Class Notes

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Individuals are listed according to the year of their most recent School of Management degree.


Richard Teibel, BS ’79, CPA, partner at the ZLC Group CPAs, was appointed to the board of trustees for the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies.


Liz Warren, BS ’88, was promoted to executive vice president and chief people officer at Employer Services Corp.


Samuel J. Burruano Jr., BS ’90, was named senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Financial Institutions Inc. and its subsidiaries: Five Star Bank, SDN Insurance Agency, Courier Capital and HNP Capital.

James A. Rizzo, BS ’90, CPA, assistant vice president in the Tax Department at National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp., was appointed to the UB School of Management’s Accounting Advisory Council.

James M. Ahrens, BS/MBA ’91, was appointed group vice president and segment manager in the Consumer Banking Division of M&T Bank.

Anthony DeSimone, BS ’91, CPA, president at You’re the Expert Now LLC, released his book, Small Business Blind Spot Solutions: The Eight Most Common Challenges Business Owners Fail to See.

Michelle Bulan, BS ’91, MBA ’92, was named corporate events manager at EWI, an advanced engineering company.

Joel Simpson, BS ’94, was appointed senior vice president of sales and marketing at Forney LP, a material testing equipment innovator and distributor based in Zelienople, Pa.

Jason Schwartz, BS ’98, was named CEO of Hall Research, a designer and manufacturer of audio/video distribution, switching, scaling and automation products.

Mike Tepfenhart, BS ’98, was named general manager of West Herr Automotive Group’s Ford Lincoln of Amherst location. In addition, Tepfenhart was appointed to the Hilbert College board of trustees.

Carrie Czerwinski, MBA ’99, was appointed human resources manager at Integer Holdings Corp., a medical device outsource manufacturer.


Amanda Knapp, BS ’00, serves as associate vice provost and assistant dean in the Division of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In addition, Knapp races motocross competitively and was recently featured in American Motorcyclist magazine with her husband, Ryan, and their three kids. 

Ryan N. Vaz, MBA ’02, MS ’03, CPA, partner, financial services at KPMG, was appointed to the UB School of Management’s Accounting Advisory Council.

Donald Hahn, BS ’81, CEL ’04, was named chief growth officer at Ignition Life Solutions, a global enterprise strategic planning and development consulting, auditing and training firm.

Kevin Kirk, PMBA ’04, was promoted to director of planning and design at Uniland Development Co.

Samantha Bonano, BS ’05, founder of management consulting firm Create a Monster, was appointed to the University at Buffalo Foundation board.

Nagendra Raina, MBA ’05, president of Buffalo Games, was appointed to the University at Buffalo Foundation board.

Alexander Bavifard, MBA ’07, was promoted to director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Lindsay Cronkright, BS ’07, CPA, founded Larsen LLC, a financial consulting firm.

Kimberly Navarroli, PMBA ’08, was named director of design and construction in the University at Buffalo. 

Alec J. Marotto, BS ’09, CPA, was promoted to principal in the Accounting and Auditing Department at Tronconi Segarra & Associates LLP.

Michael Steenberge, BS ’09, was appointed corporate controller at PAR Technology Corp., a global provider of software, systems and service solutions to the restaurant and retail industries.


Billy Backus, BS ’10, was promoted to regional manager of Enterprise Fleet Management’s office in Charlotte, N.C.

Christopher Miller, BS ’02, CEL ’10, is vice president and co-owner of E-ZOIL, a manufacturer of performance-enhancing fuel additives and cleaning solutions. Miller recently announced that his company acquired Emulso International Corp.

Alumni Spotlight: Data storytelling at Netflix

As you binge the latest hit on Netflix, scientists like Kamer Toker-Yildiz, PhD ’14, are using data to optimize your experience—and that of its 183 million subscribers worldwide—and reach new audiences.

“The most exciting part of my role is storytelling through data,” says Toker-Yildiz, senior data scientist for growth and pricing. “In every project, I learn something new about how people behave, and it amazes me how even small things can make a big impact, which we wouldn’t know without measuring.” 

Toker-Yildiz joined the entertainment giant in 2017, working at the intersection of data science and marketing on campaigns for various Netflix productions. 

Last fall, she accepted her current role and a new challenge: using data science to help the streaming service grow in emerging markets. Her typical workday includes meeting with product managers, designers and engineers to brainstorm ideas to bring more value to customers beyond the content catalog—and, of course, measure the success of those ideas too. 

“Data cannot answer everything,” says Toker-Yildiz. “The majority of our role is storytelling and how we interpret the data, so building and developing business intuition is equally important. That’s something machines cannot replace.”

To read more of Toker-Yildiz’s story, visit

Alumni Spotlight: Honoring our Accountant of the Year

This spring, the School of Management named its 2020 Accountant of the Year: John Galiski, BS/MBA ’92, a director at AlixPartners LLP and member of the school’s Accounting Advisory Council.

