Laura Quebral is a planner, analyst, communications strategist, and fundraiser with deep experience in project management, grant writing, team construction, consensus building, and organizational development. She provides day-to-day leadership and management for UBRI as it engages in a range of highly-visible projects in regional economic development and sustainability.
Laura is team leader and project manager in partnership with the WNY Regional Economic Development Council and Empire State Development, using her expertise to guide decision-making and support initiatives through strategic planning, problem solving and project implementation. Laura is well-positioned to lead the implementation of these initiatives having developed the Buffalo Billion Phase II plan, managed the local team in collaboration with national consultants during the development of the original Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan, and led the team responsible for the award-winning Western NY Regional Economic Development Council’s Strategic Plan. She continues to provide guidance in support of the Western NY Regional Economic Development Council, including formative roles in the Northland Workforce Training Center, Better Buffalo Fund and Workforce Development Challenge. Laura’s leadership within the economic development arena advanced to spearheading the East Side Corridor Economic Development Plan and East Side Avenues, a place based economic growth initiative, in collaboration with several local foundations and corporations. She is also leading the support team for Open 4, another collaborative funder initiative in WNY, focused on improving small businesses in the region.
She also led the charge at UBRI on work with the University at Buffalo’s Business and Entrepreneurship Partnerships, completing a strategic planning process and developing steps toward UB’s new Innovation Hub. Taking lessons learned from UBRI’s role in WNY’s economic development efforts, Laura led the UBRI team with the research and expertise on strategy development and implementation necessary for the Upstate NY Revitalization Initiative. Leadership in sustainability projects at UBRI continue to be a priority for Laura evidenced in her ongoing role in Imagine LaSalle. All of this experience serves her well as instructor of UBRI’s Economic Development Planning class, a master’s level course within UB’s School of Architecture and Planning.
Prior to joining UBRI, she served as Knowledge Management Officer at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and The John R. Oishei Foundation leading research and evaluation relevant to funding interests to enhance philanthropy both regionally and nationally, and providing informed context for decision making. Before that, Laura was Director of Planning and Strategic Initiatives at the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. In the latter role, Laura led the system-wide master plan team for The Olmsted City – The Buffalo Olmsted Park System: Plan for the 21st Century and fund-raising campaigns at the Conservancy which surpassed goals including the Olmsted ReLeaf campaign to support reforestation in Buffalo after a devastating ice storm in October 2006.
Laura holds bachelor’s degrees in both English and psychology from the University at Buffalo; and a master’s in urban planning, also from UB, where she won the award for best thesis for “Preserving Buffalo’s Olmsted Parks: Facing Challenges in Planning for Historic Park Landscapes.”