Bernie is a Buffalo native and attended Elementary Schools 31, 6 and 76. After graduation from Lafayette High School he attended the State University of New York at Buffalo where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in 1971 and a Master’s Degree in Social Work in 1973. After teaching at Bennett High School for one year, he worked in several local human service agencies including five years as a Program Director at Child and Family Services.
In January 1980, Bernie entered on duty as a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). After graduating from the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia, Bernie served in the Buffalo and New York City Offices. In June 1985, he was transferred to FBI Headquarters, Washington, D.C., as a Supervisory Special Agent in the Intelligence Division. In March 1987, he was transferred back to the Buffalo Division, where he supervised all Foreign Counterintelligence, Counterterrorism and Civil Rights investigations in the Western New York area. In November 1990, Bernie was reassigned as Chief of the Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism Training Unit at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. until October 1992, when he was appointed as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia Division. In January 1997, Bernie was promoted and assigned as an Inspector in the Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters. On May 5, 1998, he was appointed as the Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Division which served the 17 counties of Western New York. He retired from the FBI in March 2001, and worked as a Security Manager for the Coca-Cola Company and then as the Senior Vice President, Director of Corporate Security for HSBC Bank headquartered in Buffalo, New York. In 2002, Bernie was hired as a Vice President in charge of Security by the National Basketball Association. In 2004 he was promoted to Senior Vice President. As the head of the NBA’s Security Department, he was responsible for the security of all League operations, including arenas, players, staff and fans as well as special events which included the All-Star Game, NBA Finals and foreign games including the U.S. Men’s and Women’s teams during the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. In addition he was responsible for the physical security of NBA offices located in South America, Europe, Asia and Africa as well as the corporate offices in New York City and the NBA Entertainment facilities in Secaucus, New Jersey. He retired from the NBA at the beginning of the 2010 season and returned to Buffalo where so he could continue and expand his involvement in the Buffalo community.
Bernie has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Black Achievers in Industry Award (twice), the Heroes of Public Housing Award, the Ebony and Ivory Award and the More Than a Month (Black History) Award presented by HBO in Philadelphia. In 2012 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the Men of Integrity Awards Dinner in Buffalo. In June of 2001, Bernie was the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Achievement, which is presented to the top Senior Executives in U.S. Government Agencies. In 1998, Bernie was elected to the SUNY at Buffalo Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of his success as a track and field athlete where he held school records in the high jump, long jump and triple jump at the time of his graduation. He is also included as a member of the Lafayette High School Wall of Fame in honor of his achievements and contributions to the Buffalo and Western New York community.
Bernie has been active in local community organizations for many years including an association that spans over 50 years with Cradle Beach – a resident summer camp that serves over 800 campers each year from the Western New York area who have a broad range of physical, emotional and social developmental disabilities. He has been a Little League baseball, basketball and soccer coach as well as an umpire and a referee. He has served on a number of local community boards, some of which include the United Way, Western New York Public Broadcasting, Erie County Youth Board, Medaille College, The Olmstead Conservancy, The 100 Club of Buffalo and Western New York and the Ellicott District Coalition of Agencies. He is currently on the board of Directors for the University of Buffalo Alumni Association, The National Federation for Just Communities, The Wisteria Initiative and is a Trustee of the Statler Foundation.
Bernie is the father of three adult children who all reside in Buffalo. Eric works for Child and Family Services, Nicole, is a teacher at Enterprise Charter School and Alex is employed at the Connors Children Center. He and his wife Malinda also reside in the City of Buffalo.