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Article From the Fall 2002 Issue of

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The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation





VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

We tend to picture our volunteers shoveling ballast or selling books in our Gift Shop, but there are also many behind-the-scenes jobs that keep the doors open and the museum’s accreditation up to date. Although this issue’s Spotlight victim has gasoline in his veins, his contribution is in number crunching and as a member of the Board of Trustees. Meet Steve Morse.

Steve was born in 1963 and grew up in Penfield, NY, the son of Gary and Joan Morse (Gary is also an NYMT volunteer…most associated with his restoration of our Rochester Subway "Casey Jones" track car). Steve’s first real brush with transportation was as an 11 year-old employee at the family Amoco station on Broad Street, pumping gas and doing general maintenance work. It was a full-service station, back in the days when a fill-up meant you got your oil checked and windshield cleaned too. However, "more than once I managed to forget to put the gas cap back on before a customer drove off", Steve recalls with a chuckle. Not feeling any inclination toward mechanics, he didn’t get involved in auto repair, but admits he could have enjoyed someday running the business had circumstances permitted.

Other early part-time and summer job experience included a Times-Union paper route, baking donuts at a Tops Market, and a summer building roof trusses on the 3:30 p.m.-to-2 a.m. shift at Morse Lumber Company (Steve says the lumber company Morses are distant relations, but doesn’t think it was a factor in landing this plum of a job!).

Steve majored in accounting while at Rochester Institute of Technology; he worked part time doing accounting work at Lake Shore Country Club and handling the books for the several business ventures of a local attorney. After graduation in 1986, he worked for two regional public accounting firms prior to joining Deloitte & Touche LLP in 1991. He had advanced to Audit Manager there by the time he left in 1999 to take a position as Corporate Consolidations Manager at Genesee Corporation, his current employer.

At Genesee Corporation, shareowners voted to follow an orderly plan of liquidation and dissolution in October 2000, and the process was started to sell off the Genesee Brewery and numerous other businesses. Steve became Vice President and Treasurer upon the closing of the brewery transaction in December 2000, and is currently Vice President and CFO of Genesee Corporation. Meanwhile, High Falls Brewery Company LLC was formed by its new owners and continues satisfying the world’s thirst for the Genesee family of beers.

Other businesses were then sold, including Ontario Foods (private label dry foods like bullion cubes, noodles and sauce, etc.), real estate holdings, and equipment leasing. Steve expects to see the process through until all assets are sold and all collections are in; then he’ll look forward to new career challenges with a nice page in his portfolio for his efforts.

Outside of work, Steve and Kim, his wife of 16 years, live in Penfield with their two children, Kayla (12) and Austin (8). Both kids like sports, with Kayla especially into horseback riding and swimming. Austin particularly likes playing in the Penfield Little League, and does well despite being profoundly deaf.

Steve somehow finds time to serve on several local boards, including the Rochester School for the Deaf (where he is also Treasurer), and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf Foundation. He’s also on the Board of the Susan B. Anthony House, and is Chair of the Community Services Committee of the Rochester Chapter of the New York State Society of CPA’s. This doesn’t leave time for one of Steve’s early interests—serving as a volunteer fireman (he served on the Penfield corps from 1982 to 1986, and in Hamlin’s outfit in the late 1980’s). He has, however, started piano lessons and says he likes just about any kind of music. We wonder if he’ll be a candidate for our calliope someday…

Steve likes open wheel auto racing and follows the Formula One races. A recent acquisition is a 1983 Porsche 944 which is in good condition and that he enjoys tooling around in and working on with his dad.

The museum’s Board gains much from Steve’s financial knowledge and from his perspective serving on other boards. He has set up a whole new accounting system for us, with revisions to our Day Sheets and Treasurer Tony Mittiga’s bookkeeping journals, and including computerized financial statements as well. The latter are generated by Steve’s dad, and they give us not only a more up-to-date picture of our finances, but also provide professional-quality reports when applying for grants and reporting to various agencies. Steve also handles our annual IRS tax reporting—a big load off the shoulders of those who had been struggling with this annual burden.

Looking to NYMT’s future, Steve wants to see us develop a Strategic Plan, with appropriate fund raising, that would get us to a point where a paid Director could handle the routine tasks of managing and maintaining the museum. This would render the volunteers more available to operate, restore, guide groups, and the like. In time, we could be open more days, increase our visitor count, and continue to grow.

That’s a noble goal, in line with our Vision for the museum. With Steve Morse’s continued valuable contributions of time and expertise, we should be able to achieve it.