Class notes

By the Decade

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*Lawrence Benaquist, BA 1963, professor emeritus of film studies at Keene State College, recently retired. The founder of Keene’s film studies program, Benaquist is currently producing a documentary on the collaborationist government in Vichy, France, and the Jews. He resides in Keene, N.H.

*Louis Bertrand, BA 1965, is serving his second four-year term as mayor of Hiram, Ohio. Prior to becoming mayor, Bertrand worked as a trial attorney for 45 years. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio.


Barbara Wiedemann, BA 1970, an English and philosophy professor at Auburn University at Montgomery, published “The Death of a Pope and Other Poems,” a collection of poetry on life in Italy. She resides in Montgomery, Ala.

*Ira Kleinburd, BA 1972, retired after 40 years of government service with the New York City Department of Correction. He most recently served as assistant director of personnel. He resides in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Thomas Lombardo, MD 1973, was elected president of the Erie County Medical Society. Lombardo also is a practicing orthopedic surgeon at Northtowns Orthopedics. He lives in East Aurora, N.Y.

Stephen Lazoritz, MD 1976 & BA 1972, joined Arbor Health Plan as medical director. Lazoritz also is a clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Creighton University, and is a speaker and advocate for the health and welfare of children. He resides in Omaha, Neb.

Richard Cohen, BS 1977, joined Duff & Phelps Corporation as managing director of its legal management consulting division. Cohen previously served as president and vice chairman for RenewData Corp. He lives in Weston, Fla.

Walter Polka, EdD 1977 & BA 1968, Niagara University professor of professional programs and PhD program coordinator, was presented with the 2013 University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education alumni of distinction award. He resides in Lewiston, N.Y.

John Polka, BS 1978, was promoted by National Fuel Gas Company to assistant vice president of National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation. Polka first joined the company in 1978 as a management trainee. He lives in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

*James Tyrpak, BA 1978, president of Tyrpak Financial Associates, was named the 103rd president of the Rotary Club of Buffalo. He lives in Williamsville, N.Y.

Richard Yarmel, BA 1979, joined Harter Secrest & Emery LLP as partner in its health care practice. Yarmel also was named one of the top attorneys of 2013 in health care law by the Best Lawyers in America. He resides in Penfield, N.Y.


James Lahren Jr., MBA ’89
Lahren was appointed vice president of marketing and sales at BDI, a furniture designer and manufacturer. He resides in Great Neck, N.Y.

R. Mark Evans, PhD 1980, was named medical director of Diversified Business Communications Pri-Med LLC’s pmiCME clinical editorial team. He lives in Hinsdale, Ill.

Lucy Candelario, BA 1982, was appointed executive director of The Belle Center, a human services agency. Candelario brings nearly 30 years of experience in the nonprofit industry to the agency. She resides in Buffalo, N.Y.

Glenn Henricksen Jr., MBA 1982, was elected to Santa Fe Gold Corporation’s board of directors. Henricksen has more than 30 years of global experience as a senior Wall Street asset manager and financial professional. He lives in Hong Kong.

Peter Pullano, BA 1983, accepted a position at law firm Tully Rinckey PLLC as a partner. Pullano has practiced criminal defense law for more than 20 years. He resides in Rochester, N.Y.

Evan Wardner, MBA 1983 & BS 1981, joined Western New York Asset Management LLC as a senior wealth manager. Wardner is a member of the Financial Planning Association and has more than 30 years of experience in investment, banking and insurance. He lives in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Benjamin Zuffranieri Jr., JD 1983, the head of Hodgson Russ’s business litigation practice area, was inducted into the Litigation Counsel of America. Zuffranieri’s experience spans general business, construction and cross-border litigation. He resides in Williamsville, N.Y.

Priscilla Coe, DDS 1984, became the Navy’s first female rear admiral of the Dental Corps Reserves. She will serve as Navy Medicine’s reserve component deputy chief of staff in the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. She resides in Arlington, Va.

Michael Mazzeo, PhD 1984 & MA 1978, was appointed dean of Oakland University’s School of Business Administration. Before joining Oakland University, Mazzeo served at Michigan State University as a professor and chair of the department of finance. He lives in Okemos, Mich.

Patricia Podkulski, MS 1984 & BS 1981, was named the program director of accountable care organization facilitation and educational transformation at Catholic Medical Partners. She resides in Buffalo, N.Y.

Jon Webster, JD 1984, joined law firm Harter Secrest & Emery LLP as partner of the intellectual property practice group. He lives in Penfield, N.Y.

