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News and Info from members of the North Country Chamber

Plattsburgh Housing Outlet Announces Home Building Seminar

Plattsburgh Housing Outlet, Inc. has developed a home building workshop to educate our community.

Plattsburgh Housing Outlet is pleased to announce a Home Building Seminar on  Thursday, April 12th from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Dino’s Pizza, 795 Route 3, (next to Wilson Appliance) in Plattsburgh, NY. 

The free seminar will offer guidance on topics such as: lender requirements, manufactured and modular homes, advice on finding and developing your building site, and time frames for home building.

Experts from all areas of construction will give an overview of the process and participants will also have the opportunity to ask questions during the second hour.

Dinner will be served during the event and there is no cost or obligation for this service.  Participants must RSVP ahead of time, as space is limited and we have been at room capacity the last several times the workshop was offered.  Adults only please.   Anyone interested in attending may call 800-794-6250/ 563-6250 or email with their name, phone number, and number in their party. 

Participants will receive a FREE “how-to” packet and a copy of their credit report.  They will leave with the information they will need to make an informed decision about new construction and home ownership.  One lucky participant will win $2500 off their building project.

Plattsburgh Housing Outlet has been providing North Country Families with quality, affordable homes since 1991.  They were named Retailer of the Year by the Manufactured Housing Institute for the Northeast/ Mid-Atlantic region in 2003 and 2013, one of four companies in the nation.

For more information, contact LaBounty at 563-6250, ext. 21.


Catamount Consulting, a leading national safety consulting firm, today announced they have added a new Mobile Hearing Trailer to their existing services.

Catamount Consulting delivers a complete audiometric testing solution for any size company in all Northeastern states. Our Hearing Conservation Programs are designed to make OSHA & MSHA compliance fast, easy and affordable. Sending your employees off-site for hearing testing consumes costly travel and labor expenses, that’s why Catamount comes to you. Our Hearing Conservation Programs include: Noise Level Monitoring, On-site Hearing Testing, Training & Education, Reporting and Data Management, Consultation and Review, Hearing Protection fitting, CAOHC-Certified professionals.

The new Mobile Hearing Trailer can provide group testing of up to 6 employees every 20 minutes, monitor ambient noise levels within booths, equipment calibration verified on a daily basis, validation retesting, immediate results available in English and Spanish, digital administrative reports sent directly to company contact.

Founded in 2005, Catamount Consulting is a national safety consulting firm with a team of dedicated consulting professionals whose practice is the implementation and execution of workplace safety and regulatory compliance programs. Services provided include OSHA training, MSHA training, general safety training, comprehensive safety services, rigging training, firearms training and safety instruction, safety audits and abatement, preparation for site inspections, citation litigation services and mobile hearing testing.

Hewitt Joins Beardsley Architects + Engineers

Beardsley Architects + Engineers is pleased to announce that John E. Hewitt, P.E., has joined the firm as mechanical engineer.

Mr. Hewitt has 38 years of experience in the design of systems for commercial, industrial, educational, healthcare, governmental, and large residential projects. He offers design solutions categorized by innovation, cost efficiency, soundness of design, constructability, and a commitment to thorough design documentation. He demonstrates a comprehensive knowledge of construction processes and utilizes a holistic approach in the resolution of complex problems.

For more information on Beardsley Architects + Engineers, visit  


North Country providers team up to enhance quality of care, lower costs

New York State has awarded Citizen Advocates a $1.7 million grant to implement a tightly connected system of physical and behavioral health services by collaborating with a broad range of North Country agencies and healthcare providers.

The funding support is part of a statewide program to assist mental health and addiction service providers transition to a system of Value-Based Payment.  Embracing a Value-Based Payment system focuses on enhancing both the quality of care and health outcomes through the delivery of more cost-effective services.  The partnership of providers, referred to as a Behavioral Health Care Collaborative, have a shared responsibility to improve the “whole health” of each individual.

“By collaborating with an extensive range of providers, our mission is to improve the health and wellness of those we serve through the delivery of highly efficient, coordinated care,” said Dean Johnston, CEO of Citizen Advocates. “This means we will treat the physical and behavioral health needs of each person, and identify how we can support individuals when housing, employment or education challenges present barriers to overall well-being.”

The collaborative includes multiple community-based organizations, health and human services agencies and hospitals.  Acting as lead, Citizen Advocates applied for the funding on behalf of the roughly 40 agencies and organizations operating in Franklin, Clinton, Essex, Warren, Washington, Hamilton and St. Lawrence counties. 

“The investment by the state shows a real confidence in the ability we have as a collaborative,” said Mr. Johnston. “Each organization in our collaborative has a proven track record of results, and a firm commitment to our shared goal of improving the health of our communities through meaningful changes in the healthcare delivery system.”

Although Citizen Advocates is the lead for this project, the entire network of agencies and organizations in the collaborative plan to use the funds for Information Technology upgrades, advancing shared services and administrative capacity, data analysis, and other connected resources that enhance quality of care and cost effectiveness in the region.

In addition to Citizen Advocates, 19 other Behavioral Health Care Collaboratives throughout the state received funding for integrating care across the entire spectrum of behavioral and physical health services.

