Board of Directors

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.

Dave Anderson, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New YorkMr. 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.

Doug Bean, Eric Mower and AssociatesAs 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, Data Center Operations

Paul Bonaro is an Oath 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.

Warren Colville, The Buffalo News

Warren T. Colville is the President & Publisher of The Buffalo News, the region’s only daily newspaper with a Sunday circulation of nearly 170,000. The Buffalo News is read by about 70% of residents across a seven-county region of Western New York at least once a month, making it one of the highest penetration newspapers in the country.

Prior to becoming President & Publisher of The News in 2013, Colville served as President for 12 years and prior to that lead the companies’ advertising efforts since joining The Buffalo news in 1987. Earlier in his career, he had similar responsibilities at The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. and at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, FL.

Colville currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. He has previously served on numerous community boards, including Shea’s Performing Arts Center, Hilbert College, The Better Business Bureau and the Buffalo Urban League.

He is a native of Mt. Kisco, NY and is a graduate of Westchester College.

Michael Cropp, Independent Health

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 173 full-service supermarkets – 168 company-owned and five franchise locations under the Tops banner.  With over 15,000 associates, Tops is a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont. Frank Curci

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 and Fiesta Mart, LLC a Houston based supermarket chain.

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 Dandes, Rich Baseball Operations

Jonathan A. Dandes was appointed President of Rich Baseball Operations on October 1, 2001. He 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, and Executive Vice President of the Rich Entertainment Group in 1996.

Dandes is Treasurer of the NY Penn League & Chair of Finance Committee of the Texas League. Dandes 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.

Steven Davis, Tapecon, Inc

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.

Bonna DeCarolis, National Fuel

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.

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 Dedecker, Community Foundation for Greater 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.

Dentinger, McGuire Development Company

As President, Jim Dentinger co-founded the creation of McGuire Development Company in 2006. Jim’s goal has always been to differentiate McGuire as a firm that is transparent and focuses on the strength of the relationship created with our clients. The McGuire mission is always Philosophy over Fee.

It is through this integrity and mission that McGuire has established a reputation as WNY’s most trusted and sought after commercial real estate service expert. This approach has also led to the success of many major real estate projects, including the development of Compass East on Michigan Avenue (Phase II in the works!), and the impressive opening of Hotel Henry at the Richardson Olmsted Complex, in which McGuire served as the Owner’s Representative.

As a lifelong Buffalonian, Jim has a passion for Western New York and the development of the community. The depth of his real estate experience, his vision for both McGuire and WNY, and his commitment to business ethics have all played a major role in the expansion of McGuire.

Jim’s expertise extends beyond the doors of McGuire and into the community. He currently serves as the vice chairman of the ECMC Lifeline Foundation; board member of the Amherst Police Foundation and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership; and is a member of the Shea’s Board of Trustees. In addition, he has previously served on numerous other boards and organizations.

Along with this involvement, Jim earned both his Bachelors of Science in Finance and MBA from Canisius College and is a graduate of the Leadership Buffalo Class of 1992. Jim is also a licensed real estate broker in New York State and Florida.

Domagalski, Barclay Damon, LLP

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.

Dotton, Applied Sciences Group, Inc. and Soteria

Julie Dotton is President and CEO of Applied Sciences Group, Inc. In addition to purchasing Applied Sciences Group in January of 2017, Julie owns and operates Soteria, a woman-owned business service company that specialized in cloud based network services and security. Julie is a Buffalo native and a graduate of Mercyhurst University.

Emmerling, Dopkins & Company, LLP

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

Enstice, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.

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.

Evanko, Hurwitz & Fine, P.C

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—where she was previously the General Counsel. Lynne Marie Finn

Broadleaf is one of the largest woman-owned workforce solutions companies.  It provides total talent management services including managed service programs (MSP), a proprietary vendor management system (VMS) – Work Nexus®, statement of work (SOW) and IC/freelancer management, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) and payrolling.

Finn is a Vice Chair and board member of the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization (WPEO). serves on the finance committee for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and serves on the Foundation Board of the Committee of 200 (C200)—an organization of the world’s most successful women entrepreneurs and corporate innovators.  She is a board member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and serves on a regional advisory council for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Recent recognition includes being named to Staffing Industry Analysts’ (SIA’s) 2017 Most Influential People in Staffing and 2017 Global Power 100 Women in Staffing.

Finn received her Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was the Executive Editor of Law and Policy in International Business, and her B.A. magna cum laude from State University of New York at Buffalo.

Frederick, People, Inc.

Rhonda Frederick began her now 37-year career at People Inc. 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 WNY’s largest human services provider in the fall of 2014. Rhonda is forging the way for People Inc. as a new government mandate calls for managed care control, rather than medically-based care.

Rhonda currently serves as president of the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY), an organization that fosters collaboration among more than 50 agencies who support people with developmental disabilities and gives them a single voice in Albany.

In 2014, Rhonda was recognized in Buffalo Business First’s Health Care 50, selected for her compassion, innovation, care and dedication. In 2015, Rhonda was selected to speak at TEDxBuffalo about the benefits of employing individuals with disabilities. In 2016, she was named the 29th most influential person in Western New York through the Buffalo Business First 2016 Power 250. She also earned the 2016 Professional of the Year Award from LeadingAge New York, which honors a long-term care, housing and service professional’s contributions to the well-being of the elderly or chronically ill in his or her community. In 2017, she ranked sixth in Buffalo Business First’s Power 100 Women.

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.

Frey, Frey Electrical Construction Co., Inc.

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.

Holly Gagnon is currently the CEO of Seneca Gaming Corporation which includes Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, NY, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo, NY, and Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca, NY. 

Previously she served as CEO for Chumash Enterprises for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. She is one of very few female CEOs in the gaming industry and has leveraged her vision over a 20-year career to consistently prioritize guest experience, employee engagement, and drive superior results to the bottom line.

In April 2016, Holly was named Executive of the Year by The Native American Finance Officers Association. She served as 2014 keynote speaker and panel member at one of the gaming industry’s most prestigious events, the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas. Holly is a founding board member of Global Gaming Women, where she chairs the mentorship committee.

Holly has built her career working for world premier gaming organizations. She began her gaming career with the opening of Foxwoods Resort Casino, where she remained for eight years. Additionally, she served in a number of key financial and operational roles in her six years with Harrah’s/Caesars Entertainment and as Divisional Vice President of Finance and President at Gold Strike Casino, an MGM Resort property. Holly lectured for two years at the University of Massachusetts’ Isenberg School of Management before returning to Harrah’s/Caesars where she served as Divisional Vice President of Planning and Strategy. Prior to joining Chumash Enterprises in late 2015, Holly served as the President and CEO of Pearl River Resort where she managed a multimillion-dollar renovation and rebranding effort.

Holly is a proven leader in the gaming industry and in the community. She is currently a member of the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center (MAEC) Board of Directors and has been instrumental in helping to launch a mentoring program for Choctaw Tribal high school girls. Holly serves on the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Board of Directors. Holly was awarded an MBA from Chaminade University of Honolulu and received her BS in Accountancy from Bentley University in Massachusetts. She is also a CPA.

Gallagher-Cohen, Buffalo Niagara Partnership

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.

Gioia, The John R. Oishei Foundation

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.

Gold, M&TBank

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 a number of management positions in Retail and Business Banking, Mortgage and Consumer Lending and the Office of Regulatory Projects. In 2014, he was named Vice Chairman and took on the role of Chief Risk Officer (CRO).

In 2016, Gold assumed management responsibility for the Legal division. In 2017, he took over management responsibilities for the Retail and Business Banking divisions, the Mortgage and Consumer Lending divisions, and Marketing and Communications, in addition to his continued oversight of the Legal division.

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, the Boards of Directors of the Westminster Foundation and Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and Consumer Bankers Association Board of Directors. He is also an adjunct professor at University of Buffalo’s School of Management.

Golding, Northwest Bank

Mr. John J. Golding has been Executive Vice President of business development of Northwest Bank and served as President of New York Region at Northwest Bancshares, Inc. and Northwest Bank since September 12, 2016.

In this role, Mr. Golding is responsible for the growth and profitability of Northwest bank across its New York Region. In addition to overseeing 36 offices in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Monroe and Niagara counties, he coordinates all business development efforts in his region through Northwest business lines and personnel.

Mr. Golding has over 13 years of experience, consistently building successful teams. He is a broad based banking professional with a track record of increasing revenue production in Retail, Wholesale, and Mortgage Banking. He has a strong Operations background, implementing best practice methods to win new business, improve process workflow, and effectively execute.

Mr. Golding served as the Senior Director of Small Business Banking at First Niagara Financial Group Inc. from October 21, 2013 to 2016. In that role, he developed and implemented First Niagara’s small business strategy across its four-state footprint. He also maintained the day-to-day operations of First Niagara’s small business organization, serving customers with revenues up to $2MM through a team of 40 small business bankers who served 400 locations.

