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Forty Under 40 Class of '96 updates

Rochester Business Journal
November 6, 2009

Alumni of Rochester Business Journal Forty Under 40 check in with updates on career and life. Here's a look at the Class of 1996.

Martin Birmingham
Executive vice president, commercial
banking, and regional president
Five Star Bank
Position then: Vice president, commercial lending, Fleet Bank, acquired by Bank of America in 2004
Current business role: Responsible for the oversight of the commercial banking line of business and president of the bank's northeast region, Rochester/Finger Lakes.
Age: 42
Education: B.A., St. Lawrence University
Family: Wife, Jill; daughter, 11; son, 7
Residence: Pittsford
Birthplace: Rochester
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Surviving and thriving in a consolidating industry which also could be reasonably argued has been quite tumultuous over the last 20 years.
Surprising fact: I am younger than I look.

Roger Brandt Jr.
Rochester's Cornerstone Group Ltd.
Position then: Same
Current business role: I own and oversee a real estate development, consulting and brokerage business, with a special emphasis on the development of affordable housing in western New York State. We have developed approximately 975 apartment units in recent years.
Age: 51
Education: B.A., St. Lawrence University
Family: Wife, Mary Jo; son 22; daughters, 21, 18, 15
Residence: Pittsford
Birthplace: Buffalo
What brought you to Rochester? A job with Lincoln First Bank N.A.
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: The company I run has evolved into an organization that has a great impact on the lives of many, as we strive to improve the quality and affordability of housing for low and moderate income seniors and families. We help to create hundreds of construction jobs every year. These are what we find most rewarding.
Surprising fact: I do not like to sleep, as it is greatly overrated.

T. Andrew Brown
Attorney and managing partner
Brown & Hutchinson
Position then: Same
Current business role: Overall management of law firm. Responsible for client development and revenue generation, long-term strategy and planning.
Age: 51
Education: B.A., Syracuse University; J.D., University of Michigan
Family: Wife, Carole Bilson; daughter, 4
Residence: Rochester
Birthplace: Kingston, N.Y.
What brought you to Rochester? Association with law firm of Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle LLP, now Nixon Peabody LLP
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Becoming an attorney from a poor background and recently serving as the first African American president of the Monroe County Bar Association

Lauren Burns
Managing member/owner
Bonadio Payroll Services LLC
Position then: Chief financial executive, Ibero American Investors Corp.
Current business role: As owner and key liaison to my clients, I am responsible for bringing new clients to our payroll processing company. I meet with them initially, follow through with the conversion paperwork, deliver the first payroll and assist the clients whenever needed. I market our services, network as much as possible and look for new opportunities for my business but also for other divisions at our firm.
Age: 49
Education: B.S., St. John Fisher College
Family: Son, 19
Residence: Penfield
Birthplace: Utica
What brought you to Rochester? St. John Fisher College brought me here and the wonderful community kept me here!
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Starting the payroll processing business and growing it to be worth more than $1 million in 9 years!
Surprising fact: That I was widowed at 36 years old and raised my wonderful son all on my own!

Mark Cleary
City Blue Imaging Services
Position then: Same
Current business role: Oversee a staff of more than 20 employees while working to ensure the high standards of our engineering, digital and offset printing services
Age: 52
Education: B.S., St. John Fisher College
Family: Wife, Kathy; two sons, 17, 15
Residence: Rochester
Birthplace: Rochester
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Surviving the current economic climate while maintaining our high standards of service that we have provided our customers since 1926.
Surprising fact: That I am still alive and not in jail.

David Cook
Nixon Peabody LLP
Position then: Associate, Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle LLP
Current business role: Partner in business litigation with particular emphasis on real estate and environmental litigation
Age: 51
Education: B.A., Weber State University, Ogden, Utah; MPA, J.D., Brigham Young University, Utah;
Family: Wife, Kathleen; four sons, 28, 25, 21 and 15
Residence: Pittsford
Birthplace: Ogden, Utah
What brought you to Rochester? Employment with Nixon, Hargrave
Professional association and board memberships: Seneca Waterways Council Inc.-Boy Scouts of America; Farmworker Legal Services of New York Inc.; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Business or career changes since one of the Forty Under 40: Moved from an environmental regulatory practice group in my law firm to the business litigation practice group and now practice litigation exclusively.

