvassed.

“I was doing a lot of similar things at IBM, but once I started to move up here and got more into policy, I was getting into more rewarding and enriching things,” Potosek explained. “In a big company you don’t really see the end game of things and you’re so distant from the customer. Here you can impact people’s lives more, and you can see it. A decision you make can improve someone’s life it’s much more rewarding to see that,” he said.

Potosek went on to express that when he first took the job, he thought his role would be more accounting and budgeting, but has clearly grown into something much more.

“Everything you do, everything I do, is through that lens of trying to help the public,” he said. “You’re helping your fellow neighbors and residents. But it’s not just me. I could never accomplish everything without a team of people behind me. So this award is just as much for them as it is for me. It’s very humbling.”


The Sullivan Catskills is making a comeback!

Last updated on November 14th, 2018

Sullivan Catskills is growing steadily in tourism spending, making Sullivan County one of the fastest emerging destinations for tourism growth and investment in New York State and the entire Northeast.

The Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association (SCVA) and its economic development partners are at the forefront of this development.

Time, strong partnerships and well thought out strategic planning is the recipe for successful tourism progress. Roberta Byron-Lockwood, President of the SCVA, her Board of Directors and partners used this formula and worked diligently for the past decade to attract smart and sustainable tourism investment such as: Resorts World Catskills, Yo1 Luxury Nature Cure, Kartrite Hotel & Indoor Water Park, Eldred Preserve and many other projects that are in the pipeline for 2019-2021.

Collaboration with the Sullivan County Partnership, local governments, Sullivan County Legislature as well as SCVA member businesses are the viable partners who have been instrumental to the success.

As a result of the strategic planning, tourism spending increased 7.3 percent between 2016 and 2017 after an 8 percent growth from 2015 to 2016. This number is anticipated to rise exponentially by 2020, at a rate of 10 percent to 15 percent per year.

By the end of 2018, strategists project that the Sullivan Catskills will have 4 million visitors, which will boost to over 5 million within the next couple of years. This number could even exceed to 7 million or more by the end of 2019, as the SCVA, Bethel Woods Museum and partners prepare for the 50th anniversary of the original 1969 Woodstock Festival, which was held in Bethel.

The SCVA has already hosted numerous domestic and international media who are writing about this momentous event; so far, the current media exposure is over 7 million readers globally. Roberta Byron-Lockwood attributes the success of the Sullivan Catskills to her partners.

“We are an amazing county. Everyone works together for a common goal of increased visitor revenue and new quality development,” Lockwood said. “Together we work strategically and are patient because we know it pays off in the long run. I have never worked in a place where there is so much collaboration. I am proud to work for the businesses and people in the Sullivan Catskills.”

The SCVA office staff has firsthand experienced this growth. Serving as a concierge service, the SCVA Visitor Center is busy daily with traveler requests of where to stay, eat and visit, as well as interests in itineraries and the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Guides.

The objective is to drive visitors to members’ businesses.

Last year, 100,000 guides were requested from travelers throughout the United States. Stats are not in for 2018, but anecdotally they report that requests are up from 2017. Each week, staff mail out up to 3,000 guides to inquiring visitors.

“We are thrilled that we have strong member support. Our membership is increasing, which adds to our database of recommended places for our new and returning visitors to patronize. New restaurants, lodging and even service businesses are signing up to become a member of the SCVA”, Byron-Lockwood said. “They see the value in our membership and our offerings. We keep the cost low so everyone can become a valued SCVA member.”

To find out more about the SCVA membership contact Holly Gassler, There is more to come with the SCVA. New staff are hired to handle the tourism demand and a progressive marketing plan is now being implemented to further their visitor reach and awareness of the Sullivan Catskills.

Building a local, sustainable energy economy for Sullivan County

Last updated on November 14th, 2018

Solar energy is an integral component of Governor Cuomo’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” initiative, which seeks to transform New York State’s energy economy by 2030, and Sullivan County is at the forefront of this transformation.

In particular, Sullivan County is home to several Community Distributed Generation (CDG) projects, each in various stages of planning and development, which will allow us to produce and use clean, renewable power right here.

What is Community Distributed Generation (CDG)?

In a nutshell, CDG is a system that allows local residents and small businesses who are not able to site renewable energy production facilities on their own property to get their energy from off-site solar facilities.