Mr. Golding served as the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of NOVA Financial Holdings, Inc. and Nova Bank and also served as its Head of Retail Banking. He was employed with Wachovia Corporation in West Chester, PA as a Mortgage Executive in the Mid-Atlantic region.

He was a Retail Banking Director in the Philadelphia District, Central Pennsylvania, and Greater Georgia Region at First Niagara, where he directed all aspects of sales and service for the retail bank with special emphasis on growth of Market Share by increasing deposit, loan and investment portfolios while delivering great service.

He served as Retail Banking Director for a large regional bank. Mr. Golding has been recognized and promoted for his ability to assess, strategize and execute with a practical hands on approach.

He is a graduate of North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, North Carolina with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management.

Martin T. Griffith is President of BankOnBuffalo.  As a community bank, BankOnBuffalo, a division of CNB Bank, is a $2.8 billion bank Martin Griffith 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.

Haney, Wendel

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.

Heard, Gibraltar Industries

Prior to joining Gibraltar Mr. Heard had more than 25 years of experience in the building products industry. Most recently he was President, ITW Building Components Group, a division of Illinois Tool Works Inc., a Fortune 200 global diversified industrial manufacturer. As President of ITW Building Components Group he had global responsibility for the strategic direction and operational performance for 25 businesses in 18 country markets across a wide range of industry segments including residential & commercial construction, retail and component manufacturing.

Mr. Heard has a background in Mechanical Engineering and a MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario.

Hochul, Delaware North Companies, Inc.

William J. Hochul, Jr., is General Counsel and Secretary for Delaware North Companies, Inc., providing 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 Department and the External Affairs functions of the company.

Prior to his present position, 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. Here, 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 formerly worked for a Maryland Court of Appeals Judge, as an associate for a large international law firm, and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Western New York.

Mr. Hochul serves on the Association of Corporate Counsel Litigation Committee, on the American Gaming Association AML/BSA working group, on the University at Buffalo Law Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Board of Directors. Mr. Hochul has also taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo School of Law, Niagara University, and Hilbert College, and has instructed judges, prosecutors, and lawyers on numerous occasions, domestically and abroad, on corruption, organized crime, terrorism, and rule of law related topics.

Hojnacki, MacLean Curtis LLC

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.

Hore, PCB Piezotronics and MTS Sensors

David Hore has been President of MTS Sensors since July of 2016 when MTS Systems Corporation acquired PCB Group, Inc., which David had led as its Co-President and then President from 2004-2016. MTS Sensors has annual revenues of approximately $300 million with almost $200 million of that being derived from PCB Piezotronics, Inc. (PCB). Subsequent to being acquired, PCB has maintained all of its local operations and remains one of the largest manufacturers in Western New York, with almost 700 local employees.

David has served on several non-profit boards and is currently most active in his roles as Vice Chair of the board of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and Chairman Emeritus of the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County (BBBSEC). David previously served as board President for BBBSEC from 2007-2014 and also served as the acting day to day interim CEO from 2010-2012, upon the sudden passing of that organization’s Founder and CEO.

David received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Hunter, West-Herr Automotive Group

As Chief Operating Officer of the West Herr Automotive Group, New York State’s largest vehicle retailer, Jed Hunter oversees operations of 23 locations that employ over 1900+ employees throughout Buffalo and Rochester, NY. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jed recently relocated to Buffalo from Cleveland to join the West Herr Automotive Group in 2015. Prior to his relocation, Jed spent twelve years at Penske Automotive, most recently as Area Vice President and dealer principal of eight dealerships and two body shops in Cleveland.

Before his extensive career in the automotive business, Jed was an engineer at Pratt & Whitney working on the first F-22 and Joint Strike Fighter engines. He also spent several years as an automotive M&A consultant at Deloitte Consulting in Detroit. Jed has an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business where he graduated with distinction.

New to Buffalo, he has sponsored and engaged with many Buffalo charities both as a corporate leader and as an individual in just a few short years. Jed serves on the Hilbert College School Board, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the Leadership Development Committee and most recently, the Elmwood Franklin School Board.

Hurley, Canisius College

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.

Jones, Irish Propane and Irish Carbonic

Laurie is the CEO of Irish Carbonic and Irish Propane which is a family business located on Clinton and Katherine Street in Buffalo and Buffalo Road in Rochester. Irish installs beverage equipment and beverage products in restaurants and nursing homes and supplies propane to residences and commercial construction throughout Western and Central New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Laurie currently serves as a board member on the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the University of Buffalo’s CEL Advisory Board and is the Chair of the National Propane Gas Association’s Women in Propane Council.

Laurie received her Bachelor of Science from Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, Ohio) and her Juris Doctorate from the University at Buffalo.

