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Business people / Hires, Promotions & Honors

Empire-EMCO, an Amherst package development and service component production provider, promoted Gary M. Burns to president. Most recently executive vice president, Burns has been with the company for 19 years. He succeeds Joel N. Lippman who was elected to chief executive officer.

The board of directors of the Western New York Alarm Association named John Sperrazza president for 2006. Sperrazza is with Advanced Alarm. Other officers: Vice president, Bradley Brownell, Maximum Security Services; secretary, Thomas Powers, Buffalo Alarm; treasurer, William Marusza, Armored Access; sergeant at arms, Robin Pegg, Sonitrol Security Systems of Buffalo and past president, Timothy Creenan, Amherst Alarm.


Sefar Filtration, a Depew-headquartered filtration products provider, named Diwakar Mokadam sales manager and Frank Edwards marketing manager. Mokadam previously served as vice president of business development at SAMCO Technologies in Tonawanda. A Niagara University graduate, Edwards previously held sales and marketing positions at Rich Products and Leica Microsystems.

Jim Culligan Pontiac-GMC-Volvo at Auto Place, Jim Culligan Inc., promoted Steve King to Pontiac and GMC sales manager. With the automobile dealership since 1997, King most recently served as business manager.

The Machine Shops Association of Western New York named Matthew D. Georger president. Georger is with Stanley Steel. Other officers: Vice president, Michael Denz, Bryant Manufacturing; secretary, Matthew Gehman, Metal Locking Service; treasurer, Thomas Price, Metal Locking Service; directors: Kip Laviolette, Bryant Manufacturing, and David Higgins, American Stainless Steel.


First Niagara named Robert W. Romeo vice president and Western New York senior relationship manager at the bank's Wealth Management Group. Most recently with the Private Bank at Bank of America, Romeo has more than 18 years of financial planning and wealth management experience. He is a certified financial planner and graduate of the University at Buffalo. The bank also named Sophia Stark vice president and branch manager at its new location, 410 Kenmore Ave. Stark, previously was with HSBC, has more than 16 years of banking experience. She is also a UB graduate.

The board of directors of Financial Institutions, the parent company of Five Star Bank, elected Erland E. Kailbourne chairman. Kailbourne is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Fleet National Bank.

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