Orange County Partnership - News

Awards, spoons at Orange Partnership Event

By Jessica Dinapoli
Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM - 12/10/12

SUNY Orange President Dr. William Richards accidentally brought a spoon up to the podium with him when he accepted an award at the Orange County Partnership's annual networking event Tuesday evening in New Windsor.

The spoon seemed like a classic absent-minded professor move, but ended up providing joke fodder for nearly the entire program.

After Richards accepted the Partnership's Spirit of Innovation Award for the college's new science, engineering and math building, another spoon made an appearance.

Commercial real estate broker John Lavelle brought the utensil up to the podium as he ushered in Mediacom CEO Rocco Commisso, the winner of the Alliance for Balanced Growth Golden Shovel award for his company's new Blooming Grove headquarters.

Commisso was sans spoon, but recommended that the real estate developers and brokers in the audience build a hotel next to his company's new headquarters. The new building will be a catalyst for economic development in the area, he said.

After the awards were given, Orange County Partnership CEO Halahan again thanked all the award winners, including Bill Kaplan, who accepted the Quality of Life Award for the Newburgh Armory Unity Center. Halahan raised a spoon to Richards.

Varney talks financial culture
The Partnership reprised cable news host Stuart Varney as the event headliner. He spoke at the Partnership's event in 2004.

The 2008 economic crisis changed the financial culture in the U.S., Varney said. Headlines about Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski's $6,000 shower curtain and the $1.2 million new office of the former Merrill Lynch CEO made people think negatively about capitalism.

That has pushed the idea of "fairness" into everyday dialogue, Varney said.

"Beware of this choice of language," Varney said. "It's played to great advantage."

The annual networking event is one of the biggest in the county. The event drew nearly 600 to Anthony's Pier 9.

Kaplan used the opportunity to hand out informational cards on the Newburgh Armory Unity Center.

Another Newburgh figure, "Ferry Godmother" Aquanetta Wright, was also in attendance. The Godmother's tiara, purple satin gown and fairy wings stood out among the suits and ties. Wright organizes concerts.

Eric Maldonado, the chair of The Orange County Chamber of Commerce's Young Professionals group, shared details of his new business venture. He's working on launching a new men's undershirt called the Nu-V. The shirt allows men to wear the tops of their dress shirts unbuttoned, without an undershirt showing.