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BCW Honors Business Leaders at Annual Hall of Fame Dinner

Standing: BCW Board Chairman Jamie Schutzer; BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon; Hall of Fame Co-Chairs Elizabeth Bracken-Thompson and Jim Giangrande; Chris Nyikos, CFO of Leros Point to Point; Mike Bass, COO of Leros Point to Point; and John Nyikos, Founder of Leros Point to Point; Seated: Iona University President Seamus Carey; Russel Yankwitt, Founder of Yankwitt LLP; Jennifer Flowers, Founder and CEO of Accreditation Guru Inc; National Resources President Joe Cotter; Yonkers Housing Authority President and CEO Wilson Kimball; Eric Eller, Chairman African American Men; and Jeff Nyikos, CEO/President of Leros Point to Point

Nearly 500 business leaders were on hand April 25th for the Business Council of Westchester’s Annual Hall of Fame Awards Dinner. This year’s program, which was held at the Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle, honored seven business leaders and organizations who have transformed their industries and added to the economic vitality of the region. The theme of this year’s awards ceremony was “The Year of Talent.’’

“We chose the theme of tonight’s event honoring the dynamic and innovative business leaders who have led their talented teams to outstanding success in their respective fields,’’ said Dr. Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester. “This illustrious group of winners joins more than 100 past winners which include some of the most prestigious business leaders and organizations. We are proud to continue this time-honored tradition in Westchester.’’

The winners in their respective categories were:

Corporate Citizenship: Iona University

With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 50,000 around the world, Iona University is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace, and service. With its main campus in New Rochelle, Iona offers undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. The Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation also offers degree programs and is available to all students across academic disciplines.

Entrepreneurial Success:  National Resources, Joe Cotter, President and CEO

National Resources has redeveloped over $2 billion of projects with some of the world’s largest capital partners. Most significantly, the company has been able to achieve these objectives while producing strong financial returns for investors. It is well known for its landmark Hudson River waterfront residences and its innovative iParks. Long before major real estate developers discovered the Yonkers waterfront, National Resources President Joe Cotter was a true pioneer, transforming the former Otis Elevator industrial complex into the iPark, a thriving workplace that includes the new Lionsgate Studios TV and film production complex.

Family Business Success: Leros Point to Point

Founded in 1983 by John Nyikos, his son Jeff Nyikos joined his father in 1993, and his son Chris Nyikos came into the business in 2000. Together, the Nyikos family has built Leros Point to Point into a transportation enterprise whose primary service area includes the tri-state area from South Jersey to eastern Connecticut and extends nationally and internationally. Under Jeff’s leadership as CEO, Leros has more than doubled in size in the past three years. Chris Nyikos followed a similar path and focused on the company’s financials, tracking company performance and keeping a keen eye on expenses and receivables.

 Minority Business Success: African American Men of Westchester

As a Not-For-Profit Charitable Organization, the African American Men of Westchester, Inc. (AAMW) does not fit the profile of a typical for-profit minority business.  However, the organization’s operations reflect many of the disciplines that have the objective of profitability. AAMW is committed to developing collaborative action to strengthen the economic, social and educational foundation of our communities. AAMW will provide program’s that address the underserved community in Westchester County, programs that benefit the county’s youth, women and the general public at large with a concentration on addressing financial literacy, social justice, educational advancement, human rights and environmental sustainability.

Small Business Success: Yankwitt LLP

Founded in 2009 by Russell Yankwitt, Yankwitt LLP is Westchester’s go-to law firm for high-stakes and bet-the-company litigation. The firm is powered by one of the most experienced litigation teams in the county and comprised exclusively of attorneys who worked for prestigious New York City law firms and served as federal law clerks or prosecutors or both. Yankwitt LLP represents businesses and high-net-worth individuals across a broad range of matters. The firm has a varied client roster, from household names such as Walgreens, to high-profile Westchester businesses, such as Regeneron and Million Air, to small family-owned businesses.

Women in Business Success:  Wilson Kimball, President and CEO, Yonkers Housing Authority

In three years as its leader, Wilson Kimball, President & CEO of the Yonkers Housing Authority, has reshaped the state’s 4th largest housing authority in many positive ways. In addition to overseeing a multi-million renovation of its more than 1,700 units of affordable housing in Yonkers, Kimball has made structural changes in the agency that improved communications with residents, bringing in more services and tackling anti-flooding and environmental beautification projects. She is also making a name for herself as an environmental advocate. She recently visited Washington to lobby for funds to promote sustainable housing and to position the Yonkers Housing Authority as an example of what can be done on a national level.

Chairman’s Recognition Award: Jennifer Flowers, Founder and CEO, Accreditation Guru Inc.

Accreditation Guru, Inc. is a certified woman-owned enterprise founded in September 2009 by Jennifer Flowers, MBA. Flowers and her team of 18 Accreditation Specialists focus on assisting nonprofits and human service organizations with navigating the complex process of gaining accreditation. Flowers’ road to being an entrepreneur began not with a whimper, but with a bang. In 2009, she found herself laid off from her job in Lower Manhattan. She decided to make a large sign about her plight, which said, “Laid-off Today 9:30 AM, Hire Me” and headed to nearby Federal Hall, where President Obama was due to give a speech about the economy. Her photo ended up on Reuters, circling the globe as one of the many faces of the recession.

The names of this year’s winners will be added to a plaque on display in the waiting area of the Westchester County Airport.

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