Albany Business Review | September 19, 2014

Albany Business Review announces 2014 Achievers

Dr. John Bennett, Joseph Nicolla, Autotask, Apprenda, Antonio Civitella, the Capital District Community Gardens and Hugh Johnson are being honored as The Business Review’s Achievers for 2014.

Bennett, the president and CEO of insurer CDPHP, with some 1,000 employees in the region, is the Executive of the Year.

Bennett is one of the key industry leaders reforming health care from the ground up. Earlier this year, he led CDPHP into a partnership with Independent Health — which combined have about 825,000 members — in a deal that will create an economy of scale to better equip the health insurer to adapt to the realities of health care reform.

Nicolla, president and founder of Columbia Development, is our Game Changer. Nicolla is the prime mover behind much of the development going on in our downtowns, particularly in Albany. He had a building imploded this summer to make way for his redevelopment vision, which includes the Wellington Row/DeWitt Clinton Hotel neighborhood near the Capitol and the planned convention center.

Antonio Civitella, president and CEO of Transfinder, is The Business Review’s Newsmaker for 2014. Civitella has been making a lot of news recently, growing his business, which provides bus routing software services to school districts. His company is on a hiring spree. Civitella’s growing business helped propel the development of downtown Schenectady with its investment in a gleaming corporate headquarters and he created NYBizLab LLC, a technology business accelerator in downtown Schenectady.

Autotask is Company of the Year. Autotask, which was sold this year to private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, was founded more than a decade ago by entrepreneurs Bob Godgart,Brian Epstein and Dick Frederick. Autotask is currently led by Mark Cattini, who had been the CEO of MapInfo when it was acquired by Pitney Bowes. Autotask develops software for small- to medium-sized businesses.

Apprenda is the recipient of the Most Promising award. Apprenda was founded in 2007 by Abraham Sultan, Matt Ammerman, and Sinclair Schuller. The company’s list of clients includes JPMorgan Chase, Honeywell, Boeing and McKesson. Apprenda develops code that allows customers to perform computer applications, such as ATM transactions for banks. The company recently moved its corporate headquarters to Troy to accommodate its growing workforce.

Capital District Community Gardens is Nonprofit of the Year. The nonprofit traces its origin to a community service program run by the Garden Way, the manufacturer that was once-based in Troy and made TroyBilt garden tractors. The organization works to raise nutrition awareness by organizing public gardens. Its 49 community gardens provides food for some 4,000 families in the region.

On occasion, the Business Review gives out a Special Recognition Award for career achievements. This year, The Business Review celebrates the career of Hugh Johnson of Hugh Johnson Advisors, which manages and consults on more than $2.1 billion in assets. Johnson is chairman and chief investment officer of the firm. He is one of the most recognizable financial advisors in America, appearing frequently on national television and quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal. For 25 years, he has given a popular economic forecast at the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce December breakfast.

The Achievers banquet will be the evening of Nov. 5 at the Hilton Garden Inn Troy.