Club Officers (2019-2020)

Francis Okelo
David Biskup

President

Secretary

Thomas Geoffino
Felix Battiato
Gil Walton

Foundation Chair

Treasurer

Sergeant-at-Arms

Barbara Crane

Membership Chair

Rotary Club of New Rochelle

Members

Felix Battiato is President of Battiato & Associates, a New Rochelle company that has provided accounting and tax services for over 35 years.  Felix has been a Rotary member for 28 years and is currently the Club Treasurer.  He is a past President of the Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. He has also received the Service Above Self Award and is a member of the Club’s Hall of Fame.  Felix has volunteered in addition with the Columbus Citizen Foundation, the Order Sons of Italy In America, and the Chamber of Commerce of New Rochelle.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Lehman College of the City University of New York.

Raymond J. Beninato, CLU, is President of Raben Capital Growth Corporation, where he provides financial and retirement planning for individuals and businesses.  Ray is also a past President of the Estate Planning Council of Westchester and past President of the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce.  He joined Rotary in 1976 as a charter member of the Harrison West Club and was invited to join the New Rochelle Club upon the passing of his father Phil, who was a longtime member.  Ray has served twice as President of the New Rochelle Club and once as President of the Harrison West Club.  Ray is a Paul Harris Fellow and has been honored with the Service Above Self-Award and New Rochelle Rotary Club Hall of Fame. Ray also presents the Flag Day Ceremony in association with the Elks Club of New Rochelle every year. He gives the history of our country’s flags from colonial times to the present to the grammar schools in New Rochelle.  Ray attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains and holds a BA degree in Economics from Georgetown University.  In his free time Ray enjoys spending time with his wonderful wife Rose Sagaria and playing golf.

David J. Biskup, CPA, is a partner in Biskup and Bravo, CPAs, PC, a firm providing a wide range of tax, accounting, and other financial services in New Rochelle for over 35 years, based in the historic “K” building on North Avenue.  David has been a member of Rotary since 1997.  He is currently the President Elect/Vice President who will become Club president for the 2019/2020 fiscal year, taking the role for the second time during his tenure with the Club.  He has also been Club Treasurer for many years and has received the Service Above Self Award, the Paul Harris Award and is a member of the Club’s Hall of Fame.  He has been on the Board of the local YMCA of New Rochelle and volunteers with many community projects through Rotary and Hope Community Services.  Dave holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Iona College.  He is married to Therese and they have three children, Matt and Danny, age 21, and Jenna, age 17.

Angela Cermele is the Director of Customer Service and System Integration at Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital.  In this expansive role, Angela serves as a liaison between the New Rochelle campus and the Montefiore Corporate Partners in marketing, communications, government relations, and public relations, bringing awareness of the services provided at Montefiore New Rochelle to the community.  Angela joined the Rotary Club of New Rochelle in 2010, received the Service Above Self Award in 2015, served as Board Secretary from 2015 to 2018 and will be honored as a member of the Club Hall of Fame in 2019.  She is a Paul Harris Fellow and has been active in Club volunteer activities, including the annual holiday dinners and summer barbecues for children with disabilities and their families, in collaboration with the New Rochelle Parks and Recreation Department.  She has also contributed to Club auctions, golf outings, and other fundraising activities.  Angela graduated from The Ursuline School in New Rochelle and holds a BA from the College of Mount Saint Vincent.  She resides in Eastchester with Kenneth and is mother to JP and Samantha. 

Barbara B. Crane is currently retired from a career in global women’s reproductive health, working previously as Executive Vice President for Ipas, an international non-profit based in North Carolina; a senior adviser under contract with USAID; and a researcher at the University of Michigan.  She has been a Rotary member since 2012, joining the New Rochelle Rotary when she moved to the city in 2016 and receiving the Club’s Service Above Self Award in 2018.  She has been an active member in the Club and also volunteers with My Brother’s Keeper, Hope Community Services, and the New Rochelle United Methodist Church. Barbara holds a PhD from the University of Michigan, an MA from Tufts University, and her BA from Wellesley College.  Her son Russell and his family reside in New Rochelle, and her daughter Lyz in Manhattan.

