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New study touts benefit of Indian Point

The National Energy Institute (NEI) is out with a new study, released today, that highlights the financial impact of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester County.

According to the NEI’s study, which can be downloaded here, Indian Point pumps $1.6 billion into the state’s economy each year. The same study says the plant contributes an additional $900 million to the nation’s economy.

From the study:

“Indian Point’s annual spending creates a huge ripple effect in the state and nationwide: The facility’s operation generates $1.3 billion of annual economic output in the local counties, $1.6 billion statewide and $2.5 billion across the United States. The study finds that for every dollar of output from Indian Point, the local economy produces $1.27, the state economy produces $1.55 and the U.S. economy produces $2.48.

Entergy provides higher-than-average wages at Indian Point: Entergy directly employs approximately 1,000 people at Indian Point. Because they are technical in nature, these jobs typically are higher-paying. This direct employment leads to another 2,800 indirect jobs in surrounding counties and 1,600 in other industries in New York for a total 5,400 jobs in-state. There are an additional 5,300 indirect jobs outside the state for a total of 10,700 jobs throughout the United States.”

The Business Council of New York State, Inc., supports the continued operations of Indian Point, which is essential to the New York State economy. This electrical generation facility provides 2,069 megawatts of baseload power to New York’s electrical grid every single day. Indian Point accounts for up to 11 percent of the power used statewide and 25 percent of the power in both Westchester County and New York City.

Major milestone for P-TECH

The Business Council has been a huge supporter of specialized schools under the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program. Our work with the program began back in December 2012 when we, along with IBM and the State Education Department, co-hosted a meeting for potential partners. These innovative grade 9-14 schools combine academics, workplace learning and mentoring, and have been championed by everyone from Governor Cuomo to President Obama. In fact, President Obama even mentioned Brooklyn P-TECH in his 2013 State of the Union address. And now, six students who completed the program in only four years, are on the cusp of graduating.

P-TECH Brooklyn is the flagship school that spurred the state’s P-TECH program. A partnership between IBM (a Business Council member), the New York City Department of Education, the City University of New York and City Tech, the school allows students to graduate with a high school diploma and associate degree in applied science in computer systems technology or electromechanical engineering technology. Students are then given an opportunity to be first in line for jobs at IBM.

The NY Daily News wrote a great article about this year’s first crop of graduates. We were particularly struck by this passage: The students are the first group to graduate from P-TECH with a high school degree and an associate’s degree. That includes Gabriel Rosa, who applied to P-TECH on a whim. “Being able to handle a lot of work is definitely a skill I’ve gained,” Rosa said. “If I wasn’t in P-TECH, I’m not sure where I’d be.”

Read more about the students here and here.

Daily News gets it right

Since bursting on to the scene several years ago, Uber and Lyft have upended, or disrupted, the traditional taxi system. If you’re unfamiliar with how these services work, basically you download the company’s app on your smartphone and when you’re looking for a ride you open up the app, make sure it has you in the correct location and then ask for a pickup. The app then alerts the nearest driver that you’re ready to be picked up and in a few minutes you’re on your way. The convenience of both pickup and payment, along with the clean cars and friendly drivers, has made Uber and Lyft very popular.

But, like most emerging technologies, the country’s regulatory agencies have been slow to keep up. There are some legitimate concerns about insurance and licensing and the companies are working to address them. In New York City, the traditional taxi companies have been lobbying hard to have the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) step in and provide stricter regulations of For Hire Vehicle (FHV) apps like Uber and Lyft.

The regulations that have been proposed (read them here) have been met with considerable pushback, not only by the industry, but by business groups like us. The New York City media has been following the story closely and today the Daily News weighed in with an editorial siding with Uber and Lyft. We encourage you to read the whole piece, it’s not too long. But we did want to single out a key section:

“The TLC must recognize that it has no hope of ruling a dynamic and fast-changing market. One telling confirmation:

Consistent with its obligation to know who’s doing what on the streets, the commission demanded to know how many rides Uber’s 17,745 cars provide daily and where they are picking up passengers. Uber provided the data on April 1. The TLC has yet to produce even the most basic analysis of the numbers.”

