WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE AT ACCUMED?
In 2008, the owners asked that I take over as President of AccuMED, a medical manufacturing company in Buffalo, NY, with the stated goal of turning the company around from the edge of bankruptcy. Within a year, through the hard work of our employees, we stabilized the company and then grew it from $20 million in 2008 to more than $100 million today. During that time, we increased average wages by over 40% and trained-up employees. We now have over 100 employees here in the U.S., and we buy more than $30 million of US-made raw materials and components from US suppliers, supporting hundreds of other jobs at multiple American factories. At AccuMED, we make life-saving medical devices for major medical product companies that are used in hospitals every day. We went from losing money in 2008 to generating tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the federal government and New York State. And, unlike major corporations, we pay every dime of our taxes in the U.S. at the corporate tax rate of 35%+. We also have generated tens of millions of dollars in returns for our investors, including the New York State Teachers Retirement Fund.
WHY MOVE OUT OF BUFFALO?
In 2014, after 6 years of exponential growth, the constraints of poor infrastructure and a shrinking potential hire talent pool in the far reaches of New York State necessitated a move from Buffalo to Winston-Salem. AccuMED had been shipping tons of fabric daily in and out of Buffalo—by semi-truck—from West Virginia and other textile mills. Then, in the winter of 2014, the Buffalo plant was rendered inoperative for no fewer than eight days. The demands of our customers left us with two choices: move or lose the business. In medical manufacturing, a company cannot backorder—a hospital or a patient’s health could be at risk.
I was born in Rochester, NY, and fought with sentiment to find ways to avert a move out of Western New York. Ultimately, we had to put the needs of the end-use customer (patients) front and center. By keeping AccuMED artificially in Western New York, we would have to add to the cost-per-piece. We knew that our direct customers would immediately look for better terms elsewhere—or back in China, from where we had won many of our clients.
The move to North Carolina was inevitable for two main reasons: infrastructure and talent. The North Carolina Triangle has created and supported textile manufacturing for well over a century. It draws companies and people who want to work in that sector because it’s what they do best. The surrounding states also aggressively train engineers who want to go into this field, and there are starting jobs at good pay for graduates in the region.
How has this experience changed the way you see job creation in New York State, and in particular, Congressional District 19?
Without good infrastructure, you cannot support good jobs. If there had been a reliable rail or shipping option in and out of Buffalo during the winter months, we could have grown AccuMED where it began. Our district is likewise hamstrung by the crippling, inequitable lack of quality roads, broadband for all, high speed rail—on BOTH sides of the Hudson—and consistent, reliable cell phone service wherever your job may take you. Instead of building fossil fuel pipelines, our district needs to focus on building people pipelines.
The growth of AccuMED was also hampered by a lack of findable and hirable reliable talent in engineering and management. As noted above, it’s hard to compete for the best in the field when the Triangle Area is so skilled at capturing high-end employees in this area. By the time we were forced to move south, we had many positions that we could not reliably fill. In fact, in the next five years there will be an estimated of 2 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. that will go unfilled because of lack of trained personnel. In the last eight years, we saved 40 American jobs added 250+ more by on-shoring manufacturing and shifting the supply chain to the U.S.
Why does AccuMED have operations in the Dominican Republic?
AccuMED purchased a Dominican Republic manufacturing company in 2005, with the objective of streamlining the return of projects from Asia to both the United States and the Dominican Republic. This operation now symbiotically supports the work done in the U.S. As a result of these concerted efforts, 80% of AccuMED’s spending now goes towards supporting American jobs and products, whereas before 2008, 50% went overseas to Asia with no tax dollars flowing back into the U.S. We went from spending $10 million supporting 40 U.S. jobs in 2008 to spending more than $60 million supporting 250+ U.S. jobs today.
As a result, we have built a sustainable model of American job reclamation and tax money reversal that can be applied to any U.S. manufacturing firm. I aim to work with other congressmen to bring these bold initiatives to bear through government retraining and middle infrastructure growth. This is an objective that has no aisle.
What is your detailed professional experience?
AccuMED Corp.: President, 2008-present: 300+ U.S. jobs created
In 2008, the owners asked that I take over as President of AccuMED, a medical manufacturing company in Buffalo, NY, with the stated goal of turning the company around from the edge of bankruptcy. Within a year, through the hard work of our employees, we stabilized the company and then grew it from $20 million in 2008 to more than $100 million today. During that time, we increased average wages by over 40% and trained-up employees. We now have over 100 employees here in the U.S., and we buy more than $30 million of US-made raw materials and components from US suppliers, supporting hundreds of other jobs at multiple American factories.
