The Summit Federal Credit Union has announced a change in leadership for the first time in 25 years.
Longtime President CEO Mike Vadala is retiring after 35 years with the financial institution. Stepping up on Feb. 1 will be Laurie Baker, senior vice president and chief operating officer. Baker has been in that position since
2001, and has worked for The Summit for more than 25 years.
According to a statement sent to members, The Summit’s board of directors conducted a national search to find Vadala’s replacement before selecting a homegrown candidate.
The Summit, founded in 1941 to serve employees of the Rochester Telephone Corp., now has more than 80,000 active members and 700 member companies. Summit has 23 branches in areas from Cortland and Syracuse to Buffalo with the highest number in the Rochester area.
Gone is the camping stove. In its place, a shiny new commercial grade range and oven.
Food demonstrations at the Rochester City Public Market just got a huge upgrade with the opening Thursday morning of the new Public Market Nutrition Education Center.
City officials and representatives of companies and organizations that supported creation and operation of the demonstration kitchen conducted a ribbon-cutting at the new center. Set inside the public market’s Shed B, the kitchen offers the opportunity for more elaborate preparations of foods that can be made with products sold at the market.
“We have an oven now, which means we can roast vegetables,” said Desiree Bass, one of two Foodlink employees who were preparing samples of asparagus in vinaigrette for observers of the opening. Co-demonstrator Marcy McMahon said the women have had to limit their demos to cold salads or things they could cook on a camping stove in the past.
With the new equipment, donated by Wegmans, the demonstration kitchen will also be able to do more and offer new programs. The Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables workshops from Foodlink will be offered every Thursday and Saturday morning at 9 and 10 a.m.
Meanwhile, the Friends of the Rochester Public Market organization also is introducing the Taste of the Market Series, in which community organizations and guest chefs will offer classes and demos on two Saturdays a month.
“I can’t wait to see what Friends of the Market will roll out,” said Daniele J. Lyman-Torres, commissioner of recreation and youth services, the city department that oversees the market. “This new nutrition center is really going to be a hub,” she said.
Jim Farr, market manager, said the kitchen has been a decade in the making as upgrades were planned for the more-than-century-old market in recent years.
“Coming to the market is as much a social outing as it is a place to get what you need,” Farr said. “Food and kitchens just naturally bring people together.”
Farr said the kitchen cost about $140,000 to build, with a state grant paying for $100,000 of that. Wegmans donated approximately $30,000 in kitchen equipment and supplies. Summit Federal Credit Union funds programming for the kitchen, as well as the trolley that brings shoppers from their cars in distant parking lots.
City Councilor Mitch Gruber said making sure people have access to fresh, nutritious foods has always been a goal of the market, but the kitchen demos make sure shoppers gain the skills to prepare those foods.
“This public market is the best in the country. It’s a jewel and something to be very proud of,” said Linda Lovejoy, community relations manager for Wegmans.
The market also inspires feelings of familial tradition and ownership, evidenced by comments offered by Gruber and fellow City Councilor Michael Patterson. Gruber and his wife were married at the market. Patterson recalled his frequent visits as a child with his grandparents. He continues to visit frequently.
“I learned how to haggle in his market,” Patterson said. “You get a lesson in commerce in this place.” Patterson joked that his main purpose in visiting Thursday was to get some special bread from a bakery there, only to find out he was competing for the loaves with another customer who turned out to be his wife.
While the new demonstration kitchen cannot be rented for commercial purposes, citizens can offer ideas for its programming by contacting the market through its webpage or its social media.
Summit Federal Credit Union and Galaxy Events announced this week that Rochester will have a new festival this summer, the ROC The Taste festival, combining food and live music. The event is scheduled for July 27 and 28 at Parcel 5 downtown.
Summit Federal Union is the festival’s title sponsor. Galaxy Events is the events arm of a communications company based in Syracuse that owns the Taste of Syracuse and organizes a number of other annual events.
“We’re looking forward to shining a spotlight on Rochester’s food and music and raising funds for two local charities that share The Summit’s goal of strengthening our community,” said Cheryl Pohlman, vice president of marketing and community relations for The Summit Federal Credit Union. Summit, along with other festivals sponsors and vendors, will be raising money for Honor Flight Rochester and the Wilmot Cancer Institute.
ROC The Taste will feature food sampling along with full size portions available from an array of vendors. Participants can also make a donation to earn a limited edition wristband that will allow them to purchase half-price food samples on Saturday of the event. Admission to the festival is free.
“We’re excited to organize the inaugural ROC the Taste,” said Galaxy Events General Manager Carrie Wojtaszek. “Rochester has incredible food and outstanding live music, and we can’t wait to showcase it!
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