Wehle School Names Business Executive of the Year

September 30, 2022
Mark Sullivan - Business Executive of Year

BUFFALO, NY – The Richard J. Wehle School of Business at Canisius University will present its Business Executive of the Year Award to Mark A. Sullivan ’92, MPA ’94, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Health System, during its 52nd annual Business Awards Dinner.  The event is Tuesday, October 11 at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. Cocktails are at 5:30 p.m.; dinner is at 6:30 p.m.  Established in 1969, the Business Executive of the Year Award honors an outstanding Western New York business executive who has achieved professional success and demonstrated a broad interest in civic affairs. The awards ceremony also includes the presentation of the Dr. Bernard L. Martin Award and the Dr. Richard A. Shick Award.

A veteran healthcare executive, Mark Sullivan has been with Catholic Health since its inception in 1998, previously serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer.  His 30-year professional career has been spent in Catholic-affiliated healthcare organizations and includes extensive experience across the healthcare continuum. He has led acute care, primary care, home care, and continuing care operations, as well as provided oversight for quality, patient safety and performance improvement functions.

Named president and CEO of Catholic Health in 2018, Sullivan has administrative responsibility for one of the area’s largest health systems, with $1.2 billion in annual revenue and $210 million in total community benefit. He leads a team of more than 9,000 associates, while working closely with Catholic Medical Partners and Trinity Medical WNY to help strengthen the system’s relationship with its nearly 1,500 affiliated physicians.

Recently, Catholic Health was recognized for its innovation in combating COVID-19 with the creation of the nation’s only COVID Hospital and Post-Acute Center, relying on its exceptional caregivers and technology to fulfill its faith-based mission throughout the pandemic. In 2021, Sullivan selected by the Governor of New York to lead the state’s regional COVID-19 vaccine efforts for the five counties and 1.6 million people of Western New York.  

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and criminal justice and a master’s degree public administration and health care management, both from Canisius University. Sullivan is a fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives (FACHE), a Health Care Transformation fellow and mentor with the American Hospital Association (AHA), and a Certified Home and Hospice Care Executive (CHCE).

In addition to the Business Executive of the Year Award, the Wehle School of Business will present Rhonda A. Frederick MPA ’03 with the Dr. Bernard L. Martin Award.  Established in 1976 by the Board of Directors of the Canisius University Masters Alumni Association (MBAA), the award recognizes a distinguished alumnus/ae of the college’s graduate business programs who has excelled professionally and provided significant service to the community.

Rhonda Frederick is president and chief executive officer of People Inc.  She began her career with the organization in 1980 in an entry-level, direct support position, working in both group homes and day habilitation programs. Frederick was appointed president and CEO of Western New York’s largest human service provider in fall 2014. She has since forged the way for People Inc. as government mandates call for a managed care model and innovative ventures to diversify the organization.

Frederick currently serves as president of the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY), an organization that fosters collaboration among agencies who support people with developmental disabilities and gives them a single voice in Albany. She is the Board Chair for Person Centered Services (PCS) and currently serves on the boards of Hilbert College, New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSIDD), the Special Olympics NY, Amherst Meals on Wheels and Accountable Health Community Inc. She also sits on the Board of Regents for Canisius University and on the Executive Committee of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

Frederick earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in public administration from Canisius University.  

The Business Awards Dinner also includes the presentation of the Dr. Richard A. Shick Award, for which there are two recipients this year: Michael J. Montante ’91 and Stephen F. Jackson ’82, MBA ’87.  The Dr. Richard A. Shick Award was established in 2001 in honor of the dean who served the Richard J. Wehle School of Business from 1979 – 2002.  It is presented to individuals who have made important contributions to the success of the business school and Canisius University.

Michael Montante is chief executive officer of Uniland Development Co. Appointed to the position in 2020, he has more than 35 years of experience in the real estate industry and oversees one of the leading commercial real estate development companies in Western New York.  Montante played a key role in some of the Buffalo region’s most impactful projects including The Delaware North Building and Avant, Buffalo’s first mixed-use development that kicked off a renaissance downtown.

His work at Uniland has also played key roles in landmarks across the Canisius campus, including Science Hall and the Village Townhouses student housing complex.  The Montante family’s generosity is also reflected in the Montante Cultural Center.  

Michael Montante is past chair of Canisius’ Business Advisory Council and a former member of the Canisius University Board of Trustees.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Canisius University and a master’s degree in real estate development from Columbia University.  

Stephen F. Jackson is a past member EY’s International Tax and Transaction Services practice, where he focused exclusively on companies investing into the U.S.  He is experienced in helping companies acquire or divest U.S. operations and the related financing and repatriations planning.

Jackson joined Ernst & Young LLP in 1982 and began working extensively with multinational corporations. He became partner in 1995 and later transferred from the Buffalo office to lead the U.S. Tax Consulting group in the Greater Toronto Area.  In 1999, Jackson took charge of the U.S. Corporate Tax Advisory practice for all of Canada. He transferred in 2007 to New York, joining the National Tax practice there.

Jackson is a member of the Canisius University Board of Trustees and serves on the Finance and Facilities, and Enrollment Management committees.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s of business administration degree, both from Canisius University.  

Canisius University is one of 27 Catholic, Jesuit colleges in the nation and the premier private college in Western New York.  Canisius prepares leaders – intelligent, caring, faithful individuals – able to promote excellence in their professions, their communities and their service to humanity.