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The Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award was created in 1984 through an endowment fund established by Mr. Vanden Brul in conjunction with RIT's Saunders College of Business. The award is presented annually to an individual or business that has improved the economic life of Greater Rochester or whose innovation management skills have changed the course of an existing business. The award recipient is selected by a committee of area civic and business leaders and RIT faculty.

June 28, 2017

Giovanni "John" LiDestri, owner and CEO of LiDestri Food and Drink, was named the 2017 Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award recipient.

In 2002, John LiDestri bought Cantisano Foods and changed the name to LiDestri Food and Drink. At that point, they were making spaghetti sauce and salsa and he decided to reinvent themselves. Today, they have expanded into the beverage and spirits industry, with brands such as Bai, an antioxidant infusion drink brand.

His commitment to LiDestri Food and Drink's employees and the Rochester community, while also delivering high quality products is the reason why he is honored with such an award.

For event photos, please check out our event photo highlight page

April 21, 2016

Thomas Bonadio, founder and chief executive of The Bonadio Group, was awarded the 2016 Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award.

As an active member in the Rochester community and visionary in the accounting industry, Thomas Bonadio encompasses all traits that Herbert W. Vanden Brul set out to recognize.

For photos of this event, please visit the event photo highlight page

April 21, 2015

Click to view galleryClick to read Smith's speech

Saunders College is excited that the Herbert W. Vanden Brul Award symbolizes the links that join RIT and the Rochester Business community. The 2015 Vanden Brul Award Honoree was John Smith, Chairman and CEO at Brite Computers. Read John Smith's full speech on "what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur."

Previous Winners

2016 Thomas Bonadio

The Bonadio Group

2015 John Smith Brite Computer
2014 Ron Ricotta and Mike Nuccitteli Century Mold and xxx
2013 Robert Morgan Morgan Management
2012 Ernest Del Monte Del Monte Corp.
2011 Doug and Jim Brush Sentry Group
2010 Bill Pollock Optimation Technology Inc.
2009 Kitty VanBortel VanBortel Subaru & VanBortel Ford
2008 Jim Hammer Hammer Packaging
2007 Dick Kaplan Pictometry International
2006 Arunas Chesonis Paetec Communications
2005 E. Philip Saunders

Griffith Energy

2004 Wayne LeChase LeChae Construction Services LLC
2003 Joe Lobozzo JML Optical
2002 Larry & Dennis Kessler Kessler Group
2001 Richard Sands Constellation Brands
2000 Christine Whitman


1999 Norman and Nelson Leenhouts

Home Properties of NY, Inc.

1998 Dilip Vellodi The Sutherland Group, LTD.
1996 Michael Hone & Jay Eastman PSC. Inc
1995 Valerie Mannix Mercury Print Productions, Inc.
1994 Charles and Burton August Monro Muffler Brake, Inc. 
1993 Richard Aab ACC Corp.
1992 Bal Dixit Newtex Industries
1991 Robert Wegman Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
1990 Klaus and Brigitte Gueldenpfennig Redcom Laboratories Inc.
1989 Louise Woerner HCR
1987 Tom Golisano Paychex, Inc.
1986 Max Farash The Farash Corporation
1985 Robert Hurlbut Vari-Care Inc.
1984 Herman Affel, Jr. and Jeffery Tai Computer Consoles Inc.