It was a night to reflect on leadership and legacies as the Westchester County Association held its 72nd annual dinner Nov. 17 in the ballroom of the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown.
More than 450 movers and shakers gathered as the association, a driving force in the county’s business and economic development, honored three men whose gifts and vision have respectively shaped real estate, health care and municipal government here – Robert P. Weisz, president and CEO of the RPW Group Inc., Anthony Viceroy, president and COO of Summit Health, and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.
“What makes Westchester special is the talent of the people, and the WCA represents the best of the best,” Westchester County Executive George Latimer said in remarks that addressed leading in an age of uncertainty. “In this room, and in the three leaders you are honoring, there is talent in every field of endeavor. These honorees have learned what the true challenge of leadership is, which is to adapt to changing times. I learn every day from your examples. Thank you for all that you have done.”
Added Michael N. Romita, the WCA’s president and CEO: “The honorees… are strategic thinkers who seize opportunities, drive investment and play an essential role in strengthening economic vitality in Westchester. It is our honor to recognize their achievements and efforts to shape Westchester’s future.”
Weisz – whose commercial property firm has put its stamp not only on Westchester with such sleek, magisterial buildings as 1133 Westchester Ave. in White Plains and 800 Westchester Ave. in Rye Brook but on the tristate area – received the Alfred B. DelBello Visionary Award. Named for the late Westchester County Executive and New York state lieutenant governor, the DelBello award was presented by his widow, Dee, CEO and publisher of Westfair Communications Inc., parent company of the Westchester and Fairfield County Business Journals; and Weisz’ son Andrew, the RPW Group’s executive vice president.
“I came to this country (from Uruguay) looking for opportunities, and this country delivered to me – and so many others – the American dream,” Robert Weisz said of his immigrant journey. “In the environment we are in today is the time to remember that what we have in common is so much greater than what separates us. United is how we must move forward, because the best days are still ahead of us.”
Attendee Sonia Martinez, associate director of public relations and community engagement at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, was moved by Weisz’s backstory and by his saying that while he has no intentions of retiring, he’s happy to know the company would be in capable hands with son Andrew.
Legacy was also very much evident in the acceptance speech of three-term Yonkers Mayor Spano – who could run for a fourth term if a proposed charter amendment to extend term limits for the mayor and city council is approved.
“Today we have $5 billion in economic development sitting in the ground, 4,000 new units of housing built or being built and new film studios being built in the next year or so,” Spano said of his time in office. “Yonkers is a great place where you want to live, work, raise a family and make an investment – a place you would want to make your home.”
But in looking back, honorees and WCA officials were, of course, looking ahead as well.
Anthony Viceroy received the WCA Leadership Award from WCA Vice President Amy Allen for his role in attracting a major new player to Westchester’s $18-billion health-care ecosystem – Summit Health.
“Over the last few years, we’ve seen extraordinary events and challenges unfold,” Viceroy said. “As a community, we know how to face these challenges, and we’ve worked together to overcome them. I’m confident about the future for our region. In this room, we have so many great organizations and leaders who innovate, inspire and work together toward the vitality of our community. Through the leadership of the WCA, we have a forum and a voice to make a real difference.”
Susan Fox, WCA board chair and president and CEO of White Plains Hospital, offered similar sentiments:
“Throughout the WCA’s history, we have learned that so much can be accomplished when passionate, motivated people come together and work together to better their community. As Westchester settles into its new economic normal, the WCA will continue to lead the way, facilitating opportunities that will drive impactful economic development.”
For more, click here. www.westchester.org.