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Borough’s small businesses honored by city agency

"We are proud to celebrate the New York City companies whose acumen and growth have landed them a coveted spot among such an esteemed group of businesses," said Robert Walsh, commissioner of the city Department of Small Business Services at a ceremony in Manhattan last week. "I'm particularly thrilled to congratulate the No.1 company, Mosaica Education, which has set the standard for serving inner city students across the country, including our own Astoria, Queens," Walsh said.The list of 100 fastest-growing companies compiled by Inc. magazine also included Artuso Pastry and American Christmas Decorations, both in the Bronx.Michael Connelly, chief executive officer of Mosaica and a former resident of Flushing, said "we are very proud of this honor.""I invoked, with attribution, former Mayor David Dinkins' 'gorgeous mosaic' phrase in my speech at the grand opening of Our World Neighborhood Charter School in Astoria," Connelly said, adding that the company's name also reflects the diversity not only of the student body but of the staff and the varied educational approaches employed in the school.Mosaic Education, with headquarters in Manhattan, had revenues of $84.4 million in 2003 with standard five-year growth of 7,695 percent. The school, which opened Sept. 30, 2002 at 36-12 35th Ave. in Astoria, was established after the company was approached by Astoria Parents Network, a not-for-profit organization of parents in western Queens.The company, founded by Dawn Eidelman, a humanities professor at the University of Texas in 1997, operates 25 schools in eight states. Mosaica Education says its students score 25 percent above national averages in standardized tests and teachers are "well-paid, including performance bonuses."For the founders of Cynergy Data, which operates in College Point and recently established a corporate headquarters in Manhattan, the story began in Argentina and Ecuador.Marcelo Paladini, CEO of Cynergy Data, had briefly met John Martillo, now the company's president, after they arrived in Queens. Paladini had come from Argentina and Martillo from Ecuador.They pursued separate goals and years passed.One day Martillo, then living in Ridgewood, was selling encyclopedias in the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst. Paladini by chance walked by and they met again. The discussion that followed turned out to have been the nascent event of Cynergy Data. The company was established in 1995."Cynergy has always been a Queens company," said Paladini, who has lived in Kew Gardens Hills and Rego Park.The company, which processes credit card payments for retailers and customizes payment programs for merchants, was first established in Ridgewood then Whitestone and now College Point, Paladini said.It now has around 85 employees in College Point and 20 to 25 in Manhattan, Martillo and Paladini said.Cynergy Data, which Inc. magazine lists as No. 69 among the 100 fastest-growing small businesses, had 2003 revenue of $13.9 million.Paladini and Martillo were honored in 2002 as Entrepreneurs of the Year by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Queens.Martillo's wife, Danielle, recently gave birth to their first child, Sophia Jewell.Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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