The Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Board of Directors is comprised of the senior leadership from the region’s top employers, major academic institutions, and non-profits. Their service to the Partnership reflects a deep commitment to building a stronger regional economy for all.
Want to learn more about a member of our board? Simply click their name for a brief bio.
Mr. Anderson joined BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and BlueShield of Northeastern New York, part of a $2.65 billion healthcare organization, in July 2013. BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York operates in the Buffalo area and BlueShield of Northeastern New York operates in the Albany area. He is the company’s seventh president and CEO and is responsible for the oversight and execution of the company’s mission and goals.
Mr. Anderson previously served as United Healthcare’s senior vice president, Western Region, and as CEO for the company’s Southern California region. He inherited the plan with membership losses and reduced financial performance. He was responsible for an organizational turnaround resulting in a 43 percent increase in operating income and a company-leading 84 percent level of employee engagement.
Mr. Anderson serves on the board of the National Institute for Health Care Management, the BlueCross BlueShield Association, the Business Council of New York State, Inc., the Invest Buffalo Niagara, Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.
Dave Anderson is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and a graduate of Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business, with a B.S. in Finance. He has been an entrepreneur, an executive in many facets of the health insurance industry, and is well versed in competitive and highly regulated health care markets. He and his wife Cindy are residents of Buffalo, and have five grown children.
As Vice Chairman/Chief Brand Officer, Doug has overall responsibility for the delivery of strategic and client services across nine offices as well as directing the agency’s overall growth strategy. Doug brings extensive experience in financial services and healthcare and has directed brand strategy and communications programs for clients such as BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, KeyBank, Hospice Buffalo, and Fisher-Price.
Active in the Western New York Community, Doug is on the boards of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the Darwin Martin House, and the UB School of Management.
Paul Bonaro is Verizon Media’s Vice President, leading Data Center Operations and Engineering teams. He is based at their office and data center in Lockport, NY.
Paul has been with the company since construction began on what was then Yahoo’s Lockport data center in 2010. The operations at this location have since expanded to include a second facility that opened in early 2015, with total investment now exceeding $500 million. In addition to leading the Lockport site, Paul also oversees data center operations teams and facilities in Virginia and Ireland, and construction and engineering at all data centers globally.
Prior to joining Yahoo in 2010, Paul was Director of Critical Environments for EMCOR Facilities Services in New York City and Buffalo, working across numerous key client accounts such as Credit Suisse and Wachovia supporting their critical technology infrastructure programs. He also spent seven years with Amazon based in Seattle, Washington, DC, and Dublin as their Regional Data Center Manager, establishing and operating data centers in Northern Virginia and Ireland.
Paul holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University at Albany. He lives with his family in Buffalo, NY.
Lorrie A. Clemo, Ph.D. is honored to serve as the 15th president of D’Youville College. As president, Dr. Clemo envisions advancing D’Youville’s time-tested mission of providing academic, social, spiritual and professional development in programs that emphasize leadership and service.
As an educator and community leader, Dr. Clemo has three decades of experience teaching, conducting research and performing community service. Among her distinctions, she has published on classroom learning, equity in education, civic participation and diversity. She has been the principal or co-investigator on $18 million of funding from the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, Lumina Foundation, New York State and other significant foundations. She has lectured at the NCAA, NSF, American Association of Colleges & Universities, American Council on Education Association, and other athletic and educational conferences.
During her long history of leadership, Dr. Clemo has held numerous leadership appointments, including President of the NCAA, Faculty Athletics Representative Association, Vice Chair of the New York State Sea Grant Institute and Board of Governors, World Association of Cooperative Education Board, American Council on Education Executive Board, Council of Fellows Board and On Point for College Executive Board. She was recently appointed to the Kaleida Health Board of Directors.
Dr. Clemo has been the recipient of numerous honors including the NCAA’s David Knight Leadership Award, Dream Maker Award and Campus Angel Award from On Point for College, the Pac-Asia Educator Excellence Award, Community Leadership Award from the NYS Turkish Cultural Society, and the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Non-Traditional Student Association.
Prior to D’Youville, Dr. Clemo most recently served as provost and vice president of academic affairs for the State University of New York at Oswego. In that position, she drove first-time initiatives and brought substantial recognition to the university. She led the development of a college pathway program and an early- college program. She expanded online education, initiated the first SUNY-wide co-op education program and sponsored summer immersion programs for inner-city youth in laboratory research. Her commitment to student-centric offerings extends to the development of the Global Laboratory Program, a STEM research abroad program with alliances across South and Central America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Dr. Clemo earned her Ph.D. in Political Science and Master of Arts in Political Science, Public Administration and Policy Analysis from Binghamton University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y.
She and her husband, Steve Nicolais, M.D., live in Buffalo, New York and have four grown children.
Jeremy Connor is vice president of Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) with responsibility for all operations in GEICO’s Buffalo, New York, regional office and the Marlton, New Jersey, claims office. Before taking on his current duties in 2018, Connor had been assistant vice president of claims in the Buffalo office since 2016.
Connor started his GEICO career in November 1995 as a part-time claim information center associate in the company’s Woodbury, New York, regional office. He later went full time as a claim service representative, and from there he progressed through all technical areas in liability claims before becoming a claim service representative supervisor and relocating to the Tucson, Arizona, regional office.
He subsequently supervised telephone claim representatives (TCRs) before moving to the Buffalo, New York, regional office. There, he helped establish the claims department, then supervised TCR 2s and later became that region’s first continuing unit section manager.
Connor moved back to Woodbury in 2007 to manage planning and operations, and in 2008, he became regional liability director there. In 2010, he assumed PIP director responsibilities before being elected assistant vice president of regional claims operations in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 2012. Two years later, he took on the same role in GEICO’s Lakeland, Florida, regional office.
Connor attended the Management Seminar in 2008 and has a B.S. degree in finance from SUNY Old Westbury.
Dr. Cropp is the president and CEO of Independent Health. Under his leadership, the organization delivers products and services that improve the health of almost 400,000 members, and has been consistently recognized nationally for excellence in quality, service and innovation.
Dr. Cropp is a board-certified family physician with more than 25 years of experience practicing medicine, serving as an associate medical director and family physician for three managed care organizations and medical director for the Millard Fillmore Health System. He joined Independent Health in 1996 as chief medical officer and became president and CEO in 2004.
Dr. Cropp was appointed by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to the University at Buffalo Council and the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. He serves on the board of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, America’s Health Insurance Plans and is past chairman of the Alliance of Community Health Plans. He is the founding chairman of the P2 Collaborative of Western New York, Western New York Clinical Information Exchange (HEALTHeLINK) and GObike Buffalo.
Dr. Cropp received his bachelor’s and medical degrees from Brown University and earned an M.B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Tops Markets LLC, is headquartered in Williamsville, NY and operates 163 full-service supermarkets – 158 company-owned and five franchise locations under the Tops banner. With over 14,000 associates, Tops is a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont.
Frank Curci has served as Chief Executive Officer and Director of Tops Markets, LLC since December 2007 and as Chairman of the Board since December 1, 2013.
Mr. Curci has more than 40 years of experience in the supermarket industry. From April 2005 to September 2006, he served as Chief Operating Officer for Alabama-based Southern Family Markets, a subsidiary of C&S, where he led the start-up of two chains emphasizing the neighborhood grocery store format. From June 2004 to March 2005, he served as Senior Vice President of Operations at Farmer Jack, a supermarket chain based in Michigan. While at Koninklijke Ahold N.V. from 1995 to 2003, Mr. Curci was Chief Executive Officer of Tops Markets, LLC and held senior leadership positions at the Bi-Lo chain in South Carolina and Edwards Super Food stores on the East Coast.
Mr. Curci also spent nine years from 1987 to 1995 at Mayfair Supermarkets, which operated as Foodtown in New Jersey.
He is a certified public accountant and holds an M.B.A. and a B.A. from Rutgers University.
In addition to his career, Mr. Curci serves on the boards of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, The Food Industry Alliance of New York State, the Food Marketing Institute, and is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kaleida Health. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Topco Holdings, Inc., a buying cooperative.
Aside from business, his hobbies include running and golf. Frank resides in Clarence, NY with his wife, Robin. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.
Jonathan A. Dandes is the corporate vice president of governmental relations and special projects at Rich Product Corp.’s worldwide headquarters, a role that focuses on Rich Products’ philanthropic efforts.
He continues to represent Rich Baseball Operations as treasurer of the New York-Penn League and chair of the finance committee of the Texas League.
Jon joined Rich Products Corporation in June 1986 as product manager and was soon appointed director of restaurant operations. He was named vice president/general manager of Stadium Services, Inc. in 1988, Executive Vice President of the Rich Entertainment Group in 1996, and President of Rich Baseball Operations in 2001.
He is past Chair of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. He also serves as Vice Chair of Upstate New York Transplant Services. He is Chair of the Buffalo Zoological Society (Buffalo Zoo), and is Chair of the Erie County Medical Center Foundation, and also serves as Chair of the Buffalo Public Schools Foundation. He is the immediate past Chair of Erie County Jewish Family Services and Chair of Visit Buffalo Niagara (formerly the Buffalo and Erie County Convention & Visitors Bureau).
