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2015 Distinguished Alumni Recipients
On Friday, November 20, the Foundation of FM honored Susanne Guttenberg and David Northrup at its Ninth Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner and Scholarship Recognition Ceremony held at Johnstown’s Holiday Inn.
Susanne Guttenberg, a 1977 graduate of FM, was born in Havana, Cuba. Her family left Cuba when she was a year old; Guttenberg spent her formative years between the Caribbean, the eastern seaboard, and New York City.
In her teen years, Guttenberg began modeling and graduated from a professional children’s school in New York City. She retired from the modeling profession when she met and married her husband, Paul, and moved to Amsterdam. When the youngest of their four children began school, Guttenberg fulfilled one of her longtime dreams; she applied and was accept to FM’s Nursing program.
Shortly after graduation, Guttenberg had the unique opportunity to become a member of the initial mental health team that established the culture of St. Mary’s hospital in-patient mental health unit.
Dave Northrup grew up in Amsterdam and graduated from high school there in 1964. He was a member of the first class to graduate FM in 1966.
After spending thirty years teaching English, Northrup is now enjoying a second career as a writer. His short stories have been published in both print and electronic journals, and a number have been collected and published (in 2013) under the title The Memory of Broken Things. This past year Northrup expanded his work to include nonfiction by editing a history entitled The Mohawk Valley originally written by Hugh Donlon, an Amsterdam newspaperman and columnist of the first half of the twentieth century. He is donating the proceeds from the sale of the Donlon book to the Walter Elwood Museum of the Mohawk Valley in Amsterdam. More information can be found at www.davenorthrupbook.com.
Northrup resides in Rochester, NY, with his wife Janet.
The evening included keynote speaker Rick Frasier, President of Frasier Enterprises Inc.; recognition of FM’s Scholarship Program donors and student recipients; and, special recognition of Paul Guttenberg, one of the key people in helping to promote and establish Fulton-Montgomery Community College.
2014 Distinguished Alumni Recipients
On Friday, November 14, the Foundation of FM hosted its Eighth Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner honoring graduates Terri G. Easterly ‘97, Wally Hart ’78, ’82-‘84, and Erik D. Wert, D.O., F.A.C.O.I. ’92.
Terri Easterly began at FM in 1980 taking secretarial courses, after which she began work as a secretary in Johnstown Knitting Mill Co. She relocated to San Diego, CA where she joined a law firm as a Legal Secretary and returned to Fulton County continuing her career but it was soon put on hold to raise two children (Matthew and Ashley).
Wanting to further her education, Easterly enrolled in FM’s business program where she earned Distinguished Graduate and was a member of PTK. She re-entered the workforce, earning her real estate license and joining Coldwell Banker, Arlene M. Sitterly, lnc. ln 2005, she became the co-owner of Coldwell Banker Arlene M. Sitterly, lnc. She was honored as Realtor of the Year in 2006-2007.
Easterly serves on the Nathan Littauer Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce serving as Chairwoman for the last three years and the City of Johnstown Planning Board. She is a member of the National Association of Realtors, Capital Region Board of Realtors, Capital Region Multiple Listings Services, the Fulton County Board of Realtors and Commercial and lndustrial Real Estate Brokers.
Easterly and her husband Bill live in Johnstown with their boys Banker, 8 year-old Golden Retriever and Zeus, an 18 month-old Leonberger. The Easterly’s are very excited and proud of their new grandson Landon William Halter who just turned two months old.
Wally Hart has been committed to the Fulton County community for over 20 years, and more as a business owner, community leader and resident. Currently he is Executive Director of the Lexington Foundation. His previous positions include serving as President and CEO of the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce and owner of the famous Wally’s Diner in Downtown Johnstown.