Based on their electric usage, residents and small businesses subscribe to a percentage of the facility’s output. The facility generates electricity and offloads that power back to the grid. Customers who sign up receive credits which are distributed through their NYSEG bill, and these credits reduce the subscribers’ electricity charges.

So in effect, CDG allows the public to buy locally generated power from renewable sources at a discount while offsetting its carbon footprint at the same time.

How is the IDA involved?

The IDA recognizes the importance of transitioning to a more renewable, sustainable, and independent energy economy, so in December 2016 the IDA adopted a Community Distributed Generation Tax Exempt Policy to assist in the development of CDG installations.

Since that time, our Board of Directors has approved five projects – two in the Town of Delaware, two in the Town of Thompson, and one in the Town of Liberty.

All five of these projects are being developed by Delaware River Solar. With offices in New York City and Callicoon, Delaware River Solar is a solar development company working to build dozens of CDG facilities throughout the NYSEG and RGE electric service territories. As with all IDA tax exempt policies, the CDG policy offers a mortgage tax abatement, sales and use tax abatement, and partial real property tax abatement for qualifying projects.

What sets the CDG policy apart is that municipalities receive more revenues than they would, if CDG projects were built without IDA involvement. Under New York State law, CDG facilities are entirely exempt from payment of new real property taxes for a fifteen-year period. In contrast, through the IDA program, projects make an annual payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) to the IDA for twenty years.

Each year the IDA distributes the entire PILOT payment to the County, the host town, school district, and village (if applicable).

So, with IDA involvement, CDG projects contribute more to the municipalities’ coffers than they would if the IDA were not involved.

(The exception is that any municipality may opt out of Section 487 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law, which provides the fifteen-year exemption on all new real property taxes. In this instance, a CDG project would not realize a real property tax abatement.)

So how does this help the companies building the CDG projects?

CDG project developers, and their lenders, prefer the certainty and simplicity of an IDA agreement that sets forth the estimated PILOT payments to be made over a twenty-year period. The additional costs in the form of PILOT payments are outweighed by the ability to more accurately predict expenses over the lifespan of the solar  installation.

In addition, the IDA provides CDG projects an exemption from local sales and use taxes for any goods and services purchased to construct a CDG project. (Most of these expenses are exempt from state sales and use taxes under New York State law.)

How does all of this help Sullivan County?

The IDA’s program helps our municipalities by providing payments in lieu of taxes that they would not otherwise receive. It’s important to note that any municipality can develop its own PILOT program, and some local municipalities are doing just that. But the IDA’s program is designed to provide the maximum financial benefit to all taxing jurisdictions where a CDG facility is located.

And IDA assumes responsibility for administering the PILOT agreement, calculating and disbursing PILOT payments, and complying with any applicable rules and laws.

While the IDA strongly supports this type of solar development, we recognize and respect variations in local policy.

Thus, we will not entertain any applications from projects located in municipalities that have opted out of Section 487 of the Real Property Tax Law as described above. Moreover, we require that each CDG project application include a letter from the host town, affirming its support for the project.

Our program also helps Sullivan County residents. In return for the incentives we provide, CDG projects must commit to offering local preference to Sullivan County residents wishing to buy their electricity, and they must provide that electricity to local customers at a discounted rate of ten percent less than the utility company’s default rate.

More broadly, our program is designed to stimulate Sullivan County’s transition to a sustainable energy economy. Delaware River Solar, the developer creating the Sackett Lake Solar Farm in the Town of Thompson, estimates this project will serve almost 800 households, resulting in a total savings of $1,380,000 over 20 years for those customers.

It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions – equal to the carbon emissions of over 1,000 cars per year, or over 544,000 gallons of gasoline consumed per year.

The Sackett Lake Solar Farm is just one of many planned CDG projects in development in Sullivan County, which will have a significant cumulative impact on our economy, our health, and our environment. Sullivan County really is at the forefront of reforming New York State’s energy vision.

The County is a certified Climate Smart Community, designated by the Department of Environmental Conservation, and a Clean Energy community, designated by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Leaders and staff at the county and municipal levels have made a commitment to local, sustainable energy, and the IDA is proud to be a part of their efforts.

