For Release — Monday, May 10, 1999
RAYMOND T. SCHULER HONORED
AS VISIONARY BUSINESS LEADER
AS COUNCIL'S BUILDING IS RENAMED IN
ALBANY—Raymond T. Schuler, founding president of The Business Council, was honored today as one of the most important 20th-century business leaders in New York State at ceremonies during which The Council's landmark Albany headquarters building was renamed in his honor.
A plaque renaming 152 Washington Avenue "The Schuler Building" was unveiled at a late-morning ceremony attended by past and present leaders of state government and New York's business community. Lieutenant Governor Mary Donohue, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings participated in the ceremony.
The building was a long-time Albany eyesore until it was renovated by a partnership led by Schuler and became The Business Council's headquarters in 1981. Today it is a recognized Albany landmark at the corner of Washington Avenue and Dove Street, two blocks west of the state Capitol.
Schuler was cited today for his leadership role both in the creation of The Business Council and the renaissance of The Schuler Building.
Presenting a proclamation from Governor Pataki, Lieutenant Governor Mary Donohue said Schuler "has been as important as anyone in making New York State a better place." She said Schuler had helped forge The Business Council into an organization known for contributing "stellar ideas" to public-policy debate.
Today, she added, The Council has come to be "widely regarded as the nation's most influential state-level business organization."
"Ray Schuler revolutionized the relationship between state government and private-sector leaders," Governor Pataki said in a citation released today and presented at the ceremony by Lieutenant Governor Mary Donohue. "Through the good work of the organization he founded, Ray Schuler has created a clearer vision for a better tomorrow and has helped the Empire State achieve that vision," the Governor added.
Schuler became president of the former Associated Industries (AI) in 1977. At the time, it was one of two competing statewide business organizations in Albany.
"Even before he took the job, he realized that what New York really needed was a single, unified organization -- one that would build a positive relationship with government, and one that would represent the very highest levels of the business community," Lewis Golub, chairman and CEO of the Golub Corporation and chairman of The Business Council, said at today's ceremony.
Schuler realized that dream in 1980, when he coordinated the merger of AI with the former Empire State Chamber of Commerce and was named first president of the new entity, The Business Council of New York State, Inc.
Under Schuler's leadership, The Business Council became a more effective voice for business than either of its predecessors and one of the most influential advocacy organizations in Albany. He retired from The Business Council in 1988.
Schuler also made a key gift to the city of Albany: the renovation of the building that was renamed in his honor.
When The Business Council was formed, its current building had been vacant for several years and was a well-known Albany eyesore. With active cooperation of then-Mayor Erastus Corning, Schuler formed a partnership to renovate the property. With bonds issued by the Albany Industrial Development Authority, the building was fully renovated and became Business Council headquarters in 1981.
Even before his leadership role in the private sector, Schuler had long been a redoubtable Albany figure.
After graduating from Syracuse University, he joined the state Department of Transportation in 1956 and rose through the ranks, serving as commissioner under Governors Nelson Rockefeller, Malcolm Wilson and Hugh Carey.
Citing Schuler's extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "New York has had many influential business leaders, but few have been able to contribute the strength of both [the public and private] sectors to the degree you have done."
"Today The Business Council is a powerful voice in both the public and private sectors and throughout our great state -- and Ray, that is perhaps the best tribute to you of all," Silver added.
Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno noted that Schuler has always been able and willing to provide "some knowledgeable input" to help surmount obstacles in the legislative process. He added that Schuler's suggestions always transcended politics; "What was important was getting it done, getting results," he noted.
Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings said The Schuler Building is one of the most important buildings in the city "because of the important decisions made here," and added: "We need a strong Business Council to make this the number-one state in the country."
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