The board appointed Brent Rossi, executive vice president of marketing and brand strategy for Pegula Sports and Entertainment, and Huseyin Taran, general manager of the Buffalo Marriott HarborCenter. County Executive Mark Poloncarz appointed Bridget Niland, Daemen College’s director of athletics.
In addition, the board elected its officers for the coming year: Jonathan A. Dandes as chair; Mary F. Roberts as chair elect; Cindy Abbott Letro as treasurer and Toni Vazquez as secretary.
“These new members come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and will offer a fresh perspective for our organization,” VBN President and CEO Patrick Kaler said. “We’re excited to work with them to ensure continued success for VBN and Buffalo’s tourism and hospitality industry.”
Below are biographies for the new members and board officers:
Brent Rossi is the executive vice president of marketing and brand strategy for Pegula Sports and Entertainment. Brent oversees the day-to-day and long-term marketing and brand objectives of each company under the PSE umbrella. A native of Port Colborne, Mr. Rossi earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Brock University and a master’s degree in sports management from Old Dominion University.
Huseyin Taran is a 16-year veteran of the hospitality industry and currently serves as the general manager of Buffalo Marriott HarborCenter. Mr. Taran was born and raised in Turkey, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in tourism and hospitality management, and served in hospitality management roles in Fort Lauderdale, Greensboro and Myrtle Beach prior to moving to Buffalo a year ago.
Bridget Niland is Daemen College’s director of athletics/special assistant to the president. A member of the Daemen faculty since 2006, Ms. Niland has served the college as an associate professor in the business administration department where she oversees the sport management specialization and business law curriculum. A Williamsville native, Niland holds bachelor’s, master’s and law degrees from the University at Buffalo.
Jonathan A. Dandes (Chair) is president of Rich Baseball Operations, which oversees Buffalo Bison Baseball, Northwest Arkansas Naturals Baseball, West Virginia Black Bears Baseball, National Baseball Congress and Palm Beach National Golf & Country Club in Lake Worth, FL. Dandes also serves as Vice Chair of Upstate New York Transplant Services, chair of the Buffalo Zoological Society (Buffalo Zoo), the Erie County Medical Center Foundation and the Buffalo Public Schools Foundation. He is also a member of the Council of the University at Buffalo, of which he is a graduate.
Mary F. Roberts (Chair Elect) is executive director of the Martin House Restoration Corporation, which is dedicated to restoring Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest early-career residential work, the Darwin D. Martin House Complex (1903-05). The Martin House is a National Historic Landmark located in the Buffalo’s Parkside neighborhood. A graduate of Canisius College, Ms. Roberts has headed the MHRC since 2006, working with a dedicated board, staff and nearly 400 volunteers.
Cindy Abbott Letro (treasurer) is a broadcast professional with over 25 years of news, marketing and public relations experience. She is the business manager of her husband’s law practice, Francis M. Letro, Attorneys at Law. Ms. Letro is chair of the Niagara Regional Parks Commission, a member of St. Bonaventure University’s Board of Trustees and the chair of the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster and a master’s from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.
Toni Vazquez (Secretary) is the CFO of GBUAHN (Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network) and owner and practice administrator of Urban Family Practice. She co-founded the Raul and Toni Vazquez Foundation and serves on the Buffalo Zoo Board of Directors and the Williamsville School Board. A Buffalo native, Ms. Vazquez earned a bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo, an MBA from Medaille College and is a graduate of Yale University’s Women’s Campaign School.
Visit Buffalo Niagara sells and markets our assets and attractions to visitors outside of the Buffalo Niagara region as a convention, tourism and leisure destination for the economic benefit of the community.