December 20 2019

CEG Announces 2020 Officers and Board of Directors


CDPHP’s John D. Bennett elected Board Chair

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Board officers for the Center for Economic Growth (CEG) were elected at the organization’s Board of Directors meeting Thursday, with CDPHP President and CEO John D. Bennett, MD, being selected to succeed Pioneer Bank President and CEO Thomas Amell as Board Chair. Dr. Bennett and the following officers will take office on Jan. 1, 2020:

  • John D. Bennett, MD, CDPHP: Chair of the Board
  • Thomas Amell, Pioneer Bank: Past Chair
  • Patricia Fusco, Fusco Personnel: Secretary
  • James Drislane, Teal, Becker & Chiaramonte, CPAs: Treasurer

2020 Objectives

Dr. Bennett will be taking the helm of CEG at a pivotal time for both the organization and the Capital Region. On top of overseeing the continued expansion of CEG’s industry and workforce development initiatives, as well as the launch of a regional branding campaign, Dr. Bennett will guide the organization as it works to fulfill the strategies of the Capital Region’s five-year economic development plan.

“I’m thrilled to be named CEG Board Chair, building upon the incredible leadership of my predecessor Tom Amell, and continuing the excellent work being done to attract and retain talent in this region we call home,” said Dr. Bennett. “Like CEG, CDPHP understands that the success of our community depends on the strength of its businesses, which is why we work day-in and day-out to improve the lives of the individuals we serve. I look forward to getting to work on what I hope will be a very prosperous term.”

“John Bennett keenly understands just how transformative technology can be, whether it’s for a health insurer or a region. He knows how important it is to train, attract and retain talent as well as to make the investments needed to create a place where people want to live and work. As CEG strives to advance priorities such as industry attraction, workforce development, startup support and placemaking, John’s vision and leadership will be invaluable,” said CEG President and CEO Andrew Kennedy. “It has been an honor working with Tom during his tenure as Board Chair, and it is because of his strong commitment to CEG and the Capital Region that we are positioned to have an even greater local economic impact in 2020.”  

2019 Accomplishments

Dr. Bennett will build on the accomplishments that Amell helped CEG achieve in 2019, which have included:

Marketing the Capital Region at 23 events/tradeshows worldwide;

Engaging with over 100 companies looking to grow;

Developing strategies to help advance progress of key industry clusters in the Region;

Supporting 41 companies expand and enhance their competitiveness;

Engaging 30 startups, helping them secure nearly $3 million in investments;

Attending 10 careers fairs in the Northeast;

Assisting over 75 executives and skilled workers with relocation and career support services;

Opening the Veteran Connect Center (VCC) to attract transitioning service members to the region Created workforce training solutions; and

Creating workforce training solutions, such as the Manufacturing Technologies Pathways and apprenticeship programs.

Click here for more details on CEG’s 2019 accomplishments.

Watch CEG’s 2019 Annual Meeting video.

Board of Directors

At CEG’s 2019 Annual Meeting at WMHT Studios in Troy on Nov. 21, the following individuals were also elected to the 2020 Board of Directors:


  • James J. Barba, Albany Medical Center
  • John D. Bennett, MD, CDPHP
  • David M. Buicko, The Galesi Group
  • Michael J. Castellana, SEFCU
  • Gregory Connors, GLOBALFOUNDRIES
  • Chris Del Vecchio, MVP Healthcare
  • George R. Hearst, III, Times Union
  • Richard Hendrick, Port of Albany
  • Ruth Mahoney, Key Bank
  • Justin Moore, Rivers Casino & Resort
  • John J. Nigro, Nigro Companies
  • Stephen Obermayer, BBL Construction Services, LLC
  • Robert Pasinella, Rensselaer County IDA
  • Laura Poltynski, National Grid
  • Gregory Stephan, Zones/nfrastructure
  • Havidán Rodríguez, Ph.D., University at Albany
  • John Tattersall, Chair, Chief Executives Network


  • Brian Akley, Gilbane Building Company
  • Thomas L. Amell, Pioneer Bank
  • Cindy Applebaum, Albany Business Review
  • Carm Basile, CDTA
  • Robert E. Blackman, Howard Hanna Realty
  • Tracey Brooks, Shenker, Russo & Clark, LLP
  • Bryant J. Cassella, Wells Fargo
  • Antonio Civitella, Transfinder
  • Casey Crowley, Owens Corning
  • John DeAugustine, Schenectady Gazette
  • David S. DeMarco, Saratoga National Bank
  • Tyler Desmond, The Desmond Hotel & Conference Center
  • Keith Dolan, BlueShield of Northeastern New York
  • Christopher Dowd, Ballston Spa National Bank
  • James Drislane, Teal, Becker & Chiaramonte, CPAs
  • Paul Fahey, Overit
  • Daniel Fariello, Capital Bank
  • Patricia A. Fusco, Fusco Personnel
  • Ray Gillen, Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority
  • James Harris, Jr., Janitronics
  • John Harris, Esq., Brown & Weinraub, PLLC
  • Michael J. Hickey, Siena College
  • David Horan, JP Morgan Chase
  • Scott Houghtaling, Berkshire Bank
  • Josh Kowalski, Carver Companies
  • Kevin Lanahan, New York Independent System Operator (NYISO)
  • Richard E. Leckerling, Esq., Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna
  • Jennifer L. MacPhee, Bank of America
  • Andrew Marsh, Plug Power
  • Chris McKenna, CAPCOM
  • John McManus, Harris Beach, PLLC
  • Matthew Millea, C&S Companies
  • Paul Milton, Ellis Medicine
  • Thomas O’Connor, III, Mohawk Fine Papers Inc.
  • Diana Ostroff, Ostroff & Associates
  • Michael Paparian, Citizens Commercial Banking
  • Roger A. Ramsammy, Ph.D., Hudson Valley Community College
  • Justin Riccio, Alliant Americas
  • Joe Rigabar, AYCO
  • Andrew C. Rose, Esq., Nixon Peabody, LLP
  • Raymond L. Rudolph, P.E., John W. Danforth Company
  • Peter Semenza, Peter’s Health Partners
  • Kathy Sheehan, City of Albany
  • Richard P. Sleasman, SIOR, CBRE – Albany
  • Carolyn Stefanco, Ph.D., The College of Saint Rose
  • Carl E. Stewart, III, Turner Construction
  • Richard Straut, P.E., Barton & Loguidice
  • Michael J. Uccellini, United Group of Companies
  • Nick Viggiani, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Susan Walden, Momentive Performance Materials
  • Dan White, KPMG LLP


The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is the Capital Region’s regional economic development organization, with over 265 investors in business, government, education, and the not-for-profit sectors. CEG is a New York Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology and Innovation-designated Regional Technology Development Center and an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)/Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). For more information, visit






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