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Business leaders selected for Hall of Fame

The Rochester Business Hall of Fame has chosen the 10 members of its second class of inductees.
Junior Achievement of Rochester, New York Area Inc. and the Rochester Business Journal plan to honor the inductees in an event on Sept. 19 at the Hyatt Regency Rochester. The hall of fame is a permanent exhibit at the Strong Museum.
The 2002 class is as follows:
— Matthew Augustine, president and CEO of Eltrex Industries Inc., formerly known as Fighton Inc., helped create one of the area’s model black-owned businesses. A Harvard Business School MBA, Augustine’s entrepreneurial spirit propelled Eltrex into a fast-growing manufacturing company.
— Ernest Del Monte, CEO of the E.J. Del Monte Corp., is known for his development of patented equipment used in the construction of precast concrete rooms for buildings and his expertise in hotel development and management.
— Frederick Douglass published North Star, an abolitionist newspaper, named after the northern guiding beacon that led Southern slaves to freedom.
— Martha Matilda Harper, considered a pioneer of the retail franchising concept in the United States, in 1888 opened Harper Method Salon, and went on to build an international network of more than 500 hair and skin care salons.
— Jeremiah Hickey and Jacob Freeman in the late 1800s together set out to clothe customers with quality suits that compared well with custom-tailored ones. Their company, Hickey-Freeman Co., has carried Rochester’s name throughout the world.
— Norman Leenhouts and Nelson Leenhouts, twin co-founders of Home Properties of New York Inc., grew a real estate empire out of a farm property deal. Home Properties now ranks as the nation’s 10th-largest apartment company.
— Nathaniel Rochester, a city founder and its namesake, is one of the original proprietors of the land that became the city of Rochester. His financial achievements included manufacturing ventures, banking and land development.
— Hiram Sibley was the first president of Western Union Telegraph Co., a company that grew from his dream of seeing coast-to-coast communication become a reality.
The Rochester Business Hall of Fame started last year. The event and the display focus on recognizing prominent local businesspeople for their achievement and entrepreneurial spirit.
The 2001 honorees were: George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Co.; Frank Gannett, founder of Gannett Co. Inc.; Thomas Golisano, founder, chairman and CEO of Paychex Inc.; John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb, co-founders of Bausch & Lomb Inc.; Chester Carlson, inventor of xerography; James Gleason, chairman and CEO of Gleason Corp.; Kate Gleason, first female bank president and a principal figure in Gleason Corp.; Marvin Sands, who bought a small Finger Lakes bulk-wine producer in 1945, now Constellation Brands Inc.; Richard Sands, chairman, president and CEO of Constellation Brands; Austin Steward, author, orator, and Rochester’s earliest-known African-American businessperson; Robert Wegman, chairman of Wegmans Food Markets Inc.; and Joseph Wilson, former Xerox Corp. president.
Roughly 650 people attended the inaugural induction gala.
The Strong exhibit features the roles played by the area’s top business leaders-living and deceased-over the course of Rochester’s history.
The Rochester Business Hall of Fame is modeled in part on the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame, an interactive exhibit housed at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
(rbj@rbj.net / 585-546-8303)

06/14/02 (C) Rochester Business Journal

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