The 34th annual Small Business Council of Rochester recognized Michael Pavia of Sydor Technologies LLC and Cyndi Weis of Breathe Yoga and Juice Bar Inc. as winners of the 2016 Business Person of the Year award.
The local leaders were honored at the 2016 Business Person of the Year Gala Luncheon held Tuesday at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center. SBC is an affiliate of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. More than 750 people were in attendance.
The annual event recognizes the area’s leaders in two categories: small-firm, leaders with fewer than 50 employees, and large firm, those with 50 or more employees.
Pavia, president and CEO of Sydor Technologies, won in the category of leaders with fewer than 50 employees.
“Rochester is recognized globally for optics, photonics and imaging, world-class scientists, engineers and technicians along with the precision fab shops we have in town here (which) are really unparalleled,” Pavia said. “We’ve been very successful with technology transfer, commercialization and innovation—all more things that will help lead our community into the future. What we really are proud of is to take these locally developed products and sell them to 33 countries around the world and bring money into Rochester to help further our growth.”
“All the ingredients are really here for Rochester for the future and in the optics and the photonics industry the future really looks bright as our economy continues to grow,” he added.
Weis, owner of Breathe, won in the large firm category. Weis has been nominated for the honor for the past three consecutive years.
“I am very grateful. I am very honored, and I’m very aware also that this is less about me and actually more about Breathe and that makes me really happy,” Weis said. “I really believe that the only reason I’m standing here is that I said ‘yes’ to the demand, the demand of the movement. I really believe that what’s happening at Breathe is a movement.”
Those honored have demonstrated significant contributions to their companies in the areas of growth, leadership, achievement and community service, the Small Business Council said.
“The SBC prides itself on supporting a close-knit community that connects and supports the Greater Rochester area,” said Paul Kaiser, council president.
Together, the finalists employ nearly 1,000 people in Rochester.
The other finalists among leaders of firms with fewer than 50 employees were: Paul Cypher, CypherWorx Inc.; Rafael Vidal and Robert Pickering, ProNexus LLC; Traci Adolph, Samson Fuel & Trucking; and Julie Camardo-Steron, Zweigle’s Inc.
For Camardo-Steron it is the first nomination for Zweigle’s. The company will launch two new products in 2017—Mama Camardo’s and Savory Sensations.
“I’m very honored and humbled,” she said. “We’re so fortunate.”
The finalists in the category for leaders of firms with 50 or more employees were: Todd Hoagey, Auction Direct USA; Paul Griswold, Finger Lakes Technologies Group Inc.; Todd Zyra, Klein Steel Service Inc.; and Robert Fontaine, Upstate Door Inc.
Klein Steel Service president and CEO Zyra said he recognizing small businesses is part of what makes Rochester strong.
“We have an amazing business community,” Zyra said. “Just to be with the other finalists to see them—they’re powerhouses. The impact of what they do for their companies and the community is huge. Klein Steel’s roots are here in Rochester. We’re really focusing on innovating, investing in our business, investing in technologies and thinking about our longer term purpose.
“It’s really about being the premier supplier of metals in the markets we serve so we can support manufacturing in our communities and create opportunity for current and future generations,” he added.
Michael and Sitima Fowler, co-CEOs of Capstone Information Technologies Inc. won in 2015, in the category of businesses with fewer than 50 employees; and Ken Rosenfeld, president and CEO of eHealth Technologies received the honor in the large-company category.
The 2017 Small Business Person of the Year Gala Luncheon is slated for Tuesday, Oct. 24.
Follow Kerry Feltner on Twitter: @KerryFeltner
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