The Main Event

Downtown Lunchtime Series - Buffalo, Berger & Burgers

Robert Shibley (above) and Jerry Newman (below) were among faculty presenters in the spring ’07 “UB at Noon … Downtown” program held at the popular Chef’s Restaurant. (Photo by Douglas Levere '89)

IT WAS STANDING ROOM ONLY during the spring “UB at Noon … Downtown” alumni luncheons, cosponsored by the UB Alumni Association (UBAA) and the UB School of Management Alumni Association. The series, held at popular Chef’s Restaurant in downtown Buffalo, attracted more than 300 participants, the majority of whom are UB alumni and live or work downtown.

“The UB at Noon program was designed to connect the university with the thousands of alumni who work in and around downtown Buffalo,” says program chair Larry Zielinski, MBA ’77 & BA ’75, who also chairs the development and membership committees for the UBAA board of directors. “It was a natural for us to bring our program downtown to accommodate the schedules of the large UB contingency we’re trying to reach.”

The spring series featured three members of the UB community—Robert Shibley, professor and director of the UB Urban Design Project in the School of Architecture and Planning; David Dunn, vice president for health sciences; and Jerry Newman, SUNY distinguished teaching professor and chair of organizations and human resources in the School of Management.

Jerry Newman, seen researching a book on fast food restaurants. (Photo by KC Kratt MFA '84)

Shibley’s presentation February 27 offered background on UB’s master planning process, which is expected to dramatically transform the landscape and infrastructure of UB’s three campuses in North Buffalo, the Town of Amherst and downtown. Shibley discussed how this plan will buttress UB’s goals for growth: an increase of 10,000 students, 750 faculty members and 600 staff members over the next 15 years.

Dunn, who leads the strategic integration among UB’s health sciences schools, departments, and hospital and clinical affiliates, spoke about the future of health care in Western New York and UB’s role in creating this future. Dunn discussed many of the pressing issues in health care today, including recommendations of the New York State Commission for Health Care Facilities, also known as the Berger Commission. (Dunn chaired the Western New York advisory committee to this commission.) He contrasted the costly duplication of services with the importance of consolidating hospital facilities, further explaining why dedicated centers of excellence are necessary in such areas as organ transplantation and cardiac care.

“The McMan Behind the McJob” was the title of Newman’s presentation on June 6. In his nationally acclaimed book, My Secret Life on the McJob (McGraw-Hill, 2006), Newman describes how, during a sabbatical, he worked incognito behind the counters at such fast-food restaurants as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Arby’s. “The fast food business is perfect for investigating management styles because the larger ones boast steady profits, despite high turnover rates, repetitive job responsibilities and fast-paced, high-pressure environments,” Newman explains.

The UB series continues this fall; check www.alumni.buffalo.edu for details.