He is currently an adjunct Professor at Niagara University in the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management and teaches in the University’s Sports Management Program. Dandes is Chairman of the Buffalo/Niagara Sports Commission and a past Director of the Amherst Junior Football League, and Lou Gehrig Youth Baseball. Dandes is an alumnus of the University at Buffalo and a past president of its Alumni Board. He has served as president of the New York State Restaurant Association and is a member of La Chaine des Rotisseurs, Les Amis du Vin, National Association of Concessionaires, and Stadium Managers Association. Dandes also serves on the Board of the Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation, and the 100 Club of Buffalo. He is the Chair of the Erie County Sheriff’s 21st Century Foundation.Dandes was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Erie County Medical Center Corporation by Governor Andrew Cuomo in March of 2015.
In 2003, he graduated from the Harvard Business School Management Development Program. Dandes is also certified as a Foodservice Management Professional (1994), as designated by the National Restaurant Association.
Steve Davis is the President at Tapecon, Inc., a 5 generation, family owned contract manufacturer based in Buffalo, New York. Tapecon works with product teams to improve market competitiveness by manufacturing functional graphics, materials and complete products to improve look, feel and usability. Tapecon offers a broad scope of services in converting and specialized printing technologies for product branding, printed & flexible electronics, and disposable medical device manufacturing. Steve’s efforts have created a progressive culture of innovation at Tapecon over his ten years with the company.
Steve graduated from Clarkson University in 2001 with a Bachelor’s in Engineering & Management and obtained his MBA in International Business at St. Bonaventure University.
Steve has graduated from the Leadership Buffalo program, UB’s Center for Entrepreneurship Leadership program [CEL], and Startup CEL program. He is active in the CEL Alumni Association, past Chair of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Manufacturers Council, a member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization WNY Chapter, and President of the Clarkson University Buffalo Alumni Chapter.
Donna L. DeCarolis has been employed with National Fuel since March of 1983 where she began her career as a Management Trainee in the Research and Statistical Services Department. In December 1985, she was promoted to the position of Director, Investor Relations (IR) where she became responsible for interface with the financial community and developed the Company’s first IR program. In November 1992 Donna moved to the position of Assistant General Manager, Corporate Communications where she was the corporate spokesperson and oversaw National Fuel’s Corporate Communications Department for both New York and Pennsylvania, including Public Affairs, Advertising, Community Relations and Employee Communication.
In 1995 the oversight of the National Fuel’s Human Resources Department was added to Donna’s responsibilities. In July 1999 Donna was promoted to Assistant Vice President and was responsible for both the Corporate Communications and the Utility’s Marketing Department. In May 2001 Donna moved to National Fuel Resources, Inc., the wholly-owned, non-regulated energy services subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company, where she served as Vice President and was later promoted to President.
In 2007, Donna was named Vice President of Business Development for National Fuel Gas Company where she became responsible for new business development and strategic acquisitions. Also in that year, Donna was named President of Horizon LFG, Inc. and Horizon Power, Inc. where she became responsible for National Fuel’s landfill gas operations, as well as the independent power production and electric generation operations. She later led the successful effort to divest the Company of these assets.
In February 2009, she also became responsible for the Company’s enterprise-wide external affairs, including the Corporate Communications and Government Affairs functions. She was named President, National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation, National Fuel’s Utility subsidiary, February 1, 2019.
Donna holds a MBA, December 1982, State University of New York at Buffalo, Concentration in Marketing, and BS, Business Administration, May 1981, State University of New York at Buffalo.
Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker is President & CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, an organization dedicated to connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York.
As the chief executive officer at the Community Foundation, Clotilde has led a focused growth and impact strategy. Under her leadership the Community Foundation has facilitated numerous public/private sector collaborations focused on systems change. These efforts have addressed issues such as school readiness, post-secondary attainment, lead-poisoning prevention, organizational development for arts organizations, and environmental stewardship. Most recently, Clotilde oversaw the Community Foundation’s effort to launch the Say Yes Buffalo initiative and the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable.
Other service highlights include a White House appointment to the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, U.S. Committee co-chair of the United Nations International Year of the Volunteer and president of the Association of Junior Leagues International. Clotilde has served on numerous boards. Current service includes CFLeads, The Foundation Center, FSG and the Global Fund for Community Foundations.
Clotilde’s work has been recognized by many including the Points of Light Foundation, the Governor’s Award for Service, the President’s Award for Service and Buffalo News Citizen of The Year. She holds a Master’s degree in Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is a naturalized U.S. citizen, native of Cuba.
She speaks frequently on philanthropy, community impact and governance.
James Domagalski is a business trial lawyer and business counselor with 25 years of experience handling complex commercial, labor/employment and construction law matters for corporations and municipalities. He is a partner and the co-managing director of the Barclay Damon law firm in Buffalo. Barclay Damon, LLP has 101 lawyers in Buffalo and 275 firm wide with additional offices in Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Toronto. Jim serves on the firm’s management committee.
A long-time community leader in Western New York, Jim has served in numerous civic and charitable leadership positions throughout his career, including work with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Western New York and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Alliance. Jim also previously served as the chairman of the Erie County Republican Party.
He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA Government and International Relations; BA Economics 1987) and the Syracuse University College of Law (J.D. 1990). He resides in Orchard Park with his family.
Greg Duval is the Regional Executive and Managing Director for HSBC Bank USA’s Great Lakes Corporate Banking group, a team that focuses on mid and large corporate clients with revenues in the range of $50 million to $5 Billion in New York, Vermont, Ohio and Michigan, which represents over 270 clients, $1.1 billion loan outstandings and $800 million of deposits. Greg is a 20 year banking veteran and has experience with clients ranging from start-ups to Global and Investment banking clients with over $20 Billion of revenue across almost every business sector.
Greg also serves as HSBC Bank USA’s Transportation and Logistics US Sector head, which includes helping Global Relationship Managers understand the Automotive, Aerospace, Logistics, Shipping and Rail industries, developing and distributing content, fostering connectivity with the Investment Bank, discussing trends and M&A activity.
Greg received his BA and MBA University of Buffalo with a concentration in Finance, Financial Markets & Institutions, and Management Information Systems and was a member of the football team. He currently sits on Endeavor Global WNY Branch, The University of Buffalo School of Management Alumni, and Invest Buffalo Niagara boards.
Greg resides in Clarence with his wife, Kali and children, Logan and Brynn.
Mr. Emmerling brings more than 40 years public accounting experience. As managing partner, he has overall responsibility for the operation and management of the firm. He joined Dopkins upon graduation and was admitted to partnership in 1980. His principal areas of expertise are Litigation support/Expert testimony, Privately-held companies, Succession Planning & Family Owned Business.
Tom’s professional affiliations are with the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants— Buffalo Chapter – positions held: Director, President, Accounting Principles and Auditing Standards Committee Chair, and Administration of Accounting Practices Chair.
Tom has held the following positions with Canisius College: Chair of the Board of Regents, Council on Accountancy – Chairman, Executive Committee member, Student Recruiting Committee (past chair), Student Experience Committee (past chair), Honorary member of Beta Gamma Sigma 2014, Outstanding Accountant of the Year in Western New York – 2004 recipient, Outstanding Alumnus – 1994 recipient, DiGamma Honor Society, Leadership Society member, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Tom is treasurer with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Member of the Board of Trustees of Canisius College and Editorial advisor for the Journal of Accountancy.
Tom holds a B.S. in Accounting, cum laude from Canisius College
Matt is the President and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., a pioneering organization that has become a powerful engine of revitalization in Buffalo. Matt is focused on the intersection of energy, entrepreneurship & technology, and how it will drive the new economy in Buffalo and beyond.
Matt has led the non-profit organization since its formation in 2002 to address shared issues among Campus institutions. Today, Matt oversees a team focusing on diverse, interrelated initiatives designed to lift the entire community including those in transportation, access and safety; energy, entrepreneurship, health & active living, infrastructure, economic opportunity and youth & education. Under Matt’s leadership, foundations, private enterprise, research labs, local community leaders, hospitals, and educational institutions are collaborating to create a model for re-energizing the city that has application all over America.
Prior to returning home to Buffalo, Matt worked in the entertainment industry in L.A. and New York, for Broadway Pictures and with Lorne Michaels at Saturday Night Live. He is currently active on the boards of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation. Matt also serves as a commission member on the U.S. Commission on Transportation Sector Efficiency, part of the Alliance to Save Energy; and on the Advisory Boards for Niagara University, Daemen College, and the School of Visual Arts Design for Social Innovation in New York City.
Matt is married and lives in Buffalo with his family.
Ms. Evanko is President and Managing Member of Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. Her primary areas of practice are Employment Law, Corporate Law and Business & Commercial Litigation. She advises clients on all aspects of employment law issues and defends employers in the full range of litigated matters including claims of discrimination, employment contract disputes and covenants not-to-compete. She also regularly advises clients on employment risk management and conducts in-house training programs.
Ms. Evanko is a past President of the Western New York Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York and served as a member of the Board of Directors, Vice President, Treasurer, and Chair of the Finance Committee of the New York State Women’s Bar Association. Ms. Evanko served as an elected director of the Erie County Bar Association and is a member of the Western New York Trial Lawyers Association.
Lynne Marie Finn is the President and CEO of Broadleaf Results, Inc. (Broadleaf), an Aleron company. Prior to this, she was General Counsel for Aleron.
In business since 1965, Broadleaf is one of the largest woman-owned workforce solutions companies. It provides a host of total talent management services, including managed service programs (MSPs), recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), a proprietary vendor management system (VMS), Work Nexus®, statement of work (SOW) management, IC/freelancer engagement services, and payrolling.
