Area Business Leaders Join Dr. Donna Fernandes at the Third Annual Wolcott J. Humphrey III Symposium

Four successful business leaders will kickoff the 2006 Wolcott J. Humphrey III Symposium on Leadership and Community Life November 2 at 4:00 pm at Genesee Community College’s Batavia Campus. Charles Cook, Steve Hyde, Michael C. Sawyer, and Randy White will share the secrets of their own success during a 90-minute panel discussion.

At 7:00 pm that evening, Donna Fernandes, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Buffalo Zoo, will deliver the keynote address “Change Management at the Buffalo Zoo – one of Western New York’s Many Treasures”. Her talk will focus on transformational leadership and why Western New York is such a great place to live and work.

Reservations for the Symposium may be made by calling the College at 585-345-6809. The fee is $25, which includes a buffet dinner at 5:30 pm.

The Symposium, founded in memory of Wolcott J. Humphrey, brings distinguished speakers to the College each year to speak about leadership. The Symposium’s purpose is to help current and aspiring business and civic leaders develop the skills necessary for leadership success.

The afternoon panelists are known for their business innovation:

• Charles Cook, of Liberty Pumps, is the President and CEO of this Rochester Top 100 Company, which is a leading domestic manufacturer of sump, sewage, and effluent pumps for the professional trade in North America. Produced in an efficient J.I.T. environment and ISO 9001 registered, the products are created in a highly advanced facility in Bergen, NY that houses corporate offices, design and research labs, and the manufacturing complex.
Photo of Cook is available at:

• Steve Hyde is the President and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), a county-wide economic/industrial development agency. Steve’s organization has helped make the Batavia Micropolitan Area (Genesee County) one of the fastest growing communities in the United States, including being ranked by Site Selection Magazine as the #1 fastest growing Micropolitan Community in the Northeast and #3 in the nation in 2005.
Photo of Hyde is available at:

• Michael C. Sawyer is Project Manager for Western New York Energy, LLC, a development stage company constructing a 50 million gallons per year capacity dry mill ethanol plant in Shelby, NY. The use of ethanol-blended fuel helps reduce the environmental impacts of gasoline consumption on our society.
Photo of Sawyer is available at:

• Randy White is President and CEO of J.N. White Designs, an industrial screen-printing company. Since purchasing J.N. White Designs in 1989, Randy has guided the company’s growth from annual sales of $400,000 to annual sales over $9,000,000 and the original staff of 19 now numbers over 100. During Randy’s tenure, the business has formalized a Strategic Plan and achieved ISO certification.
Photo of White is available at:

Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the event. Mary Pat Hancock, chair of the Genesee County Legislature, will moderate the panel discussion. Mrs. Hancock is expected to pose a variety of probing questions to the panelists about the methods they used to build their businesses over the years.

Photo of Gsell is available at:
Photo of Mrs. Hancock is available at:

The keynote speaker, Donna Fernandes, Ph.D., is the President and CEO of the Buffalo Zoo. Faced with an aging facility and declining attendance when she began her tenure at the zoo in September 2000, Dr. Fernandes began an aggressive campaign to rebuild the zoo’s longstanding reputation and physical assets. Under her leadership, the zoo underwent extensive renovations, resulting in a dramatic increase in community support, visitation, and membership.

In 2005, Dr. Fernandes was recruited to lead the Chaffee Zoo in Fresno, California. After only four months living and working in the Fresno area, Dr. Fernandes realized that many of Western New York’s assets – natural resources, cultural amenities, affordable housing, and more – were missing from her new locale. She agreed to return to Western New York and resume her position at the Buffalo Zoo. During her November 2 presentation, Dr. Fernandes will not only speak about her own innovative leadership style and her return to this region, but about the extensive resources Western New York offers to business owners, managers, and employees.

The Wolcott J. Humphrey III Symposium on Leadership and Community Life is named in honor of Mr. Humphrey, who died unexpectedly in 2001. As president of the former Pavilion State Bank and an active member of numerous civic organizations, Mr. Humphrey frequently spoke about the need for a forum where community and business leaders could hear and learn the world’s best ideas about leadership. The first symposium was held in 2003, and featured Syracuse University Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim, who spoke about leadership and perseverance.

Please note: A photograph of Donna Fernandes, Ph.D, is available at the following internet address: