President and CEO

Andrew Kennedy

518-465-8975 Ext. 225   ·   andrewk@ceg.org

Andrew Kennedy is the President and CEO of the Center for Economic Growth. He previously served as the Deputy Director of State Operations for Governor Andrew M Cuomo overseeing the day-to-day management of New York State government, as well as developing and overseeing implementation of state policies and programs related to economic development. Prior to that, Andrew served as Governor Cuomo’s Assistant Secretary for Economic Development coordinating the development and management of the State’s economic development and housing efforts. Prior to joining Governor Cuomo’s staff, Andrew worked for over a decade at the New York State Division of Budget and for the New York State Assembly where he developed a detailed understanding of New York’s fiscal and economic development policies and programs. Andrew holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and a bachelor’s degree from Siena College in political science.

Director, Business Development – Business Growth Services

Louise Aitcheson

518-465-8975 Ext. 229   ·   louisea@ceg.org

Louise Aitcheson joined CEG as the Director of Business Development in January 2002. As the Director of Business Development, her primary responsibilities focus on developing CEG’s Technology / Manufacturing Consulting Services, serving as Executive Director of the Chief Executives Network for Manufacturers (CEN), and further developing membership in CEG and CEN.

Prior to CEG, Louise worked with Light & Power Communications, Ltd., as Director of Sales, Meetings & Events Group where she had a very successful track record in business development and relationship management with a national client base which included Fortune 100 firms, governmental agencies and national associations.

Prior to Light & Power, she was the Research Director for the Capital District Business Review, where her primary responsibility was compiling the weekly Top 25 Lists as well as the Book of Lists.  Louise earned a B.A. in English literature at Keuka College, Keuka Park, NY.

Project Director, Technology Services

Tom Bell

518-465-8975 Ext. 242   ·   tomb@ceg.org

After completing studies in mechanical engineering technology, Tom Bell initiated his career in manufacturing with the Department of Defense at the Watervliet Arsenal.  During his tenure there, he served in various technical and management positions including leading manufacturing, planning, quality and design related activities, receiving numerous commendations for his work, including the Commander’s Award for Distinguished Civilian Service.

After leaving the arsenal, Tom initially joined the CEG in November 1999 as a Lean Enterprise Program Director. During the ensuing eight years, he focused on the advancement of manufacturing capabilities through the delivery of effective training and hands-on support at dozens of upstate New York firms involving many thousands of individuals at all organizational levels. He also was the founder and director of the “Lean Users Network” created as a learning and support organization for leaders of continuous improvement efforts at companies throughout the Capital Region.

Early in 2008, Tom moved to private industry in support of the lean enterprise goals of an aerospace/medical composite structures manufacturing firm in Bennington, VT.  While there, he provided wide-ranging technical and administrative support, including the coordination of lean planning and implementation activities. He returned to the Center for Economic Growth in April 2013 as Project Director for Technology Services, analyzing business processes and working with company representatives in the achievement of their performance goals.

Program Manager, Talent Connect

Joanne Bucher

518-465-8975 Ext. 222   ·   joanneb@ceg.org

Joanne Bucher is Program Manager of Talent Connect. She supports professional candidates and newly hired relocating professionals and their families with pre-hire consultations, and new-hire navigation services, including community resources, career support and cultural transitioning. Bucher received her BS in business administration and management from The College of St. Rose and has a strong background in management, communications and marketing. She is certified in Crossing Cultures with Competence and was previously employed at CDYMCA and Media Logic.

Project Coordinator, Entrepreneurship

Ellyn Ford

518-465-8975 Ext. 243   ·   ellynf@ceg.org

Ellyn Ford came to CEG in 2015 with an AAS Degree in Early Childhood Development from SUNY Cobleskill, a degree she utilized for the first decade of her career as an early childhood educator and Assistant Director of Shannon’s Rainbow and then of Samaritan-Rensselaer Children’s Center. Following this, Ellyn spent a decade at Blue Cross Blue Shield where she became Executive Assistant to the Director of Provider Services.

Prior to arriving at CEG, she was the HopeClub Coordinator as well as Office Manager at American Cancer Society HopeClub, an organization that offers social and emotional support to those living with cancer. Currently Ellyn facilitates and assists with several programs at CEG including the NYS High School Business Plan Competition, VentureB, Bioconnex, Innovate518, Accelerate518, Chief Executives Network and TechConnex.

Director, Investor Relations & Talent Connect

John Giordano

518-465-8975 Ext. 232   ·   johng@ceg.org

John Giordano is responsible for the membership investment income for both CEG and Talent Connect. Along with Joanne and Courtney, he operates the Talent Connect program, assisting companies with attracting talent to relocate into the Capital Region. 

John’s background is in the hospitality and tourism industry, with time spent in travel agency, meeting planning, hotels and as the co-founder of the Albany Aqua Ducks.

Program & Marketing Coordinator, Talent Connect

Courtney Heinbach

518-465-8975 Ext. 223   ·   courtneyh@ceg.org

As a Program and Marketing Coordinator, Courtney works primarily within CEG’s Talent Connect program. Courtney develops publications to keep communication with stakeholders consistent; speaking to CEG members, employers, and relocating professionals to keep them up-to-date on local events and networking opportunities, while also providing them with a variety of resources to help establish connections within our region. Courtney fills a unique position at CEG, helping to market and develop the region with new businesses and employers, as well as assisting Talent Connect newcomers with their transition throughout the relocation process. As an Albany native and lover of upstate New York, she is eager to help newcomers adjust and experience the amazing things this region has to offer. Courtney earned her B.A. and M.A. in Communication from the University at Albany.

