Sullivan County Historical Society History Maker Award 2007
Alan Gerry was the founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cablevision Industries Corporation (“CVI”). By 1995, after nearly four decades in the television business, the company which had begun in Sullivan County had experienced dramatic growth and operated 64 cable systems in 18 states employing more than 2,500 people. With over 1.3 million subscribers, CVI had become the nation’s largest privately owned cable company and the 8th largest multiple system operator in the United States.
Alan was a pioneer in many respects. He realized that television reception was unsatisfactory for many people due to topography or remoteness from towers and in 1956 he built his first “classic” television system in Liberty, New York, where he still maintains his corporate offices. Over the years he developed innovative capital structures that made possible the financing of CVI’s remarkable growth without accessing the public equity markets and his innovative use of microwave technology extended cable’s reach. He was among the first to use fiber and in 1989 installed fiber-optic cable in CVI’s San Fernando Valley system in west Los Angeles.
On January 4, 1996 CVI merged with Time Warner, the nation’s second largest cable operator, but Alan continued as one of the nation’s entrepreneurial leaders. The same month of the merger he founded Granite Associates L.P., a private investment company focused on capital appreciation utilizing a diversified investment strategy. He continues to serve as Granite’s Chairman and C.E.O.
Alan never forgot his origins and now devotes a large part of his time helping Sullivan County to enhance its natural beauty and grow economically. In 1996, Granite bought the property where the original Woodstock concert was held in 1969, along with several hundred surrounding acres; and Alan began the lengthy process of building an exceptionally attractive arts and entertainment center. Visitors come from around the world both to enjoy the arts, but also to celebrate Woodstock’s musical legacy. Named Bethel Woods, the complex has just completed its second successful season.
Alan is a major benefactor of schools, colleges and medical institutions both in Sullivan County and beyond. For example, he is a leading contributor to the Catskill Regional Medical Center in Sullivan County and to the Sullivan County Community College. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for Syracuse University and has served for many years as a Trustee of the Guthrie Health Care System in Sayre, Pennsylvania. In 1997 he established the Paul Gerry Dialysis Center at the Robert Packer Hospital in honor of his late brother and created the Alan Gerry Chair of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School and the Alan Gerry Endowed Scholar Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Because of his business achievements and the wide range of his charitable activities, Alan has received numerous awards and citations. In 1995 he received the Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership, the most prestigious award granted by the cable television industry; and in 2000 he was inducted into the Cable Television Hall of Fame. He has also received an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree from Roger Williams University and in 2004 an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the State University of New York.
Alan is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. His wife, Sandra, is the originator and guiding spirit of the Sullivan County Renaissance. His daughters, Annalise and Robyn, reside in Sullivan County and his son, Adam lives in Naples, Florida. Alan is the proud grandfather of nine grandchildren.
The Sullivan County Historical Society is proud to present this year’s History Maker Award to Alan Gerry.