CEL graduates business leaders from Core program

The CEL Core class of 2024 (left to right):  Front row: Jordan Stapf, Steven Buzzelli, Lauren Heimer, Jennifer Gemerek, Aaron Partridge. Second row: Sean Carey, Shawn Buffum, Dustin Emerling, John Alsop, Jacob Strauss, Angel Swann. Third Row: Zach Collister, Ashley Doll, Natalie Kreher, Tim O’Donnell Jr., Heather Bellini. Back Row: Joseph Gugino, Ron Plesh Jr., Egon Moldenhauer, David Schrantz, Hadar Borden. Photo:  Bellini Studios

Release Date: June 25, 2024


BUFFALO, N.Y. — A new cohort of seasoned entrepreneurs is set to advance their businesses and significantly contribute to the local economy after completing the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) Core program in the University at Buffalo School of Management.

Twenty-seven graduates were celebrated at a joint ceremony with another CEL class, the M&T Bank Emerging Entrepreneurs program, on June 13 at the UB Center for the Arts on the university’s North Campus.

Jacob Strauss, associate partner at StraussGroup, was honored with the C. Taylor Kew Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, which recognizes graduates for exemplifying the leadership and community service principles for which the late Kew stood. An energetic advocate for the CEL, Kew created and operated several companies and donated his time to several civic organizations before his tragic death in a seaplane crash in 1992. Strauss, in addition to his entrepreneurial achievements, actively participates in several charitable organizations in Western New York, including serving on the foundation board of the Buffalo Zoo and the Future of Roswell Society.

The new Core graduates completed a peer-based, mentor-driven program to help grow, refocus or better manage their businesses. Throughout the ten-month course, they conducted comprehensive analyses of their businesses and honed skills in critical areas such as strategic planning, financial management, employee relations and marketing.

The 2024 CEL Core graduates and their companies are:

  • John Alsop, JSA Logistics
  • Heather Bellini, Bellini Studios
  • Jacob Bieler, Bieler Janitorial Services
  • Hadar Borden, UB Startup and Innovation Collaboratory
  • Shawn Buffum, Orville’s Home Appliances 
  • Steven Buzzelli, Emerling Floss Murphy & Associates
  • Sean Carey, Buffalo Computer Recycling
  • Zach Collister, Commercial Pipe & Supply Corp.
  • Ashley Doll, Ashley’s Lingerie & Swimwear
  • Dustin Emerling, Emerling Floss Murphy & Associates
  • Chris Fusco, Copper & Slate
  • Jennifer Gemerek, Independent Nursing Care
  • Joseph Gugino, Joey G’s Sauce Co.
  • Lauren Heimer, Eagan & Heimer PLLC
  • Natalie Kreher, Kreher Family Farms
  • Patrick McNamara, R.E. McNamara
  • Egon Moldenhauer, Dwight Moldenhauer Inc.
  • Muk Musleh, Starco Lighting Inc.
  • Tim O’Donnell Jr., O’Donnell Landscapes
  • Aaron Partridge, Double A Landscaping LLC
  • Ronald Plesh Jr., Plesh Contract Packaging
  • Alexandra Robinson, Blue Eyed Baker
  • Eric Schlegel, Raymond E. Kelley Inc.
  • David Schrantz, Raymond E. Kelley Inc.
  • Jordan Stapf, Chiavetta’s Catering Service Inc.
  • Angel Swann, Life Safety Engineered Systems Inc.
  • Jacob Strauss, StraussGroup 

Applications are now open for the next CEL Core program, beginning this fall. Individuals interested in learning more about the curriculum and speaking candidly with Core alumni can register for an upcoming open house, to be held at 5 p.m. on July 25 at Tappo on Ellicott Street in Buffalo.

To register for an open house or apply to the program, contact the CEL at 716-885-5715 or mgt-cel@buffalo.edu

Established in 1987, the CEL provides participants with individualized and interactive education in entrepreneurship. More than 1,500 CEL alumni employ more than 23,000 Western New Yorkers, and their businesses are worth more than $2.3 billion to the local economy. For more information, visit management.buffalo.edu/cel.

Now in its 100th year, the UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report 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 management.buffalo.edu.

Media Contact Information

Kevin Manne
Associate Director of Communications
School of Management