Stephen Conaway was born in Elkins Park, PA in 1963. In 1976, his family moved to Wilcox, PA where Steve worked at his Grandfather’s dairy farm and John Brawand’s dairy farm until he graduated in 1981 from the Johnsonburg Area High School in Johnsonburg, PA.
Shortly after graduation, Steve enlisted in the U.S. Army in Pittsburg, PA. For the next ten years, he served in numerous Air Defense Artillery enlisted positions and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. During this time, he served for six months in Greece and five years in Germany.
In 1992, Steve was commissioned from the Army’s Officer Candidate School as an Air Defense Artillery Officer and later received the Distinguished Honor Graduate Award from the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS. From 1997-1999, he served as an Avenger/Stinger Battery Commander at Fort Drum, NY.
In 1999, Steve entered into the Army Acquisition Corps as a Military Contingency Contracting Officer. Following two years of training, he was warranted and became the Chief Contracting Officer for the 10th Mountain Division. Immediately after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he deployed with the 10th Mountain Division to Uzbekistan and served on General Hagenbeck’s staff as the Chief Contracting Officer during Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. Steve was responsible for the direct supervision of contracting support for in-theater US Special Forces and Conventional Forces, Central Intelligence Agency, Coalition Forces (Poland, Australia, Syria, Spain, Canada, and England), and Afghanistan Northern Alliance Forces. While in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star in Mazar-E-Sharif, Afghanistan.
In addition to obtaining extensive military training and experience, Steve earned an Associate Degree in Technology from Pierce College, Tacoma, WA and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Management from Saint Martin’s College, Lacy, WA.
Steve was promoted to Major and retired in August, 2003 after serving over twenty-two years in the Army, his last seven at Fort Drum, NY. Steve, his wife Erika and their family have lived in Alexandria Bay, NY since 1996. Upon his retirement, Steve established Thousand Islands Winery in Alexandria Bay, NY and currently serves as the Winery’s President. To aid in expansion and promotion of North Country wineries, Steve founded and became President of the Thousand Islands - Seaway Wine Trail and a founder of the Seaway Wine and Viticulture Association. Additionally, he served as a member of NY Governor Spitzer and Patterson’s Wine Grape Task Force as President of the Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce, and Vice President of the Orleans Business Association. In July 2010, Steve was nominated to the New York Wine and Grape Foundation’s Board of Directors.