You, too, can make this commitment by signing up to get your power from local Sources. For more information on the CDG projects working with the IDA, or to sign up to get your power from these local sources, please contact Delaware River Solar at 845-397-0134 or visit


VHB looks to help Sullivan County grow

Last updated on November 14th, 2018

VHB partners with clients to improve mobility, enhance communities and economic vitality, and balance development and infrastructure needs with environmental stewardship. With offices in 30 locations along the East Coast, VHB is available to both business and government clients at a moment’s notice.

That’s why they recently joined the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development to find out what is happening in one of the busiest counties in the Hudson Valley.

“There’s a new casino that opened and that certainly spawned some new development,” VHB Managing Director Mike Tucker, of the Albany office, said. “We are starting to get involved in Sullivan County because we have the experience necessary to help it grow.”

Whether designing a new office complex, facilitating approvals for a new building project or working with local governments to balance developmental and infrastructure needs with environmental stewardship, VHB’s 1,350 employees have the experience.

VHB’s engineers, scientists, planners and designers partner with their clients in a myriad of projects, ranging from transportation to healthcare, industrial to energy, commercial to governmental.

“We have all the services inhouse to get your project done,” Managing Director Patrick O’Leary, PE, of the White Plains office, said. “We have done a lot of multi-housing projects, low income housing as well as small box retail.”

O’Leary believes that experience, along with building strong personal client relationships, will bode well for VHB’s future success in Sullivan County.

“We help developers get projects done,” Tucker said. “We see population growth coming to the area and want to be part of that success story.”

Tucker and O’Leary can be reached by emailing or

Sen. Bonacic reflects on Walter Rhulen Award, long career in politics

Last updated on November 14th, 2018

Some of the greatest achievements in the world started with a simple thought and a small act of kindness. For this year’s Walter A. Rhulen Awardee – New York State Senator John Bonacic – kindness and helping people is something he always had in him.

“When you come out of law school you just think about getting a job and making money. But I always loved people and I always wanted to help people,” Sen. Bonacic stated. “I always had that in me.”

Sen. Bonacic will be honored this year at the Partnership’s Annual Meeting for his commitment to community and the districts he represents, along with his service to the betterment of the people he stands for. A graduate of Iona College and later Fordham University School of Law, Sen. Bonacic professed that he wasn’t really ever sure where life would take him, but he’s happy as to where he’s ended up.

In February of 1990, Bonacic was elected to the New York State Assembly and was re-elected four times, remaining in the Assembly until he was elected to the New York State Senate in 1998, being re-elected every two years ever since.

“If I had to do it all over again, I absolutely would. I have no regrets on anything, and I’ve been a very fortunate human being,” he expressed. “There are so many people that have touched me in my life, and I’ve touched them.”

During his time as Senator, Bonacic brought a lot of his focus to Sullivan County, as he felt it was a county that needed it the most, working to secure grants and monies to aid in the revitalization throughout many of its parts.

“One thing that I knew how to do, that maybe some of the Senators before me didn’t quite focus on, was following the money,” laughed Bonacic. “So I concentrated on Sullivan County because the people needed it the most.

“The people were really struggling and now, today, there is a strong economic heartbeat with job creation and more,” he said.

Just this year alone, Bonacic has secured $75,000 for the Town of Thompson and a $1 million grant for the Center for Discovery. He supported a Senate Resolution that invests $1 million to combat lyme and tick-borne diseases, something that has been a growing issue for the past few years, as well as supported a Senate Resolution that would add $5 million in additional funding for critical women’s health initiatives.

And although Bonacic has announced that he will be retiring at the end of this year, he plans to continue to help and serve the people, just in other ways.

“I think this is the premiere award in Sullivan County,” Bonacic said when asked about how he felt receiving the award. “You know, I looked at the 19 people that have received this award since 1990 and they are all Sullivan County people. So this award makes me feel like I’m a native, that I’m accepted as a part of the people, and that makes me feel good,” he said. “And if you ask me what my greatest achievement would be… it would be my family. They’re good people and they do good things. I’m looking forward to spending more time with them.”


Partnership continues small business entrepreneurial focus

Last updated on November 14th, 2018

The Sullivan County Partnership believes in the importance of small businesses and how they are a fundamental part of the economy.

Christopher Lockwood, Marketing Outreach Coordinator for the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development, has been leading the small business division for the Partnership.

Recently the Sullivan County Partnership partnered with Jeff Bank to assist Beaverkill Landscaping LLC for the acquisition and expansion of an existing business. Beaverkill Landscaping LLC., is owned by Andrew Cummings, a young landscaping professional poised to plant entrepreneurial roots in Sullivan County and enhance his new business venture.

