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Alfred University to honor five businesses with Galanis Awards
10/01/09

ROCHESTER, NY — Alfred University next week will present five firms from New York State with Galanis Awards for Excellence in Family Business. Dixon Schwabl, Otis Technology, PGM, SPSmedical Supply, and Suburban Disposal will receive awards during a banquet celebration Wednesday, Oct. 7, at noon at The Country Club of Rochester.

The awards, now in their 10th year, are made possible by a gift to Alfred University from the families of Terry Galanis Sr. and Terry Galanis Jr.

Galanis Sr. is a 1940 graduate of Alfred University and founder of Sealing Devices, Inc., of Lancaster. Galanis Jr. is the president of Sealing Devices and a member of the AU Board of Trustees. Winners of Galanis Awards, presented since 2000, are judged on a number of criteria that the Galanises and Alfred University consider hallmarks of successful family enterprises: commitment to employees and the local community; innovation and foresight; and growth and stability.

Sealing Devices was founded in 1963 by Terry Galanis Sr. in the Buffalo suburb of Alden. The company, which manufactures and distributes o-rings, gaskets and seals, has enjoyed tremendous growth over the years and is now located in a state-of-the-art facility in nearby Lancaster.

Terry Sr. still serves as company chairman, while his granddaughter, Elizabeth Miller (Terry Jr.’s daughter), is a marketing specialist.

Galanis Jr. said it is important that family firms be recognized for the important role they play in the region’s economy.

“Family businesses are the lifeblood of the nation’s economy. There are thousands of (firms) that employ so many people in so many communities,” he said. “These businesses deserve to be honored and recognized. The family business owners in this area, which is under so much economic stress, work so hard to make (their firms) grow.”

Dixon Schwabl was founded in 1987 in Rochester, NY, by former broadcast journalist Lauren Dixon, who sought to create a full-service, multi-dimensional advertising agency. Today, the company offers a variety of advertising and public relations services to a local, regional and national client list of nearly 150.

Dixon Schwabl is a second-generation family business. Lauren Dixon is CEO and her husband, Mike Schwabl, serves as president. Two of the couple’s children are employed at the agency — daughter Courtney is an account manager and son Jordan is associate production coordinator. The firm, which employs more than 75 people, supports several charitable agencies in the Greater Rochester area, including Thompson Health and Galliano Children’s Hospital. In 2007, the company implemented “Make It Happen Day,” a program in which employees can take a paid day off to volunteer for a not-for-profit organization of their choice.

Otis Technology was founded in 1985 in Lewis County, NY, by then 16-year-old Doreen (Williams) Garrett as a maker of gun cleaning equipment. Today, Otis, headquartered in Lyons Falls, NY, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of firearms maintenance systems.

Two generations of the Williams family are active in the business, with Doreen Garrett serving as president and CEO. Her sister, Denise Miller, is vice president of sales and marketing, and her brothers, Larry Williams and Nicholas Williams, are vice president of manufacturing and vice president of engineering, respectively. Their parents, Jerry and Lori Williams, have also been involved with the business in the past.

Otis Technology employs 144 people and supports numerous charitable organizations in Central New York, including the Lewis County Hospital Foundation, Hospice Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, United Way of Northern New York and various hunter education programs. The firm hosts an annual Community Service Day.

PGM?(Precision Grinding and Manufacturing Corp.) was founded in 1967 by William C. Hockenberger as a contract machining company specializing in difficult-to-source parts and assemblies. Today, the company’s primary markets include the medical and aerospace industries, business systems, and the military.

PGM?is a second-generation family business. William Hockenberger is semi-retired and still serves as Chairman of the Board. Four brothers — Michael Hockenberger, CEO/President; Todd Hockenberger, corporate vice president, business development; Jeff Hockenberger, vice president of operations; and Doug Cauwels, chief financial officer — are members of the second generation actively involved in the firm. Members of the third generation work at the company during summers.

The company’s workforce includes 126 employed at the headquarters in Rochester and 55 more at PGM’s facility in Manchester, NH. PGM contributes to various charities in the Rochester area, including The United Way, Toys for Tots, Habitat for Humanity, and the MCC?Foundation.

Founded by Nancy Hughes in 1988 in Rochester, SPSmedical Supply Corporation is prominent in the field of infection control, developing and manufacturing sterilization monitoring, packaging and recordkeeping products that are used around the world to prevent infection and contamination in critical environments. The company also offers educational programs aimed at the medical and dental industries, focusing on the importance of best practices for sterilization and infection control.

SPSmedical Supply is a second-generation family business. Nancy Hughes is president and her husband, Charles Hughes, serves as general manager and lead educator. Three of the couple’s children are actively involved in the company: Mariann Hughes is director of sales and marketing; John Hughes is sales analyst and international sales manager; and Andre Socola is a member of the sales and marketing team. Nancy Hughes’s brother, Gary Socola, is vice president of scientific affairs; her sister, Jackie Potter, works in the accounting department.

The firm, with offices in the Rochester suburb of Rush, employs 70 people and supports numerous Rochester area charitable organizations, including Camp Good Days & Special Times, local food pantries and youth sports teams.

Suburban Disposal was founded near Rochester in 1962 by Frank Esse as a waste collection firm. Today, the company provides waste disposal and recycling collection services to homes and commercial organizations in Monroe and surrounding counties.

Suburban Disposal is a third-generation family business. The founder’s son-in-law, Carl Grimm, joined the business in 1965 and acquired the firm in 1977. His son, Erik Grimm, joined the company in 1993 and currently serves as president. The firm has enjoyed continued growth over the years. In 1998, Suburban acquired Certified Document Destruction and Recycling, which provides information destruction, paper and electronic recycling services to organizations throughout Upstate New York.

Today, Suburban employs 55 people and is involved in numerous charitable endeavors the area, including The YMCA?of Greater Rochester.

More than 50 family firms have received Galanis Awards since 2000. Galanis Jr. said he’s not surprised with the quality of family businesses in the region, many of which have won or been nominated for Galanis Awards.

“It’s been just tremendous. It just keeps getting better and better and better,” Galanis Jr. said of the growth in the awards program and the quality of the businesses that have been honors over the years. “We’ve really uncovered some gems over the years. The award winners are so innovative and creative and really make their employees feel like they’re part of the business. There are so many more worthy candidates out there.”