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Crystal Ball

Central New York Sales & Marketing Executives annually bestows the prestigious Crystal Ball Award to a local businessperson or group of business people for contributions to the sales and marketing profession and for their endeavors in the areas of community development and support.

Who do you know that is qualified to be the next Crystal Ball Award recipient?

The criteria for Crystal Ball recognition includes:

  • Chief Executive Officer, President or Director of a CNY business
  • A person who’s visibly impacts the progress and prosperity of CNY
  • A leader who demonstrates commitment to superior quality and professionalism
  • Someone who expresses initiative and innovative thinking
  • A person who fosters excellence in their industry
  • Having a record in the CNY region of involvement in community and civic organizations
  • Demonstrates and practices an appreciation of the sales and marketing industry by
    • Vital sales and marketing approaches
    • Advocacy of the sales and marketing professionals

Who do you know that is qualified to be the next Crystal Ball Award recipient? Nominate her/him today!

If you’re interested in becoming part of the Crystal Ball/Sales & Marketing Excellence Awards committee, let us know.

Past Crystal Ball Recipients

Laura Serway
CNY Proprietress & Philanthropist

Laura Serway is a serial entrepreneurial executive with more than 35 years of experience managing and training consultative sales, marketing, communication and business development at the local, regional and corporate level for media companies.

Serway has lent her motivational management style to dozens of local non-profits including, but not limited to, AccessCNY, Salvation Army, Vera House, WISE Women’s Business Center, American Heart Association, Women United and Priscilla Mahar Animal Welfare Foundation. Laci’s Tapas Bar has also gave away over $125,000 to nine different non-profits in Onondaga County during throughout its years in business.

Mark Re
Mark Re, Vice President and Regional Manager, CRB, CRS, GRI; Howard Hannah Real Estate

Since becoming a real estate associate in 1980, Mark has sought the very best in himself on a professional level. Mark has a B.S. in Human Resource Management and Law & Public Policy from Syracuse University. An A.S. in Business from Onondaga Community College and is Vice President and Regional Manager of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services Central New York & Northern New York Regions.

Mark is a Licensed Real Estate Broker and holds the ABR, CBR, CEA, CRB, CRS and GRI designations, has served as President of the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors as well as President of the Central New York Information Services for several years.  Mark is an approved Instructor for the New York State Association of Realtors and serves on the “Leading Edge Advisory Board” of the National Association of Realtors.

Mark has earned the “Realtor of the Year Award” and twice received the “Realtor Broker/Manager of the Year Award” from the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors” as well as their “Good Neighbor Award.” He received Chicago’s Nationwide Real Estate Recruiting Network “Recruiter of the Year Award” and most recently the New York State Association of Realtors “Community Service Award.”

Mark has served on a number of not-for-profit boards including Onondaga Community College, Upstate Medical University Hospital, Crouse Health Hospital, Community General Hospital, Cortland Repertory Theatre, Salt City Center for the Performing Arts, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and The Salvation Army Advisory Council.  Mark was presented the Customer Service Award from the United Way of Central New York for outstanding contributions to the community.  In October, 2018, Mark was bestowed the Onondaga Community College Alumni Faces Award.

Kimberly Boynton
Kimberly Boynton, President and Chief Executive Officer; Crouse Health

Kimberly Boynton serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Crouse Health, as well as Vice President of the Crouse Health Foundation. She began her career at Crouse in 1998, and prior to her appointment as CEO in January 2014, had served as Chief Financial Officer since 2003.

A graduate of The Franciscan Academy in Syracuse, Boynton holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Accounting from Niagara University and a Master of Business Administration from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management.

A Syracuse native, she is actively involved in the community, currently serving as president of University Hill Corporation. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Healthcare Association of New York State; Greater New York Hospital Association; Iroquois Healthcare Alliance; Syracuse 20/20; CenterState CEO; SRC, Inc.; AAA of Western and Central New York; and Christian Brothers Academy. She is also a member of the Morrisville State College President’s Advisory Council. She previously served as Board President of the United Way of Central New York and Board Treasurer of Catholic Charities, and was a member of the board of directors of Elmcrest Children’s Center; American Red Cross; Crouse Hospital Auxiliary; and the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Site.

