Ice cream lovers are well acquainted with the name Perry’s.
They see it at the grocery store or at their favorite ice cream shop while perusing the many flavors as they attempt to make that crucial decision: Fireball or Panda Paws™. No wait, maybe Let’s Dough Buffalo™, or perhaps even Mint-Ting-A-Ling.
While Perry’s Ice Cream aficionados may be very familiar with the company, what they might not be aware of, however, is the role that Alfred State College has played in its success.
Brian Perry, the executive vice president, chairman, and an owner of Perry’s, is both a fourth-generation member of the 100-year-old business, as well as a second-generation Pioneer, who continues to take his company to great heights thanks in part to his Alfred State education.
Growing up in the small village of Akron, Brian lived right across the street from Perry’s Ice Cream’s original plant. After attending Michigan State for a year and a half, Brian decided he wanted a college that was closer to home and had smaller class sizes. He then asked his uncle Dale, an Alfred State alum, what he thought about his alma mater.
“I asked him how he liked Alfred State and he said it was a great experience,” Brian said.
Convinced, Brian enrolled in Alfred State’s business administration associate degree program, which he would graduate from in 1985. Every weekend during the school year, Brian returned home to work, as Perry’s was growing at an annual rate of between 20-25 percent at the time.
As a student, Brian valued the relationships he had with his professors, the interaction they had with the class, and the education he was receiving.
“It was a good mix of the academic world and the real world – book knowledge and real-world application,” he said.
After receiving his degree, Brian joined the family business in 1985 as a personnel supervisor, the first of several roles he would hold in the company. While working part-time in sales, Brian attended Canisius College full time, earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1993.
By 2001, thanks in part to his Alfred State education, Brian had worked his way up in the company to become the executive vice president. In this role, Brian works closely with the executive leadership team on customer relations, industry relations, government relations, strategic leadership, capital projects, and mentoring. In addition, he was named chairman in 2012.
Along with being an Alfred State alum, another commonality between Brian and his uncle Dale (who passed away in 2011) is the fact that both of them were able to significantly expand Perry’s. Dale, who received his business administration degree from the college in 1966, led the business as co-CEO in the 1990s. Along with his brother Tom (Brian’s father), Dale was, in part responsible for the company’s move to One Ice Cream Plaza in Akron, as well as the tripling of sales from 2 million gallons of ice cream to 6 million.
Similarly, since taking over leadership in 2000, Brian and his brother-in-law, Robert Denning, president and CEO, have increased production to 12 million gallons, expanded sales of the Perry’s brand into western Pennsylvania and the state of Ohio, and enabled Perry’s to become an international manufacturing company.
Brian and Dale both attributed a large part of their success to their learning experiences at Alfred State, citing small class sizes, an open-minded atmosphere, and professors willing to engage in real-world experiences as reasons that they were able to grow.
“It’s both personal and professional,” Brian said. “My relationships with professors and administrators were and are on a first-name basis. I can pick up the phone anytime and they can do the same. Professionally, our Alfred educations were definitely instrumental in the success of business, no doubt about it. To grow from less than a $10 million business to one now over $100 million requires a sound educational foundation and a lot of hard work.”
In February 2016, the ties between Perry’s and Alfred State were strengthened even more when the college opened a new dining option on campus named “Alfie’s” that serves Perry’s Ice Cream. For Brian, the fact that his alma mater is now serving Perry’s means a lot.
“I am very proud of how Alfie’s turned out and of the relationship between Alfred State and Perry’s,” he said.
Another commonality between Alfred State and Perry’s is that both are celebrating major milestones in 2018, as Alfred State marked its 110th anniversary this year, while Perry’s turned 100. The company was founded in 1918 by Brian’s great-grandfather H. Morton Perry.
To celebrate its anniversary, Perry’s earlier this year brought back four retro flavors and launched a special 100th anniversary flavor, The Good Stuff, exclusively for its scoop shops. In addition, Perry’s has planned several special events to honor its customers, partners, team members, and community members who have helped make the company a 100-year success.
As a fourth-generation leader of Perry’s, Brian said his company turning 100 means a huge sense of accomplishment for him.
“I have come to appreciate each generation’s ability to navigate through the adversity of not only the standard life cycles of business, but also the dynamics of a family business,” he said. “We have always focused on growth, which would assure opportunities for not only the Perry family, but also for our team members. To keep good people, they must see that there are advancement opportunities, which means job satisfaction.”
