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Amherst businessman Mark E. Hamister has been named to the Empire State Development board of directors, becoming the only upstate representative on the state economic development agency's advisory panel.

Hamister's appointment to the seven-member Empire State Development board, which was made by Gov. George Pataki and confirmed by the state Senate, will run through 2009.

Hamister, a former chairman of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership who also serves on the boards of several other business, charitable and education groups in the region, said he hopes to bring an upstate perspective to the agency's board.

"Certainly, it's important that Empire State Development Chairman (Charles) Gargano have a direct pipeline to what the business community is saying about their needs," said Hamister, who personally has donated more than $13,000 to Republican candidates and organizations since 2000.

"When Western New York issues come up for dialogue, I hope to share a proper perspective of Western New York's needs," he said.

"I think it's important that the state and local governments and the state and the business community partner together," Hamister said. "Empire State Development is the clear leader in providing tools for businesses."

Hamister is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Hamister Group, which owns hotels, adult care facilities and a real estate development business. He also is a member of the Independent Health Association board and the University at Buffalo Foundation board, as well as the Buffalo State College president's advisory council.


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