Rochester Beacon Events

The AI Dilemma: Risks, Rewards & Regulation
Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. on Zoom

With the arrival of GPT-4 in March, some artificial intelligence experts have called for a pause in development because of advanced AI’s “profound risks.” Others point to enormous potential benefits.

On Tuesday, May 23, the Rochester Beacon will tackle these questions in a virtual event. Attendees will hear from three distinguished panelists:

■ Pengcheng Shi, associate dean at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
■ Christopher Kanan, associate professor of computer science at the University of Rochester and a member of the scientific advisory board of Paige.AI
■ Timothy Madigan, professor and chair of philosophy, St. John Fisher University

The discussion will be moderated by Beacon publisher Alex Zapesochny.

Bond, Schoeneck & King is gold sponsor of this event. Armbruster Capital Management and NextCorps Luminate are silver sponsors.

The event is free to attend, but registration is required and space may be limited. You can register now.


Abortion and Faith: Can We Find Common Ground?
Date: Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023
Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. on Zoom

For many people who oppose abortion, it is a matter of religious belief. But not all religions oppose abortion. Are there ways for people with faith-based positions on abortion to listen to and learn from those with differing opinions?

In partnership Good Conflict, the Rochester Beacon is exploring whether individual beliefs and perceptions about contentious and polarizing topics can be expanded through written and video journalism and moderated discussions.

Join us at noon on Thursday, Jan. 19, for a conversation with:

■ Pastor Melvin Cross Jr., senior pastor at Glory House International;

■ Tabassam Javed, former president of the Islamic Center of Rochester;

■ Rev. Shari Halliday-Quan, lead minister of the First Unitarian Church of Rochester; and

■ Christine Wagner SSJ, founding executive director of St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center.

The Year Ahead: The Rochester Beacon Annual Community Meeting
Date: Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022
Time: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: Genesee Valley Club.
Registration: We have reached capacity for this free event; registration is now closed.

The purpose of the event is twofold: First, we want to thank our readers and supporters, report on our progress and future plans, and give attendees a chance to meet the Beacon staff. And second, we want to outline some of the community issues we see in the year ahead and ask attendees to share their thoughts and ideas.

The 2022 Rochester Beacon Annual Community Meeting is made possible through the generous support of Bond, Schoeneck & King.

The Future of Downtown Revitalization
Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Time: 4:30 – 6 p.m.
Location: Butler/Till Headquarters, 260 E. Broad St., Rochester

Since 2000, more than $2.5 billion has been invested in downtown Rochester. And more redevelopment is on the horizon, including the city’s Rochester Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Constellation Brands’ planned relocation of its headquarters to the Aqueduct Building campus, and the ROC the Riverway project.

At the same time, the rise of remote work during the pandemic is reshaping the outlook for many central business districts nationwide. Surveys by Gallup and others have shown that most Americans who worked remotely over the last two years do not want to return to the office full time.

Featuring a moderated panel discussion, this in-person and live-streamed event at Butler/Till’s new downtown headquarters, will provide an update on downtown revitalization and explore what a hybrid work future might mean for Rochester’s center city.

HB Cornerstone is a gold sponsor of this event. Bond, Schoeneck & King, The Burke Group, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, Butler/Till and Hamilton AV are silver sponsors.

It is free to attend the event, but registration is required. Sign up now to reserve your place.

Rochester’s Homicide Crisis
Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. on Zoom

Rochester had the highest number of homicides per capita in New York last year, and more than most big cities nationwide.

With each homicide, the community faces these questions: “Why?” and “What is to be done?”

On Tuesday, May 10, the Rochester Beacon will hold a virtual event on Rochester’s homicide surge with four panelists who are working to address the issue in different ways.

■ Irshad Altheimer, director of Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center For Public Safety Initiatives, a collaboration of RIT’s Department of Criminal Justice, the city of Rochester, and the criminal justice agencies of Greater Rochester including the Rochester Police Department and Monroe County Crime Lab. Altheimer is an associate professor of criminal justice. His current research seeks to expand knowledge of dispute-related, and retaliatory urban violence.