Schlossberg:Flynn: Co-founder and Partner, 2003 to 2011: 50+ U.S. jobs created
Business advisory firm focused on finding and developing emerging companies. Provided interim management, business development and operations support to a dozen+ companies in the eight years, including AccuMED.
RLM Public Relations: President and COO 2001-2003: 15 U.S. jobs saved and 18 created
Helped to stabilize and turnaround a marketing and media relations company. During two years, we increased revenue by 150%, opened two offices, and added a healthcare practice.
Annotate Technologies, Co-founder and CEO, 1998-2001: 40 U.S. jobs created
Founder and CEO of a web technology company that raised more than $8 million and was eventually sold to TPC.
Citibank, Vice President of Marketing, U.S. and Europe 1990-1999: managed department of 80 professionals in U.S. and Europe
What is your educational background?
Graduated from Georgetown University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Major in accounting with minors in philosophy and fine arts.
What did you actually do to help fight terrorism? What is your specific experience?
Spokesperson and Vice President of Victims of 103, Inc.
Wrote dozens of articles and did countless TV appearances; sampling of videos and articles – View Here
Served on the Presidential Commission on Aviation Security, putting in key security measures that prevented a similar bombing (inter-line baggage) from happening again; some measures were NOT adopted by the government that could have prevented 9-11
Did press conferences with Senators Lautenberg, Biden, Menendez, Schumer, Gillibrand and others; logged more than 100 meetings on Capitol Hill over 25 years; also met with cabinet members, ambassadors and even heads of state
Lobbied the FBI to ensure they stay on the case, including a personal four-on-one meeting with the FBI director
Help draft legislation that led to the Iran Libya Sanctions Act, personally quoted in Congressional Record – View Here
Marched and lobbied at UN to get UN sanctions imposed on Libya
Lead plaintiff in law suit against Pan Am, the insurers and Libyan government
Fought against Big Oil on numerous occasions as they tried to undermine justice and strong terrorism policy –
- Passed specific regulations to improve airport security and prevent a similar bombing
- Proved gross negligence and willful misconduct on the part of Pan Am, forcing the corrupt and culpable airline out of business and cutting severance pay to the executives
- Passed specific legislation to put pressure on Libya to hand over the two suspects and ensure they do not support additional terrorist attacks, Iran Libya Sanctions Act.
- One terrorist convicted and imprisoned
- One dictator eventually taken down by sanctions and support of U.S. at the lobbying of the families
- Our work actually continues as we try to find the other co-conspirators in Libya to this day
What has been your experience in Environmental Activism?
First, I have always supported the fracking ban. Second, I believe all pipelines criss-crossing the district should be halted until the local communities support them, which probably will never happen. We need to listen to the voters, not the corporate lobbyists. Too much corruption and lobbying from people like John Faso exposed our communities to tremendous risk with very little, if any, upside for us. Pipelines provide very few jobs for the community. There is an opportunity, however, to invest in renewables and create green collar jobs here in our district. The energy AND the jobs are sustainable.
In my private sector life, I have always believed that one of the reasons my brother was killed was because our addiction to oil and involvement in the Middle East. Therefore, my environmental activism and fight against big oil were always very personal. My deeply held belief that activism is most effective when it combines private-sector innovation with public sector support. For example, I was a founding member of the New York Chapter of Environmental Entrepreneurs or E2, a group of business leaders dedicated to advocating for smart policies that are good for the economy and the environment. As part of this work, on numerous occasions, I served as a plaintiff for the Natural Resources Defense Council when they needed a business leader as part of their litigation efforts. E2 has had great success as an organization and I have been honored to be a part of it:
Helping pass the nation’s first automobile emissions standards, driving innovation and job growth in the clean fuels and automobile sectors.
Helping pass the nation’s first limits on carbon pollution from power plants, driving innovation and job growth in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Helping secure funding for clean energy and clean fuels in the military, creating new markets for private industry.
Where Are You From?
I was born in Rochester, NY and grew up in Rochester, Westchester, and northern New Jersey. I have lived in New York state for 30 years, including the last 10 years in Elka Park in the town of Hunter.
ARE YOU A CARPETBAGGER?
Great question, and I hear it a lot as people want to make sure their candidate is connected to the District. By modern definition, a carpetbagger is a political candidate who seeks election in an area where they have never lived or have any local connections.
After 9/11, my wife and I had the big conversations that so many newly married couples found themselves having: do we bring children into this world? If we do, where will we bring them up? We had been living in the city and spending summers on the North Fork of Long Island—an area that drew us due to Amy’s childhood spent on a farm in North Dakota. But it was never a perfect fit, because Amy doesn’t like hot summers, the beach, or for that matter, too much sunshine. My father, who had grown up as a boy in Leeds, urged us to look towards the Irish Alps. His father had been a bartender there, and it felt like the “old country.”
