Dec. 2012 Chamber Person of the Year - Dave Shaheen

Dec 6, 2012

Linda Quinlan, Messenger Post Media

Why he’s in the news

Dave Shaheen simply likes to shine a light on his beloved hometown. Now the spotlight is on him this week. This Saturday, Dec. 8, Shaheen will be recognized with the 2012 Person of the Year Award presented by the Irondequoit Chamber of Commerce.

“David’s contributions on so many fronts make him a most deserving recipient of this award,” said chamber president Bob Spatola. “His contributions in so many activities go above and beyond.”

Shaheen says he doesn’t do what he does for the appreciation, but for the good of the community.

He adds, however, that his family is very touched by the honor.

“I’m just proud to be among a group of great volunteers and leaders in Irondequoit,” Shaheen said.

Where does your drive to volunteer come from?

“My father (the late Raymond C. Shaheen) was incredibly involved, too. He loved Irondequoit like I do and was a great role model,” Shaheen said, “but I also credit my experiences at Georgetown (University) with my path of volunteerism.

 “I also want to reverse the trend of being willing to say ‘no, I don’t have time for that.’ I see it as a call to action ... I don’t want to be the guy who steps back. I’m proud and glad to do what I can to help the church and the community ... It’s so important to counter the naysayers.”

 Can you talk about some of the work you’ve done?

“I’ve served on the chamber board for more than 16 years and headed up its new website development (www.irondequoitchamber.org). I think it’s important to be a cheerleader for projects in town, whether it’s I-Square, the new flagship Tops store or one of the incarnations of Medley Centre.

“I also just signed up for a role on the St. Kateri Parish finance committee, and have been on a number of fundraising committees for the church and Bishop Kearney High School (his alma mater) the last eight years.

"I also have helped organize and host the St. Kateri “R&R” retreat and served on the cluster team.

“I ‘retired’ as Grand Knight from the Knights of Columbus in September, but continue as a member and do soup kitchen and food cupboard work.

“I joined Irondequoit Rotary about 10 years ago and am a past member of the board. Not one of our 35 members can do it by ourselves, but together we do 100 Christmas baskets for the Irondequoit Community Cupboard, fundraise through our pasta dinner and helped put in a handicapped-accessible playground at Camp Eastman (and so much more).”

 He says his business also does more than 50 charity gifts to schools, churches and Eagle Scouts each year, and two years ago, he donated new carpeting and paint, at cost, for redecorating Irondequoit’s two library branches.

Is there something about you people might be surprised to know?

“Well, after my 55-hour work week, my ‘therapy’ is playing saxophone for Sunday Masses at Christ the King Church and for some funerals. I also love singing karaoke with a group of three friends. We call ourselves the “Three and a half Tenors,” and I’m the half! We get together on Wednesdays and

Fridays at places like Keenan’s and Murphs and sing tunes by performers like Billy Joel and Elton John. It’s a great release and a great way to end a night.”

“It’s kind of crazy, I guess,” he admits, but on Wednesdays he goes from work to Rotary at 6 p.m., to a music ministry rehearsal at 7:30 p.m., then does karaoke from 9:30 p.m. to as late as 1 a.m.

What do you want people to know about your business?

“People think we’re just a paint store, but 20 percent of our business is carpeting and flooring and another 20 percent is window blinds and draperies. We also do upholstery and wallpaper, and have new, easy-release wall coverings.

"We used to be the number 1 paint supplier for Kodak and still do a lot of paint for schools, hospitals and office parks. We’re not painters, but we have a great referral network. We’ve also been a pioneer in the new “no VOC,” or no-odor, “green” paints.”

In his own words

“I love living in the town I grew up in, supporting the local merchants and am very enthused by the $27 million of new redevelopment recently secured by the town ... Buy into the positives of Irondequoit, simply support your local merchants — and, united, we all prosper ... It’s all about keeping it local. And, it’s great to see the town coming alive again.”

More about David V. Shaheen

HOMETOWN   Until age 10, he lived on the Rochester side of Long Acre Road, on the border of Irondequoit, but has called Irondequoit home for more than 45 years

EDUCATION   St. Thomas the Apostle grammar school; 1974 graduate, Bishop Kearney High School; Georgetown University, degree finance and marketing

OCCUPATION   President, R.C. Shaheen Paint and Decorating Centers; partner, Shaheen Real Estate LLC

FAMILY   Wife, Beverly, son, Chris; daughter, Stephanie

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Irondequoit Chamber of Commerce, including chairing its economic development and website subcommittees; Irondequoit Rotary, active at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, including its music ministry and past president of its parish council; this year, he was Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus; past member of the Irondequoit Planning Board for 10 years

HOBBIES AND INTERESTS   Music, playing the saxophone, golf, volleyball, and singing karaoke