Users of prosthetic limbs have found a sense of community online. When Sue Muscarella of Kenmore was fitted with her new i-LIMB hand, an advanced prosthesis that uses sensors and a tiny computer for tremendous control, she learned how to use it by watching videos posted by a woman using the same device on the other side of the country.
That woman, Carrie Davis of Spokane, Wash., posted the videos as part of a peer-to-peer network she created with her Web site.
Sovran Self Storage is a tidy little company - a real estate investment trust - that buys and operates a successful collection of storage facilities around the country under the name Uncle Bob's Storage. The Amherst-based firm has weathered the storms of the stock market quite well and now has partnered with a Chicago investment firm to build a war chest to go out and buy more facilities. They are distinguished by their bright yellow doors and the trucks with Uncle Bob's logos.
Columbus McKinnon is another well-run local company. It's latest earnings include an astounding fivefold jump in profits. The company makes hoists, chains and other material handling equipment.
A Bishop Timon grad, now the chief executive officer of a $1 billion language personnel company, returns to his alma mater today to give the school's commencement address. Chris Taylor is chief executive of Mission Essential Personnel, a specialized employment agency that provides highly trained workers to government and corporate clients around the world. It searches out linguists fluent in some of the world's most obscure languages and dialects, screens them, trains them, and puts them to work around the globe. Many are embedded with the U.S. military in Afghanistan. Two other executives at the Washington, D.C. company are also from Buffalo, vice president of human resources Rob Bogart (seated left) is an '86 Timon grad and executive vice president and chief of staff Sunil Ramchand (seated right) graduated from Canisius in 1991.
The Olympic Towers, the owners of which have been struggling to find a buyer, has had four tenants renew their leases. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the retailer Gourmet Store, a small law firm and a small marketing research and polling firm all signed leases. The terms vary from three to 10 years. The court is the building's second-largest tenant. The Pearl Street building has been up for sale for more than a year, with a price tag of $3.9 million.
Job fair Career Fest at the Millennium Airport Hotel brought about 650 job seekers to Cheektowaga Tuesday. Some employers said they are being more picky in their hiring, but others said they are willing to take a chance on people transitioning from different careers. Several job seekers were middle-aged men and women, some of whom had been pushed out of the area's dwindling manufacturing and labor industries. The event was sponsored by BuffaloJobFinder.com.
Career Fest came on the heels of Labor Department reports that unemployment rates are improving in Western New York. Unemployment rates in Buffalo Niagara dropped to a three-year low of 7.6 percent last month. "It's a slow recovery, but it's a recovery," said John Slenker, a regional economist for the Labor Department in Buffalo. The jobless rate dropped, in part, because the region has about 5,200 fewer unemployed workers than it did a year ago, but 16,000 more than it did before the recession started affecting the job market four years ago.
A federal judge in Newark, N.J. sentenced an Amherst man to home confinement and five years of probation after finding he received kickbacks while working on two major New Jersey environmental cleanup projects. Norman Stoerr, 55, was also ordered to pay $416,000 in fines and restitution. He plead guilty in 20008 to felony counts of fraud, bid-rigging and tax crimes when he was a contracts adminstrator for Niagara Falls company Sevenson Environmental Services.
AT&T's $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile USA and being able to stretch out over the expanded wireless spectrum would provide customers with better, faster broadband service, AT&T executives say. Critics say a merger would be a recipe for higher prices, stifled competition and limited choice. They are asking federal regulators to stop the deal.
Rocco R. Termini purchased the former Hotel Lafayette Monday for $500,000 from New York City investor group Alphonse Hotel Corp. Termini has a $40 million redevelopment planned for the landmark building.
Thought leaders will head to Buffalo in August to attack issues facing Upstate New York and to come up with solutions for the area, including ways to accelerate economic growth. The Accelerate Upstate conference will last two days and brainstorm ways to spark growth by leveraging the area's assets, such as its many colleges and universities and its proximity to Canada. The conference, to be held August 4 and 5, is organized by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.
Pabst Blue Ribbon, the cheap beer in the iconic can, saw a resurgence recently after being adopted by hipsters and cool kids as their ironic drink of choice. But the brewer's move of headquarters from Illinois to Los Angeles could put the brand's appeal in peril.
Job growth in the Buffalo Niagara region was slow in April, but there was growth. The two-county region added 2,100 jobs over April last year, for a 0.4 percent growth rate. It's slower than much of the rest of the state and the nation, but it is going in the right direction. The private sector has grown for 13 straight months in the region.
An employee of Cameron Compression Systems in Buffalo is serving a one-month sentence in a Dubai prison, and he's breathing a sigh of relief for it. Adam Foster, of Burdett in the Finger Lakes region, said he found a pair of police handcuffs on the ground, and they were in his luggage when he was leaving the country. Airport guards spotted them, and he was charged with theft. Authorities believed he took them from a police station. A judge passed down the one-month sentence Thursday, which Foster started serving immediately.
Nursing home workers at the Weinberg Campus in Getzville approved a three-year contract that calls for a two-percent wage hike.
Have you changed your driving habits because of the cost of gas? Driving a little slower? Driving less? Are you a hyper-miler? If you have any clever ideas you'd like to share with our readers, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're putting together a story on ways to squeeze every last mile out of a gallon and would like to hear from you.
John W. Howell is taking the task of recruiting businesses to the region into his own hands, starting a non-profit called NXTArrow to offer breaks on rent and professional services to small companies that relocate here. He spoke to downtown landlords at the Buffalo Place meeting, asking them to consider offering six years rent for the price of five. Howell also has solicited offers to help from some of the area's top firms in various fields: Hodgson Russ (law), Freed, Maxick & Battaglia (accounting), SKM Group (advertising) and Eric Mower and Associates (public relations). We've always said Buffalo is a great place to launch a business due to the affordable rent and excellent professional services. We'll see if NXTArrow hits the target.
Scientists with potentially great ideas for businesses are not usually very adept at bringing those ideas to market. To help, a group of venture capitalists called BioNetwork meet with researchers at the University at Buffalo and the University of Rochester to listen to their ideas and give advice about taking the next step to form a business. The hope is to build an entrepreneurial community around the University at Buffalo that will help nurture current and future businessess.
The Buffalo harborfront area may get its first big development with a complete makeover of the abandoned Donovan state office building to become the new home for law firm Phillips Lytle. The firm, now occupying 10 percent of the neighboring HSBC Center tower, announced plans to work with Benderson Development to remodel the building. The firm would take the top four floors, with the rest of the building going to retail and office space. Other developers may also bid to do the work.
Alec Baldwin has somehow emerged as a pitchman for Buffalo area companies. First, he did some commercials for Wegman's grocery stores because his mother in Syracuse loves the store. Now he has been hired by New Era Cap Co. for an ongoing TV campaign with John Krasinski of "The Office." Baldwin is a Yankees fan, and Krasinski is a Yankees fan. And New Era is the winner. Here are some of the spots.
Contract talks are resuming at Healthnow for the second time since the company locked out about 390 office workers in April when the previous contract expired. The insurer is seeking much greater flexibility in using outside contractors ands setting benefits. The union argues that it is being asked to negotiate away jobs.