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Stephen M. Kiernan, CEO of software firm, helped start several technology companies Aug. 19, 1958 -- April 14, 2012

Stephen Michael Kiernan of Williamsville, chief executive officer of a Buffalo-based Internet and software solutions company, died Saturday in the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, Cheektowaga, after an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 53.

Mr. Kiernan was invited to join Algonquin Studios as CEO in 1998 by the three founders of the company, who had worked with him when he was senior vice president and chief information officer at North American Health Plans. He helped build the company to nearly 60 employees with offices in Buffalo and New York City and clients around the world. The company redesigned the website for the City of Buffalo in 2001.

Born in the Bronx, he was a standout football player at Cardinal Hayes High School there. He attended the University at Albany, then studied at the University at Buffalo, earning a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1984 and a master's in business administration in 1986.

While attending UB, he and another student started a tech company, Data Based Solutions. After graduating, he turned down offers from national accounting firms and joined Ernst & Whinney, now Ernst & Young, in Buffalo, where he was a financial information systems consultant.

Mr. Kiernan left the firm in 1989 to start Consulting Associates with his boss and mentor from Ernst & Young, Michael Deakin, and served as president. He joined North American Health Plans and built a three-person information technology team to a staff of 50.

He also became involved as owner and executive of several other companies associated with Algonquin in recent years. In 2006, he acquired Big Bear, a contract embroidery and fulfillment company, and served as president and CEO. In 2008, he started SWRemote, which provides mobile field service and inventory software, also serving as president and CEO.

Mr. Kiernan joined with David Straitiff to start Intuitek, which developed products and technology for the hospitality field, serving as CEO. Earlier this year, he helped start Station 28, an information technology services company spun off from Algonquin.

He also led the company to set up the nonprofit Algonquin Sports for Kids, which operates the Buffalo Soccer Club, serving nearly 600 young people, most from the city's East Side.

A teaching assistant while attending UB, he later was an instructor at Erie Community College and a regular guest lecturer at UB's School of Management.

He was a member of the Mayor's IT Council in Buffalo and was an adviser and coach to several business owners and executives. He also was a volunteer with the Cephas program, which assists former prison inmates.

Surviving are his wife, the former Cathleen M. Clemente; a son, Stephen II; two daughters,

Megan and Tara; two brothers, Thomas and James; and a sister, Donna M. Quintana.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 5480 Main St., Williamsville.