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Academy of Achievement B Thomas Golisano

B. Thomas Golisano

Inducted 1999

Golisano founded Paychex in 1971 with $3,000 and an idea about how to make payroll outsourcing easy and affordable for small businesses. Golisano started the company in Rochester, New York; its headquarters remain in Rochester today. Paychex began with one employee and 40 clients. Today, Paychex serves more than 500,000 clients from over 100 locations across the United States and employs more than 9,400 people. Revenues for fiscal 2004 totaled nearly $1.3 billion.

Paychex initially grew through partnerships and franchises. Golisano consolidated those into one private company in 1979. The company went public in 1983 and trades on The NASDAQ Stock Market. Paychex and Golisano have received numerous national honors over the years. In 2004, the company was recognized for a third consecutive year by FORTUNE magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies To Work For” in America, and by Training magazine as one of the top 100 training organizations in the country. FORTUNE also named Paychex one of the most admired companies in the country, and Forbes honored Paychex as one of the best-managed companies in America.

In addition to his role with Paychex, Golisano is owner of the Buffalo Sabres, a National Hockey League team. Golisano is a founder of the Independence Party of New York State and has run for governor of New York as that party’s candidate three times. He has personally contributed more than $50 million to Rochester area not-for-profit organizations, predominantly institutions of health care and higher education.

He also started the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation in 1986 to provide grants to organizations serving those with disabilities and their families. Golisano has received numerous business, civic, and community awards. In 2004, he was named Outstanding Philanthropist by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, an international organization. Golisano is a graduate of the State University of New York at Alfred. He is a native of Irondequoit, New York, a suburb of Rochester. Golisano has two children and six grandchildren. He and his wife, Heather, reside in Pittsford, New York.