A 1969 graduate of Saugerties High School in Saugerties, Siracusano served in the United States Army from 1970 to 1972. During high school, he had the opportunity to participate in an automotive program and started working at his local Sears Auto Center at age 16.
“I was stationed in Korea for a majority of my time in the Army,” Siracusano said. “When I returned home to Saugerties, I went back to work for Sears as a counter salesperson, selling tires, batteries and vehicle services. I became the number two tire salesman in the country.”
After a 20-year career with Sears, Siracusano and his brother, Larry, pooled their resources and purchased Sawyer Motors.
“As a child growing up in a broken family, my brother and I always knew we did not want to struggle like our parents,” he said. “We purchased dilapidated multi-family homes and turned them into clean, livable, profitable apartments. By 1988, we owned seven apartment buildings and we were able to sell five of our income properties to buy the dealership.”
Today, the brothers also own Sawyer Chevrolet in Catskill, New York. “When I left Sears, I took several employees with me that had the same drive and ambition as I did,” Siracusano said. “I knew their work ethic would help make Sawyer Motors successful and it did. We became our own family within our work environment, and some are still with us today.”
And he believes his unrivaled community service distinguishes his dealerships from all of his competitors in the region. To that end, he established the Sawyer Automotive Foundation as the philanthropic arm of his business, but it is Siracusano himself that generates abundant goodwill in his area.
“Since starting the Sawyer Automotive Foundation, I have been able to distribute more than $750,000 to local charities and families in need,” Siracusano. “I love being involved in my community.”
One example is his recent visit to the local Center for Spectrum Services, a day school program for children with autism, dressed as the Good Humor man in a vintage ice cream truck to deliver free ice cream to the kids. “This is just one way that we can give back,” Siracusano said on-site. He also raises money for the group and serves as auctioneer at the center’s events. All of his efforts were recognized when he was named Autism Awareness Advocate of the Year by the organization.
When the pandemic hit, Siracusano jumped into action, securing masks for distribution and launching a campaign to support local restaurants. In addition, his annual Sawyer Motors Car Show, now in its 17th year, is a popular event featuring music, vintage autos and a fundraising raffle.
He has also sponsored Holiday in the Village, which includes bicycle and toy giveaways, along with a festive parade of firetrucks decked out in lights. Other organizations he supports include the Saugerties Animal Shelter; Boys & Girls Club of Ulster County; First Responders Children’s Foundation; and many others.
“Our community service ethos demonstrates to our customers that we are their friends and neighbors who share in the responsibility to care for one another,” Siracusano said.
He currently serves on the boards of the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce, Diaz Memorial Ambulance Service and Hope Rocks – and has received numerous honors for his good works.
Siracusano was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Robert Vancavage, president of the New York State Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Michelle, have two children.