For now, Uber and Lyft are only allowed to operate in New York City; they are prohibited in the rest of the state. We are working to enact legislation that would make Uber and Lyft available statewide. There’s been a huge push in our home base of the Capital Region. Several well-known restaurateurs have been leading the charge. We believe that Uber and Lyft would be key sources of economic development throughout upstate and remain hopeful we can get this legislation passed.

Networking opportunity and IT panel discussion

Deloitte, a member company, is hosting a strategic state-focused IT panel discussion for Minority-owned and Women-owned Businesses (MWBEs) this coming Monday, June 1 at the beautiful Wolferts Roost Country Club in Albany, NY.

Registration is free, but space is limited.

The event will begin with a networking reception at 4:30PM, followed by the panel discussion titled, “How to position yourself as a strategic” at 5:00PM. Panelists include:

  • Srini Subramanian, Principal and Risk Advisory Practice Leader for State Government, Deloitte & Touche LLP
  • Kishor Bagul, Consultant and former Chief Technology Officer, New York State Office of Information Technology Services
  • Donna O’Leary, Consultant and former Chief Information Officer, New York State Office of the Attorney General

Like we said before, the event is free, but space is limited, to register or for more information, contact Tracy Oneal via email at toneal@deloitte.com or call .518.763.4046.

New home for The Business Council of Westchester

Congratulations to The Business Council of Westchester on the grand opening of their new offices at 800 Westchester Ave. in Rye Brook.

The move is part of full overhaul of The Council’s logo, branding and strategic initiatives. Here’s what Marsha Gordon, the group’s president and CEO, said in The Council’s release announcing the move, “At The Business Council of Westchester, we are committed to helping our members build their businesses and connect with likeminded leaders – all with an eye for growing the regional economy. Our new look and new location, coupled with enhanced programming and impressive speakers does just that. We’re incredibly pleased to be moving ahead on so many exciting fronts.”

Howard Becker, our vice president of membership, was one of the more than 250 people who came out to celebrate the move. He sent along the following photo.

From left to right: Tony Justic, Chairman of the Board; Marsha Gordon, president and CEO; Howard Becker, vice president of membership for The Business Council of New York State; John Ravitz, executive vice president and COO.
From left to right: Tony Justic, Chairman of the Board; Marsha Gordon, president and CEO; Howard Becker, vice president of membership for The Business Council of New York State; John Ravitz, executive vice president and COO.

Here’s more from their release: The new look Business Council was developed in response to a detailed survey completed by its membership in early 2015. As a result, The BCW will continue to serve members in its traditionally successful ways through its signature events such as networking, Hall of Fame, Rising Stars and the Annual Dinner, yet expand with a laser-like focus in areas that members identified as integral to businesses, including business and corporate leadership; government and advocacy; and creating a sustainable and economically strong future in Westchester County.

To help support these efforts, The Business Council will be rolling out its new website, www.thebcw.org, in the coming months.

AT&T announces app challenge winners

Our members are constantly doing amazing things. And from time to time we try and highlight them. Last week AT&T, in partnership with the University at Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, TechConnex (an affiliate for Center for Economic Growth), Tech Valley Center of Gravity, Saratoga TechOUT, Hudson Valley Tech Meetup, New York BizLab, Beahive, Tech Valley Mobile Developers Network, Accelerate 518 and Hack Upstate, announced the winners of their two-month “virtual hackathon”.

The winners, selected among more than 120 participants, were announced during a ceremony at the University at Albany. All together the winners received cash prizes totaling more than $18,000.

Marissa Shorenstein, New York President for AT&T and board member of The Business Council of New York State Inc.
Marissa Shorenstein, New York President for AT&T and board member of The Business Council of New York State Inc.

According to AT&T’s release, the six winning apps addressed the challenge to solve local problems, resulting in globally applicable solutions that will provide lasting benefits for the Tech Valley. Challenge organizers were thrilled with the participation and submissions. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges made up of local tech experts, community stakeholders and elected officials, who based their decisions upon the apps’ potential impact on Tech Valley, execution and creativity or novelty.

A full list of winners can be found here.

