RIT College of Business Announces 2001 VandenBrul Award Winner




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Constellation Brands Inc., based in Fairport, has grown into a corporate star, enjoying annual gross sales of $3 billion. That success has helped Richard Sands, the company's chairman, president and CEO, earn the 2001 Herbert W. VandenBrul Entrepreneurial Award, presented annually by Rochester Institute of Technology's College of Business.

RIT will honor Sands at noon on Wednesday, March 28, during an invitation-only luncheon at the Center for Integrated Studies (CIMS) on RIT's Henrietta campus.

"The Herbert W. VandenBrul Award symbolizes the link that joins RIT with the Rochester-area business community," says Dean Thomas Hopkins, College of Business. "The selection committee concluded that Mr. Sands' business track record is simply outstanding. His entrepreneurial successes are worthy of emulation, amply warranting the recognition that this award represents."

Sands has been with Constellation, the nation's largest single source supplier of beer, wine and spirits, for 22 years. After serving in various positions in wine production, finance, sales and marketing, he was appointed executive vice president in 1982. Four years later, he was promoted to the position of president and chief operating officer.

Since his appointment as CEO in 1993, Sands has diversified the company's interests by making numerous acquisitions. Most recently, Constellation announced the addition of Turner Road Vintners, which will expand Constellation's popular wine offerings to include such well known brands as Talus, Vendange and Heritage and increase sales by 7 million cases a year. Within the past two years, Constellation also added the flagship spirits brand Black Velvet, entered the fine wine business with the purchase of Franciscan Estates and Simi and also acquired Matthew Clark, plc, a major producer and marketer of cider, wine and spirits in the United Kingdom.

Today, Constellation sells more than one billion bottles of beverage alcohol a year and is a leader in the production, marketing and distribution of beverage alcohol products in North America and the U.K.

In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Sands serves as chairman of the Norman Howard School Foundation, an agency that promotes early intervention for children with learning disabilities. He is also chairman of the Mercy Flight capital campaign. Constellation and the Canandaigua Wine Company also support the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Canandaigua YMCA, the Eastman House, and the Sands Cancer Center at F.F. Thompson Hospital.

"I am honored and delighted to receive this prestigious award, particularly since it serves to reinforce both my personal commitment to the greater Rochester area and Constellation's deep roots in this community," says Sands. "Through commitment to a proven strategy, Constellation has grown from approximately $200 million in sales in 1991 to over $3 billion today, with a significant number of brands in dominant market positions. On behalf of Constellation, our employees and my family, we promise to keep up the good work for our community, our shareholders and our business partners."

Created in 1984, RIT's Herbert W. VandenBrul 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. Other recent winners include Christine Whitman, CVC Inc.; Norman and Nelson Leenhouts, Home Properties of New York, Inc.; and Dilip Vellodi, the Sutherland Group, Ltd.

MEDIA NOTE: To cover the presentation, call 475-4950.