Steve Hess was born in Amsterdam, Holland in 1938. Mr. Hess spent his childhood years under Nazi occupation. He and his family, including his parents and twin sister, were in the Westerbork and Bergen Belsen concentration camps during the period 1942-1945. The family immigrated to the United States on January 1, 1947. He has lectured widely on the Holocaust throughout the Rochester school systems and at area colleges and universities.
A graduate of Columbia College, Class of 1960, Mr. Hess majored in American history. He served on active duty with the U.S. Navy for four years (1960-1964), first as a line officer on board a destroyer, and later as a Press Officer with the Third Naval District. He separated from the service with the rank of Lieutenant. Following military service, he was employed at The New York Times and then as a public relations specialist with the Western Electric Company. In 1967 he joined Berkey Photo and served in a variety of assignments leading to the presidency of their professional manufacturing division. In 1975 Mr. Hess moved to Rochester, NY as president of Saunders Photo/Graphic, at the time a six-person photographic equipment company. Renamed The Saunders Group, the company grew to become one of the most successful and recognized U.S. manufacturers and distributors of photographic accessories, reaching $16,000,000 in annual sales and with over 100 employees. He sold the business in 1998.
His community activities include membership on the Board of Directors of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, where he serves as Treasurer. Mr. Hess is married to Sarah D. Atkinson, MD.