ConServe founding CEO Mark Davitt has been named the 2021 recipient of the Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award from Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology.
The award was created in 1984 and is given annually to a successful individual or individuals who have developed a business that improved the Rochester economy or whose innovative management skills have changed the course of an existing business.
Davitt founded ConServe in 1985 and has served as president and CEO for more than three decades. ConServe, or Continental Service Group Inc., provides accounts receivable management and collection services specializing in customized recovery solutions for its clients.
This year, the business was recognized with a 2021 Workplace Wellness Award by Rochester Business Journal, a 2021 Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics and was named one of the best places to work in collections in 2021 by insideARM and Best Companies Group.
“The Vanden Brul award is one of Rochester’s best traditions of celebrating top business leaders,” said Saunders College Dean Jacqueline Mozrall. “This year we are excited to honor Mark Davitt, who demonstrates the ideals of successful entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, and a commitment to the Rochester community.”
Prior to founding ConServe, Davitt worked at RIT for several years as associate bursar before leaving to start his entrepreneurial journey. He and his wife established the Mark and Maureen Davitt Graduate Education Endowed Scholarship in 2019 with a $500,000 gift to the university. The scholarship helps graduates from the Rochester City School District pursue advanced degrees.
Davitt was honored at the Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award Luncheon at Locust Hill Country Club on Sept. 8.
Saunders College also honored RIT students with the Hebert W. Vanden Brul Student Entrepreneurial Award, which recognizes outstanding RIT undergraduate or graduate students who have demonstrated the potential to become successful entrepreneurs.
Three student finalists were honored this year: Hunaina Abid, a fourth-year mechatronics engineering technology major from Kashmir; Ben Garvey, a 2021 graduate from RIT’s School of Individualized Study from Derby, N.Y.; and Nikolas Kelly, a 2020 graduate of RIT’s supply chain management program from Raytown, Mo.
Due to the pandemic, last year’s Vanden Brul Award recipients also were honored at this year’s luncheon. Sue Butler, retired board chair and co-founder and former co-CEO of Butler/Till, and Tracy Till, president of T4 Verge Inc., and board chair and former co-CEO of Butler/Till, were named co-recipients of the award in 2020.
Also honored were the 2020 student recipients: Hansel Leal, a computing and information technologies major from Miami Gardens, Fla.; Elise King, a 2020 graduate of RIT’s mechanical engineering program from Pittsburgh; and Andrea Gonzalez Esteche, a 2020 graduate of RIT’s industrial design master’s degree program from Paraguay.
Past Vanden Brul recipients include Dutch Sommers, CEO of Graywood Cos., Jasco Heat Treating and Jasco Pharmaceuticals LLC; Joseph Lobozzo, former CEO of JML Optical; John Smith, IT serial entrepreneur; Ronald Ricotta and Michael Nuccitelli, co-owners of Century Mold Inc. and Parlec Inc.; the late Ernest J. Del Monte Sr., E. J. Del Monte Corp.; William K. Pollock, Optimation Technology; Kitty Van Bortel, Van Bortel Group; Thomas Bonadio, founder and chief executive of The Bonadio Group; the late Robert Wegman, Wegmans Food Markets Inc.; and E. Philip Saunders, Saunders Management Co. Inc.