Today, December 6, 2017, Parade President Janet Higgins announced the 2018 Grand Marshals on NewChannel 9’s Bridge Street. The co-Grand Marshals this year are Edward Riley and Bill Gooley. Both Riley and Gooley, notes Higgins, are “…simply Grand Men – leading by example – in ways to give back to our community.” We’re proud to honor them both for our 36th parade on March 17th!
Edward M. Riley
Ed or “Butch” as his Great Grandfather nicknamed him, was born at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, to Marcia and Eugene Riley, is the oldest of 6 children, and the fourth generation of the Riley family to make Syracuse home. Originally residing on Park Avenue at the base of Tipperary Hill on the City’s west end, the family moved to Camillus in early 1960’s where Ed attended Holy Family School, and was a second generation graduate of Christian Brothers Academy following in his father’s footsteps. He attended Onondaga Community College and Syracuse University studying Architecture, and eventually received his Architectural License in New York along with several other States.
Ed married Janet, his wife of over 40 years, who he originally met in 1968, and initially settled on Tipperary Hill area of Syracuse’s west side, starting a family which grew to include their daughter Colleen, and son’s Michael and Kevin, eventually moving from Tipp Hill to Camillus, where they currently reside. They welcomed the sixth generation with grandson Benjamin, and twin grandchildren William and Caroline to the Riley clan.
Ed’s career in Architecture included historic restoration and adaptive re-use commissions in Armory Square area of downtown Syracuse during it’s early redevelopment, which was also where the practice was located, along with regional commercial and residential projects throughout the northeast. In 1989 as a key member of the redevelopment group, he received the Downtown Committee’s award for the redevelopment of the Bentley-Settle Building, and was also appointed by Mayor Tom Young to the Armory Square Development Taskforce.
In the years following, Ed focused his career on real estate development with a focus in hospitality joining Marriott International, Intrawest Placemaking, and Pyramid Hotel Group in Boston, with responsibility to execute projects from Hawaii to the Caribbean, throughout the United Sates and Ireland. Representative projects included Grand Wailea and Ko’Olina resorts in Hawaii, Westin Grand Cayman, Westin Napa, Arizona Biltmore, Fairfax at Embassy Row along with several other iconic hotels and resorts.
After working quietly for several years to acquire the closed Hotel Syracuse, in 2014, Ed resigned his position in Boston to undertake the restoration and renovation of this iconic hotel, reopening it in 2016 as the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, retaking its place as the premier property for not just Syracuse, but for the Central New York region. The Hotel has been awarded numerous honors since reopening, including Historic Hotels of America, 2017 Award of Excellence as Best City Center Hotel and AAA, 4 Diamond property. It employs close to 300 individuals and gives back to the Community through its “piece of the puzzle” donations to local charities which are nominated by the hotel’s staff.
Ed and Janet are involved in numerous community activities and charities, including serving as honorary chairs for the Samaritan Center’s 2016 annual fundraiser in addition to working with Save Our Setters, a national Irish Setter Rescue organization. In 2017, Ed and Janet were inducted into the Onondaga Community College Alumni Faces for their contributions as OCC Alumni. Additionally, Ed volunteers on several boards including the Rescue Mission, Onondaga Community College’s Foundation Board, and Downtown Committee Board of Directors. Ed has received several community awards including honors from Syracuse United Neighbors, The Metal of the Onondaga Historical Association, Rescue Mission Hope award and American Institute of Architect’s CNY 2015 Presidents Award for Preservation and Building of the Historic Marriott Syracuse Downtown, formerly Hotel Syracuse.
Ed currently is the founding partner and Managing Member of Brine Wells Development, LLC, a real estate development company that completed the restoration of Hotel Syracuse as the Marriott Syracuse and currently working on the restoration of Hotel Niagara in Niagara Falls, USA.
William M. Gooley
Billy Gooley is known to his friends, family and colleagues as a gentleman, scribe, wordsmith, and storyteller as well as for his wit, humor and occasional moments of blarney, all in the best of the Old Irish traditions.
One of eight children of John and Ellen Gooley, he grew up in St. Brigid’s Parish. An alumnus of St. Patrick’s High School, he graduated from Onondaga Community College with an A.S. degree and received his Bachelor of Science from Northern Arizona University.
A licensed real estate broker, he started his business career with Eagan Real Estate where he received numerous company awards for sales achievement, as well as the Golden Circle Award from the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors as one of the top twenty brokers of 2,000 CNY sales associates. After working for local residential and commercial real estate developers he was appointed as the Director of Development for Kapson Senior Quarters, a publically traded company specializing in the development and operation of senior housing in the northeastern U.S. Today, as a principal of Newbridge Atlantic, Inc. his focus is on providing investment brokerage and development consulting services to commercial property and senior housing owners.
He has worked as a Community Volunteer since he was a young man, and has supported many community and civic causes. He has been a volunteer for the United Way, MS Resources of Central New York, Project Children, as well as St. Baldrick’s. Taking his idea for an annual reunion, he and his childhood friends who he played Little League baseball and grew up with, together they planned and organized the West-End Open Golf Tournament. The event raised and donated $100,000 to benefit the kids of Tipperary Hill and the West-End. As a volunteer and key organizer of many Benefit Fundraisers he and friends have helped to directly raise over $1,000,000 for individuals with life threatening diseases. He is an active volunteer and organizer with the AOH in the yearly Syracuse Newspapers Old Newsboys “Hope for the Holidays” fundraiser that provides toys and food for needy children and families at Christmas.
Bill is now, or has also served as a member of many organizations including the Urban Land Institute, the Irish American Cultural Institute, and the Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade Committee where he was the recipient of the Shamrock Award. He was a member and Vice-President of St. Brigid’s Parish council for twenty years.
He co-founded the St. Patrick Hunger Project in 2006 along with his two friends, Richie Walsh and John Young. The “Hunger Project”, now an integral part of the annual Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade, collects monetary and food donations that are distributed by the Food Bank of CNY and the Intereligious Food Consortium . From its inception through this year’s campaign, the Hunger Project will have provided approximately 500,000 meals to hungry Syracuse kids and families.
Proud of his Irish heritage, the four corners of his mother’s and father’s families come from across the “Pond” from Counties Tipperary, Wexford and Limerick in Ireland. Family members emigrated to Syracuse starting in the mid 1840’s during the “Famine” settling in an area in the Village of Geddes, now known as Tipperary Hill and the West-End and have had a presence there right through to today.
Bill, his wife Lisa and their three sons Liam (Hannah), John Patrick and Brendan (Chrissy) are one of the proud founding sponsors of the Stonethrowers Heritage Monument at the “Green above the Red” traffic light in the heart of Tipperary Hill.