Daniel Rechen, BS 1986, received the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems president’s award for program excellence for his design work on the MQ-4C Triton, an unmanned surveillance aircraft. He resides in Encinitas, Calif.

Kristen Pope, BS 1987, was promoted from accountant to finance and development director of Just Buffalo Literary Center. She lives in Buffalo, N.Y.

Pratap Subrahmanyam, MS 1987, was appointed a VMware fellow at VMware Inc., a provider of cloud and virtualization software and services. As a new fellow, he will be honored with an endowment in his name of $800,000 to Stanford University. He lives in Saratoga, Calif.

Gina Lee-Glauser, MS 1988 & BS 1982, vice president of research and research professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Syracuse University, was named a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She resides in Manlius, N.Y.

Lynn Puerner, BS 1988, associate principal of Cannon Design, was elected to the board of directors of Junior Achievement of Western New York. She lives in Lancaster, N.Y.


Thomas Turnbull, MBA 1990, publisher at the Batavia Daily News, was named the president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. He lives in Batavia, N.Y.

Mark Paradowski, BS 1991, was appointed vice president of information services at Columbus McKinnon Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of material handling products. He resides in Lancaster, N.Y.

Joseph Sarkis, PhD 1992 & MBA 1986, joined Worcester Polytechnic Institute as professor in the school of business and head of the department of management. Sarkis is internationally recognized for his research in green supply chain management and operations sustainability. He lives in North Grafton, Mass.

Sally Crowley, BA 1994, accepted a position at the John R. Oishei Foundation as communications director. Prior to her new position, Crowley provided communications consulting through her company Sally Crowley Marketing. She resides in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Michael Kawochka, BA 1994 & BA 1991, joined Warren Lewis Sotheby’s International Realty as a licensed real estate agent. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Hilary Banker, JD 1996, partner at law firm Burgio Kita Curvin & Banker, was named one of upstate New York’s top attorneys of 2013 by Super Lawyers. She resides in Buffalo, N.Y.

Jeffrey Kerl, BS 1996, was promoted to assistant vice president of Middlesex Savings Bank’s commercial real estate lending division. He lives in Marlborough, Mass.

Olena Bodnarskyj, BFA 1997, joined Nichols School as a middle school art teacher. She resides in Buffalo, N.Y.

Brigid Maloney, JD 1998, was named partner of law firm Harris Beach’s statewide health care industry team. Maloney previously served as general counsel for UBMD physicians group. She lives in Buffalo, N.Y.

Jeremy Walczak, BS 1999, was promoted to director of the information risk office at Independent Health. He resides in Clarence, N.Y.

Brian Wolf, BS 1999, was hired as executive director of retail financial services for Alaska USA Federal Credit Union. Wolf brings more than 15 years of experience in investment banking, business lending and retail branch operations. He lives in Anchorage, Alaska.


Nagendra Raina, MBA ’05
Raina was named general manager at Buffalo Games, a manufacturer of jigsaw puzzles and board games. Raina was previously the director of strategy and finance at Fisher-Price. He lives in Getzville, N.Y.

*Stephanie Argentine, MBA 2000, JD 1993 & BA 1989, was promoted from director to vice president of talent management and organizational development at Rich Products. She resides in Buffalo, N.Y.

Juan Gonzalez, BS 2000, is special adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden on U.S. policy toward the Western Hemisphere. He lives in Silver Spring, Md.

Karen Larsen, MBA 2000, was promoted to partner at ParenteBeard, an accounting and business advisory firm. She resides in Coudersport, Pa.

James Moore, BA 2000, was promoted to director of production and facilities at William S. Hein & Co., a legal documents digital publishing company. He lives in Amherst, N.Y.

Todd Vogt, MA 2000 & BS 1996, joined the University of Wisconsin lightweight women’s rowing team as an assistant coach. Vogt comes to the Badgers from the University of Portland, where he also served as an assistant rowing coach. He resides in Madison, Wis.

*Valerie Czamara, BS 2004, joined Gelia, an integrated marketing communications agency, as an online media specialist. Before joining Gelia, Czamara worked at Eric Mower and Associates. She resides in Buffalo, N.Y.

Erin Robinson, PhD 2004, an associate professor of sociology and director of environmental studies at Canisius College, is part of a research team awarded a three-year, $796,000 grant from the National Science Foundation INSPIRE program to study the removal of pollution from groundwater. She lives in North Tonawanda, N.Y.

Mark Collard, EMBA 2005, is chair of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation. Collard is also the managing partner and co-founder of Amherst-based Landmark Wealth Management. He lives in Buffalo, N.Y.

