OLEAN, NY — The contributions of Brian O’Connell Jr. to the Greater Olean area are multifaceted.
As a lawyer, he’s helped many who were wronged find justice. As a judge, he’s made sure the law is administered fairly. As a community member, he was instrumental in not only redeveloping Bradner Stadium, but also bringing back baseball to it.
For his work both as a professional and private citizen, O’Connell is the recipient of Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 L.O.U.I.E. Award.
The L.O.U.I.E. Award is bestowed upon an individual who symbolizes the enterprising spirit of commercial growth and admiration for the greater Olean community, qualities which were embodied in the life of Louis Marra. Last year’s recipient was Jack Whipple, CEO and managing shareholder of Buffamante, Whipple, Buttafaro, P.C.
“Brian is truly a steward of the greater Olean area and our community is extremely fortunate to have someone as dedicated to it as him,” Andrew Caya, president of the GOACC’s board of directors, said. “The diversity of the work that he’s done in this area, be it in a courtroom or at Bradner Stadium, speaks volumes to his character and commitment to seeing our community thrive. There’s no question that he deserves this year’s L.O.U.I.E. Award.”
O’Connell’s trajectory to becoming a stalwart for the Greater Olean area began within its schools.
After graduating from Olean High School, O’Connell attended St. Bonaventure University, where he earned a bachelor of arts in social sciences in 1989.
The Olean native went on to attend Syracuse University College of Law, graduating in 1992 with his juris doctor.
Upon returning to the area with his law degree in hand, O’Connell began his career in law at Brady, Brooks and Smith, a law firm in Salamanca. He would spend the next decade at the firm, eventually making partner there.
In 2002, O’Connell opened his own practice, The Brian O’Connell Jr. Lawfirm, PLLC, in his hometown on North Barry Street. His firm specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice.
Outside his law office, O’Connell plays a different role within the justice system. For the better part of the last two decades, O’Connell has served as a judge, presiding over Olean Town Court. He also serves in Olean and Salamanca city courts, as well as the city of Olean’s Drug Treatment Court, filling in as need be.
O’Connell is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a national Irish club, and is involved in Olean Youth Baseball as a sponsor and coach.
Most notably, O’Connell can be credited with bringing back baseball to the city of Olean’s Bradner Stadium.
In 2012 O’Connell made a $10,000 donation to the Olean Local Development Corp., the organization he was president of that oversees the revitalization and management of the stadium, to fund the purchasing a franchise in the New York Collegiate Baseball League.
Through the donation, the OLDC revived the Olean Oilers, a minor league baseball team that played in Olean during the early portion of the last century. The new iteration of the Oilers call Bradner Stadium home.
Two years after making his donation, O’Connell formed Olean Oilers Baseball, Inc., a nonprofit that took over management of the franchise from OLDC.
Since its formation, Oilers’ games have brought thousands to Bradner Stadium each baseball season.
O’Connell resides in Olean with his wife Rene' and their three children Logan, Keenan and Makenna.
“Brian has made an impact on our community that will be felt for generations to come,” Meme Yanetsko, the chamber's chief operating officer, said. “He is indeed a fine addition to our long list of past L.O.U.I.E. Award winners.”
Other awards given at the annual GOACC dinner were Enterprising Business Awards to Angee’s Restaurant and Henry H. Hill Inc. and the Presidential Award to the Olean Family YMCA.
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