Finn is a Vice Chair and board member of the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization (WPEO). She also serves on the finance committee for WBENC and is a board member and secretary of the Committee of 200 (C200), an organization of the world’s most successful women entrepreneurs and corporate innovators. Finn has also been appointed to The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Upstate New York Regional Advisory Board.
Recent recognition includes being named to Staffing Industry Analysts’ (SIA’s) 2019 Staffing 100 (represents the 100 most influential people in staffing in the U.S.) and SIA’s 2018 Global Power 150 Women (represents the top women in staffing globally). Finn has also been selected as a WBENC Woman of Distinction and was named as one of 2017’s 100 Corporate Women Leaders in STEM by STEMconnector.
Finn received her Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was Executive Editor of Law and Policy in International Business, and she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Rhonda Frederick began her career at People Inc. in 1980 in an entry-level direct-care position, working in both group homes and day habilitation programs. She steadily moved up the ladder over the years, a rise culminating in her being appointed president and CEO of Western New York’s largest human service provider in the fall of 2014. Rhonda is forging the way for People Inc. as new government mandates call for a managed care model, rather than medically based care.
Prior to becoming CEO, Rhonda served as People Inc.’s chief operating officer and had oversight of 93 percent of the agency’s operating budget. Rhonda was instrumental in starting People Inc.’s Senior Living, creating affordable, safe and enjoyable apartments for seniors who are income eligible. The agency operates 19 apartment buildings throughout Western New York.
Rhonda currently serves as president of the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY), an organization that fosters collaboration among agencies who support people with developmental disabilities and gives them a single voice in Albany. Since 2009 she has been recognized by Buffalo Business First repeatedly on their listings of Women of Influence, Health Care 50, Power 100 Women, and the Power 250 in Western New York. In 2015, Rhonda was selected to speak at TEDxBuffalo about the benefits of employing individuals with disabilities. She earned the 2016 Professional of the Year Award from LeadingAge New York. Rhonda was recognized as a Distinguished Alumni by Canisius College in 2017 and the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2018. In 2018 she was awarded the Sarah G. Metzger Human Rights Award from Housing Opportunities Made Equal. The Human Services Council of New York chose Rhonda for the Notable Women in Human Services Hall of Fame in 2019.
Rhonda earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in public administration from Canisius College. She resides in Amherst, NY.
Mr. Frey has been the CEO of Frey Electric Construction Co., Inc. since 1993. He began his career with Frey Electric in 1978 working in the warehouse before entering into the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Apprenticeship Program. After graduation from the four-year program in 1987, he returned to Frey Electric as the Director of Operations. He became the CEO after purchasing the company from his father, making him the third generation in the family to run the company, which he does to this day.
Mr. Frey is a board member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Construction Club of Buffalo, YPO/WPO – Young/World Presidents Organization, Invest Buffalo Niagara, Amherst Police Foundation and Law Enforcement Foundation of WNY. He is a member of the Buffalo Club, Park Country Club, Engineering Society of Buffalo, American Subcontractors Association, NYS Association of Electrical Contractors, Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce, NECA/ National Electrical Contractors Association.
Mr. Frey is a graduate of Williamsville South High School 1976, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local #41, Apprentice Education Program.
Dottie Gallagher is President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the area’s regional chamber of commerce and privately-funded economic development organization. Partnership members employ more than a quarter of a million people in the Buffalo Niagara region.
Prior to joining the Partnership, she was president & CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara, the region’s tourism promotion bureau. She spent nearly 15 years with The Buffalo News and served as a member of their executive management team.
Dottie currently serves on the Buffalo Urban Development Corp, The Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA), Visit Buffalo Niagara, The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority, The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, InvestBN, Unshackle Upstate, and the UB School of Management, Dean’s Advisory Council, AAA of Western & Central New York and the Association of Chamber of Commerce (A.C.C.E). Dottie received her undergraduate degree from Towson University (Baltimore, Maryland) and her MBA from the University at Buffalo.
A Buffalo native, Robert Gioia began his career in 1970 as a part of the third generation of the Gioia family operating the Gioia Macaroni Company. From 1992-2007, Robert was a principal with the Food Group of Strategic Investments and Holdings, Inc., one of the most experienced equity acquisition firms in the nation today.
Robert has been a strong community leader dedicated to the betterment of the WNY region for decades. He was Chairman of the NFTA from 1990-1998. He pioneered the completion of the $120 million Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. He was named one of The Buffalo News’ Citizens of the Year three times, for the years 1997, 2007 and 2013. Robert was Board President of Nichols School and the Martin House Restoration Corporation, Chairman of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, a Director of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and a Trustee of St. Lawrence University.
In January 2007, Robert was appointed President of The John R. Oishei Foundation, WNY’s largest private charitable foundation. In 2007, Robert was appointed Chairman of Great Lakes Health which was established by the New York State Department of Health to implement Berger mandates involving ECMC and Kaleida Health. In 2009 Robert was dubbed the Buffalo Niagara Executive of the Year by UB’s School of Management. In 2012, Governor Cuomo appointed Robert to serve on the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) and he currently serves as Chair. In 2013 Robert received the Distinguished Citizen Achievement Award from Canisius College and the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Hope for Tomorrow Foundation. In 2014 Robert received the Distinguished Service Award from the ECMC Lifeline Foundation. In 2015, Robert was honored at the NFJC yearly Citation Banquet for his community service.
Mr. Richard S. Gold is President and Chief Operating Officer of M&T and its principal banking subsidiary, M&T Bank. He was named to this position, and to the Board of Directors of both M&T and M&T Bank, in December 2017.
Gold began his career with M&T Bank in 1989 as an Executive Associate and has served in several management positions in Retail Banking, Business Banking, Mortgage, Consumer Lending and Marketing. In 2014, he was named Vice Chairman and took on the role of Chief Risk Officer. Before joining M&T Bank, Gold held positions in cash management and operations at Bankers Trust Company, and marketing and product development at Citibank. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a Master of Business Administration from New York University Stern School of Business.
Committed to supporting the Buffalo community and the banking industry, Gold holds positions on Buffalo Seminary Board of Trustees and the Boards of Directors of the Westminster Foundation, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and Consumer Bankers Association. He is also an adjunct professor at the University at Buffalo School of Management.
Martin T. Griffith is President of BankOnBuffalo. As a community bank, BankOnBuffalo, a division of CNB Bank, is a $2.8 billion bank that is being developed by local people and businesses. This local decision-making will increase the level of service provided to the communities of Buffalo and brings growth to the entire region. Services available include consumer and business deposit accounts, real estate, commercial, industrial, residential and consumer loans and lines of credit, treasury services, private banking, wealth and asset management, online and mobile banking, merchant credit card processing, remote deposit, accounts receivable handling, and much more.
Mr. Griffith earned his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Ithaca College in 1984 and began his career in banking immediately following. Prior to launching the DeNovo bank, BankOnBuffalo, in 2016, he held senior level positions at The Bank of Castile, Wyoming County Bank and Five Star Bank. In addition to his 27 years in the banking industry, Mr. Griffith also co-owned Griffith Builders, Inc., a land development and construction business, for seven years alongside his father.
Mr. Griffith serves the community by sharing his expertise as a member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Board of Directors, Mercy Hospital Foundation board member, Small Business Administration Regional Advisory board member, St. Mary’s School for the Deaf Foundation board member, and voting member on the New York Business Development Corporation Western Regional Loan Committee.
In April of 2018, Rick Hamister was named president of Northwest’s New York Region, an area that includes 35 branches in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Monroe counties. Northwest has taken on a more competitive role with other banks in Western New York since acquiring 18 First Niagara branches in 2016.
Mr. Hamister, an Orchard Park native, grew up with his mother being a teller, so he always knew the banking industry was for him. He was hired by First Niagara Bank in 2005, and became part of KeyBank after the conversion in 2016. Before he was named the NY Region President at Northwest, he was a vice president with Key Bank’s private banking. The Canisius College graduate also previously was executive vice president for the Hamister Group, and prior to that he worked for M&T Bank for 10 years.
Mr. Hamister plays an active role in the community as well. He currently serves on the board for the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Hilbert College, and Orchard Park Country Club.
Stu Haney is President & Chief Executive Officer at Wendel, a nationally recognized design, construction and energy services company (ESCO). He has over 25 years of experience leading projects in the design and construction industry. Prior to his current role, Stu held various leadership positions within the company in the areas of operations and project management, with an early focus as an Electrical Engineer.
Stu’s participation in several professional and community boards are a reflection of his passion for achieving goals through the collaborative efforts of talented people. He is an active board member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo Niagara International Gateway Organization (ITGO). He has formerly served on the Board of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, Buffalo State Industrial Advisory Committee and the IEEE to name a few. When not in the Boardroom, Stu can be found on the soccer field as a volunteer coach for Amherst Soccer Association.
Stu received his BS, Electrical Engineering from the University at Buffalo.
William J. Hochul, Jr., is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for Delaware North Companies, Inc. In these capacities, Mr. Hochul manages the legal function and provides advice and counsel to senior management and the Board of Directors in all legal and regulatory matters involving Delaware North and its operating companies. Mr. Hochul also oversees the Security and Compliance Departments of the company. With over 60,000 employees operating on four continents, Delaware North is one of the world’s largest and most respected privately owned-and-operated hospitality and food service companies in the world.
