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William R. Casseday of Grand Island was named the 1997 winner of the John K. Mladinov Award for outstanding service to the state Department of Transportation.

A 50-year employee of the department, Casseday is the state's senior regional construction engineer. He has been involved in the construction of all the major expressways in the Buffalo area, and he also was the department's liaison to the State Thruway Authority during construction of the superhighway.

The award is in memory of John K. Mladinov, who was adviser to four governors and six transportation commissioners during his 32 years with the DOT.

Among Casseday's many initiatives was the concept of the lump-sum bridge contract, which streamlines the contract process. In 1974, he was named this region's first DOT Engineer of the Year.

Casseday and his family were present during the ceremony in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo's grand ballroom.

Kenneth A. Gubala, a veteran college educator and administrator, has been named director of admissions at Trocaire College.

He was formerly vice president for planning, research and development at Erie Community Community College and vice president of the South Campus of ECC. He was at ECC for 25 years and also worked at Canisius College.

At Trocaire, he will be responsible for the recruitment of students and will assist individual students in choosing the program best suited to their talents.

Gubala, of Getzville, holds bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Buffalo State College.

Deputy Dennis Daniels, an 11-year veteran of the Erie County Sheriff's Department, received the Bill VanOstberg Memorial Award at recent ceremonies in Batavia.

The award is named for the corrections teacher who taught inmates for 20 years at Attica State Correctional Facility.

VanOstberg, who died three years ago in a car accident, "best exemplified true character not only inside the walls of Attica, but outside as well," said William Haggett, assistant vice president of the New York Corrections and Youth Services Association, which presented the award to Daniels, 49, of Lancaster.

Daniels, a Vietnam veteran, was nominated for the award by Lt. Jeffery Hartman of the Erie County Holding Center, who cited Daniels' exemplary record within the department as well as his involvement with youth in his community.

Daniels is a 20-year member of the Buffalo Youth and Young Choral Society and a volunteer off-duty counselor to troubled youth.

Roger L. Puchalski, managing editor of the Am-Pol Eagle newspaper, has been elected to a two-year term as chairman of the board of directors of the Neighborhood Information Center, 1170 Broadway, a not-for-profit community organization serving the needs of the people in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

Other officers include the vice chairman, Thadee Nyczko; treasurer, Douglas Everts; recording secretary, Henry Gabryszak; and corresponding secretary, Terry Wojteczek. Stanley Wrobel continues to serve as executive director.

For the third consecutive year, a fund-raising team headed by Robert M. Zak has been awarded the McFarland Cup by the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.

Zak, chief executive officer of Merchants Mutual Group, headed the 1997 Financial Services Team, which again raised the most new dollars for the United Way.

Workers on his team were Peter B. Babiarz, senior vice president of Marine Midland Bank; Robert J. McKeever, vice president of S.H. Gow; Patricia A. Rhys, senior accountant with Price Waterhouse; Owen W. Sullivan, vice president of Cigna Retirement and Investments; and Stephen Skinner, account executive with Dean Witter.

The award is named in honor of William McFarland, past United Way president.

Marianne K. Sullivan, part-time director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership of the University at Buffalo School of Management, has been named executive director of the center, which helps local entrepreneurs improve their prospects for business growth.

She has a bachelor's degree from Daemen College and a master's degree from the University at Buffalo.

Roxane M. Huyler, a graduate of Buffalo State College, has been appointed vice president of human resources by the Blind Association of Western New York.

Ms. Huyler, who previously was human resources specialist for International Imaging Materials, has 14 years of experience in the human resources field. She is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management.

The Italian-American Leadership Council of Western New York has bestowed its highest honor on First Deputy Police Commissioner Rocco J. Diina.

Members presented Diina the Anthony M. Castiglia Achievement Award" recently during their annual St. Joseph's Day Table gathering.

Diina was selected for his dedication to law enforcement and assistance to city children through his leadership in the Police Athletic League, council officials said.

Susan M. Mager of Blasdell, medical assistant and office manager employed by Dr. Leon Ber, a Sloan podiatrist, will be honored April 27 by Business and Professional Women of Buffalo as "Woman of the Year."

The presentation will be made in Curley's Restaurant, 647 Ridge Road, Lackawanna.

Ms. Mager became active with Business and Professional Women 14 years ago and recently served as president of the Buffalo unit. She is assistant director of the organization's New York State District VIII.

An advocate for self-sufficiency of working women, she initiated the formation of the organization's Investment Club and was a co-founder of the Bishop McMahon Alumnae Association.

Holly Petrik, a graduate of Mount Mercy Academy and the University at Buffalo, is the recipient of the Advocates Society Scholarship, sponsored by the Knights of Dabrowski, a Polish fraternal organization.

A third-year law student at John Marshall Law School in Chicago, she is using the award for tuition for her legal education. She was the only law school student among the 25 honorees at the recent 12th annual Crusade for Education awards ceremony.

Before enrolling in law school, Ms. Petrik, the daughter of Michael Petrik and Theresa Petrik, both of Buffalo, worked for M&T Bank in Buffalo as a mortgage processor and later as an attorney liaison.

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