■ Rafael Belliard, owner and operator of R&R Grab and Go and member of the North Clinton Business Association, whose eatery became part of a crime scene investigation and who is working with other business owners to confront the crime problem. 

■ Victor Saunders, special adviser to Mayor Malik Evans, who oversees the city’s violence prevention programs. Saunders is known for his work with Pathways to Peace, a street-level team that provides support and nonviolent alternatives for youth who are resorting to violence to settle disputes or becoming involved in gangs and drugs.

■ Rev. Lewis Stewart, president of United Christian Leadership Ministry, an ecumenical coalition of religious and civic institutions formed in 2013 to build a movement for justice and community transformation. Stewart has been actively involved in police-community relations. 

This event, slated for noon to 1 p.m., live on Zoom, is free to attend, but registration is required. You can register now.


The Future of Food
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021
Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. on Zoom

From burgers made of pea protein to milk made from oats, and actual steak grown from cells in a lab, what we eat—as Bob Dylan might have said—is rapidly changin’. Are these and other new foods really healthier for us and for the planet? How do they affect our local economy? What other food innovations are in the pipeline?
Join us on Tuesday, Dec. 7 from noon to 1 p.m. on Zoom for an hour of fascinating conversation on “The Future of Food” with three experts in food technology:

■ David Lipman, biologist and former chief science officer for Impossible Foods, who is a Rochester native (his family founded Lipman’s Kosher Market in Brighton);

■ Bruno Xavier, food scientist and associate director of Cornell’s Food Venture Center; and

■ Dan Wise, founder and CEO of RealEats, a startup firm that each week from its Geneva headquarters ships farm-to-table, vacuum-sealed prepared meals to tens of thousands of consumers in 31 states.

This free online event will be moderated by Rochester Beacon Washington Correspondent and author Peter Lovenheim.

Silver sponsors of the event are Armbruster Capital Management Inc., an investment advisor in Pittsford serving private, institutional, and corporate clients; Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, the only local, full-service, community-owned financial institution in Greater Rochester; and Lamar Advertising.

It is free to attend the event, but registration is required. Sign up now!

How will Malik Evans lead Rochester?
Date: October 12, 2021
Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. on Zoom

With no opposition on the ballot in the November general election, City Council member Malik Evans now has a clear path to becoming Rochester’s next mayor.

What is Evans’ vision for Rochester under his leadership? How will he address the wave of violence Rochester has experienced and restore trust between police and the community? How will continue downtown revitalization and spur the city’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic? What actions will he take to improve Rochester’s chronically underperforming public schools and reduce economic inequality?

The Rochester Beacon will discuss these questions and more with Evans in a one-on-one conversation.

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is gold sponsor of the event. Canandaigua National Bank & Trust is silver sponsor.

It is free to attend the event, but registration is required. Sign up now!

How Can Rochester Become a Hub for Entrepreneurs?
Date: June 24, 2021
Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. on Zoom

In a post-pandemic recovery, can a focus on entrepreneurship become an asset for the region? How can Rochester attract innovators? With the last year’s pivot to remote work, does Rochester have a unique opportunity to become a tech entrepreneurship hub?

Three local experts will explore these questions and more in this online forum co-presented by the Rochester Beacon and NextCorps:

■ Sujatha Ramanujan is managing director of Luminate NY, a global accelerator for startups in optics, photonics and imaging technologies. Luminate has successfully attracted attention from fledgling companies from around the globe, which spend time in Rochester and establish relationships with local companies.

■ Rami Katz, chief operating officer of Excell Ventures, has been promoting the strengths of the region for several years. Most recently through a multi-stakeholder initiative called R2i, Katz and others worked to connect Israeli startups and local organizations. The virtual exchange was an effort to marry Israel’s strengths in digital health with Rochester’s expertise in health care.

■ Nish Sonwalkar is CEO of SunDensity, which relocated to Rochester to expand manufacturing and operations. The photonics startup won the top prize—$1 million—and was named Company of the Year at the culminating event for Luminate NY’s third cohort.

