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Leadership Niagara's class of 2017 graduated last week in Niagara Falls. The keynote speaker at graduation was Lockport City Judge William Watson (LN class of 1998), who was chosen by the 39-member class as speaker of the year.

Leadership Niagara, founded in 1984, is the longest-running community leadership development organization in New York state. Its 12-month curriculum is designed to give students access to industries, leaders and experiences across Niagara County; to develop a peer learning network, an understanding of graduate-level leadership concepts and insights into the challenges and issues affecting the region. Students talk regularly with area experts and leaders in economic development, manufacturing, poverty, agribusiness, binational relationship building, education and workforce development, criminal justice and tourism.

Members of the LN class of 2017 are:

• Colleen Albee from Royalton Hartland High School

• Adam Bartoszek from The Service Collaborative of WNY

• April Baskin from The College Simulation Experience

• Laura Bernsohn from Lumber City Development Corp.

• Natalie Brown from Arts Services Initiative of WNY

• SMSgt Mal Steve Brown from the 914th Air Refueling Wing

• Elizabeth Cardamone from Empower

• Sarah Cavallari from Merani Hotel Group

• Col. Gary Charlton from the 107th Attack Wing

• Connie Confer from Confer Plastics

• Christine Denham from The Martin Group

• Jennifer Dixon from Rider Systems

• Lindsay Doak from the 107th Attack Wing

• Jarett Forysinski from Hard Rock Café

• Karrie Gebhardt from Family and Children’s Services of Niagara

• Timothy Gemsheim from New York Air National Guard

• Thomas Gibbons from New York State Police

• Renee Granto from Johnson Controls

• Chuck Gullo from GM Components

• Heather Jason from The Cullen Foundation

• Bonnie Kane from Niagara Falls City School District

• Katie Kielaszek from 773 North

• James (Mike) Little from Orleans Niagara BOCES

• Krista Macomber from Orleans Niagara BOCES

• Molly Mayers from Cornerstone Community Federal Credit Union

• CMSgt Christopher McArdle from the 914th Air Refueling Wing

• Richelle Pasceri from City of Lockport

• Victoria Pellish from Niagara County Historical Society

• Michael Radecke from Morgan Stanley

• Angel Rivera from New York Power Authority

• Gina Roe from GM Lockport

• Gregory Schuey from Niagara County Sheriff’s Department

• Jay Schwartzkopf from JSJK Enterprises

• Gary Shore from Covanta

• Thomas Sukmanowski from American Niagara Hospitality

• Daniel Tighe from Sheraton at the Falls

• Jarrad Turner from Niagara University

• Lisa Williams from Niagara University

• Ann Yarussi from St. Peters RC School

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