The Beaverkill Landscaping is looking to expand the already existing business and hire more employees in the near future. Mr. Cummings graduated from SUNY Cobleskill and received a bachelor’s in Landscape Contracting; followed by extensive landscaping work while employed at a large Maine based landscaping company.

“This was a great project to back for the Partnership and we hope for a continued and prosperous future for Beaverkill Landscaping moving forward.” said Chris Lockwood, Small Business and Economic Development Coordinator.

Beaverkill Landscaping is located in Livingston Manor and had been in operation for the last 40 years. The new management will foster new relationships in the area allowing the business to grow. The Partnership focuses on giving technical assistance to incoming small business by utilizing tools such as technical expertise their relationships built over decades with business experts, financing entities, planning professionals, local officials and its own revolving loan fund.

The Sullivan Investment Loan Fund along with the Incubator Without Walls Revolving Loan Funds are wonderful resources that can assist businesses in need of financing. The Partnership provides guidance for incoming businesses which is essential for a business to survive the start-up or expansion phase of a project.

Superior Surfacing keeps its customers happy

Last updated on November 14th, 2018

Superior Surfacing Systems Ltd. was formed in 2002, primarily performing asphalt repairs and sealcoating services.

Since that time the company has steadily grown into one of the area’s most highly-respected commercial paving contractors. Serving Orange, Sullivan, Rockland, Westchester, Dutchess Counties in New York State and Northern New Jersey, Superior Surfacing Systems concentrates on private commercial paving projects, much of it for large facilities, corporate complexes and condo communities throughout the Hudson Valley.

The firm also offers sealcoating, cracksealing, excavation, drainage work and any related construction services associated with their projects. Recently, the company added the construction of sports courts and has worked on numerous private and municipal projects including the rebuilding of a new basketball and volleyball complex at Sullivan County Community College, the paving of an eight-court tennis court complex at Middletown High School as well as the resurfacing of the Running Track at John S. Burke Catholic High School in Goshen.

“This is a nice niche market for us and yet another attribute that separates us from our competitors,” says Keith Reardon, President of Superior Surfacing Systems. “We have the expertise within our organization, it’s part of our history and it’s profitable when targeting the proper client.”

Kevin Murphy, Superior Surfacing Systems Project Superintendent, has been personally involved with countless sports courts in his 35 years in the industry. “Kevin has been a valuable asset to our company and his experience and “old school” work ethic have been extremely helpful in successfully completing many of our more intricate projects.

Although our relationships takes us out of the area on a regular basis we are actively concentrating on a greater involvement in Sullivan County.

“Kevin and I, as well as many of our employees, are ‘home grown’ and live in Sullivan County. With the explosion of growth, we see opportunity to expand our presence in our local construction market,” Reardon said.

Superior currently enjoys active relationships with Bethel Woods Performing Art Center, Catskill Regional Medical Center, SUNY Sullivan, The Resnick Group and many other Sullivan County clients.

With all the major/substantial new facilities and attractions (ie; Resorts World, YO1, Hotels, Kartrite Waterpark, etc.) dotting the landscape, we see great potential on partnering with them as a long-term maintenance contractor and future paving as they expand.

“We excel at delivering quality workmanship, maintaining clear communications and establishing long-term relationships,” Reardon said. “These attributes have fueled our growth and we hope they will continue to attract potential clients within Sullivan County.

“We are unique in that we are big enough to handle the large projects and nimble enough to work around the toughest deadline schedules,” Murphy said.

Two recent examples of Superior Surfacing’s agility in the marketplace was its repaving of the Cosimo’s Brick Oven Restaurant in Middletown.

“They told us they ‘didn’t want to be down’ and somehow our great team had them paved and open for business the same day,” Murphy said.

“The other project was the repaving of the Westchester County Medical Center parking lot,” Murphy said. “It was another example of how we put the customer first and did the parking lot in sections over a period of several days to minimally affect both the patients and staff of the hospital. They were very satisfied.”

In this challenging time of attracting and keeping employees, Superior Surfacing Systems offers a good work environment, steady work and opportunity for growth within its ranks.

“It’s not easy work and takes a certain type of individual to dedicate themselves and settle into the process. Once engaged… I think many of our guys find a home and develop a great sense of pride in our reputation and high standard of work,” says Murphy.

