Robert D. Gioia, president of The John R. Oishei Foundation was selected 2009 Executive of the Year by the University at Buffalo School of Management. A vote of past honorees and the board of directors of the alumni association cited Gioia’s “tireless community leadership, impeccable ethics and unflagging professionalism.” Gioia follows in the footsteps of his foundation’s founder, John R. Oishei himself, who received the award more than 50 years ago in 1955.
A Buffalo native, Gioia began his career in 1970 as a part of the third generation operating the Gioia Macaroni Company. From 1992 to 2007, he was a principal with the Food Group of Strategic Investments and Holdings. Established in 1983, Strategic Investments and Holdings is one of the most experienced equity acquisition firms in the nation today.
Gioia was chair of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority from 1990-98. He pioneered the completion of the $120 million Buffalo-Niagara International Airport and was named one of The Buffalo News’ Citizens of the Year in 1997 and 2007.
Gioia has served as president of the board of trustees of The Nichols School, president of the Martin House Restoration Corporation and chair of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. He also served as chair of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, director of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and as a trustee of St. Lawrence University.
In 2007, Gioia was appointed president of The John R. Oishei Foundation, Western New York’s largest private, charitable foundation. Also in 2007, Gioia was elected chair of the Western New York Health System (now Great Lakes Health System of Western New York).
Established in 1949, the Buffalo-Niagara Executive of the Year award is presented annually to an area resident or individual whose organization has a major impact on the region. Former recipients include Louis P. Ciminelli, Robert E. Rich Sr., Armand Castellani, Robert E. Rich Jr., Jeremy M. Jacobs, Burt Flickinger Jr., Seymour H. Knox III, Sal H. Alfiero, Robert G. Wilmers, Frank L. Ciminelli, Brian J. Lipke, Robert T. Brady, Frank S. McGuire and Carl J. Montante. Last year’s honoree was B. Thomas Golisano.
The award will be presented at the 60th Annual School of Management Alumni Association awards banquet beginning at 5:30PM, on November 5th, in the Millennium Airport Hotel, 2040 Walden Avenue, Buffalo.
For information about the awards banquet, contact John Shellum, assistant dean of alumni relations in the School of Management, at 716-645-3224.