Upper Edge Consulting (UEC) has as a major focus of our work assisting renewable energy companies with navigating the complexities of incentives and the law to cite and build in New York. This effort will grow as the Governor has just announced his goal of 50% renewable production in NY by 2030. Let UEC help your renewable energy company gain the incentives and navigate through the government regulations of creating green power in NY!
Since January of 2018, Upper Edge has been assisting Acadia Energy Corporation in their development of customized microgrid energy solutions. A microgrid is a localized power production and delivery system that is directly connected with the loads they serve. Microgrids integrate multiple types of energy generation resources, storage systems, and efficiency programs, that allow for optimal utilization of renewable energy resources. For the past few months, Upper Edge and Acadia have been working to develop TakeCharge NY, a subsidy through the ReCharge NY Power Program, which removes regulatory, administrative and market-related hurdles to microgrid development in New York State. The mission of TakeCharge NY is to build out new, resilient energy infrastructure without the need for state incentives, provide long-term, low cost, reliable energy to businesses in New York State and increase the generation and use of renewable energy. Microgrids will be a key component to the sustainability and modernization of our nation’s energy infrastructure and with Upper Edge’s assistance, Acadia can place microgrid implementation at the top of New York State’s legislative agenda.
Diana Cihak and Upper Edge Consulting have worked on the development of this exciting new waste to energy technology almost since its inception. From researching and writing the business plan to growing an extensive knowledge base and network of contacts in the green energy field, Buffalo Syngas has drawn the serious interest of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council as well the New York Power Authority’s Power Proceeds Board for funding. Currently in the final stages of private equity acquisition, it is likely that the initial phase of Buffalo Syngas will begin in early 2014. Following full implementation of the demonstration project in Buffalo, NY, Upper Edge will follow up on other opportunities to place this technology in locations throughout the U.S.
Genesee Biogas is a project of CH4Biogas. This anaerobic digestion process is to be located in the Genesee Industrial Agricultural Park and will solve the problem of an environmental friendly way to dispose of the whey that is leftover from the production of yogurt. Upper Edge has assisted CH4Biogas in securing two grants for $1.5 million and $750,000 from Empire State Development. Upper Edge is also assisting Genesee Biogas in the exploration of participation in Start UP New York. Genesee Biogas works closely with several universities and by this association we are hopeful that the significant tax benefits associated with Start UP NY will benefit not only Genesee Biogas, but also further the research of green waste to energy technologies.
Synergy Biogas is a project of CH4Biogas. This anaerobic digestion process is to located in Wyoming County and process both manure and organic waste for area food production facilities. Upper Edge assisted CH4Biogas in helping pass legislation that clarified that anaerobic digesters are intended to be tax exempt under New York State Real Property Tax Law. UEC additionally helped the company navigate the issue of taxes that were improperly levied by the Town and School District for this project.
Advanced Manufacturing is one of the primary focus areas of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council for good reason. Buffalo sits within 500 miles of 41% of the US population and 59% of the Canadian population. As a transportation hub, Buffalo offers easy access to shipping through air, rail or water. With 22 Universities and Colleges, including the University at Buffalo and its research institutions, higher education and research are a priority for the region. But the most important aspect of the WNY region for manufacturing is the workforce. A traditionally blue collar city, Buffalo has a high percentage of the workforce experienced in manufacturing. Coupled with the low cost of living and the new “hip” factor, people are excited to move to Buffalo to raise families and build lives.
UEC helps those companies located in Western New York, or who are considering the region for expansion or re-location, navigate the complexities of economic incentives and government relations.
Upper Edge has been pleased to help K&H Industries keep manufacturing jobs in Western New York. With K&H’s plan to purchase Staub Manufacturing, they are building their portfolio and keeping high quality jobs local. But they needed assistance to make the deal happen in a sustainable way. UEC has already helped them to be awarded valuable Excelsior Tax Credits and Grants, and we are also working with Global, NY to help K&H expand its export business.
Ellicottville Brewing Company is poised to make the leap from small scale brewery to one of the mid-size craft beverage operations. UEC is assisting them in finding government support to build out a new production facility that will also house a retail tasting room, restaurant and a first in the country Craft Brewing Museum. UEC is also helping EBC find assistance with expanding global distribution to coincide with the 1,000% increase in production that will be possible with the new location.
Upper Edge Consulting is pleased to be involved in a number of tourism related efforts that are designed to showcase the food, wine, entertainment and cultural attractions of Western New York to the world. We are involved in planning initiatives as well as seeking funding from State and Federal sources for these projects that benefit the entire region.
The most recent addition to Upper Edge Consulting’s clientele is the Buffalo Lighthouse Association teaming up with Port of Call: Buffalo to present the Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2019. This four-day event will present historic tall ships from harbors throughout the United States and Canada in a grand maritime gesture, including family festivities such as food, games, beverages, historical exhibits, a Parade of Sail, and much more! Basil Port of Call Buffalo 2019 is produced by the Port of Call Steering Committee, an organization of the Buffalo Lighthouse Association who preserves and restores historic lighthouses throughout the Buffalo Harbor. Upper Edge and the Buffalo Lighthouse Association are in conjunction with one another to ensure the recognition and celebration of Buffalo’s maritime heritage.
