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Four inductees set for ’17 class of Hall of Fame

Four area business leaders will be inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame this year.

The 2017 inductees are:

  • William Levine, co-founder and president, Alleson Athletic;
  • Victor Salerno, CEO, O’Connell Electric Co. Inc.;
  • Robert Sands, president and CEO, Constellation Brands Inc.; and
  • Christine Whitman, chairman and CEO, Complemar Partners Inc.

This year’s inductees are to be honored at a dinner Oct. 10 at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Levine, who is being honored posthumously, founded Alleson Athletic with his immigrant father in 1933. The two began sewing men’s caps and apparel in the basement of a downtown warehouse, with the goal of supporting their families. Alleson Athletic employs some 120 people in Henrietta and 700 worldwide and is the largest manufacturer of in-stock uniforms.

Salerno joined O’Connell Electric as a vice president in 1971 following a five-year career as a CPA. In his more than four decades with the company, sales have increased from less than $2 million to more than $133 million. O’Connell Electric is one of the largest electrical and communications contractors in the country, with headquarters in Victor and branch offices in Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse.

Sands began his career working as an associate with Harter Secrest & Emery LLP and joined Constellation Brands—a company his father founded—in 1986.  Sands, who serves as chairman of the New York Wine and Culinary Center, was named president and CEO of Constellation Brands in 2007. One of the largest wine producers in the world, in 2008 the company reached nearly $4 billion in sales. The company employs more than 4,300 people worldwide.

Whitman began her career as a research assistant in the biochemistry department at the University of Rochester before joining CVC Inc. and eventually leading a buyout of the company in 1990. Whitman co-founded Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc., serves as managing partner of CSW Associates and helped launch Rochester Angel Network Inc. In 2015, Whitman was named as the first female chair of the Rochester Institute of Technology board of trustees.

The Rochester Business Hall of Fame is presented by Junior Achievement of Rochester New York Area Inc., the Rochester Business Journal and Rochester Museum & Science Center, which serves as host to an exhibit of Rochester’s noteworthy businesses and their accomplishments.

Since its launch in 2001, the Hall of Fame has honored successful businesspeople who have influenced the Greater Rochester community, through both their business achievements and their personal and philanthropic contributions. They are chosen by the Hall of Fame Committee, which is advised by an independent group that includes past inductees.

The 2016 inductees were Sergio Esteban, CEO, and Salvatore LaBella, founder, of LaBella Associates DPC; Roger Friedlander, former vice president of Spectrum Office Products Inc., retired vice president of Staples Inc. and retired president of Staples Business Advantage; William Konar, founder of Clinton Merchandising Inc.; and Amy Tait, chairwoman and CEO of Broadstone Real Estate LLC.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email [email protected].


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