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chamber of commerce awards

January 12, 2022 - 6:03pm

Press Release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 50th Annual Awards Ceremony & the 2021 Award Recipients. This year’s ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Batavia Downs Gaming, 8315 Park Rd., Batavia. This is the county’s premier event that honors businesses and individuals for their achievements in business, community service and volunteerism. Tickets are $50.00 per person or a table of 8 for $360.00. The evening begins at 5:00pm with hors O’euvres, entrée tables & cash bar.

The Awards Program starts at 7:00pm. We are honored to announce the following award recipients:

This year’s honorees are:

Business of the Year: Valle Jewelers
Agricultural Business of the Year: Alleghany Farm Services
Entrepreneurial Business of the Year: Batavia Muckdogs
Geneseean of the Year: Jay Lazarony

To purchase tickets, contact Kelly J. Bermingham at 585-343-7440, ext. 1026 or email [email protected]

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January 18, 2018 - 5:02pm

Press release:

Today recipients of the 46th annual Genesee County Chamber of Commerce awards for 2017 were announced.

The event to honor them will be held Saturday, March 3, at the Quality Inn & Suites on Park Road in Batavia.

This is the county's premier event honoring businesses and individuals for their achievement in business, community service and volunteerism.

Tickets are $50 per person or a table of 10 for $450. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres, entree tables and a cash bar. (No formal sit-down dinner is served.)

The Award Program starts at 7 o'clock, at which time coffee and dessert will be served.

The 2017 honorees are:

  • Business of the Year -- Baltz Concrete Construction, Pavilion
  • Innovative Enterprise of the Year -- Firing Pin, Bergen
  • Agricultural Organization of the Year -- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, Batavia
  • Special Service Recognition of the Year -- Batavia Cross Training, Batavia
  • Geneseeans of the Year -- The Family of William Kent Inc., Stafford

Call Kelly J. Bermingham at 343-7440, ext. 1026, to make your reservations.

February 23, 2015 - 9:44pm

This is the first in our series of profiles of the 2014 Chamber of Commerce Award winners. The awards will be presented at a dinner at the Clarion Hotel on Saturday.

Applied Business Systems (ABS), owned and operated by Jim and Connie DiSalvo, took the dreary task of stuffing envelopes to new heights when they began their own business three decades ago. They saw a need for businesses to outsource "forms distribution" and it started from there.

Stuffing, addressing, and mailing thousands of letters is an onerous task, often requiring more staff time than many businesses can afford. So developing cost-effective means to reduce the burden of mailing seemed like a worthy enterprise in which to invest.

Today, ABS mails more than four million letters a year for local businesses and others across the country. It is the recipient of the 2014 Entrepreneurial Business of the Year Award from the Chamber of Commerce.

Located in the Harvester Avenue complex, it's another well-hidden success story here in Genesee County, said Paul Saskowski of Genesee County ARC.

ARC has worked with ABS for more than 20 years, and knows firsthand that ABS works hard to cut customer costs and deliver outstanding work on-time, Saskowski said, explaining why he nominated them.

“Mailing individual pieces to thousands of different customers seems like a daunting task,” Saskowski wrote in his nomination letter. “It used to be a secretary typing the paper, folding the paper, stuffing the envelope, addressing the envelope, sealing the envelope, applying postage and taking it to the post office. It hurts just to read the process…ABS decided to take on these tasks and provide that service to customers in the most cost-effective ways possible.”

Their innovation has made a tedious process less "hurtful."

“We’ve taken our knowledge of the forms and printing industry and applied that to our customer’s needs and paying points, and truly, with that type of relationship and partnership, we’ve been able to consistently provide our clients with a great finished piece based on what their business needs were,” said Vice President of Production Steve Samis.

Despite the huge volume forms they handle, ABS has built a great reputation. Saskowski attributes that in part to their emphasis on proper preparation and labeling, as well as their ability to effectively collaborate with clients.

