2014 Awardee: Rita Gurevich, Founder and President, SPHERE Technology
Rita Gurevich immigrated to Italy from Russia when she was three years old, and came to the United States in 1988. Her family was sponsored by a synagogue in New Jersey and Gurevich has lived and worked in the state since then. Instilled with a strong work ethic at an early age, Gurevich graduated from Steven’s Institute of Technology with a dual degrees in Math and Computer Science. After working at Lehman Brothers and briefly for a software company, Gurevich started SPHERE to meet the needs of Fortune 100 clients in assessing, remediating and creating policy with regards to data – structure, accessibility and usage.
Using her expertise and skills within the field of Data Governance, Compliance and Security, Gurevich has made SPHERE into a fast growing company that doubled its revenues from 2010 to 2011, again in 2011 to 2012, and is on pace to triple revenues in 2013. Now SPHERE currently has employees in the United Kingdom and plans to expand to Singapore and globally.
Maintaining competitive advantage by focusing on the niche she has created, Gurevich is able to provide a simple pricing structure that enables large organizations to work within competitive fiscal structures to meet the growing demands of the data market.
Gurevich’s work ethic is matched by her commitment to community values. She recently involved her organization in a mentoring program with Hoboken High School students. Groups of students came to the offices of SPHERE and are able to see how Gurevich and her staff work, ask questions about the company.
As a woman in the male-dominated field of technology, Gurevich understands the need to mentor and create opportunities for women in the field. Gurevich currently mentors a young female student from Stevens Institute of Technology. She also makes hiring of minorities and women a priority. Currently two-thirds (2/3) of the SPHERE workforce is either female or a minority, employing women in technical, engineering and managerial positions.
In 2012 SPHERE sent nearly 1,000 lbs. of supplies to troops serving overseas though the Hoboken Adopt-a-Solider Program. This year, SPHERE is hosting a Fall Harvest Festival to bring awareness and raise money for the for the Liberty Humane Society, which provides services to Hudson County, including pet adoptions.
In 2012, Gurevich was recognized by New Jersey Magazine, being named a Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneur. Also in 2012, SPHERE was named as a Finalist in the first Hoboken Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, in the category of Women Owned Business. In 2013 Rita was one of the inaugural winners of the first annual New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards—taking the George Merck Award for Community Engagement.
2013 Awardee: Shau-wai Lam, Chairman and CEO, DCH Auto Group
DCH’s roots began in the 1930s when B.Y. Lam, current DCH chairman and Shau-wai Lam’s father, started a trading company in Shanghai and later established Dah Chong Hong Limited in Hong Kong. In 1948, Lam arrived in New York City to launch an American subsidiary (DCH USA), which initially specialized in commodities trading and importing textiles and food.
A graduate of Purdue University, with an MBS from NYU, Shau-wai Lam joined DCH (USA), in 1967 with initial assignments in international trade, which included the domestic sales of imported textile and food products. In 1977, DCH USA opened its first automobile dealership, DCH Paramus Honda, in Paramus, NJ. Soon after, Shau-wai was sent to Los Angeles to launch DCH (USA)’s Western Region.
In 1988, Shau-wai returned to the East Coast after he was appointed President of DCH (USA). In 1992, he became Chairman when the Lam family, along with the Wing On Group of Hong Kong, acquired the U.S. operation from DCH Hong Kong. DCH (USA) now focuses solely on the auto industry and has 27 dealerships in New Jersey (10), New York (3), Connecticut (1), and California (13) with annual sales averaging $1.8 billion in the past five years.
Today, DCH Auto Group is headquartered in South Amboy, New Jersey and employs over 2,400 team members across its 27 dealerships. It is one of the top ten new vehicle automobile retailers in the nation and the largest in New Jersey.
Shau-wai and his wife, Marie, are active in supporting organizations that provide heath, educational, cultural and community services including: the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, Chinese American Planning Council, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Museum of Princeton, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Shanghai Museum, and Purdue University. Shau-wai serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation, as a Director of National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, Toyota-Lexus Minority Dealers Association, New Jersey Chinese-American Chamber of Commerce and American Friends of the Shanghai Museum.
Shau-wai is also the Chairman of the DCH Teen Safe Driving Foundation, a program dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries resulting from teen related auto crashes – the number one killer of teens – by promoting safe driving through greater awareness, education and advocacy directed to teens and their parents.
Today, each of the 27 DCH dealerships have built a robust program in their local communities, working closely with teens, parents, school administrations, community leaders, civic organizations and prevention organizations. DCH has invested over $2.5 million in this life-saving initiative. In 2013, DCH estimates that the work of the Foundation will mobilize over 3,000 high school and middle school teens to take action and raise awareness of the dangers inexperienced drivers face when behind the wheel of a car. These teen voices are heard by hundreds of thousands of students, parents and community members.