Jeff Grimshaw
Former 'adrenaline junkie' Grimshaw spends energy building community

This week’s Spotlight shines on Jeff Grimshaw, the college’s new director for the Office of Business and Community Relations. He left earlier careers in law enforcement and in nonprofit administration to work for the college, where “if you can think it, you can do it.”

Jeff Grimshaw.Q. What is your hometown?
A.
Fulton, born and raised. I went to Fulton public schools through high school.

Q. What is the rest of your educational background?
A.
I went to Mohawk Valley Community College, because I wanted to be a police officer. Later, on the job, I obtained a bachelor’s degree in public administration, attending Empire State College online at night while my kids were growing up.

Q. Where did you work in law enforcement?
A.
The Oswego County Sheriff’s Department. I worked in the county jail for two years. I was promoted to road patrol and did a lot of work with traffic. Then I was a patrol sergeant, worked on the scuba team, worked with the bomb squad and as SWAT commander. They put me into aircraft and I earned my pilot’s license and worked with the Air-1 helicopter. I was an adrenaline junkie in those days. I lived my life’s dream.

Q. Did you become an officer?
A.
Yes. I graduated from the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., in 1990 and also earned 19 credit hours through the University of Virginia. I was made one of the two lieutenants in the sheriff’s department, in charge of road patrol. I had 65 people with guns working 24 hours a day trying to get me in trouble (laughs).

Q. When did you start with SUNY Oswego?
A.
I retired from the sheriff’s department after 23 years, in part, because I’d done a lot, seen a lot. It’s a younger man’s job. I had gotten the college degree because I wanted to be able to have as many opportunities as possible. I applied to be executive director of the Fulton YMCA. I worked at the Y for five years, then saw there was an opening for an assistant director here in the Office of Business and Community Relations. I got the job in September 2005.

Q. What is your favorite part of the job?
A.
It’s having an impact on the community—and the community is all of Central New York. I have great people and great resources to work with—the Small Business Development Center, RSVP, Leadership Oswego County, the Workforce Development Board of Oswego County and more. Oswego is not a rich county, but it is rich in people. There are a lot of people who want to help.

Q. What initiatives are you pursuing?
A.
We are working with larger industries to advertise through the (Workforce Development) Career Center as one-stop shopping for talented job seekers. The SBDC is about to launch an e-commerce center in Fulton to help displaced workers. We work with hundreds of startup businesses a year. I am also working with county entities to realize what a resource we have here at the college. How can we utilize students and faculty to partner with organizations and businesses to make this county grow?

Q. What roles do SUNY Oswego students play in your office?
A.
Right now we have seven student interns, most of them with the SBDC and a couple with the Oswego County Green Team. We also do civic engagement through the Compass—getting students involved in the community, from voter registration and voting awareness to participating in Constitution Week.

Q. What do you like most about SUNY Oswego?
A.
It’s a really open atmosphere here. If you can think it, you can do it. If I come up with an idea, I have yet to hear anyone say, “Stop, you can’t do that.” We can be creative, entrepreneurial. The untapped resources here at the college allow me to dig deeper: How can I get more people involved?

Q. What can you tell us about your family?
A.
I’ve been married for 28 years. My wife just took a job as superintendent of Canajoharie schools. We’ll be seeing each other on weekends for at least the next three years. I have a 20-year-old daughter, Abby, and a son Ron, 25. I also have five brothers and sisters, including Maria Grimshaw-Clark in the Counseling Services Center.

Q. What do you like to do in your off hours?
A.
Kayaking and climbing the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks. My wife and I do a lot of hiking. I’m president of two boards—Farnham Family Services and the Fulton YMCA. I work with the United Way, Literacy Coalition of Oswego County, ARISE Foundation’s advisory council, Operation Oswego County and I’m secretary of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce. It’s a natural extension of what I do here.

(Posted: Dec 02, 2011)