Monday, April 23, 2012 - 6:04am

Ernest J. Del Monte Sr., who passed away on April 21, served as chairman of the board of E.J. Del Monte Corp. He founded his company in 1953 and went on to establish Delcrete Building Systems, a division that manufactures hotels, hospitals and correctional facilities. But his name has been synonymous with hospitality excellence since 1974-when his business became a franchisee of Marriott International Inc.

The privately held company now employs more than 800 and has added 17 Marriott hotels to its portfolio to include Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott and Fairfield Inn by Marriott brands.

For his successful business contributions, Ernest J. Del Monte Sr. was named recipient of the 2012 Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award by Rochester Institute of Technology's E. Philip Saunders College of Business. He will be honored posthumously during a luncheon on May 3 at Oak Hill Country Club.

"Ernie Del Monte was a legend in hotel construction," says Saunders College Dean Ashok Rao. "His pre-built hotel rooms were fabricated and furnished in Mobile, Ala., and then shipped around the world to their final locations.

"On one occasion he loaded an entire seven-story hotel onto a ship and shipped it for reassembling as one might work with building blocks. His innovative approach saved building costs in the short-run and energy costs long-term. He owned Marriott franchises in New York and helped develop many properties, notably The Spa at Del Monte."

Del Monte served as a fighter pilot in the Air Force, attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, and is an honorary trustee at RIT.

RIT's Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award was created in 1984 and annually goes to a successful individual who developed a business that improved the Rochester economy or whose innovative management skills have changed the course of an existing business.

Past recipients include Douglas Brush, chairman and chief development officer, and Jim Brush, president and CEO of Sentry Group; William K. Pollock, founder, CEO and president of Optimation Technology; Kitty Van Bortel, president of the Van Bortel Group; James Hammer, president and CEO of Hammer Packaging Corp.; Richard Kaplan, president and CEO of Pictometry International Corp.; and Arunas Chesonis, chairman and CEO of PAETEC Corp.

To attend the Vanden Brul luncheon, contact Dana Pierce at 585-475-2199 or

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