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CenterState CEO annual meeting to include keynote remarks on AI

By Eric Reinhardt (


Event also honors Business of the Year winners                          

Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, addresses the gathering at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at Oncenter during the organization’s annual meeting in April 2023. This year’s annual meeting is scheduled for April 11 in the same location. ERIC REINHARDT / CNYBJ

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The “real-world opportunities” of artificial intelligence (AI) will be the subject of the keynote address at the upcoming annual meeting of at CenterState CEO, which is set for Thursday, April 11 at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at Oncenter in Syracuse.

The organization has also announced the finalists in five categories for its Business of the Year honors, which will also be unveiled during the annual meeting. The event is scheduled for 3-4:30 p.m., with a 90-minute networking reception to follow. 

This year’s annual meeting will explore the theme “Aligned: Leading at the Pace of Change,” CenterState CEO said. Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, will also share remarks on “what our community can become if we are aligned in a forward-looking vision and committed to leading at the pace of change,” per the announcement.

“CenterState CEO’s annual event is an opportunity to celebrate our regional progress and outline the strategies that will enable us to shape a future that reflects our shared values and aspirations,” Simpson said in the announcement. “As we look ahead, we aren’t asking the question of if our economic fortunes will change, rather, what kind of community we want to be when it does. Just as Central New York is experiencing a moment of unprecedented growth, AI’s rapid pace of change is creating untold opportunities for how we live and work. We are incredibly fortunate to welcome Elizabeth Kelly as this year’s keynote speaker. Her work and remarks provide an important lens for thinking about how growth can best be maximized when we acknowledge the need for guiderails to ensure that all benefit equitably from this progress.”

Keynote speaker

In her remarks, Elizabeth Kelly, CEO of the U.S. AI Safety Institute at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will discuss how AI affects people and business. 

Kelly will also speak about how human-centered strategies and governance can support AI’s “transformational impact, while mitigating potential societal and ethical risks associated with this technology,” CenterState CEO said.

“Our mission at the U.S. AI Safety Institute is to advance AI safety, so we can promote trust and speed adoption and innovation,” Kelly said in the CenterState CEO announcement. “The Safety Institute will further our understanding of how AI models and systems work, what their capabilities and risks are, and how to make them safer.”

Kelly previously served as special assistant to the president for economic policy at the White House National Economic Council. In that role, she helped lead the Biden Administration’s efforts on financial regulation and technology policy, including artificial intelligence. 

Kelly was a “driving force” behind the domestic components of the AI executive order, spearheading efforts to promote competition, protect privacy, and support workers and consumers, and helped lead administration engagement with allies and partners on AI governance, according to CenterState CEO.   

Business of the Year finalists

The organization named four finalists in five categories for its annual Business of the Year awards that recognize member companies and organizations for their “outstanding success and the role they play in strengthening the region.” The categories and finalists are listed below, and CenterState CEO will announce the winner in each category during the annual meeting. 

More than 50 Employees

• Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC
• Crouse Health
• Tompkins Community Bank
• Woodford Bros., Inc.

Fewer than 50 Employees

• 325 Productions
• Drakos Dynamics
• Potter Heating & AC - Perrone Plumbing Services
• ResilienX

Minority-owned Business, in partnership with the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance

• Brackens Financial Solutions Network 
• Cocoa’s Candle Bar
• La Liga


• Catholic Charities of Onondaga County
• ConnextCare
• Food Bank of Central New York
• Housing Visions

Community Involvement

• CPS Recruitment, Inc.
• Firley, Moran, Freer & Eassa, CPA, P.C.
• NBT Bank
• Novelis, Inc.