Schenectady’s Gatherer’s Gourmet Granola joins Made in New York

Schenectady, N.Y. based, Gatherer’s Gourmet Granola, recently joined The Business Council of New York State’s Made in New York program.  Made in NewYork is an exclusive benefit for Business Council members who produce or manufacture products in the Empire State.

“Gatherer’s Gourmet Granola illustrates how ingenuity and enterprise translate to success and boost Schenectady’s economy,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq. president and CEO of The Business Council.  “Gatherer’s is a welcome addition to Made in New York showing that New Yorker’s don’t have to go far for healthy, delicious food options.”

“The Made in New York program offers Gatherer’s, and many other small businesses, an opportunity to tap into a deep pool of valuable business contacts without dealing with mountains of red tape,” said Gatherer’s Gourmet Granola’s founder, Alessandro Gerbini.  “For Gatherer’s, this means more sales and connections on a shorter time frame than would otherwise be achievable.”

Gatherer’s Gourmet Granola began with a family recipe, and was founded by Alessandro Gerbini in 2010 when he was just 23 years old. Since then, the company has grown, providing eleven jobs to New York’s economy and selling to retailers in eleven states, including various supermarket chains.  In August of 2013, Gatherer’s used Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website, to raise money in order to launch three new flavors. “

Made in New York provides one-stop shopping for consumers interested in boosting New York’s economy and growing local jobs, both priorities of The Business Council.  Gatherer’s products featured on Made in New York include: Squirrel Bait, Chipmunk’s Choice, Fox’s Fancy, Bee’s Knees, Badger’s Best, Turtle Tracks.  All six flavors are Non-GMO Project verified, and three are certified gluten-free.

To view the Gatherer’s Gourmet Granola Made in New York page or for more information on Made in New York, visit  Gatherer’s own website, features information on their products as well as where they are sold.

NYSERDA announces new members appointed to board of directors

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recently announced the appointment of six new members to its board and the reappointment of two current members.

Among those appointed are representatives of Business Council member companies including Kenneth Daly, president of National Grid’s New York operations; and John McAvoy, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Con Edison Inc.

“I look forward to working with these members as the expertise they bring in the energy, environment and financial sectors will lend a very valuable voice to the authority as we aggressively accelerate the scale-up of clean energy markets,” said Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York and Chairman of the NYSERDA Board of Directors.

“It is a pleasure to welcome these members to the NYSERDA Board. They bring great insight and experience in our energy systems and markets, and are thought-leaders on our energy, environment and clean-energy economy challenges,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA.

Kenneth Daly is President of the New York business of National Grid, which serves 4 million customers in New York State. In 1988, Daly joined National Grid’s predecessor, Brooklyn Union, which later became KeySpan and recently served the company in London for two years as Global Financial Controller. Daly graduated from St. Francis College and has earned both an MBA in finance from St. John’s University and an MS in human resource management from New York University. He achieved the distinguished Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2002.  Daly is a member of the Boards of British American Business (BAB), Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC) and St. Francis College, where he has been an adjunct professor for 20 years.  Since 1992, he has been the Director of the St. Johns’ University Executive-in-Residence Program and is also a graduate of the David Rockefeller Fellows Program and a member of the Long Island Energeia Program.

John McAvoy is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Consolidated Edison Inc., and CEO of its principal subsidiary, Con Edison Co. of New York Inc.  McAvoy joined Con Edison in 1980 and has served in positions of increasing responsibility. In his last position, he served as president and CEO of Orange and Rockland (O&R) Utilities Inc., a Con Edison subsidiary that operates in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Prior to his leadership position at O&R, he was senior vice president of Central Operations.  McAvoy serves on the board of directors of Con Edison, the American Gas Association, the Edison Electric Institute, The Business Council of New York State Inc. and the Partnership for New York City. He also serves on the board of trustees of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.  He holds an MBA from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Manhattan College. He is a graduate of the David Rockefeller Fellows Program.

Other new members include the Honorable Sherburne Abbott, a Syracuse University sustainability professor and a former senior science advisor to President Obama; Jigar Shah, author of Creating Climate Wealth and founder of SunEdison; Charles Bell, programs director for Consumers Union, who works on consumer policy issues, including energy and environment; and Jay Koh a managing director and partner at Siguler Guff, who previously led the federal U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp.’s (OPIC) $2.6 billion active emerging markets private equity program.

The reappointed members are Elizabeth Thorndike, an environmental policy expert, and Mark Willis, a community-development banking expert who is currently a Resident Research Fellow at New York University.


Steve Forbes to address New York business leaders at Business Council Annual Meeting

ForbesSteve2011_GD14307gAuthor and chairman/CEO of Forbes Media, Steve Forbes will be the keynote speaker at The Annual Meeting of The Business Council of New York State.

