Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Holds Graduation

Release Date: June 9, 2010 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. – Thirty-six Western New York business owners, operators and high-level managers have graduated from the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) Core program in the University at Buffalo School of Management.

The graduation ceremony was held June 9 at the UB Center for Tomorrow on the North Campus. Speakers included Arjang A. Assad, dean of the School of Management; David Cervi, vice president of Personal Touch Food Service and CEL advisory board member; and Lauri Irish-Jones, CEO, Irish Welding, Irish Carbonic and Irish Propane and CEL alumni board chair. Patrick Whalen, chief operating officer for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, provided the keynote address.

Core program graduates completed a 10-month program for experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders who wish to grow, refocus or better manage their businesses. They performed an in-depth analysis of their own businesses while developing expertise in key areas such as strategic planning, employee relations, capital acquisition and marketing.

The CEL graduates are:

Laurie Albertsson, vice president and owner, Fernwood Capital & Leasing, North Tonawanda; Kristin Arcuri, partner, Watson Bennett, Buffalo; Louis Benton II, realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Buffalo; Michael Borowiak, vice president, surveying, Nussbaumer & Clarke, Buffalo; Michael Budzich, director of operations, GEMKO Information Group, Amherst; Christina Bukaty, president, Bukaty Family Chiropractic & Decompression, Hamburg; Kathleen Clark, CEO, Midcity Office Furniture, Buffalo; Joel Colombo, president and managing partner, 360 Professional Services Group, Amherst; Andrew Donovan, vice president of operations and partner, Daily Post, Buffalo.

Also, Karl Drasgow, president Drasgow Inc., Gainesville; Stephen Fitzmaurice, chief operating officer, Seneca One Realty, Buffalo; Kevin Fox, president, McMahon Agency, Depew; Trace George, president and CEO, VSP Marketing Graphic Group, West Seneca; Peter Hafner, president, Hafner Financial Group, Williamsville; David Hogan, chief operating officer, Venture Forthe, Niagara Falls; Dean Kroll, director of sales, Zamkro Development, Orchard Park; Jennifer Kuhn, vice president of operations and marketing, Hamburg Overhead Door, Hamburg; Sean Lewis, supervisor, quality management, Venture Forthe, Niagara Falls.

Also, Mary Ellen Mest, project manager, new initiatives, National Statler Center for Careers in Hospitality Services, Buffalo; Christopher Miller, vice president, E-ZOIL, Buffalo; Robert Miller, owner, R.W. Miller Jr. & Associates, Amherst; Trish Mullaney, president and owner, Dessert Deli, Williamsville; Gregory Notaro, owner and managing partner, Buffalo clinical services, Union Medical Pharmacy, West Seneca; Kevin Overdorf, vice president, Overdorf Associates Agency, Hamburg; Scott Perry, president, Spandco Inc./Scott Perry & Co., Niagara Falls; John Polvino, president and CEO, CP&I, Buffalo; Michael Quinn, chief financial officer, UBMD, Buffalo.

Also, Christopher Repp, president and CEO, Repp Construction, Orchard Park; Amy Sheedy, operations manager, Heron’s Landing, Irving; Anne Spisiak, director of community services, Cantalician Center for Learning, Buffalo; Richard St. John, president, Alliance Innovative Manufacturing, Lackawanna; Jeffry Wach, COO, EGW Personnel Staffing, Buffalo; Dan Wheeler, vice president, New Venture Commercial Flooring, Niagara Falls; Matthew Whelan, vice president of operations, managing partner, 360 Professional Services Group, Amherst; Jeanine Zaleski, controller, Alliance Innovative Manufacturing, Lackawanna; and Dana Zuber, owner, Plato’s Closet, Lewiston.

Jennifer Kuhn received the Taylor Kew Award, for her outstanding commitment to the CEL program as demonstrated by working with her CEL mentors and making the necessary changes to move her business to the next level.

Established in 1987, the UB Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership promotes business growth through leadership development and experiential learning.

“The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership provides a crucial link between these businesses and the School of Management,” said Thomas Ulbrich, executive director of the CEL. “The relationship building and sharing of expertise that takes place in the core program are invaluable to both the school and participants.”

Nearly 800 CEL alumni employ more than 22,000 Western New Yorkers, and their businesses are worth more than $2 billion to the local economy. For more information, visit or contact the CEL at 716-885-5715 or

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB’s more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Media Contact Information

Jacqueline Molik Ghosen
Assistant Dean and Director of Communications
School of Management