Success Stories

For Albany-native Sheri Townsend, autism was never an integral part of her life.  However, that all changed when the nation’s fastest growing developmental disability hit home.  After Sheri and husband Scott welcomed their twins Alex and Mackenzie in 2002; they learned at 18-months Alex was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. 

The Townsends quickly recognized that autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that begins typically in early childhood and affects communication skills, social development, and behavior.  They also learned from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1 in 68 American children are on the autism spectrum. For the next year, the Townsend family was busy juggling Alex’s early-intervention services from the county and Sheri’s full-time role as the commissioner of Youth and Work Services for the city of Albany. 

When Alex was ready for a more structured preschool program, Sheri and her husband looked for one with the... Read More

From left to right: Lakeside Innovative Technologies LLC President Bob Hulchanski and SBA Syracuse District Director Bernard J. Paprocki.

Over 30 years ago the U.S. Army rolled out the popular recruiting slogan, “Be all that you can be, ‘cause we need you in the Army!” East Syracuse-native Bob Hulchanski joined the Army with that in mind, serving his country and learning skills as a machinist that would last a lifetime. Hulchanski’s relationship with the Army has come full circle, now that his small business supplies precision-machined parts for U.S. stationed at home and in combat operations elsewhere. 

Hulchanski was an ideal soldier: the top graduate of his machining school in the Army and chosen to be in the first Army “Be all you can be” television ad filmed at Fort Hood in Texas for the 1979 NFL Super Bowl. He spent two years at the motor pool in Fort Hood, often rebuilding broken parts that needed immediate replacement during military exercises. Hulchanski... Read More

Couple Finds Success on the Vine in the Hudson Valley

Ten years ago, Dominique and Carlo DeVito decided to supplement their careers in publishing with a life as entrepreneurs. They’d always been interested in wines from around the world, and had visited many wine-growing regions. They were ready to have a go at it. After nine months of searching, the DeVitos found a perfect fit for their vineyard plans in Ghent, NY – a piece of farmland that had been part of a former dairy farm.
The hilly, southern-facing slope where they envisioned planting grapes had the right combination of drainage and full sunlight, and the property itself was zoned for commercial, residential and agricultural use, which was important. Testing by Cornell Cooperative confirmed the soil conditions were conducive for growing grapes, and in early 2006 the DeVitos purchased 14 of what was once a 500-acre farm. The property’s location halfway between Hudson and Chatham led the couple to select the business name of Hudson-Chatham Winery. Theirs was the first... Read More

David Lerman, Mohawk Valley SBDC Advisor, Janine Szczepanski, Helios Remote Sensing Systems, Inc. CEO, Walter Szczepanski, Helios Remote Sensing Systems, Inc.Founder, and Roxanne Mutchler, Mohawk Valley SBDC Regional Director.

Radar is involved in many different parts of our daily lives, such as the Doppler radar used to forecast weather or automatic position sensing in automobiles. An acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging, radar describes the energy that detects a target’s range and motion. One small business in Rome, New York, Helios Remote Sensing Systems, Inc., is taking radar technology to new heights and keeping our nation’s military and intelligence forces the best equipped in the world.

In 2007, Walter Szczepanski was ready to start his technology company after a career with GE Aerospace in Utica, NY and Lockheed Martin in Syracuse, NY working on airborne sensors. Helios initially employed just Szczepanski and his business-savvy daughter, Janine, but then quickly grew to include more employees in the following years.  Walter and Janine turned to business advisor David Lerman at the Mohawk Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for help with a business plan to launch Helios... Read More