John “Dutch” Summers, CEO of Graywood Companies, Jasco Heat Treating and Jasco Pharmaceuticals LLC, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award.

John “Dutch” Summers with wife Sandy Parker. (Photo credit: RIT)

Presented by Rochester Institute of Technology’s  Saunders College of Business, the award is given to entrepreneurial leaders within the Upstate New York region.

Summers manages Graywood Companies, a Rochester-based holding company managing residential and commercial real estate.

For decades, he also served as CEO of Jasco Tools Inc., a provider of standard and specialty cutting tools. He was the third employee at Jasco Tools, which was founded by his father in 1951.

Summers began running the company in his 20s. He grew Jasco Tools into a holding company overseeing four businesses, one of which became the largest tool-and-die manufacturer in Rochester. In 2014, Jasco Tools was acquired by Michigan-based Arch Global Precision LLC.

“Ever since I was young, I’ve enjoyed being busy and making money,” Summers said. “When I was a little tyke, I mowed lawns, washed windows and was a paper boy. I represent the magic and opportunity of America. I have traveled all over the world and I can tell you that the men and women all over this world want to emulate what we have in the United States.”

Summers has been a long-standing figure in the Rochester community. He is the former co-owner of the Strathallan Hotel in Rochester’s East End district and is co-founder of the Rump Group, a nonprofit business collective that was absorbed into the Rochester Business Alliance, now part of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. He is also the founder and president of the John and Jayne Summers Foundation, which he created with his late wife, Jayne, to support educational, health and human services organizations. He serves on the board of directors of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and was inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame in 2010.

“The Vanden Brul award is one of Rochester’s best annual traditions of celebrating Rochester’s top business successes with more than 30 distinguished recipients who are shining examples of entrepreneurial vision and success,” said Saunders College Dean Jacqueline Mozrall.

Past Vanden Brul recipients include Joseph Lobozzo, former CEO of JML Optical; John Smith, IT serial entrepreneur; Ronald Ricotta and Michael Nuccitelli, co-owners of Century Mold Inc. and Parlec Inc.; and the late Ernest J. Del Monte Sr., E. J. Del Monte Corp.