“We certainly would like to open more doors in Sullivan County and show the business community our quality work and great service,” Murphy continued. “We are a full-service company who strives to make our customers happy.” To find out more about Superior Surfacing go to or call 845-733-5507.

Advance Testing continues tradition of quality, reliability, professionalism and integrity

Last updated on November 14th, 2018

Jimmy Smith will never forget how Advance Testing got started. Smith worked hard, first earning an associate’s degree from Alfred State College, followed by a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

After college, he found a job working within a division of Yonkers Contracting, eventually working his way up to Chief Quality Control Technician. When he was hired, Smith told his employer that he could commit to five years, and when that time was up, he was going to start his own company. “Nobody believed me,” Smith says, “but in five years, I stuck to my plan, and after I trained my replacement, much to their dismay, I moved on.” So he ventured out on his own – armed only with his station wagon and some credit cards, and in 1984 founded Advance Testing.

It took several years before Advance Testing would become a serious player in the Mid-Hudson region, and by then the company had cemented a reputation of knowledgeable employees who worked tirelessly to make sure the job was done right and done on time. “It’s all about customer service,” Smith said recently “You are only as good as your last at bat. Our state-of-the-art laboratory facility is open 7 days a week, offering 24-hour service to our clients when needed” Smith said.

If Advance Testing’s line-up of projects is any gauge, the company has a great batting average. “We are really happy to be involved in the growth of Sullivan County,” Smith said. “We’ve worked at SUNY Sullivan, the Monticello Motor Club, Crystal Run Healthcare, Catskill Regional Medical Center, Resorts World Catskills and the Kartrite Water Park.”

It was the Resorts World Catskills project, for which planning started more than a decade ago, that was a catalyst for renewed economic development in Sullivan County. Chris McCracken, Director of Business Development at Advance Testing, said, “We forged a close relationship with Empire Resorts [management] and we hit it off. There was something about this project that we truly embraced and in the end it was very exciting to see them selected for a gaming license,” McCracken said.

“We are honored and fortunate to be involved with the project’s construction. We have worked on it since the very early phases, from shortly after tree clearing to building an interchange and now, Chalet Road and the casino itself.” Smith added, “Our work on the casino brought our presence full bore into Sullivan County. It’s been years since we had the opportunity to work on a job the size of the casino. It was a perfect opportunity and we did our best to live by the motto, ‘buy and hire local’,” Smith said.

“It started with the infrastructure phase when we printed the plans locally. Then, we purchased company vehicles, equipment and even attire for our workers from local vendors,” he said.

“We continued our efforts to reach out to the community through the Sullivan County Partnership and SUNY Sullivan. A good portion of our team who worked on the project are Sullivan County residents,” he said.

“For the last 10 years we’ve been involved in the Sullivan County Partnership and it’s an exciting organization to be a member of,” said Smith.

“They are dedicated to their investors and help keep everyone united – they are the fabric of the community. And with the help of the Partnership, Sullivan County Visitors Assn. and Sullivan County Chamber, Sullivan United was born, an organization which fully supported the casino project.”

Today, Advance Testing is headquartered out of Campbell Hall in Orange County, and during the peak building season will employ upwards of 160 people. They have also opened up offices in Harpursville, NY; West Stockbridge, MA; Fort Myers, FL and Newtown, CT. Last year Advance Testing worked on 1,100 different projects in the Northeast, with durations ranging from two days to five years.

Smith is also proud of the role that Advance Testing had as part of the NYS Thruway Authority Owner’s Engineer Team, charged with oversight of the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement Project (Mario M Cuomo Bridge). “It’s going to be a landmark for many, many years to come,” he said.

Employees are strength of Advance Testing culture

Talk with Advance Testing President and CEO Jimmy Smith for any length of time and the words dedication, involvement and enriching are sure to come up. Smith not only believes in his own employees but is working hard to develop the next generation of Advance Testing team members and managers. “I was a one-person operation for a year, and we still have our first employee, Mark Clark, who’s been with us 34 years,” Smith said. “We have 20 employees with over 15 years of tenure with the company. “We are really structured for further growth,” he said.

