Probably no one particular has introduced dwelling more grant funding to the north country than Leann West and Diane Wladis, proprietors of a Syracuse-primarily based consulting company that has labored with communities, governmental entities, not-for-earnings corporations and non-public enterprises.
The pair individual and function Strategic Progress Experts and have turn out to be profitable grant writers, with an expertise in governmental relations and financial development work.
Given that 2012, they’ve been effective in securing tens of thousands and thousands of bucks in grants for these kinds of various customers as the metropolis of Watertown, the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, neighborhood builders and a quantity of overall health care businesses in Central New York.
While the two women of all ages have grant writing backgrounds, the organization also is recognised for its lobbying initiatives. A registered lobbyist, Mrs. West, 38, functions tough to advocate for her shoppers and their initiatives to neighborhood and state officials. She has strong relationships in Albany and throughout all concentrations of govt that make it possible for her to straight converse to them about their clients’ demands.
“That truly sets us aside,” Mrs. Wladis explained. “Advocacy is the crucial. Not a lot of businesses do that.”
Mrs. Wladis, 52, has concentrated on grant producing, community relations and promoting.
The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority turned just one of Strategic Development’s earliest customers when the organization was retained in 2013. The organization has labored with the authority on numerous initiatives associated to lobbying and grant creating for a $26 million runway enlargement and terminal improve at the Ogdensburg Intercontinental Airport.
In all, Strategic Enhancement secured the brunt of the funding, with $18.75 million exclusively for runway initiatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and one more $500,000 from the condition for the terminal enhancements. The port authority applied the federal dollars to extend the airport’s runway by 4,000 toes and crafted a new terminal. The job established far more than 100 careers.
Their most very well-acknowledged get the job done was accomplished for the metropolis of Watertown. In 2017, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo came to city and declared that Watertown was awarded a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant in a packed property at the Masonic Temple.
The two females set jointly the profitable grant software that outlined ideas to redo the Washington Street landmark, aid renovate the Lincoln Building, total streetscape improvements alongside a few downtown streets and build five market-amount residences in the historic Paddock Arcade.
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down some of that get the job done, the Lincoln Setting up challenge has been done. Perform on the Masonic Temple has begun on restoring the building’s longtime crumbling exterior and the house owners however have designs to renovate the building’s second-flooring grand assembly room and its basement.
If, and when, the other transitional projects carry on, the DRI award is intended to modify downtown Watertown forever. The DRI funding was the largest grant that the town has ever acquired in the 25 many years that city planner Michael A. Lumbis has labored with the city, he explained.
Mr. Lumbis, the city’s scheduling and community development director, labored carefully with the company on the city’s DRI grant application.
As successful businesswomen, the pair felt it was important to develop into certified as a NYS qualified Lady-Owned Small business Organization. They imagine that the certification helps with business enterprise consumer endeavors and advocating for them, they explained.
“We are definitely fantastic listeners.” Mrs. Wladis explained. “We know accurately what our clients want and need to have.”
The two females had been introduced in to assistance Watertown with grant writing under former Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr.’s administration, a calendar year before the DRI software.
In 2016, they wrote prosperous purposes for a $2,306,840 state grant and $6,920,520 financial loan to improve the city’s wastewater procedure plant and turn its sludge into methane gasoline.
The DRI grant and state funding was adopted up with a $30,000 feasibility review to join downtown Watertown with the Black River and an additional $50,000 grant for a review on how to redevelop Sewall’s Island, the previous web page of the mammoth Black Clawson complicated that shut in 1991 and was wrecked by 1999 fireplace.
Mr. Lumbis recalled how the company initially used for a $10 million DRI award the calendar year right before the metropolis acquired the income, but it wasn’t awarded at that time.
Of study course, they tried yet again and were effective.
Mrs. West said they figured out from the to start with grant application and built some alterations for the next time. They had extra time to function on the application and that gave the metropolis far more time to put jointly a superior checklist of projects that would acquire the DRI cash, she said.
“We had far more time to coordinate with the builders and put extra time in the software and that was useful,” Mrs. West explained.
In the conclude, Strategic Growth Experts corralled about $20 million in state money for Watertown tasks. Retaining the consultants was really worth every penny that they have been paid out, Mr. Lumbis reported.
He also explained that the firm held the city abreast of the development of the DRI software process although it was staying considered by the state. Mrs. West talked to her point out contacts about the city’s software, Mr. Lumbis recalled. That is one thing that the business does for its shoppers, Mrs. Wladis said.
Steve Lawrence, the interim director for the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, mentioned Strategic Growth didn’t give up when the port authority was unsuccessful in getting funding for $5 million in renovations of the Ogdensburg-Prescott Global Bridge.
But the two gals persevered. They ended up capable to locate a way to secure a $2 million Transportation Expense Building Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for the bridge do the job.
“They are pretty great at realizing what our requires are,” Mr. Lawrence explained.
The job is underway now to exchange parts of the failing, lead-based mostly paint defense technique on the bridge’s steel girder that spans the United States side.
“When the task was eventually funded, it was mainly because of the way the venture was framed as averting a probably sizeable guide-centered threat to the natural environment – fitting far better with the targets of the TIGER program,” Mrs. West mentioned.
The lead-dependent paint is getting replaced with an environmentally welcoming, zinc-based paint method.
On the private small business side, the organization served MetalCraft Maritime, which manufactures a wide range of superior-powered aluminum patrol, fireplace and work boats, go from Clayton to a larger sized producing site in Cape Vincent. The Kingston, Canada-centered firm has due to the fact moved to Watertown.
Strategic Enhancement also assisted area businessman Stephen J. Bradley with attaining a $990,000 Restore NY grant to renovate the inside of a 12,000-sq.-foot, two-tale building at 170 Courtroom St. The business continues to assistance Mr. Bradley work with the condition on obtaining that venture accomplished, Mrs. West mentioned.
The firm at present has 23 consumers. The two girls employ Lorri Morris, a grant writer who specializes in financial enhancement and governmental relations in their Syracuse place of work.
In 2010, the two co-founders of the organization started functioning alongside one another at Mrs. Wladis’ husband’s law company in Syracuse when Mrs. West was a grant writer. Two many years afterwards, they decided to go out on their have and formed Strategic Growth Experts.
Mrs. West is a graduate of St. Lawrence University with a bachelor’s degree in world-wide Scientific tests and French.
Mrs. Wladis is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse College of General public Interaction and holds a B.S. from Syracuse College in which she majored in journalism with a minimal in good arts. In advance of co-owning the business, she was a freelance writer for 25 a long time.