AES Announces New Director of Civil Engineering Division

AES Northeast, a leading provider of civil engineering, land surveying and architectural services, announced the hiring of Kevin Farrington, PE as Director of AES’s Civil Engineering Division. Mr. Farrington’s career spans more than 27 years in civil engineering design and construction. As Director of Civil Engineering at AES, Mr. Farrington will supervise all aspects of planning and preparation of construction documents for civil, planning and site development projects and will support business development efforts. “It is rare to find a professional civil engineer with the breadth and depth of experience that Kevin brings to our organization from both the private consulting side and the municipal government side.”, said AES Managing Partner Scott Allen. “We are very fortunate to have him join our team.” Farrington previously served as City Engineer for the City of Plattsburgh for 15 years and before that was senior design engineer at URS Consultants in Buffalo, NY. His expertise includes highway, complete streets, drainage, floodplain management, marine, shoreline, environmental restoration, ADA compliance, green stormwater infrastructure, water, wastewater, planning, zoning, GIS and construction management. Farrington earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Buffalo and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics from SUNY Fredonia. He is a registered Professional Engineer in New York. Among his professional strengths is his ability to integrate into every project, safety, quality and good communication from project inception through completion. AES Northeast provides a wide range of services for municipal, commercial, and residential projects throughout Northern New York including civil, environmental, water/wastewater, architectural, mechanical, electrical and construction phase services.

Champlain Telephone & PrimeLink Announce Selection of Director of Outside Plant Operations

Greg MacConnell, Vice-President and CFO of Champlain Telephone Company, has announced the selection of Steve MacNerland as the Director of Outside Plant Operations at Champlain Telephone, and sister company PrimeLink.  MacNerland brings a diverse background to the position including experience as an Installer, Cable Splicer, Central Office Technician, Level 3 Internet Technician, and most recently the Manager of Unified Communications.  Steve has been with Champlain Telephone and PrimeLink since 2006.  His major accomplishments include Metaswitch Training Certification, Nortel Specialist Certification, Core Cisco Switch installation and provisioning, and the development and launch of the Hosted PBX product for the companies.  MacNerland is an alumni of SUNY Canton where he studied Electrical Engineering.  

In the role of Director of Outside Plant Operations, MacNerland will be responsible for managing the day to day operations of the Outside Plant Department to accomplish network construction, maintenance, operations support, and project activities in a timely and cost-effective manner.  He will provide leadership in programs and directives to maintain and improve all facets of the Champlain Telephone and PrimeLink telecommunications network infrastructure.  Greg MacConnell recently stated, “We are very pleased to have Steve continue to grow on our management team.  We are confident that he will cultivate the tradition of excellence that our customers have come to expect.”

The Champlain Telephone Company is a regulated telecommunications company providing local residential and commercial telephone service to Champlain, Mooers, Mooers Forks, Rouses Point and Altona. With more than 100 years of experience providing service to upstate New York, CTC is well established in the communities it serves.  PrimeLink, its sister company, was established in 1997 and is a full-service telecommunications company providing a wide array of advanced telecommunications services, including broadband internet access, local and long- distance telephone service, hosted and traditional phone systems, and collocation facilities.  PrimeLink gives its customers access to some of the most advanced communications services through its fiber optic network and continues to introduce products and technology that lead the industry.

Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. is #7 among the Best Companies to Work for in New York

Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. is pleased to announce that it is #7 among the top 46 small/medium employers in the state, according to the New York State Society for Human Resource Management’s (NYS-SHRM) annual Best Companies to Work for in New York State awards program.

Created in 2007, this annual program evaluates and ranks the best places of employment in the State based on employee satisfaction and engagement, as well as workplace practices and policies. It is unique because employees’ survey responses count for 75% of the ranking formula.  The Best Companies to Work for in New York State program is a partnership between the NYS-SHRM, The Business Council of New York and Best Companies Group.

“Receiving the award is dependent on employees both nominating Northern Insuring Agency and giving survey feedback,” explained Deena Giltz McCullough, President & CEO of Northern Insuring Agency.  “Feedback that we take to heart and that helps us to become an even better place to work.  It’s extremely powerful to know that Northern team members, for the second time, have stepped up to make this award happen.”

Northern Insuring Agency celebrates their 87th anniversary in June and specializes in Business, Personal and Life Insurance and Employee Benefits Services.  The largest locally-owned, independent insurance agency covering the Northern New York Region, Northern Insuring was recognized in the 2016 Press-Republican Reader’s Choice Awards as the best insurance agency and by Reagan Associates and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) as a 2016 Best Practices Agency.

Citizen Advocates welcomes newest member of leadership team
Experienced human services professional has North Country roots

Citizen Advocates is pleased to welcome an experienced human services professional to its leadership team as the Division Director of Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services.

As director, Laura Pennington Gawel is responsible for the efficient and effective operation of the developmental disabilities programs at Citizen Advocates. She will oversee and direct program directors to ensure quality services and supports, maintain programmatic and regulatory compliance, and remain actively involved in agency efforts to prepare for managed care in the developmental disability field, among other duties.

“I am thrilled by the opportunity to be part of the Citizen Advocates team.  The organization provides such innovative and varied supports to people, and makes such great contributions to the local economy and the people living in the North Country through its partnerships with other not-for-profit organizations,” said Ms. Gawel.  “I look forward to collaborating with the Citizen Advocates family so we are well positioned to meet the emerging needs of those we support and the community.”

Ms. Gawel grew up in Potsdam, so she is no stranger to the North Country.  She attended Plattsburgh State where she received a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education-Social Sciences.  One of her first jobs following college was with the Clinton County Arc, and since then she has held several progressive leadership positions at a variety of health and human service agencies throughout the state. 

She would eventually go on to earn a Master of Arts in Education: Developmental Disabilities Leadership from Niagara University.  Laura most recently served as Vice President of Employment, Day, Transportation and Transition Services at Aspire of WNY in Getzville, NY, where she was responsible for a broad range of programs and as team leader for several successful initiatives. 

Ms. Gawel has been in her new position at Citizen Advocates since October, and she looks forward to reconnecting with family and friends locally, as well as pursuing her own interests in North Country history and its generations of residents.   She is especially looking forward to having her husband and family join her so together they can explore all that life in Franklin County and the Adirondacks has to offer.

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