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CEO Victor Salerno (front row, third from left, in khaki shorts) joins other members of O'Connell Electric for a group photo at the 2013 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Rochester.

O'Connell Electric has become a fixture
at Rochester Corporate Challenge

What: 24th J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, a 3.5-mile run/walk for the corporate community.
When: May 29, 7 p.m.
Where: Race course and staging area entirely within the campus of Rochester Institute of Technology.
Attendance: A near-record crowd of 10,900 participants from 460 companies.
Largest companies participating: University of Rochester (505 total entrants); Paychex (461); Wegmans Food Markets (300); Tops Friendly Markets (247); Unity Health System (219); JPMorgan Chase (180); Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (146); Rochester General Health System (144); Rochester Institute of Technology (144); Harris Corporation (118); ESL Federal Credit Union (111); Coopervision (108); Hillside Family of Agencies (102).
Beneficiary: Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection
2013 team champions: Corning (women and mixed); Navitar (men).
The Corporate Challenge: In its 38th consecutive year, the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® Series promotes health and camaraderie in the workplace. In 2014, the Series will visit 13 cities in seven countries on five continents, looking to build on an all-time record attendance of 262,311 entrants from 7,969 companies in 2013.

ROCHESTER, May 22, 2014 — O’Connell Electric embodies what the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® in Rochester is all about.

Headquartered in suburban Victor, the company was founded in 1911 and has steadily grown into one of the largest electrical contractors in the United States. The company understands that health and wellness in the workplace, along with teamwork and camaraderie, leads to sustained success. That is why it enters the Corporate Challenge annually.

And next Thursday, when the 24th running of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge takes off at 7 p.m. on the RIT campus, there will be a perfectly-symmetrical gathering of 20 men and 20 women from O’Connell Electric on the starting line. They will be part of a near-record crowd of 10,900 participants from 460 companies.

Tom Sweeney captains O’Connell Electric, and it is extra work he relishes.

“I remember working on a project at Kodak Park when I attended my first Corporate Challenge in the early 2000s,” Sweeney said. “I had never run 5K before and wasn’t sure if I could even do it, but said yes when asked anyway. It was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had. I loved the camaraderie, the encouragement from my teammates, the personal challenge of completing the course, and last but not least, the after party.”

Sweeney thought the Corporate Challenge would be a perfect fit for O’Connell Electric as well.

“I remembered how much fun the Corporate Challenge was and suggested that we join as Team O’Connell Electric,” he said. “It was perfect for the health and fitness that management was encouraging, and they agreed to Team O’Connell Electric, but wanted someone to take the lead and organize (their participation in) the event.”

Sweeney was the ideal candidate and he has been O’Connell Electric’s team captain since.

“I’m very passionate about the people I work with and being healthy,” he said. “I encourage everyone to exercise and live healthy, not only for themselves but for their families.

“I volunteered as team captain to lead and encourage ‘my work family,’ telling them it doesn’t matter if you walk or run, but be there together as a team,” he added. “It’s nice to spend time outside of work with my colleagues and their families. It has been a fun four years and I’m glad to be part of it.”

So, too, is O’Connell Electric.

“The O’Connell Electric team is a cross-section of employees from those who work in the field, to those based in our four office locations (including branches in Buffalo and Syracuse),” said Sue McNally, Vice President/Treasurer/HR Director for O’Connell. “From the top down we have great participation that includes our CEO, Victor Salerno, and senior management team who are a part of the event.”

The team building aspects of the event, housed on the expansive campus of Rochester Institute of Technology that is ideal for pre-and-post race parties, have become equally as important to O’Connell Electric as the fitness habits encouraged by the Corporate Challenge.

“We have learned over the years that the runners are so far ahead of the walkers, the runners have eaten and left the event while the walkers are finishing the course,” McNally added. “We are now encouraging people to come to the race earlier for team building, so that everyone can spend more time together. We’ve made the point to try to fix this so that employees from various offices and departments can build camaraderie.”

Once they arrive, the sense of competing for their company in an event that attracts hundreds of other area firms is unique.

“We are all very proud of who we work for, what the O’Connell company represents and has done in the industry, and the community as a whole,” McNally added. “We are proud to share the O’Connell company name that all of our racers have in common.”


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