Hart returned to Fulton County in 1993 after a career in New York City working in the design and development business with clients that included Ralph and Ricki Lauren, Beverly Sills, Paul Simon, Calvin Klein and Nurit Kahani. He has committed himself to the community beginning with a five-year term on the Johnstown School Board beginning at age 19, also serving as the Board President. He has served on numerous boards and committees including the Johnstown Public Library, Fulton County EDC, Johnstown Business and Professional Association, Foundation of FM, Foothills Youth Services, St. John’s Church Vestry, Literacy Volunteers, Arkell Museum/Canajoharie Art Gallery, Nathan Littauer Hospital Foundation/Colonial Health Care,
Mohawk Valley Economic Development Council, Governor’s Small Business Task Force, Governor’s Healthcare Advisory Council, Business Council of NYS Board of Directors and others.
Together with husband Bill Crankshaw, they live in Gloversville where they enjoy entertaining and fundraising for a variety of organizations. Gardening, decorating, and renovations to their Historic home are full time activities.
Dr. Erik Wert attended FM as an Early Admission student, graduating in 1992 with an A.S. in Liberal Arts: Math & Science degree. He continued his education at Union College, Schenectady, graduating in 1995. During that time, he worked at General Electric Research and Development Center. He went on to Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in 2000 with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, completing his Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at McLaren Medical Center, Lansing, Michigan.
Following residency, Wert entered into private practice at Capital Internal Medicine Associates. He was the assistant and associate Medical Director for Internal Medicine Residency. Wert serves on multiple committees and retains the position of Pharmacy Director for McLaren Medical Center. He is currently enrolled at MSU School of Public Health to earn his Masters in Public Health.
Recently, Wert left private practice and joined the Ingham County Health Department as the Medical Director of the Community Health Centers. He also serve as the Deputy Medical Director of Public Health at Ingham County Health Department.
The evening included special recognition of FM’s Scholarship Program donors and student recipients. Keynote Speaker for the event was Pierre Alric, Foundation of FM Board member and a 2011 Distinguished Alumni recipient.
2013 Distinguished Alumni Recipients
Tom DiMezza is a lifelong resident of Montgomery County. Born and raised in Amsterdam, Tom graduated from Wilbur H. Lynch High School and earned an Associate’s degree in Accounting from FM in 1975 and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Russell Sage Colleges.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with the Third Infantry Division, 2nd /39th Field Artillery Unit in Schweinfurt Germany. Upon returning, DiMezza joined the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Corrections Department, moved on to road patrol; and, in 1980, joined the Amsterdam Police Department where he retired as a Detective Lieutenant in 2009.
DiMezza continued serving his community in many capacities; he was the Finance Officer for the Town of Amsterdam for ten years; and, in 2000 was elected the Town Supervisor. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and as Personnel Chairman. He served as bookkeeper of the Town of Glen and for the past 19 years, as the Clerk-Treasurer for the Village of Fultonville.
His memberships include the NYS Government Finance Officers Association, NYS Society of Municipal Finance Officers, NYS Municipal Clerk’s Association; Rotterdam Son’s of Italy, a 25-year member of the Elk’s Lodge 101 of Amsterdam, and Amsterdam Knights of Columbus Lodge 209. He has served on the Board of Education in both Amsterdam and the Fonda-Fultonville School Districts and currently serves on FM’s Land Acquisition Committee.
DiMezza is a Master Police Instructor and occasionally teaches at the Zone 5 Police Academy in Schenectady. Currently, he operates his own private investigation company, AAMS Investigations, which he named after his four children of whom Tom is so very proud: Amy DiMezza, Anthony DiMezza, Michael DiMezza, and Sarah Dennie. He is also the proud grandfather to three beautiful grandchildren: Gia, Enzo and Viviana. In July 2014, he and his wife, Kathleen, will celebrate their 34 year wedding anniversary
After graduating from FM in 1989, Hon. Traci DiMezza attended Siena College, where she earned her B.A. She went on to Quinnipiac University Law School earning a Juris Doctorate. After being admitted to the bar in January 1996, she began work as a criminal appellate attorney with the Schenectady County Public Defender’s Office. In the fall of ’96, DiMezza opened her own practice which concentrated in real property law, appellate law, and civil litigation. She was later trained and qualified to serve as a Fulton County Law Guardian, representing children and youth in a variety of family court proceedings.
