Last night, business leaders from around the Capital Region were recognized for their accomplishments, dedication and perseverance in business at the Achievers Dinner at Rivers Casino in Schenectady. Stewart’s President, Gary Dake was named as the Executive of the Year.
Mike Hendricks, Albany Business Review Editor in Chief, said it best, “These leaders have bettered the Capital Region and touched lives in ways no politician ever could.”
There’s no question that Gary Dake has bettered the Capital Region as one of the largest private sector employers, employing more than 4,500 people. When Gary Dake joined the company in 1985, there were approximately 144 Stewart’s Shops and 1,300 employees. Now there are 4,500 employees and 336 shops. Under his leadership, he has grown Stewart’s Shops to the enormous success that it is today.
But Gary Dake is a humble man and he credits the success of the company to his employees. In his acceptance speech, he said, “I don’t deserve this award. I am so fortunate to work with thousands and thousands of people who everyday are driving trucks, buttering hard rolls, making coffee and paying bills. They are really the ones that deserve this award.”
Perhaps the most memorable part of his speech was how Gary showed his gratitude for a very special mentor that has been by his side his entire life.
“One person I would like to recognize is my co-worker that has been my office mate for 16 years, my boss for 33 years and my father for just about 58 years, Bill Dake, the Chairman and CEO of the company. Certainly, without the opportunities that he has provided and the guidance that he given me, I would not be here today.”
And in perfect Stewart’s fashion, he concluded with, “And don’t forget, milkshakes are on sale this week, any size, $1.99.”
Congratulations Gary Dake!