Conference Speakers

Keynote Speaker: Trace R. George

Trace George headshotOwner: VSP Graphic Group Inc., VSP Bargo Entertainment, VSP Marketing Group - West Palm Beach and ForeMat PGA Golf Training.

Education: University at Buffalo - BS Engineering Design, GCC - AAS Drafting.

2 Patents: ForeMat PGA Golf Training Mat, TW360 Anti-Graffiti Laminate

VSP - 30 Employees - Buffalo NY

Full Biography



Conference Speakers

Heather Jones

Heather Jones HeadshotProfessor of Fine Arts at Genesee Community College
Heather Jones earned a BFA and NYS Art Teaching Certification from Alfred University and an MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Heather was recently awarded the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities in 2015.

Heather is a co-founder of Good Nature Press LLC, a business that is focused on book packaging for educational publishers. Heather is the artist/owner of GlassFeather Studio, creating original artwork and  illustrations. Conceptually, her artwork deals with themes of environmental sustainability.

As a working mixed-media artist and illustrator, she has a versatile set of skills in a variety of art media. Heather’s work is exhibited online at Saatchi Art and she has created a Designer Collection available online at the Vida Studio.

Brian Kemp picture and bio

Mike Raisch

Mike Raisch headshotMike Raisch is the 2013 founder and prime architect of Buffalo-based Dark Labyrinth Entertainment which uses sensory deprivation and 3D audio to create sensory experiences that engage guests’ imaginations.

He spent four years at the State University of New York at Fredonia pursuing a self-designed baccalaureate in Halloween Entertainment Business. While at SUNY Fredonia, he founded the Interactive Theatre Society and Dream Career Scholarship, both of which seek to encourage students to connect to their creativity and follow their passion.

Mike worked as a Creative at Apple for six years, regularly conducting training sessions which inspire people to learn, grow and access their creative potential through technology. He obtained a certificate of Creative Change Leadership in 2014 and the Master of Science degree in Creative Studies at SUNY Buffalo State in 2016.

In addition to teaching creative problem solving at GCC Albion campus this fall, Mike spends his time facilitating clients through the creative process by decluttering and organizing their space. This entrepreneurial venture, Put What Where, focuses on improving the relationship between the creative person and their environment. In all of Mike’s work, he utilizes the creative process to ask in-depth questions and seek out groundbreaking solutions.

Sam Campanella

Sam Campanella HeadshotGraduate of St. John Fisher College…BBA degree

Entrepreneur for over 50 years

Owned over 12 different businesses

Licensed Notary Public

Former Licensed Realtor

Currently a Certified Business Advisor with the NY State Small Business Development Center

Currently owner of Meisner’s Deli & Pizzeria in Attica, NY


Karen Crittenden

Karen Crittenden Headshot

Karen Crittenden is an alumnus of GCC, University of Rochester and Roberts Wesleyan College. She worked as a Clinical Social Worker with seniors and People with Developmental Disabilities and eventually retired from that line of work.

In September of 2012, Karen rented a space and opened her own business, Karen’s Yarn, Paper, Scissors located on Jackson Street in Batavia. Then, in December of 2015, she moved her business to a building on Main Street that she owned. The business has been there ever since.

Growing up, Karen wanted to be either an artist or an astronaut. In those days girls were not “allowed” to be astronauts, so she worked to be an artist until in the 8th grade when the art teacher ‘threw’ her out of art class stating that she had no talent. She didn’t do any art for many, many years until she discovered Zentangle, a meditative method of drawing. This drew her back into art in a very serious way.

Karen had crafted all her life and worked in the fiber arts, crocheting and embroidering. She also had worked on her drawing skills some and had them in her counseling work. Karen got certified in Zentangle and now teaches that skill to others. She loves to share what she knows with others and sincerely believes that everyone is skilled in some form of art, we simply need to discover what that form of art is!!

Barb Shine

Barb Shine HeadshotBarb Shine’s experience includes over 25 years as a practicing business manager in a corporate, non-profit and  successful entrepreneurial endeavor. While a retired Business/Entrepreneurship faculty member at Genesee Community College, Barb continues to support local business as a contract trainer in leadership training and development. Over these past eight years, her leadership training includes a vital competitive advantage training in creative problem solving called “Options Thinking” at Work.

Bryan DeGraw

Bryan DeGraw HeadshotBryan DeGraw was a teacher for 10 years before giving that up to be an entrepreneur. Started as a homebrewer 10 years ago making beer and mead.

Has been making mead at 810 Meadworks since 2014.