Discover CNY Day 2017

By Beth Meyer, Director of Group Benefits, M&T Insurance Agency – Central New York has so much to offer to those of us who live and work here!  The LGS Class of 2017 was able to get just a little taste of these treasures through Discover CNY Day.  The day was focused around a special theme:   Succeed with Syracuse – the past, present, and future of the area and community.  As community members we all want to see Syracuse succeed, and we realize we can be a part of that success by contributing back to the region.

Although the weather report had been calling for rain on and off, the day started out with bright sunshine and a class that was ready to discover all Central New York has to offer.  The day began with a visit to the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, more affectionately known as Hotel Syracuse.  Scott Becque, Director of Sales & Marketing, provided the class with a history of the building and shared how this hotel really held a special place in Syracuse, founded as a community hotel.  He brought us through the renovation process and provided details on how they kept true to the origin of the hotel as well as how they uncovered some hidden gems that no one had remembered were even there.  The talk led into a tour of the hotel, complete with showing us how the hotel merged its wonderful history with the anticipation of the future of the hotel and area.

The day then progressed into “Sounds of Syracuse,” with a presentation by Catherine Underhill, Managing Director of Symphoria.  Catherine took us through the ups and downs of the Syracuse Symphony, from its inception to its dissolution to its rebirth.  Her passion and commitment to the symphony kept everyone in rapt attention as her presentation ended with passes for the class to attend a Symphoria event.  What better way to Discover CNY than through participation in a musical masterpiece?

Our journey to the Everson Museum, on foot, reminded the class how lucky we were to have yet another beautiful day in Syracuse.  Lauren Chule, Development Officer, at the Everson introduced us all to the facility and welcomed our group to explore and experience the beautiful museum.  We toured in small groups, where we got to see different exhibits, had the ability to ask questions and experience all Everson has to offer.  Most of the class had not previously been to the Everson, so this was a discovery in and of itself!

From the Everson, we moved outside to hear Eric Althoff, a local skateboarding instructor, explain the rich history of skateboarding in Syracuse as well as the Everson’s role in skateboarding.  He even brought along one of his students, Jacsen Kutik, who showed us some skateboarding moves to great applause.  Eric helped us see both the history in the area as well as where the skateboarding sport is going in Syracuse.

Michael John Heagerty, COO and CoFounder of NoExcuses Syracuse, was energized for our day.  He took us on a walking tour of downtown Syracuse where he shared stories about Syracuse’s role in the Underground Railroad, the Erie Canal and the trees outside of the Everson (yes, there is a story behind those trees!).  Michael was so engaging that we had people on the street join our tour just to listen to his stories of the history of Syracuse and the future that is currently being created.  Michael did have a friend who joined us to assist at the beginning of the tour, AND Otto the Orange joined the beginning of the tour as well, to provide high fives and show his approval for our day!

Discover CNY Day continued with a trip to the 174th Attack Wing where Lieutenant Colonel Michelle L. Kilgore welcomed our class and set us up in groups to hear how the base in Syracuse is contributing to progress across the country.  The class was able to get up close and personal with unmanned aerial vehicles and even test out some simulators.  We literally had to pull people onto the buses to get to our last stop of the day – smiles were plastered on faces.

Last stop of the day was IBU Teaching Brewery.  Owner, Michael Mintier, welcomed the class with frosty beverages and the story of how he began his business after spending years as an engineer.  The story of his start, renovation of the building and his process for making beer recipes was well received, especially while consuming the wonderful beers.  Many classmates stayed behind to sample some additional beers, and to get more information from Michael about how he managed to start this now thriving business and how it would continue to contribute to Syracuse.

Our day finished with a few surprises.  First, there was a birthday to celebrate!  It was design team member Ryan Alyward’s birthday so the class, and his family, celebrated with birthday cake for all followed by the obligatory “Happy Birthday” sung in unison.  Second, all classmates received a swag bag full of goodies from local businesses who had donated their items to help show exactly what there is to Discover in CNY.

Our design team would like to thank everyone for their help in making this day amazing.  Special thanks to KeyBank and Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists for providing our lunches, as well as to all of the local companies that donated amazing goodies for our discovery bags!