The discussion will be moderated by Alex Zapesochny, Rochester Beacon publisher, who co-founded iCardiac Technologies and Clerio Vision.

It is free to attend the event, but registration is required. Sign up now!

Alternative Energy: Potential for the Rochester Region
Date: April 21, 2021
Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. on Zoom

Three local experts will take part in a Rochester Beacon online forum focused on the potential that alternative energy development holds for the Rochester region:

■ Daniel O’Connell is the Giga Factory/Innovation Center manager at Plug Power. He was co-founder of American Fuel Cell, established in 2013 after General Motors closed its fuel cell research facility in Honeoye Falls. AFC was acquired by Plug Power in 2018. He will oversee the expansion of Plug Power’s existing Innovation Center and the development of a “green hydrogen” operation at the STAMP facility in Genesee County.

■ Kathy Spencer, principal environmental analyst at LaBella Associates, brings over 30 years of experience in environmental analysis and compliance. She has become a sought-after resource for her expertise with renewable energy projects, with particular experience in siting new-generation projects under New York’s Section 94-c siting law.

■ Ross Gould is vice president for supply chain with Business Network for Offshore Wind. He joined the Business Network in 2020 and oversees its growth and evolution of the offshore wind supply chain as well as the offshore wind industry’s workforce development. His responsibilities include designing, developing, and coordinating the Business Network’s Northeast Corridor strategy and planning, policy and regulatory engagement.

Moderator for the event will be Kent Gardner, chief economist at the Center for Governmental Research and Rochester Beacon opinion editor. Canandaigua National Bank & Trust and the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute are sponsors of the April 21 event on Zoom.

It is free to attend the event, but registration is required. Sign up now!

The 2021 Economic Outlook: COVID and Beyond

Date: Jan. 14, 2021
Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. on Zoom

The Rochester Beacon has invited two prominent economists to explore the possible future for the economy as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic:

■ Rochester native Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed, the world’s largest online jobs site, is keenly aware of employment trends at all levels of the economy. Previously he was chief economist and VP of analytics at Trulia, the online real estate site. He has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, FiveThirtyEight, Wonkblog, and Bloomberg View, and has authored a dozen academic articles.

■ Alfred University president Mark Zupan will offer the benefit of his long experience watching the business sector, particularly in New York and the Finger Lakes region. Previously he was the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and Public Policy, director of the Bradley Policy Research Center and dean at the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School. His commentaries have appeared in media outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, BusinessWeek and the Financial Times of London.

Moderator for the event will be Kent Gardner, chief economist at the Center for Governmental Research and Rochester Beacon opinion editor.

Terzioglu Cohen Group at Morgan Stanley, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust and the Rochester Area Community Foundation are sponsors of the Jan. 14 event on Zoom.

It is free to attend the event, but registration is required. Sign up now!

A Conversation with John Harris and Tom Hamburger

Date: Oct.6, 2020
Time: 12.00 p.m.

The Rochester Beacon will present an hourlong online conversation with two of the nation’s most respected and influential journalists—both Rochester natives—who from their unique perspectives will address the state of the nation’s politics as well as the outlook for local journalism:

John Harris – A Pittsford native, Harris spent two decades at the Washington Post, covering local politics, state politics in Virginia and national politics. He has authored two books on politics, including “The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House.” In 2007, he co-founded Politico, one of the most successful digitally focused journalism startups. He stepped down as editor-in-chief last year but continues to cover national politics as a Politico columnist.

Tom Hamburger – He grew up in Brighton and has worked as a reporter since 1976. Now with the Washington Post, Hamburger is a 2018 Pulitzer Prize and George Polk Award recipient (for his work with a team of Washington Post reporters on Trump campaign and administration ties to Russia), and a political analyst for MSNBC. He is an investigative reporter focused on the intersection of money and politics in Washington.

It is free to attend the event, but registration is required. Sign up now!

Armbruster Capital Management Inc., Burke Group Inc. and The Estate, Legacy and Long-Term Care Planning Center of Western NY are presenting sponsors. Bond, Schoeneck & King is a gold sponsor.