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Brian has also been very active in the community, serving as a 30-year member and past president of the Akron Lions Club, a village of Akron trustee, and a board member for the International Dairy Foods Association, which presented him with its Soaring Eagle Award. Additionally, he is a past Junior Achievement of Western New York Board member and a recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
On a personal note, Brian’s wife of 26 years, Jayne, has been a sales administrator at Perry’s for 22 years. Together, the couple have one daughter, Jenna, 23.
No matter how much Perry’s continues to thrive under Brian’s leadership, he will always be grateful for Alfred State and the ways in which it helped both him and his uncle grow their family business for generations to come. Much like the feeling that comes with choosing just the right flavor of ice cream, Brian and Dale were very satisfied with their choice to become Pioneers.
Alfred State College Pioneers and supporters stepped up in a big way once again for the college’s third annual Day of Giving.
As of the time this article was written, 986 donors had contributed a total of $158,403 in cash and pledges. The funds that were not restricted to a certain cause will be used to support the greatest needs of the college, primarily scholarships, new programming, updated technology, and athletic programs.
Trish Haggerty, director of Annual Giving, said, “Once again, thanks to the support of our generous alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and students, our Day of Giving was an amazing success. We surpassed our goal of $150,000 from 700 donors, and the engagement on campus was wonderful. There is so much planning and work that goes into this event, and it is extremely rewarding to see the participation and engagement, from the students to the alumni thousands of miles away.”
Throughout the day, Alfred State held some fun events to coincide with the Day of Giving, including Christmas tree decorating, ornament making, cookie decorating, a rock wall-climbing session, and numerous other fun games in the Student Leadership Center all day long.
Also, a number of major gifts were unlocked once several challenges were met. The list of challenges and gifts includes:
Also worth noting is that the farthest-away donation came from friend of the college Austin Holt in Dublin, Ireland. By securing the donation, members of the Vet Tech Club earned $1,000 for their club.
Haggerty said she wanted to express her gratitude to everyone who participated in Alfred State’s third annual Day of Giving.
“Whether you gave online, by mail, by answering an email, or talking to one of our Phonathon students, your gift mattered,” she said. “To those of you who took the time to share our posts and watch the day unfold online, thank you. The Day of Giving here at Alfred State is about so much more than just raising money. It’s about instilling in our students the importance of giving back and it is a day that we as Pioneers can come together near and far and make a big difference in so many lives.”
Alfred State College is helping students at Burgard High School in Buffalo get an early start on both college and their advanced manufacturing careers.
Through a partnership between the two schools, students at Burgard are able to learn about fields such as welding or machine tool technology through taking college-level courses, then obtain an associate degree from Alfred State after one additional year of college following their high school graduation.
Showcasing their holiday spirit along with their baking and decorating skills, Alfred State College students took first and third place in the College category in the annual Niagara Falls Culinary Institute Gingerbread Competition.
Each year, the competition is held in conjunction with the Gingerbread Wonderland event, in which patrons can visit with Santa Claus in the Culinary Institute’s life-sized gingerbread house and take part in a number of holiday-themed activities on weekends in November and December. The gingerbread competition includes five categories: Professional, Amateur, High School, College, and Children’s.
Earning the top spot in the College category with her Noah’s Arc-themed house was Alfred State’s Makayla Reiss, culinary arts: baking, production, and management, East Rochester. Alfred State’s Ozorra Griffith, culinary arts: baking, production, and management, Hempstead, took home third place with her gingerbread mansion, while Buffalo State’s Erica Fruscione and Niagara Falls Culinary Institute’s Kara Zamerski came in second.
Reiss and Griffith were among five Alfred State culinary arts: baking production and management students who had entries in the competition, along with Eric Eddy, of Olean; Morgan Dennis, of Cameron; and Kiyonna Goodrich, of Belmont. These students along with their classmates within the senior baking class were tasked with creating gingerbread houses that, upon completion, were judged by faculty members who decided which five would be entered into the competition.
Culinary Arts Department Chair Debra Burch said, “The whole class worked very hard and it was a tough decision to choose the ones that went to the competition. I like this project because it not only gives the students the opportunity to compete, but also teaches them time management and how to work with products they are not as familiar with. They are able to be as creative as they like with this project, also. It’s quite amazing to see the ideas and creativity they bring to the project. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Alfred State College will once again host the NYSSSA School of Media Arts, an intensive four-week program that offers courses in film production, video and sound art, computer arts/animation, photography, and more.