Coincidentally, my mother’s uncle was also a fixture in Leeds, so much so that the community built a cultural center in East Durham and named it after him: The Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural Center.
So, in the fall of 2003, when we took our new baby, Bo, to visit friends in Elka Park—a magical place out of another era—it shouldn’t have surprised us that we felt instantly like we had found our home. Three weeks later, on a second visit, our friends took us on a moonlight stroll to show us a piece of land that was available. A house had burned down a couple of years before, and there remained just a sidewalk and an old, Victorian era lamp. We agreed on the spot to rebuild the house (not a thing we recommend to anyone), and broke ground within a year.
In the fourteen years since, we have not only built that house, we added another child, and have become deeply committed to the community. Whether running the local social club, volunteering post-Hurricane Irene to dig out towns harder hit than ours, participating in the local theater, or just plain soaking up the regional beauty, Greene County has become our first home.
Around the time that I took the job in Buffalo, we realized we could make the big jump and relocate. Amy’s job in publishing had evaporated due to a merger, and she had a steady stream of freelance to add to her own writing. The kids were young enough to switch schools without much disruption. We sold our apartment in the city, and I shut down my office. Then, as happens to the best laid plans, we were derailed. My father, an avid biker, had been struck by a mail truck, and was in intensive care for a week with multiple broken bones and brain damage. During the following rehab, we learned that something was amiss with my mother. She didn’t know how to buy groceries. She called our daughter “sweetie” instead of Hedda. A woman of great will and strength was suddenly as meek and scared as a tiny kitten.
We put our plans on hold and rented an apartment, kept the kids in school. Little by little over the course of my father’s rehabilitation we realized that Kathleen was not well. After countless doctor appointments and tests, we got the diagnosis we didn’t want: Alzheimer’s. My father had been hiding it from us for well over a year.
As anyone who has dealt with Alzheimer will tell you, it is not a linear disease. It’s a terrible dark journey that takes hold, not only of victims, but also the families. We needed to stay close in order to help manage their care. In that time, it soon became apparent that my father was not far behind, and our efforts to keep them safely in their home was met with many obstacles. This winter, the time arrived to find the right facility for my mother. She is now in a place where she can’t wander, and my father remains in his home with a caregiver. The journey is far from over, but we are juggling our schedules as best we can.
When I’m not travelling to the various places where AccuMED business requires me to be, I live in Elka Park, operating my company from my home office. Elka Park is also our voting and tax residence. During my parents illnesses, the kids have grown and have stayed at their school. Amy spends a lot of time on Amtrak, which she says is the best place to write. That said, she’s hoping for a train on the west side of the river. Our son, Bo, has been accepted into a Catholic military high school for the fall, and our daughter will be attending Hunter-Tannersville Central School once she finishes out the year.
When we went on that moonlight stroll fourteen years ago, it was never in our wildest imagination that Donald Trump would become president one day, nor was running for any elected position remotely possible. John Sweeney was our Congressman, but before too long our friend Kirsten Gillibrand had taken the seat. We were in good hands. Then Scott Murphy came in, and after him, Chris Gibson. Not until John Faso took money from some of the worst people in the country did I hear the call to serve.
If you want to know what a carpetbagger looks like, here’s how John Faso started his life in the district:
“After law school, Mr. Faso took county and state political jobs in Washington, but all the while he was thinking about a run for elective office in New York. In 1983, the Fasos bought a fixer-upper in Kinderhook, in Columbia County outside Albany, purposely choosing a district of a longtime assemblyman, Larry Lane, whom Mr. Faso wanted to replace. He did estate and real estate work at Rapport, Meyers, and soon enough, in 1986 the Assembly seat came open.”
–The New York Times, October 16, 2006
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON HOOSICK FALLS AND PFOA?
My position on Hoosick Falls is the 16 month time gap between initial detection and official gov response is troubling and needs to be addressed in order to learn from whatever mistakes were made. Meanwhile, rural communities still recovering from unregulated manufacturing history are in peril of repeating this catastrophe. Using USDA Circuit Riders, who help fund rural water situations, plus Super Fund allocations are a great solution, but we need to become pro-active and work with the National Rural Water Association to determine how the Circuit Rider program can implement routine testing training for communities in order to flush out (literally) these types of water contaminations before they reach critical levels. Hoosick Falls should also be treated the same as a community devastated by a weather event–FEMA money should be unlocked to fund a new water supply, which has already been located, but not yet funded by the NYS budget. Even though there is $450 million in unallocated funds. Hoosick is already footing a $1mill bill for expenses related to problem. Current 2 companies were not the source of the PFOA, but have given $3mill for filtration of current water plus bottled water. Lastly, NYS needs to amend its PFOA requirements from 100ppt to 20ppt, in line with NJ