Message from the President | October 2019

President/CEO A.J. Baynes
President/CEO A.J. Baynes

Have you noticed the change in our community?

Heavier traffic commute, more construction cranes in the air, more places to live and shop, new hospitals, new hotels, new restaurants and the list goes on and on.

That is the Buffalo renaissance. It’s real and it’s what we are celebrating at The Event this year.

Each of our award winners has contributed to the growth and quality of life in our community, and we are proud to take this opportunity to honor their success and #LetItShine!

Our Business of the Year has long legacy of bringing light to many of the major projects in the Buffalo region. Frey Electric Construction Company has been around since 1945 and is still going strong today on enterprises such as the Northland Workforce Training Center and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. It is currently working on the ECMC state-of-the-art Trauma Center/ER expansion and the upgrades at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Because of the tremendous improvements at ECMC, we have chosen the hospital for our Commitment to Excellence award. Its Trauma and ER Capital Campaign is building the only Level 1 facility in Western New York to better serve the growing demand of today and tomorrow. This project and ECMC’s many other services are offering our community a healthier future.

Nothing has been a more vivid representation of the Buffalo renaissance than the project spearheaded by our awardees for Community Revitalization. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Buffalo Councilman Joel Feroleto teamed up to bring us the beautiful Murals on Hertel. Dozens of these vibrant works of public art are not only enriching our neighborhoods but boosting tourism in Buffalo.

Much of our success hinges on having accessible, clean energy sources and this year’s Woman of Distinction has spent her career enhancing this sector of our community. Donna DeCarolis, President of National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation has climbed the corporate ladder through the years thanks to her hard work on improving access, quality and storage of natural gas, a vital resource in the growth of our region.

Buffalo’s restaurant scene has always been one of our best assets and this year, our honorees for the Hospitality award are behind several longtime favorites. Henry Gorino and Chuck Mauro of LocalBoys Restaurant Group are the founders of Siena, 800 Maple, Rocco’s and newcomer JT’s. They have been in the restaurant business for more than 30 years and have clearly mastered the art of good food and great service!

A familiar name to the Chamber and the community is being recognized with our Stewardship award.  West Herr Automotive Group is embedded in the local car industry, but even more importantly, the company and its CEO Scott Bieler are community-first focused, contributing to so many causes including its most prominent, the Scott Bieler Clinical Sciences Center at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

We are expecting another record crowd for The Event this year with a few new surprises. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to celebrate the Buffalo renaissance with those leading the way. Tickets and sponsorships are available here.

We are a week away from the Erie County Executive debate with WIVB-TV. The Chamber is the sole sponsor of the matchup between incumbent Mark Poloncarz and challenger Lynne Dixon. As part of our sponsorship, I will be contributing to the analysis on both the pre-and post-debate shows. The coverage starts at 6:30pm on Wednesday, October 9th on Channel 4. Be an informed voter and tune in!

The Chamber is in the heart of the village for Lunch Mob this month. Network with members and enjoy the fare at Share Kitchen and Bar Room on Tuesday, October 8th. Register here. We are also looking forward to seeing the Water/Ways Smithsonian exhibit at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village on Thursday, October 10th. Don’t miss this unique experience. Register here.

It’s a big month for us. We look forward to highlighting some of the successes in the local business community. Join in the celebration, and remember my door is always open.