"It's a passion; I love the art of making a deal," says Robert Morgan, who is widely known for his multimillion-dollar real estate projects in the Rochester market and across the country as CEO and founder of Morgan Management LLC.
In recognition of his more than 30 years of business success in the Rochester community, the E. Philip Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology has named Morgan as recipient of the 2013 Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award. He will be honored at an award luncheon on April 16 at Genesee Valley Club.
After founding his business in 1979, Morgan underwent a life-changing event when he was shot in the back while operating the cash register at his parent's seafood business on Plymouth Avenue in January 1991. At 33 years old, he learned the bullet had damaged his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
"Bob is an inspiration to us all," says dt ogilvie, Saunders College dean. "He pursued his dream and has made a tremendous contribution to the Rochester community-building a significant business that has given jobs to the Rochester community, building projects that give people good housing options, and making philanthropic contributions of his time, advice and resources to area organizations and causes."
Morgan Management's philosophy to "Make Yourself at Home" has become a driving force for real estate success-with a portfolio that includes more than 20,000 units in multi-family property and new development in manufactured housing, recreational vehicle resorts, commercial office buildings and shopping plazas.
The firm's plans to help revitalize downtown Rochester has remained in the forefront: A collaboration with Christa Development Corp. on recently completed renovations to the Strathallan Hotel, a partnership with Buckingham Properties LLC to redevelop the 17-story Tower at Midtown (set for construction in August), and new plans to purchase land between the Genesee River and South Avenue to construct a $20 million, 100-unit luxury apartment complex.
"We want to beautify the area and the building will have an underground parking garage and the city is considering a promenade," Morgan explains. "I'm a 24/7, hands-on kind of guy and follow my projects from start to finish because I believe in going the extra mile. When I develop a building project, I think of the customer first-to make sure it's user friendly, safe and convenient."
Morgan Management employs 950 people in the Perinton-based office (76 in satellite offices)-including his wife, Robyn, director of human resources, and son, Todd, who works as project manager. Morgan's daughter, Lacey, works as a financial analyst at Moody's in New York City.
Morgan received his real estate calling at an early age. "I grew up in a neighborhood of Italian builders and I couldn't believe what they were doing with nearby apartment projects. I just loved watching people make something out of nothing-take a piece of land and at the end of the day have 300 apartments on it. I would say to myself, 'When I grow up, I want to do something like this.' And actually now I own all the properties that they built."
Morgan, who is on the board of the University of Rochester Medical Center and Nazareth College Board of Trustees, says it was both a surprise and an honor to be considered for the Vanden Brul Award. "I went to RIT for 3 1/2 years, but didn't graduate," says Morgan. "I was just too eager to jumpstart my career, but what I learned there helped shape my future."
The 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 Vanden Brul recipients include the late Ernest J. Delmonte Sr., E.J. Del Monte Corp.; Douglas Brush and Jim Brush, Sentry Group; William K. Pollock, Optimation Technology; and Kitty Van Bortel, Van Bortel Group.
To attend the Vanden Brul luncheon, contact Dana Pierce at 585-475-2199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: One of nine colleges at RIT, the E. Philip Saunders College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB International) and enrolls more than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students. Saunders College and its entrepreneurial Venture Creations Incubator work in partnership with RIT's Albert J. Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship to integrate business education with RIT's world-leading technical and creative programs. Graduate programs include Master of Business Administration, MBA-Accounting, Executive MBA and master's degrees in finance and administration.