Categories: Schenectady County
From a 32-year-old Canajoharie company to a two-time brain cancer survivor, some of the best that Montgomery County has to offer will be showcased at the annual Chamber of Commerce meeting and awards dinner tonight.
“We are very fortunate to have so many community and business leaders who tirelessly give of their time, talent and treasure because they are passionate about this area,” Chamber Director Deborah Auspelmyer said.
WW Custom Clad Inc. is this year’s Edward L. Wilkinson Industry of the Year award winner. Co-owner Charles Wright said he is “thrilled” to receive the award. WW Custom Clad Inc. specializes in powder coating manufactured parts for companies like General Motors, Ford, General Electric and Kodak. The Canajoharie-based company employs 60 people and runs a three-shift operation with pickup and delivery service up to 350 miles.
Wright said his largest challenge has been adapting to the changes in the market. Currently the company has developed a way to coat products to look like wood or stone. He has contracts with a Florida-based company that is installing the products in golf carts.
Wright said the award is especially an honor because not many local people know the business exists or what it does.
“We’re kind of tucked away here surrounded by larger industry that people are extremely familiar with, especially historically, but we’ve done our thing all these years and quietly grown,” he said.
Two members of the chamber’s young professional group, TILT, or Today’s Innovative Leaders of Tomorrow, are receiving awards. Peter Farina, 25, founder of ItalyMondo, is receiving the Thomas Constantino Entrepreneurial award and Rachel Zimolka, 31, business development executive for Sunmark Federal Credit Union, is receiving the Young Professional Award.
Farina founded ItalyMondo two years ago after researching his own Italian heritage. Farina splits the year living in Italy and Montgomery County. He searches for a person’s Italian heritage and then plans heritage trips to Italy for his clients. Farina actually introduces his clients to their Italian relatives and shows them from where their Italian families came.
Farina’s services begin at about $500 and he said he is currently not able to take on many more clients.
Zimolka, who is currently recovering from her second bout with brain cancer, has begun working with the Chamber to expand the credit union’s financial education program into Montgomery County. Zimolka said the program will assist low- to moderate-income households improve their financial knowledge.
“I’m so excited to be bringing this program into Montgomery County,” Zimolka said. “Financial education is definitely my passion.”
John Daly, recipient of this year’s Herbert Singer Community Service award, is another passionate person. His passion is in improving Montgomery County. At 67, Daly is retired but busier than ever. He said he puts on a tie at least two times per week to attend board meetings and other functions.
Daly has lived in Amsterdam his whole life and is one of the founders of Alpin Haus, a recreational vehicle and equipment provider. He sits on the board of many local organizations, including St. Mary’s Hospital where he is working to merge the hospital with Amsterdam Memorial Hospital. He also is a board member at the Sarah Sanford Adult Home, where he worked to expand the facility, the YMCA, the Amsterdam Riverfront Committee and Catholic Charities.
“It’s not work to me, it’s fun,” Daly said.
Other award winners include Carol Constantino, president of Noteworthy Inc., who will be awarded the Volunteer of the Year citation.
Auspelmyer said the chamber has sold all of its 322 tickets for the dinner, which begins at 6 p.m. at Riverstone Manor in Glenville.