Business Organizations

Sandy Parker, former Rochester NY business coalition leader, dies

Sandy Parker, the former Rochester Business Alliance president and behind-the-scenes force in local business and economic development circles, died Saturday at age 75.

Parker in 2002 was president of the Industrial Management Council, one of two major business roundtable organizations in the area along with the Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce. Sensing a need for a unified voice in the business community, she spearheaded a merger and served as president of the new organization until 2014.

“Sandy was remarkably strategic and collaborative, and it was a very effective combination for our community,” Rochester Area Community Foundation President Jennifer Leonard said. “She juggled the many different parts of the business community highly effectively without needing to be out front.”

The cause of death was cancer that progressed very quickly. Parker’s death was first reported by WXXI News.

She grew up in Webster, the daughter of a Bausch + Lomb vice president, before studying and later working at Rochester Institute of Technology. In 1980 she joined the Industrial Management Council, one of two long-standing business organizations in the area.

The discussions regarding the merger unfolded slowly. “That was the first time in 70 or 80 years the two organizations had really worked together without looking for an advantage,” Tom Mooney, her counterpart at the Chamber of Commerce, said in 2003.

The Rochester Business Alliance later was renamed the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. It is headed today by Bob Duffy, the former mayor and lieutenant governor.