Meet the Team

Visit Buffalo Niagara is governed by the Board of Directors and employs a staff of talented tourism professionals, dedicated to promoting tourism in Western New York.  The sales, marketing and services departments design, develop and deploy compelling tourist packages, engaging marketing campaigns, collateral materials and strong relationships with local partners and national media outlets in order to effectively maximize the region’s cultural and historic assets.


Patrick Kaler

Patrick Kaler


David Marzo

David Marzo, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Cindy Kincaide

Cindy Kincaide

Director, Industry Relations

Judy Smith

Judy Smith

Director of Administration

Michele Butlak

Michele Butlak

Accounting and Benefits Manager


Jo Ann Blatner

Industry Relations Assistant


Edward J. Healy

Edward J. Healy

Vice President of Marketing

Karen Fashana

Karen Fashana

Director of Marketing

Drew Brown

Drew Brown

Marketing Manager

VBN_Shira Jacobson_9.1.21_NancyJParisi_5420-392x392

Shira Jacobson

Marketing & Social Media Specialist
(716) 218-2922

Convention Sales & Services

Michael Even

Michael Even, CDME

Vice President of Sales & Services

Dionne Williamson

Dionne Williamson, CDMP

National Sales Director

Meaghan Zimmer

Meaghan Zimmer

National Sales Manager

Karen Cox

Karen Cox

Convention Sales & Services Manager

Heather Nowakowski

Heather Nowakowski

Sales & Marketing Assistant

VBN_Emma Carlo_9.1.21_NancyJParisi_5389-392x392

Emma Carlo

National Sales Manager

Sports Commission

Pete Harvey

Pete Harvey

Director of Sports Development

Lauren Vargo

Lauren Vargo

Sport Services Manager

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James Adler

Sports Sales Manager

Tourism Sales

Leah Mueller

Leah Mueller

Director of Tourism Sales

Board of Directors

Ms. Cindy Abbott-Letro (Vice Chair)

Business Manager
Law Offices of Francis A. Letro

Mr. Mark Alnutt

Director of Athletics
State University of New York at Buffalo

Mr. Thomas Beauford, Jr.

Chief Executive Officer
Buffalo Urban League

Mr. Scott Bieler

President and Chief Executive Officer
West Herr Auto Group

Mr. Dan Castle, AICP

Deputy Commissioner of Planning and Economic Development
Erie County Department of Environment and Planning

Mr. Matthew Chiazza

General Manager
Hyatt Place Buffalo Amherst

Mr. Jonathan A. Dandes (Immediate Past Chair)

Corporate Vice President of Government Relations
Rich Products Corporation

Ms. Norah Fletchall

President & Chief Executive Officer
Buffalo Zoo

Ms. Dottie Gallagher

President & Chief Executive Officer
Buffalo Niagara Partnership


Mr. Mark Glasgow

President, Buffalo Urban League Young Professional Group

Mr. Patrick J. Kaler (President)

President and Chief Executive Officer
Visit Buffalo Niagara


Mr. Thomas Long

General Manager
The Westin Buffalo

Ms. Kimberley Minkel

Executive Director
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority

Mr. Michael G. Murphy (Secretary)

Shea’s Performing Arts Center


Ms. Mary Roberts (Chair)

Executive Director
Martin House Restoration Corporation

Mr. Donald Spasiano

Professor Emeritus
Erie Community College Hospitality Management

Mr. Huseyin Taran (Treasurer)

General Manager
Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER

Ms. Gail Wells

President, CopperTown Block Club
Founder, Buffalo Freedom Gardens