Event Celebrates Longevity of Rochester Family Businesses

March 19, 2024

On Tuesday, March 12, the Family Business Program honored Cornell’s Jewelers with its 100-Year Legacy Award during its “Successful Successions: Learning from Rochester Family Firm Leaders and Their Journey to the Top” event. This prestigious award recognizes family firms that have demonstrated resiliency within the Rochester business community.

Dr. Carol Wittmeyer interviews the panelists during the Successful Successions event.

The Cornell family formally accepted the award during the event where family business owners from the greater Rochester area gathered to hear from a distinguished panel of guest speakers.

Moderated by Dr. Carol Wittmeyer, director of family business, the panel featured Jack Doyle, fifth-generation president and CEO of Doyle Security Systems; Jon Spacher, fifth-generation co-owner and CEO of Fee Brothers; and Kate Hildebrandt, fourth-generation president and CEO of Leo J Roth Corporation. This assembly of multigenerational family business leaders shared invaluable perspectives on succession planning, family governance, and core values. The event was chaired by Fisher’s Family Business Steering Committee member Alexandra Justis, sister and family business partner of Jack Doyle.

“Succession is a difficult, if not impossible, process for most family firms. It was inspiring to have 124 regional family business leaders and Fisher family business students on campus to enjoy an incredible night of networking, fine dining, and succession lessons shared by the panelists,” said Wittmeyer.  “It was a great example and celebration of the impact our family firms have on the region, as well as Fisher’s opportunity to be a resource for our community.”

Additionally, Gabe DiSanto ’25 and Jake Sanders ’24, president and vice president of the Family Business Club, shared their experiences in revitalizing the club and securing support from the Student Government Association. They also spoke about their roles within their respective family enterprises, DiSanto Propane and Associated Industrial Riggers.

The Family Business Program will host the Women in Family Business event on Wednesday, May 15, at Innovation Square. Registration and more details will be released in the coming weeks.