Boynton has received many civic and business accolades, including, the 2016 Zonta Crystal Award; the Women Who Make America Award in 2015; Leadership Greater Syracuse’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2014; the 2012 Girl Scouts of America Women of Distinction Honoree; and in 2009, the CFO of the Year Award and the Bernard J. Lawler Leadership Award from Catholic Charities.

Boynton resides in Syracuse with her husband, Charles Boynton, a retired Syracuse Fire Department Lieutenant who serves as Men’s Hockey Coach at Onondaga Community College, and their son, Henry William.

Philip R. Van Horne
Philip R. Van Horne, Chairman & CEO; BlueRock Energy

Phil Van Horne serves as the President and CEO of BlueRock Energy, a privately held energy solutions company based in Syracuse, New York, that provides electricity, natural gas and renewable energy products to small and medium-sized businesses across New York State. Phil founded BlueRock Energy in 2003 and under his leadership the company has solidified its position as a leading provider of energy solutions built around specific business needs.

His 35 years of energy experience includes executive leadership, energy trading and marketing, contract negotiation and administration, wholesale back office operations, interconnection, power system planning and systems development.

Prior to establishing BlueRock Energy, Phil was President and COO for Niagara Mohawk Energy Marketing, Inc., where he oversaw all aspects of operations for unregulated retail and wholesale natural gas and electricity. Early in his career, Phil worked for General Electric, where he was involved with utilities nationwide on a range of planning and strategic issues.

He is a founding member, past Chairman, Executive Committee and Board of Directors member of the National Energy Marketers Association and is a member of IEEE. He holds a BSEE and MSEE from Clarkson University.

Allen J. Naples
Allen J. Naples, President; M&T Bank, CNY Division

Before Naples joined M&T, he served six years as executive VP and regional president of HSBC Bank USA.

Throughout Naples’ 24-year career with HSBC, he has served as regional president, senior corporate lender, senior project manager, and area executive.

Naples has worked in the banking industry for 42 years, he says.

Naples is a 1969 graduate of Jamesville-DeWitt High School. He then spent three years at Alfred University before transferring to Syracuse University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in personnel and industrial relations in 1973.

As his career progressed, Naples also participated in training and earned banking certificates at the West Point Management School of Career Development; University at Buffalo; University of Virginia Graduate School of Retail Bank Management; and the Hong Kong Shanghai Corporate Center for Advanced Management Skills.

Robert J. Daino
Robert J. Daino, President and CEO; WCNY Public Media

Robert J. Daino, president and CEO of WCNY Public Media, is an innovative entrepreneur, a community provider/leader and a volunteer.  Daino’s made a tremendous effort to revitalize the Central New York community.

As President and CEO of WCNY, he has renovated a factory building on the Near West Side to be a state-of-the-art collaborative work space and integrated green technology.  He included in the renovation Enterprise America, a learning center where middle and high school students can learn about true life strategies in a city-like environment.

Daino also spearheaded Centralcast, LLC, the first collaboration of its kind within PBS that serves as a cost-savings model for the entire PBS system. This groundbreaking approach for the delivery of television content provides as many as 200 streams of television that can be delivered across the country, managed directly from WCNY’s Broadcast and Education Center in Syracuse. This innovative system controls the content for all stations in New York and New Jersey, WHYY in Philadelphia, WTVI in Charlotte, along with an upcoming launch for PBS Hawaii.

Of his many volunteer efforts, one of the most notable is his work with the Syracuse Symphony to rebrand, restructure and launch what is now Symphoria.

Howard Dolgon
Howard Dolgon, Owner, President, CEO, Team Governor; Syracuse Crunch

Howard Dolgon, owner, president, CEO and team governor of the Syracuse Crunch is a 25-year veteran of communications and marketing, Dolgon was a founding member of Alan Taylor Communications Inc., the country’s leading independent sports public relations agency. Dolgon has created and implemented numerous award-winning programs for a variety of corporations including MasterCard International, General Mills and Diageo.

