2100 Lockport Road
Niagara Falls, NY 14304

Phone 716-731-4368
Fax      716-731-7084


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Board Member Biographies
Brian Barish

My name is Bryan Barish, I own Allbreed Obedience Academy and Hidden Fence Company in Lockport and have been a full time professional dog trainer for 17 years.  I have 2 bachelors degrees in Business and Marketing with a minor in Accounting.  I've trained over 6000 dogs and specialize in Aggression and Behavior Modification.  I have attended several seminars over the years, an animal cruelty prevention seminar.  I have attended, hosted and trained many Police K-9 training seminars.  I served as K-9 Office for 9 years with the Niagara County Sherriff's Office.  I have also been certifying Police and working dogs since 2008.  I have been a Volunteer Police Office for the Niagara County Auxiliary Police for 19 years and have served as the Chief for the last 5.  I'm a certified New York State Peace Officer and could enforce the Agricultural laws regarding Animal Cruelty.  I have additional Officers, who could also volunteer for investigations.  I am a Certified General Topics instructor through the New York State Department of Criminal Justice (DCJS) which includes Peace Officer Training, and have a lot of fund raising and board experience with the Auxiliary Police, SPCA, Cub Scouts, Masons and other organizations.

Andrew Bell

1985 - 1989: Diploma in Optometry from the British College of Optometrists, London, United Kingdom, followed by four years in private practice.
My training as an optometrist gives me insight into the medical issues involved in managing an animal shelter.

1989 - 1994: Practice Administrator, Fichte Eye Center, Niagara Falls, NY.  This busy medical practice was one of the leaders nationally in utilizing volunteers in tandem with paid staff to enhance the overall patient experience.  This experience is particularly relevant to the operations of the SPCA.

1991 - 2000:  Chairman and CEO, Ultralase PLC, Leeds, United Kingdom.  Guided the UK's first commercial laser eye center from founding through public offering to management buyout.  This position involved managing a diverse board and guiding the overall direction of a growing organization.

2000 - 2011: Proprietor, Grandpaws Place, Youngstown, NY.  Established and managed one of the areas premier boarding facilities.

2009 - Present: Proprietor, Grandpaws Emporium, Lewiston, NY.  Established and manage the areas top source for healthy pet supplies.

In addition, I currently serve as treasurer on the board of two local not for profits, including grant writing duties.

David Bower

I was born and raised in Niagara Falls, New York.  I grew up in the Lasalle section of the city. 

I attended 66th Street school, Lasalle Junior High School and finished at Lasalle Senior High School.

In 1982, i joined the United States Air Force Security Police.  I was assigned to Castle Air Force Base California from 1982-1983.  I attended Merced County Community College and did complete level one and two of the Law Enforcement Reserve Training.  I did train with the Merced County Sheriff's Department.

From 1983 - 1985 i was transferred to the European Air Command at R.A.F. Greenham Common, England.  I was assigned to the Ground Lanched Cruise Missile Program.

I did get my Honorable Discharge in October of 1987.

I joined the Niagara Falls Police Department on February 1, 1991 and have been assigned to the Patrol Division to current.

Pamela Bruns

I have been a foster parent for the ECSPCA on and off for the past 15 years.  I have 4 cats and 2 dogs; all of which are special needs that would have been put down because of their health.  They are thriving at old ages today.  I haven't fostered recently as it was causing stress on my 15 year old cats but I will foster again.

Professionally, I specialize in change management.  I work with mergers/acquisitions.  I have an MS in Executive Leadership & Change, which i use to move organizations forward in the midst of chaos.  I have assisted companies to increase their bottom line by implementing simple yet powerful changes.  I have several ideas for the NCSPCA and I'm excited to help develop the shelter to its potential.

I also have an extensive background in sales which would allow me to raise money for the shelter.  I've been a top sales agent in 3 industries and taught hundreds of salesmen/women skills that have set them apart from the rest.