Prior to becoming General Counsel, Mr. Hochul served as the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, a position for which he was nominated by President Obama, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. While serving as United States Attorney, Mr. Hochul successfully led the prosecution of thousands of criminal and civil matters impacting the country, while returning hundreds of millions of dollars to the U.S. Treasury. Mr. Hochul also led an extensive community outreach effort, instructing businesses and individuals on a wide variety of economic, commercial and personal safety issues.
Mr. Hochul began his legal career as a law clerk to a Maryland Court of Appeals Judge. He thereafter joined the Washington office of a large international law firm, where he represented a wide variety of clients in complex civil litigation matters. Mr. Hochul later served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Western District of New York. As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Hochul specialized in the prosecution of complex organized crime, terrorism, and money laundering schemes, for which work Mr. Hochul received dozens of national, State and local awards and commendations, including co-recipient of the Department of Justice’s highest honor, the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service.
Mr. Hochul serves on the Executive Committee of the Association of Corporate Counsel Litigation Network, on the American Gaming Association AML/BSA working group, and on a variety of non-profit Boards of Directors. Mr. Hochul previously taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo School of Law, Niagara University, and Hilbert College, focusing on trial technique and counter-terrorism related topics. Mr. Hochul has given dozens of lectures to judges, prosecutors, and lawyers, domestically and abroad, on a wide variety of topics, including conducting investigations, corruption, organized crime, terrorism, and rule of law.
Mr. Hochul graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame, and obtained his law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School.
Mr. Hojnacki joined Curtis Screw Company in 1984 and served in various engineering, sales and operations capacities before becoming president. MacLean-Fogg acquired Curtis in 2014.
Education: Buffalo State College, Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering, May 1984, University of Buffalo M.B.A., May 1990.
Organizations: President Board of Directors Richardson Center Corporation, Member Board of Directors Buffalo State College Foundation, Member Board of Directors Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Member Board of Directors Lipsey Architecture Center of Buffalo.
John J. Hurley assumed his position as the 24th president of Canisius College on July 1, 2010. He is the first lay president in Canisius College’s 146-year history.
As president, he is leading the implementation of the college’s strategic plan, Canisius 150: Excellence, Leadership, Jesuit, a plan that is aimed at building upon Canisius’ commitment to academic excellence, Jesuit values of social justice, and innovation as the college approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019. He has engaged Canisius in a bold comprehensive strategic assessment of academic programs and administrative functions aimed at strengthening the college’s financial position. He has placed a special emphasis on the college’s connection to the City of Buffalo and in particular, to the college’s Hamlin Park neighborhood in north central Buffalo. A Legacy of Leadership: The Campaign for Canisius College, the college’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, concluded on May 31, 2012 with a record $95.5 million raised, surpassing the goal for the campaign by $5.5 million.
Prior to his appointment as president, Mr. Hurley served as executive vice president of Canisius from 2007 to 2010 and vice president for college relations from 1997 to 2010. In these positions, he played a significant leadership role in the college’s investment in the campus, which now totals more than $175 million since 1994. He was the architect of the college’s innovative Employer Assisted Housing Program, which offers employees grants in the form of forgivable loans to assist them with the purchase of homes near the college’s central Buffalo campus.
A native of Buffalo, Mr. Hurley is a graduate of Canisius College (BA 1978 summa cum laude, English/history) and the University of Notre Dame Law School (JD 1981). Prior to coming to Canisius, he practiced law for 16 years, concentrating his practice in the areas of secured lending, bankruptcy and insolvency.
Candace S. Johnson, PhD, is President & CEO, Wallace Family Chair in Translational Research and Professor of Oncology in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. Founded in 1898, the Center provides care to approximately 34,000 patients annually and employs more than 3,200 dedicated team members driven by the mission to understand, prevent and cure cancer.
From 2008 to 2015, Dr. Johnson led Roswell Park’s research activities as Deputy Director of the Institute. She also served as Chair of the Roswell Park Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics for more than a decade, a role in which she facilitated the seamless bench-to-bedside development and delivery of promising new cancer therapies. Prior to joining the Roswell Park faculty in February 2002, Dr. Johnson served as Deputy Director of Basic Research at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Dr. Johnson earned her doctoral degree in Immunology from Ohio State University, Columbus, OH and completed research and postdoctoral fellowships in Immunology and Cell Biology at the Michigan Cancer Foundation, Detroit, MI.
Dr. Johnson is a member of the National Institutes of Health Reviewers Reserve and the boards of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and Association of American Cancer Institute. She also is a member of many professional and scientific societies and serves as an editor or reviewer for the journals Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Molecular and Cellular Differentiation, Oncology, Molecular Pharmacology, Oncology Reports and Molecular Pharmacology. Locally in Western New York, she serves on the boards of the Catholic Health System, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Buffalo Translational Consortium, OmniSeq LLC, the Daemen College Community Advisory Board and the Sacred Heart Academy STEM Advisory Board.
Patrick Kaler is President and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara, the destination sales and marketing organization for the Buffalo Niagara region.
Prior to joining Visit Buffalo Niagara, he was President and CEO of Visit Loudoun and previously oversaw the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board’s international offices in Australia, China, Europe, Japan and Latin America, managing major international and domestic travel trade and airline sales and marketing initiatives.
Patrick currently serves on the U.S. Travel Association’s Board of Directors and is Vice Chair of the Destinations Council Board. He is Vice-Chair of the New York State Travel Industry Association, Secretary of the New York State Destination Marketing Organization. He also serves on the boards of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House, the Eric Wood Foundation, City of Buffalo Arts Commission, Olmsted Parks Conservancy Long-Range Planning Committee and is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Buffalo.
Patrick holds a Master of Science degree in Tourism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration from Western Illinois University.
Mike Keating has served as Senior VP for Wegmans Food Markets since 2001, and is responsible for all operations within the company’s Buffalo division of stores: 11 stores in WNY, and two in Erie, PA. The Buffalo Division of Wegmans employs over 6,000 full and part-time employees.
Mike has spent decades in food retailing, with more than 32 years in a variety of leadership roles at Wegmans. Prior to his appointment to Senior Vice President, Mike held positions in Rochester as Store Manager, Manager of Training and Development, Manager of Prepared Foods, and Director of Restaurant Operations.
Mike is extremely passionate about his work in the community. He serves on the Business Leaders Task Force for the Community Foundation for Great Buffalo, The Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection board, as well as the boards for The Westminster Community Foundation, Niagara University Food Marketing Center for Excellence and 23 Connections. He is a graduate of Leadership Buffalo Class of ’99, and served on the board from 2008-2011. He is a past trustee for Medaille College, and previously served as the president of the board of Homespace. Mike has been named both the Campaign Volunteer of the Year and Volunteer of the Year for The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and currently serves as a member of the advisory council.
Mike is a graduate of SUNY Albany.
Thomas A. Kucharski has served as President and CEO of Invest Buffalo Niagara (InBN) since 2000. Under his leadership, InBN has grown from a start-up initiative to an innovative regional economic development organization that has secured more than 325 successful project wins representing $3.8 billion in investment in the region and over 41,000 jobs created and/or retained.
From the onset, Tom helped InBN form strong, enduring partnerships with business, development and academic leaders throughout the Buffalo Niagara region. Today more than 150 organizations work with IBN to provide support and expertise to companies from the U.S., Canada and other parts of the world looking to set up shop in Western New York.
Tom serves as a Board Member and Chair of various committees of the International Economic Development Council for over ten years. He is also an Executive Committee Member of the New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC) and was selected by his NYSEDC colleagues as the 2014 Economic Developer of the Year. In 2007, he received the Meritorious Service Award from the Western New York Chapter of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors.
As Western New York Regional Manager for National Grid, Ken is responsible for managing relationships with large industrial and commercial and municipal customers in National Grid’s ten (10) county Western New York service area.
Ken’s Board Affiliations are with Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Invest Buffalo Niagara, Northland Workforce Training Center, Canisius College Wehle School of Business Advisory Council, Western New York Advisory Group for New York Power Authority Hydropower Allocations and Friends of Night People, Inc.
Ken earned his Bachelor of Arts, Canisius College, May 1987; Master of Urban Planning, State University of New York at Buffalo, September 1991; Master of Business Administration, Canisius College, May 2000.
Mr. Loftis is a member in the firm’s Business and Corporate practice group. Prior to joining the firm in 1990, Mr. Loftis was general counsel for a large wholesale food distributor and franchisor operating in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and New Jersey. While engaged in private practice (both before and after holding such general counsel position), Mr. Loftis has provided services to business entities engaged in the manufacturing, distribution and service sectors and commercial banks. He has extensive experience in handling business and corporate matters (with an emphasis on transactional work including domestic and international mergers and acquisitions) and commercial finance work (representing borrowers in complex financing transactions).
His principal Areas of Practice: Mergers & Acquisitions; Business Law; Corporate Law; Commercial Law; Franchise Law; Finance Law. He is a member of the Erie County Bar Association; New York State Bar Association.
Tim’s community service: Board of Directors, Buffalo Niagara Partnership (2000- current),Chair, Board of Directors, Buffalo Niagara Partnership (2011 – 2014), Dormitory Authority of the State of New York Board (2012-2013).Mr. Loftis is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo (B.A., magna cum laude, 1976); Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., cum laude, 1980)
Jody L. Lomeo is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Kaleida Health, the largest healthcare provider and largest employer in Western New York State. He joined Kaleida Health as interim CEO in January 2014 and was named to his current position in April that same year.
