Trailblazers

Introducing the SUNY Adirondack Trailblazers 

The path to success for many alumni began at Adirondack Community College. For the college, humble beginnings in 1961 in Hudson Falls led to a new campus in 1967 in Queensbury and a new name, SUNY Adirondack, in 2010.  With the idea that paths unfold with twists and turns and that in life, success is derived from taking risks or changing direction, we have established SUNY Adirondack Trailblazers to celebrate the lives and careers of our distinguished alumni.

A college lives through its alumni. Their success contributes to the college’s success and reputation. We seek to recognize outstanding alumni who provide an inspirational impact to our students from their accomplishments and service to their professions and communities. By honoring our former students, we hope to inspire today’s students to strive for both personal and professional success.


2019 Trailblazers

This year’s nominees are:

Tim Badger ’69, MBA, from Queensbury, NY.  Tim’s 45-year professional career began at Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Company as a management trainee and progressed through various marketing and business development positions. When he retired in 2017, Tim was the Senior Vice President of Marketing, PR and Shareholder Relations. Tim holds an A.A.S. degree in business administration from SUNY Adirondack, a Bachelor of Science degree from the University at Albany, SUNY and an MBA from the University of Vermont. An avid hockey fan, Tim coached Adirondack Youth Hockey and served on the Board, coached the Skidmore College women’s ice hockey club for 7 seasons, and participated in the Senior Olympic Games in Lake Placid. Many community organizations have benefitted from Tim’s leadership including the SUNY Adirondack Foundation, Queensbury Senior Center, Tri-County United Way, CWI, Moreau Community Center, Adirondack Balloon Festival, Warren-Washington Counties Association for Mental Health and the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce. In 2011, Tim was named the Tri-County United Way Volunteer of the Year. 

Jason Carusone ’89, JD from Lake George, NY. Jason’s academic career began at Adirondack Community College in May of 1989. He transferred to Binghamton University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, and ultimately a Juris Doctoral degree from Buffalo University School of Law.  He returned to Warren County and worked as a private attorney until 1999 when he became an Assistant District Attorney in Warren County. In 2004, his hard work earned him a promotion to the First Assistant District Attorney in Warren County a position he held for 13 years before being elected to serve as the Warren County District Attorney in 2017. Jason’s distinguished service includes recognition by the Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association and the District Attorney’s Association of New York.

Drew Schiavi ’03, from Bristol, CT. Drew officially began his professional broadcasting career as a director and chief technical director for a variety of news and specialty programs at WRGB/WCWN – CBS 6 in Albany, NY.   In 2012, Drew became a Master Control Operator at ESPN in Connecticut and was promoted to Associate Director in 2014.  Drew was part of a team that won an Emmy Award at the 37th Annual Sorts EMMY® Awards for Outstanding Trans-Media Sports Coverage; College Football Playoff National Championship. However, Drew’s career truly began in college, where he was the Program Director at WGFR, SUNY Adirondack’s student radio while he earned is Associate’s Degree in Radio and TV Broadcasting. He transferred to SUNY Oswego and became the producer of the Oswego Laker Men’s Hockey Team games.  Drew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in broadcasting and mass communication at from SUNY Oswego in 2005. Each year, Drew shares his experiences with current SUNY Adirondack broadcasting students and has established a scholarship for broadcasting majors.

The Trailblazers will be honored at an event on Thursday, October 17, 2019. For more information on the Trailblazer program, visit sunyacc.edu/trailblazers or contact Jill Vogel at alumni@sunyacc.edu or 518-743-2244. 


2018 Trailblazers

SUNY Adirondack inducted five members to the Trailblazer Society at a networking luncheon on Sept. 28, 2018. 

The inductees include:

Stephen Conigliaro came to Adirondack Community College from Flushing in 1974. A student of Professor LeRoy Aiken, he found great joy in the Radio and TV Broadcasting major and at the newly established WACC Radio station. After graduating, Conigliaro left ACC to work at WIPS Ticonderoga, then moved to WBZA in Albany. He later settled in Charlotte, N.C., where a position as a professional DJ came with a new professional name, Steve Harmon. Through the years, he has won numerous awards, including three Billboard Major Market Air Personality of the Year awards, CMA Awards and, most significantly, an induction in 2018 to the Country Radio Hall of Fame in Nashville.

Sarah Ghent earned her AAS in Nursing from SUNY Adirondack in 1980 as an adult learner while raising her family, and she earned a Bachelor’s in Health and Human Services from Columbia Pacific University in San Rafael, California. Ghent continued a career in nursing that covered many diverse aspects of the profession. Her positions and roles included medical/surgical nurse at Staten Island University Hospital and Glens Falls Hospital; manager of a home care staffing agency on Staten Island; implementation of the first case management program on Staten Island for H.I.P. Plan of Greater New York; clinical review, quality improvement for Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield; and clinical reporting to physicians for Mohawk Valley Physicians. Since retirement, her volunteer endeavors include The American Red Cross, NY State Long Term Care Ombudsman (Certified) and Ombudsman of the Year 2017, NY Connects Long Term Care Council, Chairperson-SUNY Adirondack Nursing Alumni Association, SUNY Adirondack Nursing Program Advisory Board and the High Peaks Hospice. 

Dennis Harris is currently a systems engineer working at United Launch Alliance, where he is helping the company qualify their newest rocket, Vulcan, which will be used to launch manned missions to space as early as 2020. He graduated from SUNY Adirondack in 1996 with a Math/Science degree and then went on to SUNY Albany for a BS and MS in Physics. He received his MBA in 2010. Dennis has worked for several aerospace companies, and his projects include instruments for NASA, NOAA, the Air Force and South Korea.

Rich Johns, a native of South Glens Falls, began his academic career at ACC in 1968 and transferred to the State University of New York at Potsdam, where he graduated in 1972. Johns taught elementary and middle school, and he coached tennis at Saratoga Springs High School for 38 years. Under his guidance, Saratoga won 17 League Titles, nine Sectional Team Titles and holds the Section II record for Class AA with 85 consecutive wins and a record of 107– 2 during that period. He has won numerous awards as a coach, an Excellence in Teaching Award by the SUNY Albany Chapter of The National Society of Leadership and Success in 2015 and 2016 and has been inducted into the SUNY Adirondack and SUNY Potsdam hall of fames as well as the Saratoga Springs School District and the South Glens Falls Athletic and Community Pride Hall of Fames. Following his passion of personal character development, Johns started a “pay it forward” mission called Act With Respect Always, which has grown into a national model of student and athlete character development.

Brett Lange graduated from SUNY Adirondack in 1992 with an AAS in Radio Broadcasting.  He went on to earn a Bachelor's degree in finance marketing from the University at Albany. Today, Lange owns four local businesses in Lake George: Christie’s on the Lake, S.J. Garcia’s, Pablo’s Burrito Cantina and Magic Castle Indoor Golf. His entrepreneurial career has kept him linked with SUNY Adirondack. Many of his employees are student or graduates, and he has established two scholarships, one supporting students pursuing culinary degrees and another related to the study of the humanities.

The college’s Distinguished Faculty evaluated and selected the inaugural class from a competitive pool of nominations. Criteria for consideration include demonstrated excellence in the areas of professional achievement, community service, service to ACC/SUNY Adirondack and/or outstanding spirit.