The Business Council continues fight against governor’s Wage Board move

Earlier this week, Heather C. Briccetti Esq., our president and CEO, was on Capital Tonight with host Liz Benjamin to discuss the growing opposition to Governor Cuomo’s plan to increase the wage of workers in the fast-food industry by convening a Wage Board.

It is our contention that the move, which may technically be legal, is unprecedented, and would usurp the Legislature’s statutory authority to set wage policy in New York State.

Heather Briccetti on Capital Tonight with Liz Benjamin
Credit: Time Warner Cable News, Capital Tonight

When asked by Liz Benjamin if our organization, or others, would look for legal remedies  should the governor go ahead with his plan, Ms. Briccetti had this to say, “I certainly think it’s open to challenge. It appears to be something that should be, rightly, within the realm of the Legislature. Currently the minimum wage is in statute, so you would think to alter it you would need a statutory change.”

We find this latest push to increase the minimum wage especially shortsighted because we are still in the final stages of a three-step wage increase which will see the minimum wage rise to $9 an hour by the end of this year.

If you’re a Time Warner Cable subscriber you can view the full interview here. If not, TWC does allow non-subscribers a limited number of views each month.

A grid that talks back

Would you like to save money while saving the planet? That’s possible with a relatively new ‘smart meter’ that can tell your utility provider how much energy you need, and if you need service after an outage.

At the Renewable Energy Conference, held last week in the Hudson Valley, Jim Laurito, a member of The Business Council’s board of directors and President and CEO of Central Hudson Gas and Electric, touched on this possibility as technology transforms the energy industry. He explained how smart meters can “fine tune” load delivery, saving you money and conserving electricity because less energy is wasted and less goes unused. This could help bring down peak load, effectively shaving “3% off the top”, which also translates into money saved.

Solar installations have grown tremendously within the Hudson Valley. In fact, they now number around 3,000, with those installations producing a total of 36 megawatts of electricity. The number of solar installations is expected to increase, however the implementation of smart meters will take nearly a decade.

Dario Gil, a vice president of IBM, also illustrated how data collection, analysis, and application will help streamline the energy industry. He gave an example of how weather prediction systems can optimize positioning of repair crews, which means those crews operate more efficiently and customers spend less time without power.

As Laurito puts it, “we want to get closer to our customers”, and a smart grid would absolutely do that. Everybody wins: the consumer, the provider, the economy, and the environment.

The Renewable Energy conference took place on April 29-30 at Marist College, and was sponsored by The Business Council, Marist College, and the Hudson Renewable Energy Institute.

Jim Laurito, president and CEO of Central Hudson Gas and Electric
Jim Laurito, president and CEO of Central Hudson Gas and Electric

State Department of Health to ignore FTC

Late last month the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), prompted by a letter from The Business Council, several member companies, and other business groups, warned the New York State Department of Health (DOH) that the state’s Medicaid reform efforts may allow for anticompetitive behavior. But, according to a report in the National Law Review, it looks DOH is ready to ignore that warning.

Forgive us for going into the weeds a bit here: The crux of the issue is that the FTC believes a DOH-backed program called the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payments (DSRIP) in fact violates federal antitrust laws. We feel the same way, and said so in this letter. What we find most concerning is that despite objections from the business community and the federal government, the DOH is ready to ignore these concerns and move forward. Ultimately, we feel this will result in increased costs for the consumer which will in turn negatively impact the state’s economy.

The National Law Review has an excellent article on this issue, we encourage you to read it here.

Avenue Magazine enters the fold

Howard Becker, our Vice President of Membership, recently visited New York City for an event hosted by Avenue Magazine, one of our newest members.

According to its website, Avenue is Manhattan’s oldest society magazine with exclusive access to the elite and affluent. Howard attended the event to celebrate their April issue, featuring Sam Fox on the cover. Sam’s father, Michael J. Fox, was also in attendance. Check out the great photo below of Howard meeting the Back to the Future star.

Avenue is in its fourth decade of publication. Its stated purpose is to celebrate the accomplishments and intelligence of the successful by covering them with passionate elegance. The event highlighted Sam’s feature about the Michael J. Fox foundation, and work with his own startup, www.onefinestay.com, an upscale home accommodation service.

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