BLI Graduation Year: 2004
Oliver N. Blaise, III
Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP
Professionally, my areas of practice have continued to expand. In addition to my litigation work in various areas, such as intellectual property, personal injury, and commercial litigation, I have been representing and working with a number of our local municipalities. That work really connects me to what is going on in our area.
Personally, my life has changed significantly since graduating from BLI. My wife, Dalya, and I have had four wonderful kids, Brian (9), Alexandra (6), Nicholas (5) and Andre (3). My classmates may remember me as being the drummer in a rock band, but nowadays it’s “daddy duty” for me, and I love it.
Favorite books/movies: My favorite movies are Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail and Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. They are so well written and layered. I notice some new nuance each time I watch them. They work on several levels, being funny, witty and biting at the same time.
I love reading. Based on my background in history, I like novels in historical settings, for example books by Frederick Forsyth, John LeCarre, W.E.B. Griffin and Ken Follett. Another author I have enjoyed recently is Alex Berenson. I also like reading about history, like Ron Chernow’s biography of George Washington.
Current and Past Notable Civic Activities: I have been quite involved with the Broome County United Way, as a member of the Board of Directors, the campaign cabinet, and the Investment Committee. My participation in the United Way makes me feel that I am helping the community since all of the dollars raised go directly to support a wide range of important programs in our community. I have also been involved for many years with the Binghamton Sertoma Club, which raises funds to support Camp Sertoma and the UHS speech and hearing department. Like the United Way, Sertoma gives me the satisfaction of seeing the positive impact our efforts make on those we are hoping to help. Plus, both these organizations are filled with positive people who are fun to be around!
Interests/Hobbies: My biggest interest is spending time with my family, which is often difficult to accomplish. Dalya and I enjoy taking the kids to karate, soccer, swimming lessons, etc. We’ve got some activity going nearly every day, which can get hectic, but it gives me cover to enjoy some things (like going to the playground and seeing Disney movies) that I probably wouldn’t get to do otherwise.
My personal interests include baseball and its history. We’re all big Yankees and B Mets fans in my family and look forward to attending as many games as we can. Recently I have been involved in a case that has required me to make multiple trips to Cooperstown, which has been a huge treat for me. I also enjoy running and exercising. I try to run at least three times a week, usually during lunchtime from my office in Kirkwood. I’ve done the Bridge Run half marathon every year and am looking forward to next year’s race.
How did your BLI experience change your perception of the community? It exposed me to aspects of the community of which I was generally aware, but previously had no direct or personal knowledge. For example, we visited a dairy farm that I had driven by many times, but I was unaware of the full extent of its operations, which were impressive. Similarly, we visited Tri-Cities Opera and saw a performance. I had never been and was so pleased to be exposed to this asset in our community. I had that same experience for nearly every site we visited.
How did your BLI experience motivate you to become more involved in the community? I really enjoyed meeting people from different walks of life, backgrounds, interests and career paths than mine. All of my classmates were motivated to learn about and help the community. That sense of working for a greater good was inspiring and stayed with me after the class ended.
What was your most memorable BLI activity/moment? Our initial session at the ropes and obstacle course was the most memorable activity for me. It was a lot of fun getting to know my classmates through the team building activities. At the end of the day we had to match each person in the class with a “secret fact” that we divulged at the beginning of the day. It was a lot of fun.
What was the most valuable benefit to you from your BLI experience? The thing I appreciate most about my BLI experience was the friendships that developed with my classmates. I am still close with several of them and we refer business to each other. I met a lot of nice people and made a lot of good contacts in different segments of the community, which would not have happened without BLI.
What “nugget of wisdom” do you have for your fellow BLI alum? Don’t be afraid to get involved and explore parts of the community that are new to you. BLI will enrich how you think about our area.