Rebuild Upstate: Outlook for Healthcare

Date: July 9, 2020
Time: 12.00 p.m.

The Rochester Beacon, in partnership with Upstate Venture Connect, will host an online discussion with four health care executives

Mark Taubman M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center; Kim Townsend, CEO of the Loretto System in Syracuse; Rebecca Gould, president of Schuyler Hospital in Montour Falls; and William Streck M.D., CEO of the Bassett Healthcare Network in Cooperstown will discuss describe their experiences navigating the COVID-19 crisis.

Register here.

Rebuild Upstate: The View Ahead

Date: June 4, 2020
Time: 12.00 p.m. – 1 p.m.

The Rochester Beacon, in partnership with Upstate Venture Connect, will host an online discussion with three upstate county executives.

Monroe County’s Adam Bello, Ryan McMahon from Onondaga County and Anthony Picente from Oneida County will discuss their experiences navigating the pandemic and share ideas on rebuilding the regional economy in the coming months.

The session is free to attend, but registration is required.

Rochester Beacon Solutions Forum: The City School District
Date: May 13, 2019
Time: 4.00 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Location: The College at Brockport Downtown, 161 Chestnut St., Rochester
Tickets: Free (registration required)

Join the Beacon and The College at Brockport’s Institute for Poverty Studies and Economic Development on May 13, 4-7 pm. Keynote speaker is Christopher Cerf, former superintendent of schools, Newark, N.J., who will discuss his experience with mayoral control in NYC and New Jersey’s bold takeover of Newark.

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is presenting sponsor of the event. Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, Costanza Enterprises Inc., Mengel Metzger Barr & Co. LLP and the Rochester Area Community Foundation are silver sponsors.

The forum will explore two levels of intervention in the city schools to improve their performance: state action, such as establishing mayoral control or imposing some form of receivership on the district, and local initiative empowering individual schools.

Respondents to Cerf’s remarks include Mayor Lovely Warren; Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Union; Rochester City School District parent Walida Monroe-Sims; and ROC the Future.

The second panel looks at school-level reforms, including:

• Charter schools, discussed by Anna Hall of the Northeast Charter School Network
• Community schools, discussed by Kirsten Barclay of the Farash Foundation
• Magnet schools designed to attract a diverse socioeconomic mix across districts, presented by Don Pryor of Great Schools for All; and
• New York State receivership, explained by Shaun Nelms, superintendent of East High School

Note: Seating capacity for this event has been reached; registration is closed.

Presenting sponsor:

Silver sponsors:

Canandaigua National Bank & Trust
Costanza Enterprises Inc
Mengel Metzger Barr & Co. LLP
Rochester Area Community Foundation

Rochester Beacon 2019 Economic Forecast Forum
Date: Jan. 28, 2019
Time: 5.00 p.m.
Location: The College at Brockport Downtown, 161 Chestnut St., Rochester
Tickets: $20

What economic challenges and opportunities await the Rochester region in 2019? How will the new Democratic Senate majority and other changes in Albany impact Upstate New York?

On Jan. 28, those questions and more will be the focus of the Rochester Beacon’s 2019 Economic Forecast Forum, hosted by the College at Brockport’s Institute for Poverty Studies and Economic Development. In addition, the results of Siena Research Institute’s annual survey of Upstate New York business leaders will be presented.

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is presenting sponsor of the event.

Seating is limited: Purchase your ticket now to guarantee your place at this event.

Here’s the lineup of experts on the panel:

Heather Briccetti, president and CEO, the Business Council of New York State;
Donald Levy, director, Siena College Research Institute;
E.J. McMahon, founder and research director, Empire Center for Public Policy;
Kate Washington, CEO, OWN Rochester;
Kent Gardner, chief economist, Center for Governmental Research, and opinion editor, Rochester Beacon; and
Alex Zapesochny, Rochester Beacon publisher and co-founder, and former president and CEO of iCardiac Technologies (moderator)

Event schedule:
5.00 p.m.: Registration and networking
5:30 p.m.: Program
7:00 p.m.: Post-event reception

Presenting sponsor: