“What struck us is how he has been very effective in the construction industry, generating many jobs,” says COB Dean Thomas Hopkins about the significant impact LeChase has made on the Rochester area economy.
However, LeChase didn’t quite plan on becoming an entrepreneur—he even laughs about how the career challenge came to pass.
“I was married with two kids and practicing law at the time,” LeChase remembers. “My father called and asked me to my first-ever breakfast meeting with him and said, ‘OK, you’ve been out of school for awhile. When are you going to get a real job?’
“His words woke me up, and I gave up my law career and joined him in the construction business.”
Personal connections seem to pave and wind their way through LeChase’s life. He was a neighbor of the late Vanden Brul, co-founder of Harris Corp., RF Communications Division—who created the prestigious award in 1984.
“Herb never ceased to amaze me,” says LeChase. “He knew that success is an ongoing passion and it has to do with surrounding yourself with good people—especially family—who share your vision. It also involves a lot of risk-taking.”
RIT’s Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award goes annually to an individual who successfully developed a business that improved the Rochester economy or whose innovative management skills have changed the course of an existing business. Past recipients include Joseph M. Lobozzo II, founder and CEO of JML Optical Industries Inc.; Dennis and Larry Kessler, Kessler Group Inc., and Richard Sands, Constellation Brands Inc.
“In picking RIT as a forum for the entrepreneurial award, Vanden Brul saw it as an endorsement of the progressive methods and growth within the university’s College of Business, which in turn adds so much to our community,” LeChase says. “It’s a natural fit.”
LeChase earned a degree in business from John Carroll University and received his Juris Doctorate at SUNY at Buffalo, School of Law. He serves as an engineering advisor at RIT and his civic affiliations include the United Way of Greater Rochester, Otentiana Council—Boy Scouts of America, Catholic Diocese of Rochester, Charles Street Settlement and the Association for the Visually Blind & Impaired.
MEDIA NOTE: RIT will honor Wayne LeChase at noon on Thursday, March 25, during an invitation-only luncheon at Oak Hill Country Club. To cover the presentation, contact Marcia Morphy, RIT University News Services, at 475-4951 or firstname.lastname@example.org.