Upper Edge Consulting is working with Niagara County winemakers, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards and their partner organization BeauVine Vineyards, on a number of opportunities at the State and Federal level. Arrowhead Spring is working to make sure the Niagara Escarpment is known as a world class wine destination and to draw wine-centric tourism to the region. Upper Edge is excited to be a part of their effort to increase tourism and drive high end wine sales from the Niagara region.
Another one of Upper Edge’s new and exciting projects is our work with the BFLO Hall of Fame Experience. This museum is destined to attract men, women, and children of all ages to come experience some of Buffalo’s rich and entertaining history. The Buffalo Experience Sports, Music and Broadcasters Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving and promoting such history through historic exhibits, artifacts and even interactive displays. Upper Edge is paired with the Buffalo Experience in envisioning a premiere year-round western New York destination that will attract fans and tourists from around the world.
Upper Edge Consulting is pleased to be assisting in the development of the WNY Craft Beverage Association. Our role is to find grant funding opportunities to build and promote this organization that will showcase the wide array of quality products produced by breweries, wineries and distilleries in Western New York. Upper Edge is also assisting with an exciting project that will bring a WNY Craft Beverage branded bar to one of the region’s top attractions in the near future. Stay tuned for more details on this exciting project!
Though we primarily work for corporations and for-profits, Upper Edge does assist a few non-profit clients with their grant funding needs. We are proud of these organizations we represent that do important work for the entire community!
43North is the world’s largest startup competition and incubator that awards $5 million in prize money to up to 11 companies each year. Now on it’s fourth year of operations, 43North works with high growth potential companies that win the rigorous competition and then agree to move to Buffalo, NY and grow in the 43North incubator for one year.
Frederick Law Olmsted’s grand vision for a park system that included every neighborhood in a ring around Buffalo, New York, is a beautiful reminder of our grand history as the Queen City. This vital aspect of urban life and a city’s renewal is a benefit for every city resident. Upper Edge is very proud to be assisting the BOPC with finding funding sources to support the Parks.
Another one of UEC’s more recent clients is the Western New York Land Conservancy who is a regional, not-for-profit land trust that works with landowners, municipalities, and other organizations to help them conserve their most cherished natural areas and working farms. Their areas of service include Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming counties. Currently Upper Edge and the Land Conservancy are working together on a project known as “Restore the Gorge”. This multi-year project intends to maintain and enhance the ecological diversity of the Niagara Gorge and all while creating a natural showcase open to the community and inviting to all visitors.
Governor Cuomo announced in 2015 that the Craft Beverage industry was a major focus of his administration. The State has followed up that focus with incentives and assistance to help small craft beverage producers cut through the red tape and market their products. UEC has truly enjoyed helping several companies with incentive awards and professional assistance from the State to grow their small businesses. We are also involved in lobby efforts to ensure that the Kombucha industry in NY is regulated as other producers in the country are under Federal law.
The Kombucha Industry in New York is thriving, but they ran into a road block when New York State indicated they may try to regulate them as an alcoholic beverage. Upper Edge is working with State officials to educate them on how the Kombucha product is regulated in other states. UEC is proud to help the newest member of the NY Craft Beverage industry to thrive in our State!
Ellicottville Brewing Company is poised to make the leap from small scale brewery to one of the mid-size craft beverage operations. UEC is helping them in finding government support to build out a new production facility that will also house a retail tasting room, restaurant and a first in the country Craft Brewing Museum. UEC is also helping EBC find assistance with expanding global distribution to coincide with the 1,000% increase in production that will be possible with the new location.
Buffalo has seen an explosion of craft brewers and distillers. This dynamic group of businesses is starting to come together to market their products regionally and gain attention throughout the State for quality products. UEC is leading negotiations to have a presence for the WNY craft beverages – Beer, Wine, Liquors and Cider – at some of the largest venues in the region.
A passion of the President of Upper Edge, Diana Cihak, is the development of small minority and women owned firms. The challenges faced by these small firms when competing for opportunities in the public or private sector is immense when faced with large, established firms that control the market share. Much has been done by the Administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo to highlight these challenges and to open up contracting opportunities to those businesses that certify as MWBE’s. But there is still a long road to travel. Currently, most of the MWBE opportunities at the State level go to Construction related firms with some IT and Financial firms also competing. Attracting firms outside these sectors to become certified and then to compete for opportunities throughout State and local governments and in the private sector is vital to maintaining the Governor’s goals of 20% or more MWBE utilization in contracts. Upper Edge is doing the hard and time consuming work to break through the barriers that exist in these other industry sectors. First, by guiding clients through the somewhat daunting task of applying for their MWBE certification Upper Edge successfully gets clients listed on the state and federal contracting registries. But the work does not end there. Reaching out to procurement officers in agencies and corporations and introducing products and services that they need and then doing what is often many months of follow up, results in securing government contracting opportunities and more opportunities in the private sector as well. Upper Edge opens the door to MWBE’s so that you can then sell your product or service to a government agency or private corporation and secure those contracts that will take your business to the next level!