In the fall of 2012, after 17 years of practice in her field, DiMezza became the very first woman to be elected as Gloversville City Court Judge. Her term runs from January 2013 through January 2023.
DiMezza is a member of Soroptomist International of Fulton County and serves as Chairperson to the Youth and Scholarship Committee. She is a member of the Gloversville Woman’s Alumni Club, dedicated to offering scholarship funds to young women in our area. Prompted by her passion for protecting the youth of our community, DiMezza created, and continues to sponsor the Gloversville Middle School’s “S.U.B CLUB” (Stand Up to Bullying), a monthly recognition program dedicated to raising awareness about the effects of bullying, and awarding students for their positive attitudes. She serves on the Executive Board for the Miss Fulton County Scholarship Organization which has proudly awarded over a quarter million dollars in scholarship money to young women in Fulton County. She is a member of the Woman’s Rosary Society of the Church of the Holy Spirit and she volunteers regularly at Friday’s Table, a food pantry and soup kitchen; a member of the American Association of University Women; and a member of Friends of the Gloversville Library.
Married for 15 years to her husband, Joe, they have two daughters, Honor and Ella.
Trudy J. Venette graduated FM in 1987, with Honors, with an A.A. in Liberal Arts. She continued her studies at Russell Sage earning a B.S. in Healthcare Administration, again with Honors, and was awarded the Richard Mattox Award for Outstanding Public Administration Student, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration with High Honors, graduating Cum Laude. Venette began as a nursing assistant, working her way up to Administrator and CEO in Long Term Care Corporations. She has Nursing Home Administrator Licenses in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Florida, Hawaii, and Texas.
Her career has dealt heavily with turn-around/transition management of Long Term Care facilities. She has taken the responsibility to change, and further develop, a number of facilities for both short and long term assignments. While in these under-performing facilities she has met with incredible challenges involving anything from foreclosure, Union strikes, and clinical declines, to general mismanagement issues; all of the facilities have met with tremendous success, both financially and clinically, and have received recognition on Local, State, Federal and corporate levels.
Venette has been interviewed and quoted in numerous publications, including The San Antonio Business Journal, and was on the cover of NSIDE MD. A resident of Helotes, Texas, her hobbies include photography, travel, and flipping houses.
The evening included special recognition of FM’s Scholarship Program donors and student recipients. Keynote Speaker was Dr. Govind Rao, Pediatrician and Philanthropist.
2012 Distinguished Alumni Recipients
Alexa Barnoski Serfis earned an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from FM in 1986. She continued to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from SUNY Oneonta, and both a Masters and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Alexa has been a Chemistry Professor at Saint Louis University (SLU) for 18 years. She has an established research program in biophysical chemistry, and many of her students (both graduate and undergraduate) have been co-authors on peer-reviewed publications. Her leadership roles are many, serving as the Director of Pre-Professional Health Studies, Director of Advising for the Medical Campus, and as Associate Dean in the Graduate School. She is a consistent role model and mentor to young women as she takes minority high school girls under her wing to work in her research lab. She has also developed a chemistry program for Girl Scouts in the St. Louis area which involves forensic science activities for their “Interest Project.”
Steven Serge graduated from FM in 1993 with an A.A.S. degree in Business Administration/ Management. Prior to this, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from SUNY Cortland. He graduated from the Advanced Management Institute through the YMCA of the U.S.A. and also earned Senior Director Certification. Since 1995, Steve has served as the Chief Executive Officer for The Fulton County YMCA where he provides visionary leadership and outstanding management for the multifaceted agency, with an annual budget of $2.8 million and an endowment of $1.5 million. He was the recipient of the National YMCA’s Association of YMCA Professionals (AYP) educational scholarship which financed his A.A.S. degree from FM; he is the two time recipient of AYP’s National Award of Administrative Excellence; and, he earned Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellowship Award by the Glove Cities Rotary Club, the highest honor awarded. Steve serves as both a member and officer of the Johnstown Hospital Foundation Board and the Wells Nursing Home. He is past club president and current board member for Glove Cities Rotary Club, and belongs to both Pine Brook Golf Club and Royal Mountain Ski Center.
