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2017 Van Rensselaer Award Recipients Announced



For more than 25 years, the Chamber has recognized businesses that invest in the economic, cultural and humanitarian advancement of the Rensselaer County region by bestowing the Van Rensselaer Awards and the Edward H. Pattison Citizenship Award. We are pleased to announce the 2017 Van Rensselaer Award recipients:

The Van Rensselaer Corporate Award (50 employees or more) will be presented to BBL Family of Companies.

BBL Family of Companies is ranked among the top U.S. contractors, offering a complete scope of client services through its five subsidiaries. For 43 years, BBL has grown its reputation for client satisfaction, teamwork, integrity and quality. Founded as a small, local business, BBL maintains a strong community presence. A deep sense of compassion for others is central to BBL’s corporate culture. The company supports initiatives and organizations that strengthen lives and improve communities through philanthropy and the volunteer efforts of its employees. A corporate sponsor for numerous charities, BBL celebrated its 40th anniversary by donating $1,000 gifts to 60 grassroots organizations nominated by BBL employees.

The Van Rensselaer Small Business Award (50 employees or less) will be presented to Wojeski & Company CPAs, P.C.

Wojeski & Company CPAs, P.C. practices a client-first philosophy, partnering with individuals, businesses and entities to provide services for public accounting, tax planning and compliance, mergers and acquisitions, auditing, business advice on financial and operational issues, fraud examination and more. Wojeski & Co. is committed to giving back to the regional community. The Wojeski Fund supports underprivileged children in Rensselaer County by providing essentials such as eyeglasses, medical co-payments, clothing and shoes and by providing opportunities for children to experience activities including summer camp, school field trips, work study programs, high school graduation caps and gowns and more. The fund, administered through the nonprofit CoNSERNS-U,
was founded in 2004 and has raised more than $165,000. 

The Edward H. Pattison Citizenship Award will be presented to Chester Opalka Jr.

Chester Opalka Jr. is a respected entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. After 20 years in pharmaceutical chemistry, he co-founded Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI), which quickly grew into a publicly traded company. He holds dozens of patents, including one that led to a new class of drug to treat congestive heart failure. Since retiring from AMRI, Mr. Opalka has continued to foster economic growth and scientific innovation as an investor in chemistry and technology-based startups. He also supports the regional arts community as an advisor and donor. His family’s generosity established the Opalka Gallery at the Sage College of Albany, a lauded arts venue that attracts prestigious exhibits and thousands of visitor to the campus. In addition, the Opalka Family Scholarship supports college students studying art or elementary education. 

Past Van Rensselaer Corporate Award Recipients

  • SEFCU, 2016
  • Turner Construction, 2015
  • National Grid, 2014
  • Rifenburg Construction, Inc., 2013
  • CAP COM Federal Credit Union, 2012
  • Brown's Brewing Company, 2011
  • Stewart's Shops, 2010
  • Hudson Valley Community College, 2009
  • KeyBank, NA, 2008
  • Pitney Bowes Map Info, 2007
  • Franklin Hospitality Group, 2006
  • Capital District YMCA, 2005
  • The Phoenix Companies, 2004
  • RPI & The Sage Colleges, 2003
  • Rose & Kiernan, Inc., 2002
  • Pioneer Savings Bank, 2001
  • Hannaford Supermarkets, 2000
  • Bell Atlantic, 1999
  • WJ Cowee, Inc., 1998
  • WW Fane, Inc., 1997
  • The Record, 1996
  • BASF, 1995
  • Garden Way, Inc., 1994
  • Troy Savings Bank, 1993

Past Van Rensselaer Small Business Award Recipients 

  • The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, Inc., 2016
  • Bouchey & Clarke Benefits, Inc. | Bouchey Financial Group, Ltd., 2015
  • Gettysburg FlagWorks, Inc., 2014
  • eBizDocs, 2013
  • Tri-City ValleyCats, 2012
  • MicroKnowledge, Inc., 2011
  • The Old Daley Inn Catering Co., 2010
  • architecture+, 2009
  • Alchar Printing, 2008
  • Spiral Design Studio, 2007

Past Edward H. Pattison "Ebbie" Award Recipients

  • E. Stewart Jones Jr., 2016
  • Dr. Lee A. McElroy Jr., 2015
  • Eileen C. Bagnoli, 2014
  • Lambert Ginsberg, Esq., 2013
  • Neil Golub, 2012
  • Deane S. & Jeffrey W. Pfeil, 2011
  • Christopher Burke, 2010
  • Steven Lobel, 2009
  • Jeanne H. Neff, Ph.D., 2008
  • John M. Scarchilli, 2007
  • Richard Wallace, Esq., 2006
  • Raona Roy, 2005
  • Daniel Hogarty, 2004
  • Jack McNulty Jr., 2003
  • Morris Massry, 2002
  • Mary Jane Smith, 2001
  • Dr. Hugh Foley, 2000 
  • James Millea, 1999
  • Joe Fama, 1998
  • Bishop Howard Hubbard, 1997
  • John J. Hedley, 1996
  • Sisters Rita Shaw & Maria Coakley, 1995
  • William O'Connor, 1994
  • Henrietta Messier, 1993
  • Edward & Kathleen Spain, 1992
  • Louis Rubin, 1991
  • Hazel Baxter, 1990

The 2017 Van Rensselaer Awards Dinner will be held on Thursday, September 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, Troy.

Event Registration: www.renscochamber.com/events/van-rensselaer-awards-dinner

The Van Rensselaer Awards Dinner is sponsored by Bouchey Financial Group, Ltd. | Bouchey & Clarke Benefits, Inc.; Capital Bank; and CDPHP.

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