Distinguished Speakers



 

 

John J. Flynn

St. Patrick's Night 2019

The Blackthorne Restaurant

   
 

Eire County District Attorney

John J. Flynn became the 41st District Attorney in Erie County in January of 2017.

The Western New York native served in the Navy after college. After fulfilling his naval commitment, DA Flynn earned his Juris Doctor at the University at Buffalo School of Law and then returned to active duty, serving in the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

He remained in the Naval Reserves when he came back to Western New York, starting out in the District Attorney’s Office then entering private law practice. DA Flynn retired as a Commander in the United States Naval Reserves.

Mr. Flynn has also served as a Councilman and Town Justice in the Town of Tonawanda, acting Buffalo City Court Judge, and Tonawanda Town Attorney.


C. Jake Schneider

St. Patrick's Night 2018

The Blackthorne Restaurant


   

 

 

President/CEO
Schneider Development Services


A second-generation architect, Jake Schneider, graduated the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture in 1978 and has practiced architecture in Western New York since 1981. In 2002 Jake began Schneider Development Services, LLC, a property development and management company targeting the adaptive reuse of derelict buildings in Buffalo. Schneider has adaptively revitalized over 450,000 square feet of mixed-use space in 8 previously vacant structures.

Mr. Schneider has gained extensive expertise in historic restoration projects that utilize both federal and NY State historic tax credit incentives. In 2016 NY State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, appointed Jake to the NY State Historic Review Board.

Presently, Schneider Development is in the midst of a $9 million redevelopment of the Shea’s Seneca property located at 2178 Seneca Street at the intersection of Cazenovia Street. The project includes 21 apartments, street level retail, and banquet and special events space. It is considered to be the cornerstone of the Seneca Street neighborhood revival.

 


Patrick J. Whalen

St. Patrick's Night 2016

The Blackthorne Restaurant

   

 

 Director, Niagara Global Tourism Institute

A serial entrepreneur who has started over 20 businesses in a variety of industries, Patrick J. Whalen is Interim Director of the Niagara Global Tourism Institute (NGTI).

Before joining the NGTI, Pat served as the COO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) for nearly 8 years. In addition to managing the BNMC day-to-day operations Pat was the BNMC’s unofficial “entrepreneur–in-residence.” As such, Pat worked to foster collaboration and job creation on campus and throughout the bi-national region. 

Among the businesses Pat has started is Fulfillment Systems International (FSI), a technology driven logistics services provider. FSI grew from a 1-man startup in 1985 to a firm with annual sales of $20 million and over 200 employees in 5 locations in Canada, Europe, and the USA before being sold to UPS in 2000. It is now part of UPS Supply Chain Solutions.

He currently sits on the board of directors of: the Association of University Research Parks; World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara; Canadian American Border Trade Alliance; WNY Public Broadcasting WNED | WBFO; and Continental 1. 

He is a graduate of the University at Buffalo’s School of Management Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and attended Canisius College.

 



Mark C. Poloncarz

St. Patrick's Night 2015

The Buffalo Irish Center

 

 Erie County Executive

Mark Poloncarz is Erie County’s eighth County Executive. Mr. Poloncarz was elected county executive on November 8, 2011 and re-elected on November 3, 2015. He  is only the 2nd Democrat to be elected to the position of county executive in the 51 year history of the position. Poloncarz was the comptroller of the county at the time of his election as executive.

Poloncarz believes the key to his administration’s success is to create strong partnerships with other levels of government, the private and non-profit sectors, educational institutions and community groups. Examples include the creation of one of New York State’s first Land Banks, the establishment of the Erie County Medicaid Anti-Fraud Unit, as well as the successful negotiation of a new 10-year lease with the Buffalo Bills.

Poloncarz has a bachelor's degree from the University at Buffalo and a law degree from the University of Toledo.

 

 

 

René Robert

Buffalo Sabres Night with René Robert

February 2012

Armor Tap Room

 

 Member of the

Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame

Rene Robert played for twelve seasons in the National Hockey League, eight with the Buffalo Sabres. He wore sweater #14 and played the right wing on the legendary French Connection Line with Gilbert Perreault and Richard Martin.

Robert reached the 20-goal mark eight straight years and was selected to 2 National Hockey League All-Star Games. He played 744 career NHL games, scoring 284 goals and 418 assists for 702 points. His best offensive season was the 1974–75 season while with the Buffalo Sabres, when he scored 40 goals and 60 assists for 100 points, the club's first 100 point season by an individual.

