MBA Graduate Wins Annual Panasci Entrepreneurial Contest

Release Date: January 30, 2002

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- JoAnn Johnson, a 2002 graduate of the University at Buffalo's part-time MBA program, won the $25,000 first-place prize in UB's second annual Panasci Entrepreneurial Competition, which awards seed money to UB students and recent alumni who devise and present the best plans for launch of a viable new business in Western New York.

A veterinarian and resident of Colden, Johnson won for her plan to start up Western New York Equine Services, which will provide emergency-call coverage for vacationing or overworked equine veterinarians throughout the area. According to Johnson's business plan, the venture will service nine Western New York equine veterinarians who treat 15,000 horses in the area. Within a few years, she plans to expand the service to other regions of the state.

The second-place prize of $15,000 was awarded to Russell Van Brocklen of West Sand Lake, a UB undergraduate student studying neurological communications. Van Brocklen's proposed venture, Thinking Methodologies, will develop strategies and products to help learning-disabled high school students succeed in college.

Johnson and Van Brocklen received their awards at the contest's final round, where they and three other finalists publicly presented their business plans to a judges panel of area entrepreneurs and businesspeople.

A total of 17 teams, composed of students and alumni from various academic units at UB, competed in this year's contest, which is organized by UB's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

The contest is funded by a generous gift from UB School of Pharmacy alumnus Henry A. Panasci Jr, chairman of the Cygnus Management Group of Syracuse and former CEO of Fays Inc. Panasci created the contest to encourage the entrepreneurial interests of UB students and alumni and to promote the development and launch of new businesses.

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