Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN), the official destination marketing organization for Erie County, has announced the appointment of two new members to its 21-person Board of Directors: Kimberly A. Minkel and Matt Chiazza. These community leaders will serve initial one-year terms, but may serve for as long as eight years.
These new directors will bring a distinctive record of achievement in their respective fields to the task of overseeing Visit Buffalo Niagara’s mission of promoting Erie County as a destination for sports, meetings, group and leisure travel.
“Visit Buffalo Niagara is confronting unprecedented challenges as the hospitality industry recovers from the devastating effects of the pandemic,” said VBN President and CEO Patrick Kaler. “In times like these, we need experienced and expert guidance from our board, which is why we are thrilled that Kim and Matt have agreed to lend us their counsel.”
Kimberly Minkel is the Executive Director for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. She started at the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in October 2002, as its Director of Health, Safety, and Environmental Quality. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Niagara University in 1988 and an MBA from Canisius College in 1995. She was unanimously selected by the NFTA’s Board of Commissioners to be its new executive director December 28, 2010. As such, she oversees a workforce of approximately 1,550 dedicated employees, with an annual operating budget of $202.3 million.
She is a member of various professional organizations, including the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation’s Board of Directors, Niagara Military Affairs Commission and B.U.I.L.D. She has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Peace Bridge Authority, the City of Niagara Falls N.F.B. Development Corporation and is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Buffalo.
Matt Chiazza is a lifelong resident of Erie County and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Niagara University where he majored in Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Management. He has served in as General Manager at the Hyatt Place Buffalo/Amherst, since its opening in August 2017; in the capacity, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the property. Previously, Matt was the Director of Sales at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Buffalo, where his responsibilities included providing supervision and support to the sales/catering team to maximize performance.
He also served as Revenue Manager/Front Office Manager at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Buffalo, where he helped to maximize the overall revenue for the hotel; looked at trends in the marketplace and how hotel may be affected by each trend; analyzed both future and historical data; and created a weekly forecast for all managers on property.
Matt is a 2018 Visit Buffalo Niagara Beacon Award Winner.