Lomeo, a Buffalo native, is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Great Lakes Health System of Western New York
During his tenure at Kaleida Health, Lomeo has led the organization through a remarkable transformation, improving quality of care, increasing market share, improving physician and employee relations, recording budget surpluses, increasing philanthropy and facilitating new construction. Most recently, Lomeo led the planning, financing and construction of the soon to be opened $270 million John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.
Lomeo’s role and impact in health care, business and the community have been recognized numerous times through various awards and achievements. He has been named Business First’s “CEO of the Year,” the University at Buffalo School of Management’s “Buffalo Niagara Executive of the Year,” plus received Business First’s “Health Care 50 Award,” D’Youville College’s “Achievement in Health Care Award,” and the National Federation for Just Communities “Leadership Award.” In addition to this, Lomeo has been given the UNYTS “Gift of Life Award,” the Leadership Buffalo “Openness to Change Award,” Trocaire College’s “Reflections Award” and the Amherst Chamber “Commitment to Excellence Award.”
Lomeo has provided support and guidance to many community organizations as a volunteer over the years, He is a member of the Board of Directors at Evans Bancorp, Inc. (Evans Bank), the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Greater New York Hospital Association.
The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., a member of the Vincentian community, was appointed the 26th president of Niagara University on March 13, 2013. He assumed office as of Aug. 1, 2013, and was formally inaugurated on April 4, 2014, following a comprehensive listening tour with numerous members of the campus community.
As president, Father Maher serves as the university’s chief executive officer and ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees, charged with the execution and administration of all university matters. He is responsible for overseeing an operating budget that exceeds $69 million, and implementing the vision for the university’s academic colleges and divisions, including Administrative Council members and senior management.
Before coming to Niagara, Father Maher served for 23 years at St. John’s University in New York City. While there, he acted as the executive vice president for mission and student services, vice president of student affairs, vice president of university ministry and campus minister, and executive director of the Vincentian Institute for Social Action (VISA). As executive vice president for mission and student services, Father Maher administered a $26 million budget while leading the Division of Student Affairs, the Department of University Ministry, VISA and the Vincentian Center for Church and Society.
Tim joined Freed Maxick CPAs, P.C. in 1985 and was elected Director in 1995. During his professional career, Tim has developed a concentration in SEC regulatory and accounting matters. He has over thirty years of experience in auditing public companies and has provided consulting services to companies in assisting their implementation of the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Tim has obtained a broad background in the manufacturing, construction, mortgage banking, retail, wholesale, nonprofit, private equity and general service industries. He also has a strong corporate and individual tax background and specializes in assisting clients by providing planning ideas in the areas of income taxes, estate and succession planning and assisting troubled companies in finding alternative equity and financing opportunities.
Tim is also responsible for the management of the Firm’s Litigation Support Services, where he has extensive experience in preparing business valuations and has provided consultation and expert witness testimony relating to valuation issues, antitrust litigation, contract disputes and lost profits analyses. He has also provided consultation and expert witness testimony as a result of forensic accounting engagements where fraud and embezzlement had occurred for various businesses and organizations, including the Erie County District Attorney and New York State Attorney General.
Tim is the Treasurer and Board Member of Aspire of WNY, Inc., Vice Chairman and Board Member of the Buffalo State College Foundation, member of the Audit and Finance Committee of the Buffalo Club, Board Member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and serves on the RSM Alliance Executive Advisory Board.
Kimberley A. Minkel is the Executive Director for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA). Formerly the Director of Health, Safety, and Environmental Quality. Kimberley A. Minkel started at the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in October 2002, as its Director of Health, Safety, and Environmental Quality. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Niagara University in 1988 and an MBA from Canisius College in 1995.
She is a member of various professional organizations, including the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation’s Board of Directors, Niagara Military Affairs Commission and B.U.I.L.D. She has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Peace Bridge Authority, the City of Niagara Falls N.F.B. Development Corporation and is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Buffalo.
Mr. Montante has more than 20 years’ experience in the real estate development industry. In his role as Vice President, Mr. Montante’s responsibilities focus on commercial, residential and hospitality development including commercial leasing, acquisition and disposition of commercial real estate. A leader within the Company, Mr. Montante recently lead the team that developed 250 Delaware Avenue, an $110 million mixed-use facility that includes Class A office, retail, restaurant, and a 120-room Westin Hotel. Mr. Montante has contributed to Uniland’s growth through many successful endeavors including the redevelopment of the Avant building, CrossPoint Business Park, Sheridan Meadows Corporate Park-North, Airborne Business Park, and Eastport Commerce Center.
Active in many professional organizations, Mr. Montante is a member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Board, the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation Board, the Darwin Martin House Board, Canisius College Board of Trustees, and actively serves the Business Advisory Council for Canisius College’s Richard J. Wehle School of Business. Mr. Montante is also former President of the Upstate New York Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.
Mr. Montante received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business from Canisius College and earned his Master of Science Degree in Real Estate Development from Columbia University.
Mr. Murphy serves as Northeast Region Business Banking executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In this role since 2011, he oversees thirteen teams of associates in a nine-state region across the Northeast, who provide solutions and advice to growing companies with sales revenues from $5-$50MM. The Northeast Region serves approximately 10,000 business banking customers. Based in Buffalo, NY, Kevin also serves as Buffalo Market President.
Mr. Murphy has more than 25 years experience in the banking industry and has held a variety of positions within the commercial banking group at Bank of America and Fleet Bank.
Prior to his current role, he served as Market Executive for both Middle Market and Business Banking for Bank of America in the Upstate New York region, which includes Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse as well as the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec (2004-2011). Prior to relocating to Buffalo in 2004, he served as Team Leader and Senior Vice President of the Middle Market Lending Group at Fleet Bank in Hartford, Connecticut.
Mr. Murphy presently serves on the board and executive committee of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership board and is also a board member of the Business Council of New York State. A native of Connecticut, Kevin earned a master’s degree in finance from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Dartmouth College.
Mr. Murray has practiced law at Phillips Lytle LLP since 1986, and has been a partner at the firm since 1994. He currently serves as leader of the firm’s Corporate Practice Group and Chairman of the firm’s Governing Committee. His practice involves counseling public and privately-held businesses, concentrating in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and other strategic partnerships, corporate finance and healthcare transactions.
Mr. Murray is a graduate of Tufts University and the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law.
Mr. Murray has served as the Chairman of the Board of Hawk Creek Wild Life Center and Sisters Hospital Foundation, and as a director of several other community organizations.
David J. Nasca is President and Chief Executive Officer of Evans Bancorp, Inc. and Evans Bank, N.A., a $1.5 billion nationally chartered bank and wholly-owned subsidiary of Evans Bancorp. Evans Bank is a nearly 100 year-old community financial institution providing banking, insurance, investment, and Employee Benefit services to commercial and consumer clients.
Mr. Nasca earned a bachelor’s degree in management and marketing from Canisius College and an MBA in finance from State University of New York at Buffalo. His career includes numerous senior executive roles with Goldome Realty Credit Corp., Goldome FSB, Chemical Bank, and First Niagara Financial Group, Inc., as well as co-founding a consumer directed health care plan before becoming President of Evans Bank.
Mr. Nasca is a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and serves on the boards of Lifetime Healthcare, Inc., Excellus Health Plan, Inc., Univera Healthcare Regional Advisory Board, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and Buffalo Urban Development Corporation. He is additionally a member of the Canisius College Board of Trustees and is an active member of the Richard J. Wehle School of Business Advisory Board; Independent Bankers Association of New York State; and New York Bankers Association.
Ben is the President of First Amherst Development Group since 2005, Ben Obletz joined the family business in 1999 as a 3rd generation owner and developer and is making his mark in the Buffalo commercial real estate development community.
First Amherst Development Group is a commercial and residential development, management, and leasing company, with multiple affiliated entities and ownership companies. Ben has served as lead partner in major development and adaptive re-use projects that are considered pioneer in the rebirth of downtown living in the City of Buffalo.
Ben has considerable experience in all aspects of the company’s property operations in western New York. While providing leadership and direction to an executive management team responsible for leasing, marketing and administration, accounting, finance and development, and property operations, he continues to be involved in the development and management of numerous commercial, retail, industrial, and residential properties.
Ben graduated from The Park School of Buffalo, and majored in Business Management at the University at Buffalo. He is an Executive Board member and Secretary of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and he is past- Chairman of the Board of 43×79, a forum of business leaders with a common philosophy towards the betterment of western New York. Ben is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation and Erie County Medical Center Foundation. Previously, he was Co-Chair of the Buffalo Building Re-use Project led by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and Past-President of the Buffalo Police Foundation.
Susan O’Sullivan is responsible for the Ingram Micro Buffalo Campus and Vice President for US Sales. Susan is responsible for US Sales including National Solution Providers, Major Accounts, Public Sector, SMB as well as Mid-Tier VAR. Ms. O’Sullivan joined Ingram Micro in 1990 as an assistant Sales representative. Susan has proven herself as an effective leader and has been promoted several times, from Sales Manager to Sr. Sales Manager to Director for National Accounts to Director in E-Solutions, Sales Recruiting and Vendor Authorizations. Susan’s last promotion included assuming the Buffalo Campus Champion responsibilities, a position she currently holds. Aside from being a leader at Ingram Micro, Susan is also Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.