One way which Smith is building the leaders of tomorrow is through Advance Testing’s High School Mentorship Program. Last year they brought in students from Monticello High School and Newburgh Free Academy for a 7-week program. “They were treated like any other employee, including completion of the formal 10-hour OSHA Construction Safety course whereby they earned a nationally recognized certificate,” he said. “They learned about Advance Testing and were able to develop professional demeanor and soft skills,” Smith said.

The program extended to SUNY Sullivan where students learned interview skills and prepared a resume, and to the Sullivan County Partnership where students learned about economic development and career opportunities in the County. Smith said the program has been in place for several years and is an excellent way to build future leaders of industry. As an added bonus, Advance offers the students a $1,000 scholarship to put towards future education, whether it be the college of their choice or a trade school.

“The students and staff from Monticello were outstanding to work with,” he said. “The transformation which we saw was incredible.”

For more on this program or Advance Testing’s offerings, go to

SC Partnership Announces Senator John J. Bonacic as 2018 Walter A. Rhulen Award Recipient

Last updated on November 7th, 2018

County Manager Josh Potosek to be honored with Distinguished Service Award

The Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development has announced that New York State Senator John J. Bonacic will be honored as its 2018 Walter A. Rhulen Award recipient at this year’s Annual Meeting on October 4 at The Sullivan Event Center in Rock Hill.

Additionally, the Partnership will recognize Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek, who also serves on the Partnership’s Board of Directors, as its Distinguished Service Award winner.

The annual Rhulen Award recognizes an individual for business excellence, community commitment, and service to humanity. Senator Bonacic represents the 42nd Senate District, which includes all of Sullivan County, a large part of Orange County, and parts of Delaware and Ulster counties. Over the years, he has brought significant funding from Albany for projects in the district, and was arguably the strongest advocate of bringing a casino to Sullivan County.

Senator Bonacic serves as Deputy Majority Leader for State and Federal Relations as well as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering. In the Senate, Senator Bonacic has championed causes relating to healthcare, property tax relief, and housing.

Senator Bonacic has secured millions in funding to support the advancement of Sullivan County, including most recently a $1 million Infrastructure and Economic Development grant for The Center for Discovery. He also led the effort to affiliate Catskill Regional Medical Center with Orange Regional Medical Center, and created a public-private partnership to make substantial improvements to Catskill Regional Medical Center’s emergency room services. He was the original Senate sponsor of the Women’s Health and Wellness Act, a bill seeking to correct inequity regarding access to healthcare, leading a four-year effort within the Senate to pass this comprehensive legislation.

In August 2018, Senator Bonacic was named the Most Productive State Senator by FiscalNote, a provider of issues management services related to business and government. The recognition was based upon a review of his success at crafting legislation and getting substantive policy changes enacted.

“It has been a pleasure working with Senator Bonacic for the better part of 20 years,” said Sullivan County Partnership President and CEO Marc Baez. “He has always been a champion of the private sector, the small business community, and the everyday hard-working people of our county. Thanks to the attention and dedication he has given us, he will leave office having positively impacted the Sullivan County economy for years to come.”

Senator Bonacic has lived in the area since 1968. He resides with his wife, Pat, in Mount Hope, Orange County. After two decades of representing the district, Senator Bonacic will retire in December.

Joshua Potosek, an employee of Sullivan County for 11 years in various management titles, has served as the County Manager for the past five years.

Mr. Potosek is an inaugural member of the Sullivan County Land Bank Corporation, a non-profit organization focused on undertaking, promoting, and facilitating the return of vacant, abandoned, and tax delinquent properties to productive use to eliminate the harms and liabilities caused by such properties and to combat community deterioration in the County.

The Corporation’s focus is on real estate development and management, real estate project finance, and other community-based economic and human services development activities.

“This past fiscal year especially, County Manager Josh Potosek has demonstrated – by virtue of his personal time and financial commitments – that economic development is one of the most important priorities for Sullivan County,” said Baez. “Whether lending guidance to ad hoc committees, or taking a pro business stance on matters of greater significance, Josh has stayed true to our comprehensive vision and taken necessary risks in order to help continue our economic resurgence.”

Mr. Potosek is member of the Emerald Corporate Center Board of Directors, and an ex-officio member of both the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and Sullivan County Visitors Association.

Prior to working with Sullivan County, Mr. Potosek worked in the private sector. Mr. Potosek graduated from SUNY Binghamton with Bachelor of Science degrees in Economics and Management, and attended Marist University, where he earned his Master of Business Administration.

