Kevin R. Connolly is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Buffalo First Wealth Management, LLC and Chief Executive Officer of Buffalo First Advisory Group, LLC. Kevin Connolly received a MBA, Master of Business Administration Degree with a concentration in Strategic Management from Medaille College, Buffalo, New York, and holds a BS, Bachelor of Science Business Management Degree (TTT) from Niagara University, Lewiston, New York. Kevin holds a Series 7 and Series 66 licenses, a New York State license for Health, Life, Disability, Long Term Care, and is certified with the New York State Partnership.
Prior to founding Buffalo First Wealth Management, LLC, Kevin served as a District Manager/Financial Advisor at Waddell & Reed, Inc. While at Waddell & Reed, he serviced customers in a variety of industries, with a primary emphasis on comprehensive financial planning, estate planning, institutional retirement plans, and wealth management. Kevin was formerly Chief Financial Officer of AAA Environmental, Inc.; Director of Business Affairs & Human Resources, State University New York at Canton; Director of Transportation Technology, Trocaire College; Director of Transportation, Ahold USA Tops Markets, Inc.; and Vice President of Operations at Superior Lubricants Co., Inc.
Kevin participates in a number of community and professional organizations: Medaille College Board of Trustees, Alumni Board of Directors, Board of Directors for the Network in Aging of Western New York, volunteer at Millard Suburban Hospital, member of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce and past member of the Clarence Chamber. He is a coach of Lou Gehrig Baseball, past coach of Mathewson McCarthy Baseball, past Vice President of Board of Directors for the Amherst Youth Foundation, past Board Member/Director Kenan Center, past Board of Directors member of Children’s and Family Services of Niagara County.
Kevin resides in Williamsville, New York with his wife Michelle and their four children. He also has two other daughters and is a proud grandfather.
Allen Dembski, is the Chief Operating Officer/Vice President of Buffalo First Wealth Management and also an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor℠. Allen is a graduate of Buffalo State College, where he attained his Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Business Studies. He also graduated from Erie Community College where he attained his Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Administration. Allen currently holds Series 6, 63, & 65 Securities Licenses. He also holds his NYS Life, Accident & Health Insurance License. He received his NYS Long-Term Care Partnership Certificate in 2008.
Allen worked in the insurance industry for eight years, during the first year of which he was promoted to a sales management position before entering the financial services profession in 2006. Allen’s approach centers largely on client education and interaction. This approach allows clients to be part of a team rather than bystanders. He utilizes his experience to develop strategies that focus on protecting assets from market volatility, and customizing portfolios to match an individual’s goals and objectives.
Allen and his wife Julie have two children, Cassie and Lucas. He enjoys hockey, golf, football, and most other sports. He has been an assistant or head hockey coach at Canisius High School since 2002, and has been a coach at other local high schools since 1998. Allen is past Co-Chairman of Emerging Business Leaders and is an active member of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce. Allen sits on the Board of Directors at the Home Improvement Council of WNY, and volunteers at Goodwill, where he teaches financial education. Allen currently serves as an Advisory Board member with West Seneca CSD Academy of Finance and an instructor with Junior Achievement.
Taunya Fourtner Abaya, CFP®
Certified Financial Planner
Taunya holds a BA in History and Political Science from Miami University, a MS in Education from D’Youville College and a Financial Planning Certification from Old Dominion University. She has 25 years’ experience teaching women and their families how to utilize money as a tool to create security and happiness. Taunya began her working career in Yokuska, Japan, teaching American children with special needs. While there, she volunteered her time at the Navy Marine Corp Relief Society helping military wives learn to balance a budget, save money, and grow financial assets. Taunya went on to teach in Wahiawa, HI and Monterey, CA. With each move she continued to donate her extra time working with wives and other military personnel to better enable them to organize and plan their financial futures.
In 2008, Taunya took the certification program at Old Dominion for financial planning. Two years later, Taunya moved home to Buffalo where she set up her own financial consulting service. She specialized in working with businesswomen and families going through divorce. In 2016, Taunya joined Buffalo First Wealth Management where she continues to help clients through financial education, as well as investment and retirement planning.
Taunya seeks to educate her clients through life’s ever-changing financial landscapes, and firmly believes that having an understanding of one’s actual financial assets and needs can allow each individual client to make more thoughtful, informed decisions. Taunya empathizes with people trying to chart their financial courses during trying times. Taunya has gained the experience required to recognize the many-faceted degenerative effects of financial insecurity, and to lend reliable guidance based on existing facts and solid planning. This method has resulted in successful short- and long-term plans that have enabled her clients to reach their life goals and dreams. Taunya’s innovative strategies and methods, based upon the individual need and preferences of her clients, has consistently paved the way to their financial well-being, thus reducing stress and increasing an intrinsic feeling of empowerment.
Taunya lives in East Amherst, NY with her husband Gary Collichio and three children, Jonathon, Jacob, and Jenna. She is a member of the Twentieth Century Club, UB Women’s Club, NYSW BNC, NAWBO, and the Williamsville PTSA.
Michael V. Knapp, CMA, MBA
Michael earned his Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Professional Accountancy from Niagara University, as well as a Master of Business Administration from Medaille College. Michael is an Enrolled Agent (EA) with the Internal Revenue Service, holds his Series 65, life, accident, and health licensing, and is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) with the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).
Michael has been an entrepreneur since 2008, shortly after his first daughter was born. He believes in the adage, “a rising tide lifts all ships,” and as such, uses his practical business and public accounting experience to help educate clients on how to build wealth and succeed in business while keeping their taxes in check. He sees investments, especially retirement planning, as a way to build a lucrative future while taking advantage of short-term tax benefits.
When Michael isn’t enjoying the outdoors with his two daughters, Madison and Natalie, he can be found serving on the Westminister Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) Board of Directors. He is also their Loan Advisory Committee Chairman and a Small Business Mentor. In addition, he spends a good deal of time underwater as a Public Safety Diver on the City of Tonawanda Police Department Underwater Recovery Team (URT)
As a Financial Advisor, Jeff thrives on his desire to talk with clients every day; to educate, inspire and ultimately help them. He takes tremendous pride in serving Western New York, and is committed to his ongoing professional development. Jeff has over 19 years of experience in the insurance industry, both in management and sales. He holds a New York State Life, Accident and Health license and is also Series 6 and 63 registered.
Aside from spending time with his family; nothing is more exciting, energizing and fulfilling than building his business. It means continually striving to be better. It means doing what’s right and knowing that by doing right – by making it the soul of what you do – you’ll win much more than you lose.
Jeff and his wife Melissa have 3 children: Evan, Maxwell and Aaron. He loves sports, but he is particularly passionate about football, hockey, golf and lacrosse. In his spare time, Jeff is very active in the community, teaching and developing young athletes. He has completed his Level 4 USA Hockey coaching certifications and has been a volunteer assistant coach for youth hockey since 2009. Jeff has also been a Volunteer assistant coach with the North Tonawanda Athletics Association for Lacrosse since 2015.
Ellen Morse is the Administrative Assistant at Buffalo First Wealth Management. She interfaces with clients and supports the advisors with daily tasks. She also manages the website and firm’s marketing efforts.
Ellen has over 20 years of marketing and design experience including stints at Arthur Andersen and various ad agencies. While not working at Buffalo First, Ellen freelances as a graphic and surface pattern designer. She holds a BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University. She has been married to her husband, Kevin, for 25 years and they have two children, Carolyn and Brendan.