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Business Champion Awards Announced At Manhattanville College

From left, Anthony Justic of The Business Council, William McGrath of Pace, Hiroji Iwasaki of Kawasaki, Marsha Gordon of The Business Council,  Dr. Steven Safyer of Montefiore, David Ring of First Niagara & Stephen J. Jones of The Business Council.
From left, Anthony Justic of The Business Council, William McGrath of Pace, Hiroji Iwasaki of Kawasaki, Marsha Gordon of The Business Council, Dr. Steven Safyer of Montefiore, David Ring of First Niagara & Stephen J. Jones of The Business Council. Photo Credit: Provided/The Business Council of Westchester

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Pace University, Kawasaki Rail Car and First Niagara Bank are recipients of The Business Council of Westchester's Business Champion Awards.

The awards, made quarterly to businesses making a significant positive impact on the county's economy, were presented Monday, Oct. 27, at The Business Council’s Leadership Conversation Series at Manhattanville College.

Dr. Marsha Gordon, president and chief executive officer of The Business Council, presented awards to Pace University for its expansion on its Pleasantville campus; Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. for its success in manufacturing trains and subways at the old Otis Elevator Co. plant in Yonkers; and First Niagara Bank for plans to move its tri-state regional headquarters to Tarrytown.

Accepting the awards were William McGrath, senior vice president and chief operating officer for the Westchester campuses of Pace University; Hiroji Iwasaki, chief executive officer of Kawasaki Rail Car; and David Ring, managing director of enterprise banking at First Niagara.

As Westchester’s largest university and 13th largest employer, Pace plays a key role in the local economy contributing $64 million annually in direct and indirect spending, according to Gordon. Last fall, Pace broke ground on a project to transform and revitalize its 200-acre Pleasantville campus, Gordon said. The $100 million first phase, one of the largest construction projects in the Hudson Valley, will help Pace consolidate functions now split between its campuses in Pleasantville and Briarcliff, she said.

For three decades, Kawasaki Rail Car has operated its U.S. corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility in Yonkers. There, Kawasaki builds subway cars for the MTA and train cars for Metro-North. Iwasaki said his company also has contracts to build 748 subway cars for Washington, D.C.'s Metro lines and 676 train cars for the Long Island Railroad. "We have a large backlog,'' he said. The company employs nearly 400 people in Yonkers. Earlier this year, Kawasaki announced approval of a state grant that helped it purchase the Yonkers plant for $25 million..

Since entering the Hudson Valley region in 2012, First Niagara Bank has rapidly expanded its presence as a commercial lender, and has provided financing for several major real estate developments, Gordon said. First Niagara has 26 bank branches in the Hudson Valley, including five in the Westchester communities of Baldwin Place, Bedford Hills, Mount Kisco, Ossining and Yorktown Heights.

"We've already made $1.3 billion in loans in this community,'' Ring said.

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