Close Family, Bold Legacy

David Herer portrait.

David Herer in ABC-Amega's offices at 500 Seneca in Buffalo, with photos of his late father, Harvey. Photo: Jeff Schaller

For David Herer, CEL ’90, family is everything—it’s in the history of his company, the inspiration for his community involvement and the legacy he’s leaving at the UB School of Management.

During the Great Depression, Herer’s grandfather, Irving, was unemployed and mailed a letter asking for a job to the founder of ABC-Amega, then known as the American Bureau of Collections. He was hired and moved to Buffalo.

When Irving died suddenly in 1954, his son, Harvey—Herer’s father—dropped out of the University at Buffalo to take his place and eventually became the company’s owner. Finally, in 1982, David Herer came on board and today serves as CEO of ABC-Amega, which assists clients with accounts receivable management, debt collection, credit group management and other customer service work.

Joining—and expanding—the family business.

“It was not always my plan to join the company,” says Herer, who earned a bachelor’s from the University of Rochester and a law degree from George Washington University. “International business always intrigued me though, so after law school I agreed to join the company to find ways of expanding it internationally—that’s what drove me.”

Herer initially served as vice president and counsel, working to grow the company’s global business by adding new channel partners and expanding its export services. His efforts culminated in 1990 when President George H.W. Bush honored ABC-Amega with the President’s “E” Star Award for Export Service in a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden.

“The ‘E’ Star Award was a very big milestone for us,” Herer says. “Having that recognition from the President of the United States may be our proudest achievement in the company’s history.”

Leading from experience.

That same year, Herer was named president and completed the Core program in the UB School of Management’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL). He had enrolled hoping to establish his identity as a leader and improve his skills in strategic planning, finance and other areas of business—and says the program delivered.

“In the early stage of my career, I often felt like I wasn’t taken seriously, but working with my CEL mentor, Herbert Mennen, helped me overcome that and gain more confidence,” Herer says. “More than 25 years later, I’m that mentor, and as I work with younger individuals, I try to draw them out and give them input based on their unique abilities and aspirations.”

Herer became CEO in 2000 and, since then, has further expanded the company through strategic partnerships, the launch of a proprietary collection system and an acquisition. Even with that success, he is most proud of the honors ABC-Amega has received from local media and industry publications as a “best place to work.”

“The most exciting part of my role is working with our leadership group to create the best possible culture, which allows us to develop everybody in the business to become the most skillful, dynamic professionals they can be,” he says.

Giving back to Buffalo.

Outside the office, Herer is active in Buffalo’s arts and cultural community, having served on several boards of directors, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, where his wife, Eva, is a cellist.

Wanting to give back even more, Herer recently endowed the Harvey L. Herer School of Management International Travel Fund in memory of his father. The fund will support School of Management students who participate in the school’s increasing array of global programs, which take students to China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Hong Kong and various countries in Europe.

“Even though he never graduated, my father loved UB and traveling internationally. He was a zealot about turning businesses into international businesses and developing people,” Herer explains. “All of these things converge in helping School of Management students appreciate international experiences and become the next generation of international business leaders.”

Written by Matthew Biddle