CEL graduates business leaders from Core program

The CEL Core class of 2022 (left to right): Front row: Julie Kruger, Samantha Robbins, John Kappel, Patrick Ryan, Tami Tobias, Shareefa Albanna, Kenyana David, Jennifer Behm, Vanessa Gabriele, Tom Celik, Sara Evans, Jennifer L. Strong, Job Valluthamannunkal, Colin McManus, Alex Harris. Back Row: Jordan Lema, Del Reid, Colleen Stillwell, Bryan Somerville, Jeremy Higgins, Steve Reid, Victor Morelli, Jake Robbins, Nicole Davis, Corina Stammworthy, James Wangelin. Photo: Heather Bellini

Release Date: June 15, 2022


BUFFALO, N.Y. —  Another class of established entrepreneurs is armed with the skills to move their businesses forward after graduating from the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) Core program in the University at Buffalo School of Management.

The Core program graduates were honored at a joint ceremony with another CEL class, the M&T Bank Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs program, on June 9 at the Grapevine Banquet Hall in Depew.

Del Reid, owner of 26 Shirts and founder of Bills Mafia, received the C. Taylor Kew Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, which recognizes graduates for entrepreneurial excellence and exemplifying the 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. Through 26 Shirts, Reid has raised more than $1.4 million for charity.

The new Core graduates completed a peer-based, mentor-driven program to help grow, refocus or better manage their businesses. During the nine-month course, the entrepreneurs performed an in-depth analysis of their businesses, while developing expertise in such key areas as strategic planning, capital acquisition, employee relations and marketing.

The 2022 CEL Core graduates and their companies are:

  • Shareefa Albanna, Arabica Enterprises LLC
  •  Jennifer Behm , Berardi Immigration Law
  • Tom Celik, VisoneCo Site Development
  • Kenyana David, 81 Eighteen
  • Nicole Davis, Franci Jewelry
  • Sara Evans, MidCity Office Furniture
  • Vanessa Gabriele, Gabriele Law PLLC
  • Alex Harris, Reid Petroleum
  • Jeremy Higgins, Higgins Agency Group
  • John Kappel, Innosek/GMetric
  • Julie Kruger, Kruger Immigration Law
  • Jordan Lema, Lemur Studios
  • Thomas Longenecker, Sit Means Sit Buffalo
  • Colin McManus, Buffalo Dent Repair
  • Victor Morelli, Morelli Remodeling
  • Larry Piegza, SmartEvals
  • Del Reid, 26 Shirts
  • Steve Reid, Reid Petroleum
  • Jake Robbins, RubberForm Recycled Products
  • Jeff Robbins, RubberForm Recycled Products
  • Samantha Robbins, RubberForm Recycled Products
  • Patrick Ryan, Fat Bob’s Smokehouse
  • Bryan Somerville, Tresca Designs
  • Corina Stammworthy, The Laundromutt
  • Colleen Stillwell, Butter Block Bakery
  • Jennifer L. Strong, Neill & Strong Attorneys PC
  • Tami Tobias, UB School of Social Work, Continuing Education
  • Job Valluthamannunkal, Jmax Media Solutions
  • James Wangelin, Cellino & Wangelin Construction/Wangelin Development

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 open house, to be held at 5 p.m. on June 15 at Osteria 166, 166 Franklin St., Buffalo. The event will feature a presentation by Del Reid titled “Making a Difference While Making a Living.” To register 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.

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 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