Fall Small Business Series:  Business Longevity: Seeing Opportunities Where others See Obstacles
Thursday, October 7th

Join us for a unique opportunity to learn from some of the most successful business people in our area. How have they been able to sustain their business successfully for so many years, facing a variety of challenges and obstacles in their path? Join us for a discussion and Q&A with participating panelists: Mark Cushman-Vice President of Organizational Development at Giotto Enterprises, Laura Misiaszek, owner of The Olde Wicker Mill, and Cathy Newell, President & CEO of Mohawk Ltd.  The panel will be moderated by Frank Williams from SCORE, hosted by the Chamber Small Business Council, and sponsored by Berkshire Bank.

Members: $10

Non-Members $20

Include a lunch, add $20





Mark Cushman: V.P. of Organizational Development at Giotto Enterprises, Oriskany, NY. Giotto Enterprises is a group of seven companies united by common ownership, which provides consistent manufacturing leadership, quality and value for the fiber-optic industry. The “flagship” company of Giotto Enterprises is Fiber Instrument Sales, Inc., established in 1985 and located in Oriskany, NY. Mark is responsible for HR functions, public relations, employee development & training and he previously held the positions of Fiber Instrument Sales’ V.P. of Engineering and V.P. of Marketing.

Education, Involvement & Accomplishments:

  • Education Cert. – Employment Law (Cornell Univ)
  • A. in Public Admin – Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syr. Univ
  • S. in Mech. Eng. Technology – Rochester Institute of Technology
  • A.S. in Mech. Eng. Technology – Mohawk Valley Community College
  • Advisory Board Member; Mohawk Valley Community College Advanced Institute for Manufacturing (AIM)
  • Advisory Board Member; Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego County BOCES School to Careers Program
  • Former Mayor; Village of Ilion (2006-2010)

Laura Misiaszek:    Owner of the Olde Wicker Mill,  a retailer established in 1979, offering fun, functional and affordable gifts for all ages.  In the beginning, they carried only three wicker companies and only sold wicker baskets, accessories and furniture, macrame plant hangers, tables and lamps, plus wall hangings that she made herself.  She slowly added new items that her customers were asking for and as trends changed, so did her product mix and they now have over 200 companies represented in their two locations, in New Hartford and Camillus.

Cathy Newell:    President / CEO of Mohawk Ltd.,  “A single source solution provider“  of repair, calibration and supply of Electronic, Mechanical and Hydraulic tools and Fiber Optic Equipment and Supply, located in Chadwicks ,NY serving the Telco, Cable, Utility, Gov’t., and Private Industry Markets across the entire country. Mohawk Ltd. is a NYS Certified WBE (Woman Owned Business), a Certified WBENC company.  They are also ISO certified.

Education, Involvement & Accomplishments:

  • Graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology – BS in Business Management
  • Graduate of Leadership Mohawk Valley Program.
  • 1995 – Entrepreneur of the Year award for Upstate NY by Inc. Magazine
  • 1996 – Recipient of MV Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award
  • 1998 – YWCA Salute to Outstanding Women Award
  • 2000 – Humanitarian of the Year award from the Utica Chapter of the American Red Cross
  • 2021 – Awarded top 100 Women owned Businesses in NY State
  • 2016 – Mohawk Valley Legacy Award
  • Has also served on many boards through the years and continues to do so for United Cerebral Palsy Parent and Foundation Boards, Excellus BC/BS Utica Regional Advisory Board.


Frank R. Williams: SCORE mentor offering support in sales methods and processes; marketing; business start-up planning; management methods; medical device sales, marketing & development; and Priority and Goal setting, Sales Training..

  • Certified SCORE Mentor (2015 – present)
  • Retired VIce President, CONMED Corporation, in Marketing, Sales, General Management and Business Development) (1973 – 2015)
  • Member, Board of Directors Masonic Medical Research Institute (May 2021 –  present)
  • Vice President, Board of Trustees Forest Hill Cemetery (2016 – present)
  • Retired Chairman –  The Ride for Missing Children MV and the Advisory Board of the Mohawk Valley office for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (1997 – 2012)