Candace S. Johnson, PhD, is President & CEO, Wallace Family Chair in Translational Research and Professor of Oncology in the Candace Johnson 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, Visit Buffalo NiagaraPatrick 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.

Michael Keating, Wegmans Food MarketsMike 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.

Tom Kucharski, Invest Buffalo NiagaraThomas 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 Regional Director for National Grid, Ken is responsible for managing relationships with large industrial and commercial and municipal customers in National Grid’s eleven (11) county Western New York service area. Ken Kujawa

Ken’s Board Affiliations are with Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Invest Buffalo Niagara, 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.

Loftis, Bond, Schoeneck & King

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)

Lomeo, Kaleida Health & Great Lakes Health System of WNY

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.

Maher, Niagara University

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.

McPoland, Freed Maxick CPAs, P.C.

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.

Minkel, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority

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.

Montante, Uniland Development Company

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.

Murphy,Bank of America

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.

Murray, Phillips Lytle, LLP

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.

Nasca,Evans Bancorp, Inc. and Evans Bank, N.A.

David J. Nasca is President and Chief Executive Officer of Evans Bancorp, Inc. and Evans Bank, N.A., a $1.4 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.

Newman,NOCO Energy Corp.

Mike Newman is Executive Vice President of NOCO; a third-generation family owned and locally operated company, with over 80 years of experience in the energy business. Mike directly oversees NOCO Real Estate & Development and Empire Petroleum Services. Mike serves on the boards of several business advocate organizations, including the following:

· Buffalo Prep (Board Member, 2012-2017)

· Kaleida Health Foundation (Board Member, 2013-2017)

· YMCA (Board Member, 2016-2017)

· Buffalo Niagara Partnership (Board Member, 2015)

· SIGMA (Board Member, 2005 – 2011 & 2017)

· Bank on Buffalo Advisory (Board Member, 2017)

· NYACS (Chairman, 2008 – 2010, Currently Chairman of NYACS Legislative Committee)

· Gulf Oil Distributor Council (2009 – 2011)

· Amherst Chamber of Commerce (Chairman, 2003 – 2004).

In 2002, Mike was named one of the top 40 Under 40 Leaders by Buffalo Business First. In January 2012, he was named one of the 125 Most Influential People in WNY. In May 2013, he was elected to the New York Convenience Store Hall of Fame. Mike also is deeply committed to local historical, health, and humanities institutions, as well as several charities.

Mike graduated from Canisius College with both a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance, and a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Business. He resides with his family in Snyder, New York.

Obletz,First Amherst Development Group, LLC

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.

Panzica, Power Drives, Inc.

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.

Quenneville, KeyBank

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. 

Quinn, HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

Kevin Quinn is Managing Director and Head of Corporate Banking for HSBC’s Midwest and New England Region. He has 23 years of corporate bank experience supporting middle corporate, large corporate and international subsidiary businesses throughout a fourteen state region as well as the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Kevin also has direct responsibility for supporting HSBC’s China Corridor Initiative which includes ongoing support of US corporate expansion into Mainland China and Hong Kong. Prior to banking, Kevin

practiced law in Cleveland, OH with a primary emphasis on mergers and acquisitions working with both public and private corporates.

Kevin currently serves on the boards of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Invest Buffalo Niagara, the Business Council of New York State, Nardin Academy and St Mark Church, and he is past Board Chair of Junior Achievement of WNY and the Irish Classical Theatre Company. He has a BA from the University of Notre Dame, a JD and MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Series 79 and 63 license.

Ramanujam (Ram) Ramanujam started his career in Flint Engine North in 1989 as a tool engineer, progressing through multiple Manufacturing and Engineering positions at Flint, Bay City, Romulus, Ypsilanti and Toledo. In 2008 he was promoted to Manufacturing Engineering Director at Toledo Transmissions and helped launch the 6-speed transmissions. Ram Ramanujam

In 2010 he was reassigned to an international assignment as Manufacturing Engineering Director for GMIO Global Propulsion Systems (GPS), responsible for multiple Engine, Transmission and Casting launches in the region.

He repatriated in 2014 to GPS Product Engineering as Global Program Manager for the CSS Engines, before moving to Orion Assembly plant in Michigan as Assistant Plant Manager.

Ram holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Regional Engineering College, Trichy, India, MS in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University and an MBA from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Ram has been married for 25 years and has two sons.

Randaccio,Performance Management Partners, Inc.

