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CenterState CEO honors local companies as “Economic Champions” during luncheon

By Eric Reinhardt


Nearly 1,000 businesses, community leaders, and guests attended the CenterState CEO “Economic Champions” luncheon held Tuesday at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at Oncenter. CenterState CEO recognized a “record” 326 companies for hiring, expansion initiatives, and nearly $760 million in capital investments. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — CenterState CEO recognized a “record” 326 companies as 2019 “Economic Champions” during a Tuesday luncheon event.

Nearly 1,000 businesses, community leaders and guests attended the event at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at Oncenter.

The firms were honored for their collective hiring of more than 3,200 employees, 1.9 million square-feet of expansions, and nearly $760 million in capital investments, CenterState CEO said.

A “record” 95 new businesses were recognized for opening their doors and 56 were highlighted for celebrating a milestone anniversary, “speaking to businesses’ commitment” to the local and regional economy.

Peers, employees and staff nominated companies as “Economic Champions” for their accomplishments throughout the year, CenterState CEO said.

“Through their job creation and investments, this year’s Economic Champions are creating the momentum necessary to propel our economy forward,” Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, said in a statement. “Thanks to the vision, dedication and boots-on-the ground hard work of the businesses we celebrate today, the dynamics of our region’s economy has changed. Further boosting this success is the leadership and collaboration amongst local leaders who are aligned in their vision to create a better city and county. We have worked hard and even defied our own expectations. Now it is incumbent on us to take full advantage of this progress by celebrating these successes, sharing our story, and sustaining the positive trajectory we are seeing in our local and regional economy.”

The luncheon also featured a keynote panel of business leaders, in which they discussed their growth stories — ones that “exemplify the type of growth celebrated at this event.” The panelists included Marc Jones, founder and CEO of Dreissig Apparel Inc.; Wills Mahoney, co-founder of Plowz & Mowz; and Melissa Zell, president and COO of Pioneer Companies.

Community Visionary Award

CenterState CEO presented its Community Visionary Award to Syracuse University (SU) for “embodying a vision of economic opportunity” and for work that had a significant impact on “community prosperity.”

Wegmans, the popular Rochester–based chain of grocery stores, sponsors the award. “Wegmans proudly recognizes Syracuse University as the 2019 CenterState CEO Community Visionary Award recipient for its leadership in creating, investing in and implementing community-connected initiatives and partnerships that benefit stakeholders across Central New York,” Evelyn Ingram, director of community relations at Wegmans, said in a statement.

Michael Haynie, Syracuse University’s vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation, and Barnes professor of entrepreneurship, thanked CenterState CEO and its membership for the award.

Haynie said SU is the largest private employer in the region and that its operations generate more than $1.1 billion of economic impact each year to the area.

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