Business Recognition Awards ceremony set
12th annual Business Recognition Awards ceremony to honor local leaders
KINGSTON >> The 12th annual Business Recognition Awards — which will be presented at an event Thursday — highlight the outstanding efforts of members of the Ulster County business community, including the owner of a wholesale distribution company specializing in industrial rigging supplies.
The awards, presented jointly by the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Ulster County Economic Development Alliance, recognize entrepreneurs and businesses that are leaders in their industries, have achieved outstanding results, or who have shown dedication and commitment to furthering business and the quality of life in the area.
This year, Kevin Pitcock, owner of Peak Trading Corporation, was named Business Person of the Year by the Chamber.
Also being honored are: Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., Business of the Year; J&A Roofing, Small Business of the Year; Kelder’s Farm, Tourism Business of the Year; and the Bruderhof religious community, for Commitment to the Community. Additionally, Kingston city Historian Edwin Ford will receive the Heart of Ulster County Award.
“The Chamber would like to congratulate the recipients and to offer special thanks to those who provided the nominations and the independent panel for the final selections,” Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce President Ward Todd said in a press release. “These Best of Ulster County awards are peer-driven and an excellent way for the business community to recognize outstanding efforts.”
The awards dinner — which is open to the public — is to take place at The Chateau in the city of Kingston, beginning with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit w w w.ulsterchamber.org.
Business Person of the Year: Kevin Pitcock
Peak Trading is a wholesale distribution company that specializes in industrial rigging supplies that are used to lift heavy objects, owner Kevin Pitcock said recently.
He said he began his business in West Hurley in 1997, but recently moved the company to Tomsons Road in Saugerties after acquiring a large piece of commercial real estate.
In addition to his own company’s move, the complex is also now home to Sunwize Technologies and SK Archiving Retrieval. A third business is in the process of signing a contract for space there.
Pitcock said he believes his company’s move to the former Vertis Communications property might be one of the reasons he received the Business Person of the Year award from the chamber.
Pitcock said he closed on the new property in August 2015 and moved the primary part of the business in November 2015. He said the company also has a division called Construction Tool Warehouse, which is a storefront there.
“We had been looking for quite some time,” Pitcock said of the new property. “Years.” He said Peak Trading outgrew its old space five years ago, but there was not a lot of large warehouse space available in Ulster County.
And now that the company has a new, larger location, Pitcock said he has plans to expand further.
“The acquisition of the building was kind of the missing piece for us,” Pitcock said. “We have the potential to scale quite a bit from where we are. I’m absolutely planning on growing substantially over the next five years.”
Pitcock added that he puts a focus on creating good jobs, which may also be a reason behind his award.
“I’d like to think we’re a good company,” Pitcock said. “We’re a good organization.” He said the staff are all treated well and earn a decent wage. Pitcock said he has approximately 30 employees, all of whom work full-time.
As for the award, Pitcock said he was honored. He said it is nice to be recognized, but he does not consider himself special. Pitcock said he and his staff just work hard.
Business of the Year: Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. provides utility services to approximately 300,000 electric customers and 79,000 natural gas customers in the Mid-Hudson Valley.
Beyond providing those utility services, though, the company has also provided grants and incentives to promote the economy of the region. According to the firm, recent and pending grants to support initiatives in Ulster County total nearly $1.3 million and Central Hudson works closely with economic development organizations locally.
Additionally, Central Hudson offers programs to help customers manage their energy use and conducts a recycling operation at its supply center in the town of Lloyd. The Resource Recovery Program has recycled or reused more than 6,000 tons of paper, cable, wire and other materials since its inception more than 20 years.
“We’re honored to be selected as the 2016 Business of the Year by the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce, and to be recognized for our contributions to the communities of Ulster County,” Central Hudson President and Chief Executive Officer Michael L. Mosher said in a statement. “We view local businesses and government as our partners in promoting the region and in the development of a robust, clean and efficient energy system. We strive to provide our customers with excellent service, offer programs to help businesses and residents manage their energy use and promote economic development and job creation in the region; and we’re also proud of our employees’ volunteerism in support of service agencies.”
Community support has been a long-standing tradition at the company. Both the company and employees support a variety of community and business organizations through volunteerism, leadership and financial contributions, and have contributed more than $7.7 million to agencies and organizations in the last decade.
“We’re truly gratified for this recognition and will continue to work to earn the support of our customers,” Mosher said.
Small Business of the Year: J&A Roofing
J&A Roofing does all phases of roofing, according to Nate Horowitz, who owns the business with his father, Ian, and uncle, Fred. He said the family-owned and -operated business began in 1938 in Brooklyn with his great-grandfather, Jake, and great-uncle, Al. They were the original J and A, Horowitz said.
When his grandfather, Joe, got out of the Navy, he and his wife, Ann, expanded the business up to the Hudson Valley, Horowitz said. He said his father later took over the business and has been going strong ever since.
Horowitz, who had been around the business his whole life, came back to it full-time after graduating from college in 2006, he said. Horowitz said his sister, Amelia Braden, also works for the company.
Horowitz said J&A Roofing currently has about 30 employees, most of whom work full-time. He said the company operates mostly in Ulster and Dutchess counties, but has done work in Greene and Columbia counties, amongst others in the area.