My enthusiasm and dedication to success have enabled me to excel in my career and I'm confident these attributes would allow me to succeed with the NCSPCA

AnnLouise Carosella

After over 20 years as a medical professional, I decided to devote my time towards my true passion, Animal Welfare.  I have been volunteering for the SPCA serving Erie County for the past 14 years.  My roles include surgical and infirmary assistant, cat room monitor, special fundraising events assistant, administrative duties - including bookkeeping, and archiving of news articles pertaining to the Erie SPCA.  The role I am most proud of is that of Foster Parent.  I have fostered puppies, rabbits, and over 600 orphaned new-born kittens.  I manage calls within the foster program for those who have questions regarding care of their foster animals.  Due to the many medical needs of animals served in shelters, I advance my education to include certified Veterinary Assistant in 2004.  In 2007, I was proud to be honored as Volunteer of the Year at the Erie SPCA.  I am one of only two that has ever received this recognition.

My involvement with the SPCA of Niagara dates back to 1999, when I started the first Volunteer Program.  In February 2012, I stepped up to build and manage the Foster Program, which is an imperative program in the shelter setting.

It is my vision for the SPCA of Niagara to become the best humane shelter possible.  I strongly believe that all healthy and treatable animals deserve the chance to find  a home.  This can be accomplished with a dedicated and knowledgeable Board of Directors, Executive Director,  trained motivated and compassionate staff and volunteers and of course, the support of the community.
Lawrence Eggert

Currently, I am the Chief of Police for the City of Lockport and have been a police office for the past 32 years.  I have over 22 years of leadership experience that includes service as a Patrol Lieutenant, and Detective Captain.  I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Lockport Chapter of the Salvation Army and also have many years prior experience on the Board of Directors for the Eastern Niagara Chapter of the American Red Cross.  Aside from my duties as Chief of Police, I work as a trainer at the Niagara County Police Academy.  I also am an Adjunct Professor in Criminal Justice and Leadership at Erie Community College and Buffalo State College.  During my law enforcement career, I have earned a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice and am a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.  My wife Marea and I have been married for 28 years and we have 2 wonderful children.  My family loves animals and we have been blessed with many wonderful pets over the years.  These "non-human" additions to our family have included dogs, cats, a pretty ornery Parakeet, frogs and fish.  The most recent additions are 2 rescue cats that pretty much run the household.

Karen Karsten

I am a born animal lover and advocate for the ethical treatment of animals.  My two daughters and I share our home with three dogs, 5 cats, one hedgehog, one frog and numerous fish.  Most of our cats have been adopted through the SPCA and "Second Chance" organizations.

Professionally, I am Chairman of the Board for the Seneca Gaming Corporation and previously worked in the Marketing Department for Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.  Prior to gaming, my career was in journalism and I was employed for nearly 10 years at The Buffalo News as the Gusto calendar editor.

My Professional skills sets and concerns revolve primarily around people and team work - how can we do better?  how can we become more efficient?  what will make us stronger?  is there another approach we can use to solve this problem? ect.

I would love nothing more than the chance to share my marketing and people skills with life-minded animal advocates and animal professionals on the NCSPCA Board.  I know I could help make a difference!

Kathy Lamont

My experience with animals is fairly extensive.  I have spent 10+ years educating pet owners on the many natural and holistic ways to keep pets healthy.  My foundation is in nutrition but i am comfortable with other natural methods of maintaining/restoring health.  I have studied with a number of impressive animal professionals (including Greg Tilford, Dr. Martin Goldstein and Dr Jean Dodds), increasing my knowledge in a myriad of health related areas.

I have been a volunteer for the New York State Weimaraner Rescue for the last several years, helping with surrenders and also designing their logo and wearables.  I have worked with Save-a-Pet, Buffalo Humane, Bright Star and Big Dogs, Big Hearts rescues in various capacities.