Susan holds a B.S. degree in Business Management from Canisius College in Buffalo. Susan has participated and completed Ingram Micro’s Leadership Academy through the University of California, Irvine the Paul Merage School of Business as well as the Executive Leadership Program through Stanford University. Susan also participated and completed Ingram Micro’s Global General Manager Program. Susan is a certified client associate of Miller Heiman, Inc. and has been awarded Ingram Micro’s Global Award of Excellence for her work on special projects.
Susan is a reader, enjoys fitness training, and spending time with her husband and two sons.
Mr. Panzica is President & CEO of Power Drives, Inc. (PDI) a Buffalo based manufacturer and distributor of hydraulic, pneumatic and electo-mechanical components and systems for industrial and Original Equipment Manufacturer applications.
Mr. Panzica began his career as an auditor with Freed, Maxick, Sachs and Murphy, P.C. in Buffalo, NY where he earned his CPA license. In 1987 Mr. Panzica accepted a position with Ecology and Environment, Inc., an international environmental consulting and engineering company, eventually assuming responsibility for all contract pricing and negotiations with US federal government, commercial and foreign governmental customers. In 1999, Mr. Panzica formed an outsource CFO consulting division within D’Alba and Donovan, CPA’s. He accepted the COO position with PDI in 2001 and was named President in 2004.
Mr. Panzica serves on the boards of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Insyte Consulting, Invest Buffalo Niagara and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency. He is actively involved in Carly’s Club for Kids & Cancer Research in WNY; a charitable organization that offers support programs to make life more manageable for children diagnosed with cancer and their families, and to raise funds for pediatric cancer research seeking cures at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Thomas J. Quatroche, Jr., PhD, is a native of Western New York. For over 20 years, Tom has held executive positions in both higher education and healthcare and has been part of the ECMC family for 13 years. In May 2015, Tom was appointed President of Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMCC) and on January 26, 2016, the ECMCC Board of Directors appointed Tom as Chief Executive Officer and President. In this capacity, Tom provides leadership for 3,100 staff members at ECMC, Terrace View Long Term Care facility, and additional outpatient locations. His responsibilities also include all strategic initiatives of the corporation, including affiliations with Great Lakes Health, Kaleida Health, University at Buffalo and many other community organizations important to the corporation’s strategic direction.
Prior to becoming President & CEO, Tom served as President at ECMC where he was responsible for all Surgical Services, Orthopaedics, Oncology, Head & Neck/Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Bariatrics, and Oral Oncology Maxillofacial Prosthetics, as well as marketing, strategic planning and the development of new business.
Tom currently serves on the Statewide Executive Committee for the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) as Chair-elect and is the Board Chair for Western New York Healthcare Association. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of America’s Essential Hospitals, the Washington, DC-based organization representing the nation’s public hospitals. In addition, Tom is a member of the Trocaire College Board of Trustees. During his career, Tom has served on statewide committees in education for the State University of New York and has represented ECMC on HANYS’s Task Force on Improving New York State’s Medicaid Program. He also served as a board member on the Seneca Nation Health Commission.
As a lifelong Western New Yorker, Tom has been very involved in the community. He served on the Hamburg Town Board from 1994-2009, was a member of the Immaculata Academy School Board from 2004 to 2009 and has been involved in other civic organizations. Tom is also the past recipient of Buffalo Business First’s 40 Under 40 award for business and civic leadership, received the Barry and Deanna Snyder Chairman’s Award from Seneca Diabetes Foundation and is a SUNY College at Buffalo Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Tom has also been a featured presenter at healthcare conferences regarding various policy issues, including federal healthcare reform.
Tom received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing from the State University of New York College at Fredonia, a Master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration from the State University of New York College at Buffalo and his Doctorate in Higher Education – Educational Leadership and Policy from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Gary Quenneville is the Upstate New York Regional Executive of KeyBank N.A’s and oversees Key’s Community Bank franchise.
Quenneville has been with KeyBank for his entire career, having joined the company in 1985. He has held numerous positions within both the Retail and Business Banking groups.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego. Quenneville is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Delaware.
Active in civic life, Quenneville serves on the boards of Buffalo Niagara Partnership, D’Youville College, Heritage Centers, Say Yes Scholarship, The Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Taskforce, and The United Way Finance Committee.
Ron Raccuia is Pegula Sports & Entertainment’s Executive Vice President of Licensing & Brand Merchandise and President and founder of ADPRO Sports, one of the nation’s largest team sports dealers and branded merchandise providers. ADPRO is a premium NFL licensee and the third-largest Nike team dealer in the United States, providing uniforms, apparel and custom branded merchandise to hundreds of sports teams and corporations. Raccuia is also the founder of Integrity Office Supply, a company he operated from 1993 to 2014. Additionally, he spent 17 years as an NFL player agent, negotiating over $120 million in total contract values.
A 1990 graduate of Canisius College, Raccuia began his professional career in Miami as the Executive Director of L’Agence Model & Talent, and Bates & DeLuca Marketing Sports Management.
He and wife Melissa have two children and reside in Amherst, NY.
Sharon Randaccio is President & CEO of Performance Management Partners Inc., a talent management company based in Upstate New York. The firm helps clients make better organizational and people decisions to improve bottom-line performance. PMP’s affiliation with BlessingWhite, a global research firm, provides clients with “best practice” thought leadership in the areas of employee engagement and leadership development. Other services provided include executive coaching, strategy development, retained search, talent assessments, succession planning, and team building. Clients range from start-ups to multi-billion-dollar corporations and represent all industry sectors.
Randaccio has 15 years of executive management experience at high performing large regional retail and commercial banks where she led M&A, Retail Banking, Strategic Planning, Accounting, Human Resources and Sales and Marketing. She has significant P&L and turnaround experience.
Sharon serves as a Vistage Chair, facilitating a CEO peer advisory board in the Buffalo market. She also has a “soft spot” for working with young, smart, and aspiring professionals to help them discover their potential.
Sharon served as a Director of First Niagara Bank during its top performing years, and as Chair of the Compensation Committee, Chair of the Finance Committee and member of the Executive Committee. She served on several advisory boards including New Buffalo Shirt Factory, Inc. and LoVullo Associates. Inc., Director of the Catholic Health System and a Director of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. In 2016, Sharon opened the first retail boutique in Buffalo’s Harborcenter, the RedSiren, now located on Elmwood Avenue.
As a community builder, Sharon is committed to economic and workforce development and to making Buffalo a better place to work and live. She is a Director for the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Invest Buffalo Niagara, the Zoological Society of Buffalo, Explore & More Children’s Museum, and the Dean’s Advisory Council for the University of Buffalo, School of Management. She is also passionately involved in 43North. She was listed on Buffalo Business First’s Power 250.
Sharon received her B.S., Accounting and MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo and graduated from the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School.
Mary Roberts is executive director of the Martin House Restoration Corporation, an organization that is dedicated to restoring, preserving and interpreting Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest early-career residential work — the Darwin D. Martin House, a National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic site. The Martin estate is complex of six prairie-style buildings that occupies a 1.5 acre site in the historic Parkside neighborhood of Buffalo, NY.
Built in 1903-06, the estate is a one-of-a-kind composition consisting of the main Martin House, the secondary Barton House, a carriage house with chauffeur’s quarters and stables, a glass-roofed conservatory linked to the main house by a 100-foot pergola, and a gardener’s cottage. The buildings, surrounding landscape, extensive art glass, furnishings and decorative elements were all designed by Wright as an integrated, organic work of genius.
Nearing completion of a comprehensive multi-year $50 million dollar restoration effort, the Martin House is widely viewed as a model of excellence in historic preservation and sustainable economic development. The project serves as a lynchpin for architectural tourism in a city of American architectural masterpieces. Ms. Roberts leads a dedicated board, staff and 400 active volunteers in service to Wright’s organic principals and the continuing dialogue on the importance of architecture and design in contemporary lives.
David Rogers is the Director of Life Storage, Inc. (formerly Sovran Self Storage).
Mr. Rogers, a co-founder of the Company, retired as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer on February 28, 2019, a position that he had held since March 2012. Before assuming his role as Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Rogers served as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer and Secretary from 1995 to February 2012, Vice President of Finance of the Company’s predecessor from 1988 to 1995 and Controller and Due Diligence Officer of such predecessor from 1984 to 1988.
Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Rogers spent seven years as an accountant and systems analyst in both the public and private sectors. Mr. Rogers has served on the board of directors of Catholic Health Systems as well as other not-for-profit entities. He served on the Board of Advisors of the National Association of Real Estate Trusts (“NAREIT”) through December 31, 2018 and has been a regular presenter at national and regional meetings of the Self Storage Association. Mr. Rogers brings to the Board his intimate knowledge of the Company through his past experience as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer.
Chris, who began his career at Lawley in 1986, oversees mergers & acquisitions and all branch activities, including the employee benefits division. He is actively involved in major accounts and has an extensive knowledge of construction, real estate development and risk management consulting.
Before joining Lawley, Chris spent several years with KPMG and Ernst & Whinney as a C.P.A.
Chris holds a BBA from Niagara University, a New York State Property & Casualty Brokers License, a New York State Life/Accident & Health License and is a Certified Public Accountant.
He is actively involved with the WNY community serving on the following boards: Kaleida Health, Mercy Flight, Inc., Niagara University and Buffalo Niagara Partnership.
