Robert Wegman, business innovator and civic leader, to receive Corning Award


Director of Communications

Head of nationally recognized grocery chain honored for acumen, generosity

Robert B. Wegman, chairman of Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., and a nationally recognized business innovator, community leader, philanthropist and humanitarian, has been chosen to receive the prestigious Corning Award for Excellence.

The Business Council presents the award each year to a New Yorker who has demonstrated an outstanding level of accomplishment and a deep and sustaining commitment to the people of New York State.

The award, which is sponsored by Corning Incorporated, will be presented Wednesday, Sept. 16, at The Council's Annual Meeting at The Sagamore.

Previous Corning Award recipients are: 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); and Warren M. Anderson and Stanley Fink (1989).

Also: 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).

The award is a magnificent piece of original Steuben Glass, handcrafted by masters in Corning, New York.

"Robert Wegman and Wegmans Food Markets embody the personal and institutional character that made New York State the Empire State in the first place-the same character that is propelling the economic comeback that is restoring New York's greatness," said Daniel B. Walsh, president of The Business Council.

"The Wegman name symbolizes innovation in business, excellence in customer service, and devotion to community-everything that is good about New Yorkers and the business community in New York State," Walsh added.

During Mr. Wegman's 60-year career with Wegmans, the company has grown to 27,000 employees, making it one of the 10 largest private employers in the state. In the process, Wegmans has earned widespread recognition as one of the nation's best-run food retailers.

Wegmans is renowned for its outstanding service to customers, for its long-running commitment to innovation in its industry, and for being an exceptional place to work.

In a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal in 1994, Wegmans was described as the best retail food chain in the country, and maybe the world. And in a January 1998 story on the nation's best employers, Fortune magazine ranked Wegmans the 16th-best employer to work for in the country-and the best among all retailers.

Robert Wegman's business successes are matched by his personal achievements and contributions in the community, especially in education.

For example, he created the "Work Scholarship Connection," a nationally recognized program to provide jobs, training, mentoring, tutoring and college scholarships for economically disadvantaged youth.

He has also supported the education of his employees, having provided some $32 million in college scholarships to more than 10,000 Wegmans employees since 1984.

In 1995, Mr. Wegman and his wife Peggy announced a $25 million gift to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester for the education of inner-city youths.

The Corning Award will be presented to Wegman by Roger G. Ackerman, chairman and CEO of Corning Incorporated and chairman of The Business Council.