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2019 Entrepreneurs Wall of Fame Award Winners

Consultant’s Consultant

Lee Drake has run successful businesses locally for 20+ years.  He and his company provide web and computer services for many local small businesses (and larger ones as well).  He is one of the leaders of the Eyes on the Future annual conference.

He is extremely bright and works towards making the Greater Rochester Area a better place for entrepreneurs.  He has a great understanding of the Rochester business climate.  I am always impressed when I meet with him.


Community Champion

Mark Assini was the Town of Gates Supervisor from 2010 - 2018, initially serving as a Monroe County legislator from 1995 to 2005. Recently he retired to take a private sector job at American Rock Salt. During his tenure Mark worked hard for the town advocating for road and bridge repairs resulting in the Trolley Blvd. bridge being replaced and the 390/490 DOT project funding being received.

He helped Rochester Tech Park bring companies in resulting in many new jobs for the area. When Kodak Elmgrove closed their operations, that area was destitute. Today it is at capacity.

Assini said he is proud of the fiscal stewardship during his tenure as supervisor, including selling an empty building to finance the building of the new library. We are a modest, working-class community," Assini said. "We try to be smart with our money." Assini plans to stay active in the local community with his work with Gates to Recovery, Gates Lions, and Gates Amita Club. I'll always be involved in the local community," Assini said. "Gates-born. Gates-bred and will die in Gates."

The Gates Public Library Board of Trustees has named the library's main meeting room in honor of former Town Supervisor Mark Assini. During Mark Assini's tenure as Town Supervisor he made numerous contributions to the quality of life in the Town of Gates including the construction of the library's current building located at 902 Elmgrove Road. Mark has been a steadfast supporter of the library and our efforts to help people of all ages learn and grow.

Along with Police Chief Jim VanBrederode Mark helped start the Gates to Recovery program to help with the Opiod Crisis and advocated for more patient beds.

During snow and wind storms, Mark would shovel driveways and sidewalks for seniors and help them with yard cleanup.

Tribute from Anna Valeria Iseman, Open Door Mission director: The Open Door Mission's new program for homeless women and children would not be possible without this man. After the City of Rochester turned us away, Mark, and the entire Town of Gates, welcomed us with open arms. We went to him because we knew that he was a leader who truly cared about the issues that face all of us, including our most vulnerable neighbors and families.

And when I see him now, he doesn't ask about facilities or funding, he asks about how the families are doing. I have never met a more genuine person in politics in my life, and I was proud to spend the evening honoring his service. I trust it will not be the end. We need more people like Mark in our political and cultural climate.

From Sandra Magliocco: "We thank you for your Everything for Gates and the Love and safety for Gates and in Rochester and what you Stand for in Rochester NY. The police Department the firefighters the school system for the crack down on drugs you definitely have a heart for Families. You Serve God and your community! We will miss you."

From Gates resident Stephen Harris: "Mark was a great asset to our town and community. He always made himself accessible and he would have been a great Congressman." Well said.


Entrepreneur of the Year

Michelle Liddle started The Perfect Granola in her home kitchen. She was looking for a healthy snack for herself and her children. She started the company in 2016. Since then, she has her products on the shelves of Walmart and Wegmans, as well as numerous grocery stores around the country.

Michelle donated 5% of her profits to homeless shelters, outreach centers, and food banks. She also hires students from the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. This gives the students real work experience, and compensation above minimum wage, before graduation so they can learn the skills needed for a bright future.


Dave Young Dedicated Service Award (RPCN Member)

Since being elected in 2015 as RPCN Vice President (& 2016 President), Laurie Enos has contributed a multitude of time and effort to the improvement and success of RPCN.

Some notable events she started, led, planned, arranged for food & facilities, recruited volunteers, etc., etc., etc. These continue today:

  • Annual Awards Gala
  • Canal and Lake Ontario Dinner trips
  • Annual Holiday Celebration dinners

She also:

  • Initiated the RPCN Program schedule sheets, with paid advertising
  • Is Co-chair of RPCN Operations Team
  • Made numerous Marketing & Social Media presentations at RPCN Friday meetings, RPCN Boot Camps, and RPCN Conferences.
  • Represents RPCN on the FLREDC Entrepreneurship & Development Team (along with David Powe)
  • Posts RPCN events on social media and local print publications

The Dave Young Dedicated Service Award will properly recognize Laurie for her many contributions to the success of RPCN, and its image and reputation in the Rochester community.


Linda Halliburton Friend of RPCN Award (Non-Member) :

This award would be granted posthumously, but Kayla was a huge supporter of the RPCN and developed (along with David Powe) an Alliance with RPCN.

Her efforts on behalf of RPCN should not be forgotten simply because she is no longer with us.

Steve Royal Lifetime Achievement Award

AMD Business Brokers operates as a business intermediary, acting as agents for buyers and sellers of businesses in the Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and surrounding counties. The owners Stephen DiPaolo, Lou Bellanca, and Stuart Levy have more than 63 years combined years of successful business operational and brokerage experience. Along with a knowledgeable and experienced sales staff, AMD Business Brokers possesses superior skills in Acquisitions, Mergers and Divestitures.

Stephen DiPaolo was the owner of Aries Precision Products in Rochester NY for 22 years, before joining AMD Business Brokers in 2010. In 2015 Stephen became a Managing Partner at AMD Business Brokers. Stephen has over 5 years in Business Brokering and Real Estate Sales experience. Stephen has successfully arranged the sale of over 100 businesses at AMD Business Brokers the last 5 years. He has extensive knowledge in all business-related matters including financial, legal, lending, and sales.

Lou Bellanca has been with AMD Business Brokers since 2009, bringing over 20 years of business ownership and management experience. In 2015, Lou became a Managing Partner at AMD Business Brokers. Lou is a graduate of SUNY Brockport with a degree in Business Management and has owned and operated several successful restaurants and fast food franchises. Since joining AMD Business Brokers in 2009, Lou has brokered over 100 successful business transactions. Email: lbellanca@amdbizbrokers.com

Stuart Levy brings over 25 years of experience in the Hospitality industry. He has owned, operated and consulted on many successful operations. Stuart is a graduate of Monroe Community College with a degree in Restaurant Management. He has strong negotiating skills and is very committed to both Buyers and Sellers through the process of business transactions. Stuart became a Managing Partner at AMD Business Brokers in 2015. Email: slevy@amdbizbrokers.com

The above three owners purchased AMD from John and Betty Kline who founded and managed the business for many years until John's health failed.

Through their hard work and dedication, they have helped the economy one business at a time.

Leadership Award

In his role with the University of Rochester (the largest employer in our area), Kevin Beckford has been a tireless champion for building a culture of inclusion. He has spearheaded e     fforts to increase women and minority participation in the U of R workforce and supplier network. As the first African-American ever elected to the Pittsford town board, Kevin has also worked to develop a culture of inclusion in Pittsford and developed an innovative partnership between the town and the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative. Kevin has established himself as a true leader and champion for diversity in our community.

Special Recognition Award

Ruth Balkin is always willing to help out when it comes to RPCN. She not only runs the RPCN Library and orders books, but has also been part of the Membership Committee since its inception. She is part of the Greeting Team for meetings and enters names of members and other meeting attendees into the database on the website. She deserves the Special Recognition Award for her generous volunteering of her time and effort for RPCN.

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