The 20th class of “40 Under Forty”

Friday, September 9, 2011, 4:23am  BUSINESS FIRST
By James Fink, Buffalo Business First Reporter
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A diverse group of rising leaders in Western New York were selected for the 2011 Business First 40 Under Forty class. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the annual program.

Click here for a database with the names of all 800 honorees since the 40 Under Forty program began in 1992.This year’s winners include attorneys, educators, real estate developers and leaders of several nonprofit agencies. The 2011 class will be honored at a Nov. 10 luncheon at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. The luncheon is sponsored by Citizens Bank.“This year’s group of individuals has made it their mission to contribute in extraordinary ways to their communities and the quality of life we all enjoy in the Buffalo Niagara region,” said Jack Connors, Business First publisher and president.

Honorees are:

• Hilary Banker, Burgio Kita & Curvin

• Melanie Buhrmaster-Bunch, UB Corporate & Foundation Relations

• Edward Bysiek III, Edward Bysiek CPA

• Elizabeth Carlson, Hodgson Russ LLP

• Samantha Clark, Alliance Advisory Group

• Jeffrey Conrad, Erie County Center for Employment Opportunities

• Christina Denisco, Frontier Central School District

• Lisa Donato, Camp Good Days & Special Times

• Ryan Erwin, Accessium Group Inc.

• Ron Ferri, Tops Friendly Markets

• Patrick Finan, Block Club magazine and City Dining Cards

• Robert Goller, Orchard Park Press and Aurora town historian

• Erin Heaney, Clean Air Coalition of Western New York

• Amy Hemenway, Harter Secrest & Emery LLP

• Nestor Hernandez, Erie Regional Housing Development Corp.

• T.J. Hirsch, National Automotive Enclosures

• Chris Howard, BookBuyer Inc. and Five Nine Group Inc.

• Kimberly Hubert, Heritage Christian Services

• Timothy Kennedy, New York State senator

• Christopher Knospe, Greatbatch• Brian Laible, Advanced Wealth Management

• Jeremy Laubacker, Independent Health

• Bridget McIntee, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York

• Sean McPhee, Phillips Lytle LLP

• Henry McWilliams, UB Associates Inc.

• Julie Mecklenburg, WGRZ-TV

• Brian Murphy, Lawley Benefits Group

• Benjamin Obletz, First Amherst Development Group

• Jamel Perkins, Delaware North Cos.

• Candace Reimer, Erie 1 BOCES

• David Rust, Erie County Youth Bureau-Social Services

• Jill Schaefer, Lumsden & McCormick LLP

• Molly Short, Journey’s End Refugee Services Inc.

Stephanie Simeon, Heart of the City Neighborhoods Inc.

• Nicholas Sinatra, Sinatra & Co. Real Estate

• Shandra Spicer, S&W Contracting of Western New York Inc.

• Tracy Swyers, Lutheran Home & Rehabilitation Center

• Nicole Tzetzo, Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel LLP

• Matthew Walter, Oogie Games

• Pamela Witter, Houghton College

Six judges chose the 40 winners this year. Chairman of the committee was Michael Faso of Independent Health and a 40 Under Forty honoree in 2002.

The other judges are all former winners and the year of their selection follows their name.

• Brett Begley, 1999, ABC Hardware & Rental

• Connie Stives, 2005, Computer SOS

• Joseph DeBergalis, 1998, New York State Police

• James Morrell, 1997, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority

• Susan Grelick, 1992, New York State Senate

Tickets for the 40 Under Forty luncheon are $50.For tickets and more information, contact Kim Schaus at 716-541-1656 or

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