“We try to treat people the way we want to be treated,” Horowitz said. “I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve been around for so long.” He added that being named the top small business in the county is “great.”
“It’s a very humbling and prestigious award,” Horowitz said.
Tourism Business of the Year: Kelder’s Farm
Chris Kelder and his family have been farming in the Rondout Valley for more than 100 years. And while they have done many different types of farming over the years, they’ve shifted into directly marketing to the public, Kelder said. He said the farm is all about activity and about unplugging from the Internet and being outside enjoying hands-on farming.
“Our hope is that people can come here, relax, enjoy the outdoors, enjoy our beautiful view and our wide open space and kind of get back to where their food comes from and nature,” Kelder said. He said the family farms approximately 250 acres on its land in Accord.
Visitors to the farm can take part in a variety of activities, including visiting the 100 acres of pick-your-own fruits and vegetables, Kelder said. He said there is also a miniature golf course, a “jumping pillow,” a petting farm, corn maze and hayrides, amongst other activities. Kelder said the farm also has its own market, where it sells the produce and the chicken and beef it raises.
Additionally, Kelder’s hosts school groups and birthday parties.
On a busy day, the farm can get hundreds of visitors, Kelder said. He said the farm, which has up to 15 employees seasonally, is open to the public in the spring, summer and fall.
“We’re very honored and humbled by getting this honor,” Kelder said. “And we sincerely appreciate the fact that people appreciate what we do.” He said he hoped people will leave Kelder’s with a lasting memory of their time at the farm and with their family.
Commitment to the Community Award: The Bruderhof
The Bruderhof is a world-wide Christian community movement of several thousand people living in 23 settlements on four continents. They are a fellowship of families and singles, living a life of service to God, each other, and the world, according to provided information.
Ulster County is home to four Bruderhof communities located in Rifton, Ulster Park, Esopus and the Rondout Community in Kingston. The communities regularly connect with their communities, welcoming friends and neighbors for communal dinner on Saturday evenings and hosting public events throughout the year. They work closely with local non-profits and find ways to help restore the wider community. In Ulster County, the Bruderhof provides jail ministry, volunteer fire fighters, and works with charitable partners such as Catholic Charities, Family of Woodstock, Salvation Army, United Way and People’s Place.
Johnny Scott, pastor of the Rondout Community, said there are quite a number of other Ulster County organizations that are, in his mind, equally or more deserving of the chamber award.
“This time around, my wife, Heidi, and I will accept the recognition on behalf of all the other active volunteer organizations, as well as on behalf of the Bruderhof’s commitment to service,” Scott said. “May this award be used to give God, the glory. After all, in the Bible, Jesus teaches that we ought to love and serve our neighbors.”
Scott added that receiving such an award “is an honor and reminder that there is a great deal that needs to be done.” As an example, he pointed out an event Kingston Mayor Steve Noble is planning for April 29 that he said needs the support of the business community. Scott said the event would hopefully take place at a park planned for the new Broadway Commons property at 615 Broadway in Midtown.
“As you can see when you drive or walk by that space, the city, the business community and volunteer organizations will need to rally to get that park developed,” Scott said. “The event will hopefully be a celebration of the work that will have happened by April 29, 2017. The underlying theme for that event is a call for increased unity within the Kingston community.”
Len Cane Heart of Ulster County Award: Ed Ford
Ed Ford moved to the city of Kingston in 1928 when he was just 10 years old. And, now, at 98, he has served as its historian for more than three decades.
Ford attended grade school and high school in Kingston and then went to New Paltz Teachers College. He also served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, returning to Kingston in 1949. Ford has lived in Kingston ever since, with the past 60 years spent in the same home he shared with this late wife, Ruth.
Early on, Ford said, he and his wife would go around to local yard and library sales, picking up local history books.
“I have a bad habit,” Ford said recently. “If I don’t know something, I can’t stand it and I have to look it up.” He said he does a lot of research and has a large card catalog of notes about the area. That research has allowed Ford to write two books and to give several lectures over the years. And he said that is how he got into local history.
Ford said he also has a continual need to be as much help for people as he can.
For 50 years, Ford was part of the Friends of Historic Kingston group, serving as its president 15 different times. He also serves on the city’s Heritage Area Commission, which goes along with his role of city historian.
Ford, who has a son, two grandsons and a great-granddaughter, said he hopes he is worthy of receiving the Heart of Ulster County Award.
“I feel very honored of course,” Ford said. “I think it’s wonderful. I never would have expected it.”
Ford said that, when he accepts his award, he plans to share 10 good reasons for people to be appreciative of Kingston’s history. That includes the fact Kingston was the first capital of New York state and has some interesting architecture, like the Ulster County Courthouse and the Senate House.
Kevin Pitcock, owner and CEO/President of Peak Trading in Saugerties will receive the Business Person of the Year Award.
Central Hudson on U.S. Route 9W in Lake Katrine was named Business of the Year.
J&A Roofing will receive the Small Business of the Year Award.
Kelder Farm will receive the Tourism Business of the Year Award.
Kingston Historian Ed Ford will be honored with the Len Cane Heart of Ulster County Award.
The Bruderhof members Lorna Goodwin, Maureen Ebong and Marianne Blough help clean up a home after Hurricane Sandy. The Bruderhof will receive the Commitment to the Community Award.