 

 

 

Jerry "Sully" Sullivan

St. Patrick's Night 2011

The Blackthorn Pub

 

 Senior Sports Columnist for

The Buffalo News

Jerry Sullivan joined The News in 1989 as a sports columnist after covering the NBA for New York City Newsday. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Jerry worked at the Binghamton Sun-Bulletin and the Syracuse Herald-Journal. He also free-lanced for Sport magazine. In his 15 years at The News, the Rhode Island native has covered all the major sporting events, including the Olympics, the Masters, Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA Final Four and the NBA. Jerry may be best known for his series of award-winning columns on learning the game of golf and trying to break 100.

 

Thomas P. Dee

St. Patrick's Night 2010

The Blackthorn Pub

 

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President,

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.

     As ECHDC president since May 2009, Mr.  Dee is responsible for advancing the Harbor Corporation's mission of revitalizing Western New York's waterfront and restoring economic growth to Buffalo based on the region's legacy of pride, urban siginificance and natural beauty.

      Mr. Dee is also charged with managing ECHDC's day-to-day opperations, while advancing not only the exciting Canal Side project, but also the region's overall waterfront redevelopment effort.

         Before joining ECHDC, Mr. Dee was a principal at Cannon Design. During his 28-year tenure at Cannon Design, Mr. Dee suprevised or was involved with many of Western New York's most prominent public and private construction projects, including the Buffalo Federal Courthouse, the Erie County Public Saftey Campus, the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport and HSBC Arena.

 

Hon. Jeremiah J. McCarthy

St. Patrick's Night 2009

The Blackthorn Pub

 

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United States Magistrate Judge

     Judge McCarthy was appointed United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of New York on February 26, 2007. He received a B.A. degree magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1974. He served as a VISTA volunteer at Wisconsin Judicare, Inc. in Wausau, Wisconsin from June 1974 - May 1975, and received his law degree from Cornell Law School in 1978, where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the Cornell International Law Journal.


     Following his graduation from Cornell, Judge McCarthy practiced civil litigation in Buffalo at the firms of Moot & Sprague (from 1978 - 1990) and Phillips Lytle LLP (from 1990 - 2007). He is a past president of the Bar Association of Erie County (2005-6), and is a former member of the House of Delegates of the New York State Bar Association. He also serves on the board of directors of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and formerly served as Treasurer of the Western New York Trial Lawyers Association and on the board of directors of the Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc.



Frank J. Clark

Past President's Night, May 2008

Buffalo Launch Club

 

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Erie County District Attorney

Clark received his undergraduate degree from Niagara University in 1964. He graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School in 1967, and then served in the United States Marine Corps from 1968 to 1971. He is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam conflict. Admitted to practice law in New York in 1972, Clark is currently serving his third and final term as Erie County district attorney, having been first elected in 1997 and re-elected in 2000.

The District Attorney is Erie County's chief prosecutor, responsible for investigating crime, presenting evidence to the Grand Jury, and implementing the just prosecution of persons indicted for criminal offenses. The District Attorney tries felonies in Erie County and New York Sate Supreme Courts, as well as misdemeanors and non-criminal offenses in the city, town and village courts of Erie County.



Mark J. F. Schroeder

St. Patrick's Night, 2008

The Blackthorn

 

Member Photo

New York State Assemblyman

     During his first term in the Assembly, Schroeder stood up for middle class families, held an informational health fair for seniors, made efforts to protect the Erie County’s veteran’s office from budget cuts and consolidations, and pushed legislation that protects children from sexual predators.

     He is currently spearheading two major economic development projects which are dramatically improving conditions in his district. The Buffalo River Project includes the construction of two riverfront parks – one in the historical Old First Ward neighborhood at the mouth of the Buffalo River, and the other upstream in a wooded area in West Seneca. The Seneca Street Redevelopment Project focuses on making physical upgrades to the streetscape on one of his district’s major commercial district.


Kevin Gaughan

Past President's Night, June 2007

Westwood Country Club

 

 

Civic Leader and Author

Kevin Gaughan is the author of the Canisius College Press published At First Light: Strengthening Buffalo Niagara in the New Century. At First Light is a collection of essays addressing community renewal and government reform.