Dolgon is a member of the American Hockey League’s Executive Committee and received the James C. Hendy Memorial Award as the outstanding executive in the AHL for the 2009-10 season. In addition to Crunch hockey, he has also promoted NBA preseason games and world-class boxing in Syracuse as well as many other sporting events around the world.

A graduate of Brooklyn College, Dolgon is a visiting professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and a member of the board of advisors for the school’s sport management program.

Peter E. Belyea
Peter E. Belyea, President; CXtec and TERACAI

Belyea has been with the company for over 23 years, serving in many roles including VP of Sales and Marketing, overseeing CXtec’s CABLExpress® division where he spearheaded the development, production and sale of industry-leading high performance data center cabling products. He was the catalyst behind innovative go-to-market strategies in all of these divisions. From the creation of the Networks Now Catalog, the company’s initial website launch, the equal2new branding strategy to the current social media marketing plans. The combination of these marketing techniques and his experience in sales helped him succeed in significant growth in every division he has led. Belyea also served as the Sponsoring Executive and Vice President of TERACAI during its launch, development and growth as a start-up Cisco Silver partner. In the first 12 months, Belyea managed them to revenues exceeding $35 million.

During his tenure, CXtec has been included on VARBusiness Magazine’s annual roster of “North America’s Top 500 Technology Integrators” every year since 2001. In 2011 TERACAI also joined this list during its first year of eligibility. Additionally, Belyea was named to CRN’s list of “30 Notable IT Executive Moves” in 2011. He is an active community member as well as a board member and past president of the Central New York Sales and Marketing Executives. He has served on the Chittenango School Board for 13 years, six of which as president.

Dr. Debbie L. Sydow
Dr. Debbie L. Sydow, President; Onondaga Community College

Dr. Debbie L. Sydow is the 7th president of Onondaga Community College, a comprehensive community college of more than 12,000 students and one the largest community colleges in the State University of New York (SUNY) system.

Dr. Sydow has guided record enrollment growth, expansion and renovation of College facilities, and numerous transformational projects, including strategic enrollment management and centralized enrollment services, new articulation agreements with four-year colleges, a Regional Higher Education Center, a sustainability program, and an Arts Across Campus series. Dr. Sydow began her career at Southwest Virginia Community College as an English professor, and later, as Dean of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division, where she initiated programs in faculty development, outcomes assessment, and distance education. She previously served as Vice President of Academic and Student Services, and for a time as Acting President, at Mountain Empire Community College.

Dr. Sydow earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, a Master of Arts degree in English from Marquette University, and a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She completed post-graduate work in community college administration at Virginia Tech and is an alumna of the American Council on Education’s Fellows program.  An active professional and civic leader, Dr. Sydow is a Commissioner of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and serves on several community and corporate boards. She previously served as President of the New York Community College Association of Presidents, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Community College Development at Cornell University, and as Chair of the American Council on Education’s Commission on Leadership and Institutional Effectiveness.

John Stage, Founder and CEO of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que began his career in cooking out on the open road. In 1983, John and two partners started the business by cutting a 55 gallon drum in half to form a makeshift barbeque and hit the road—catering to motorcycle shows, fairs, and festivals up and down the east coast.

In 1988, tired of the gypsy lifestyle, Stage decided to settle in Syracuse, NY, where he opened his first Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurant. In the following years, Stage has expanded with locations in Rochester, NYC and the latest, Troy.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que has gained a reputation far and wide for serving some of the best BBQ in the country with a vibrant and lively setting. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que’s menus are firmly rooted in the traditions of southern barbecue and influenced by flavors that give Dino BBQ’s dishes their own distinctive character. “That’s one of the secrets of great barbecue,” says Stage, “staying committed to tradition, but finding your own stamp and signature.”

John Stage has built Dinosaur Bar-B-Que into a nationally known brand that includes a catering division complete with mobile barbeque rigs. Dinosaur’s line of award-winning BBQ sauces and rubs is available in Whole Foods. Additionally, Stage is the author of a successful cookbook, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse (Ten Speed Press; 2001) that has sold over 175,000 copies and was voted cookbook of the year by the National BBQ Association.

