James P. Smith, Jr., president and founder of Advance Testing Company, Inc., was raised in Pearl River, New York. Following high school, Jim earned his AAS in Civil Engineering from Alfred State College in 1977, followed by a BS in Civil Engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1982. He then started his career at Ward Pavements in Haverstraw, NY, as a materials technician. Jim would later take the position of Chief Quality Control Technician for Plaza Materials Co., a subsidiary of Yonkers Contracting, prior to founding Advance Testing in 1984.
Since that time, Advance Testing has grown to be an established, respected mid-size business with over 100 employees. Advance Testing operates a state-of-the-art, accredited materials testing laboratory in Campbell Hall, NY, with additional facilities in Central New York, Massachusetts and Florida, which allows the firm to service projects across the Eastern seaboard, as well as in parts of Canada.
In 1995, Jim founded Atech Center, Inc., specializing in construction materials testing training course development and instruction. Atech Center has become the primary course development firm for the Northeast Transportation Technician Certification Program, an eight state training organization that covers New England, New York and Ohio. The firm most recently completed a training manual in cooperation with the New York State Department of Transportation and Alfred State College. Atech Center has developed additional training programs and manuals for the New York State Department of Transportation, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the State University of New York and many private sector clients.
Outside of business ventures, he has also been active in the community and has served on the board of directors for a number of organizations, some of which include Newburgh Rotary (past president), Orange County Chamber of Commerce (past chairman), Orange County Partnership (past chairman), Orange County Workforce Investment Board (past chairman), Orange County Citizens Foundation, Mount Saint Mary College, SUNY Orange, Hudson Valley Boy Scout Council (past Chairman), Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation, Patterns for Progress, New York State Chapter of the Associated General Contractors and the Construction Contractors Association. One of the firms’ major achievements is holding membership in over eighty community and professional organizations.
Over the years, Jim has been fortunate to be honored by a number of organizations, receiving awards such as the Medium-Size Business of the Year from the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts of America, Hudson Valley Council Distinguished Citizen, Board Member of the Year – Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Orange Award, Orange County Youth Awards Outstanding Business Community Partner Award, the Dr. Milton Ash Corporate Inspiration Award, Orange County Community College Leadership and Business Award and the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Gateway to Entrepreneurial Tomorrows, Inc. Recently, Advance Testing was proud to be a recipient of the American Council of Independent Laboratories Seal of Excellence Award. While serving as president of the Newburgh Rotary, they had a motto of “Real happiness is helping others.” Since that time, Jim has adopted that as his personal philosophy and has strived to live by those words.
Jim has been blessed with a wonderful wife, Nancy Smith. Together they have six children and nine grandchildren. Hence, one of his hobbies is traveling to visit their grandchildren who reside in Arizona, South Carolina and Florida. Jim and Nancy live in beautiful Orange County, but spend most weekends at their cabin in upstate NY. Together they enjoy gardening, hiking, fishing, photography, traveling and watching sunsets.
After military service, Pete attended the University of Washington in Seattle on the G.I. Bill majoring in Economics and English. After college, he joined his father, mother and two brothers in Montreal where, with his father’s encouragement, he sought and got a job in advertising as a (very, very) junior copywriter/trainee in the Montreal office of J. Walter Thompson Canada. (At the time, JWT was the world’s largest advertising agency.)
JWT and advertising turned out to be a perfect fit for Pete. He moved up through the ranks in J. Walter Thompson-Montreal and then JWT-New York (1956-1969). On the way, he learned and excelled in his craft as a marketing and “branding” strategist. In Montreal, he held several positions, including V.P. Creative Director, V.P. General Manager and, at 26, became the youngest General Manager in JWT. Next step was a transfer to JWT-NY as a V.P. Creative Supervisor and creative trouble-shooter with a team tasked to tackle and solve difficult problems on major accounts.
In 1973, Pete set out on his own and was the founding partner of what became one of New York’s hottest, most successful advertising agencies – Mathieu, Gerfen & Bresner of New York (1973 -1981), a full service advertising agency & marketing communications company expert in positioning and differentiating premium brands and services. Perhaps MGB’s most notable success was the introduction of Perrier Naturally Sparkling Mineral Water to the USA and the resulting creation of the bottled water category industry.
