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Business People / Hires, promotions and honors

Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner promoted Garret R. Alexin to partner. Garret, a CPA, worked with KPMG for 13 years. With the firm since June 2003, Garret holds an MBA from the University at Buffalo, and a bachelor's degree from Buffalo State College.

Daemen College appointed Margaret Phillips director of paralegal studies. Phillips previously taught first year law students at the University at Buffalo School of Law, practiced law at Connors & Vilardo, and served as an assistant court attorney at the Fourth Department Appellate Division in Rochester. A Barnard College graduate, she received her JD from UB School of Law.

The Buffalo law firm of Cohen & Lombardo named James J. Nash a partner. Nash obtained his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University and received his law degree from Suffolk University Law School. He joined the law firm in 2006. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Nash was a freelance photographer who worked for media organizations such as Sports Illustrated and the Reuters wire service.

The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls named Ryan Coate general manager of the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls and Old Falls Street, USA. Coate earned a master's from Medaille College, a bachelor's degree from Buffalo State College, and is a certified meeting professional. Also, the company named Heather Figler director of finance, Melissa Gearheart director of sales and marketing, Susan Swiatkowski director of marketing for both the Conference Center and Old Falls Street, Jason Murgia, director of events, Ted Coy director of operations, and Tom Acara and Linda Persico sales managers. Figler, former senior accountant for Sodexho Marriott Services, is a UB grad. Gearheart, a Buffalo State College grad, was senior catering sales manager at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. Swiatkowski, a Niagara University grad, was sales and marketing manager at the Hard Rock Cafe--Niagara Falls, USA. Murgia, a former Niagara County Legislator and owner of The Orchard Grill restaurant, graduated from the University of South Carolina--Costal. Coy is former division manager of facility services at the Colorado Springs World Arena and Ice Hall. Acara worked at the Hyatt and the Hilton in Buffalo and graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Persico, a certified meeting planner, worked at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, Hart Hotels and the Radisson Suites in Buffalo.

D'Youville College named Colleen Reddington Brennan director of government grants. Brennan was a grants administrator for Palmetto Health in Columbia, S.C. for five years and a contract manager at Supplemental Health Care in Buffalo. She is a graduate of Canisius College, and earned her master's degree from the University at Buffalo.

CORE Environmental appointed Peter Johnston senior vice president of engineering services. Johnston has a bachelor's degree from Clarkson University and holds his professional engineering license in both New York State and Pennsylvania.

Independent Health promoted Sean Rahill to director, marketing and Bob Vaccarella to creative director. Rahill joined the company in 2004. He earned his bachelor's degree from St. Bonaventure University. Vaccarella is a Rochester Institute of Technology graduate who joined the company in 2007.

Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation appointed Amber M. Holycross project manager onthe commercial real estate services team at its Williamsville headquarters. Holycross was most recently a project manager for HHL Architects. She graduated from Northeastern University.

WNY Asset Management appointed Vincent R. Wagner associate wealth manager. Wagner joins the firm from M&T Bank, where he served as a financial consultant. A graduate of Houghton College, he is a certified financial planner.

Kideney Architects of Amherst named Barbara V. Hooven marketing coordinator. Hooven was formerly with Cannon Design on Grand Island. She is a University at Buffalo graduate.

The law firm of Rupp, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham and Coppola named Ryan A. Lema an associate in the firm's corporate and commercial litigation groups. Lema previously practiced in Massachusetts. He received his J.D. from Boston College Law School.