Though it’s not always obvious or tangible, there’s a direct link between giving back to a community and meaningful success in business, attorney Timothy C. Leventry told those attending the Greater Johnstown Cambria County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame dinner on Friday.
Leventry, awards chairman, said the newest members of the 2016 Hall of Fame demonstrate the power of doing more than making money – or even creating jobs.
“Their legacy is not only contributions to the business community – providing leadership and jobs – but their involvement from a cultural standpoint – giving back or promoting the arts,” he said.
Event organizers – the chamber and Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania – honored a diverse class joining the Business Hall of Fame this year: arts advocate E. Jeanne Gleason, apparel-manufacturing company leader Joseph Mangarella, Emmy award winning media businessman Frank Quitoni and GapVax founders Gary and Rose Poborsky, who also are the first husband-and-wife team to be inducted together.
Gleason, whose efforts focused on arts and education, said a thriving arts sector is part of a healthy economy, and it’s a sector that she said employs around 300 people locally.
Gleason’s been a pioneer for those causes for decades, managing the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra in the 1980s and stepping into the role of founding director of the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance, which covers 22 counties. She’s been trustees’ board chairwoman and CEO of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and a member of several arts-related organizations in Pittsburgh. In 1992, she and Dr. Alan T. Comp co-founded AMD and ART Inc., a nonprofit aimed at combining design arts and industrial abandoned mine drainage reclamation work, creating a model in Vintondale.
Frank Quitoni, who owns PEAK Media of Pennsylvania, a business that owns and operates FOX and ABC stations in Johnstown, Altoona and State College, brought stories from a groundbreaking career in television sports and news on an international scale.
He also brought a video, highlighting Johnstown’s history, resilience and hope for the future.
Quitoni served as director of Olympic operations for CBS Sports for the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in France. He then was contracted to consult for CBS for the 1994 Winter Olympic Games, and both undertakings won him Technical Achievement Emmy awards. His career also included posts at stations across the country and oversight of noteworthy coverage, including the first live broadcast from Vietnam and and the TWA flight 847 hijacking in Lebanon.
Mangarella, as well as Gary and Rose Poborsky, praised the employees who helped them turn businesses into success stories.
“I don’t know how to begin to thank the over 2,500 people that crossed our doors,” he said. “My parents always said a company is a corporate citizen and, as such, has an obligation to give back the the community. We always kept that in the forefront, to do the most we could for the community because that’s where we lived and where our hearts were.”
Mangarella’s parents – a mechanic and a sewing machine operator – moved his family from Queens, New York, to Hastings to start an apparel manufacturing plant, Carol Ann Apparel, which eventually landed a contract with Liz Claiborne Inc.
Gary and Rose Poborsky, whose companies GAP Pollution and Environmental Control Inc. and GapVax together employ more than 300, shared the story of their company’s start: cleaning mud left by the 1977 flood, a concept that would grow to transform their family’s life.
Gary said his biggest advantage always has been his wife and business partner, Rose, and perseverance pays off.
“You just have to do the best you can do each day,” Gary said. “Young kids – if you have a passion, if you feel good about it and work hard at it, no matter what you do, in life you’ll be successful.”
Chamber Chairman Robin Quillon, publisher of The Tribune-Democrat, said joining the other 95 Business Hall of Fame members is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a business leader in the region. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the chamber and Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania.
“They are chosen because they have made outstanding contributions to free enterprise and have set new standards for future business leaders while serving as role models for young people,” Quillon said. “Their accomplishments demonstrate business excellence, courageous thinking and actions, vision and innovation, and community mindedness.”