Kathleen V. Fanese is Customer Service Manager at Jaguar Land Rover White Plains and President of KVF Corporate Events Planning.  She has had a long career in business, marketing, customer relations and event planning, working previously with Eastchester Trip Service, the New Rochelle Public Library, and the St. John Associates, among others.  In 1994, she became the first female second generation member of the Rotary Club of New Rochelle, following in the footsteps of her father, Al Fanese.  She has been a past Club President and is currently an Assistant Governor for Rotary District 7230 for the second time.  Throughout her membership in the Club, Kathleen has shown great dedication in support of Club events and fundraising activities, often serving as chair. She has received the Club’s Service Above Self Award, is a member of the Club Hall of Fame, and is a Paul Harris Fellow.  She also received a Woman of Excellence Award from the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce in 2011.  Kathleen holds a BA from Iona College and served on the Iona Alumni Board of Directors from 1986-2009, including on its Executive Board for four years.  She received the Brother Patrick B. Dole Award for Distinguished Service to the Alumni Association in 2004.

Thomas J. Geoffino is Director of the New Rochelle Public Library where he has served since 2006.  Tom’s tenure has been marked by his commitment to providing welcoming and customer service-oriented services from the NRPL to the diverse New Rochelle community in order to continue the Library’s proud tradition of functioning as a democratic beacon and community hub for everyone, no matter their circumstances.  He has overseen significant expansion of the Library’s services and programs, improved use of technologies, and other innovations.  Previously, he served as Town Librarian for Fairfield Connecticut from 1998 to 2006, following service as the Deputy Town Librarian from 1994 to 1998 and leadership positions in the Connecticut State Library from 1985 to 1994. Tom joined the Rotary Club of New Rochelle in 2007, serving as President of the Club in 2016-2017 and becoming a Paul Harris Fellow in 2016.  He has contributed regularly to the service and fundraising activities of the Club, receiving the Club’s Service Above Self Award in 2011 and becoming a member of the Club’s Hall of Fame in 2019.  Tom holds a Master of Library Science from Southern Connecticut State University, an MA from Duquesne University, and a BA Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  He has two sons, Matthew and Michael. 

Ambassador Francis G. Okelo, born in Uganda, retired following a distinguished career serving the United Nations in countries around the world, including as Deputy United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process; the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Sierra Leone; and Uganda’s Ambassador to the European Union and concurrently to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, and later to Kenya.  Apart from short-term assignments elsewhere, he has resided in New Rochelle since August 1973.   He has been a Rotary member since 2008, is a Paul Harris Fellow, and has served as President of the New Rochelle Club in 2018-2019.   Francis holds an honors degree in economics, history and philosophy, from the then University of East Africa in Makerere, Uganda; and a postgraduate Diploma in Diplomacy and International Relations.  Francis is married to Maliam Abe, and they have four children, Laker, Losira, Ikelokuc, and Travis, as well as four grandchildren. 

Stephen Trauzzi, MD, FACS practices General Urology and is an attending physician in Urology at Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital.  He is also a consultant Urologist on staff at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx and is on the medical staff at Westchester Medical Center, Lawrence Hospital and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.  He has been a Rotary member since 1998, is a past President of the Club, and a Paul Harris Fellow.  Dr. Trauzzi has served as President of the New York State Urological Society.  He attended Xavier High School in Manhattan and continued on to Georgetown University where he earned a BS in Biology and his MD Degree.  He completed his urology training at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in 1994.  He is married to Lisa and has a daughter Lea who is a senior in college. 

Gilbert Walton is the Farmers Insurance Agent in New Rochelle.  Previously, Gil worked for 11 years for State Farm Insurance in various field and supervisory positions before becoming a State Farm Agent in 1995, building one of the largest insurance agencies in New York State.  Before starting his career in insurance, he worked for three years as a financial analyst for Dun & Bradstreet and Moody's Investor Services. Gil graduated from Dewitt Clinton High School in the Bronx and the University of Pittsburgh, where he played football and participated in student government activities.  He joined the Rotary Club of New Rochelle in 2018 and is also active in the Bronx County Historical Society, the University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association, The Westchester Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc and Sts. Peter & Paul Men's Club. He resides in Mount Vernon, along with his wife of 27 years, Michaelle and their children, Cameron, Cahlia and Naomi.

Honorary Members

Joanne Amicola - Olgee (1992)

Patricia Anderson (1998)

Paul Barton (1988)

Walter Bobrow (1972)

Peter Fauci (1980)

John Manning (1976)

Robert Morello (1986)

Gary Rankoon (1982)

John Roberts (1999)

Joseph Rossi (2006)

Joseph Napolitano (2019)

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