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CenterState CEO annual meeting draws more than 1,200

By Eric Reinhardt


Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, on Wednesday addressed the organization’s annual meeting at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at Oncenter. CenterState CEO says more than 1,200 people attended the luncheon event. (Eric Reinhardt / BJNN)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — More than 1,200 people attended CenterState CEO’s annual meeting in which it honored five area organizations with its Business of the Year Awards.

The event also included remarks from Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO and New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who spoke at the start of the luncheon. In addition, Tony Bond, executive VP and chief innovation officer of Great Place to Work, provided the event’s keynote address at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at Oncenter in Syracuse.

Great Place to Work — which has offices in New York City and Oakland, California — is a global research and analytics firm that produces the annual Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list, and other global workplace rankings, per CenterState CEO’s Wednesday news release.

The luncheon is the region’s largest annual gathering of business and community leaders, CenterState CEO says.

Business of the Year Awards

The Business of the Year awards recognize the “outstanding achievement of regional businesses and organizations in five categories,” as CenterState CEO describes them.

Salina–based insurance agency Haylor, Freyer & Coon Inc. won in the “More than 50 employees” category, while Canastota–based Northeast Information Discovery Inc. won in the “Less than 50 employees” category.

At the same time, Nascentia Health Inc. won the award in the “Nonprofit” category. SRC Inc. won in the “Community Involvement” category, and CenterState CEO honored NJ Jones Plumbing, LLC in the “Minority-owned business” category.

CenterState CEO presents the “Minority-owned business” category in partnership with the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, which is listed as an organizational partner at the CenterState CEO website.

Simpson remarks

In his message, Simpson noted the state’s recommendation of the community-grid alternative and “the two critical questions that this long-awaited decision places squarely at our feet,” per Simpson’s prepared remarks that CenterState CEO released on Wednesday.

“First, how do we maximize the economic potential of this once-in-a-generation, billion plus dollar investment in our region? And second, how will we mitigate the concerns of those who are most disadvantaged by this decision?” Simpson asked in annual-meeting message.

Simpson went on to say “For starters, we can dare to imagine the possibilities of a city re-united with itself — where downtown and University Hill merge, where large swaths of the Northside are preserved from demolition and where the Southside of Syracuse is re-opened to commercial corridor development that can brings jobs, investment and training to places that have been left behind for decades.

But while growth and investment are necessary preconditions for improving our economic performance, growth alone is no guarantee of greater prosperity for all.

No, to make the most of this moment — of this dramatic convergence of economic opportunity for our community — we need something more than an economic catalyst, we need intentional leadership.”

Simpson’s remarks also centered around the theme of Wednesday’s annual meeting, “Lead with intention.”

Keynote address

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,” Bond said, per the CenterState CEO release.

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