Meet “Master-Griller” Sean Wagner

by Kyle Ferrara


“That right there is a steak sandwich.”

It’s September 14, 2014, the Bills home opener. Sean Wagner, a junior Bioinformatics and Computer Science double major, sports a backwards Bills hat and a Fred Jackson jersey. At his tailgate, he’s the master-griller.

“I like to think of myself as the master-griller all the time,” he says. Then he delivers that steak sandwich to the closest empty plate.

It’s the simple things like steak sandwiches, beer, and the movie “Apollo 13” that excite Wagner. Despite his Ralph Lauren-dominated wardrobe, he’s not in this for the glamor. That’s what makes him, perhaps, Canisius’ best campaign manager.

Wagner has been the driving force, the “master-griller,” behind all three of Undergraduate Student Association President-elect Rich Kubiak’s campaigns. Additionally, he spent much of his sophomore year revamping the marketing strategies of WGTV – Griffin TV. He’s worked behind the scenes with some of Canisius’ top student leaders.

“If people want to tackle a project, they know that I’m gonna give it my all and go to whatever lengths it takes to accomplish something,” he said.

This is the quality that makes him so attractive to people like Kubiak, who relied on Wagner for the development of the aptly-named KubiApp, a project the two first of conceived of in late January.

“We sat there and thought, ‘what are we gonna do? What’s [gonna make Kubiak] stand out?’” Wagner said.

Kubiak suggested the app.

“That’s no easy thing to pull off,” Wagner said at the time, but he knew that if they started the project then they were just crazy enough to pull it off on time.

“I knew we were on a tight deadline,” he said. “Looking at how long it takes to get things approved by the App Store, it was going to be a lot of work to get it going. We had a couple of early issues with verification — we got rejected once – and all the while we’re racing to try to get this in.  It got approved [four days] before our projected roll out, which was a big moment. But it took a lot of time and a lot of planning.”

Over 225 people downloaded the KubiApp, the first app Wagner has designed.

Wagner wants to go into software development with the goal of eventually starting his own company, potentially developing apps. In the future he lays out, he’d be the point man of all projects, but it’s not as if he sees himself as being anybody’s “number two” now.

“I don’t think of it as ‘number two,’ he said. “It’s not number one or number two. It’s just that I’m helping out. I like to see other people succeed just like I personally like to succeed. I guess I wouldn’t do it for just anybody, but if I have a friend in the right place I’m certainly willing to help out in whatever ways I think that I’m able to.

While on the campaign trail, Kubiak would often stop to point out Wagner as the creator of the app and campaign manager. Wagner told him to stop doing that.

“There’s not really glamor or anything to it. I don’t care. The people who I want to know that I made the app know about it.”

He may not actively seek the spotlight, but it will find him if he continues to churn out quality work. In the meantime, he’s going to crack open a beer, enjoy a movie, and wait for the next time he can get back behind the grill.


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