Troy aerospace firm wins Tully Rinckey award

United Aircraft Technologies of Troy won first place in the business plan competition at this year’s Veterans in Economic Transition Conference organized by the Tully Rinckey Foundation, the charitable arm of the Tully Rinckey law firm.

The conference took place Nov. 27 and Nov. 28 at the Desmond Hotel & Conference Center in Colonie.

Renssealer Polytechnic Institute graduate Daryian Rhysing, an Army and Navy veteran, is executive chairman of United Aircraft Technologies.

I should have thought to count the number of times Amy Amoroso peppered her talk with the word “free.”

No matter, it was a lot.

Amoroso, based in Watervliet, is director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Veteran Business Outreach Center for a federal region that covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She described as “predominantly free” the many programs she has contact with that offer information and assistance to former service members looking to start or grow a business.

Her audience, numbering two dozen or so, was at one of the break-out sessions held earlier this week as part of VetCon 2018, the annual two-day business-opportunity conference for veterans organized by Colonie law firm Tully Rinckey and its charitable arm, the Tully Rinckey Foundation.

The event, part trade show and part concurrent seminars (with ample networking available, too), is billed as offering an assist to veterans as they transition back into civilian life as employees or entrepreneurs. This year’s sold-out conference drew participants from across the state.

I asked to sit in on Amoroso’s session after reading a report this month from the Small Business Administration and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that suggested veteran-owned businesses were having more trouble accessing capital than those operated by non-veterans.

The report was based on the 2017 results of a yearly survey done by Federal Reserve banks across the country that collects data on small-business financing needs and borrowing experiences.

The results indicated that veteran-owned businesses seeking financing – loans, lines of credit and cash advances – were more likely than their non-veteran counterparts to get less than they asked for. Their approval rate for loans from the top three sources of credit – large banks, small banks and online lenders – also was lower than for non-veteran applicants, the report said.

The differences may be explained by the smaller loan amounts sought by veterans (sometimes regarded as too low by banks for the paperwork costs involved), or by veterans’ insufficient credit history or available collateral (the result of frequent moves and overseas assignments), according to the report.

While the report was not mentioned in Amoroso’s lively session, her walk through programs offered by her group and others (“It’s free!” she kept interjecting) illustrated one of its “forward thoughts”: that “spreading awareness of all the organizations that exist to help veteran entrepreneurs will go a long way to addressing [capital access] problems.”

“Veterans get credit for defending our freedom, and now we know that they need more credit for their businesses,” the report concluded.

Business census data from 2012, the latest numbers available, show the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area with 6,100 veteran-owned firms, New York with 137,000, and the U.S. with 2.5 million. That put veteran-owned firms at more than 10 percent of all firms counted that year.

Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist. Opinions expressed in her column are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. Reach her at

Unprecedented Veterans in Economic Transition Conference (VETCON) coming to the Capital Region next week.

VETCON is the first of its kind in Albany’s Capital Region and will provide support, advice, and direction to startups and existing businesses owned by veterans, as well as veterans (re)entering the workforce. The Job Fair, taking place on day two of the conference, will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 1:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. and is free to all veterans or current military personnel.

The VETCON Job Fair has been organized specifically for veterans seeking employment. Participating companies include over 15 local and national businesses, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations, all eagerly seeking to hire veterans. Veterans are encouraged to bring several, updated copies of their resume for distribution.

Current companies participating in the Job Fair include: Tully Rinckey PLLC, Berkshire Bank, PepsiCo., FedEx, Target, Integra Optics, Time Warner Cable, Social Security Administration, Global Foundries, New York State Department of Labor, W.B. Mason, Living Resources, AccuStaff, and more.

VETCON is an unprecedented collection of public and private businesses, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and government agencies collaborating for an extremely worthy cause. The conference will include interactive seminars, informative keynotes, matchmaking sessions with NYS purchasing agencies, and opportunities to network with presenters of national renown who will be serving as mentors during seminar sessions.

