Excellence in Management Award

The Excellence in Management Award recognizes alumni who demonstrate: outstanding leadership and managerial accomplishments in business, academic, or community settings; a proven track record of drive and insight which has led to significant accomplishments in the field of management; a record of community involvement; high moral character; and commitment to continued involvement with St. John Fisher College.

2013 Recipient

Excellence in Management Award presented to Russ Brandon '89Russ Brandon ’89

Russ Brandon is the President and CEO of the Buffalo Bills. 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.


2012 Recipient

Excellence in Management Award presented to Daniel Gallagher '80Daniel Gallagher ’80

Dan Gallagher is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SOLEO. Prior to founding SOLEO, Dan successfully provided executive leadership at TARGUS Information Corporation and was a founder of Telephony Computer Systems. Before these entrepreneurial activities, Dan served in a number of management capacities with Nortel Networks and Computer Consoles, Inc. His career has focused on bringing to the telecommunications marketplace innovative high-technology solutions for voice processing, call processing, directory services, billing systems, and intelligent network databases.

Dan founded SOLEO with the vision of delivering advanced information service solutions that are standards based and built with a framework that can cost-effectively take advantage of the latest technology. He is always looking around the corner to see what challenges and opportunities lie ahead in the market so that SOLEO can continue to provide value to new and existing customers.

Dan is active in the local community as the Chairman of the Business Advisory Council at the St. John Fisher College School of Business and on the Membership Committee of the Rochester Business Alliance.

Dan has a B.A. in Communication/Journalism and a B.S. in Business Management from St. John Fisher College, and a Master of Business Administration from the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester.


2011 Recipient

James R. Reis ’79

Vice Chairman of Gainsco, Inc. and Director of the Apollo Group, Inc.

James R. Reis has been Executive Vice President, Risk Management of Gainsco Inc. since January 21, 2005 and also serves as its Chief Risk Management Officer.

Since 2001, Mr. Reis has performed merchant banking and management consulting services through First Western Capital LLC, of which he is the Founder, Managing Director and owner and through which he provided consulting services to a subsidiary of Gainsco Inc. from February 1, 2003 to February 21, 2005.

Mr. Reis was Co-founder, Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer and Managing Director of Structured Transactions and Bank Loan Funds for ING Pilgrim Capital Corporation, a financial service company that managed mutual funds from 1989 to 2001, when it was acquired by ING Groep, N.V. Mr. Reis served as Secretary of Pilgrim America Capital Corp. from November 1994 to April 1995 and its President and Chief Financial Officer until December 1993. He served as Executive Vice President, Chief Credit Officer and Assistant Secretary of Pilgrim Prime Rate Trust. Mr. Reis served as Executive Vice President of PSI, PII and PGI, each of the Funds since April 1995.

Prior to Pilgrim Capital Corporation, he was Co-founder and Chief Financial Officer of Express America Holdings, a publicly traded mortgage banking company.

Mr. Reis served as Secretary of EAMC from May 1991 to April 1995 and its Executive Vice President from May 16, 1991 to December 1993. He also served as Chief Financial Officer of EAMC from May 16, 1991 to September 1992.

He held executive positions at First Western Partners Inc., Phoenix, Arizona; Western Savings & Loan, Phoenix, Arizona; Metropolitan Savings & Loan Association, Dallas, Texas; Murray Saving Association, Dallas, Texas; and KPMG LLP.

Mr. Reis served as Vice Chairman of EAMC since April 1993 and of ING Pilgrim Capital Corporation, an asset management company, which he co-founded, from 1989 to 2000.

He also served as Vice Chairman of PSI, PII, PGI and Express America Holdings, a publicly traded mortgage banking company.

Mr. Reis has been Director of Apollo Group Inc. since January 18, 2007.

He serves as Director of Exeter Life Sciences Inc.

Mr. Reis is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive status) and earned his B.S. in Accounting from St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York in 1979.