Michael Cooney
Partner, head of the higher education
and exempt organizations team
Nixon Peabody LLP
Position then: Associate, Nixon Hargrave Devans & Doyle LLP
Current business role: I head up the higher education and exempt organizations practice at Nixon Peabody, an international law firm with over 800 lawyers. I act in a general counsel and special counsel capacity for institutions ranging from complex research universities to health systems, corporate foundations to community foundations, museums to trade associations.
Age: 47
Education: B.A., Hamilton College; J.D., University of Virginia
Family: Wife, Lisa; two sons, 19, 16; daughter, 14
Residence: Pittsford
Birthplace: New Hartford, N.Y.
What brought you to Rochester? Position with Nixon Hargrave
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: I work on a daily basis with terrific clients and superb colleagues doing marvelous things. Each day is meaningful.
Surprising fact: Very little

Margaret Cass Ferber
Vice president for finance and treasurer
Nazareth College of Rochester
Position then: Controller and treasurer,
Rochester Institute of Technology
Current business role: Vice president for finance and treasurer for Nazareth College, a comprehensive college integrating the liberal arts and professional studies. Responsibilities include leadership of finance, human resources, information technology, facilities management, construction and renovation, dining services and event management.
Age: 48
Education: B.S., SUNY College at Binghamton; MBA, Boston University
Family: Husband, Paul
Residence: Rochester
Birthplace: Rochester
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Recruiting, coaching and developing both new hires and internal candidates into effective leadership roles for the college.
Surprising fact: If I shared that, I'd lose my sense of mystery.

John Hart
Assistant general counsel
The Chase Manhattan Bank
JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.
Position then: Same
Current business role: I am senior counsel for Chase's Upstate Middle Market and the Northeast Asset Based Lending Group.
Age: 52
Education: B.A., SUNY College at Potsdam; J.D., SUNY Buffalo
Family: Wife, Susie Putrelo Summers; daughter, 23; son, 20
Residence: Pittsford
Birthplace: Rochester
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Longevity, considering my "candor."
Surprising fact: Not one thing. What you see is all there is (which can be disappointing at times).

Laura Saxby Lynch
Director of corporate communications
Paychex Inc.
Position then: Anchor/reporter,
Current business role: I lead the corporate communications department for Paychex, a payroll and human resources outsourcing industry leader with $2 billion in annual revenue. Among my responsibilities are all external communications, including media and public relations programs; communications strategy; direction of internal/employee communications initiatives; and serving as lead communicator in crisis and issues management matters.
Age: 49
Education: B.A., St. Bonaventure University
Family: Husband, John; son, 5
Residence: Fairport
Birthplace: Rochester
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Opportunities to start and grow something from the ground up don't come along often, but I was fortunate to have that experience after being recruited and hired as the first public relations manager for Paychex. I am extremely proud of launching and developing the company's public relations/communications department, then leading the growth and development of the department into a full-service communications organization. One of the most meaningful parts of this opportunity is having the chance to hire, cultivate, and work with my team of outstanding communications professionals.
Surprising fact: I played competitive volleyball for more than 25 years, including as a member of championship teams in high school and college, and for several years after college as a member of otherwise all-male teams.

Richard Marx
Senior environmental engineer
Nixon Peabody LLP
Position then: Senior environmental engineer, Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle LLP
Current business role: Nixon Peabody is a corporate law firm. I work in the energy and environmental practice group as an in-house technical professional. I provide environmental, health and safety and scientific technical support to firm clients as well as to attorneys within the firm.
Age: 48
Education: A.S., Cayuga County Community College; B.S., SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Syracuse
Residence: Canandaigua
Birthplace: Syracuse
What brought you to Rochester? Work
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: During the late 1990s I worked on a significant infrastructure project located in South America in which I was involved in the design and implementation of an environmental management system. The system was expanded to include not only environmental issues, but also health and safety, social, economic, archeological and indigenous peoples. This project management system was tremendously successful and accomplished what it was intended to do.

Dan Mason
General manager
Rochester Red Wings
Position then: Same
Current business role: I and my staff provide a wholesome, family entertainment experience at an affordable price. It's our job, whether the Wings win or lose, to make sure people have fun when they come out to Frontier Field.
Age: 42
Education: BA, University of Notre Dame
Family: Wife, Sheila; son, 10; daughter, 8
Residence: Rochester
Birthplace: Rochester
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Working with our dedicated staff to give Silver Stadium the proper sendoff it deserved (the final game at Silver Stadium) and providing our community with a memorable opening night at Frontier Field.
Surprising fact: I'm a big Grateful Dead fan and I used to sing with a band in college.

Angelo Nole
Executive vice president
CB Richard Ellis
Position then: Director of corporate services, Pyramid Brokerage Co.
Current business role: Providing real estate solutions and processes to clients for their corporate and commercial real estate issues and requirements. Through leadership, unwavering commitment, preparation and market knowledge, CB Richard Ellis obtains the best possible results and terms for our clients.
Age: 48
Education: B.S., Bentley College, Mass.; J.D., Syracuse University
Family: Wife, Diana
Residence: Pittsford
Birthplace: Utica
What brought you to Rochester? Joined the law firm of Harris Beach upon graduation from Syracuse College of Law
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Earning the trust of clients and having the opportunity to work with clients for many years. Helping clients achieve the best financial and business terms, thereby providing clients with resources to grow and expand. Focusing on the fact that each and every lease or sale is extremely important to the client.
Surprising fact: I provide very few, if any, surprises.

