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Community leaders honored at Niagara University's 27th annual Business Banquet

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Fri, Apr 21st 2017 05:00 pm
Rocco A. Surace, a partner with The Bonadio Group, is presented with the award for Distinguished Accounting Alumnus by the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University, and Dr. Tenpao Lee, interim dean of NU's College of Business Administration.
Rocco A. Surace, a partner with The Bonadio Group, is presented with the award for Distinguished Accounting Alumnus by the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University, and Dr. Tenpao Lee, interim dean of NU's College of Business Administration.

Niagara University's College of Business Administration recognized five area business leaders during its 27th annual Business Appreciation and Accounting Banquet, held April 20 at The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls.

The AACSB-accredited college honored Ingram Micro (Corporate Leadership Award); Kraftwerks Inc. (Family Business of the Year); Rocco A. Surace, Class of 1977 (Distinguished Accounting Alumnus); William L. McHugh, '73 (Dean's Award); and Robert H. Lane (Canadian Businessman of the Year).

More than 200 people attended the awards banquet.

Ingram Micro received the Corporate Leadership Award for its ability to help employees and customers define and push the boundaries of what's possible. Established in 1979 as Micro D, Ingram Micro's sales now exceed $43 billion. It is the world's largest wholesaler of technology products and services, and ranks 64th on the Fortune 500. It operates in 52 countries on six continents, and employs approximately 30,000 associates, including 1,600 in Western New York. The company's local campus has been selected several times as one of the "Best Places to Work" by Buffalo Business First. Ingram Micro achieves its goals by enhancing the success of its business partners, while staying true to its values of innovation, accountability, integrity, teamwork and respect, learning and social responsibility.

The Family Business of the Year Award went to Kraftwerks Inc., which was established in 1991 by William Kraft Sr. and his wife, Patricia. The company - which includes William and Patricia's sons, Bill Jr., Mike and Paul, and their daughter, Ann Marie (Ziske) - has become a leader in maximizing space and efficiency in the workplace. Over the past 26 years, Kraftwerks has evolved from a supplier to a one-stop source for Western New York's premier businesses, offering custom-designed and cost-efficient high-density automated storage and retrieval systems, laboratory casework and hoods, ergonomic workstations, and much more. The organization's commitment to diversity has earned it certification from the Women's Business Enterprise National Council and the Small Business Administration.

The 2017 Distinguished Accounting Alumnus was Rocco A. Surace, '77, who, for more than 32 years, worked at Gaines Kriner Elliott LLP. Under his direction as the former managing partner, the Buffalo-based firm received national awards for its Professional Services program and services involving Business Process Improvement. In 2013, Surace led the firm into a merger with The Bonadio Group. Today, as a partner in that firm's commercial division, he leads the Leveraged Excellence And Development services, and the Federal Services Practice Team. He also holds certifications in several specialty areas of accounting. Surace is actively involved in activities that promote professional development, and advocates for many community organizations, including The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Central & Western New York, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Niagara University.

William L. McHugh, '73, the 2017 Dean's Award recipient, is credited with the creation of Independent Health, which opened for business in February 1980. McHugh became its co-founder, executive vice president and member of its board of directors. During his 27-year career at Independent Health, he assembled a team that built the organization into a multibillion-dollar, nationally recognized managed health care company. In 2006, McHugh was named president and CEO of Amerigroup, a managed care firm in Tampa. Amerigroup, under McHugh's leadership, became a Fortune 500 company before being sold to WellPoint in 2012 for $4.46 billion. In 2014, McHugh accepted the position of CEO of Heritage Centers, a local nonprofit agency that serves thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Robert H. Lane was named Canadian Businessman of the Year in recognition of an outstanding career in C-level management positions with world-class companies such as GE, NORTEL, Commodore Computers and Acklands. Lane successfully introduced the Commodore 64 and Vic 20 as leading home computers; grew the NEDCO Canada operations and orchestrated its sale to United Westburne; and salvaged the operations of the Ontario Flower Growers from bank oversight to a highly profitable and successful floral supplier. In 1984, Lane parlayed his expertise into creating Robert H. Lane and Associates Inc., a business advisory organization headquartered in Toronto. As managing partner, Lane helps business leaders develop creative solutions to their problems with a hands-on approach that keeps him involved with a project from start to finish.

Corporate sponsors of this year's banquet were Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner LLP, Citi, Delaware North, Dopkins & Company LLP, Ingram Micro, Kraftwerks, Lumdsen & McCormick LLP, Niagara University's Family Business Center, Rosenbaum & Ibe LLP, and The Bonadio Group.

For more information on Niagara University's business programs, visit www.niagara.edu/business.

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