Three self-described successful businessmen say they want to bring more jobs to the city of Amsterdam and are willing to offer start-ups and entrepreneurs the tools, including capital, to accomplish this goal.
Gary N. Brown, Sam Palazzole and Bob Quick are calling their effort Enterprise Amsterdam NY. It is a private partnership.
Their plan is to offer guidance, management and marketing experience, space and support services to businesses that set up shop in the city and hire city residents. “We are looking for individuals with ideas, businesses with expansion ideas and businesses seeking to relocate to Amsterdam. They do not have the money to start a business and need help to get started,” Palazzole said.
The group wants to launch projects immediately. “We want to try to do something that has an effect within the next year or two,” he said. “If we can bring industries, especially industries that are labor-intensive, we can increase jobs in Amsterdam and we can increase the livelihood of the city.”
They are soliciting requests for proposals. Proposals should be postmarked by Nov. 20 for the first round of review. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The partners could offer capital to interested businesses, but that would come with strings attached, Palazzole said. “We have the capability to fund a business, but it depends on the business. Our key focus is increasing employment. We are more interested in that than making someone a millionaire,” he said.
Palazzole said the group would offer an investment only after the business owner has failed to secure financing through traditional means. “We have enough money to do whatever we want to do,” he said.
Enterprise Amsterdam NY is looking to use one or two buildings in the city as incubators, Palazzole said. “We would provide office, administrative and secretarial services for an individual or a business,” he said. “We are the ones who will do the investment. We are not asking for anything in return except for employment.”
Local business and political leaders welcomed the group’s effort. Ken Rose, executive director of the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency, said the incubator building concept is an excellent idea. “There is no true incubator space in Fulton and Montgomery counties. There are areas for startup businesses to go, but they would be at the market rate,” he said. Added Rose, “I see merits in the idea and it is definitely something the area needs.”
Rose said he knows Quick from a past association they shared on the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency. “He is a knowledgeable, successful business owner,” he said.
Dustin Swanger, chairman of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, said he has met Brown to discuss Amsterdam Enterprise NY. “I am impressed with his dedication. He has an interest in doing something to rebuild Amsterdam. He has the business acumen and the resources to help; he can be very helpful,” he said.
Swanger, who is president of Fulton-Montgomery Community College, said Brown did not ask for anything specific from him and used the time to discuss the incubator building concept. “We talked conceptually about incubators and he knows how dedicated the college is to supporting them. We will see what we can do to establish incubators.”
Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane also supports the idea. “These gentlemen believe that the private sector can progress projects more rapidly than government agencies. They anticipate that by collaborating with the public sector they can jump start new business and economic development in Amsterdam,” she said.
Their proposal is truly altruistic, Palazzole said. “This project is unique to us and to Amsterdam. The only reason we are doing this is because Bob [Quick] lives in Amsterdam and the others are from there; and we have this emotional attachment,” he said. All three grew up in Amsterdam and attended the former Wilbur H. Lynch High School in the city.
Brown started his career as a marketing director at Amsterdam Printing and later became chairman of the board of Centis, a company that employs more than 2,700 people and operates in six countries.
Palazzole worked in sales, marketing and medical education for more than 18 years and then started his own company. He later created the XRx Group, a company dedicated to improving patient compliance and disease management, and he is a partner in Saratoga Builders.
Quick is the founder and CEO of Tailwind Associates, a technology company providing software and services solutions to business. It has offices in Schenectady and elsewhere. He is a partner in SMI, a start-up social media analytics company based in West Palm Beach, Fla.
“Between the three of us, we have 135 years of experience in running businesses,” Palazzole said. “We have been all very successful and while we want to do something, we do not want to engage in something that leads to nowhere or causes us to lose money,” he said.