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#DowntownProgress: Progress Breakfast Series Draws 298 People; Highlighting How Activities Happening in Downtown Syracuse Influence the Region

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Syracuse, NY – The Progress Breakfast Series, presented by the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc. and Eric Mower + Associates continued this morning, shining a spotlight on how the activities and investments happening in Downtown Syracuse influence the entire region. The largest crowd in the history of the Progress Breakfast – 298 guests! – listened as three presenters shared their stories, reflecting on their experiences in Downtown Syracuse thus far, while providing insight on what we as a community can collectively do to position ourselves for continued success. Following the event, all presenters made themselves available to network with guests in a personal setting.

First, Hon. Ben Walsh, Mayor of the City of Syracuse, spoke to the ways that compassion, innovation and collaboration have shaped his career in public service, and continue to guide him as he leads the city. As former Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development, Mayor Walsh interacted with business owners and neighbors on a daily basis, demonstrating he understands the role each plays in building a strong community. He has been instrumental in several transformational projects that have propelled Downtown Syracuse forward, including the iconic rebirth of the Hotel Syracuse as the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. Now approaching 100 days in the Office of Mayor, Mayor Walsh is taking these lessons learned and applying them to ensure our city continues to prosper.

Then, Samara Hannah, Executive Director of the Redhouse Arts Center, shared how the Redhouse Arts Center’s new state-of-the-art theater has transformed City Center, and provided insight into the new opportunities for connections its move from the near-Westside to Downtown Syracuse creates. Fresh off a successful run of “On Golden Pond” – the first show on its main stage – Hannah provided a sneak peek about other productions waiting in the wings. Hannah has served as Executive Director for three years. In this post, she oversees all aspects of the Redhouse, including day-to-day operations and fundraising efforts. She even oversaw the entire construction team through the transformation process. 

Finally, Jim Fox, CEO and Chairman of O’Brien & Gere, discussed the landmark 2010 move of OBG from Brittonfield to the then newly-constructed Washington Station in Downtown Syracuse. Fox demonstrated the forward-thinking the engineering firm is known for when he advocated for Downtown’s potential to offer a high-tech, open-office, collaborative work environment during  a time that presented a challenging financial climate, with other large-scale office users leaving Downtown for the suburbs. OBG’s move into Downtown Syracuse paved the way for future growth – raising Downtown Syracuse’s profile as a desirable destination for additional corporate office headquarters to follow suit.  

EMPLOYEE APPRECIATION WEEK: Recognizing that downtown office employees give Downtown Syracuse its heartbeat, the Downtown Committee chose the first Progress Breakfast event of 2018 to make a special announcement designed to enhance the Employee experience. Right now, the Downtown Committee is planning a week-long celebration (during the third week in September) in honor of the 28,000 people who work in Downtown Syracuse. Organizers will partner with downtown companies, retailers, restaurants, arts and cultural institutions and service businesses to plan a series of free events, designed especially with Downtown’s employees in mind. If you or your company is interested in getting involved, please reach out to the Downtown Committee at mail@downtownsyracuse.com with “Employee Appreciation” in the subject field.

“The Progress Breakfast Series offers an opportunity for us to celebrate new leadership, new projects and reflect on the impactful decisions community leaders have made that have elevated the visibility and vibrancy of Downtown Syracuse,” said Merike Treier, executive director of the Downtown Committee. “This event offers a unique glimpse into work that often happens behind the scenes to cultivate a collaborative community, positioned for further success – and our 28,000 employees are often at the helm of that. Knowing that much of our audience this morning are Downtown employees, we thought this was a great time to unveil our plans for September, to get their input about what they’d like to see. We look forward to building on previous investments, foster partnerships, and further engage our neighbors to continue to positively shape our community!”

The Downtown Committee appreciates the support of presenting sponsor Eric Mower + Associates (EMA) to present the 2018 Progress Breakfast series. EMA, a professional independent marketing and public relations agency, moved its Syracuse office from Franklin Square to Downtown Syracuse’s Jefferson Clinton Commons in 2009. The firm prioritizes building connections, and recognizes how being located in a city center helps relationships blossom. 

“Downtown Syracuse offers incredible resources that enhance the quality of life for residents and businesses,” said EMA managing director Stephanie Crockett. “The themes this morning’s presenters discussed embody EMA’s core values, from progress, to innovation and the power of connections. It’s amazing to see what happens when we work together, and we can’t wait to see what’s next in the progress storyline.”

For more information about the Progress Breakfast – and to read about previous topics covered - please click here. Members of the community are encouraged to share their ideas for topics that may be of interest for future events within the Progress Breakfast series. Please send an email to mail@downtownsyracuse.com with “Progress Breakfast Topics” in the subject field.

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