Business Council of Westchester Honors Hall of Fame Award Winners
Real Estate In-Depth | July 2020
RYE BROOK—The Business Council of Westchester presented its prestigious Business Hall of Fame Awards on July 14 during a virtual ceremony, recognizing Westchester’s top business leaders. Six top organizations were honored as part of the 2020 Business Hall of Fame Awards.
“The quality of this year’s inductees is truly outstanding. They represent the very best of Westchester businesses and represent a wide range of industry sectors,’’ said Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester. “They include a leader in the conversion of renewable waste fuels into clean energy; the nation’s largest family owned and operated healthcare laundry company; a leading provider of energy products and services for consumers and businesses; a major American source for eyewear, sunglasses and optical accessories; two highly successful women in the commercial real estate field and the largest private not‑for‑profit arts council in New York State. Congratulations to this year’s honorees and welcome to the BCW Hall of Fame.’’
The 2020 honorees join a roster of more than 95 businesses who have been inducted in the BCW Hall of Fame. The awards recognize visionaries who have grown their businesses through innovation and inspired leadership and whose commitment to excellence has added to the economic vitality of Westchester’s economy.
The winners in their respective categories were:
Chairman’s Recognition Award: ArtsWestchester
For over 50 years ArtsWestchester has been the community’s connection to the arts. Founded in 1965, it is the largest private not‑for-profit arts council in New York State. Its mission is to provide leadership, vision and support to ensure the availability, accessibility and diversity of the arts. ArtsWestchester works in the spirit of an entrepreneur to provide arts programs and services that enrich the lives of everyone in Westchester. It helps fund concerts, exhibitions and plays through grants; supports public art; brings artists into schools and community centers; advocates for the arts and builds audiences through diverse marketing initiatives. In 1998, ArtsWestchester purchased the neo‑classical bank building at 31 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains, which has since been transformed into a multi‑use resource for artists, cultural organizations and the community. During CEO Janet Langsam’s time at the helm of ArtsWestchester, the organization has grown from a $1 million to a $4.5 million agency.
Women in Business Success: Patricia Simone and Joanna Simone, Simone Development Companies
Patricia Simone and Joanna Simone are principals of Simone Development Companies—a full service real estate investment company specializing in the acquisition and development of office, retail, industrial and healthcare properties in the Tristate Area. Patricia is principal and president of Simone Management Group, the management and operations arm of Simone Development Companies. With more than 10 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry, she has gained in-depth experience in leasing various commercial property types, property management operations, site selection/acquisitions, ground‑up development and re-development projects. Joanna currently serves as a principal and vice president of leasing and property management operations for Simone Development Companies. She has specialized in lease negotiations, property management operations, and value‑added asset repositioning and executes more than 100 lease transactions per year. She was named one of CoStar’s Power Brokers of the Year and a Rising Star in Real Estate by Crain’s New York Business.
Corporate Citizenship: Wheelabrator Technologies
Wheelabrator is an industry leader in the safe and environmentally sound conversion of residential and business waste and other renewable waste fuels into clean energy. Since 1984, it has been converting post‑recycled waste to clean, renewable energy for the Hudson Valley. Its goal is to reduce waste and reliance on fossil fuels while creating renewable energy to power homes, schools and town centers. For over 35 years, the company has been creating jobs and supporting businesses throughout the region. Since it began operations it has provided the benefits of stable, long-term, well-paying jobs, economic stimulus in the form of capital investments and the purchase of local goods and services. Wheelabrator supports and invests in civic and charitable organizations, schools and environmental causes throughout New York.
Entrepreneurial Success: Unitex
Headquartered in Elmsford, Unitex is the market leader in medical wear and healthcare linen rental services, serving more than 6,000 healthcare locations across the Northeast. Unitex provides, launders and delivers customized healthcare apparel, patient gowns, linens, towels, floor mats, microfiber products and other reusable patient preferred products in compliance with OSHA, CDC, APIC and Joint Commission standards. Unitex operates 11 state‑of‑the‑art processing facilities and employs over 1,650 team members. It is the nation’s largest family owned and operated healthcare laundry company and has been in business for over 95 years. Unitex is led by the third and fourth generation of the Potack family, with Robert serving as CEO, David as president and Michael, their father, serves as chairman. Founded by great grandfather Max, Unitex has grown exponentially as the current generation has taken over and continues to expand with its 12th and 13th facilities due to open in late 2020 and 2021.
Family Owned Business Success: Robison Oil
Robison is the leading provider of energy products and services in the Westchester area. Headquartered in Port Chester, it supplies natural gas and electricity; delivers home heating oil and clean‑burning biofuel; services and installs heating and air conditioning systems; provides plumbing services 24/7, and delivers indoor air quality solutions. Celebrating its 100th anniversary next year, Robison has demonstrated a long-term commitment to serving the changing needs of its customers. The company has remained a family owned enterprise through several generations. Saul Singer’s father founded the company in coal delivery. It transitioned to oil service and delivery and Saul Singer took command followed by his sons David and Dan. In 1984, important changes were set in motion when the Singer family acquired Robison.
Small Business Success: Zyloware Eyewear
Zyloware Eyewear was founded in 1923 by Joseph Shyer as an eyeglass frame manufacturing facility in Long Island City. Proud to have styled generations of families, Zyloware is dedicated to providing classic, fashionable and quality eyewear to men and women around the world. Operated by the third generation of Shyer’s and currently in their 97th year of business, Zyloware continues its heritage of fine craftsmanship and impeccable style along with dedication to the community. After several expansions and its evolution into the global supplier it is today, Zyloware moved to its new corporate headquarters to Port Chester in 2010, increasing its square footage by 50%.