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Clarkson University Honors Four with Entrepreneurship Awards
[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/ent-awards-2011.jpg.]
At its first annual Entrepreneur Recognition Dinner, Clarkson University honored three regional entrepreneurs with awards and inducted the inaugural member of its Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.
Daegan Gonyer was honored with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award. The award is given to a student, faculty, staff member, office or organization at Clarkson that demonstrates a deep commitment to the Clarkson community and in addition demonstrates the key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.
A 2009 Clarkson graduate, who is studying for a master's degree in engineering science, Gonyer, along with his two partners, has created an aeroponics system for growing plants in air without the use of soil or an aggregate medium. They have established their own company -- Blue Sphere Industries Inc. -- and have plans for expansion.
The Entrepreneurial Hero Award was presented to Leigh Rodriguez, business development specialist for the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency. This award is given to an individual or group that provides resources resulting in increasing the viability of entrepreneurs located in the communities served by the Center for Entrepreneurship.
Rodriquez consistently provides local entrepreneurs with creative and effective solutions. In 2010, she secured $200,000 to create the St. Lawrence County Microenterprise Grant Program which provided grant assistance to ten microenterprise businesses in St. Lawrence County. Her dedication to entrepreneurial support plays a vital role in the success of the small business community.
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented to Peggy McAdam Cambridge, owner of Honey Dew Acres and Red Shed Tack Shop. The award recognizes a practicing entrepreneur who demonstrates an unwavering commitment to building their viable small business, demonstrates a deep commitment to the community they serve, and also demonstrates each of the key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.
In only four years, Cambridge has transformed Honey Dew Acres into a premier equestrian facility with a stable of over 70 horses and well over 100 weekly equestrian students. Cambridge recently received financing for a second larger indoor riding facility, and, this spring, opened Red Shed Tack Shop.
The Clarkson University Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame was also introduced at the dinner, as Elmer Gates of Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y., was named the first inductee. Induction into the Hall of Fame is open to Clarkson University alumni and comes in recognition of a lifetime of entrepreneurial achievement that encompasses the ideals of entrepreneurial activity -- education, application, and giving back.
Gates received his mechanical engineering degree from Clarkson in 1950. He then enjoyed a 31-year career with General Electric before joining Fuller Company in 1982 as president and chief operating officer. Following his retirement from Fuller, he was instrumental in starting Embassy Bank for the Lehigh Valley and today serves as lead director of the board, after serving eight years as chairman. Several years ago, working with Clarkson, Gates began the pursuit of restoring economic life to the Adirondacks through the Adirondack Initiative.
Ellen Rocco, station manager of North Country Public Radio, was the dinner's keynote speaker.
Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.
Photo caption: At its first annual Entrepreneur Recognition Dinner, Clarkson University honored three regional entrepreneurs with awards and inducted the inaugural member of its hall of fame. Left to right: Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Inductee Elmer Gates ‘50, Entrepreneurial Hero Award Recipient Leigh Rodriguez, Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award Recipient Daegan Gonyer ‘09, and Entrepreneur of the Year Award Recipient Peggy McAdam Cambridge.