Dr. Norrie: Welcome to the employer edition of UCTV. Nice to have you back, and we’re here today with Tom Grasso. Tom, you are Vice President of some very important thing at the bank.
Tom Grasso: I think they call that Risk Management.
Dr. Norrie: Ah, they do.
Tom Grasso: Which is very important within the banks.
Dr. Norrie: And which bank are you at?
Tom Grasso: Adirondack Bank.
Dr. Norrie: Right here in...
Tom Grasso: Utica, New York.
Dr. Norrie: Utica, New York. Now, a pretty big bank, I think, by regional terms.
Tom Grasso: By regional terms, we’re probably close to $750 million, and we are a community bank.
Dr. Norrie: That’s great.
Tom Grasso: The only community bank.
Dr. Norrie: So Tom, my particular area of interest today is we have a number of programs that are really focused on financial services and the needs of financial institutions, and that’s both as a big employer in this region...
Tom Grasso: Correct.
Dr. Norrie: ...but just as a big employer globally. And cybercrime and cybersecurity are pressing issues in the banking world. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?
Tom Grasso: The pressing issues as we get bigger, as far as asset size is concerned, we got to a point where we needed somebody to be responsible for information security. We have an information technology department, but we needed someone who is up-to-date, as far as what’s going on in the cybersecurity world. That’s when we got together with Utica College, and sat together and had interviews. As far as candidates are concerned, we hired one individual, Nathan French.
Dr. Norrie: Mm-hmm. Great student.
Tom Grasso: It will be two years come January, and he’s done a great job for us. He came in and really took the bull by the horn, because he knows the subject matter.
Dr. Norrie: Right.
Tom Grasso: Just him conversing with management, conversing with IT, he’s not only able to make us aware of what’s going on in the world of cybersecurity, but also he’s been able to, on a local basis, really, talk the talk. I know I’ve been involved with IT auditors most of my life, and half of the information that they give to me, I say, “Now, speak English so I can understand.” And he’s able to do that.
Dr. Norrie: Great. We work really hard with our graduates to focus them on being career-ready.
Tom Grasso: Correct.
Dr. Norrie: One of the things we talk about in our brand is career-ready students. So, you clearly had that experience with your first hire, but I think since then you’ve turned to us a few more times.
Tom Grasso: We have hired probably four individuals from Utica College from your [Cybersecurity] program. Two individuals worked in our IT department. We had an intern, as far as the IT department is concerned. We have another intern that started with us, and one individual that was with us for probably a year or so, [then] relocated to Arizona. Poor him.
And we just hired another individual from Utica College. So, the relationship has been great. But it’s not only the relationship, it’s the people. It’s the graduates. It’s the well-rounded individuals that we’re looking for that could have a career in a local bank like Adirondack Bank.
Dr. Norrie: Great. What would you say about a Utica graduate that makes him stand out?
Tom Grasso: Well, I could speak from experience because my son’s a Utica graduate from 2014.
Dr. Norrie: Great.
Tom Grasso: In the Economics Management Finance area.
Dr. Norrie: Neat.
Tom Grasso: It’s not only the education, but it’s the personal-ness, as far as the professors are concerned. The individuals become more, not aggressive, but assertive in what they’re doing.
Dr. Norrie: Right. I want to thank Tom for being here.
Tom Grasso: Thank you.
Dr. Norrie: And I thank Adirondack Bank. Have a good day.
Tom Grasso: You, too.
Dr. Norrie: Thanks.