BeauVine Vineyards is owned and operated by Robin Ross, who with her husband Duncan also owns and operates Arrowhead Spring Vineyards. Robin grew up in a farming family and has taken back to the soil following a distinguished career in STEM. Her care in planting, tending and harvesting the grapes is the backbone of the many awards that have been given to the wines produced by Robin and Duncan at Arrowhead Springs. We secured a grant of $370,000 for BeauVine to buy harvesting equipment that will be shared with other area vineyards. Robin’s WBE application is currently pending with the State.
The Women’s Business Center at Canisius College is an SBA funded facility that helps women owned businesses at all stages of growth thrive. UEC is pleased to help the SBA with grant writing and reporting.
UEC offers PR and community outreach services to clients that need to let their community know they are responsible corporate citizens. Paid and earned media opportunties as well as all kinds of community outreach efforts are available to compliment the work we do on behalf of our UEC clients.
Since early 2017, Upper Edge has been working with and assisting the Town and Village of Ellicottville with various funding sources and grants to help revitalize and establish this area of Western New York. A more recent and ongoing project consists of the expansion and creation of over 2 miles in trails throughout the town and village enhancing the area’s already strong natural environment. Ellicottville is also located near two large ski resorts, Holiday Valley and HoliMont, which makes for a prime winter economy. The town and village’s #1 source of employment is tourism and with UEC’s assistance, this area can become one of the of the most prized vacation destinations in Western New York.
Upper Edge is working with the Reddy Law Firm to prepare their MWBE application, submission is expected in early 2014. Upper Edge is also working on strategic planning for the firm with regards to their specialty practice of civil rights litigation; as well as researching opportunities for the Reddy Law Firm to contract with government agencies.
We have achieved success for a number of clients who we are now honored to list as our Past Clients.
Upper Edge Consulting is taking the lead in developing a hop on, hop off bus tour for cultural and entertainment destinations in Buffalo, NY. More details will be forth coming about this exciting project that will link the region’s visitors to all that Buffalo has to offer in cultural, entertainment, food and shopping options.
Diana Cihak and Upper Edge Consulting have successfully completed MBE applications for YR Blanc/Renovatio at the City, County and State level and entered and maintained the company’s presence in State and Federal contracting opportunities databases. Upper Edge works with Renovatio to pursue all manner of government contracting opportunities as well as private opportunities. Many meetings and networking opportunities have been set up by Upper Edge for Renovatio that have led to positive relationships in both the public and private sector.
Upper Edge is working with the Premier Recovery Group to prepare their MBE application, submission is expected in early 2014. Upper Edge is also working on strategic planning for the firm with regards to their specialty of credit recovery and setting up meetings with colleges and state agencies for possible contracting opportunities. Upper Edge has also done preliminary research for PRG with regards to an associated company and tax credit opportunities.
Diana Cihak secured a $250,000 contract through New York YouthWorks for Skyview Learning Group as well as submitting applications for the Consolidated Funding Application and grant requests from the Oishei Foundation and Bank of America (in a joint venture with Hispanics United of Buffalo).
Diana Cihak assisted the SBCO in networking and outreach to a variety of sources including school board members, the Buffalo Public School Superintendent, the Erie County Sheriff’s Department and the Mayor’s office. She also helped them secure new Board Members and strengthen relationships with community organizations as well as submit a grant request to the Junior League of Buffalo.
Diana Cihak assisted attorney Frank Housh in extending his PR reach by authoring and disseminating numerous press releases and helping Mr. Housh become an expert commentator on local news show “2 Sides”. Ms. Cihak also helped Mr. Housh secure other interview opportunities including the Kansas City Times and WNED with regards to his work on voting rights.
Upper Edge created a strategic plan with Bernhardi & Lukasik to increase the number of referrals to their firm by using a combination of social and free media, paid media and personalized outreach to former clients. Upper Edge also coordinated the production of the Inview series, hosted by Larry King, that both partners appeared in and that highlighted the firm (video production took place in Buffalo in early March, 2014). Upper Edge is also following up on the production with publicity surrounding the airing of the segment on Fox Business News with the intention of position both partners as legal experts in their respective fields.
Diana Cihak is the license holder for the annual TEDxBuffaloWomen conference held the first week of December at the downtown Central Library in Buffalo. Diana is also a founding member of the WomenEvents Buffalo committee that hosts TEDxBuffaloWomen. WomenEvents has completed to date 2 TEDxBuffaloWomen events, 2 Confabs, and a showing of Miss Representation as well as participating in other women oriented networking events. These events bring together many women from throughout WNY for networking and focus on developing women in business and government.