      Gaughan is a graduate of Harvard University and Georgetown University Law School, and studied international relations at The London School of Economics. In 1998, he was named a Citizen of the Year by The Buffalo News, and he is the youngest recipient of the Red Jacket Medal, presented by the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society for civic leadership.

 

Brian Higgins

St. Patrick's Night, March 2006

The Blackthorn

 

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Member of the U.S. House Representatives from New York's 27th Congressional district

     A native of Buffalo, Higgins served three two-year terms as the South District Councilman on the Buffalo Common Council (city council) from 1988 to 1994. In 1993, during his final year on the Council, Brian was rated “Buffalo’s Best Lawmaker” in a 1993 Buffalo News Survey of Western New York business and community leaders. After that, Brian served on the 145th Assemblyman in the New York Assembly from 1999 to 2004.

 

 

Satish Mohan

Past President's Night May 2005

Transit Valley Country Club

 

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Supervisor of the Town of Amherst, NY

     Dr. Satish Mohan is the present Supervisor of the Town of Amherst, New York and professor at the University of Buffalo. He describes himself as the following:

      "I am a US citizen of Indian origin and I have lived in the US for the past 31 years. During the last 19 years, my wife and I have enjoyed raising our children in the Sweet Home and Williamsville schools and are proud of their continued education at the University of Buffalo.

    Since 1986, I have been a professor of civil engineering at UB, in the areas of construction management and transportation engineering. I have successfully managed several home construction projects in NY, CT and PA, and owned a small business."

 

Larry Quinn

St. Patrick's Night, March 2005

Pearl St. Grill & Brewery

 

Managing Partner, Buffalo Sabres      

     Lawrence Quinn is the Managing Partner of the Buffalo Sabres National Hockey Leauge club. Larry oversees the direction of the franchise and is responsible for day-to-day operations as well as team owner Tom  Golisano’s representative in Buffalo.

     Mr. Quinn serves as an alternate governor on the NHL’s Board of Governors. In addition to his duties with the Sabres, Quinn is also the Vice Chairman  of the Board of Directors of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.

 

Jack Quinn

Political NIght, October 2002

Buffalo Yacht Club

 

     

 

Member of the U.S. House Representatives from New York's 30th and 27th Congressional district

     Quinn was born in Buffalo, New York and is a graduate of Siena College. He began his career  as an english teacher in the Orchard Central School District before entering politics. He served on the Hamburg, New York Town Council from 1982 to 1984 and was elected Hamburg town supervisor, an office he held until 1993.

     After the retirement of Congressman Henry Nowak, Quinn was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1992 representing most of Buffalo and suburban Erie County. He defeated Democratic County Executive Dennis Gorsk in a surprising upset. He was reelected five times, by surprisingly large margins for such a heavily Democratic district.

 

 

William R. Greiner

Past Presidents Night, October 2000

Jacobs Excutive Development Center (The Butler Mansion)

 

 

13th President of the University of Buffalo   

        President Greiner joined the UB law faculty in 1967 and shortly thereafter became chairman of the Legal Studies Programs. By 1984, he was named UB's first University Provost. He served as interim president from March 1991 until his appointment as president by the Chancellor and Board of Trustees on September 25, 1991.

      Greiner's accomplishments as president included creating numerous trans-disciplinary research centers and institutes; reaffirming the University's commitment to public service; streamlining student services and record enrollments; increasing exchange and study abroad programs; conducting a record-breaking capital campaign; constructing a series of student residential centers and other major construction projects; creating of Task Forces on Women and on Racial and Ethnic Diversity; and moving the UB football team to Division 1-A.

Mark Romoff

Political Night, November 1999

The Eagel House

 

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     Consul General, Canadian Consulate, Buffalo

    Mark Romoff is a career foreign service professional with a strong track record for advancing the competitive interests and opportunities for Canadian companies internationally. Over the course of his foreign service career, Mr. Romoff served as Commercial Counsellor in Nigeria, Mexico and Malaysia. From 1992 to 1996, he was Minister-Counsellor in the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo with responsibility for Canada’s trade, investment and science and technology relationship with Japan. In 1996, he became Consul General in Buffalo, New York, where he helped establish and implement the basic policies governing cross-border relations between U.S. and Canada.

    The Consulate General has the role of representing Canada and of projecting Canadian interests in one of the busiest international crossings in the world. Roughly 30% of total Canada-US trade crosses at Niagara, as do many new immigrants and millions of annual tourists, sophisticated communications networks and 6,365 cubic metres of fresh water every second.