My other background includes a BS in Graphic Design and a MS in Art Education.  I spent 13 years as an elementary art teacher in the North Tonawanda School District.  I am also a volunteer with the Niagara Celtic Heritage Society and have designed their festival program for the last 3 years.

Michelle Madigan

I am the Controller for EGW Associates Inc. otherwise known as EGW Personnel Staffing.  I have held this position since 2007.  Before EGW, I was the Chief Financial Officer for Smokin Joes for 4 years.

I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Business Studies from Buffalo State College and a Master's Degree in Accounting and Finance from Regis University where I graduated with honors.  I am a Senior Level Financial executive with an extensive hands on experience in management and business leadership.  I frequently work with Board of Directors, Banks, Auditors, and Attorney's.  I have a proven record of success in significantly growing company value.  I have a very strong background in budgets, cash forecast, leadership and problem solving.

I am a highly committed to NCSPCA volunteer and a life-long animal lover who views animals as family members and not possessions.  I brought my first stray home when I was in sixth grade and I have happily shared my life with a pet ever since.  Serving on this board will combine my animal passion with a background that will not only preserve the current assets in the shelter but grow them in order to better serve the SPCA of Niagara.

Stephanie Ortel

As a veterinary technician for the past 12 years, helping animals and advocating for patient care is part of my daily routine.  I see participating in the Board of Directors of the SPCA of Niagara as a way to further help the animal community.  Through my education and management experience, I can help the BOD with organization, efficiency and maintaining the best interest of the animals and people of Niagara County.

I have served on a number of committees for a professional organization, the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, including my current position of Chairperson for the Veterinary Technician membership committee.  Early in my career, I was involved in wildlife rehabilitation, volunteering at Messinger Woods Wildlife Center and the SPCA Serving Erie County.

Over the past few years, my focus has been on continuing my education and professional advancement, including completing a Bachelor degree in Veterinary Technology, studying and certifying in pain management and physical rehabilitation therapy for dogs and cats.  I have taken continuing education classes and college courses in animal behavior.

I think the knowledge I have gained over the years would be an asset to the animals under the care of the SPCA - helping make decisions to provide care and handling that is as comfortable and stress free as possible.
Susan Persico

My name is Dr. Susan Persico, and I have been a veterinarian for 35 years.  My husband, Dr. Ed Latson, is also a veterinarian, and 32 years ago we established our business, Central Park Animal Hospital, in Buffalo, NY.

We did this fresh out of veterinary school, and with no bank financing; we relied on our stamina for hard work, frugality and resourcefulness.  It paid off.

We have always maintained an adoption cage in our waiting room, and have found homes for many, many animals through the years.  And years later, we see many of these "adoptees" as our patients, a fact our clients remind us of daily, it seems.

I served on the committee which successfully replaced the decrepit Buffalo Animal Shelter on Niagara St. with the present facility on Oak Street.

We have worked with various adoption groups such as Buffalo Humane, Second Chance, and the Erie County SPCA, at greatly reduced, and often pro bono, rates.  My husband is the veterinarian for the Niagara Falls Aquarium, and donates much of his time there.

Bob Richardson

My name is Bob Richardson and I want to bring my skills, knowledge and passion to the position of Board Member and move forward in bringing respect, pride and results back to the SPCA.

My current employment as Law Clerk to Justice Frank Caruso has given me experience working with different people in finding solutions to complex emotional issues.  Working to arrive at agreeable solutions is what I do and welcome the opportunity to bring that experience to the Board.

I also have political experience which gives me insight into public relations and reaching out to others for support.  Utilizing methods such as direct mail, online media, or even door-to-door effort could help raise money and awareness for the SPCA.

I have tremendous pride in my work with All Bassets Cherished (ABC) Basset Hound Rescue.  I've been involved with the organization for over two years and it has been extremely rewarding.  I have volunteered at events, checked foster homes, helped to plan AC events and transported dogs.