The conference will be held at the Desmond, Hotel in Albany, NY. Registration for the full two-day conference is still open and tickets are $100 per day. Veterans may attend the VETCON Job Fair for free on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

For more information about all of VETCON’s speakers and a full list of conference workshops, visit or contact Marcy Velte at (518) 218-7100 or

Mario D. Cometti, Esq. sits down with LOOKTV

Join Look TV as we sit down with Mario Cometti of VETCON. We discuss the importance of helping our veterans get back into the workforce. VETCON is a conference helping veterans transition into their future professional careers. Please visit for more information and how YOU can get involved.

Veterans in Economic Transition Conference promotes new opportunities and growth for veterans through education, entrepreneurship and employment.
Oct. 14, 2016 – Albany, N.Y. –The Veterans in Economic Transition Conference is proud to announce the speakers for its 2016 event to be held on Oct. 24-25, 2016 at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, NY.

VETCON is an unprecedented collection of public and private businesses, non-profit and for-profit organizations and government agencies gathering together for a worthy initiative. The event will provide support, advice and direction to startups and existing businesses owned by veterans. It will also include networking opportunities with speakers of national notoriety serving as mentors during seminar sessions.

Keynote speaker: Paisley Demby

Paisley Demby is the Business Services Director with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Initiative. He is responsible for the training and development of over 12,000 business owners. Mr. Demby, who is a renowned CEO trainer, will share with the audience how to create exceptional business growth by taking action in the areas of business strategy, leadership, marketing, and finance.

As Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PBN Consulting, LLC., Mr. Demby is recognized for his work in business and economic development. With nearly 25 years of finance and strategic management experience, he has been employed by such renowned firms as IBM, General Motors, Westinghouse, JP Morgan, Synergie Capital Group, The May Davis Group, and Andersen Consulting, LLP. Mr. Demby holds an MBA in Finance and Strategic Management from the University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School of Business, and a BA in Engineering and Economics from Brown University.

Mr. Demby will be speaking during the Keynote Lunch session on Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 12-1:30 p.m.

Guest Speaker: Justin Constantine

Justin Constantine is a former United States Marine who was severely injured while serving in Iraq. He has since become a widely-acclaimed leadership consultant and inspirational speaker, who at the conference will share with attendees invaluable lessons about leadership, and overcoming personal and professional adversity through determination and perseverance. His speech will serve to invigorate business owners and employees alike.

Mr. Constantine volunteered for deployment to Iraq in 2006, and served as a Civil Affairs Team Leader while attached to an infantry battalion. While on a routine combat patrol, Justin was shot in the head by a sniper. Although the original prognosis was that he had been killed in action, Justin survived. While on active duty, he had served as a Judge Advocate in the Marine Corps. Upon recovering from his injuries, he continued to serve in the Federal government in a number of attorney positions, including the Department of Justice, Capitol Hill and most recently with the FBI on a counter terrorism team.

Mr. Constantine will be speaking during the first day’s lunch session on Monday, Oct. 24 from 12-1:30 p.m.

Additional speakers:

The conference will be opened on Monday by Tully Rinckey PLLC Founding Partner Greg Rinckey, with firm Partner and VETCON Alliance Chairman Mario Cometti. The conference was conceived and developed by Tully Rinckey PLLC with the goal to assist veterans as they transition from service to civilian life. Mr. Rinckey and Mr. Cometti will highlight the features of the first annual Veterans in Economic Transition Conference, which will include a meet-and-greet room staffed by Tully Rinckey attorneys, interactive workshops, various business booths, and a free job fair.

Tuesday will be opened by Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at University at Albany Darrell Wheeler, who will highlight various features and opportunities of VETCON’s second day. He will focus on educational opportunities available to veterans, and speak about University at Albany’s commitment to helping veterans gain access to the educational resources needed to jumpstart their civilian careers. All other speakers can be found on the VETCON website.

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to take part in valuable hands-on workshops designed specifically for them, in addition to participating in numerous informational sessions with businesses, organizations and more than 30 different New York state purchasing agencies. Practical workshops will include information about how to certify a veteran-owned business and obtain federal and state contract set asides, business plan writing and business fundamentals.

Registration for the conference is $100 per day and is now open. Veterans may attend the event’s job fair for free on Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 1:45- 4 p.m.