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, change management, 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 is described as ambitious, adventurous, intuitive, focused, confident, formidable, influential and a life-long learner. She 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 peer advisory board in the Buffalo market. The Vistage members, a group of high-performing CEOs, executives, and business owners, meet monthly to tackle their toughest challenges and biggest opportunities. 

As a business advisor and executive coach, Randaccio works with “top notch” leaders to implement people strategies which improve individual, team and corporate performance. She facilitates strategic conversations, leads projects, acts as a “sounding board”, expresses her opinion and makes complex decisions with unwavering conviction.  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. a printed apparel manufacturing company and LoVullo Associates. Inc., a certified managing general insurance agency, 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, 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 served as President of both the Goldome and M&T Charitable Foundation. 

Sharon is a Business First ‘40 under 40’ award winner and a recipient of the “Women of Influence” honor.  She received the Distinguished Alumni Award from SUNY Buffalo and received the ‘Woman of Distinction’ award from the Amherst Chamber of Commerce. 

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. She currently teaches at the Harvard Business School of Buffalo and has been an instructor for the SUNY Buffalo MBA Program. 

Roberts,Martin House Restoration Corporation

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 CEO and a co-founder and Director of Life Storage, Inc. (formerly Sovran Self Storage), one of the country’s largest  providers of self-storage services.  The Company was started 35 years ago, went public in 1995 (NYSE: LSI), and now owns or operates over 700 storage facilities in 28 states.  Life Storage employs almost 2,000 people; 250 at its headquarters in Williamsville, NY.

Dave currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the National Association of Real Estate Trusts, the Board of Directors of the Self-Storage Association, the Old Fort Niagara Association, the Life Storage Foundation for a Better WNY and the Finance Council of the Diocese of Buffalo.  He previously was a Trustee of Nativity of Mary Parish, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Health System and of Computers for Children.

Dave is a graduate of Maryvale High School and the State University of New York at Buffalo.  He has two children and two grandchildren, and lives with his wife Joan in Clarence, NY.

Ross, Lawley

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.

Scannell, Moog, Inc.

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.

Somers,Harmac Medical Products

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.

Spada,AAA Western & Central NY

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 900 associates and 850,000 AAA members across 25 counties.

Mr. Spada has over 35 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.

Aside from his presence on several AAA committees, Mr. Spada is also 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 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 family 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 Sullivan

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.

Surace,The Bonadio Group

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 Process 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. Satish K. Tripathi

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 board of directors for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, as chair of the Mid-American Conference Council of Presidents Executive Committee and the Digital Preservation Network board, and on the boards of the NCAA Division I, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Internet2. Previously, he served on the board of directors for the Association of American Universities. Appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as an inaugural co-chair of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council in 2011, Tripathi served in that position until 2017.

Uba,Excelsior Orthopaedics

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.

Vallone,Hodgson Russ LLP

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.

Vukelic,Try-It Distributing Company

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 – Regional Chair, New York State Beer Wholesalers Association – Advisory Board member, AB InBev – Wholesaler Panel member, North American Breweries – National Business Council member, Buffalo Niagara Partnership – Board member & Executive Committee member, Buffalo Renaissance Foundation – Board of Directors, Open Buffalo – Board member and Advisory Board, Voice Buffalo – Board of Directors, Canisius College – Board of Regents, Western New York Law Center – Board of Directors, and Erie County Industrial Development Agency Board member.

His past affiliations include: Canisius High School Board of Trustees/Chairman 2010, , 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. Leadership of Buffalo – Class of 2001.

Walsh Jr,Walsh Duffield Cos., Inc.

Ted Walsh lives in Buffalo, New York, and is currently President and Chief Operating 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, Rochester and Avon.

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.

Weiner,United Way of Buffalo & Erie County

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.

Williams,Charter Communications

Charlie Williams is Vice President of Government Affairs for Charter Communications. Charlie joined the legacy company, Time Warner Cable, in 2009 and helped lead Charter Communications’ successful New York State merger approval with Time Warner Cable in 2016.

Charlie advances the company’s interests before state, federal and local lawmakers and policymakers in New York State; and is responsible for the company’s franchise relationships with 1,200 municipal Local Franchise Authorities across NYS.

Charlie’s almost 30-year career includes 15 years of public service for the NYS Governor, the NYS Senate Majority Leader and several Committee chairs, where he focused on education and economic development policy. Charlie’s private sector work includes almost 15 years of advocacy for cable & telecommunications, higher education, biotechnology and pharmaceutical interests at all levels of government. Williams received his master’s degree from the Rockefeller College of the University at Albany.

Wingerter,Univera Healthcare

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.

Zenger,The Zenger Group, Inc.

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