Frank Conjerti, BA 2005, digital creative director at Quinlan & Co., was elected to the 2013-14 board of directors of the Advertising Club of Buffalo. He resides in Buffalo, N.Y.

Elizabeth Heavy, PhD 2006, associate professor of nursing at SUNY Brockport, was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She resides in Rochester, N.Y.

Frank Bartela, BA 2007, joined Dworken & Bernstein Co. LPA’s class action department, where he will practice litigation and appeals. He lives in Brocton, N.Y.

Brian Knapp, BA 2007, was named SUNY Buffalo State women’s soccer lead assistant coach. He resides in Warners, N.Y.

Gareth Lema, PhD 2007 & MD 2007, accepted a position at the Ross Eye Institute as a retina specialist. He lives in Rochester, N.Y.

Stephanie Soehnlein, MD 2007 & MBA 2007, was appointed to the radiology staff of Southtowns Radiology. She resides in Orchard Park, N.Y.

James Zolnowski, BS 2007, was named nurse manager of the intensive care unit at Advocate South Suburban Hospital. He lives in Hazel Crest, Ill.

Ronald George, BS 2008, accepted a position as a gas compression engineer at Wasco Energy’s Oil Field Supply Center. He resides in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

*Kevin Habberfield, JD 2008, was selected by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star of 2013. He lives in Allegany, N.Y.

Christopher Reisch, PhD 2008, EdM 1998, BA 1994 & BA 1994, was promoted to full professor at Jamestown Community College. Reisch teaches mathematics and computer science, and is director of mathematics courses at the North County Center in Dunkirk, N.Y. He resides in West Seneca, N.Y.

Edward Tierney, CEL 2008, partner at BlackDog Strategy and Brand, was awarded an alumni achievement award from the UB School of Management Alumni Association. He lives in Hamburg, N.Y.

Melinda Cruz, PhD 2009 & BA 2003, was appointed supervisor of student services for the Stafford County School Board. Cruz also is a lead psychologist for the school division. She resides in Glen, Va.

Kristin Kowalski, BS 2009, was promoted to human resources administrator at Niagara Cerebral Palsy. She lives in Getzville, N.Y.

Michael Maley, MS 2009, was promoted to senior auditor at Lougen, Valenti, Bookbinder & Weintraub, a public accounting firm. He resides in East Amherst, N.Y.

*Kenneth Manning, MS 2009, JD 1977 & BS 1974, a partner of Phillips Lytle LLP, was reelected to the board of directors of Suneel’s Light, a foundation dedicated to raising awareness and funding to cure Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He lives in Williamsville, N.Y.

William Sherlock, JD 2009 & BA 2006, was named associate at law firm Kenny Shelton Liptak Nowak, where he will practice in workers’ compensation. He resides in Buffalo, N.Y.


Joshua Gordon, MLS 2010, joined the Springville Journal as a reporter. Previously, he worked as an assistant librarian in the University at Buffalo Poetry Collection. He lives in Buffalo, N.Y.

*Christopher Conrad, MLS 2011 & BA 2007, is a member of the information technology and library departments at Nichols School. He resides in Tonawanda, N.Y.

*Brittany Klotzbach, BA 2011, was promoted to traffic manager at the Martin Group, a Buffalo branding, marketing and advertising firm. Klotzbach joined the Martin Group as an accounting intern in 2010. She lives in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Luisa Whittaker-Brooks, PhD 2011 & MA 2009, was awarded a $60,000 grant by the L’Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science. She is completing her postdoctoral research in nanotechnology at Princeton University. She resides in Lawrenceville, N.J.

Robert Bartlett, JD 2012 & BS 2006, a law associate at Otis Coan and Peters, was appointed to BASE Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation’s board of directors. He lives in Fort Collins, Colo.

Claire Fortin, JD 2012, joined law firm Hiscock & Barclay as an associate. She resides in Amherst, N.Y.

Jennifer Murphy, CEL 2012, was named the president of NetPlus Alliance. Murphy is the fifth generation to guide the family-owned company. She lives in Lockport, N.Y.

Chad Woods, BS 2012, joined GYMO Architecture, Engineering and Land Surveying as a design engineer. He resides in Hammond, N.Y.

Emily Zimmermann, BA 2012, was appointed executive assistant to the president at the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County. She lives in South Wales, N.Y.

Jennifer Warren, MLS 2013, accepted a position at Longview Public Library as youth services supervisor. She resides in Longview, Texas.