Mr. Forbes writes editorials for each issue of Forbes, the nation’s leading business magazine, under the heading of “Fact and Comment.”  A widely respected economic prognosticator, he is the only writer to have won the highly prestigious Crystal Owl Award four times.  The prize was formerly given by U.S. Steel Corporation to the financial journalist whose economic forecasts for the coming year proved most accurate.

Mr. Forbes is also the author of several books including “How Capitalism Will Save Us: Why Free People and Free Markets Are the Best Answer in Today’s Economy.”

“At a time when the issue of income inequality is fueling the public debate in Albany and in Washington, Steve Forbes is a passionate and articulate voice for free markets,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council.  “I am thrilled that Steve Forbes will be the keynote speaker for our Annual Meeting.”

The Annual Meeting will be held September 17 – 19, 2014 at The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing, N.Y.  Mr. Forbes will speak on Wednesday evening, September 17.

Under Mr. Forbes’ leadership, the company has launched a variety of new publications and businesses.  They include ForbesLife, the dedicated luxury lifestyle and culture magazine; Forbes Europe; Forbes Asia; and Forbes licensee editions published in over 30 countries.  The company also publishes a number of investment newsletters. 

In 1996, Mr. Forbes entered the new media arena with the launch of  Through March 2014,, a leading business website, reached 27 million unique visitors, according to comScore worldwide.  Other Forbes Media websites include:;; and

The company’s flagship publication, Forbes, is the nation’s leading business magazine, with a circulation of more than 900,000.  Forbes combined with Forbes Asia, Forbes Europe and the company’s licensee editions together reach a worldwide audience of more than 5 million readers. 

More information on The Business Council’s Annual Meeting can be found at

Business Council CFO wins outstanding CPA award

Suzanne Jensen, CPA, The Business Council’s chief financial officer, was recently awarded the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants’ (NYSSCPA) Outstanding CPA in Industry Award.

Each year, NYSSCPA recognizes outstanding certified public accountants for distinguished service, industry leadership and excellence in education.

In the video below, she outlines her philosophy on nonprofit oversight and how her work benefits Business Council members every day.


Focus on New York’s middle market

New York’s Middle Market was the focus of a panel discussion yesterday facilitated by The Business Council’s Vice President of Government Affairs Ken Pokalsky and led by Executive Director of National Center for the Middle Market Thomas A. Stewart.

Panelists included Simmons Machine Tool Corporation President & Chief Operating Officer David William Davis, Hannay Reels, Inc. Chairman of the Board Roger Hannay, Mohawk Fine Papers Inc. Chairman & CEO Thomas O’Connor, Jr., and The Center for Economic Growth’s Executive Vice President Jeff Lawrence.

New York has one of the largest middle market sectors in the U.S. with at least 10,000 businesses, employing more than 4 million New Yorkers, or 30 percent of the New York workforce.  Defined as companies with annual revenues of $10 million to $1 billion, these companies also generate 18 percent of the state’s total revenue, approximately $500 billion in annually.

Executive Director of National Center for the Middle Market Thomas A. Stewart told The Albany Business Review’s Krystle Morey that middle market companies are “the unsung heroes of American  business.”  While most of the buzz surrounds large companies or the small business, Stewart says middle market companies account for approximately one-third of jobs and one-third of GDP.

Research from the National Center for The Middle Market highlights the diversity of the middle market that is comprised of business services (32 percent), manufacturing (14 percent),finance, insurance and  real estate (12 percent), wholesale (13 percent) and retail (10 percent).  Other industries comprising the middle market include transportation, communications, utilities, construction and healthcare.

The National Center for the Middle Market is a collaboration between GE Capital and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business. Visit for more information.

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State high court upholds zoning bans on gas drilling

In a 5-2 decision, the state’s highest court, The Court of Appeals, has ruled that the current state law regulating oil and gas drilling operations does not supersede local zoning laws.  In effect, the decision upholds lower court rulings that held communities can use local zoning laws to effectively ban natural gas development.

Writing for the majority, Judge Victoria Graffeo wrote that state law allows local governments to control their zoning codes to allow or disallow activities within their boundaries. The case involved bans in two upstate towns, Middlefield in Otsego County and Dryden in Tompkins County.

Industry supporters said the bans were a “huge obstacle” to the additional investment in the New York Marcellus Shale formation. The bans had been challenged by an organic dairy farmer near Cooperstown that held a natural gas lease on its farm, and the bankrupt Norse Energy Corp., which held gas leases in Dryden.

Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, told the Albany Times Union that should the state decide to allow fracking, it would force companies to “navigate a patchwork of red lights and green lights.”

That would be enough to discourage some companies from coming to the state, he said. “Some companies have been waiting on the sidelines, watching for this decision,” he said. “Some people will not come to New York and spend money, or they will leave.”

The Business Council of New York State had joined with the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, Inc., the National Association of Royalty Owners, NARO-NY, the Upstate New York Towns Association, Inc., and Southern Tier Residents for Economic Independence to file an amicus brief urging the court to overturn the lower court rulings in the case.