James T. Molloy

 St. Patrick's Night, March 1999

The Blackthorn


Doorkeeper of the US House of Representatives 

     James T. "Jimmy"  Molloy was elected doorkeeper of the House of Representatives for the 94th Congress in 1975, a position he held with distinction until the 104th Congress in 1995. As doorkeeper, he introduced six different Presidents, several heads of state and other dignitaries in joint sessions and other congressional events.

     In fact, Mr. Molloy is the last doorkeeper of the House of Representatives, and H.R. 3339 would honor his esteemed service by naming the U.S. Post Office on South Park Avenue in Buffalo, NY the James T. Molloy Post Office Building. It is the only Buffalo postal branch named for an individual.

 

James Keane

St. Patrick's Night, March 13, 2007

The Blackthorn

 

      The Democratic Party's candidate for Erie County Executive in 2007, Jim Keane began his career as a member of the Buffalo Fire Department. He entered politics and was elected to the City of Buffalo Common Council in 1977. Jim served in city government for ten years and moved to county government as the Erie County Commissioner of Emergency Services. He was promoted to Deputy County Executive by Dennis Gorski and directed county operations for five years.

      Before announcing his candidature for Erie County Executive, Jim was the Western New York director of U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton's office and he advised her on economic and regional issues.


Hon. Nelson Cosgrove

St. Patrick's Night, March 2006

The Blackthorn

New York State Supreme Court Justice     

      Nelson Cosgrove served a 14-year term (1991- 2004) as New York State Supreme Court Justice for the 8th Judicial District, Erie County. During his tenure, Judge Cosgrove presided over trial terms throughout the western New York area and New York City. His experience includes felony criminal trials, medical malpractice, labor law and product liability cases.


Dennis Gorski

Political Night, October 1995

The Eagle House

 

Erie County Executive

          Dennis Gorski served as County Executive of Erie County, New York from 1988 through 1995. Gorski, a Democrat, was an Erie County Legislator and a member of the New York State Assembly prior to his election as county executive. Mr. Gorski is presently the senior vice president of HealthNow New York Inc., a diversified health benefits and information company headquartered in Buffalo, NY.

 

Hon. Kevin M. Dillon

St. Patrick's Night

Buffalo Irish Center

 

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New York State Supreme Court Justice     

Judge Dillion is pesently a Justice for the New York Supreme Court, 8th Judicial District, Erie County. He has held that post since 1997. Judge Dillion recieved a J.D. from the  State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law.

 

Robert "Bob" Davis

Political Night 2000

Sonoma Grille

 

Erie County Republican Chairman

New York State Republican Party First Vice Chairman

"For the first 13 years of his professional life, Bob Davis was known as GOP political insider, working on the upper echelon staffs for the New York State Senate and Erie County Legislature. He was also former State Sen. Walter J. Floss Jr.’s chief of staff – running his offices in Albany, Clarence and Batavia and Erie County Executive Edward Rutkowski’s chief of staff and director of government affairs.

Davis, for a decade, was the Town of Tonawanda Republican Party chairman and, then for another 10 years, Erie County Republican Party chairman. Those connections helped Davis meet four presidents – Ford, Reagan and George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush." -- Buffalo Business First

 

William "Wild Bill" Donovan

 

Founder, US Office of Strategic Services

"Father of the Central Intelligence Agency"

William Joseph Donovan was born in Buffalo's First Ward in 1883.  He attended St. Joseph's Academy and Niagara University, and received a JD from Columbia University School of Law. He served in World War I and World War II where he was named Colonel of the "Fighting 69th" Infantry Regiment.

President Warren G. Harding named Donovan US Attorney for the Western District of New York in 1922.  In 1924 he oversaw the infamous liquor raid of the Saturn Club.  He was named Assistant Attorney General by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925.

In 1941, Donovan convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the need for an independent federal agency dedicated to the gathering and analysis of secret information.  Roosevelt agreed and the Office of Coordinator of Information (C.O.I.), later renamed the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) was formed.  In 1947 the office became the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.).   

Donovan is the only person to have received all four of the United States' highest awards: The Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Security Medal.  He is also a recipient of the Silver Star and Purple Heart, as well as decorations from a number of other nations for his service during both World Wars. 

Donovan died at age 76 on February 8, 1959.  He is buried in Section 2 of Arlington National Cemetery.


 

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