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On the Record / Feb. 1, 2011

>Hires/Promotions/Honors

Independent Health, an Amherst-based health plan provider, promoted John O'Keefe to director of solution delivery, managing the information-technology solution-delivery team. He joined the company in 2009 as a development manager.

The company also promoted Barb Piotrowski to director of membership operations. She joined the company in 2008 as manager of enrollment and has served as manager of account services. She is a University at Buffalo graduate and received a master's degree from Daemen College.

The company appointed Eric Decker director of technology implementation. Decker, previously vice president of IT application services at Meritain Health, received bachelor's and master's degrees from UB.

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Michael D. LaMancuso, director in the Buffalo office of the McLean Group, a middle-market investment bank, and also of the Vineyard Group, a consulting firm, successfully completed the certification process with the Middle Market Investment Banking Association and its affiliate, the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts, to earn the Chartered Merger and Acquisition Professional designation.

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Network Task Group, a telecommunication company in Buffalo, named Matt Graue senior technician and Randy Sander senior technician/system designer and trainer. Graue has more than 32 years in the telecommunication industry. Sander has more than 25 years in the telecommunication industry and worked for 12 years at NEC America.

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Kim Pralow, manager of the MacDonalds Restaurant at 1154 Union Road in Cheektowaga was recognized with The Ray Kroc Award from McDonald's Corporation. The award, named after the company's founder, honors the top 1 percent of McDonald's U.S. restaurant managers for superior performance and achievement. Pralow received a $2,500 cash prize, trophy and pin, and an invitation for an awards gala in Chicago next month.

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>Company items

Smart Technology Strategies, an Amherst-based company, was recently formed by Susan Mund. Mund has more than 25 years of expertise working with for- and not-for-profit businesses. The company creates technology plans to give a business a road map to acquire and use the technology resources. It also can provide targeted training and process improvement.

The Clinical Laboratory at WCA Hospital, Jamestown, was awarded the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission and was granted reaccreditation by the American Association of Blood Banks. The association also recognized exceptional practices at the WCA Blood Bank, whose method has been submitted to be reviewed for entry into its Commendable Practices Library. In addition, the WCA Hospital School of Medical Technology received a seven-year reaccreditation, the highest achievable certification from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences for being in compliance with the Standards of Accredited Education Program for the Medical Laboratory Scientist.

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>Patents

Title: "Game field dressing safety tool"

No.: 7,874,235

Inventor: Dittly, Bruce W. (North Tonawanda)

Date issued: Jan. 25, 2011

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