Westchester Businesses With The Staying Power To Last Decades
It’s one thing to open a business and make a splash in the first few years. It’s entirely different—and much more challenging—to remain competitive for decades. Here's some insight on how to do just that from four local companies that celebrated big milestones in 2014.
The Music Conservatory of Westchester celebrates its 85th anniversary this year—but what does it take for an organization to stand the test of time?
Courtesy of the Music Conservatory of Westchester
10 YEARS: Stark Office Suites
Stark Office Suites, which provides full-service office space to both full-time and virtual clients, was founded by Adam Stark in 2004. Today, the company has eight locations, with further expansion plans in the works.
Staying Power: “Our motto is ‘no surprises’ and that helps a tremendous amount with regard to maintaining a satisfied customer base. It’s much easier to grow when you aren’t constantly trying to find new clients to replace those that left out of disappointment,” says Adam Stark.
Industry Changes: “When I first started out, the concept of a shared office environment was largely foreign. With the tremendous growth in the shared office, virtual office, and co-working universe, people now see our type of communal environment as a superior solution that offers a whole host of benefits, rather than simply a way for a small business to save a few dollars.”
Next 10 Years: “The world of work is continuing to evolve and we want to remain at the forefront of these changes over the next ten years.”
More from Adam Stark: Growing An Office-Suite Empire
30 YEARS: McCullough, Goldberger & Staudt, LLP
Leading White Plains-based law firm McCullough, Goldberger & Staudt (MGS) has specialized in land use and zoning law, commercial and Surrogate’s Court litigation, environmental law, municipal law, real estate law, banking law, and trusts & estates law since its founding in 1984. The firm’s clients are a who’s who of businesses, across Westchester and beyond.
Staying Power: “We’ve always prided ourselves on the level of experience and know-how we bring to the table, board room, and court room. Our experience, professionalism, know-how and ability to maintain positive relationships are the keys to our success,” says says Frank S. McCullough, partner at MGS. “Our partners and employees also have significant connections… to the communities where we live, work and serve.”
Industry Changes: “While some aspects of law remain static, there are many facets that are fluid, ever-changing and require the skill of seeing things differently. What’s also noteworthy about how the industry has changed in 30 years is how we’ve embraced technology and social media. MGS uses Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+ to remain connected with our clients and community. Thirty years ago that would have been totally foreign, particularly for a law firm.”
Next 30 years: “We’ll continue to hire the best and brightest in the field; we’ll remain connected to the communities and companies we serve; and we’ll embrace new technologies and adapt as the needs arise.”
40 YEARS: OLA Consulting Engineers
What started small in Mount Kisco in 1974 is today OLA Consulting Engineers, a Hawthorne-based industry leader in all aspects of building systems analysis, design, and commissioning for commercial, institutional and residential projects. The firm now employs 38 people, with revenues of roughly $6.5 million per year.
Staying Power: “We have always been interested in building trusted client relationships, not scouring the market for individual projects. OLA is client focused with principal involvement in every project, no matter the size; cultivating trust is paramount,” explains Patrick Lynch, President and Principal, OLA. “As equally impactful to our longevity is our commitment to our employees. More than half of our employees have been with us over 10 years.”
Industry Changes: “Design productivity and efficiency has improved from hand drafting and calculations to Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and design software. Most recently, the advent of building computer modeling has taken the design industry into creating virtual buildings. At the same time, the complexity of building systems and system controls are vastly different from 40 years ago. Today’s buildings are complex with interoperable systems that require computers to run HVAC systems, lights, and other systems.”
Next 40 Years: “The next stage in building efficiency will be net-zero energy buildings that produce as much energy in a year as they consume. The next step beyond that is for buildings to operate as micro power plants— producing more energy than they consume. As we were leaders in the region’s green movement, we aim to lead the net zero vision throughout our community. Most importantly, when we reach our 80th anniversary, we hope to have attracted and nurtured generations of young engineers to further OLA’s impact and social responsibilities for generations to come.”
85 YEARS: Music Conservatory of Westchester
The Music Conservatory was founded in 1929 by a group of musicians including the legendary cellist Pablo Casals. Today, the Conservatory is the largest music organization in the Westchester region, serving 2,500 students each year in a 36,000 square-foot fully renovated building with 43 teaching studios, two dance studios, and a state-of-the-art recital hall.
Staying Power: “We have a great product! Music is timeless and universally loved, and people want to be actively involved in it,” says Jean Newton, the Conservatory’s Executive Director. “We know how to connect people with the joy of making music… we're solidly grounded in the great musical traditions, but we also change with the times – just as music does.”
Industry Changes: “Music is consumed very differently than it was when the Conservatory started. Today, people have every kind of music at their fingertips, right in their own homes… The cultural environment has changed as well. When it comes to cultural experiences, we prefer an informal environment with a multi-media framework. Every cultural organization – whether performance or education oriented – has to be able to adapt to the times in order to remain viable and relevant.”
Next 85 Years: “In order to continue moving into the next 85 years, we have recently refreshed our brand and image which involves everything from how we look and are perceived to how we will portray the Conservatory going forward both face-to-face and electronically.”