Mr. Scannell has been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Moog Inc. since January 8, 2014 and December 1, 2011 respectively. Mr. Scannell served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Moog Inc., from December 2, 2010 to December 01, 2011. He served as Chief Financial Officer of Moog Inc. from November 28, 2007 to December 2, 2010 and was a Vice President of Contracts and Pricing on January 11, 2006.
He joined Moog Inc. in 1990 as an Engineering Manager of Moog’s Company in Cork, Ireland. He began his career with Moog seventeen years ago in Europe. In 1994, he moved to Germany to become Operations Manager of Moog GmbH. He returned to Moog Inc. in 1999 as the General Manager of Moog Inc. Ireland and the General Manager of the Electric Drives Product Line. In 2003, he joined the Aircraft Group in East Aurora in a manufacturing planning role, and in 2004 became Program Director for flight control actuation on the Boeing 787.
Mr. Scannell has been a Director of Albany International Corp. since February 16, 2012. He serves as a Director of Moog Inc.
Mr. Scannell holds Bachelors and Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University College at Cork, Ireland and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
John F. Somers is the President and CEO of Harmac Medical Products, Inc., a contract engineering and manufacturing company of single-use medical devices serving the global marketplace for 35 years. The privately held, Buffalo-based company provides innovative technical solutions and manufacturing services for companies of all sizes including leading Fortune 500 med-tech companies.
Along with his executive team, John has overseen the company’s growth including the addition of manufacturing locations in Ireland and Mexico to complement its U.S. operations. Harmac has more than 1,000 employees and has received numerous awards for operations excellence, sustainability and community investment. John’s previous experience in the technology industry includes positions with Computervision Corporation and Unitrode Corporation.
Under John’s leadership, Harmac created the Bailey Green Initiative, a community-led public-private partnership to improve and support the Bailey-Genesee neighborhood around the company’s headquarters and where many Harmac employees reside. John is a board member of the Accel Board of AdvaMed, Buffalo Renaissance Group, The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Buffalo Urban League and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.
John has a BA from Williams College and an MBA from Boston University. He is a graduate of the President’s Program in Leadership at Harvard Business School.
Tony Spada is President and CEO of AAA Western and Central New York, Upstate New York’s largest member services organization, providing world-class travel, insurance, automotive and financial services. Mr. Spada is responsible for the strategic direction and long-term planning of the organization, in the interest of more than 800 associates and 880,000 AAA members across 25 counties.
Mr. Spada has over 37 years of extensive senior-level experience with AAA. Prior to being named President and CEO in 2012, he served as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, a position he held since 1995. His areas of expertise include organizational leadership, corporate compliance, portfolio management, corporate financial and strategic planning, operational oversight, contract negotiation, risk management, and mergers/startups.
Throughout his tenure at the Club, Mr. Spada has played an integral role in many major initiatives, including: mergers and acquisitions, establishing the AAA Members Insurance Agency of New York, developing the corporate profit sharing and defined contribution plans, and founding the Auto Club of Western & Central New York Foundation for Traffic Safety, Inc.
His guidance has helped establish AAA as a market leader throughout the major metro areas of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse and reinforce the Club’s status as an advocate for the safety and security of all motorists and travelers.
Mr. Spada has several state and national AAA affiliations. He is a current board member of AAA Life Insurance, member of the Affinity Insurance Company, member of AAA Public Affairs Committee, President of AAA New York State, and Chairman of the AAA Northeast Conference.
Aside from his presence on several AAA committees, Mr. Spada is also an active member of the community. He is a board member of Invest Buffalo Niagara; a current member on the Board of Trustees and past chair for YMCA Buffalo Niagara; board member of Buffalo-Niagara Partnership; member and past board chair for Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center; and former trustee for St. Gregory the Great Parish. Mr. Spada has previously served the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, Amherst Soccer Association, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Canisius College Council of Accountancy, and Sisters Hospital Foundation.
Mr. Spada graduated from Canisius College with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. He also received a CFO Certificate from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Mr. Spada is a lifelong resident of Western New York and currently resides with his wife, Nancy, in Williamsville.
Mark A. Sullivan, FACHE, is president & CEO of Catholic Health, Western New York’s quality healthcare leader. A veteran healthcare executive, Mark has been with Catholic Health since its inception in 1998, previously serving as Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer.
Mark’s 24-year professional career includes extensive experience across the healthcare continuum. He has led acute care, primary care, home care, and continuing care operations as well as provided oversight for quality, patient safety, and performance improvement functions.
He began his administrative career in 1994 as director of Business Operations for Mercy Home Care of WNY. Following the formation of Catholic Health, he was named director of Operations for Home Health in 2000 and served as CEO of the division from 2003-2007.
As the fourth president & CEO in Catholic Health’s 20-year history, Mark has administrative responsibility for one of the area’s largest health systems, with annual revenues of more than $1.1 billion. He leads a team of more than 9,000 associates, while working closely with Catholic Medical Partners and Trinity Medical WNY to help strengthen the system’s relationship with its nearly 1,600 affiliated physicians.
Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science/Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration/Health Care Management from Canisius College. He is a fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives (FACHE), a Health Care Transformation fellow and mentor with the American Hospital Association, and a Certified Home and Hospice Care Executive (CHCE). He serves on the Board of Trustees for the Healthcare Association of New York State.
Throughout his career, Mark has been involved with a number of civic, academic and community service organizations. He was recently named to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Board of Directors. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Buffalo Zoo. He recently retired as a deputy with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Scientific Staff Reserve after 13 years of service.
A fifth generation Buffalonian, Mark is proud of his local roots and equally proud of Catholic Health’s long-standing commitment to provide the highest quality care to generations of area families, while improving the overall health of the community.
Rocco is a partner in the firm’s Commercial and Government teams. His relationship based approach has served his clients well with their current accounting and tax needs and more importantly tending to their long-term business and management needs as a go-to confidant. His extensive experience in holistically based process improvement projects, succession planning, financial and tax due diligence, and strategic planning has served him well in leading the firm’s services to the federal government.
Before leading his firm into a merger with The Bonadio Group in 2013 he was the Managing Partner of Gaines Kriner Elliott.
Rocco is internationally known in his focused consulting disciplines. Rocco’s skills have been developed as a result of hands on training and leading projects with and for some of the world leaders in:
- Process based cost management (with the concept developers of Activity Based Cost Management)
- Business Processed Based Re-Engineering through training with Dr. Michael Hammer obtaining his Certificate of Mastery in Re-Engineering
- Jonah designation from the Avraham Y. Goldratt Institute
- Certifications in Theory of Constraints Disciplines from the TOCICO
Rocco is the immediate past Chairperson of the Theory of Constraints International Certification organization. TOCICO is a global, not-for-profit society for Theory of Constraints practitioners, consultants and academics to develop and administer certification standards in the TOC body of knowledge and facilitate the exchange of latest developments in TOC.
He considers himself very fortunate to have learned directly from Dr. Eli Goldratt, the father of TOC. He served as North American Regional Director for Goldratt Consulting from 2004 through 2006.
He now leads the firm’s Leveraged Excellence And Development (LEAD) services which focus on achieving operational excellence while strategically leveraging those abilities in value based markets
Rocco has developed extensive experience in the GSA contract application process, knowledge in the audits of government agencies throughout the United States for government departments and spearheaded the growth of the firm’s work with the US Government. Under his leadership and direction as the former managing partner of Gaines Kriner Elliott LLP, the firm received two national awards for its professional services program and services involving Business Profit Improvement, a service he personally built over the last 25 years.
He is a graduate of Niagara University with a B.S. degree in Business and Accounting. Rocco is the immediate 3 time past Chairman of the Theory of Constraints International Certification Organization; Board of Director of the Greater Buffalo Partnership, Eastern Niagara Health System, and Insyte Consulting; and serves as Chair Niagara University’s President’s Board of Advisors.
An internationally distinguished researcher and higher education leader, Satish K. Tripathi, PhD, was appointed the 15th president of the University at Buffalo in 2011.
Tripathi, who served as UB’s provost from 2004-2011, was dean of the Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California-Riverside from 1997-2004. Previously, he spent 19 years as professor of computer science at the University of Maryland, including seven years as department chair.
Tripathi graduated at the top of his class from Banaras Hindu University in India and holds a doctorate in computer science from the University of Toronto, as well as three master’s degrees—one in computer science from the University of Toronto and two in statistics from the University of Alberta and Banaras Hindu University. A fellow of the IEEE and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he was awarded honorary doctorates from the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad, and Brock University in Canada.
An active leader in the national higher education community, Tripathi serves on the Mid-American Conference Council of Presidents Executive Committee, and on the boards of the NCAA Division I, NCAA Board of Governors, and the College Football Board of Managers as well as the Digital Preservation Network and Internet2. He has also served on the board of directors for the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as an inaugural co-chair of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council in 2011, he served in this position until 2017.
Mr. Uba is the CEO of Excelsior Orthopaedics, LLP., a $40M musculoskeletal center of excellence located in Amherst, NY (a Buffalo suburb). With a total workforce of over 200, Excelsior Orthopaedics has 22 physicians, 16 physician assistants, and 10 physical and occupational therapists
Since joining Excelsior in 2009, Mr. Uba has more than doubled the size of the organization, added new lines of business, recruited additional surgeons, and successfully engineered a merger with another medical practice. Mr. Uba is responsible for leading all aspects of Excelsior’s business.
