Brush Brothers to Receive 2011 Vanden Brul Award on April 25

RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business honors leaders of Sentry Group


Douglas and Jim Brush, leaders of Sentry Group in East Rochester, are the recipients of RIT’s 2011 Vanden Brul Award.

A fire, a robbery or a natural disaster like a flood, an earthquake or tornado can quickly turn into the worst-case scenario for a home or business owner. But imagine the feeling of relief to find your valuables are safeguarded and protected from loss or damage.

SentrySafe, a family-owned manufacturing facility founded in 1930, is a global leader in offering fire-resistant and security storage solutions for important documents and valuables. Headquartered in East Rochester, the company distributes fire-resistant chests, files, safes, security storage containers and gun safes to more than 54 countries worldwide.

“We offer people peace of mind,” says Jim Brush, president and CEO of Sentry Group—who runs the company with his brother, Douglas, chairman and chief business development officer. “Our products are used primarily for things that don’t have intrinsic value—photographs, your grandfather’s watch, important business records—irreplaceable items versus the small investment it takes to keep them protected and organized in the security of your own home.”

For their successful business efforts, Douglas and Jim Brush were named recipients of the 2011 Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award by Rochester Institute of Technology’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business. They will be honored during a luncheon on April 25 at the Genesee Valley Club.

“It’s an honor to receive this award and we’ve had a number of good opportunities to work with RIT through the years, including the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies,” Douglas Brush says. “We’ve employed interns through the university’s co-op program, some of whom we hired on a full-time basis. Having that capability in town is a wonderful thing.”

The Brush brothers agree the company’s most important resource is their employees.

“We’ve done a lot to foster a culture where employees feel valued and share a sense of commitment,” says Jim Brush about the 440 locally based workers who participate in the company’s success through profit sharing celebrations and other incentive rewards. “The family business has been around for 80 years, so we’ve had lots of good role models before us.”

Sentry also has manufacturing plants in Shanghai, China, and Cannelton, Indiana—the latter acquired in 2008 after Sentry purchased the Indiana-based Schwab Corp., a high-end security manufacturer of fire-resistant files, safes, cabinets and vault doors. The company’s products can be purchased through retail sites across the globe: Walmart, Target, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, Costco, Sears, OfficeMax, Office Depot and Staples.

Saunders College Dean Ashok Rao says Douglas and Jim Brush are entrepreneurs committed to growing the Rochester economy. “They have stayed competitive by introducing innovations in product, distribution and marketing. At the same time, they have extended their supplier and manufacturing network globally. They have accomplished this and at the same time remained profitable and grown—a truly remarkable feat.”

RIT’s Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award was created in 1984 and annually goes to a successful individual who developed a business that improved the Rochester economy or whose innovative management skills have changed the course of an existing business.

Past recipients include William K. Pollock, founder, CEO and president of Optimation Technology; Kitty Van Bortel, president of the Van Bortel Group; James Hammer, president and CEO of Hammer Packaging Corp.; Richard Kaplan, president and CEO of Pictometry International Corp.; and Arunas Chesonis, chairman and CEO of PAETEC Corp.

To attend the luncheon, contact Dana Pierce at 585-475-2199 or

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