Niagara University's College of Business Administration presented awards to six area business leaders, alumni and students during its 22nd annual Business Appreciation and Accounting Banquet, held Tuesday night at the Conference Center Niagara Falls.
More than 260 people attended the event, which was emceed by WGRZ-TV anchor and 1986 NU graduate Maryalice Demler.
"One of the things I'm so proud of (as an alumna) is that level excellence that Niagara stands for, that level of excellence that we are celebrating tonight," Demler said in her opening remarks.
The Basil Family of Dealerships took home the award for 2012 Family Business of the Year. Since being founded by Joseph Basil Sr. in 1967, Basil's six sons have become the owner of eight separate auto dealerships. The Basil family is now credited with selling 18,000 cars annually and employing more than 500 workers.
Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner LLP, an accounting firm that features the surnames of three Niagara alumni in its title (Charles Chiampou, '76, Robert Travis, '77, and Kelly Besaw, '83), was recognized as this year's Distinguished Accounting Firm. (Eugene Kershner earned his undergraduate degree from Elmira College.) Since it launched in 1994, the Amherst-based firm has grown to include a management team of 11 partners and six principals who oversee more than 90 associates.
The recipient of this year's Corporate Leadership Award was Donald T. Denz, '80, CEO of Tara Cares. Tara Cares is a patient-care centric organization that provides support services to numerous nursing, senior-living and assisted-living centers. The multi-facility enterprise consists of 35 homes in seven midwestern and southern states; three wholly owned pharmacies; a therapy company offering state-of-the-art physical, occupational and speech therapies; a distributor of medical equipment and supplies; a company providing administrative support services to nursing homes; and a cutting-edge software and bedside kiosk monitoring system to capture and document resident care needs and delivery.
Len Crispino, recognized as the 2012 Canadian Business Leader of the Year, retired in January after spending nearly a decade leading the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. Drawing upon experience gained in positions with the Ontario government and in private business, and as a small-business owner himself, Crispino was able to develop and enhance business opportunities for the chamber's members through new and improved programming. He spearheaded the expansion of the chamber's research and advocacy capability; achieved an ISO 9001 designation; and founded the Ontario Economic Summit, an event that brings together leaders from business, labor, government, academia, and the nonprofit sector.
The Outstanding MBA Student for 2012 wasMythily Sasiharan, who works as a senior financial analyst for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters while studying for an MBA. A graduate of Ryerson Polytechnic University (Toronto), she has previously been employed by Levi Strauss & Co. and Celestica Inc. In her role at Green Mountain, Sasiharan is responsible for developing, reviewing and reporting on all financial models for site operation, working with management to find ways to reduce unit costs and participating in weekly plant performance reviews.
Finally, David Lemieux-Sarrasin, set to graduate this May with a bachelor's degree in finance and a minor in economics, earned the award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student. Lemieux-Sarrasin has achieved a 4.20 grade-point average and made the dean's list six times while at Niagara. For his academic achievements, last week he was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society serving business programs accredited by AACSB International. He is also a member of the university's Academic Integrity Board and participates in the Federal Reserve Challenge. For the past five summers, Lemieux-Sarrasin has coached hundreds of youngsters at tennis camps and clinics.
Dr. Shawn Daly, who took over as dean of NU's College of Business Administration two weeks ago, concluded the evening by thanking interim dean Tenpao Lee, Ph.D., for his efforts in advancing the college's initiatives since Dr. Mark Wilson retired last summer.
Platinum sponsors of this year's banquet were Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner LLP and Computer Task Group. Gold sponsors were Citi, Gaines Kriner Elliott LLP, M&T Insurance Agency, Mark IV Industries and Mount St. Mary's Hospital.
For more information on Niagara University's business programs, visit http://www.niagara.edu/business.