Albert Turo graduated from FM in 1972 with a Liberal Arts and Sciences: General Studies (Math) Degree and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Math Education from SUNY Potsdam. His past careers included Math Teacher and Assistant Principal at St. Anne Institute in Albany; a sales rep at Sofco; Executive Director of Catholic Charities in Amsterdam; and currently, Vice President of Planning and Development at St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam where he is an enthusiastic partner and leader for initiatives that will improve the lives and the health of those who are less fortunate in our community. His community service is vast as he serves on boards for St. Mary’s Healthcare Foundation and Advisory Board, Albany Diocese Commission on Aging, Albany Diocese Peace and Justice Commission, Community Health Center of St. Mary’s Healthcare and Nathan Littauer Hospital, Advisory Board for Amsterdam Homeless Shelter, United Way of Greater Amsterdam, past president and current member of Amsterdam Rotary, and co-chair of Amsterdam Rotary’s Variety Show for 10 years, to name a few.
Keynote Speaker for the event was Jack Scott, President/General Manager of AM 1340 WENT Radio. Jack, a past Chair of the College’s Foundation Board, has served as a College Foundation board member since 2005. His keynote focused on the impact FM has made on our surrounding areas.
2011 Distinguished Alumni Recipients
On Wednesday, November 16, the Foundation of FM hosted its Fifth Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner honoring graduates Pierre Alric ’66, Angelo Graziane ‘75, and James Landrio ‘80.
Pierre Alric attended Fulton-Montgomery Community College from 1965-1966 and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University at Albany. He is an executive business professional with over 40 years experience in diverse markets. He is the proprietor of Pickett Memorial Company in Gloversville and has developed a consulting alliance to promote enterprises in both public and private sectors. His past professional positions include Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of NYS Higher Education Services Corporation; Director, Office of the Chairman, for National Education Loan Network; and Senior Legislative Staff in the NYS Assembly and Senate, to name a few. Pierre is current President of Association of Council Members and College Trustees of SUNY, serves on the Board of Trustees Executive Committee for LaSalle School in Albany, and is a member of Local Advisory Council for FMCC/HFM Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
Angelo Graziane graduated from Schenectady’s Linton High School and went on to earn an A.A.S. Business Administration Degree from FM in 1975 and a B.S. in Business Management and Economics from SUNY Empire State College. He served in the United States Army and is a Vietnam Veteran. Angelo’s 41-year work career was with the Golub Corporation (Price Chopper) where he started as a night crew employee, unloading boxes and stocking shelves, and retiring as a Regional Vice President for the corporation. Angelo has participated in many community affiliations and currently serves on two boards of directors; he is president of the Foundation Board of St. Mary’s Hospital and belongs to the Pine Brook Golf Club Board. An avid golfer, Angelo is a long-term member of the Rolling Hills Country Club. He and his wife, Jackie, reside in Fonda.
James R. Landrio earned an A.A.S. Business Administration Degree from FM in 1980 and an Innkeeper’s Degree from Holiday Inn University. His career at the Johnstown Holiday Inn began in 1973 where he now serves as General Manager; and, since 1989, has been named Executive Vice President of Crest Enterprises, Inc. His board of directors’ service to the community includes Fulton County Economic Development Corporation, Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Nathan Littauer Hospital Foundation. For the past ten years, Jim has served on FM’s Board of Trustees as both Vice Chairman (2006-2008) and Chairman (2008-2010). He has received past recognitions including both the Tourism Partner Award and the Presidents’ Award from Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce as well as the New York Community College Trustees Leadership Award. Jim and his wife, Kelly, reside in Gloversville.
The evening also included special recognition of FM’s Scholarship Program donors, student recipients, and outgoing Foundation Board Member Andrew Heck.
Keynote Speaker for the event was Johanna Duncan-Poitier, Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline for Community Colleges for the State University of New York (SUNY), the largest public higher education system in the United States.
2010 Distinguished Alumni Recipients
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.