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Capital Region

Local business leaders, CEOs gather to discuss regional economy

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Albany/HV: Local business leaders, CEOs gather to discuss regional economy
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Business and commerce leaders from the Capital Region gathered Tuesday for the annual State of the Region Breakfast. As Maria Valvanis tells us, the conversation revolved around a newly released survey.

LATHAM, N.Y. -- More than 200 people gathered for breakfast on Tuesday to discuss mostly optimistic news at the Second Annual State of the Region Breakfast.

Linda Hillman, the president of the Rensselaer Chamber of Commerce, said, "We feel the energy and see all the positive things happening. To know the CEOs feel the same way is great."

The presidents of the four largest chambers of commerce in the Capital Region highlighted the results of the Siena Research Institute's 7th Annual Upstate New York Business Leaders Survey. Overall, 651 CEOs from Upstate New York were polled, and 150 of them were from the Capital Region.

“On every survey question, the responses were more positive in the Capital Region," said Mark Eagan, the president of the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce.

Chuck Steiner, the president of the Schenectady Chamber of Commerce, added, “We utilize this type of survey to say, look at us, take a look, reinvest or bring your new dollars to our region for the betterment of the entire region.”

In the Capital Region, 57 percent of participants say technology is the industry they are most excited about. Chamber members say they are working to strategically look at options to benefit the entire region.

Todd Shimkus, the president of the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, said, "Whether it's the airport, or trains, or infrastructure, or the creative economy, we're working on all of that together all the time."

On the flip side, 69 percent of CEOs polled say the controversial Affordable Care Act will have a negative impact on their businesses.

Eagan said, "What we can try to do is continue to advocate on their behalf how it's impediment to not just their business, but impediment to long term growth."

Chamber leaders and business owners in the audience agree, it's a community they want to build, and business fuels that community.

Jeff Sperry, chairman of CBRE-Albany, said, "It's a partnership amongst business and chambers were all wanting the same thing and wanting same goal and business has to support the chambers as much as chambers have to support the economy."

Shimkus said, "We have to make sure that we're continuing to try and grow our economy, and that we're doing that together, and that's what this is all about, every year getting together to remind ourselves that it's important to collaborate."

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