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Rochester Top 100: What the leaders say

Most Rochester Top 100 leaders are upbeat about Rochester and their own job growth.

Despite what many see as burdensome taxes and business costs, most top executives who took part in an RBJ survey of Rochester Top 100 leaders have deep roots here and are optimistic about their own job growth and the prospects for the regional economy over the next few years. But the survey results contained warning signs too: Only 50 percent said they have an adequate supply of qualified candidates when they are looking to hire locally. And when asked if they ever had considered moving their business out of the Rochester area, roughly half responded “yes.”

What is the No. 1 reason your business is located in the Rochester area?
—James Taylor, Taylor, the Builders

I developed customer relationships regionally in another position and therefore it made sense to stay here with our company.
—Mark Matheson, Distributed Technology Group

The (founders’) families settled here with school-age children.
—Mark Gibson, Xelic Inc.

Rochester is our hometown and we all live here. KW is a national franchise with local ownership that believes in the Rochester region.
—Charles Hilbert, Keller Williams Realty Greater Rochester

Founded in Rochester when supply of skilled labor was readily available.
—Michael Nuccitelli, Parlec Inc.

From the area.
—Daniel Gallagher, Soleo Communications Inc.

It is our home.
—David Gardner, Gardner Plus Architects PLLC

I was born here.
—Christian Curts, Christian Flooring

Our business is located in Rochester because of the high quality of life that it offers our team members.
—Leo Linder, Emerge

I grew up in Upstate New York and wanted to live and work here. Rochester is a wonderful place to find highly talented, motivated professionals and it is a great place to raise a family.
—James Gould, Alesco Advisors LLC

Good source of qualified customer-support personnel.
—Ken Rosenfeld, eHealth Technologies

Rochester is the manufacturing hub for optical and photonics in the United States. This is THE place to be!
—Michael Morris, Apollo Optical Systems Inc.

My business is located in Yates County, about 50 miles from Rochester. Work ethic is generally strong in this area, commutes are easy and the workforce is well educated.
—Mark Fultz, Abtex Corp.

Because my family lives here and I am the owner of the business.
—Michael Linehan, Premier Laser Spa Geographic distribution.
—Claude Wright, Wright Beverage Distributing

I began my career in Rochester and my key business contacts were local, so when it came time to found MSM it was only natural to start here. I knew we could build a great workforce from the talent available in our area. And COMIDA provided an excellent financial incentive for moving into our own building in Webster a few years ago.
—Donna Shultz, Mirror Show Management

We began in Rochester.
—James Spitz Jr., Harris Beach PLLC

Both of the owners were raised in the area and looking to help the local economy.
—Peter Sweltz, Triad Network Technologies Inc.

(The) company was founded in Rochester, we live in Rochester and do not plan on moving.
—Craig Armitage, C.M. Armitage Inc.

Finished my degree from U of R and stayed on in town.
—Nick Bhatia, New York Technology Partners Inc.

Family and company roots.
—Charlie Cook, Liberty Pumps Inc.

We have a strong and loyal base of customers who are working in exciting areas as well as an excellent workforce of team members who are ethical, dependable and committed to excellence. Rochester continues to live up to its socially conscious traditions and we like being part of a community that is always trying to grow and improve.
—Todd Zyra, Klein Steel Service Inc.

MediSked is headquartered in Rochester because of its core team of people, resources and access to talent from places like RIT.
—Douglas Golub, MediSked LLC

Startup employees were all local who previously worked at Kodak. Empire Zone incentives were offered to keep the business here.
—William Hurley, Rochester Precision Optics LLC

Ability to find talent.
—Chris Modesti, Biomaxx Inc.

We are headquartered in the Rochester area to serve the largest portion of our customer base, which is located in the Rochester area.
—Paul DeCarolis, DeCarolis Truck Rental Inc.

We want to be close to the cherries that grow along the southern shores of Lake Ontario—these are the heart and soul of our products. The collaborative support of Cornell University and the region’s food manufacturing community are important factors as well.
—Steve Pear, cheribundi Inc.

It is where our family has been for several generations.
—Kenneth Johnson, Leonard’s Express Inc.

Family history.
—Rufus Judson, The Pike Cos.

ConServe is an organically grown business. We are here because I lived here when I started the company. We have stayed here because of our success with the talent of our workforce in Western New York.
—Mark Davitt, ConServe

Rochester is our home and we wanted to stay here for our family and friends. Interestingly, my business partner and I were both being recruited to move out of Rochester and instead, we came together to start a business that would allow us to stay in Rochester!
—Stephen Carl, Operation Brain Freeze LLC

Specific industries work here—education, medicine, optics, printing, technology.
—Richard Dorschel, The Dorschel Automotive Group

I started my job working at Kodak, and that’s how I ended up setting up business in Rochester.
—Sameer Penakalapati, Avani Technology Solutions Inc.

It is where I live, and where we started the company.
—Ann Kowal, Special Care Systems LLC

I grew up here.
—Eric Elwell, 2TouchPOS – Xenios LLC

Although our business spans 32 states, our roots are here in Rochester, where we benefit from a very tight-knit and educated team with a great work ethic!
—Amy Tait, Broadstone Real Estate LLC

Love of Rochester.
—Robert Titus, Innovative Solutions Ltd.

My business partner, John Gaudu, and I were born and raised in Rochester and are committed to its growth and success. We have always believed that Rochester is a tremendous place to live and work.
—Edward Leva, Wellington Steele & Associates Inc.

The No. 1 reason our business is located in Rochester is because of the talent and quality of life for our family and team members. Our community has always been about giving back and our United Way continues to help more than 400,000.
—Lauren Dixon, Dixon Schwabl Inc.

For the love of the city.
—Terence Brown, Steel Tech Fabricators Inc.

Both business and personal. The Rochester area has always been home.
—David Vasciannie, Steve General Contractor Inc.

This is where the best business opportunity was available for my industry.
—Randy Henderson, Henderson Ford

Service-related business started in the early ’80s.
—Todd Zigrossi, Nu-Look Collision Inc.

The co-founders and partners of ProNexus are born and raised in Rochester. Having lived in New York City for several years, the quality of life in Rochester is very attractive. This coupled with Rochester’s strong education system, availability of qualified finance and accounting professionals, and demand for our services are the reasons our business is located in Rochester. Some of our competitors are national firms (some which may have local satellite offices); however, their corporate offices are in much larger metro markets. The advantage of being a Rochester firm is the ability to provide clients more cost-effective services while helping our firm create more jobs in Rochester and give back to the community.
—Rafael Vidal, ProNexus LLC

We were founded in Rochester in 1978, and through our growth to 10 offices and nearly 700 employees, Rochester remains our headquarters and largest office.
—Thomas Bonadio, The Bonadio Group

10/30/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.


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