By Tom Murdock:
Buffalo can be a funny town.
How many other places can you think of where locals get together and talk about what’s wrong? Family picnics, business meetings, and social outings always seem to include some mention of the Peace Bridge, Main Street downtown, and our region’s limited influence given the huge population in New York City.
A summit is being put together to focus on solutions rather than the same old problems. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership and BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York are teaming up to produce Accelerate Upstate, a two day conference for 300 business, political, labor, and community leaders from around New York State to develop ideas for our future. At the end of the summit, an Accelerate Upstate action agenda will be delivered to elected officials in Albany and Washington.
Accelerate Upstate is designed to be inclusive, constructive, and productive. Sessions will be held in downtown locations including the Convention Center, Main Library, HSBC Center, Marina, and Theatre District, so participants will see the best of what downtown Buffalo has to offer but also see the challenges of surface parking lots, abandoned buildings, and empty storefronts. In addition to the working sessions, a Niagara Falls excursion, social hour, and architecture tour are planned. Accelerate Upstate will wrap up just as the Buffalo Brewfest is beginning in the HSBC Arena.
Knowing that Upstate’s population and political influence will likely remain smaller than New York City’s, Accelerate Upstate sessions include:
· What Motivates Us – The unique conditions in NYC and Upstate
· Big City: Bigger State – Best practices from other states facing an 800-pound gorilla
· Our Connection with Canada
· Higher Ed as an Economic Driver
· Where’s Our Future Workforce? Who’s Going to be Running New York in 2020?
· Jobs and Investment – What is the right recipe for New York’s economic growth
Some of the speakers attending include Kathy Wylde, President of the Partnership for NYC; SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher; former NBC News anchor (and Levin Institute head) Garrick Utley, and former Assembly minority leader & Buffalo control board member, John Faso.
You can register to participate in Accelerate Upstate by clicking here.