BIA/NYS convenes 2015 annual meeting in Ithaca

Our 2015 annual meeting, held this year at Cornell University in Ithaca, attracted a record 100 attendees from around the state — all people actively committed to innovation & entrepreneurship.

Ithaca is home to several incubators, a research and technology park, and the state-designated Innovation Hot Spot for the Southern Tier economic region, which is known as the Southern Tier Startup Alliance. Strong attendance was an outcome of coprogramming with the Upstate Venture Association of New York (UVANY), which held one of its regional meetings the night before in downtown Ithaca, and NYSERDA and NYSTAR, which held contractor meetings with various NYS-supported incubator programs. 

Our featured lunch speaker was Julie Lenzer Kirk, director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Economic Development Administration (EDA), an arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The OIE’s Regional Innovation Strategies program has recently made three significant grants to New York State incubators, and the office also coordinates multi-agency initiatives across the federal government.

Welcome remarks were given by Mary Opperman, the Cornell vice president in charge of the university’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement. Policy updates from the executive and legislative branches were offered by, respectively, Michael Ridley, of Empire State Development’s NYSTAR division, and Robert Herz, director of the Senate Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, which is chaired by Senator Martin Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn).

The meeting featured programmatic updates from the five members of the Southern Tier Startup Alliance:

  • Louis Walcer, director of Cornell’s McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences, a biotech incubator in Weill Hall on the Ithaca campus;
  • Tom Schryver, director of Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, an incubator in downtown Ithaca that is a joint venture of Cornell, Ithaca College, and SUNY’s Tompkins Cortland Community College (Tom also directs the Southern Tier Startup Alliance); 
  • Jeremy Thomas, director of Cornell’s real estate office, which owns the Cornell Business & Technology Park and its multi-tenant facility known as the Langmuir Labs;
  • Per Stromhaug, who manages Binghamton University’s Start-up Suites incubator at the Innovative Technologies Complex on campus and is managing planning for the new Southern Tier High Technology Incubator in downtown Binghamton;
  • Alan Rae, director of the Ceramics Corridor (being rebranded as IncubatorWorks) incubator sites in Corning and (soon) Elmira;
  • Stacey Duncan, director of The Center, an incubator in downtown Binghamton managed by Broome County’s The Agency. 

Following these presentations, Tom Schryver moderated a panel on leveraging additional sources of funding to manage effective incubation programs. Presenting panelists were Jeffrey Peterson of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Bryan Allinson of the Research Foundation for SUNY, and Michael Stamm of Tompkins County Area Development. 

At a business meeting, the membership of BIA/NYS confirmed the following additional members:

  • The Biomedical Acceleration and Commercialization Center (BACC) at Albany Medical Center â€” a two-time grantee in U.S. EDA/OIE’s Regional Innovation Strategies program;
  • PowerBridgeNY, a NYSERDA-supported Proof of Concept Center jointly managed by Columbia, NYU, and other downstate partners;
  • The Center, a program of The Agency in Broome County
  • New York City Regional Innovation Node (NYCIRN), an NSF I-Corps node managed by CUNY, NYU and Columbia â€” and designated by ESD/NYSTAR as the manager of the Innovation Hot Spot for New York City; 
  • The Southern Tier Startup Alliance â€” which received another award from the U.S. EDA/OIE Regional Innovation Strategies, as well as an SBA award for a Southern Tier Hardware Accelerator; 
  • The Seneca Nation of Indians Small Business Incubator;
  • Eastman Business Park, which has long been a financial sponsor of BIA/NYS and now has joined us as a voting member as well on behalf of its research and technology park and its acceleration programs including one funded by U.S. EDA; 

At the conclusion of the meeting, the members elected two persons to rotating vacancies on the board of directors:

  • Kimberly Kohl, of University at Buffalo’s Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR) which manages UB’s incubator programs including a NYSERDA-funded clean-energy incubator DirectedEnergy NY; 
  • Steven Kuyan of NYU’s Polytechnic School of Engineering Incubator programs, two of which â€” Varick Street and DUMBO â€” are managed by Steve; 

The members also recognized with thanks directors two rotated off the board this year: Lou Walcer of Cornell’s McGovern Center and Seth Bornstein of Queens Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneur Space kitchen and office incubator. The members also observed a moment of silence in memory of Jeffrey Lawrence of the Center for Economic Growth in the Capital Region. Jeff was a former board member who passed away earlier this year and is deeply missed. 

The board organized itself by electing Ann-Marie Scheidt as chair, Tom Schryver as vice chair, El-Java Williams Abdul-Qadir as secretary, and Seth Mulligan as treasurer. 

Meeting sponsors included New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Research Foundation for SUNY; the Cornell Business & Technology Park; Marshall & Sterling Insurance; GrowthWheel; Tompkins County Area Development; the McGovern Center; and the New York State Economic Development Council. Minutes of the business meeting will be distributed to the members. Presentations and related materials are attached below. 


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