The boating museum reached agreement with the City of Geneva in the fall of 2009 to establish a permanent home on the Geneva waterfront in association with a Visitor Center. The building, which will be located on the current Geneva Chamber of Commerce site, is being enabled by a $2 million grant provided to the city by state Sen. Michael Nozzolio. Construction is expected to start this spring.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this project,” said Hetzke. “If the site is correctly developed it should be a world class museum. It should be spectacular for the City of Geneva.”
Hetzke started his company, Unitrac, in 1974 as a metal brokerage company and in the mid-‘80s formed Unitrac Energy Management Systems specializing in energy efficient lighting applications. IlluminFx, a division of Unitrac, provided the color-changing LED system used to light the Cradle of Champions sculpture unveiled during Super Bowl Week near the site of the game. The unveiling was covered on ESPN.
The Rochester Business Journal recently reported that the steel statue in Fort Worth, Texas, weight seven tons and is 16 feet high. It is shaped like the state of Texas and honors the strength and legacy of high school football in the state and those who later played in the National Football League.
Before starting his own business, Hetzke worked for Eastman Kodak Co., Community Savings Bank and Home Life Insurance Co. He former First Rochester Co. in 1971 and incorporated the company into First Rochester Security Corp. in 1972.
Hetzke purchased Burke Steel Serviceenters, Inc. in 1973 and sold the company to Mallard Lakes in 1977. He formed Unitrac in 1974.
He is a 1960 graduate of SUNY at Delhi with an AAS degree in business management. His hobby is restoring old boats and he is a member of the Rochester Curling Club as well as the Rochester Business Alliance.
The boating museum has assembled a collection of more than 100 wooden boats built in the Finger Lakes over the past 100 years, as well as numerous related artifacts and extensive reference material. The collection is stored in the Geneva Enterprise Development Center on North Genesee Street arranged by the Geneva IDA and in Yates County.
Portions of the collection will be displayed on a rotating basis within the new facility, but President Bill Oben emphasized that there will be a lot more to the museum than viewing boats because education, restoration and preservation are the key elements of the museum’s mission.
Also featured will be boat rides on Seneca Lake, active on-water programs including sailing and small boat handling, interactive workshops and displays to engage visitors in the design and construction of boats and boating history materials and programs.
The boating museum is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation and was chartered by the New York State Department of Education in 1997 to “research, document, preserve and share the boating history of the Finger Lakes region.”
Additional information about the boating museum may be found on its