Prior to joining Excelsior, Mr. Uba held several senior leadership positions with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York and Independent Health. With almost 30 years of healthcare management experience, he’s been responsible for such areas as payer and provider contracting, strategic planning, human resources, product development, business intelligence, M&A evaluation and business development. Each of these opportunities helped Mr. Uba develop management capabilities in planning, budgeting, communication, marketing, finance, talent acquisition, and overall performance management.
Born and raised in Buffalo, Mr. Uba is a proud graduate of Canisius High School, received his bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, and his MBA from the University at Buffalo School of Management. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities of Buffalo. In 2007, Mr. Uba served as General Chairman of the annual Catholic Charities Appeal and successfully raised over $11M. He has been a member of the Bishop’s Council of the Laity since 2007 and previously served as Director of the University at Buffalo School of Management Alumni Association. Mr. Uba also serves on the Board of Trustees of Nardin Academy and sits on the school’s Executive, Finance, and Advancement committees. In addition, he’s a volunteer for The First Tee of WNY and general chairman of its annual golf tournament.
A significant portion of Paul’s practice involves representing private companies, both domestically and internationally, in complex acquisitions and disposition transactions such as mergers, joint ventures, asset and stock sales, and private equity investments.
Paul also provides general corporate and contract advice, including distribution agreements, sales representative agreements, license agreements, and employment agreements, both domestically and internationally, for clients involved in various industries, including specialty chemical manufacturing, third-party health care providers, and several tool and die manufacturers. In addition, he advises numerous closely held companies in a variety of areas, including succession planning, shareholders agreements, ownership transfers, estate planning, and exit strategies. Paul is a member of Hodgson Russ’s board of directors and previously served on Hodgson Russ’s Committee for Attorney Recruiting, Development, and Diversity.
Mr. Vallone has received numerous honors: Listed, Best Lawyers in America (Corporate Law), Leadership Buffalo Class of 2007, Former member, Albany Law Review. His professional affiliations are: Buffalo Niagara Partnership board of directors, Bar Association of Erie County, Former chair, Bar Association of Erie County Corporation Law Committee, 2000-02 His community & Pro Bono involvement are: Junior Achievement of Western New York board of directors, Mathewson McCarthy Baseball board of directors.
Mr. Vallone’s areas of practice are: Canada-U.S. Cross-Border, International Cross-Border, Corporate & Business Law, Emerging Companies, Family Business & Succession Planning, Mergers & Acquisitions Private Funds. His Industry Groups are Manufacturing and Professional Services.
Mr. Vallone is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, B.A., University at Buffalo- B.A., State University of New York, J.D., cum laude, Albany Law School of Union University.
Mr. Vukelic has been with Try-It Distributing for the past 30 years holding various positions within the organization. He became President in 2004 and in 2014 became President and Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Vukelic is involved with numerous professional organizations: National Beer Wholesalers Association Board of Directors; New York State Beer Wholesalers Association – Advisory Board member; AB InBev – Wholesaler Panel member; North American Breweries – National Business Council President; Buffalo Niagara Partnership – Board member & Executive Committee member; Buffalo Renaissance Foundation – Board of Directors; Open Buffalo – Board of Directors; Canisius College – Board of Regents; Western New York Law Center – Board of Directors
His past affiliations include: Canisius High School Board of Trustees/Chairman 2010; Leadership of Buffalo – Class of 2001; Our Lady of Victory Renaissance Capital Campaign – Co-Chair; Buffalo Sabres Center Ice Club – Co-Chair; Chairman – 2001, 2002 Children’s Hospital Foundation Pro/Am Golf Tournament; Hilbert College Board of Trustees – past member; University of Buffalo Newman Foundation – past President; St. Rose of Lima School Board – past Treasurer; Gilda’s Club of Western New York – past Board member; Canisius High School Alumni Board of Governors – past member.
Mr. Vukelic is a graduate of Canisius High School – 1979 and St. Louis University – 1983 – BS Finance.
Ted Walsh lives in Buffalo, New York, and is currently Chief Executive Officer of Walsh Duffield Companies, Inc. He is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the firm and is one of the key leaders in establishing and strengthening partnerships between insurance carriers and clients. Walsh Duffield has been a trusted insurance advisor to individuals and businesses since 1860. The 5th generation family owned business operates with offices in Buffalo, Medina, and Rochester.
Ted has been an active community volunteer for over 40 years and has held leadership positions with organizations such as Kaleida Health, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, Goodwill Industries of WNY, Nichols School, and the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care. He is honored to serve as Treasurer of the John R. Oishei Foundation and as Chair of the Josephine Goodyear Foundation. He is also a board member of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (Vice Chair), Invest Buffalo Niagara and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.
Ted graduated from Nichols School in 1972 and Williams College in 1976. He began his insurance career with the Continental Insurance Company and joined Walsh Duffield in 1977. Ted received a Chartered property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 1985, and a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation in 1997.
In 2009, Michael Weiner was appointed as the President and CEO of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, a nonprofit that is responsible for fundraising and the allocation of over $19 million dollars annually. These resources are utilized to address local health and human service priority indicators; encompassing Education, Financial Stability, and Health & Wellness. In addition, the United Way facilitates planning, advocacy and volunteer service engagement in support of critical community needs.
Prior to joining United Way, Michael served as the Commissioner of the Erie County Department of Social Services. In his capacity as Commissioner he was responsible for the overall administration of a Department with a budget in excess of $530 million dollars and a workforce of over 1800 individuals. Michael also served as the Commissioner of Mental Health for Erie County, and he held the positions of Director, Deputy Director and Mental Health Program Specialist for the New York State Office of Mental Health Western New York Regional Office.
He holds Masters Degrees in Business Administration and Rehabilitation Counseling from the University at Buffalo.
Currently, Mr. Weiner is a member of the WNED Community Advisory Board, the Canisius College Richard J. Wehle School of Business Advisory Council, and the Say Yes To Education Leadership Council. Mr. Weiner also serves on the Board of Directors of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the United Way of New York State.
Mr. Wingerter is President of Univera Healthcare, a nonprofit health plan that is part of a family of companies financing and delivering health care insurance related services for about 1.5 million upstate New Yorkers. Univera Healthcare has 500 employees based at its Williamsville headquarters. They serve members across the eight counties of Western New York.
Mr. Wingerter serves on the boards of directors of Invest Buffalo Niagara, HEALHeLINK, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Daemen College, Buffalo Renaissance Foundation, Population Health Collaborative, The Arc of Erie County, Gerard Place Advisory Board and the Canisius College Business Advisory Board.
Mr. Wingerter joined Univera Healthcare in 2009. Previously, he served as Vice President of Healthcare Solutions at Genpact, a New Jersey-based global company with more than 35,000 employees worldwide. Mr. Wingerter also served as a Senior Vice President for North American Health Plans where his responsibilities included provider and network management, the development of new business strategies, and contract negotiations.
Mr. Wingerter earned a business administration/finance degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He and his wife reside in Amherst, New York and have four children.
Robert M. Zak is President and Chief Executive Officer of Merchants Mutual Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, known as “Merchants Insurance Group”. Annualized property and casualty premiums for the companies total approximately $300 million. The companies are rated A- (excellent) by the A.M. Best Company.
Mr. Zak is the organization’s primary representative to industry and agent trade organizations, community and civic organizations, government regulators and insurance company rating organizations.
Mr. Zak joined Merchants in 1985 after a career in public accounting. Prior to his appointment as President & CEO in 1995, Mr. Zak held the position of Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer.
A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, Mr. Zak earned Bachelor of Science and MBA degrees in Accounting and Economics.
Mr. Zak serves as a director or trustee of the following organizations:
- 100 Club of Buffalo and Western New York, Inc.
- Buffalo State College Council
- Insurance Agents & Brokers Foundation
- InVest Buffalo Niagara (formerly Buffalo Niagara Enterprise)
- National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
- Prentice Family Foundation
- Rand Capital Corporation
- University at Buffalo School of Management Dean’s Advisory Council
Mr. Zak formerly served in a governance role for the following organizations: Canisius College Wehle School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, Canisius High School, Great Lakes Health System, National Multiple Sclerosis Society of WNY, and United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.
Mr. Zak is a native of Western New York and lives in Buffalo with his wife, Margaret. They have three adult sons.
Steve Zenger is President and CEO of Zenger Group Inc., a family-owned collection of 3 printing and graphic arts companies based in Buffalo, New York.
Zenger Group along with divisions Partners Press and Downtown Graphics provide one-stop access to a broad range of print services from Photography and Prepress to Packaging, Print and Mail. The company, employing 109 full time staff, serves clients nationwide. Mr. Zenger is a past Chairman of the Printing Industries Alliance, the New York/Northern New Jersey affiliate of the Printing Industries of America trade association. He has served as a board director since 1995. From 2008-2011, Steve served on the national board of Printing Industries of America.
In addition, he serves on the board of directors and executive committee of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and is past chair of Graphic Arts Department Education Council for Erie County Community College.
He is a graduate of Canisius High School and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from the State University of New York College at Buffalo
He was the 1995 recipient of the Alex Osborne Communicator of the Year Award from the Art Directors/Communicators of Buffalo, a 2003 recipient of a Business First Pathfinder for Education Award and was awarded the Honoring Excellence Member of the Year by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership in 2007.
* = Executive Committee Member