Culture is Everything...

What is culture anyway? According to the dictionary, “culture is the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.” Culture is very important to us. In order to foster a collaborative environment where entrepreneurs are supported and innovation can flourish, we must focus on culture. We focus on mitigating barriers to creativity like crushing criticism, fear, and tension. We encourage free flow, healthy habits, humor, and a relaxed environment – all of which foster creative collisions and good-vibe culture.

Another big focus: Giving back. If every stakeholder is conscious of giving back to the community in some capacity, we can grow good-vibe culture that rewards our region with progress. Give back can mean washing your dishes when you’re done using them, brewing a fresh pot of coffee after the first one has been guzzled, introducing your self to the new co-worker across the room, or even putting on a workshop around a topic you excel in for supporting other entrepreneurs.

Well? What do you say? We can’t foster this community without people. Join us as a co-worker, attend an event, spread the word, build something with us.

Our Team

The thINC team is comprised of two. Ryan and Stacey direct the thINCubator. They run the Refinery program, host thINCubator events and workshops based on the needs of the community, and they offer 1-on-1 advising for upstate entrepreneurs. They also offer co-working memberships for community members found here.

Aside from the thINC team duo, the thINCubator is the home of thINCubated companies (successfully completed the Refinery program), co-working members, and the Small Business Development Center team. As mentioned above, all members of the thINCubator community pitch in to keep our community active, clean, and welcoming.

We couldn’t foster this community without YOU.

ThINC Team
Stacey Smith

A “Jill-of-all-trades” sums me up. Dabbling with my own startup, Lilo Life, and over 7 years of experience in the startup community allows me to relate to your entrepreneurial journey. Organizing, implementing a process for operations, and breaking down overarching goals into attainable tasks is definitely an area I like to play in. If you’re fine-tuning a pitch or need assistance with refining your message, let’s talk. A few specialties: problem solving, establishing budgets & goals, eye for design, copywriting, storytelling, social media, basic website CPR & tech troubleshooting, online businesses, and playing devil’s advocate-all in good ways-when it comes to refining an idea or while developing a product or service. I get pumped when I can help entrepreneurs break through the stages of fear in order to keep momentum.

Ryan Miller

As long as I can remember, I’ve always had a huge appetite for building things. Well, not things, but ideas. Projects. Networks. Relationships. And now more than ever there is such an opportunity to share ideas, network with fascinating people and work together to produce something great. Long-term goals include using the web to bring together residents of communities to learn, interact, affect policy decisions, and affect change. Expert at taking technical problems and explaining them in plain English to ‘non-techies’. Specialties: Social Media, Web applications, Graphic Design, Web Development, bridge-building, small business marketing.

Small Business Development Center

The SBDC is staffed by certified professionals with the knowledge and experience to provide expert counseling and training to address the many problems inherent in the start-up and operation of a business. SBDC advisors have access to the vast resources of the State University of New York, its faculty, staff, and students, as well as private and public consultants, agencies, and the national Small Business Development Center Research Network.

Paul Arvantides provides business advisement services to a variety of small businesses and entrepreneurs engaged in starting, managing, growing, or purchasing a business. Arvantides has been a business advisor with the Mohawk Valley Small Business Development Center since 2017. Prior to that position, he acted as a business manager for Northwestern Mutual, was vice president and head of U.S. Services at E4E Healthcare Services LLC in Maryland, and was the president/owner of Medical Coding Services, Inc. out of Baldwinsville. Arvantides holds a bachelor’s degree in health information administration from SUNY Institute of Technology (now SUNY Polytechnic Institute) and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hamilton College.

David Lerman provides business advisement and financial services to a variety of small businesses and entrepreneurs engaged in starting, managing, growing, or purchasing a business, including clients with complex multi-million dollar projects involving multiple banks, the Small Business Association, economic development agencies, and other resource partners. Lerman has been with the Mohawk Valley Small Business Development Center since 2008, serving first as a business advisor and then transitioning to the senior business advisor position. Previously, he was the business owner/president of Rest Assured Mattress Center, Inc. in Rome and New York Mills, and the vice president of Lerman’s Furniture in Rome. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business and public management from SUNY Institute of Technology (now SUNY Polytechnic Institute) and an associate degree in business management from MVCC.

Roxanne Mutchler directs the Mohawk Valley Small Business Development Center, providing services to local small businesses in accordance with New York State, State University of New York (SUNY), MVCC, and the Small Business Association. Mutchler has been with the Mohawk Valley Small Business Development Center since 2009 in a variety of capacities, including NY SBDC government contracting coordinator and acting director. Prior to joining the MV SBDC, she worked as a training design and development coordinator at a local manufacturing company, and was co-owner of Mutchler’s Inc., operating out of Herkimer.

Zach Steffen supports the director and business advisors at the Mohawk Valley Small Business Development Center. Steffen has been with the Mohawk Valley Small Business Development Center since 2019 as an associate business advisor. Previously, he was the general manager of North Country Books and the co-owner/president of Pyramid Publishing. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from the University at Albany.

Shelby Sweet provides business advisement services to a variety of small businesses and entrepreneurs engaged in starting, managing, growing, or purchasing a business. Sweet has been with the Mohawk Valley Small Business Development Center since 2013 as a certified business advisor. She also is a co-owner of George’s Farm Products, Inc., in Clinton and an adjunct professor at Utica College. She earned a master’s degree in management science and a bachelor’s degree in business and public management from SUNY Institute of Technology (now SUNY Polytechnic Institute), and an associate degree in business administration from MVCC.