Established in 1984, the Accountant of the Year award honors an alumnus who has been successful in the accounting profession and made significant contributions to the school and its students.

Since graduating, Galiski has built a varied career as a CPA and certified fraud examiner, specializing in forensic accounting. Today, he most enjoys the versatility of his role and ability to work on projects in many industries.

Galiski has led an investigation into a Fortune 500 firm and presented his findings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition, he has performed forensic reviews in a variety of cases, including an investigation of anonymous allegations of fraud and money laundering for a leading e-commerce solutions supplier, and an examination of historical contractual and financial data for an aircraft management company.

“Right now, I’m working on a massive bankruptcy,” he says. “Even people who know what forensic accounting is might not expect those skills to come in handy in a bankruptcy situation, but that’s what keeps things exciting—I get to use my skills to help on all sorts of different, interesting engagements.”

To read more of Galiski’s story, visit

Christopher Panza, BS ’10, was named a planning associate at Spectrum Wealth Management, a branch of WNY Asset Management.

Deval Motka, MBA ’11, was named vice president of data intelligence/rocket data at Quicken Loans. 

Dana Szczepaniak, BS/MBA ’11, was promoted to director of ticket sales and events at the Professional Fighters League.

Janet Owczarczak, BS ’80, MBA ’89, CEL ’12, was promoted to executive vice president and chief sales officer at Employer Services Corp.

Thomas Willetts, BS ’10, MBA ’12, was appointed senior manager, finance at Amgen, a leading biotechnology company.

Elizabeth McPartland, PMBA ’13, was named CEO of Child & Family Services, a Buffalo-based human service agency.

Natasha Allard, MBA ’14, integrated marketing communications manager at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, was named to Buffalo Business First’s 30 Under 30 list for 2020.

Alexander Burgos, BS ’14, project manager at Rodriguez Construction Group, was honored as part of Buffalo Business First’s 30 Under 30 list for 2020.

Joseph Chow, EMBA ’14, MD, group president and chief medical officer for ambulatory care at TeamHealth, was elected to the Urgent Care Association board of directors as president-elect and will assume the role of president for 2021-22. 

Claire Petrie, BS ’14, was honored as CRC Alumnus of the Year by the UB School of Management’s Career Resource Center. A frequent career mentor, Petrie has spoken at student club events, hosted alumni webinars, served as an admissions ambassador and participated in networking events through the CRC’s Career Passport program.

Jason T. Daniels, JD/MBA ’15, was named associate general counsel at Catholic Health and was voted onto the board of Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network.

Charles Schutt, BS ’14, MS ’15, assistant vice president and senior auditor at M&T Bank, was named to Buffalo Business First’s 30 Under 30 list for 2020.

Alex Schon, BS ’15, MS ’16, CPA, was named a supervising senior at the Connor Group.

Dustin Snyder, EMBA ’16, was promoted to director of people at Aurubis, a worldwide provider of non-ferrous metals.

Mallory Barishman, BS ’17, joined Citrix, a digital workspace platform, as a customer adoption marketing specialist. 

Celine (Keefe) Krzan, MBA ’17, was appointed public relations and content strategy associate at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. 

Minal Singh, MS ’17, joined marketing firm Crowley Webb as a data analyst. 

Daniel Franasiak, BS ’17, MS ’18, was promoted to Salesforce solution architect at NeuraFlash.

Georgiana Franks, MBA ’18, was named director at Sustena Group, a New York City-based firm that specializes in brand development, sales enablement and go-to-market deployment.

Lindsay Goldman, BS ’18, accounting analyst at Dragados USA, earned her Master of Science in Accounting from the Touro College Graduate School of Business.

Jiwon Kim, BS ’18, was appointed a wealth management product marketing analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

George Tibil, BS ’13, MS ’18, was promoted to assistant vice president of model risk validation at M&T Bank.

Lindsey Fritsch, BS ’18, MS ’19, was appointed a staff associate in the Risk Advisory Services Department at Freed Maxick.

Kim Trieu, BS ’19, was named marketing and product coordinator at Island Destinations.

Lauren Wardynski, JD/MBA ’19, was promoted to associate in the Self-Insured and Insurance Defense Litigation Group at Kenney Shelton Liptak Nowak LLP.


Steven Didas, MBA ’20, joined Bob Evans Farms Inc. as associate brand manager.

Audrey Hall, BS ’12, CEL ’20, president and owner of Eco Serve Pest Services, was honored as part of Buffalo Business First’s 30 Under 30 list for 2020.

David Torgerson, BS ’17, MS ’20, was appointed a Medicare STAR analyst at HealthNow New York Inc.