Lead with Intention to Create Great Companies and Communities

Posted on April 23, 2019


SYRACUSE, NY – More than 1,200 business and community leaders gathered today at CenterState CEO’s Annual Meeting, held at the Oncenter, in Syracuse.

In his message CenterState CEO President Robert Simpson spoke of the real and immediate opportunities, no longer on the horizon but taking place right now in the region, and the need to lead with intention to influence change and achieve true impact.

“There is something exciting happening in Syracuse. Beyond investment in projects, company expansions and hiring around the region, there is renewed collaboration, a shift in attitudes, and perhaps more importantly, a sense of hope and optimism that hasn't been seen in recent memory,” said Simpson. “The time is now to lead with intention if we are to fully grasp this momentum and current set of economic circumstances. It is a chance for us as a community to not only grow, but grow differently, better, and in a way that both acknowledges the challenges of the past but also embraces a more inclusive, equitable, and fair future for our entire community.”

The event’s keynote address was given by Tony Bond, executive vice president and chief innovation officer of Great Place to Work, the global research and analytics firm that produces the annual Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list, and dozens of other distinguished workplace rankings around the world. In his remarks, Bond shared how companies can drive innovation and economic growth through highly engaged employees, and that business can benefit by building winning workplace cultures.

“Technology is reshaping every industry, faster than ever before. In today’s business world, there is a rising need for innovation and speed,” said Bond. “Fostering innovation throughout the company will be a strategic necessity. Our research continues to show that having a strong workplace culture, built on trust and one that maximizes human potential, is a prerequisite to success. Leaders that are able to create a great place to work, for all, will not only ensure that the organization flourishes, but also their people and the world.”

In his role at Great Place to Work, Bond shapes the organization’s culture transformation work, and has served as a trusted adviser for some of the most successful global organizations, including the National Basketball Association, AT&T, Daimler, Coca-Cola, Indeed, Whole Foods, Dow Chemicals and American Express.

"The attributes of great places to work shared by Tony - high trust environments built on respect, credibility and fairness – apply not just to our places of employment, but to the way we perceive the place we live," said Simpson. "When we respect the opinions of others, establish and maintain credibility through our words and actions, and focus on fairness – we can more fully commit to a different and more inclusive future for our entire region.”


Business of the Year Winners

CenterState CEO also announced its Business of the Year award winners at the event, recognizing the outstanding achievement of regional businesses and organizations in five categories. This year’s winners are:


Haylor, Freyer & Coon, Inc.

More Than 50 Employees

Haylor, Freyer & Coon is a full-service, employee-owned insurance agency. In 2018, it celebrated 90 years with banner sales, including 6.5 percent organic growth. It is renovating 37,000-square-feet at One Park Place to relocate downtown, in Syracuse; hired 34 employees; and made a $1.5 million capital investment. It also grew its services surrounding the NYS Sexual Harassment Law, the #metoo movement and the cyber insurance market to educate and train its clients. HF&C and its employees contribute their time, talents and finances to dozens of organizations each year.


Northeast Information Discovery, Inc.

Less Than 50 Employees

Northeast Information Discovery (NEID) is a woman-owned small business headquartered in Canastota, New York. The software company provides leading-edge research and development of advanced computer network operations and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities for unmanned systems. This year, NEID acquired a new 6,000-square-foot facility, 1,000-square-feet of incubator space, and a 5-acre lot for future expansion. Given its growth, NEID currently needs to hire 40 new high-tech employees, adding to the 13 full-time associates brought on in 2018. Combined, this represents a more than 150 percent increase in staff for the company.


Nascentia Health, Inc.


Nascentia Health is experiencing significant growth, which enables it to have a greater impact on the community. In 2018, Nascentia and its nearly 600 employees moved into its new, 47,000-square-foot headquarters on West Genesee Street, in Syracuse, supporting the redevelopment of the West Genesee Street corridor. It also opened a satellite office in Batavia, and acquired office space at the Towne Center Retirement Community in Fayetteville. In addition, during the course of the past several years, the system has grown to serve 48 counties throughout Central and Upstate New York.


SRC, Inc.

Community Involvement

SRC’s community initiatives are focused on STEM education, United Way, and active and retired military. The company created the Corporate Campus Academic Mentoring Program with the Syracuse City School District; Partners for Education & Business; SRC STEM Scholars Program; and the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science-SRC Engineering Ambassadors program. Created in 2013, the SRC Community Internship Program connects children of SRC employees to paid summer internships, funded by SRC, with a United Way organization. SRC employees volunteer more than 10,000 hours, annually. The company also matches 100 percent of its employee’s donations to the United Way annually – last year, the company match was $280,000.


NJ Jones Plumbing, LLC

Minority-owned Business

(presented in partnership with the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance)

NJ Jones Plumbing, LLC is a family-owned and operated, New York State certified Minority Business Enterprise. Owner NaDonte Jones is the first and only African-American master plumber in Onondaga County. In addition to making history, Jones is paving the way for others by hosting a New York State Department of Labor certified apprentice program. His apprentices become certified plumbers in New York, adding to the diversity of tradespeople in the community. The company’s mission — Humble, Patient, Integrity — illuminates the philosophy of its work.



Presenting Sponsors of the 2019 CenterState CEO Annual Meeting are: CPS Recruitment, Inc.; Tompkins Trust Company; and Nascentia Health, Inc. Corporate Sponsors are: SRC, Inc.; Dannible & McKee, LLP; OBG; INFICON, Inc.; Wegmans Food and Pharmacy; TCGplayer; L.&J.G. Stickley, Inc.; Preferred Mutual Insurance Company; Spectrum Reach and SWBR. Speaker Sponsor is Delta Air Lines. Parking Sponsor is C&S Companies. Media Sponsors are News Radio 570 WSYR Now on 106.9 FM; Business Journal News Network; and Visual Technologies.


About CenterState CEO

CenterState CEO is an independent and forward thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. We serve as an advocate and resource for smart business, catalyze and facilitate regional growth, and promote community prosperity through results-driven partnerships, planning and problem-solving. www.centerstateceo.com





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