I have done a number of transports for ABC across the country having twice traveled to Tennessee to help bring fourteen hounds to their new homes in New York. 

Rachel Stepien

Rachel Stepien is an avid animal lover that she expressed by dedicating her education to earn a Bachelors degree in Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation.  As a current member of the M&T Rainforest Falls exhibit at the Buffalo Zoo, Rachel demonstrates her love for animals on a day to day basis.  Being a member of the US Air Force, she understands the role of leadership and discipline and knows how to problem solve through tough decisions.  Rachel is part of the younger generation of our time which would not only bring two generations to accomplish  the goal of bettering the lives of animals, but Rachel would introduce new ideas and concepts.  Rachel is fully supportive of a no-kill shelter in Niagara County and will do anything she can to have every healthy animal find their forever home.  In her spare time, Rachel helps transport dogs from kill-shelters to foster homes or rescues and has kennel experience from internships.  If chosen for the Board, not only will Rachel do anything she can to better the lives of the animals that walk through the doors, she will put her heart and passion to work doing what she loves: helping animals.

Kristen Strobel

I have been a member of the veterinary filed officially for 11 years, but my involvement with animals and my passion for animal rescue goes back much further than that.

After being accepted into my major, Environmental Science, at the University of Buffalo, I was sidetracked by a health problem.  It was then that i discovered the world of shelter volunteering and medicine, as well as rescue.  I became a licensed educator for the National House Rabbit Society, the world's largest not-for-profit rabbit rescue, and became the official "Bunny Girl" at the Erie County SPCA, where I volunteered with the rabbits, cats and other small animals.  My volunteering led me to pursue a new career-Veterinary Technology.  I enrolled at Medaille College and after a grueling, challenging program, I was graduated summa cum laude, second in my class.  During this time I continued to volunteer at the SPCA, in the infirmary and in surgery, and also continue with my rabbit rescuing, fostering and public education.

I have been fortunate to have a very large and varied work experience as a technician.  I was employed at the Erie County SPCA for five years, as a night and surgery technician.  I trained under two board certified avian specialist, of which there are only 150 of in the world.  I have assisted with treating many kinds of wildlife as well.  Through my rescue work I have assisted law enforcement and found myself in many stressful situations that have enabled me to grow and mature as a technician and a person.  I have worked with many different veterinarians, technicians, rescuers and volunteers through the years, and try to learn from every interaction.  Where I go, I do my best to advocate for all animals, and will continue to do so.  My other interests include reading, gardening and training for my black belt in Thai kickboxing.

David Urban

As a Certified Public Accountant, I have just completed the most demanding and grueling part of our year, and unfortunately I was not able to attend the Meet and Greet session of April 17.

As a resident of the Town of Wheatfield for the past ten years and frequent visitor to the SPCA, I truly appreciate the vital role that the SPCA plays in our community.  As the loyal owner of Zeya and Miley, two very spoiled Labradors, I know and understand what it takes to be a pet owner as well as the commitment that is necessary to properly protect animals, including those who are not as fortunate as mine.

I am a Cum Laude graduate of Niagara University with a Masters Degree in Finance and a Principle in the CPA firm of Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner LLP where I serve as one of the leaders of the firm's Non-Profit Services Team.  My professional background has been focused on providing accounting, audit and tax services to non-profit organizations throughout the Western New York Community.  My current client base includes many non-profit organizations and governmental entities located in Niagara County who provide a wide range of services to the residents of the County in area's such as healthcare, social services and charitable giving.

My non-profit experience goes well beyond the numbers through my volunteer work.  I have served as a board member and Treasurer of the Alzheimer's Association of Western New York, finance committee member of Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, finance officer of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and as a past campaign coordinator for the United Way of Buffalo.  Finally I am a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants.

If elected to the Board of Directors of the SPCA of Niagara County, I will provide my full support to help ensure that the SPCA continues to provide its necessary and vital role in our Community.

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