- MEET THE BOARD -
Born and raised in Amherst. I am so proud to be a lifelong member of the community. I have been in economic development most of my life either in disaster assistance or in rural communities. I feel it’s important to give back to the community which has given me so much (wife and three GREAT kids). I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and help bring something special to the Village of Williamsville.
Growing up and living in Williamsville has been a wonderful experience for me, and serving on the Village Co-op Board allows me to really immerse myself in the future of this community. Being a part of something really big - from the ground up - is not only very exciting and gratifying, but it provides me the opportunity to have an impact on something everyone will enjoy for a very long time - a walkable market with healthy options, a welcoming environment, and fantastic amenities!
MARY ELLEN HAEFNER
Originally a resident of WNY, I returned in 2010. I have been enlightened and thankful that WNY is making strides in being more sustainable and promoting a robust and prosperous local economy. The framework for cooperatives includes a participatory process for all member-owners and a fair share of the earnings, which are key to the strength and longevity of the business. I truly believe our upcoming food market cooperative will be a pinnacle in the community. With my background in Federal government contracting, policy and governance, along with quality assurance compliance, I look forward to contributing toward the front and back end of our operations and ensuring we offer good food choices at reasonable prices.
After growing up in St. Louis and moving around a bit, including a six-year stint in Rochester, I've made Williamsville my home since 1995 and raised two wonderful daughters here. With a professional background in mechanical engineering, I hope to bring some level of analytical skill or other intangibles to our group effort to establish a local co-op market. (I'm inspired that a former mechanical engineer became one of the premier chicken wing purveyors in WNY.) If located in the village, a successful co-op market will be a welcome addition to the current shopping choices along Main Street. The co-op will help sustain local growers and farmers, contribute to more healthful eating habits, and help promote a sense of community.
GENERAL BOARD MEMBER
Born and raised in Buffalo, I received a degree in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University in 1978 and have practiced in WNY for over 30 years. My wife Sara and I have 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren. We try to eat healthfully and live in a "green" manner as Sara is on the Executive Committee of the local Sierra Club. Our home is heated and cooled with a geothermal system powered by solar panels, and Sara drives a fully electric vehicle. We enjoy traveling, hiking, backpacking and biking. All of this leads to my interest in helping to develop a successful cooperative in the Village of Williamsville.
GENERAL BOARD MEMBER
I was born and raised in Rochester and after getting my undergraduate degree (and later a Master of Public Health) from UB, I moved away from the area for a few years and realized just how wonderful Western New York was. I have always cared about food, nutrition and educating people so I am excited to have the opportunity to be a part of bringing a food cooperative to our community. Knowing what is in our food and where it comes from is something that matters to me and to know that a food cooperative allows all member-owners to have a say in what the store carries and sells is something that is invaluable…it gives us a voice in our Village Co-op!
GENERAL BOARD MEMBER
Eight percent of produce consumed in New York State is grown in the state. Most is grown and transported thousands of miles. This process provides lower food quality, the produce is harvested very early, a higher carbon footprint due to fuels burned during transporting produce, and typically uses a greater amount of pesticides. This system needs to be altered for many reasons. I believe an increase in locally grown produce that is helpful to the local economy using less carbon in production and transporting produce with the harvesting location known to the consumer will be the next evolution of our farming industry. I have lived my entire life in Western New York and the past 25 years in Williamsville. I have spent much of my professional career doing business development in the planning, architecture, engineering and construction world. Currently I am a partner in two businesses - Acadia Energy (a microgrid developer that produces energy using multiple sources of renewable and nonrenewable energy at a given location for multiple users) and Beyond Green (an indoor farming business that uses hydroponic, aquaponic and indoor soil-based farming technologies to create year-round production of produce and fish for consumers).