Businesses of the Year Winners: Quadrant Biosciences, Inc.; ComSource, Inc.; Central New York Community Foundation; Thompson & Johnson Equipment Co., Inc.; and Dreissig Co.
Syracuse, NY – CenterState CEO today held its Annual Meeting, virtually, focused on the theme Commit: Progress through purpose-driven leadership. The event called on the business community to lead with intention and commit to greater community consciousness to achieve economic growth, equitable prosperity and positive social change.
In his message, CenterState CEO President Robert Simpson spoke about the challenges faced by the community as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and how, following a year of disruption, there are promising signs of recovery.
“We are beginning to see signs that we are approaching a turning point in our economic recovery. Unemployment has dropped from record highs at the height of the pandemic, the pipeline of projects is beginning to fill quickly, and perhaps more importantly, a sense of hope and optimism about our region’s recovery is returning,” said Simpson. “And yet, not everyone across our community is seeing this positive momentum, with many still experiencing the impacts of the past year’s economic crisis. As community and business leaders we must commit to accelerating our progress well beyond where we were in early 2020. Through purpose-driven strategies we cannot only grow, but grow better, and in a way that embraces a more inclusive, equitable, and fair future for our entire community.”
The event’s keynote remarks were given by Aisha Glover, vice president of Urban Innovation at Audible, the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling. Audible uses its innovative business mindset to enact positive change in the cities and countries in which it operates. With its global headquarters based in Newark, New Jersey, Audible has implemented several ground-breaking initiatives aimed at driving tangible impacts in its surrounding community, and providing opportunity to local residents and businesses.
“At Audible, we know firsthand that impact initiatives can have tangible, positive outcomes for both communities and businesses,” said Glover. “Our model can be replicated in communities of all sizes, but it requires collaboration and partnership. If businesses take intentional steps to drive social impact, they can help lead short-term pandemic recovery, as well as long-term institutional change, and it’s encouraging to see Central New York business leaders committed to moving in this direction.”
“More now than ever we are seeing businesses being held accountable by their customers to drive forward social change,” said Simpson. “Audible has shown its leadership and commitment to bridging business, economic and community initiatives to drive true impact in Newark. Their progress serves as a model for Central New York businesses looking to engage in workforce, innovation and community investment initiatives that can have a meaningful impact here.”
Glover has more than 15 years of experience as a champion and change agent for economic empowerment and social responsibility. In her leadership role at Audible, she works to develop innovative solutions to exemplify what a company can mean beyond what it does. Glover previously served as president and CEO for the Newark Alliance and Invest Newark. In both roles, she oversaw a range of innovative and community-focused economic development initiatives, in partnership with Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. Glover led the city’s bid to attract Amazon for selection of its second headquarters, helping position Newark as a major destination city, strengthening the small business ecosystem, supporting a thriving entrepreneurial base and attracting corporations, investors and developers.
Business of the Year Winners
CenterState CEO also announced its Business of the Year award winners at the event, recognizing the outstanding achievements of regional businesses and organizations in five categories. This year’s winners are:
Quadrant Biosciences, Inc.
More Than 50 Employees
Quadrant Biosciences is an epigenetic diagnostics company with a focus on the early detection of neurological disorders and other large-scale health issues. With its academic research partners, it codeveloped COVID-19 diagnostics and surveillance tools to aid in the detection of COVID-19 in individuals and communities across the U.S. In 2020 it gained national recognition for codeveloping the #1 ranked saliva test for COVID-19 by the Food and Drug Administration. Quadrant Biosciences is an active supporter of Autism Speaks on a national level and supports a variety of Parkinson’s disease activities and programs in the Syracuse area. Additionally, it applied its expertise gained from working on diagnostic tests for health conditions such as autism and Parkinson’s disease to the development of its more reliable and faster COVID-19 test.
Less Than 50 Employees
ComSource is an enterprise IT solutions and service provider that has been operating in Central New York for more than 30 years. When the COVID-19 crisis hit, ComSource was able to quickly adapt to the changing business landscape and its customer needs, a critical factor in its success in 2020. The company developed and connected clients to a variety of work-from-home solutions. It also connected customers with health and safety-related technology to aid their reopening efforts. This includes facial recognition and temperature scanning software from standalone kiosks, storage units that disinfect laptops while they charge, and digital signage to relay important information or alerts to customers. Additionally, ComSource opened a new state-of-the-art headquarters in Franklin Square, created several new positions while retaining existing employees, and contributed to 23 philanthropic efforts, including the Jim & Juli Boeheim Foundation.
Central New York Community Foundation
The Central New York Community Foundation supports the growth of permanent charitable endowments and serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses. It is a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen local nonprofits and address the region’s most pressing challenges. In 2020, the Community Foundation administered the CNY COVID Community Support Fund, a collaborative effort with United Ways and other local partners, which raised more than $2.2 million for immediate emergency response grants to nonprofits across four Central New York counties. It also launched the Black Equity & Excellence Fund, an initiative to support Black-led and Black-governed nonprofits and projects in Syracuse, which distributed more than $550,000 in support to local, Black-led nonprofits and projects this past year.
Thompson & Johnson Equipment, Co.
Since 1954, Thompson & Johnson Equipment Co., Inc. has provided new and used forklift and material handling equipment solutions to customers across Upstate New York. It has always been committed to giving back to the community. Employees pay $5/week to the charity of the month to wear jeans on “Blue Jean Fridays.” In 2020, the company started the year providing monetary donations to the American Heart Association and Children’s Miracle Network. At the onset of the pandemic, the company shifted focus to how it could help with its material handling equipment. It provided support to nonprofits with forklifts and heavy equipment, in addition to staff volunteer time and monetary donations. Most notably, it supported nearly 10,000 meals to the FoodBank of CNY, FoodBank of the Southern Tier, and the Regional FoodBank.
Minority-owned Business – presented in partnership with the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance
The Dreissig Company offers products and services focused on apparel/uniforms, textiles/linens, industrial supplies, paper products and janitorial supplies. In 2020, Dreissig lost 60% of its revenue because of COVID-19. The company pivoted its business model to distribute PPE supplies to hospitals, state agencies and local customers, thus greatly reducing its revenue loss for the year. Dreissig continues to successfully serve corporate and athletic customers across the nation. It also focuses on local talent, recruiting and training from local colleges and universities. Dreissig Owner Marc Jones cofounded the Willow Street Foundation, established in 2011, to provide quality education and leadership development, to financially disadvantaged youth, via partnerships with premier academic institutions and community organizations. In 2020, Dreissig received the first NAACP Onondaga County Chapter Muhammad Ali Sports Entrepreneur and Business Award.
The event also celebrated Health Care Heroes awardees, in recognition of CenterState CEO members that represent hospital and critical testing partners for their front-line response during the pandemic:
- Crouse Health
- Nascentia Health, Inc.
- Oswego Health
- Joseph’s Health
- Syracuse Community Health Center
- Upstate University Hospital
- Upstate University Hospital at Community General
- WellNow Urgent Care
“These institutions — at the forefront of vital patient care, accessible testing for the community, and vaccination efforts — rose to the intense challenges of the pandemic to keep our community safe and protected,” said Simpson. “We are proud to share our deep appreciation to these organizations for their profound dedication, unwavering resilience and sacrifice in response to the health crisis.
Visit www.youtube.com/CenterStateCEO to watch video from the event, including Business of the Year recognitions and remarks from Aisha Glover and Rob Simpson. Download CenterState CEO’s 2020-2021 Annual Report at www.centerstateceo.com/AnnualReport.