Kathleen Pavelka
Telecomp Inc.
Position then: Same
Age: 50
Education: AAS, Monroe Community College; B.S., Syracuse University
Family: Husband, Thomas Schmitt; daughter, 5
Residence: Webster
Birthplace: Baltimore, Md.
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Helping some of the most significant non-profit institutions and organizations in the country raise more money to fulfill their missions. I'm particularly proud of the work we've done for Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.
Surprising fact: I'm a Democrat!

Edward Pelta
Vice president, general counsel and secretary
Gleason Corp.
Position then: General counsel, General Railway Signal Corp.
Age: 48
Education: B.S., University of California, Berkeley; J.D., University of Pennsylvania
Family: Wife, Lisa; daughter, 19; son, 17
Residence: Brighton
Birthplace: California

Ronald Pluta
Managing partner
Calkins Corporate Park LLC
Position then: President, Nylomold Corp.
Current business role: Develop and manage medical and professional office space
Age: 52
Education: B.S., St. John Fisher College
Family: Wife, Mary; sons, 25 and 23; daughter, 18
Residence: Pittsford
Birthplace: Rochester

Nancy Sousa
Medical device consultant
Sousa Associates
Position then: Vice president, consumer imaging, Eastman Kodak Co.
Current business role: I serve as a senior executive consultant to start-up Israeli medical device companies. I advise on setting up operations in the U.S. to enter the U.S. markets, specializing in sales, marketing, regulatory, reimbursement and distribution functions.
Age: 52
Education: B.A., M.A., SUNY College at Potsdam; M.S., mathematics, University of Notre Dame
Family: Husband, David; son, 13
Residence: Suwanee, Georgia
Birthplace: Oneida
What brought you to Rochester? Position with Kodak
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Being able to use experience and knowledge to help others develop.
Surprising fact: I enjoy working as a consultant, having given up the corporate positions.

Amy Tait
Broadstone Real Estate LLC
Broadstone Net Lease
Position then: Executive vice president, Home Properties Inc.
Current business role: CEO of a local real estate management, development and investment firm and sponsor of a private real estate investment trust that now owns 45 net-leased properties in 16 states.
Age: 51
Education: BSE, Princeton University; MBA, University of Rochester's Simon Graduate School of Business
Family: Husband, Robert; son,19;
daughter, 17
Residence: Rochester
Birthplace: Rochester
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Perhaps the most exciting event was working on the Home Properties initial public offering for $100 million in 1994, then helping to grow the business to a several-billion-dollar total market capitalization.
Surprising fact: As a senior in high school, I had the opportunity to play a clarinet concerto with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in the Eastman Theatre. My plans were to pursue a career as a professional clarinetist.

Cathryn Thomas
City administrator/public services director
City of New Castle, Del.
Position then: Webster town supervisor, town of Webster
Current business role: Manage and oversee the day-to-day provision of all city services to residents, business owners and tourists. Additionally, directly manages operations of the Public Services Department.
Age: 51
Education: B.A., SUNY College at Cortland
Family: Husband, Mike Dickinson
Residence: New Castle, Del.
Birthplace: Rochester
Most meaningful career-related accomplishment: Significant open space preservation in Webster. From the early to mid-2000s, I worked along with town board members and the Trust for Public Land in acquiring hundreds of acres worth millions of dollars, which are now vast conservation areas, preserved for enjoyment of hikers and nature lovers. These lands, fields and woods, many in close proximity to Lake Ontario, are among the most scenic in the area. 
     In the recent past, when the market for new housing could barely keep up with demand, intense development pressure occurred in Webster, followed by a commercial building boom. Among the highest priority items desired by Webster residents was open space preservation. We were able to accomplish this.
     On a recent visit, I toured a few properties, where added trails have been developed to meet ever-increasing demand. The destinations are so popular, parking lots have been expanded from what had been built when the properties were first acquired. The open space is intended to be permanent and "forever wild," and while we are taught "nothing is forever," this land preservation program begun early this century will be enjoyed by countless future generations.
Surprising fact: Several years ago, for a period of many years, I played piccolo and marched in a few firemen's marching bands. It was a seasonal gig over the summer, with a busy parade circuit schedule. Some parades the band I was with was signed up to march with two different fire companies, so one would be placed at the beginning of the parade and the other near the end, and when you finished with the early one, you had to run back to the beginning of the parade route to march with the second company. Most times, "compensation" was in the form of all the free beer you could drink in the beer tent. That, however, was not my main focus. Rather, when my band finished marching, we played as a group in the beer tent for a while, along with all the other bands who filtered in as the parade progressed. Most bands played several songs and then left. The die-hard players, however, myself included, would move from band to band, playing until the end of the night, when there was a hodgepodge of uniforms and the band was made up of one or two members from every band that had been in the parade. Fun times.

11/06/09 15th Anniversary 2009 Forty Under 40 supplement; (c) 2009 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail

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