Marketing Dinosaur Bar-B-Que has been less about marketing a concept than marketing what all people want when they go out to eat: great food and genuinely warm hospitality. Being true to what he believes, John has made the pursuit of pairing these 2 things together the driving force behind the success of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

Peter Coleman, a Tipperary Hill publican (saloonkeeper) for over 50 years, is well known not only for his innovative marketing of his Authentic Irish Pub, but also for his leadership in preserving the character of Tipperary Hill in Syracuse. Peter has purchased and refurbished several properties on Tipperary Hill for rental properties and has spearheaded efforts to create green space parks complete with monuments that reflect the heritage of Tipperary Hill residents. Monuments like the Stonethrower’s Monument in Tipperary Hill Memorial Park just below the famous “green-on-top” traffic light; a monument to Ukrainian Freedom fighter Taras Schevchenko in front of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church; the Celtic Cross at the foot of Tipperary Hill and a monument to Peter’s friend, Syracuse jeweler Jerry Wilson in Wilson Memorial Park. Most recently Peter purchased Rosie O’Grady’s and transformed it into a popular sports bar renamed Rosie’s Sports Pub and Grill at the gateway to Tipperary Hill. Congratulations Peter!

Ed Levine, President and CEO of Galaxy Communications, LP, is the winner of the 2009 Crystal Ball Award. This prestigious award is bestowed annually by the Central New York Sales and Marketing Executives (CNYSME) to a local businessperson or group of business people for contributions to the sales and marketing profession, and for efforts and work in the areas of community development and support. 2009 marks the 33rd anniversary of the Crystal Ball Award.

Levine’s ownership career began in 1990 with the signing on of WKLL in Utica-Rome and the creation of The Radio Corporation. He later added new partners and the company transitioned into Galaxy Communications, LP. Galaxy currently owns 14 stations in Syracuse and Utica-Rome. In Syracuse: WTKW/WTKV (TK 99 and TK 105); WKRL/WKRH (100.9 and 106.5 K-Rock), WSCP AM (1070), WZUN (Sunny 102), WTLA/WSGO (1200AM and 1440AM). In Utica, the stations are: WOUR (96.9); WKLL (94.9 K-Rock); WUMX (Mix 102.5), WSCP AM (1070), WIXT AM (1230), WRNY AM (1350) and WTLB (1310AM, The Game). As a locally owned and operated company, Levine and his staff compete against large, national companies in both markets (Clear Channel, Citadel, and Regent). In spite of this, Galaxy Communications is the #2 cluster in both ratings and revenue in both markets with annual revenue of $10 million.

John MacDougall, Owner, President and CEO of Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, is the winner of the 2008 Crystal Ball Award. This prestigious award is bestowed annually by the Central New York Sales and Marketing Executives (CNYSME) to a local businessperson or group of business people for contributions to the sales and marketing profession, and for efforts and work in the areas of community development and support.

Ray Halbritter, who also serves as CEO of the Nation’s multiple enterprises, including Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, was selected for the honor because of his vision and commitment to the economic health of the Oneida Nation and Central New York.

The Oneidas now employ nearly 5,000 people with an annual payroll of about $110 million, and are the third-largest employer in the 16 counties of Central New York. Since 1990, through its spending on payroll, outside vendors, construction and capital improvements, the Oneida Nation has invested some $2 billion in the regional economy.

The success of their enterprises has made possible a number of programs and benefits for Oneida members, including a health center and national health insurance, tuition assistance and other education incentives, social programs for elders, day care for children, language and culture programs for all ages, and an innovative home ownership program.

In addition, the Oneidas have a 20-year history of contributing in significant ways to neighboring communities and of charitable giving on a regional and national scale.

For the past two decades, since they first began to have the resources to do so, the Nation has shared its success in a variety of ways with its Central New York neighbors, in Indian Country, and nationally, as is dictated by their cultural heritage.

Halbritter has been a leader of the Oneida Nation since 1975 and has been in charge of its business development since 1990. Under his leadership, the Nation started a high-stakes bingo hall on its 32-acre reservation in the mid-1980s, then, after passage of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, negotiated a gaming compact with New York State that allowed the Nation to open Turning Stone.

