Simon Business School

Faculty Profile

Dennis Paul Kessler
Edward & Agnes Ackley Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship
Phone: 585.464.2577
Office: CFE Carol Simon Hall


Professor Kessler is co-owner of Kessler Restaurants LLC, a Rochester, NY company specializing in franchised restaurants and real estate development. Formerly, his company was the largest franchisee in the Friendly's Restaurant chain owning 48 Friendly restaurants as well as 21 Burger King Restaurants employing a complement of 3000 employees. Kessler has 30 years’ experience in restaurant ownership, real estate and human resource development. His company today specializes in commercial real estate and cell-tower development. He has also led a number of successful start-up companies and is a member of the Board of Directors of Excell Partners, a University of Rochester Venture Capital Fund. Professor Kessler is closely involved in the startup community and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Rochester and is an advisor to WEX Energy, LLC. and Meltek Energy Inc. both Rochester startups in the energy space. He is a former member of the board of trustees of the University of Rochester Medical Center and past chair and commissioner of the City of Rochester Civil Service Commission. He is currently a member of the board of directors of Excellus Blue Cross/Shield of Western New York, former founding board member of the Young Women’s College Prep Charter School of Rochester and a founding board member of the Rochester Education Foundation. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Junior Achievement of Rochester and a former member of the Board of the Boy Scouts of America. In June, 2018 Dr. Kessler was nominated by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and confirmed by the New York State Senate for appointment to the New York State Insurance Fund - Board of Commissioners. He is also a Fulbright Scholar award winner.

Teaching Interests

I mostly enjoy working with students in small groups across the campus in helping them to develop their new business concepts and guiding them through the process of taking the service or product to market. In the classroom my specialty is entrepreneurship with an emphasis on law and franchising and developing new business concepts.

Research Interests

My research interests are in the area of antitrust law as it impacts franchising and health care.

Professional History

Edward & Agnes Ackley Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship
University of Rochester, Simon Business School
July 2012 -


Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law - 2017
Ph D
S.J.D. - Doctor of Juridical Science
Antitrust Law/Franchising
Northwestern University Law School - 2010
Instituto de Empresa University - 2010
Certificate in Business Administration
Yale University Law School - 1977
John Jay College, City University of New York - 1973
City University of New York - 1970


Commencements in the Time of Corona
Contribution Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal
Journal/Publisher/Proceedings Publisher: Rochester Business Journal
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