For Release — Monday, August 23, 2004
U.S. REP. AMO HOUGHTON TO RECEIVE CORNING AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE
ALBANY—U.S. Rep. Amo Houghton (R-Corning), the only former CEO of a Fortune 500 company serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and a founder and early leader of The Business Council, will receive the Corning Award for Excellence for 2004.
The award, which is sponsored by Corning Incorporated, will be presented Wednesday, Sept. 22, at The Business Council's Annual Meeting at The Sagamore in Bolton Landing. The Council's Annual Meeting will run from Sept. 22-24. The Business Council gives the award each year to a New Yorker who has shown outstanding accomplishment and a deep commitment to the people of New York. The first Corning Award was presented in 1979. Recipients have included corporate executives, statesmen in government, and leaders in the arts, education, and law.
Houghton's long and diverse career has been marked by achievement at the highest levels of both the private sector and elected office.
At the helm of Corning Incorporated, he showed a strong commitment to research and development, sustaining the company's standing as a high-tech leader, a consistently successful business for more than 150 years, and one of Upstate's largest and most respected employers.
For example, when he received the Electronic Industries Alliance Medal of Honor, he was praised as "the father of fiber optics" in recognition of his support for Corning's research leading to invention and development of the revolutionary communications material. Today Corning Incorporated remains the world's leading manufacturer of fiber optic cable.
After retiring from Corning Incorporated, Houghton began a second career in government when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1987. In his 17 years in Congress, he has built a reputation as a results-oriented Congressman who espouses moderate social programs and conservative fiscal policy. In April, Houghton announced that he will retire from Congress and will not seek re-election in November. He currently represents the 29th Congressional District, which spans much of the Southern Tier and reaches as far north as the southern suburbs of Rochester.
"Throughout his long and diverse career as a business leader and a public servant, Amo Houghton has always represented the best that the great city of Corning and the entire Empire State have to offer the world," said Kirk Gregg, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Corning Incorporated and a member of The Business Council's Board of Directors. Gregg will present the award to Houghton.
"The Southern Tier, the state, and this nation are better in countless ways because of Amo Houghton, and The Business Council is pleased to have this occasion to thank him," Gregg added.
After serving as a Marine in World War II, Houghton earned a bachelor's degree and an MBA from Harvard. In 1951, he joined the former Corning Glass Works, which was founded by his great-great-great-grandfather in 1854, as an accountant. He rose through the ranks and became president in 1961 and chairman and CEO in 1964. He stepped down as chairman and CEO in 1983 and was elected chairman of its executive committee in 1983. He retired from the company in 1986. The company changed its name to Corning Incorporated in 1989.
As he built the company, Houghton also emerged as a respected state business leader. He was instrumental in the 1980 merger of former Associated Industries and Empire State Chamber of Commerce to form The Business Council, and he served as The Council's second chairman of the board. Several years later, Houghton's brother, James R. Houghton, currently the chairman and CEO of Corning Incorporated, also served as chairman of The Business Council.
In Congress, Houghton is the fifth-ranking Republican on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and chair of its Oversight Subcommittee. His legislative accomplishments include enactment of the Liberty Zone Act which provided $5 billion in tax breaks and incentives to help New Yorkers in lower Manhattan rebuild in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. He has also sponsored several proposals to simplify the tax code.
He is the founder of the John Quincy Adams Society, an issues forum which brings together moderate officeholders with top business leaders, and is also a founding member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, which seeks to strengthen the political center. Houghton is also co-chairman of the Washington-based Faith and Politics Institute. He founded the Labor-Industry Coalition for International Trade with Howard Samuels, then president of the Industrial Union of the AFL-CIO. And in 2002, he was inducted into the Academy of Arts and Sciences, the group founded by John Adams and John Hancock in 1780 "dedicated to advancing intellectual thought and constructive action in American society."
The Corning Award is a magnificent piece of original Steuben Glass, handcrafted by masters in Corning, New York. Previous Corning Award recipients are: Lewis Golub (2003); Carl T. Hayden (2002); Roland W. Schmitt (2001); Richard P. Mills (2000); Erland E. Kailbourne (1999); Robert B. Wegman (1998); Judith S. Kaye (1997); John J. Phelan, Jr. (1996); Barber B. Conable, Jr., (1995); James W. Kinnear (1994); Muriel Siebert (1993); Hugh L. Carey (1992); David Harden (1991); Raymond T. Schuler (1990); Warren M. Anderson and Stanley Fink (1989); Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. (1988); James D. Robinson III (1987); Franklin A. Thomas (1986); Kitty Carlisle Hart (1985); Frank T. Cary (1984); Clifton Garvin (1983); David Rockefeller (1982); Richard R. Shinn (1981); Melvin C. Holm (1980); and Walter A. Fallon (1979).