As we approach our 25th Anniversary in 2020, we will be looking back at some of the people who made this chapter what it is today!
This month we feature Mark Kwandrans, President from 2010-2013 !
Before I joined PMI, I worked at Praxair (2001-ish). Several of us were studying for the PMP exam. When we passed the test, we were treated to a celebratory lunch and professional development for all of Praxair's PMPs. There must have been 100 people there! I had no idea I was in such good company. Someone suggested that I attend a PMI Buffalo dinner. I joined the Chapter and started attending dinners. Brian Griffin introduced himself as the President. At the time, all attendees sat around one table (Sean Patrick's stands out). Brian asked me to help Mitzi with the Fall Professional Day. I volunteered to coordinate the Project of the Year Award. That eventually turned into a term as the VP of Conferences. In 2007-08, Joanne Boehm and I returned from the LIM and Global Congress in Atlanta with ideas for how to transform the Board. We presented our ideas to Jackie and I was voted in as the first VP of Outreach. A conversation with Jackie led to my election as the President-Elect and then President from 2010-2013. Since then, I've been volunteering on PMI's Ethics Review Committee, including just finishing a year as Chair.
My favorite Chapter accomplishments have to be the "Buffalo 500" (a membership drive to get us to 500 members), our Seminar on the Slopes (a conference at Peek'n Peak attended by members from 10+ chapters), our first Chapter of the Year Award, and our Community Advancement Award for PM4NP (Project Management for Nonprofits), one of the first efforts coordinated through PMIE in which a chapter completed a program and then made the materials to other chapters to be replicated.
Along the way, we started analyzing our member data and looking for pockets of project managers in the area who didn't know about us. We also started conducting our strategic planning with other chapters so that we could all learn and build on what the others were doing. We started reminding expiring members to renew their membership. Our website was transformed into the form it has today. My absolute favorite memory is setting up a tabletop display about our chapter at the national conferences and having our handouts disappear because people couldn't believe everything that we were doing and wanted to do themselves. It was a source of pride in everything that our volunteers accomplished (did you know that we have twice as many volunteers as any other chapter our size?).
I joined the Chapter to network with other project managers and to get PDUs. I volunteered because I wanted to help my colleagues. I stayed because I wanted to give back to my profession. I would encourage any member to talk to a Board Member, looking for ways to help. But be careful when you talk to the Chapter President, because there is always something that needs to be done!