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Success Stories

Mary Warren was a licensed mechanical engineer working for the Army’s engineering and construction branch when she decided that she wanted to start her own business. After her last assignment at Fort Drum in Jefferson County, New York, Warren recognized a market opportunity in the area.

“There wasn’t a lot of small businesses in the community. There is only a limited number of construction firms around here and none that are woman-owned and veteran-owned. So, I decided this was a nice opportunity,” Warren states.

In 2006, Warren left the government and opened her own firm – Black Horse Construction Group. The company name was inspired by her time serving in Afghanistan as a project engineer. Based out of Watertown, Black Horse Construction Group is a full service General Contracting firm which provides construction and construction management services.

Warren knew from the start that Black Horse Group would become a government contracting firm. “Federal... Read More

Founded in 1994 as part of an incubator project in Corning, New York, Silicon Carbide Products (SCP) is a manufacturing company that produces complex Nitride Bonded Silicon Carbide products and has trusted partnerships in place to provide many other ceramic solutions. The ceramic material is used as a liner in equipment to fight off abrasion and corrosion in industrial environments. SCP plays an important role in reducing wear, withstanding extreme temperatures, and handling harsh chemicals, while extending the life of many industrial systems.

In the two decades since the business first started, Silicon Carbide Products has grown to become an overseas exporter that employs 25 people at a 5-acre manufacturing facility based out of Horseheads, New York. In early 2018, Josh Dahlman and Rick Cleveland took over the company as President and Vice President. Dahlman and Cleveland had both worked at SCP for close to a decade as General Manager and Sales Executive.

When... Read More

Nicole Snow was selling home goods and clothing at craft fairs in California when she decided that she wanted to learn how to knit. With a passion for crafting and access to artisan sources in India and Nepal, she began to hunt for unique yarns. That’s when she discovered recycled sari silk yarn.

Soon after ordering, Snow realized there was a larger supply chain issue. “People weren’t being treated fairly, they weren’t being paid fairly, and there wasn’t sustainable yarn,” she comments. “I was naïve to the industry. I just thought it was cool yarn and if I think it’s cool, maybe there’s other people who will think so as well.”

Darn Good Yarn was born out of a few boxes of recycled sari silk yarn in Snow’s spare bedroom and the idea that she could create sustainable employment opportunities for women in Asia. Utilizing her degree in Business and Technology Management, as well as her experience as a contracting officer in the Air Force, Snow began to build her company... Read More

When Gail Warner Miller had the idea to convert a portion of her family’s farmland into a vineyard with a tasting room, she wasn’t sure where to start. Miller is a 5th generation descendent of Nathaniel Warner, a shipbuilder and soldier in the War of 1812, who first settled on that same farmland off Lake Ontario in 1838. Adding a winery to her family’s land was another way for Miller to share Chaumont, New York’s history with visitors. She turned to her local Small Business Development Center for help.

At the Watertown SBDC, Miller was counseled by advisor Sarah O’Connell. They began working together in 2012 by developing an organizational plan and a three-year budget. Miller worked hard to bring her dream to life, aided by O’Connell’s financial and operational assistance. In 2016, White Caps Winery, LLC opened their doors to guests for the first time.

“It was such a fun journey to take with Gail,” O’Connell comments. “From 2012 when we were looking at initial costs... Read More