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Rochester Business Hall of Fame to induct five

Rochester Business Hall of Fame to induct five

Several area business leaders will be inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame this year, joining more than 100 others whose names are synonymous with Rochester.

The individuals are: James Gould, founder and president of Alesco Advisors LLC; Andrew Langston, founder of 103.9 WDKX; Michael Mandina, president, and Richard Plympton, CEO of Optimax Systems Inc.; and Carlton Myers, president and CEO of Sweeteners Plus Inc.

This year’s inductees will be honored at a dinner Oct. 16 at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Gould formed Alesco Advisors in 2000. The company provides comprehensive investment solutions for endowments, foundations, retirement plans and high-net worth individuals and families. The company, which advises on assets of $4 billion, is headquartered in Pittsford, and centers its expertise on developing and managing index-centric investment portfolios designed to meet the unique and specific needs of each client.

Langston, who is being honored posthumously, was a pioneer for African-Americans in the field of broadcasting. He established the WDKX-FM radio station in 1974, which was the first black-owned radio station statewide. Langston, who graduated as valedictorian of his high school class, was known for saying, “Do the best with what you got.”

Mandina joined Optimax in 1990 as a part-owner, president and the company’s first full-time employee, while Plympton was hired in 1996 to fill a void in the company’s marketing and sales.  Optimax designs and manufactures precision custom optical components for industries that include aerospace, defense and consumer electronics. The company, which has produced lenses for the Mars Rover, employs some 200 people, and both Optimax leaders work extensively in the community to promote the fields of optics and photonics.

Myers founded Sweeteners Plus in 1983 as a food processing plant. The Lakeville, Livingston County, company manufactures a wide range of liquid and dry sweetener products for companies such as Dunkin’ Donuts. Myers in 1970 purchased an interest in a privately held railroad, a portion of which passes through the company’s 30,000 square-foot industrial complex. Myers has a philosophy of “long haul by rail and short haul by truck” that enables the company to use its rail facility for the majority of its inbound materials.

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 Rochester Business Hall of Fame 2017 inductees were: William Levine, co-founder and president of Alleson Athletic; Victor Salerno, CEO of O’Connell Electric Co. Inc.; Robert Sands, president and CEO of Constellation Brands Inc.; and Christine Whitman, chairman and CEO of Complemar Partners Inc.

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