For his business efforts, William Pollock, founder, CEO and president of Optimation Technology, was named recipient of the 2010 Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award by RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business.
“This is a very prestigious award, a very high honor and I very much appreciate RIT and all the talented people there,” Pollock says. “Our company has a close association with RIT: We hire RIT students, I’ve taught classes there, and we’ve been involved with the incubator center, the entrepreneurship program, FIRST Robotics and even the Corporate Challenge road race.”
During the past year, Pollock says the economic downturn was difficult and his company had to “hunker down” but overall remains on an upward trend with 360 employees and sales revenues that increased from $6 million in 2002 to $50 million in 2008. Optimation made the Rochester 100 list of fastest-growing private companies several times, most recently ranking second in 2008 and third in 2009.
As Saunders College Dean Ashok Rao says, “Bill Pollock combines the best attributes of technological entrepreneurs—an engineer with business acumen, close ties to his employees and a strong sense of doing social good. He gives freely of his time at RIT telling engineering students of life as an entrepreneur. And Bill and his wife will typically ‘vacation’ each year in Africa working on a community project.”
That project is in the offing: Pollock and his wife, Carolyn, are going to Kenya this summer to help build two dormitories for 36 handicapped children and AIDS orphans who are now living in a single dwelling home.