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CEO FOCUS: Celebrating a Record Number of Economic Champions and their Collective Impact

By Robert Simpson


Thank you. Thank you for every job you’ve added, every investment made, and every commitment you have made to growing this region’s economy. 

Progress, big and small, is what we have always celebrated through our Economic Champion’s event, and this year we proudly recognized a record 421 businesses and organizations for creating more than 5,000 new jobs, investing more than $1 billion in capital expenditures, adding more than 5.8 million square feet of new space, opening 121 new businesses and locations. These organizations have also marked 76 milestones and anniversaries and been recognized with 102 awards and achievements. And new to these annual celebrations, we were honored to recognize more than 52 companies for their efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

These investments, and the hundreds of others made over the past decade, are a down payment on our community’s progress. The opportunity to welcome Micron didn’t happen overnight. It happened because our members and stakeholders led Central New York’s revitalization. [The Nov. 9 Economic Champions] celebration was a recognition of these efforts and an acknowledgement that together we achieved what everyone said was impossible — we secured the largest economic development project in our state’s history and one of the largest ever in the nation’s history. 

As Dr. Robert Simmons III, head of social impact and STEM programs at Micron Technology, highlighted in his keynote remarks, the work to ensure this investment impacts everyone in our community is just beginning — and it belongs to us all. While this will require hard work and a shared vision, I know there is no challenge too big. Micron’s unprecedented and nation-leading community investment framework, in partnership with New York state, reflects Micron’s values and vision to transform how the world uses information to enrich life for all. I proudly welcome them as our newest partner. 

During our event, we also recognized Le Moyne College with the CenterState CEO Community Visionary Award, sponsored by Wegmans Food Markets. Le Moyne College embodies a vision of economic opportunity, and its leadership is creating greater access to opportunities for those across our community.

No longer is Central New York’s economy marked by modest, steady growth. This is a community that is back on the map. Congratulations to all our Economic Champions and thank you for the teamwork you have displayed, and for believing that a day like today was, in fact, possible.             

Robert M. Simpson is president and CEO of CenterState CEO, the primary economic-development and chamber of commerce organization for Central New York. This article is drawn and edited from the “CEO Focus” email newsletter that the organization sent to members on Nov. 10.