Turning Stone opened in 1993 as a modest casino with a few dozen table games, a coffee shop and a buffet restaurant. It was always envisioned as the economic vehicle that would help the Oneidas transform their own economy, while contributing to that of Central New York, as well. In fact, as the area continued a loss of manufacturing jobs, Turning Stone became a much more significant factor in the region’s employment base and in the tourism and marketing efforts for Central New York.

Over the past 13 years, Halbritter has guided the growth of Turning Stone into a world-class destination resort that includes more than a dozen restaurants, retail shops, two entertainment venues that attract national and international headliners, state-of-the-art meeting facilities, and more than 700 hotel rooms, including a luxury all-suites hotel, The Lodge at Turning Stone, which is AAA Four Diamond rated.

The Resort has three championship-quality golf courses by three of the top golf course designers in the world. Atunyote Golf Club, the Tom Fazio-designed course, served as the emergency host for the B.C. Open in July and will kick off the PGA TOUR’s Fall Series with the Turning Stone Resort Championship in September 2007.

While Turning Stone has been the cornerstone of the Nation’s economic development initiatives, drawing more than 4.5 million visitors a year, Halbritter also has guided a diversification plan to solidify and strengthen the Nation’s economic base. The Nation’s various enterprises include the SavOn chain of gas stations and convenience stores; a fishing lodge; Four Directions Media Inc., which comprises Indian Country Today, a high-definition audio-video studio, a recording company, an American Indian talent database, an HD video and animation production company; a historical production company; marinas; and an agriculture program that includes the second-largest Black Angus herd in the Northeast.

Company Recipient Year
CNY Proprietress Laura Serway 2021
Howard Hannah Real Estate Mark Re 2019
Crouse Health Kimberly Boynton 2018
BlueRock Energy Philip VanHorne 2017
M&T Bank Allen Naples 2016
WCNY Public Media Robert Daino 2015
Syracuse Crunch Howard Dolgon 2014
CXtec & TERACAI Peter E. Belyea 2013
SUNY Onondaga Community College Dr. Debbie Sydow 2012
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que John Stage 2011
Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub Peter Coleman 2010
Galaxy Communications, LP Ed Levine 2009
Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes John MacDougall 2008
Oneida Indian Nation Ray Haltritter 2007
Syracuse University Nancy Cantor 2006
Syracuse New Times Art Zimmer 2005
Raymour & Flanigan Furniture Steven Goldberg 2004
Raymour & Flanigan Furniture Neil Goldberg 2004
Raymour & Flanigan Furniture Michael Goldberg 2004
Alliance Bank, NA Jack H. Webb 2003
CXtec William G. Pomeroy 2002
Clear Channel Communications Joel Delmonico 2001
Time Warner Cable Mary Cotter 2000
SUNY Health Science Center Gregory L. Eastwood, MD 1999
Burdick Companies John Burdick 1998
Burdick Companies David Burdick 1998
Burdick Companies Roger Burdick 1998
Jos. J. Pietrafesa Co. Joseph Pietrafesa 1997
Jos. J. Pietrafesa Co. Richard Pietrafesa 1997
Eastern Paramedics Martin A. Yenawine 1996
The Bennett Funding Group, Inc. The Bennett Family 1995
Rescue Mission Clarence Jordan 1994
Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. William J. Donlon 1993
ONBANCorp, Inc. Robert J. Bennett 1992
The Pyramid Companies Robert & Suzanne Congel 1991
C.E. Chappell & Sons Charles A. Chappell, Jr. 1990
Metropolitan Development Assoc. Irwin Davis 1989
City of Syracuse Thomas G. Young 1988
Fleet Bank Frederick “Doc” Schwartz 1987
Centro Warren H. Frank 1986
Syracuse China Corporation Chester Amond 1985
Eric Mower & Associates Eric A. Mower 1984
Syracuse Newspapers Stephen Rogers 1983
Unity Mutual Life Insurance Co. John F.X. Mannion 1982
Syracuse University Dr. Melvin A. Eggers 1981
Agway, Inc. Ronald A. Goddard 1980
Fay’s Drugs Henry A. Panasci, Jr. 1979
Green Hills Farms Enterprises Keith Hawkins 1978
Cultural Resources Council Dr. Joseph Golden 1977
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