Mr. Potosek, a longtime Sullivan County resident, lives in the hamlet of Livingston Manor with his wife and two children.

The Annual Meeting will be held Thursday, Oct. 4 at The Sullivan Event Center in Rock Hill 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. To RSVP or to become a sponsor, call 845.794.1110 or email

Love Where You Live

Last updated on October 30th, 2018

Sullivan Renaissance has opened registration for its Spring Market and Annual Conference. This year’s event will take place the weekend of April 27-28. “Love Where You Live” is a sentiment that has become a tangible representation of the hard work and dedication of hundreds of volunteers throughout the communities in Sullivan County, NY.

On Friday, April 27th, join Sullivan Renaissance in a collaborative effort with Sullivan 180 to welcome Dr. Joel Fuhrman – renowned family physician and author who has appeared on Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, and PBS. Dr. Fuhrman will talk about “Eating Your Way to Better Health – Good Nutrition: A Powerful Tool to Prevent and Reverse Disease”. He will provide tips on how making small adjustments to the types of foods you eat can impact you in great ways! In his 25 years of practice, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve and maintain weight loss, reverse heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses using smart nutrition. Doors open at 4:30 PM at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Event Gallery. A reception and book signing will follow.

On Saturday, April 28th Sullivan Renaissance welcomes you back to Bethel Woods for the Spring Market and Annual Conference. Celebrate the love of the place we all call home. The day kicks off at 9:00 am in the Event Gallery. Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther will recognize the county’s municipalities and their efforts to shape Sullivan. Renaissance Awards will be presented to individuals who have made a positive and lasting impression on Sullivan County.

Author and development strategist, Peter Kageyama will talk about bottom-up community revitalization and the amazing people who make change happen. Drawing from his book “Love Where You Live”, Peter will present on love of place, practical steps to building networks, and finding your community’s authentic identity.

Mid-morning breaks up the conference with three informative workshops to choose from. The Center for Active Design will be presenting on “Building Healthy Places”, demonstrating how neighborhoods can be designed to ensure that residents have access to vibrant and beautiful public spaces and make the connection between design strategies that promote positive community interactions. Ellen Zachos will explore “Gardening in Deer Country”, with a multi-pronged approach to help the gardener triumph over the deer when it comes to who rules the garden. Jill Holland will be presenting on tools and activities for self-care and personal sustainability. “Fill It Up, Please! Supporting Our Communities Begins with Ourselves” will explain how individual mindful practices can support the well-being and effectiveness of the workplace as a whole.

The Spring Market will be open throughout the day from 10:30 am – 4:00 pm on Saturday, April 28th. Enjoy an afternoon of shopping a variety of the best local vendors and nurseries. From baked goods, to homemade soaps and handmade jewelry, florals and more, there will be something for everyone. Walk the grounds, take some yoga and take in the views of Bethel Woods. Free health screenings will also be available all day compliments of Catskill Regional Medical Center.

Sullivan Renaissance looks forward to enjoying two days of health, celebration and shopping with you!

For details about the conference, call Sullivan Renaissance at 845-295-2445. To register online, go to

Sullivan Catskills Hosts FAM Tours For International Travel Market

Last updated on October 30th, 2018

2018 is off to a busy start. The 2018 Sullivan Catskills travel guide is already seeing re-distribution at various information centers along the I-87 corridor and Rte. 81 information centers. The guide was well received at over 15 trade and travel shows that the Sullivan County Visitors Assn. (SCVA) attends with its member partners as well.

SCVA’s website and social media platforms continue to develop new strategies to add new followers and interaction from visitors.

The Sullivan Catskills has been doing numerous print and digital placements in anticipation of luring the potential travelers as it is the goal to make 2018 even more successful than 2017 in increasing visitor spending, sales tax and room tax.

With SCVA’s increased marketing efforts to the international market, the SCVA has hosted familiarization tours (FAM Tours), a common tool in the tourism industry geared towards press and the travel trade.

The hope is after the tour, that press will write stories and articles about the Sullivan Catskills and the travel trade begin booking tours and promoting the area in their marketing efforts.

In 2017, stories generated over $1 million in earned marketing value and 2018 is set to surpass that figure.

