The Rochester Business Alliance celebrated the 25th annual Rochester Top 100 Nov. 3.
More than 1,700 people attended a special gala at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center to mark the milestone anniversary and recognize the fastest growing, privately held businesses in the nine-county region. Don Alhart of 13WHAM TV served as master of ceremonies.
The event also serves as the organization's annual meeting, and during that portion, Rochester Business Alliance leadership highlighted the organization's successes and future goals.
"Tonight, we cheer both the considerable accomplishments of the 2011 Rochester Top 100, and the remarkable resiliency our business community has shown as our entire nation emerges from a very difficult time," said Sandy Parker, president and CEO of the Rochester Business Alliance.
Parker cited the Rochester Business Alliance's 2011 successes in furthering its mission.
"We see our role as two-fold: To serve as the voice of business at the local, state and federal levels and to help our members make the connections that will help their businesses be successful," Parker said. "I tell people, â€˜If your business has a need, call us. If we don't currently offer that service, we will refer you to who does, or find a way to help you ourselves."
Parker highlighted RBA's role in building business connections - through a variety of popular networking events such as Meet the Top 100, Business After Hours, Coffee with Our CEO and Connect For Lunch - as well as connecting its members with up-to-date business information and expertise.
Strong advocacy is also essential, she said, citing her own leadership roles in Unshackle Upstate, the Committee to Save New York and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, which is crafting a five-year strategic plan for economic development to compete with nine other regions for state funding as part of Gov. Cuomo's New York Open for Business program. Parker also cited RBA's nationally recognized work in promoting affordable, quality health care, an undertaking that addresses the RBA members' longtime concerns that the rising cost of providing health insurance to their employees is impeding their business growth.
Rochester Business Alliance Board Chairman Thomas F. Judson, Jr. congratulated the Top 100 companies, saying "you symbolize the best of the entrepreneurial spirit upon which our community was built and upon which our future will depend." To reward that spirit, Judson said, the Rochester Business Alliance will again be offering a year's complimentary membership to 2011 Top 100 companies who are not already members or haven't previously taken advantage of this offer.
Judson, who will complete his two-year term as RBA board chairman on Dec. 31, also praised the organization.
"Under the leadership of Sandy Parker, and with the guidance of our board of directors, Rochester Business Alliance continues to make itself heard as the voice of business," Judson said. "I'm particularly proud of our advocacy through Unshackle Upstate."
Judson, who is chairman and CEO of The Pike Co., also introduced a slate of newly elected and re-elected members of the Rochester Business Alliance board, as well as the appointment of Susan Holliday, president and publisher of the Rochester Business Journal, as chair of the RBA board beginning Jan. 1. Daan Braveman, president of Nazareth College, will serve as vice chair and secretary and David Klein, CEO of Excellus BlueCrossBlueShield remains as treasurer.