SUNY JCC Alumni Association Honors 10 Graduates at Foundation Awards Gala

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SUNY Jamestown Community College

The SUNY Jamestown Community College Alumni Association honored 10 graduates during the JCC Foundation’s annual awards gala held Nov. 1 at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel.

Eric Jones, Scott Kindberg, David Koebelin, and John L. LaMancuso were recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award. The award is the association’s highest honor and is given to those who have typified the college’s tradition of excellence and brought ​credit to the college through personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service.

Eric Jones

A well-known artist, Jones is a 1995 graduate who went on to study Digital Illustration and Fine Arts at Alfred University.

After 10 years as a natural stone and mosaic mural artist, Jones started an online retail caricature and avatar illustration business which quickly became the largest of its kind. He still owns this company, employing artists and administrative minds from all over the world.

In his spare time, Jones works as a 3D sculptor. He works in pumpkin, wood, sand, and snow and has appeared on The Food Network, Discovery Plus, and Amazon Prime. Jones was a finalist on season 10 of “Halloween Wars” and is currently the world champion of “Outrageous Pumpkins,” another Food Network hit show.

Jones has raised tens of thousands of dollars for local and national charities and plans to grow substantially in the next few years. He often can be found using his talents to lift others up, including holding pumpkin carving demonstrations and sculpting ice figures.

Scott Kindberg

Kindberg is a 1981 graduate who earned a Journalism and Communications degree from Point Park University. He has been the sports editor for the Jamestown Post Journal since 2014.

Kindberg began his career as the assistant general manager of the Jamestown Expos before joining the staff of the Post Journal as a sports reporter in 1983. From 1987-2001, he served as a beat reporter for the Buffalo Bills covering their Super Bowl appearances.

Kindberg has received 14 New York Associated Press awards and was recently inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. In addition to the thousands of articles and columns he has written, Kindberg has authored 10 books and co-edited a history of baseball in Jamestown.

Kindberg is also a long-standing member of the boards of directors for the Jamestown Babe Ruth Committee and Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.

David Koebelin

Koebelin is a 1975 graduate, who later earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Bonaventure University. He recently retired as the vice president of human resources at Cutco, where he worked for 35 years.

Koebelin was an instructor at JCC’s Cattaraugus County Campus and St. Bonaventure. He served many years as a volunteer for the United Way of Olean and Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as several other boards, and as a councilman for the Town of Allegany for eight years.

John L. LaMancuso

LaMancuso has served Jamestown as City Court judge for 30 years. He is a 1974 graduate of JCC and Miami University. He earned a juris doctorate from Ohio Northern University School of Law in 1979.

LaMancuso left private practice in 1993 when he was elected City Court judge. He has overseen major developments in the administration of justice in the city, including the creation of Jamestown City Treatment Court, mental health court, and veterans court. The Treatment Court has helped more than 1,000 individuals facing non-violent charges get needed treatment for substance abuse and other mental health disorders.

LaMancuso has taught criminal law and procedure at JCC. He is a past recipient of the YWCA Family Violence/Sexual Assault Network Award and has served on numerous boards.

The Foundation also honored alumni award recipients from each of the college’s six career communities. Each was chosen by faculty from among thousands of JCC graduates.

The recipients were Suzette Benson, Public & Professional Services; Scott Darling, Health & Physical Wellness; Adam Hall, Math, Science & Computer Technology; Timothy Piazza, Engineering, Manufacturing & Applied Technology; Patrick Slagle, Society & Human Expression; and Rachael Wiley-Steffen, Business & Entrepreneurship.

Benson is a 1988 graduate who earned a master’s in English and New York State Certification in School Administration and Supervision from SUNY Fredonia. After beginning her teaching career at Washington Middle School and Jamestown High School, she became a staff development specialist at Erie 2 BOCES.

Benson later served as principal of Westfield Elementary School and finished her career as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Erie 2 BOCES, overseeing instruction at 27 school districts.

During her career, Benson was involved with many professional and charitable organizations. In retirement, she continues to give back to the community by serving as the president of the board of directors of the Child Advocacy Program of Western New York and the Board of Directors of the JCC Foundation. She is also the recipient of the JCC Distinguished Educator Award.

After graduating from JCC, Darling received a bachelor’s in Biophysics at the University at Buffalo. He attended medical school at UB and pursued a residency in family medicine, followed by a sports medicine fellowship.

Darling has served as a clinical director for New York State Special Olympics since 2010 and has worked with the UB medical school admissions committee for the past seven years, now serving as associate director of admissions.

Darling’s sports medicine career included a four-year partnership with the Buffalo Bandits National Lacrosse League team for whom he serves as team doctor as well as working with WWE wrestling events. He serves as team doctor for D’Youville College athletics, has a private sports medicine practice with Invision Health in Buffalo, and works part-time with UBMD Family Medicine.

Hall received training in Physics and Materials Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a NASA Graduate Student Research program fellow and received the Ross & Charlotte Johnson Family Dissertation Fellowship. His dissertation research focused on nanoelectromechanical systems incorporating individual nanomaterials.

Hall then spent three years as a postdoctoral researcher at Technische Universitat Delft in the Netherlands. From 2010-13, he was an assistant professor of Nanoscience at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he earned awards for his research activities and teaching.

Hall joined the faculty of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences in August of 2013 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2021. He has published more than 50 journal articles and is an inventor with five patents.

Piazza graduated from JCC in 1989 and earned a Ph.D. in Experimental Physics. He serves as an assistant professor of Engineering at JCC, where he teaches Engineering Science and Mechanical Technology courses and is the advisor to the Technology Club.

Piazza began his career as a junior machinist for Costa Machine in Akron, Ohio. He returned to Jamestown in 1998 and has been involved in manufacturing and post-secondary education since.

Piazza was president of Blackstone-NEY Aeroengine North America, and manager of research and development technology at SKF Aeroengine, where he was responsible for managing a team of engineers focused on new product development and testing in technologies for insertion into aerospace applications. He has also served as talent pipeline manager and apprenticeship program coordinator for the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier.

Slagle graduated from JCC, the College at Brockport, and the University at Buffalo, where he earned his juris doctorate in 2010. Prior to becoming a Chautauqua County attorney, Slagle served 10 years as supervising attorney at Legal Assistance of Western New York.

Slagle joined the Chautauqua County Department of Social Services in 2019 as an assistant social services attorney prosecuting child neglect cases, and in 2022 he joined the County Attorney’s office as a first assistant county attorney. He was appointed county attorney in 2023.

Slagle serves as vice president of the board of education for Jamestown Public Schools and has volunteered as a coach for youth soccer, T-ball, and basketball.

Wiley-Steffen attended JCC and St. Bonaventure University, studying business administration and earning a master’s degree in Marketing. She is the CEO for ERA Team VP Real Estate & Vacation Rentals and co-owner of the Bemus Point Golf Club & Tap House.

Wiley-Steffen spent a decade at Zurn Industries, where she was director of brand marketing. She sits on the board of directors for the Bemus Point Business Association and the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau. She is also a brand ambassador for DSG Outerwear, a women-centric apparel company.