“FAM Tours offer the perfect opportunity to bring writers and tourism professionals into the Sullivan Catskills for a taste of what we offer domestic and international travelers,” Roberta Byron Lockwood, President and CEO, Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association, said. “We’re basically creating the Sullivan Catskills experience and acting as their tour guides for 2-3 days.”

At the end of February, SCVA hosted a FAM Tour for press and tourism professionals from Ireland and Scotland. The primary objective was to promote the Catskill region as a “must see” destination.

This latest FAM highlighted our two new attractions – Resorts World Catskills and Yo1 Wellness Center – adding to our legendary Bethel Woods Center for the ArtsCatskill Distilling Co.Morgan Outdoors and Prohibition Distillery.

“The Irish and Scottish travel sector is untapped territory,” Herb Clark, Vice President Marketing, Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association, said. “With direct service on Norwegian Airlines from Scotland and Ireland to Newburgh’s Stewart International Airport at very competitive prices, we believe we’re going to see more international travelers visiting the Sullivan Catskills”.

For more information on the Sullivan Catskills or to become a part of the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association, please visit

Delaware Engineering Helping Sullivan County

Last updated on October 30th, 2018

As Sullivan County continues to grow, the need for smart community development is a high priority. From new municipal buildings to refurbishing water and wastewater systems, Delaware Engineering is becoming an ever-growing part of this development.

“Our core business is water and wastewater engineering,” Dave Ohman, a principal of the 31-year-old company, said. “We also can do any kind of municipal building project.”

When Ohman and his two partners took over the business from its founders 12 years ago, Delaware Engineering had 30 employees and was centered in Albany and Delaware counties.

Today it has grown to 50 employees in its two offices in Albany and Oneonta and expanded its reach from the Capital District through the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys, Southern Tier and Catskills and well as the North County.

The company also has branch offices in Walton and Liberty.

Ohman said Delaware Engineering specializes in an honest assessment of a municipality’s project and the ability to secure funding from a myriad of state agencies willing to help fund clean water projects.

“One of the services that is kind of unique for us is our ability to find funding for a project,” Ohman said. “We normally carve out a path so they can go forward. We understand that affordability is the key.

“When you have 150-200 people using a water system, good funding is necessary to make it affordable,” he said. Another important aspect of Delaware Engineering’s work is trust.

“The bottom line is that trust is what it’s all about,” he said. “You have to trust me.

“I’m going to tell you the answer even if it is not the popular answer,” he said. “Our company’s motto is to be honest right from the get-go.”

That reputation has bode well for Delaware Engineering, which right now is “running flat out on a bunch of projects” including a handful in Sullivan County.

With 50 employees, Delaware Engineering can tackle a variety of projects at any one given time.

“We are working with the Town of Delaware on their new highway garage and salt shed,” Ohman said. “We are also helping the town on getting their wastewater treatment plant relocated and taking over the Callicoon Water Company.

“We are working with them as engineers on all those projects,” he said.

Town of Delaware Supervisor Ed Sykes said Delaware Engineering has helped the town in many areas.

“Everybody we’ve dealt with are professional and their work is very, very good,” he said. “From Dave Ohman to Bill Brown and others, they have done real well for the town.”

Ohman said he is delighted to help “his hometown,” as he was a Sullivan County native.

“Being from Sullivan County I started wondering, ‘Why aren’t we working in Sullivan County?’” Ohman said. “We’re focused our business and now we have work in the Town and Village of Liberty as well as Fallsburg.

“We will continue to service Sullivan County, they have a lot of good things to do,” he said. “It’s so nice to work in towns where you know people. I find that really nice to work where you know the people.”

Ohman said now is a good time for municipalities to get involved with both water and wastewater projects as New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo has earmarked $2 billion to upgrade these systems.

“Whenever you inject money into infrastructure it puts people to work,” Ohman said. “There is money out there to make these projects happen.”

And Delaware Engineering is not only working in Sullivan County but also becoming involved in the community.

Several years ago, Delaware Engineering became a Landmark Investor of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development. And Delaware Engineering principal John Brust also joined the Partnership’s board.

“You have to be in the area to understand what’s going on,” Ohman said. “Being involved with the Partnership has allowed us to network and see what Sullivan County needs.”

And while Delaware Engineering has its specialties, it also helps customers find the right person to get the job done.

“We will satisfy their needs even if we don’t do what they need,” Ohman said. “We have cooperative firms that we work with to get jobs finished.”


By Fred Stabbert III

1 2 5