“If the lowest cost comes out of sorting 60,000 pieces to 35 individual zip codes in that county, ABS gets it done,” Saskowski says. “When ARC needed to change their billing procedures for their trash and recycling business, the professionals at ABS helped smooth out the task of billing thousands of new customers."

Whether it's designing forms or logos, or making the database fit, ABS finds ways to meet their customers' needs.

An entrepreneurial spirit helps make that possible. The Disalvos have always had that, but they are probably better known to the community at large for having a lot of holiday spirit.

Each year, around the holidays, the couple treats more than 1,000 visitors to a spectacular light display, known community-wide as “The Lights on Fargo.”

At work or at home, the DiSalvos find ways to shine.

February 12, 2015 - 10:18am

As a 10-year-old paperboy in his hometown, Jim DiSalvo got a piece of advice from the Batavia Daily News publisher that he never forgot, and that guided him in his business career.

“If you work hard you will succeed,” Art Marshall, Sr. told him.

“All my life I thought about that,” says DiSalvo, the owner of Genesee County’s Entrepreneurial Business of the Year: Applied Business Systems (ABS). “And, I must have worked hard to get to where we are.”

ABS, owned and operated by Jim and Connie DiSalvo, has been a staple of the community for more than 30 years, but as DiSalvo himself puts it: “It is another well hidden success story here in Genesee County.” ABS is located out of sight, in the Harvester Ave. complex, where most people don’t even realize the company stuffs and mails more than four million letters per year. ABS provides forms distribution services to local businesses and businesses across the country.   

Anyone operating a business understands that stuffing, addressing, and mailing thousands of letters is a difficult task, and requires a larger workforce than many businesses can afford. DiSalvo saw the need to create a cost-effective solution, and so he founded ABS to reduce the burden of mailing.

The company’s dedication to innovation and cost reducing techniques resulted in a nomination for Entrepreneurial Business of the Year. The Genesee County ARC has worked with ABS for more than 20 years, and knows first-hand that ABS works hard to cut customer costs and deliver outstanding work on-time, which is why Paul Saskowski nominated them for the award.

“Mailing individual pieces to thousands of different customers seems like a daunting task,” wrote Saskowski in his nomination letter. “It used to be a secretary typing the paper, folding the paper, stuffing the envelope, addressing the envelope, sealing the envelope, applying potage and taking it to the post office. It hurts just to read the process…ABS decided to take on these tasks and provide that service to customers in the most cost effective ways possible.”   

When asked about the company’s innovations in forms distribution, Vice President of Production Steve Samis said, “We’ve taken our knowledge of the forms and printing industry and applied that to our customer’s needs and paying points, and truly, with that type of relationship and partnership, we’ve been able to consistently provide our clients with a great finished piece based on what their business needs were.”

ABS mails more than four million letters each year. Despite the huge volume of work, ABS has maintained a great reputation for on-time delivery, creative collaboration, and the lowest cost solutions available. Saskowski attributes their ability to provide low cost solutions to their unyielding dedication to proper preparation and labeling, as well as their ability to effectively collaborate with customers for on-time completion.

“If the lowest cost comes out of sorting 60,000 pieces to 35 individual zip codes in that county, ABS gets it done,” wrote Saskowski. “When ARC needed to change their billing procedures for their trash and recycling business, the processionals at ABS helped smooth out the task of billing thousands of new customers. From designing the forms, logos and making the database fit, ABS was able to offer solutions and deliver services.”

Clearly, this is a local business that understands their customer’s needs, and has the entrepreneurial spirit needed to assure them the lowest price. Moreover, ABS is active in the community and enjoys giving back. Steve Samis and Lisa Ormsbee are both active alumni of Leadership Genesee, a year-long workshop that unites business entities with the local community, and “encourages the leader within.” Each year, around the holidays, Jim and Connie DiSalvo treat more than 1,000 visitors to a spectacular light display, known community-wide as “The Lights on Fargo.” In this spirit of giving back, the Chamber of Commerce honors ABS with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and it is much deserved. 

