Special award recognizes James-Geska’s exemplary leadership, vision, resilience and the drive to move her organization forward and improve the lives of others
ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 22, 2023—The City of Rochester tonight honored US Ceiling Corp President Melissa James-Geska with the 2023 MWBE Champion Award for breaking barriers and paving the way for other minority- and women-owned businesses in the community. James-Geska is the first MWBE owner in the history of the City of Rochester to earn a major development contract—having been named one of the prime contractor partners for the Bull’s Head Revitalization project in 2021. James-Geska is also chair of the Builders Exchange of Rochester and is the first woman and person of color to serve in such a capacity in the organization’s 135-year history.
James-Geska stressed the importance of community during her acceptance speech, saying, “Let this be a time that we unite and create a common sense of community in Upstate New York. Minority and women-owned businesses must rally together to advocate with a collective voice. In the words of Thomas Paine, ‘It is not in numbers, but in unity that our great strength lies.’ Let us humble ourselves, so that we are open and ready for growth. Let us ask for help when we need it and offer to help when we can.”
Under James-Geska’s leadership, US Ceiling has emerged as an industry force, helping change Rochester’s landscape by working on some of its most notable and transformative construction projects, including Tower280 at Midtown, the Sibley Building and The Nathaniel Apartments. Ever the visionary, in 2020, she launched US Ceiling’s development arm, USC, bringing workforce development and social impact real estate development to projects in Rochester and Ithaca.
James-Geska takes great pride in paying her success forward—continually serving as a role model and mentor, and contributing to various nonprofit organizations that address issues affecting minorities and women. Passionate about bridging the labor gap and promoting diversity in construction, she works to provide practical experience and employment opportunities through her firm’s skilled trades training and workforce development program, USC Academy, which has provided 337,723 hours of paid skills training since its launch in 2019. Since opening its doors in 2001, US Ceiling has created 460 jobs in the Rochester community, helped build 10,807 affordable housing units and made 170 charitable donations to dozens of community-focused organizations.
The evening’s awards event was held at the Strathallan as a kick-off to the City’s inaugural Upstate NY MWBE Conference, which will take place over the next two days.
About US Ceiling Corp
Founded in 2001, US Ceiling Corp (usceiling.com) is a social impact subcontractor that specializes in interior commercial, multifamily and residential construction. Now in its 22nd year, the award-winning NYS Certified MWBE firm is committed to diversifying the construction industry and empowering lives. People-focused and purpose-driven, US Ceiling partners with like-minded organizations to provide skilled trades training and employment opportunities—helping people build economic self-reliance and inclusive, equitable communities that thrive.