Thursday, June 25, 2015

UK Deputy Consul General visit to Buffalo NY - June 25, 2015

Another great opportunity for Western NY entrepreneurs as Deputy Consul General Nick Astbury came to Buffalo to talk about the 2015 Great Tech Awards. This is the 3rd annual Tech Awards and its a little like the 43North Competition in certain ways. The biggest difference is that there is no money for winning, but what the winners get is a way to expand their business into the UK and beyond.

First let me introduce you to Nick Astbury the Deputy Consul General of the UK based in New York City. He was in town to promote this great competition, with one of his media consultants Tricia Edwards. 

How did this happen you ask? Well one of Nick's colleagues found Infotech WNY and asked if we could meet with media and interested companies so he could explain how the Tech Awards works. Peter Ronca our Chairman got right to work on it and contacted the BNMC and DIG to meet up there to show Nick how innovation is driving Buffalo's growth. 

Last year the Tech Awards received 150 Entries for the following categories:
 CleanTech, EdTech, FinTech, Health, Lifestyle, and Media.
With 3 Winners in each category, there is a lot of opportunity to take your business global!

You can find out more about the full competition at the link below (their main website) for the 2015 Tech Awards. If you are a winner the prize is a trip to London to meet and learn all the aspects of growing your business in the UK. Financial, Legal, and other support services will be made available to help get your business up and running. Check the website for all the details.


Dave Bertola of Buffalo Business First came to interview Nick and lots of photos were taken. Let me tell you that he loved the BNMC Space and was very impressed by how quickly Buffalo has grown. He was here last year promoting this event, in just one year he has seen so much change, which is very exciting!

Pat Whalen and Jessica Edwards gave a quick tour of the Innovation Center and they made the tour shine, here they are with my friend Steve Raines!

Nick was able to tour 43North and Z80 Labs and could see how busy the innovation center is and it acts as a hub of activity!

After the tour we sat with Nick and Tricia and they explained in more detail about the contest.

The contest is looking for companies that are established and are looking to expand beyond the US. New companies or companies that are just starting up aren't ready for this contest but the best way to look at it is that every new company must be thinking that their product is Global worthy, so this competition will help you propel your company to the next level!

Brandon Dever of HeadsUp Display had applied last year to the Tech Awards and gave great insight into the opportunities that they gained from being apart of it. He explained that being a part of this event helped open doors to other markets including the UK and Mexico and the connections he made throughout were invaluable. He strongly urged anyone that has a company and is thinking about expanding outside of the US to apply this year.

Here was a prototype of the Heads Up Display.

A great competition with unlimited potential, and Buffalo looking great on a global level. With the opportunity to grow your business to an International company, this is another way to show that Buffalo continues to move in the right direction. 

If you need to know more, send me an email at

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Chestnut Ridge Park - Eternal Flame / Geocaching Hike - BNAR YPN

On June 5, 2015 I had the honor of taking a group of BNAR YPN members to the Eternal Flame in Chestnut Ridge Park. At total of 13 of us including a dog named Daisey! Our goal was to Geocache and get to the Flame and we accomplished both tasks! We found 3 Geocaches and we got great pictures of the flame! 

So the week before I had a 1 hour Geocaching 101 and it brought everyone up to speed on both our hike and what we would be doing.

So here I am at the Trail Head for the Eternal Flame. The hike is .56 mile into the park to the flame and the same to get out. A little over a mile but it is a moderate trail so it has some difficulty to it. We start at an elevation of 1200 feet above sea level and drop to 1030 at the flame. 

The trail is open for the first 100 yards and then it gets cooler and darker as soon as you get to the tree line.

The first .20 of a mile are a fairly easy hike.

The trail is marked well with the Flame!!

There is a steep drop to get to the stream so be careful, especially if it is wet!

Once we were down we found our first Geocache! 

And we were really close to the flame!

You can see the flame from here!

Our group was so happy to have made the trip, lots of photos were taken and it was a great day!

On our way out we found one more Geocache!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sailing on Lake Erie - Memorial Day Weekend 2015

It had been a while since I had gone sailing, real sailing and I forgot how much I loved it.

It was the Saturday before Memorial Day and my friend Erik Riffel and his 1st mate Lindsey took Nick and I out on one of the Seven Seas Sailing Club boats. Click the link below for more details on the club.

So let's start out with a shot of our beautiful city from one mile out. What a great shot of our city but how small it looks from 1 mile out on the water. Thanks Erik and Lindsey for a fun afternoon!

 So we get down to the club which is off Fuhrmann Blvd off of Route 5. Going through the ship yard was an experience for Nick and I could see he was totally loving it. We met Erik and he said go down to the river and look at all the boats docked. There were so many different one's that I was quite impressed.

We drove away from the club and headed for the NFTA harbor by Doug's Dive. There was the Aluf that was a great boat to take out. Here is the sail being unfurled and raised.  

Lindsey was all over the place getting the full sails going and she made it look so easy!

The weather was great, sunny and it was about 65 degrees out but near the 52 degree water it was close to low 50's with a 15 knot breeze. It was cool but not cold if you dressed properly. 

Nick drove the boat for a while and at 1 point had us keeling at around 25 degrees! 

Then of course I get to drive and Erik made it look easy but your head has to be on a swivel as there is many things to be looking out for. I did love it!

Nick moved up to the front and he said that was the best part of the ride. Looking down at the water as it sped below him was something he talked about for the rest of the day.

The windmills were cranking today!

Erik made the day feel easy and fun even though there was work to be done he made it effortless and he does charters all the time so if you want to go out, I can put you in touch with him!

As we headed home at Wilkeson point has these huge kites flying so I told Nick to take a shot and check them out. Pretty cool!!

All in All it was a great day on the water and I highly recommend a trip using Seven Seas Sailing Club!