Lieutenant Governor Mary Donohue today presented Raymond M. Nowicki, Managing Partner of Nowicki & Co., of Buffalo, with the 2005 Small Business Advocate of the Year Award. The awards are presented annually to recognize outstanding contributions to New York's small-business community.

"Over the past ten years, Governor Pataki has fostered a business-friendly environment, catapulting New York State from 25th to third in the nation in attracting new facilities and investment," said Lt. Governor Donohue. "Combined with the hard work and dedication of people like Raymond Nowicki, New York's small business community is continuing to grow stronger."

Mr. Nowicki founded his CPA Firm in 1986 and since then, he has taken on at least one client per year without fee as a basis for "giving back" to his community. In 2003, Mr. Nowicki testified before national representatives of the Small Business Administration's Office of the National Ombudsman, the IRS Taxpayer Advocate and other federal agencies at a regional forum in Albany, New York. The purpose of the forum was to identify problems encountered by small businesses regarding federal and state legislation and regulations.

Mr. Nowicki said, "Over the years I have met a lot of great advocates in New York State and was surprised to receive this honor. The efforts of advocacy don't just come from one individual but from our entire firm and many other business colleagues. I would like to thank Empire State Development and the Governor's search committee for calling attention to small business advocacy throughout New York State."

Charles A. Gargano, Chairman of Empire State Development (ESD), which sponsors the awards with the New York State Small Business Advisory Board said, "Small businesses are vital to the economy of New York State, employing more than three million members of our dedicated workforce. The Small Business Awards provide an opportunity to recognize our small businesses and to express the valuable position they serve in our state's financial success, now and for the future."

New York State Small Business Advisory Board Chairman Ross M. Weale said, "Reviewing Small Business Award nominations and selecting finalists is one of the Small

Business Advisory Board's most challenging and rewarding tasks. It is truly an honor to join with Lt. Governor Donohue in recognizing this exceptional individual."

Mr. Nowicki is a member of the NYS Small Business Advisory Board. In 2004, he offered the ongoing pro-bono services of his firm to the clients of the Canisius College Women's Business Center. The offer consists of 2 hours of consulting free to anyone recommended by the Center.

Lt. Governor Donohue also announced that Frank S. Falatyn, President and CEO of FALA Technologies, Inc., was given the 2005 Small Business Person of the Year award. In addition, the Staten Island Economic Development Corp. has been selected 2005 Small Business Not-For-Profit organization of the year.

Nominations for the small business awards were solicited from trade associations, civic organizations, chambers of commerce, private and public educational institutions, and other types of business organizations on behalf of a small business, an individual or a not-for-profit organization. Applicants may also nominate themselves.

Applications were reviewed by the New York State Small Business Advisory Board, which made its recommendations for the awards. To be eligible for an award, nominees must meet certain criteria outlined in the nomination application forms available from ESD's Division for Small Business.

Applicants for Small Business Advocate of the Year award also must meet the definition of a small business as established by Section 131 of the New York State Economic Development Law.

For more information about ESD's services for small businesses, contact its Division for Small Business toll-free by calling 1-800-STATE-NY, via e-mail at or visit their website at ###

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