Success Stories

For DeWitt native Michael Brady, coming home turned into an opportunity to own his future. In 2001, Brady was considering leaving his Wall Street career after 10 years and returning to Upstate New York to be closer to family and friends. The 9/11 attacks accelerated his timetable and Brady left with a desire to make a positive difference in his hometown. In Syracuse that winter his father introduced him to the pharmaceutical label market through a long-term client, a local pharmaceutical manufacturer. Brady recognized a need for a nimble label manufacturer to service the pharmaceutical market. In March 2002, Brady set up HP Mile, Inc. to manufacture labels faster, better and cheaper specifically for pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Brady landed his first customer when one of his father’s contacts took a purchasing job at a medical device company in California and needed help with their labeling issues. After that, HP Mile’s business grew steadily each year. The Syracuse... Read More

For Antonio Civitella, emigrating from Italy at the age of nine with his family meant a new world of opportunities. Civitella’s passion for computers and persistent nature turned a college internship into a career as an innovative entrepreneur. Civitella eventually became the owner of Transfinder Corporation in 2000, developing the Schenectady-based company into an international provider of state-of-the-art software for intelligent transportation systems. 

In 1988, Civitella was a computer science and software engineering student at Siena College and his advisor approached him with an unconventional internship opportunity.  At the time, software development on PCs was uncommon but Forth & Associates in Schenectady needed an intern to assist in developing a PC-based software product. Civitella began the internship during his sophomore year and worked on software that managed schedules and logistics for visiting nurses. The finished product couldn’t find success in the... Read More

Small Business Success in the Saddle

Office? Barns, with a laptop on her bed. Workday? 14 hours, every day. Challenges? Constant. But entrepreneur Erika Eckstrom wouldn’t have it any other way. At the age of 5, Eckstrom knew she wanted to spend her life working with horses and wrote her plan to own a stable by 25 in crayon. Today, Painted Bar Stables is the passionate, profitable business that has made her childhood dream a reality.

Eckstrom bought her first horse, Margarita, at 13 and then adopted and rehabilitated rescue horses throughout high school. After completing bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and music and a master’s degree in public communications in Washington, D.C., she returned to the Southern Tier. In 2008, the then 23-year-old Eckstrom purchased Painted Bar Stables, a 22-acre horse property outside Watkins Glen, NY. Her previous education and work experience at the Peace Corps press office and lobbying efforts with Break the Cycle have been invaluable to her business.

“All of the skills... Read More

In 2008, Cadmona Hall and Heather Hay were completing their PhDs in Marriage and Family Therapy at Syracuse University. Their decision to choose Syracuse for their academic studies would result in a life-changing friendship and business. Hall and Hay became close friends while working at Hospice of Central NY, where their collaboration sparked an unexpected idea.

Hay realized after a joint presentation that they were meant to work together: “We have great synergy, a great presenting partnership and strong friendship. That was the first kernel of the business idea being planted and it took a little while before we got things into motion.”

After their graduation, the two continued discussing their fledgling business concept.

“We talked through the idea of doing this together professionally and what we are most passionate about, which is grief and loss and reaching out to others,” recounts Hall.  “We started to think about how to put things into place... Read More