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Stepping stone: An offshoot of family firm MCM Natural Stone could employ nearly 300 in Avon

Rochester Business Journal
April 3, 2015

With as many as 300 new jobs possible pending the approval of a new recycling facility in Livingston County, the president of CM&M Industries Inc. has announced an additional 25 positions to be created by an extension of the Avon plan in St. Lawrence County.

CM&M president Michael Valle said the benefits of his company expansion go beyond job creation to protection of the environment, and even the restoration of it.

“We planned to start with the facility in Avon and now we are expanding to St Lawrence County. We didn’t expect this for three to five years. We’re very excited,” Valle said. “There have been so many strip mines and quarries abandoned there. A number of mines have waste streams available for processing. They offer a number of materials available for use.”

Valle plans to use an existing facility in Star Lake, St. Lawrence County, as a handling center for the materials he will collect from strip mines and abandoned quarries in the area. They can be sent via railroad to his new facility in Livingston County to be processed into recycled material for a new product he has developed.

The work with both counties will bridge to other regions, he predicts, with a goal of expanding materials to markets across the United States and Canada by 2016.

Pittsford-based CM&M—created as an offshoot of the family business, MCM Natural Stone Inc.—has been awarded $1.5 million in tax credits from the Empire State Development Corp. in return for job creation and investment commitments, said Laura Magee, deputy director, public affairs at ESD. The formal agreement was signed March 12.

“CM&M has committed to creating 269 jobs in Livingston County,” Magee said. “It will be eligible for the tax credits for 10 years.”

Valle said he is proud to be helping the economy and the environment.

“We are creating 269 jobs there and may exceed 300 if we can complete processing and development of our engineered stone,” he said. “We developed a cementatious formula that is a bio-organic concrete. Our mission is to reduce the Portland cement-petroleum-based resin binders, which are leading contributors to the greenhouse effect.”

One way or another, every building built has Portland cement or resin-based binders in its construction product, Valle explained, and he has been working on a new formula that is not only less caustic and environmentally sound, but also reduces waste and saves money for small-business customers.

“On an average stone installation job, you end up with a good portion of the material being wasted if you can’t use it for some small project. We examined uses for it and found it could be recycled into a new stone formula,” he said.

It is the first-to-market product used for countertops, fireplace surrounds, veneer tiles for walls and floors, and landscaping patio stone, Valle said.

“It’s something that will be a cultural change,” said Terrance Bromley, a commercial real estate developer and owner of FSB Realty Services LLC. “On any given project, such as a kitchen countertop, you have a slab of granite. You’re going to have about 27 percent waste factor because of the cut out needed for a sink and a stove. Mike brings that material back and cuts it down into pavers so it is reusable.”

The savings is threefold: less waste in landfills, less material coming out of the earth to build new projects and cost savings for the recycled stone products, Bromley explained.

“I used recycled granite pavers for a walkway on an income property, and they look very unique,” Bromley said. “We installed them in October and they held up great through the winter.”

Valle has been working with the New York State Pollution Institute to have his product evaluated under the Green Technology Accelerator Center program. The program is administered by NYSP2I at RIT. The program is designed to support New York companies with new environmentally preferred products and processes to help accelerate them to commercialization.

Daniel Smith, senior program manager of the center at RIT, said the GTAC program is evaluating one of CM&M’s new products, so he cannot talk about it while it is under review.

“Each year, the GTAC program supports qualified clients from a variety of industrial sectors to help accelerate new, sustainable products and processes to commercialization and provide positive environmental impact, economic growth and job creation through the state,” Smith said.

Valle said funding for the project will come from a New York State Energy Research and Development Grant, low interest loans and private investors.

There had been controversy over the opening of the Avon facility proposed for East Avon Road. Residents expressed opposition to Valle’s original plan to build the recycling plant because they were concerned about dust that would be created from crushing the granite and stone materials, the architect on the project said.

“Mike modified his plans to do all the processing inside the building, which would keep the dust exposure down,” Joseph O’Donnell of O’Donnell & Associates Inc. said. “We submitted new plans to the planning board in Avon and we are waiting for final approval at the April 7 meeting.”

If approved, Valle plans to begin construction in Avon in May.

CM&M is a company Valle started as a result of a need to use the stone being wasted from projects at the family business, MCM Natural Stone in Pittsford, where Valle’s wife, Marilyn, is president and CEO. Their son Christopher assists with day-to-day operations and son Michael supervises all installations. So far, CM&M is being run by Valle and his family.

“All of our products come under the Vella-Terra recycled Earth products brand,” Valle said. “It means ‘beautiful earth’ in Italian. We hope we’re doing something positive in Upstate New York and creating jobs. We want to continue our research and development, making environmentally friendly products and hopefully having a good time doing it as well.”

4/3/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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