This program is set to take place July 13 through Aug. 9 at Alfred State and is open to students in grades eight through 12 throughout New York State. The School of Media Arts is one of seven component schools that constitute the New York State Summer School for the Arts, which is run by the New York State Education Department for students of the arts in various disciplines.
According to a description of the program on the Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education website, the first 2 1/2 weeks of the School of Media Arts are generally spent learning foundations, history, technical skills, and completing assigned exercises. The last week and a half is spent developing and finishing individual projects.
“Free your imagination and be part of an inspiring adventure in the cutting-edge fields of video, filmmaking, photography, electronic sound art, or computer graphic arts in the School of Media Arts,” the description states. “We will require your intense focus, motivation, and commitment in this program. Your reward will be exciting and challenging classes, work sessions, critiques, lectures, field trips, and presentations by visiting artists.”
Applications for the School of Media Arts are now open. For more information on the program and on how to apply, visit http://www.oce.nysed.gov/nysssa/media-arts.
Dr. Edward Tezak, a SUNY distinguished service professor emeritus of Alfred State College, was recently presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who’s Who, the world’s premier publisher of biographical profiles.
Prior to his retirement in 2016, Tezak held a number of positions during his career at Alfred State, including dean of the School of Engineering Technology, associate professor of mechanical engineering technology, and chair of the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology Department.
The Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have achieved greatness in their industry, according to the award’s website. These individuals have excelled in their field for at least 20 years.
A one-of-a-kind program that combines the principles of agriculture and engineering in order to prepare students for in-demand careers is coming to Alfred State College.
Classes for this unique new associate degree program, titled agricultural automation and robotics, will begin in the fall 2019. Students in this major, the only one of its kind in the US, will receive hands-on experience with automated milking equipment, as well as class work in both agriculture and engineering. Graduates of this interdisciplinary program will become experts in the management and maintenance of modern, automated agricultural equipment.
According to Dr. Phil Schroeder, program coordinator and chair of the Agriculture and Veterinary Technology Department, careers related to agriculture are diverse and constantly changing. Today’s students need the flexibility to tailor a degree to suit their needs. That’s why Alfred State’s agricultural automation and robotics curriculum has been designed to prepare students to enter the workforce as an agricultural automation technician or continue their education in one of Alfred State’s related baccalaureate programs.
“The agricultural automation and robotics program was developed in response to needs identified through discussions with industry representatives,” Schroeder said. “We currently have several of the leading firms in this area who are ready to hire graduates of this program.”
Occupational opportunities for graduates of this program include installation and maintenance of agricultural automation equipment, agricultural automation equipment operations, agricultural automation equipment research and development, and salesperson and consultant for agricultural equipment distributors.
Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan said, “We are delighted to add agricultural automation and robotics to our growing list of in-demand majors, and are especially excited to be the only school in the country to offer such a program. I thank all of the employees who made this new major possible.”
Dr. Kristin Poppo, provost at Alfred State, said, “As one of SUNY’s older agricultural colleges, Alfred State is committed to meeting the needs of the agriculture industry. Having used a robotic milking machine for many years, we have learned first-hand about the challenges the industry is facing finding qualified technicians. Once again, we will continue to prepare students for today’s farms.”
Dr. Daniel Katz, dean of Alfred State’s School of Arts and Sciences, said, “The agricultural automation and robotics program is another exciting example of what Alfred State does best. Our students and faculty engage in cutting-edge technology, which applies theories explored in the classroom to operating machinery and developing processes that offer solutions for years to come.“
When Ajenae Jackson found out she would be heading to Brooklyn for Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” event on Dec. 1, she was understandably overcome with emotion.
“When the opportunity was presented to me, I was very excited,” said Jackson, a Bronx native and criminal justice major at Alfred State College. “I was very grateful. I started to cry because it felt good to know that someone believed in me enough to present this beautiful opportunity to me.”
Jackson is a student within the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which offers higher education opportunities to high school graduates or to holders of high school equivalency diplomas who do not meet normally applied admission criteria, but who have the potential for college success. Altogether, EOP students from 41 different SUNY campuses attended the event at the Barclays Center, which was part of a live US book tour being held in support of Mrs. Obama’s popular memoir, “Becoming.”
