UB, Clarence Partner to Improve Municipal Services, Provide Internships for Students

Release Date: January 20, 2011 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo and Town of Clarence are partnering on two initiatives to improve municipal services and give students an opportunity to learn about and contribute to local government.

UB's partnership with the town is an example of how the university, through its new Office of Economic Engagement (OEE), can provide resources and expertise to assist local governments, as well as local businesses.

First, the town, through The Center for Industrial Effectiveness (TCIE) at UB, trained about 20 employees in Lean Six Sigma practices in 2009. Lean Six Sigma is a data-driven management strategy that aims to raise the performance of an organization or company through projects that increase efficiency, decrease costs and improve customer service.

Town Supervisor Scott Bylewski said "the rate of return has been very positive" since Clarence adopted the Lean Six Sigma philosophy working with UB. Bylewski explained further, "The point is to continuously improve the town and the effectiveness of government, not only in large ways but also with small things that can add up."

Among other improvements, the town has adjusted its fee schedule for parks to better reflect market demands. Outsourcing greenhouse operations, another change, has not only saved money, but also enabled the town to increase new plantings. A plan for cutting energy costs includes measures such as installing digital thermostats in buildings that don't have them, a simple step that could save thousands of dollars each year.

Pleased with Clarence's experience with Lean Six Sigma, Bylewski attended UB Business Partners Day in 2010. There, he met Al Hammonds, assistant director of outreach for TCIE and UB's Office of Economic Engagement (OEE). UB created OEE in 2009, under the university's UB 2020 strategic plan, to help businesses and other community partners connect with and take advantage of programs, services and faculty expertise at the university.

Bylewski and Hammonds discussed the broad array of resources available at UB for community partners. The end result of that conversation: Clarence is now working with OEE, UB Career Services, the UB School of Management and other university units to expand the town's internship program to create opportunities to engage UB students in the work of municipal government.

UB Professional MBA student Janelle Camesano, who is interning with the town's human resources department, is leading the effort. She will act as an internship coordinator of sorts for Clarence, meeting with the town's department heads to assess their needs and using information from those interviews to create written job descriptions for interns who will likely come from the UB School of Management and the Law School.

"This will be valuable because I will learn about the application of business practices in a non-profit setting and gain a hands-on understanding of town operations," Camesano said.

Marsha S. Henderson, UB vice president for external affairs, said UB's relationship with Clarence exemplifies how OEE "benefits Western New York and the university by matching opportunities to resources."

"Scott's foresight and leadership were instrumental in creating the partnership between the town and UB," she said. "When the town wanted to expand its relationship with the university and asked us to facilitate the process, we were glad to do so -- strategizing the plan, coordinating the experts and reviewing details -- because we all win when together we help make public services more effective."

"UB is a world-class institution, and Clarence deserves the best possible people with positive attitudes working together to continue and ensure its prosperity," said Bylewski, who holds bachelor's, JD and MBA degrees from the university. "We have a great group of employees who work for the town. We've been able to accomplish some great things, and I think it makes sense for the two organizations to partner up improve both the workings of the university and of the town."

For more information about the Office of Economic Engagement and how to access the resources of UB, go to http://www.buffalo.edu/BusinessEngagement. The office is in UB's Downtown Gateway (the former M. Wile building) at 77 Goodell St. in downtown Buffalo.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Media Contact Information

Charlotte Hsu is a former staff writer in University Communications. To contact UB's media relations staff, email ub-news@buffalo.edu or visit our list of current university media contacts.