November 20, 2010
The Foundation of FM hosted its Fourth Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner Friday, November 19 at Johnstown Holiday Inn.
Alumni and the community-at-large were asked to nominate graduates in the following categories: Excellence in The Professions, Excellence in Not-For-Profit Management, Excellence in Business, Emerging Professional, Excellence in Academics, and Lifetime Achievement.
The Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s awards. They are: Michael Decker ‘81, Joseph Iannotti ‘86, John A. Monteiro ‘77, and Rebecca Preston ‘98.
Michael Decker, FM Class of ‘81, was presented with the Excellence in Not-For-Profit Management. Decker was recently appointed Chief Executive Officer – Elect of Liberty headquartered in Amsterdam. Liberty, a private, not-for-profit organization is supported by 950 employees and provides residential, day, clinical, vocational, transportation, and family support services to individuals with disabilities and others in need in Montgomery County and the State of Delaware. With Decker’s assistance, the agency has been named one of only 200 in the world to be accredited by the Council on Quality and Leadership. He is Board Treasurer/Secretary for ANCOR, the nation’s developmental disability provider association and a Board Member of New York State Industries for the Disabled, a statewide board supporting the employment of individuals with disabilities. Decker has served on the board of numerous local organizations including the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency, Greater Amsterdam Board of Education, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, and the YMCA.
Joseph Iannotti, FM Class of ‘86, was presented with the Excellence in the Professions Award. Iannotti, a Senior Engineer at G.E. Global Research Center, created his first patent while employed at Electro Metrics; the patent was for a chain mail grounding of test platform for EMI testing. Since then, Iannotti has devised a methodology for technical problem solving leading highly technical programs through to production supporting medical imaging, energy, and military systems. He is Six Sigma certified (an integrated, disciplined proven approach for improving business performance) with Level II certification in TRIZ (method of inventive problem solving). Iannotti is very active with Boy Scout Pack 67 in Glenville, NY where he has been treasurer and den leader for the past three years. He also provides expertise to FM’s curriculum development in support of the Electrical Technology Program and Demonstration Clean Room activities.
John A. Monteiro, FM Class of ‘77, was presented with the Excellence in the Professions Award. Monteiro serves as Deputy Commissioner for New York State’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) where he is responsible for overseeing OPWDD’s workforce composed of over 23,000 employees located throughout New York State. He currently is redesigning New York State’s vision for the employment of New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. Monteiro was involved with the relocation and redesign of the New York State Child Abuse and Maltreatment Register, a 24/7 call center where child abuse is reported by New Yorkers. He was recognized by former Governor Pataki for his work during the 911 tragedy in New York City and was appointed by Commissioner Ritter as Deputy Commissioner of the second largest New York State Governmental Agency (OPWDD). Currently, Monteiro is Assistant Varsity Soccer Coach at Voorheesville High School and Coach of the New Scotland Youth Soccer Club. He is a Board Member and Past President of Colonie Youth Center and Past Chair of New York State Personnel Council. He served on the Board of South Colonie Central School District for 15 years as both president and vice-president. Monteiro was also a member of FM’s nationally ranked soccer team of the 70’s led by Dr. Andrew DiNitto, former FM coach and retired professor.
Rebecca Preston, FM’s Class of ‘98, was presented with the Emerging Professional Award. Preston is Production Coordinator II for ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut. Preston’s love of sports brought her to ESPN where she worked long, grueling hours on a per diem basis until she was hired for her current permanent position. In 2008, Preston received a CableFax Award for X Games 13, Best Surprise Ending, SKB Big Air and in 2005 won an Emmy for Winter X Games 9, Outstanding Live Sports Special. Preston currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Johnstown High School Museum and manages the museum’s Facebook page which she created. She has also volunteered with Mountain Valley Hospice and helped to organize fundraisers and special events such as Kids Cope Camp. ESPN and Disney teamed up to sponsor a “Volunt-ears” program which allows employees to give back to the community with such activities as knitting scarves for the Special Olympic participants, helping families in Bristol who are in need over the winter holidays, and partaking in the sneaker recycling programs; all of which Preston participates.
The evening also included special recognition of FM’s Scholarship Program donors, student recipients, and outgoing board members of the College’s Foundation Board.
Keynote Speaker for the event was retired WRGB-TV news anchor Jack Aernecke. In his reporting career, Aernecke witnessed the start of the nation’s first college-based business incubator at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and reported on several entrepreneurs who converted their research into businesses resulting in significant companies. These companies settled in Tech Valley and are now employing hundreds of area people in well paying jobs. Aernecke was one of the first area reporters to see the potential for high-tech as a new economic force for the region and consistently covered the development and growth of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany along with the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars by high tech companies. Since retirement, Aernecke has maintained his interest in the local high-tech community.