Mary Lou Davis, an EOP counselor at Alfred State, said Jackson was selected to attend because she embodies all that is good and empowering within the messages of Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming,” and SUNY’s Educational Opportunity Program.
“Ajenae has overcome many obstacles, and inspires others through her actions as a student and as a member of our EOP family,” Davis said. “She is a woman who is actively becoming all that she can be, while obtaining her degree at Alfred State. Her grace, humility, and dedication made this an easy choice for EOP professionals when deciding who would represent us. Ajenae repeatedly said what a blessing this has been. We are truly grateful to EOP for providing this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and consider ourselves blessed to have Ajenae in our midst.”
According to a description on the Barclays’ website, the event featured intimate and honest conversations between Mrs. Obama and a selection of moderators, “reflective of the extraordinary stories shared in the wide-ranging chapters of her deeply personal book.”
Attendees, according to the description, were able to “hear firsthand Mrs. Obama’s intimate reflections on the experiences and events, both public and private, that have shaped her, from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her years spent at the most famous address in the world.” Mrs. Obama also shared life lessons learned and inspired people to become the very best version of themselves.
Before arriving at the Barclays, Jackson and her fellow EOP students from other SUNY schools met up at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), where they mingled with one another, as well as FIT staff members. After a group dinner, the big moment had finally arrived.
“Then, we were off to go see Mrs. Michelle Obama! Once arriving at the arena, we took pictures and we got to tour the arena some,” Jackson said. “When the event started, everyone was filled with joy!”
Mrs. Obama, Jackson recalled, touched upon many events that she explained in the book, including how important it is to follow your dreams and to have support.
“Although it was not a meet-and-greet, just being in the same room with our former first lady had me filled with emotions,” Jackson said. “I felt extremely blessed. That was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. Overall, this experience was the best thing that has ever been given to me next to being alive. I’m so grateful for it.”
What made the day even more special is that the event just happened to take place at an important time of the year for Jackson.
“I would not have wanted to spend my birthday any other way,” she said. “I got to see the former first lady in person! Not many can say that.”
The Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) recently welcomed Alfred State College as its 59th student chapter.
According to its website, the MCAA serves the unique needs of approximately 2,600 firms involved in heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, plumbing, piping, and mechanical service.
“We do this by providing our members with high-quality educational materials and programs to help them attain the highest level of managerial and technical experience,” a description of the MCAA states.
More than a dozen Alfred State College students recently became members of the National Society of Leadership and Success during an induction ceremony held in the Orvis Activities Center Auditorium.
This semester’s induction was made even more special thanks to inspiring speeches from Dr. Karla Back, professor in the Business Department, and OJ Shepard, residence hall director. Along with this, Back received the Excellence in Teaching Award; Shepard received the Excellence in Service to Students Award; and Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement, and Amy Miller, residence hall director, were presented with Honorary Memberships.
In addition to these awards, students Fernando Ramos, sport management, Yonkers, and Cassandra Robbers, business administration, Almond, both received the National Engaged Leader Award. Serving as chapter advisers this year are Troy Morehouse, director of Student Engagement, and John Lehman, residence hall director.
The National Society of Leadership and Success is the nation’s largest leadership society, with 659 chapters nationwide. It was founded in 2001 by Gary Tuerack with the sole purpose of creating lasting positive change.
Community service and personal growth are encouraged of members as they build their leadership skills. To qualify for induction, a student must maintain a minimum GPA, attend a series of leadership broadcasts, and participate in teambuilding and goal-setting groups.
Newly inducted student members from Alfred State for fall 2018 are:
Jessica Ailaca, business administration, Brooklyn; Kelly Brown, technology management, Alfred; Douglas Dyber, health sciences, Lynbrook; Amanda Gardner, interdisciplinary studies, Hornell; Paige Haley, mechanical engineering technology, Liverpool; Joshua Harp, surveying and geomatics engineering technology, Farmington; Keith Hernandez, nursing, Pleasantville; Hai Kieu, network administration, Buffalo; Christiana Mehmel, architecture, Olean; Steven Mignoli, architecture, Fredonia; Keila Peralta, construction management, Bronx; Jordyn Platt, nursing, East Bethany; Ian Reynolds, healthcare management, Rochester; Leigh Swartzfager, sport management, Nunda; Madison Webster, financial planning, Corning; Jonathan Wimer, computer engineering technology, Freeville; Cassandra Robbers, business administration, Almond; and Fernando Ramos, sport management, Yonkers.