In time, MGB was acquired by the Bloom Agency of New York & Dallas (1981-1984) where Pete became Vice-Chairman with overall creative and new business responsibility in both New York and Dallas. (During that period, the agency landed an Anheuser-Busch brand and grew from $90 to S200 million.)
In 1981, in search of a weekend get-away, Pete landed in Orange County’s Town of Montgomery where he purchased a 104 acre farm with a circa 1800 farm house desperately in need of restoration … White Tail Springs Farm. In the 90’s, as the Internet became “mainstream” and more and more business could be done on-line, Pete became a permanent resident when he moved his business and home to the Village and the Town of Montgomery. Local clients served at this time included: United Way of Orange County, Orange County Tourism, Frontier Communications, Horton Medical Center, ORMC – Orange Regional Medical Center, Reebok, Rockport, Calistoga Spring Water (CA), Celestial Seasonings Ice Teas, General Foods, Frank Shorter Sports, Dewers, etc.
Now, in semi-retirement, he volunteers to put his skills to work supporting Orange County causes and activities such as: Hudson Valley Cancer Resource Center, Orange County Veterans’ Association, OC Veterans’ Discount Program, United Way of Orange County, Montgomery Memorial Day Parade, Annual General Montgomery Day 8K, Memorial Day parades, the St. Pat’s Ramble, Orange County Volunteer Firemen’s Museum, etc.
166 Benedict Road, Montgomery, NY 12549
Born and raised in the Village of Montgomery. Graduated from Montgomery High School and attended Orange County Community College. Majored in business and real estate.
Founder and Broker of Devitt Real Estate, with extensive experience in land subdivisions, the development of single-family dwellings, commercial businesses and apartment complexes to contribute to the growth of the Village of Montgomery.
Founder and President of numerous corporations including Super 8 Motels Northeast, Super 8 Management East, Winding Hills Golf Course, The Barge Inn/Super 8 Motel of Ithaca, Devitt Management & Associates, Inc., Springhouse Apartments Ltd. and others.
New York State Business Development Corporation; Director
Orange County Firefighters Museum and Education Center, Founder, Past President, Board Member
Orange County Firefighters Association, Lifetime Member
Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Emeritus Board Member
Orange County Foreign Trade Zone; Member
Orange County Partnership; Director
Orange County Citizens Foundation; Past Director, Past President and Recipient of Ottaway Medal Award
Orange County Water Authority; Past Director
Orange County Legislator; 18th District 1978-1986
Orange County Democrat of the Year 2005
Orange County Board of Realtors, Past Member
Town of Montgomery Chamber of Commerce; Director and Past President
Town of Montgomery IDA; President
Stewart Advisory Commission, Member
Montgomery Fire Department, Wallkill Engine & Hose Company; Past Captain, 1st and 2nd Lieutenant and Past President
Town of Montgomery Planning Board, Past Member
Town of Montgomery Board of Assessors, Past Member
Village of Montgomery Historical Society, Founder and Past President
Senator Art Gray’s Land Use Committee for Stewart Airport, Past Member
Walden Rotary Club; Past President and Past Member
Super 8 Motel Presidents Advisory Council; Past Member
National Democratic Delegate
For the last 19 years, Joe and wife Marie, who are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary this year, have made their home and raised their children in Cornwall, New York as well as spending time at their second home in Dana Point, California. Three of their children, Nicholas, Joseph and Hailey, are in college this year and Joe’s oldest daughter, Michelle, works with him at his company.
Joe lost his father, Paul, to Leukemia when he was 18. So when Casey MacDonald approached him with the concept to launch the Hudson Valley Cancer Resource Center, he encouraged her and jumped in to help her bring it to life. Joe wanted to honor his father’s memory and also try to help others who are facing the same devastating emotional and financial struggles his family experienced during his dad’s battle with cancer.
Joe founded Belsito Communications Inc. from his dining room table in 1993 and grew from a one-man show to a multi-million-dollar business with dozens of employees throughout the United States, including both coasts. The corporation was recently honored by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in the nation.
Belsito Communications Inc. is diverse. In addition to publishing a variety of niche newspapers in 26 states, the company has launched strategic marketing, branding and custom software/website projects and business spin-offs into a wide variety of industries from banking and real estate to insurance and travel. Its strategic partners and customer base ranges from many local businesses, to national companies such as CNN, The Associated Press, MetLife, AFLAC, Peoples Bank, Skyline Financial, the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.