That brief argued the state has an overriding interest in the development and promotion of its oil and gas reserves, and that there is a need for uniformity across the state with a comprehensive state law that supersedes restrictive and inconsistent local laws and ordinances.

Industry supporters could seek state legislation pre-empting the local zoning decisions, but the prospects for enactment of such a law is highly unlikely to occur.

Chief Judge Lippman and Judges Read, Rivera and Abdus-Salaam concurred with Judge Graffeo’s decision. Judges Pigott and Smith dissented.

The Business Council Insurance Fund Declares Premium Holiday

The Business Council Insurance Fund has announced a two-month premium holiday for members who have participated in the fund’s Group Life Insurance Trust prior to January 2013. Those members will receive a premium holiday on their life and accidental death and personal loss coverage benefits for the months of July and August 2014.

A Premium Holiday occurs when The Insurance Fund is able to reduce the premium due from its participating members — in this case for the months of July and August, 2014 — as the direct result of positive financial underwriting gains attributable to the program’s administration.

The Insurance Fund consistently offers competitive rates for life and accidental death and personal loss insurance. These products are underwritten by Aetna Life Insurance Company, an industry leader. “The large number of participants in the fund gives us leverage to keep prices down,” said Teri Wilson, senior director of the Business Council Insurance Fund. “Our long history of solid underwriting and positive loss experience also keeps rates down.”

Benefits to Council members include a single billing for multiple lines of coverage and less hassle when dealing with enrollments. The group life insurance benefits are tailored to meet the needs of all business, small to large, and offer customizable options through an easy-to-use, state-of-the art customer call center. The Fund provides service on all of its products with one of the most experienced staffs in the insurance industry.

Wilson said, “We choose to work with Aetna for one simple, yet powerful reason: the quality of their underwriting. This relationship reinforces the value in our membership and enables more New York State businesses to enjoy a cost-effective, no hassle business solution.”

The Council created its Insurance Fund in 1957 to offer low-cost group insurance as a membership benefit. The Fund’s programs have grown steadily; two-thirds of Council members currently are enrolled in the Fund’s group insurance programs insuring more than 180,000 workers across New York State. The Fund can insure employers with as few as two employees or more than 1,000, and can tailor products to meet employers’ needs.

For more information about the Premium Holiday or any of The Business Council’s insurance programs please e-mail our insurance department or call 800.692.5483.

New York City health regulators overstepped bounds with soda ban

New York state’s highest court—The Court of Appeals—has ruled that New York City’s Board of Heath overstepped its regulatory authority by imposing a 16-ounce limit on sugary beverages sold in restaurants, delis, movie theaters, stadiums and street carts.

In a 4-2 decision, the court ruled the appointed board tread on the policy-making turf of the elected City Council.

“By choosing among competing policy goals, without any legislative delegation or guidance, the board engaged in lawmaking,” the court wrote in a majority opinion. “… Its choices raise difficult, intricate and controversial issues of social policy.”

The Business Council of New York State has opposed the ban since it was first proposed by the former Bloomberg administration.

In the brief, The Business Council argued the ban is arbitrary, creates an unfair playing field among businesses and imposes new restrictions on businesses and consumers alike.

The American Beverage Association, which led the legal fight against the measure, welcomed Thursday’s ruling against a measure it said would have “limited New Yorkers’ freedom of choice.” Curbing obesity should start “with education — not laws and regulation,” spokesman Christopher Gindlesperger said.

The city hasn’t said whether it plans to try to appeal, but the case doesn’t raise federal issues that would make it a likely choice for the Supreme Court and it’s fate in the City Council is uncertain.

Leadership Forum on Energy Policy

The Business Council of New York State, Inc., Marist College, and the Hudson Renewable Energy Institute, cohosted the 2014 Renewable Energy Conference — A Leadership Forum on Energy Policy: Changing Federal and State Energy Markets and Impacts on Renewable Supply today at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

The conference examined the impacts of technology as well as federal and state policy changes on the competitive bulk electric market place, in addition to the deployment, and pricing of renewable supply sources.

The Dean of Marist’s School of Management, Lawrence Singleton, Ph.D, emceed the event and Allan Page, chair of The Hudson Renewable Energy Institute welcomed the crowd. Business Council President Heather C. Briccetti, Esq. spoke about the importance of energy and business.

Many leading energy experts spoke at the conference, including prominent energy policy expert and recently appointed Energy and Finance Chairman for New York State Richard Kauffman.  Other experts spoke from GE Power and Water, Renewable Energy; National Grid; Central Hudson Gas & Electric; Constellation Energy; EarthKind Solar Energy, IBM Corporation, Couch White, LLP; Winston & Strawn LLP; Dutchess County; in addition George M. Drosdowich, Esq.

Conference sponsors included BQ Energy, LLC; Taylor Biomass Energy; Advanced Control Systems.  Exhibitors included ACT BioEnergy; Courtney Strong; NYSERDA; National Grid; and Taylor Biomass Energy.

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