 The 43rd Annual Chamber of Commerce Awards will be formally held on Saturday, February 28th at the Clarion Hotel on Park Road in Batavia, NY. 

April 13, 2012 - 4:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in ARC, chamber of commerce awards, donna sasnowski.

This is the final story in a series about the 2011 award winners of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

One of the most satisfying meals Donna Saskowski ever had was simple fare -- pork chops, Tater Tots and corn. It's one she has never forgotten although it was 20 years ago. A gentleman named Curtis cooked the food at his apartment for his special guest, the lady who worked at Genesee County ARC, and who still does, now as the executive director.

Saskowski, who is the chamber of commerce 2011 Geneseean of the Year, could sense the great pride Curtis had for his accomplishment -- from setting the table and serving the food, to having a pleasant conversation and saying a fond farewell. Guest and host became friends. And Curtis, who is still served by ARC, remains Donna's friend.

Seeing people like Curtis, who is developmentally disabled, accomplish new things, learn a skill or develop a hidden talent gives meaning to Donna's work, helps motivate her and keeps her grounded.

Her inclination to help others improve their lives was fostered in no small part by her mother, the late Helen A. Trowbridge, who was a full-time registered nurse, mother of nine children, working farmer, community volunteer and a graduate of Clown Alley. Yes, Helen attended clown school in her 50s and loved entertaining people, for free, at the ARC, nursing homes, hospitals, etc. With her loud suits and zany bag of tricks, "Gorgible" the Clown made a big impression on her big family to do for others.

Donna grew up in Corfu on the family farm, which is still operated by family members today. Both her parents held full-time outside jobs and also raised crops, chickens, dairy cows and black angus cattle. In other words, "all the things my parents needed to keep nine kids fed and give us activities. It was good," she said.

After graduating from high school, Donna went to college to become a social worker and was briefly employed after getting married. But she decided to stay home and raise two daughters until they entered school. Then she looked for part-time work and landed a job as a residential assistant at ARC after "cold calling" the facility seeking an application.

It was, as they say, a good fit.

"They help me, they give me a lot of inspiration and make me feel good about myself," Saskowski said.

When the people in the ARC community get the support and services they need, they often have new experiences that are life-changing.

"Suddenly, they realize -- maybe because they haven't had other opportunities in their life -- the level of skill they have, how much of a contributing part of the community they can be.

"Sometimes people with developmental disabilities aren't given those opportunities and so they kind of lack confidence or the courage to step up. They know they can do it, but I don't think -- because we often don't have faith in them -- that they want to express it."

When they do, the results can be amazing. Donna has a couple of art works in her office, and there are others displayed elsewhere in the facility on Walnut Street, that show real talent, and certainly beauty.

Events like the Challenger Dance and the Sprout Film Festival also give her clients a chance to blossom.

And that helps her stay energized and focused so she can advocate for them effectively.

In addition to her work at ARC, Donna is active in the community. She is currently serving as secretary for the Batavia Rotary Club, which she joined in 2004, and is a board member of the Regional Action Phone Network.

In 2006, she was named a Leadership Fellow at the Community Health Foundation of Western New York and that was a tremendous experience for her. It enabled her to meet leaders from throughout the region and engage them in a dialogue about the state of health care and health in general.

She has also been a Girl Scout leader and served on the board of the YWCA. She is a member of Leadership Genesee's Class of 2005.

She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Social Work from the University of Buffalo and was named Social Worker of the Year in 2010 by the Western Division of the New York State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Donna is highly regarded for her leadership, exceptional ability to work collaboratively, and her commitment to community development.

She lives in Darien with her husband, Paul.

As for being named Geneseean of the Year, Donna is most pleased.

"I have a great support system or else I wouldn't be able to do the things I do -- my staff here, but especially my family, my husband. If he didn't cook all those meals and do all those things when I was in graduate school, and raise the kids for three and a half years, it would have been a tough go. And he did that."

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