Award Finalists, Speaker Named for CenterState Annual Meeting

Posted on April 12, 2021

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SYRACUSE — As CenterState CEO prepares for its virtual annual meeting on April 29, the organization has announced finalists for its 2021 Business of the Year Awards in five categories and the event’s keynote speaker. 

The virtual program begins at 12 p.m.

Award finalists

The awards recognize member companies and organizations that have “achieved growth and gone above and beyond in the past year to distinguish themselves as leaders in the business community,” according to a March 18 CenterState CEO news release. 

CenterState CEO will recognize a single company or nonprofit in each Business of the Year category at its virtual annual meeting. 

Through this year’s theme, “Commit: Progress through Purpose-driven Leadership,” the annual meeting will “highlight how businesses are called on to lead with purpose, push boundaries and engage in greater community consciousness to achieve economic growth, equitable prosperity and positive social change,” CenterState CEO said.

“During one of the most trying years, these companies have persevered — achieving growth through new investments, adding jobs and expanding operations; finding new opportunities to serve their customers and constituencies; and showing their commitment and dedication to their community,” Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, said. “We are proud to honor these members for their outstanding success and the role they play in strengthening the region. We are also proud to partner with UMEA to present the Minority-owned Business of the Year award.”

UMEA is the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance. 

This year’s event will also designate Health Care Heroes awardees, in recognition of CenterState CEO hospital and health-care services members for their front-line response during the pandemic. 

The awardees include Crouse Health, Nascentia Health, Inc., Oswego Health, St. Joseph’s Health, Syracuse Community Health Center, Upstate University Hospital, Upstate University Hospital at Community General, and WellNow Urgent Care.

The finalists are listed below in their respective categories:

More than 50 Employees: 
• HealthWay Home Products, Inc.
• Mower
• Quadrant Biosciences, Inc.

Less than 50 Employees:
• ComSource, Inc.
• N.K. BHANDARI, Architecture & Engineering, P.C
• United Way of Central New York

Minority-owned Business (in partnership with the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance): 
• Dreissig Apparel, Inc.
• Nick’s Landscaping

Community Involvement: 
• CH Insurance
• Speach Family Candy Shoppe, Inc.
• Thompson & Johnson Equipment, Co.

• Central New York Community Foundation
• Food Bank of Central New York
• Hospice of Central New York / Hospice of the Finger Lakes

Keynote speaker

Aisha Glover, VP of urban innovation at Audible, will provide the keynote address. Audible is headquartered in Newark, New Jersey and is a unit of Amazon. In addition to audiobooks, the firm’s “innovative business mindset is also applied to enacting positive change in the cities and countries in which it operates,” per a CenterState CEO release.

At Audible, Glover works to “develop innovative solutions to exemplify what a company can mean beyond what it does,” according to CenterState CEO. 

She previously served as president and CEO for the Newark Alliance and Invest Newark In both roles, she oversaw a range of innovative and community-focused economic-development initiatives, in partnership with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. Glover led the city’s bid to attract Amazon for selection of its second headquarters. She has also helped position Newark as a major destination city, strengthening the small-business ecosystem.

“Audible’s commitment to bridging business, economic and community initiatives is creating true impact in Newark and can serve as a model for businesses and communities, like ours. Her message is particularly relevant as we advance our own workforce, innovation and community investment initiatives here in Syracuse and Central New York,” Simpson said.

Those interested can register for CenterState CEO’s annual meeting at: They can also contact Lisa Metot at (315) 470-1870 or email: 

Read more, at Central New York Business Journal's website.

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