Standouts in the region’s manufacturing industry will be honored by their peers and the Rochester Business Journal in the inaugural Technology and Manufacturing Awards event next month.
Award winners will be announced in a luncheon ceremony at the Hyatt Regency on Friday, Oct. 27, hosted by the Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association (RTMA) and RBJ.
Kevin Kelley, executive director of RTMA, said these awards will shine a light on all the progress happening in Greater Rochester’s small and midsized manufacturing outfits, along with the nonprofit organizations working to bolster the area’s labor force.
This region boasts roughly 1,500 small and midsized manufacturers, which together employ more than 62,000 people, Kelley said. With so much attention in recent history devoted to the rise and fall of the former Big Three companies, he feels it’s time to start honoring the lesser-known outfits that are still carrying a heavy load for the local economy.
“The leaders of these organizations are extremely able and do a great job,” Kelley said. “They’re the people who are driving the success in the technology and manufacturing fields here today.”
Nominations for the awards were collected over the summer, and a panel of experts from the region met in August to adjudicate the submissions.
Judging the nominations alongside Kelley were Vincent Esposito, regional director at Empire State Development’s Finger Lakes office and executive director of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council; Todd Oldham, vice president of Economic Development and Innovative Workforce Services at Monroe Community College; Dr. Mark Krystofik, senior program manager for the Center for Excellence in Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing at RIT; and Thomas Battley, executive director of New York Photonics and the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster.
Kelley described the panel as industry leaders “who all know what they’re talking about,” and said each brought a distinct perspective to the selection process.
“Everyone had interesting credentials and insights,” he said. “As a group I think we had a very good perspective in terms of evaluating these nominees. We all brought something to the table.”
The finalists by category are:
Manufacturing Innovation – Large Companies—CooperVision; JN White Designs; and Optimax Systems Inc.
Manufacturing Innovation – Small Companies—OLEDWorks, LLC; Rochester Gear Inc.; and Vance Metal Fabricators.
Powerful Partnership—OptiPro Systems, LLC and Golisano Institute of Sustainability; Panther Graphics and Edison Career and Technology High School; and Rochester Gear Inc. and Horizon Solutions.
Workforce Development – Manufacturing Enterprise Division—Grey Metal Products; Global Precision Industries; and Optimation Technology, Inc.
Workforce Development – Training and Support Providers Division—ArcWorks, a division of Arc of Monroe County; Monroe Community College Division of Economic Development and Innovative Workforce Services; and University of Rochester Information Technology.
Executive of the Year—Michael Mandina, president of Optimax Systems; Joseph Hennessy, president and CEO of Vance Metal Fabricators, Inc.; and Randy White, president and CEO of JN White Designs.
Rising Star—David Halbach, quality manager at Global Precision Industries.
Chairman’s Award—Dr. Nabil Nasr, associate provost and director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability and CEO of the REMADE Institute
In addition to the Oct. 27 awards ceremony, all of the finalists will be featured in a special supplement to the Rochester Business Journal on Oct. 20.
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