by ASHLEY ONYON , News Reporter Leader Herald
JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth celebrated the success of county businesses and non-profits throughout the year, highlighting organizations in five categories during the Fall Gala.
The CRG’s Fall Gala was held on Friday at the Holiday Inn to celebrate the ingenuity, strength and successes displayed by Fulton County businesses throughout the year, featuring live music from Upswing Duo, a performance by the Romano Acro Dance Academy, silent auctions, a specially prepared dinner and the presentation of five awards.
“Our vision at CRG, we want to be recognized as an organization that drives economic development in Fulton County. Our mission is to build Fulton County’s economy one business at a time,” CRG President and CEO Ronald Peters said. “We collaborate with other key entities to create economic development opportunities.”
“We want to recognize the hard working, dedicated and successful local businesses in Fulton County. Our awardees represent large and small businesses, new and established businesses from across the county. They are just a few of the important companies that lay a solid foundation for our bright future in Fulton County.”
CRG Board of Directors Chairman Geoffrey Peck presented the Large Business Award to SLA Transport, noting the trucking, repair and warehouse company has played a major role in the creation of local businesses by giving them a place to live and grow.
“How many hundreds of jobs have been created underneath those 1.2 million square feet,” Peck said. “This award isn’t just about what the Olbrychs have done with their staff and their buildings, but what they’ve done to foster business growth in Fulton County.”
“Housed in those buildings over these years, incubating there, some staying, some moving on, growing and expanding some spawning new business of their own.”
Universal Warehousing General Manager Andrew Olbrych accepted the award on behalf of the 30-year family owned company that directly employs about 120 area residents.
“The big thank you goes out to my employees, without those hardworking individuals this award would not be possible, I really appreciate them,” Olbrych said.
Perth Supervisor and CRG board member Greg Fagan presented the Small to Medium Business Award to Broadalbin Manufacturing Corp., a precision metal fabrication shop capable of repairing or producing a variety of components and custom pieces.
“They like to say that if you can imagine it they can create it and if you can break it they can fix it,” Fagan said.
The CRG and local leaders visited the 47-year-old machine shop with fewer than 50 employees in August on their monthly business tour.
“Highly skilled employees fix and fabricate pretty much anything a customer asks for. From precision components for power generation industry to architectural steel beams down to snow mobile skis, hand rail and farm equipment,” Fagan said. “It has become an important fixture in our community.”
The third award of the night was presented by Peck to the Family Counseling Center for Expanded Business. The vice president of population health and executive director of the Nathan Littauer Foundation noted that the Family Counseling Center is an important ally for the hospital in providing care to a community with high behavioral health needs.
Peck pointed to the counseling center as a major employer in downtown Gloversville that expanded about 15 years ago and is looking to expand again.
“Family Counseling Center serves people where they’re at, they go to their clients, they take great care of their clients,” Peck said. “They are a success story for downtown Gloversville and they’re a success story for the care they give to our community.”
Clinic Director Michelle Clark and Clinic Supervisor Randee McArdle accepted the award, saying the counseling center that serves over 1,600 people in Fulton and Montgomery counties is an amazing place to work.
“It’s just been a wonderful experience, it truly is a family that really cares about the community,” Clark said.
Peters introduced the next recipient, the Caroga Arts Collective which received the Start-Up Business Award. The six-week summer music festival includes performances by musicians from across the country in a variety of venues in Caroga Lake and throughout the county.
Peters noted that the collective is looking to expand to include a film festival, master class for students and more.
“We’re really blessed to have such supportive people in Fulton County, such open minded individuals that welcome our 100s of artists in the summer into a community,” Caroga Arts Collective Executive and Artistic Director Kyle Price said accepting the award. “This becomes their summer home and we’re looking to create that engagement more throughout the year.”
The final honor of the evening was given by CRG Board Member Leslie Ford to the Northville 5 & 10 which received the Hidden Gem Award.
“It’s both an economic award and a real personality award,” Ford said. “It’s something we can offer to something that’s unique and wonderful.”
“We could all walk into that five and dime and find something different that we love in there, because it’s that diverse and that much fun to go into.”
Ford highlighted the history of the store founded in 1907 and currently owned by Brian and Susan Correll who have purchased the building next door.
“They’re dedicated to the Northville community and we really appreciate that. They not only preserve that building, but in their latest iteration they’ve purchased the building next door to preserve and then to really enlarge and expand,” Ford said congratulating and thanking the Corrells.
Looking ahead, Peters referred to economic development as a “team sport,” hoping that Fulton County organizations and the CRG will continue working together for another successful year.
“Without players like yourselves and us working together as a team, we’d be lost, so I want to thank everyone in this room for helping make CRG and the county successful,” Peters said. “We’ve had a pretty good couple of years and we’re going strong and will continue to go strong.”