Professional ProfileMichelle DeBergalis has over three decades of leadership experience in the public and private sectors.
Business First named DeBergalis number 66 of its Power 125 list for Western New York in 2018 and recognized her as a “Women of Influence” in 2015. In 2019, GlobeSt.com named Michelle as a women of influence in their Mentor and Real Estate Industry categories. The New York State Commercial Association of REALTORS® (NYSCAR) recognized Michelle at their 2019 awards dinner for the the Largest Lease Transaction and CoStar named Michelle 2018 Power Broker.
Michelle’s extensive portfolio of transactions includes fortune 100 companies such as AT&T, American Airlines, Aetna, Bank of America, Charter, Citigroup, Comcast, FedEx, Honeywell International, IBM, Met Life, Morgan Stanley, Liberty Mutual, NY Life, Prudential, State Farm, Time Warner, UPS, Verizon and Wells Fargo. Her private sector experience includes senior level positions with the largest real estate developers in Western New York working on numerous high profile projects.
Her experience includes numerous fortune 500 transactions, tenant representation, development and management of real estate portfolio's in excess of ten million square feet, office park development, sales and marketing, acquisitions, property management, economic development consulting, site selection, contract negotiations, systems creation for market research and reporting, monitoring compliance procedures, environmental compliance, client advisory services, RFP modeling, space utilization, public relations, bid contracts, utility aggregate management, budget analysis, asset management and sales management and training. She managed a portfolio with a replacement value in excess of $900 million and 10,000 acres.
While attending college, she began her career at Empire of America Bank working on FHLB financial filings and real estate tax escrow assignments. Her private sector experience spans over 20 years working as a corporate real estate executive for Western New York’s largest real estate developers and forming her own women-owned real estate corporation of which she continues to own today. Her roles included top management positions and responsibility for several high-profile real estate projects involving numerous fortune 500 corporations.
DeBergalis also spent approximately 10 years in the public sector working on both sides of the aisle including two democratic Mayors and one Republican County Executive. Her introduction to the public sector began with a position working for the City of Buffalo’s economic development arm. During that time the BEDC was modeled throughout the U.S. as one of the most successful city economic development entities. BEDC received national recognition for various economic development projects including our affordable housing programs. The BEDC had an aggressive slate of programs aimed at diversifying the City’s economy including expansion of Community Development Block Grants used for City revitalization projects and assistance with entrepreneurship to ensure that the City is well-represented in the fields of tomorrow. The programs included industries such as retail, science, finance, manufacturing and technology. Incubator spaces and business development services were created for startup companies and international marketing plans were implemented to increase international business creation. She also assisted with efforts that included implementation of several of the Administration’s most ambitious area-wide redevelopment projects, bringing new housing, hotels, historical structure rehabilitation and job opportunities to under served neighborhoods. She positioned City properties and assets to generate revenue along with working on projects to increase job creation and new business development opportunities. She navigated through politics, bureaucracy and changing administrations by focusing on her ability to bring people together regardless of their political views.
Michelle also worked as a leadership member on the former Erie County Executive’s senior executive team. She worked with other Commissioners to identify ways to increase efficiencies and reduce costs County-wide which resulted in millions of dollars of savings for a county budget in excess of $1 Billion dollars. She was then assigned to oversee a public works department that included real estate portfolio/asset management, program development, policy creation, buildings & grounds, grants, lease audit/administration, development projects, utility aggregate, capital projects and other administration initiatives.
Michelle has also been highly engaged in higher education initiatives since the mid 90's. DeBergalis is a former SUNY Erie Board of Trustee where she served as Vice Chairman and Chair of several committees. She also works as an adjunct professor at SUNY Erie and was a former adjunct at SUNY Buffalo State College. In 2010, Michelle was one of three distinguished education administrators selected by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher to represent Erie County in the SUNY Group of 200 that was charged with developing a strategic plan for New York’s SUNY school system. Michelle also volunteers at SUNY at Buffalo’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership as a mentor/reactor for private business enterprises where she also sits on the alumni board of directors. Michelle has served her community throughout the years as a board member on several community boards of which she continues today.
She holds a MS in Higher Education Administration and a BS in Business from the SUNY Buffalo State. She also holds several licenses and certifications. She has worked on numerous Fortune 500 corporate real estate and economic development projects in the public and private sectors throughout her career.
Michelle founded American Realty Group in 2006.
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