2010 Recipient

Excellence in Management Award presented to William J. Pellicano '80William J. Pellicano ’80

Founder and CEO of PrimePay, LLC and PrimePay, Inc.

William Pellicano is a 1980 graduate of St. John Fisher College with a degree in Accounting. He began his career as a Branch Manager with Paychex, Inc. and rose to the position of Regional Manager. Bill became the youngest member of the Operations Leadership Team before leaving Paychex to form his own payroll companies PrimePay LLC and PrimePay Inc. Today, PrimePay is one of the largest privately held payroll companies in the United States. He employs a hands-on approach to managing all aspects of the company including strategic planning, partnerships and business development for PrimePay, LLC. In addition Bill also oversees the management of PrimePay Inc. the software development and information technology arm of PrimePay.


2008 Recipient

Excellence in Management Award presented to William Colombo '77William J. Colombo ’77

Vice Chairman of the Board, Dick's Sporting Goods

William Colombo is a 1977 graduate of St. John Fisher College with a degree in Management. He joined Dick’s Sporting Goods in 1998 as President of dsports.com LLC, Dick’s Sporting Goods Internet subsidiary. In 2002, William became President and Chief Executive Officer of Dick’s Sporting Goods and a member of their board. In February of 2008, he assumed the role of Vice Chairman and will step down as President and Chief Executive Officer at the end of the fiscal year. He helped distinguish Dick’s Sporting Goods from its competitors and made many improvements in information technology, logistics, and marketing.


2007 Recipient

Ronald E. Hermance ’69

President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman, Hudson City Bancorp

Ronald Hermance is a 1969 graduate of St. John Fisher College with a degree in Political Science. He joined Hudson City Savings Bank in 1988 as Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, and was duly elected to the Board of Directors. In 1997, he became the eleventh President in the Bank’s 139 - year history and was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in January 2002, and Chairman in January 2005. Under his leadership, Hudson City Savings Bank remains at the top of the list in stock market returns, actively thriving in the current financial climate, and was acknowledged nationally by such publications as Forbes, BusinessWeek, and American Banker.


2001 Recipient

Michael Goonan ’75

Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, University of Rochester Medical Center

Mr. Goonan directs all financial planning, budgeting, operations, monitoring and reporting functions in order to ensure the effective financial management of the Medical Center and Strong Health. He provides counsel on short- and long-term financial planning to both entities. Mr. Goonan is responsible for the development and implementation of policies and procedures to ensure management control over both funds generated and expended. He was a co-recipient representing the non-profit sector.


2001 Recipient

Stanley D. Konopko ’76

Partner, The Bonadio Group

Stan Konopko joined The Bonadio Group in 2004 as a partner in the Commercial Division. He has served clients of all sizes and stages of their life cycle including a number of large public companies and private companies. These companies range from start-ups to some of Rochester’s oldest companies. Stan also plays a very active role in the firm’s training, development, and mentoring programs. He was a co-recipient representing the for-profit sector.


1999 Recipient

Martin Mucci ’81

Senior Vice President of Operations, Paychex, Inc.

Martin Mucci is the Vice President of Operations for Paychex, Incorporated. Mr. Mucci is responsible for all payroll and human resources services operations and customer service, product management and information technology functions. Prior to joining Paychex, Inc., Mr. Mucci was President of Telephone Operations for Frontier Communications, with responsibility for the operations, customer service and financial performance of Frontier's 34 local telephone companies.


1998 Recipient

Excellence in Management Award presented to John ChiazzaJohn Chiazza ’70

General Manager of US and Canadian Services, Chief Information Officer, and Vice President at Eastman Kodak Company

Mr. Chiazza graduated first in his class at St. John Fisher College in 1970 and went on to begin a long and successful career at Eastman Kodak Company. This extensive career in management is highlighted by his appointment to the positions of Chief Information Officer in 1995 and the General Manager, U.S. and Canada Services in 1996. He then was elected Corporate Vice President in 1996 and held the elected position of General Manager, U.S. and Canada and Chief Information Officer, and Vice President, until recently when he retired from Eastman Kodak.


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