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Lawley Insurance principal named vice chair
By Niagara University
Larry A. Montani, a former chemical manufacturing executive, has been named chair of the Niagara University board of trustees. Christopher D. Ross, principal at Lawley Insurance, has been named vice chair. The appointments were announced by the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of the university.
“Both Larry and Chris have been steadfast advocates for the university in their roles on the board of trustees and in the larger community,” Maher said. “Their exceptional business expertise and commitment to our mission are invaluable resources as Niagara University continues to distinguish itself regionally, nationally and internationally, and prepares students to be mission-driven leaders in their communities and around the world.”
Montani was co-managing director of Niacet Corp. until his retirement in 2017. During his tenure, the Niagara Falls-based chemical company not only achieved commercial success, but also maintained its principles to enable all employees to share in the growth and prosperity of the business, to be a good corporate citizen, and to contribute to the well-being of the community.
Montani also serves or has served in advisory roles for local education, human services and manufacturing entities, including Catholic Charities of Western New York, Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center, Stella Niagara Education Park, the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, Nichols School, Heart Love & Soul food pantry, and the Greater Niagara Manufacturers Association. He and his wife, Mary, established the Mary B. and Larry A. Montani Family Endowment Fund to support Catholic education in Niagara Falls and the Montani Family Charitable Foundation.
In addition to his service on the university’s board of trustees, where he is chair of the institutional advancement committee and a member of the executive, facilities and planning, and trusteeship committees, Montani has been a member and chair of NU’s board of advisers, a member of the cabinet for “The Promise of Niagara … The next 150 years” capital campaign, and an adviser to NU’s College of Business.
Montani has a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Merrimack College and an MBA from the University at Buffalo. He and Mary have five children and seven grandchildren.
Ross, a member of the Niagara University Class of 1982, joined Lawley in 1986. He was named executive vice president in 1996 and principal in January 2000. Ross was instrumental in leading the growth of Lawley, which has consistently been recognized among the Top 100 brokers in the U.S. He spearheaded the expansion of the firm into the states of New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as the New York City region. Ross began his career as an accountant with “Big Six” accounting firms in Buffalo and New York City.
A member of Niagara University’s board of trustees since 2020, Ross serves on its enrollment and marketing and institutional advancement committees. He has also been a member of several other university committees, including the campaign leadership committee, the institutional advancement committee, and the Buffalo Niagara University Council. In the community, he is treasurer of the board of directors for Kaleida Health and a member of the board of Mercy Flight of Western New York. He has been recognized by Buffalo Business First on its “Power 250” list of the men and women who aim to make changes and improvements in the eight-county Buffalo region, and on its list of “40 Under Forty” young professionals.
Ross holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Niagara. He and his wife, Mary, also a member of the NU Class of 1982, have six children and three grandchildren.