Hartwick Receives Awards From Otsego County Chamber

October 25, 2016

The Hartwick College Center for Craft Food & Beverage recently received the Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield Breakthrough Business of the Year Award from the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce at its annual awards banquet.

Demi Manesis ’17 was named 2016 Hartwick College Intern of the Year, the first year the Chamber presented this award. Manesis has been working as an intern with the Oneonta Fire Department, helping conduct a risk assessment of properties in Oneonta.

Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich thanked the Chamber and its board while accepting the Breakthrough Business of the Year award on behalf of the College. She referred to the opening of the Center for Craft Food & Beverage “a breakthrough moment in the College’s history.”

“In 2015, it was the growing reality that the craft food and beverage industry presented what could be a breakthrough moment of its own for the economy of this region,” Drugovich said of the Center’s origins. “Hartwick understood what was needed – testing, advising and educational support – to meet the needs of a growing array of producers who wanted to assure the quality of their products.”

The Hartwick College Center for Craft Food & Beverage, which officially opened in January 2016, offers laboratory testing services for beer and brewing raw materials such as barley, malt, and hops. It provides technical assistance and business planning services as well as professional development opportunities and education.

It is supported in part by state and federal funding, including grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission; incentives from Empire State Development Corporation through New York State’s Consolidated Funding Application process; the George I. Alden Trust (Worcester, MA); the New York State and Municipal Facilities Program; New York State Economic Development Program; the Center for Agricultural Development & Entrepreneurship (CADE); and corporate support from Brewery Ommegang. Otsego Now provided funding to support the Farmer/Brewer Winter Weekend in January 2016.

The Chamber expanded its awards program this year to recognize work done by students from Oneonta’s colleges on behalf of area employers.

“Winning the award and working with the Oneonta Fire Department has been such an honor,” she said. “I’m proud to get to talk about my work with them, and I know I’d never be where I am now without the help of Chief Maloney and my Hartwick College advisor, Dr. Carli Ficano. My experiences here have most definitely shaped what I want to do in the future and have given me the skill sets to do so. I’m so grateful for everything.”

Also at the event, Wahl to Wahl Auto of Cooperstown was named the 17th Annual Small Business of the Year, while Kevin Zambrzycki was named recipient of the 2016 State University College at Oneonta Intern of the Year Award for his work through the Small Business Development Center.

The awards were announced last month at a press conference on the Hartwick College campus.

For more information on the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, visit its website.