School of Business Presents Russ Brandon ’89 with Excellence in Management Award
On Thursday, April 11, the St. John Fisher College School of Business hosted the Excellence in Management Award dinner to honor the alumni winners of the Excellence in Management Award, the Dean’s Medal for Outstanding Service, and the Victor E. Salerno Award. The event took place at Monroe Golf Club, and awards were presented by Dr. David Martin, Dean of the School of Business, and Michael Goonan ’75, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
This year’s recipient of the Excellence in Management Award (EIMA) was Russ Brandon ’89, President and CEO, Buffalo Bills. The EIMA is the preeminent award bestowed by the School of Business. It recognizes an alumna or alumnus who demonstrates: outstanding leadership and managerial accomplishments in business, academia, or a community-based organization; a proven track record of significant accomplishments in the field of management; a record of community involvement; and a commitment to St. John Fisher College.
Brandon joined the Bills in November of 1997 as Executive Director of Business Development and Marketing after earning a World Series ring as a member of the Florida Marlins front office. He began his sports business career as a member of the Rochester Red Wings, serving in many capacities, including assistant general manager.
From January of 1999 through January 2006, Brandon served as the team’s Vice President of Business Development and Marketing. He and his staff have been credited with the development of the team as a regional franchise and forming strategic alliances with key business partners. In 1999, Brandon and his staff finalized the foundation of the regionalization plan by relocating Buffalo Bills Training Camp to Fisher.
Brandon then served as the team’s Executive Vice President of Business Operations in 2007-2008, overseeing the team’s vision and execution of all business-related endeavors. From 2008-2009, he served as the CEO, directing the Bills day-to-day operations, earning him the additional title of General Manager later in the year.
In 2011, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed Brandon to the NFL’s Business Ventures Committee, which is responsible for the oversight of various businesses of the league, including consumer products, sponsorship, and marketing. Brandon was promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer on January 1, 2013, by owner Ralph Wilson, Jr., bestowing upon Brandon full authority over the entire organization’s operations.
Brandon’s success in the sports business field has been recognized with numerous awards, and in 2001 he was the recipient of Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal’s Forty under 40 award.
A native of East Syracuse, Brandon is also actively involved in regional initiatives. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the Department of Sports Management at Syracuse University, and serves on the boards at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise. Additionally, he is a member of the Board of Trustees at Fisher. He and his wife, Amy, are involved in many charitable endeavors and had the honor to serve as Co-Chairs of the Hunter’s Hope Gala in 2008.
While he was a student at Fisher, Brandon was a four-year letterman in baseball and football, and graduated with a degree in communications. He was inducted into his alma mater’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
(From L to R) Michael Goonan, Chair, St. John Fisher College Board of Trustees; Russ Brandon; and President Bain.
The 2013 recipient of the Dean’s Medal for Outstanding Service was Michael O’Conor ’78, Senior Consultant and Director, Jordan & Jordan in New York City. This award was created in 2007 to honor the exemplary and sustained contributions of individuals in the service of the School of Business. Outstanding service includes involvement in advisory boards, mentoring, fundraising, community relations, and accreditation.
O’Conor is recognized as an industry leader in promoting electronic trading, buy-to-sell-side connectivity, and the use of standardized messaging. His expertise in electronic trading platforms for Cash Trading, Program Trading, IOIs, Allocations, Fixed Income, Financial Futures and Options, Algorithmic Trading, and Direct Market Access provides deep insight into trading platforms and market practices for many types of electronic service delivery.
He served on the Board of Directors of the NASDAQ Exchange from 2008 to 2010, and also served as the Inaugural Chair of the Global Steering Committee of FIX Protocol Ltd. O’Conor joined Jordan & Jordan after holding the position of Senior Vice President, Director of Electronic Services for Chapdelaine Institutional Equities. Prior to Chapdelaine, he was Managing Director at Merrill Lynch & Co., where he was responsible for design, development, and deployment of electronic services connectivity to support Merrill’s institutional trading clients worldwide. After graduating with a B.S. in Management from Fisher, O’Conor went on to earn his MBA from Adelphi University.
Currently, he serves as the Treasurer on the Board of the Kennedy Child Study Center, a nonprofit agency dedicated to assisting very young children who experience significant difficulties in learning and other areas of early childhood development. He is a past member of Fisher’s President’s Advisory Council and was recently elected to the College’s Board of Trustees.
(From L to R) Dr. David Martin, Dean, School of Business; Lori Hollenbeck, Assistant Dean and Director, MBA Program; Michael and Pam O'Conor, President Bain.
Two alumni were also honored with the Victor E. Salerno Award for American Enterprise, which recognizes Fisher graduates for their career achievements, involvement with both the community and St. John Fisher College, and exhibiting potential for even greater success as their management careers mature. The award was presented to two individuals, Rich Anderson ’01, and Dina Natale ’00, ’06 (MBA).
Anderson is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, where he specializes in personal, education, retirement, and estate planning, as well as long-term care insurance and investment services. He earned his bachelor of science degree in business management from Fisher in 2001, and recently received his master of science degree in financial services from American College. He has been a member of the College’s adjunct faculty since 2004.
Anderson currently serves as a Board Member for the Rochester Area Business Ethics Foundation, and is slated to serve as the Board Chair for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. In addition, he is a Classroom Volunteer and Development Committee Member for Junior Achievement of Rochester, and a Board Member for Abre Puertas non-profit school in Coya, Peru.
(From L to R) Hollenbeck, Rich Anderson, Victor Salerno, Martin.
Natale is Manager, Talent Acquisition at Unity Health System, where she manages the recruitment and on-boarding process for all of Unity Health, which includes St. Mary’s, Park Ridge, Behavioral Health, and all surrounding living centers and physician offices. In her career she has placed candidates in information technology, sales, engineering, administration, health care, and positions as high as CFO level. She has also worked extensively in government placements in the D.C. area for security cleared professionals.
In addition, Natale has been an active part of the Rochester community by volunteering her time on several local boards. She has served as the Vice President of Major Events for the Rochester Woman’s Network, Secretary on the Executive Committee for Fisher’s Alumni Board of Directors, and just recently joined the Aquinas Institute of Rochester’s Board of Trustees where she co-chairs the HR Committee.
(From L to R) Salerno, Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, Dean, Wegmans School of Nursing, who presented Natale with the award; Dina Natale; Hollenbeck; and Martin.
Lastly, the award ceremony also included recognition of Patricia Leva, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Rochester, as Fisher’s Beta Gamma Sigma Chapter Honoree. She was chosen for her demonstration of excellence and outstanding commitment to the values of Beta Gamma Sigma, which are: honor and integrity, pursuit of wisdom, and earnestness.
(From L to R) Hollenbeck, Patricia Leva, and Martin.
Leva and her staff interact with business, academic, and community leaders in a nine-county territory, from Monroe County to the Pennsylvania border. She has led JA since 2008, delivering student growth of over 8% annually, to a 2012 record of having over 14,000 students interact with the volunteers and programs of JA.
JA of Rochester now boasts over 600 active volunteers in the region. In addition, under her leadership, JA of Rochester has received the coveted JA USA Peek Performance Award three times—an award provided to only 12 of 123 regional offices of JA USA.
The St. John Fisher College Excellence in Management Awards Dinner was established by the School of Business and the Management Programs Advisory Board. For more information about the School of Business, please visit our website at www.sjfc.edu/bittner.
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