Program Manager, Energy & Sustainability

Peter Lion

518-465-8975 Ext. 234   ·   peterl@ceg.org

Peter Lion is the Program Manager, Energy & Sustainability at CEG. In this capacity he works with businesses to reduce cost through the optimization of business operations. Services include energy and materials benchmarking, state and utility rebate consulting as well as working with organizations on innovative approaches to sustainability activity.

Peter has more than 6 years of experience providing environmental related services including hazardous waste management, energy auditing and sustainability guidance. He earned a BS in Environmental Science from Calvin College, a MS in Sustainable Development from Linköping University, and has worked in Belize and Sweden.

Center Director, Business Growth Services | MEP

Michael Lobsinger

518-465-8975 Ext. 238   ·   michaell@ceg.org

Michael Lobsinger is the Center Director for the CEG’s Business Growth Services (BGS) and Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Michael directs the BGS|MEP team in providing exemplary support to manufacturing and technology companies with a focus on Continuous Improvement, Technology Acceleration, Growth & Innovation, Export, Supply Chain, Sustainability and Workforce Development. Michael has more than 17 years of experience ranging from engineering and product development, manufacturing, business development and operations. Prior to joining CEG in 2013, he was director of an incubator program, an entrepreneur, and was a senior engineer at Boeing. Michael earned a BS in mechanical engineering from North Dakota State University and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Marketing & Communications Specialist – Business Growth Solutions

Megan Rooney

518-465-8975 Ext. 224   ·   meganr@ceg.org

Megan Rooney is the Marketing and Communications Specialist for Business Growth Solutions. With a background in communications and digital media, Megan specializes in interdisciplinary marketing efforts to support the manufacturing and technology sectors that CEG serves. Megan is responsible for the creation of digital and print materials and employing e-marketing strategy, as well as assisting in event coordination for Business Growth Solutions industry networks. Megan also assists in the marketing and communications of CEG membership events and initiatives through social media strategy, graphic design and event coordination. Megan received her Bachelors of Arts in cultural communications and aesthetics from the State University of New York at New Paltz and a certificate in digital media from Hudson Valley Community College.

Director, Research & Communications

James Schlett

518-465-8975 Ext. 221   ·   jamess@ceg.org

As the Director of Research and Commuications for the Center for Economic Growth, James Schlett conducts research, provides analysis of economic statistics, and keeps CEG investors, businesses, media and the general public informed on the organization’s activities and opportunities in the Capital Region.

James is an award-winning journalist and author. Prior to joining CEG, he served as the editor of two business-to-business tech magazines, BioPhotonics and Industrial Photonics, published by Laurin Publishing. Before that he worked as the business development writer for a mid-sized Albany law firm and as the administrator of the New York State Senate Select Committee on Budget and Tax Reform.

For seven years James worked as a newspaper reporter for the Watertown Daily Times, The Westerly Sun in Rhode Island and the Schenectady Daily Gazette. His business and feature writing for the Gazette was recognized by the New York Newspaper Publishers Association, the New York State Associated Press Association. He is the author of A Not Too Greatly Changed Eden: The Story of the Philosophers’ Camp in the Adirondacks (Cornell University Press, 2015), winner of an Adirondack Literary Award for Best Book of Nonfiction from the Adirondack Center for Writing.

James received his bachelor’s degree from SUNY New Paltz. He lives in Rotterdam with his wife and daughter. When not crunching numbers, he enjoys hiking, gardening and writing and reading haiku.

Director, Marketing & Operations

Andrea Swank

518-465-8975 Ext. 250   ·   andreas@ceg.org

Andrea Swank works to coordinate various activities to attract high-tech industry (with a focus on semiconductor and renewable energy – PV) to Tech Valley. This includes marketing the region internationally under the “NY Loves Technology” / “NY Loves Nanotech” / “NY Loves Clean Tech” brands to companies and related suppliers interested in building facilities. Andrea organizes participation at industry events and tradeshows, organizes regional FAM tours/local industry events, and provides specific marketing support for these activities. Andrea also manages CEG’s signature events and directs the marketing efforts of the organization.

Andrea joined CEG in 2007 after graduating from Sage College of Albany with a B.S. in applied biology/business.

Program Manager, Contracts & Reports

Dana Unser

518-465-8975 Ext. 253   ·   danau@ceg.org

Dana Unser joined CEG in 2015 to work with the various Program Managers/Directors and the respective funding agencies to prepare applications on state, federal and corporate grants specifically related to CEG’s Business Growth Services work as a NYSTAR designated Regional Technology Development Center (RTDC) and designated regional Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center for the 8-county Capital Region. She also prepares all necessary reports and documentation associated with the grant process.

Director, Economic Development Services

Amanda Vitullo

518-465-8975 Ext. 244   ·   amandav@ceg.org

Amanda Vitullo currently serves as the Director of Economic Development at CEG. She is responsible for coordinating and supporting the organization’s economic development initiatives, including workforce development and business attraction, expansion and retention.

Prior to joining CEG, Amanda served as an Excelsior Service Fellow in the NYS Executive Chamber. During this time, she worked in Governor Cuomo’s operations team as his special assistant for briefing. In addition to the Executive Chamber, she has also held the role of Communications and Marketing Assistant at the City of Albany’s primary economic development arm, Capitalize Albany Corporation.

Amanda holds her master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and her bachelor’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications.

Special Projects Coordinator

Holly Yost

518-465-8975 Ext. 245   ·   hollyy@ceg.org

Holly Yost provides project management and administrative support for CEG’s Board of Directors, Workgroups and Committees. In addition, she supports CEG’s Local Government Council.

Funding Partners