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Local attorney Joseph F. Saeli Jr. spoke about of-counsel relationships at the recent New York State Bar Association’s annual meeting in New York City. Saeli spoke during a session called “Transition Planning for You and Your Law Firm.” With an office in Amherst, Saeli’s practice focuses on assisting business owners and professionals, along with employment law.

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The New York State chapter of Phi Beta Lambda at Hilbert College held its annual competition in which several students took home first place in four different categories. The following Hilbert College students were cited for their performance at the competition:

John Babocsi, marketing analysis and decision making; Adam Haker, management analysis and decision making; David Haseley, human resource management; Nina Pierino, project management; and Sarah Zablonski, accounting analysis and decision making.

Phi Beta Lambda’s mission is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs.

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Three University at Buffalo faculty members have been appointed State University of New York Distinguished Professors, the highest faculty rank in the SUNY system, by the board of trustees.

They are: Francis M. Gasparini, professor in the Department of Physics, College of Arts and Sciences; L. Nelson Hopkins, professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; and David A. Kofke, professor and chairman of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

A fellow of the American Physical Society, Gasparini is an international leader in the field of low-temperature physics. He is known for his pioneering studies of phase transitions of liquid helium in confined systems – contributions regarded as the “gold standard” in the field. A member of the UB physics faculty for nearly four decades, he served for 14 years as the director of graduate studies, associate chairman and chairman of the physics department.

Hopkins, a physician scientist in the field of vascular neurosurgery and management of stroke and stenting of vascular lesions, is director and founding member of the Toshiba Stroke Research Center, a facility that brings together physicists, chemists, aerospace engineers, neurosurgeons, cardiologists and radiologists to study neurovascular circulation and develop innovative technologies and approaches for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of neurovascular diseases. He serves as executive officer of the Jacobs Institute in UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center, offering medical collaboration and innovation through partnerships between UB, Kaleida Health, community physicians and industry.

Kofke, who is internationally recognized in the field of molecular simulation, invented the Gibbs-Duhem integration technique that is now pervasive in the field and in molecular simulation textbooks. He continues to develop methods of calculating virial coefficients and cluster integrals that previously could not be computed. He is one of only five recipients of the John M. Prausnitz Award for Outstanding Achievement in Applied Chemical Thermodynamics.

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Kevin Wright has received the first annual Hamburg Sunshine Rotary Veterans Scholarship Award. The $500 scholarship was presented by Michael Reilly, president of the Rotary and Hilbert adjunct professor, during their annual Veterans Recognition Dinner.

Wright, a veteran of the Iraqi War, is currently working on his master’s in public administration at Hilbert. Besides his graduate studies, he has been working on a project to create an administrative and recruitment position for the Veterans Center at the college.

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The Community Charter School board of trustees elected five new members to three-year terms on the board. All the appointments have been approved by the state Education Department.

Daniel S. Ricigliano, a three-term veteran of the board, was elected president and second-term member Michael J. Littman was elected vice president.

Ricigliano, a certified public accountant, is an assistant professor at Buffalo State College and formerly served as treasurer of the board.

Littman, an associate professor and associate chairman of business at Buffalo State College, served as vice president and president for the Williamsville Board of Education.

New appointments include: Tasha S. Miller, the board’s parent representative, serves as the secretary of the board and teaches in a first-grade special education classroom at Union East Elementary School in the Cheektowaga School District; Justin Reid, certified public accountant and principal in the Bonadio Group, serves as treasurer of the board; Anthony Jones, a photojournalist and morning show editor at WKBW-TV; Rebecca Vincheski, chief operating officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo; and Sara DeLena, a consultant for technology firms.

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Cattaraugus County Sheriff Tim Whitcomb was elected secretary of the New York State Sheriffs Association at its 79th annual Winter Training Conference, which was held last month. New York State Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy swore him in.

Whitcomb is currently serving his 20th year in law enforcement. He is an adjunct professor for both St. Bonaventure University and Jamestown Community College. He serves on the board of directors for both Leadership Cattaraugus and Center for Family Unity.

The New York State Sheriffs Association is a not-for-profit corporation, formed in 1934, for the purpose of assisting sheriffs in the efficient and effective delivery of services to the public. It comprises all of the elected and appointed sheriffs of New York State.

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Junior Achievement of Western New York has formed an associates committee, made up of young professionals. The committee will support and expand the organization’s classroom volunteer and fundraising activities, while providing expertise in members’ area of professional employment.

Members are: Kristin Koch, audit senior manager, KPMG; Joe Lepsch, senior editor, Guerrilla Video Solutions; Caroline Organ, director of human resources, Brock, Schechter & Polakoff; Shannon Patch, director of special projects in the office of State Sen. Timothy Kennedy; Sara Schumacher, senior director, BN Partnership; Sue Swiatkowski, marketing director, Niagara Falls Conference and Events Center; and Chris Urban, financial adviser, AXA Advisors.

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The Brighton Fire District board of commissioners named William Vandermeer chairman for 2013 at a recent organizational meeting.

Steven Dabney has been elected to a five-year term on the board. Other board members are: Robert Wockasen, Louis Arnow, and Walter Byers.

Officers appointed by the board are: district secretary, William McCullagh, and district treasurer, David Poczkalski. Recent appointments are: chief, Christopher Tracey; first assistant chief, Shawn Tracey; and second assistant chief, Joseph Langenfeld.

Robert Sanford was re-elected president and David Joseph, vice president.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com