CenterState CEO Hosts 2015 Annual Meeting

Posted on December 1, 2015

Rob Evolve Left

Region Must Evolve to Keep Pace with Global Competition and Seize Opportunities
NASA Scientist Dr. Parimal Kopardekar shares vision for the future of the UAS industry
Businesses of the Year: Sutherland Global Services; SBB; AmeriCU; Clear Path for Veterans; CHC Group

More than 1,000 business and community leaders celebrated CenterState CEO’s fifth anniversary while exploring the theme of evolution and continuous innovation at its Annual Meeting, held at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at Oncenter, in Syracuse.

President Robert Simpson highlighted businesses that have adapted to external pressures, turning challenges into advantages to advance growth. He shared these examples as models of what the region must also do to achieve success and pursue transformational opportunities.

“This Annual Meeting provides a fitting moment to reflect on the achievements we’ve made by moving to a more holistic and integrated approach to economic development when CenterState CEO was created five years ago,” said Simpson. “This evolution is at the heart of some of our most recent civic successes. Yet while we’ve made substantial progress, the region must constantly innovate to keep up with the rapid growth happening across the world. To fully meet the challenges and seize the opportunities before us will require collaboration and action at a pace and scale we have never seen.”

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand opened the meeting to discuss initiatives at the federal level to meet the evolving needs of businesses, including export programs and efforts to support “Made in America” manufacturing.

Howard Zemsky, the new president & CEO of Empire State Development, also spoke about his experiences as a private business developer in Buffalo, as well as insight into the impact of the “Buffalo Billion” and the opportunity to replicate that investment and success across the state through Governor Cuomo’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

"Thanks to an innovative, coordinated effort to grow the economy and create opportunities for all New Yorkers, Central New York is strongly positioned to make the most of the governor’s latest initiatives," said Zemsky. “Global NY, a $35 million fund to help local businesses tap into markets around the world; hundreds of millions in investment secured by the Regional Council; and the $1.5 billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative will help create new jobs and take things to the next level.”

Dr. Parimal Kopardekar, NASA Scientist and leading innovator in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), presented the meeting’s keynote address, sharing his vision for the future of the UAS industry in a time of rapidly evolving technologies and opportunities. His address highlighted the pace at which UAS technology is advancing; the innovations taking place in the UAS industry and the significant opportunities it is creating; and the need for a nationwide system to increase efficiency, safety, and capacity of airspace operations to enable that innovation.

Kopardekar’s perspective that is timely and relevant given CenterState CEO’s leadership role with the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance. NUAIR operates and manages one of just six UAS test sites in the country leading the research and deployment technologies that establish the case for safe UAS operations in the nation’s commercial airspace.

CenterState CEO also announced its Business of the Year award winners at the event. Business of the Year awards recognize outstanding achievement in five categories. This year’s winners are:

More Than 50 Employees
Sutherland Global Services

Less Than 50 Employees
SBB (Sullivan, Bazinet, Bongio)

Community Involvement

Clear Path for Veterans

Minority-owned Business
The CHC Group, Inc.

The inaugural Minority-owned Business of the Year Award was presented in partnership with the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance (MEA). At the event, CenterState CEO announced its partnership with MEA, a newly-formed organization to support minority business ventures in the region.

Upstate MEA's mission is to harness the economic power of the minority community for the benefit of the region. It is the first Minority Chamber of Commerce in the 16-county Upstate and Central New York region. MEA will work to enhance regional prosperity by offering core services like connecting qualified candidates of color to employers looking for new talent, securing memberships for professionals of color to give them access to new clients, sponsoring memberships for minority high school and college students to prepare them for economic success and to recruit them to stay in the area, and acting as a clearing house of information for MWBEs and professionals of diverse backgrounds. Through a historic alliance with CenterState CEO, MEA will also offer traditional chamber services and networking opportunities between members of CenterState CEO and MEA.

Sponsors of the 2015 CenterState CEO Annual Meeting include: Gold Sponsor Eric Mower + Associates; presenting sponsors CPS Recruitment, Inc. and NBT Bank; corporate sponsors Bonadio Group; Crouse Hospital; INFICON, Inc.; L. & J.G. Stickley, Inc.; Novelis, Inc.; SRC, Inc.; Time Warner Cable Business Class; and Wegmans Food and Pharmacy; and media sponsors Business Journal News Network; News Radio 570 WSYR Now on 106.9 FM; Syracuse Media Group; and Visual Technologies.

About Parimal Kopardekar
Parimal Kopardekar (PK) is the principal investigator of Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management and manager of the Safe Autonomous System Operations Project for NASA. Through this leading-edge project he is developing concepts and technologies to increase efficiency, safety and capacity of airspace operations. His R&D portfolio covers flight deck, airline operations center, and air navigation service provider technologies.

Kopardekar is particularly passionate about identifying and initiating high-risk and high-reward, game-changing, and disruptive innovations. At NASA, he has initiated many innovative research initiatives including reduced crew operations, net-enabled air traffic management, autonomy for airspace operations, Shadow-Mode Assessment using Realistic Technologies for the National Airspace System (SMART NAS), and low-altitude airspace management system focused on UAS operations.

Kopardekar is the recipient of numerous NASA awards including Outstanding Leadership Medal and Engineer of the Year. He holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Industrial Engineering and Bachelor’s degree in Production Engineering. He also serves as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Aerospace Operations.

About CenterState CEO
CenterState CEO is a regional business leadership organization, chamber of commerce, and economic development strategist, based in Syracuse, New York. We represent members of all sizes and industries, and serve as the primary business resource and catalyst for development in a twelve-county area. We advocate for smart business, facilitate regional growth and promote community prosperity through results-driven partnerships, planning and problem solving.

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