Note: This was originally posted on the Buffalo Niagara Partnership blog. We wanted to pass along the message and invite you to this 2-day conference hosted by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership on August 4 & 5, 2011 where you will get the opportunity to discuss solutions and positive steps that Upstaters can take together to accelerate Upstate. Read on for more details on registering.

Working in the business I do, I love family picnics. I love on the 4th of July and on Labor Day when you get your family around the table and everyone starts spouting off on what’s wrong with the city/state/country and what they would do if they were in charge to fix it. I’m always convinced that positive change could actually take place if we put all of our uncles in a room for one day to sort things out.

Well, that’s kinda what we’re doing – on August 4 and 5, the Partnership will be hosting an event called Accelerate Upstate in downtown Buffalo. We’re inviting stakeholders from across Upstate from every sector – that’s business, labor, government, not-for-profit, special interest groups and everyone else – to get together for two days… Not to talk about the problems with Upstate – we’ve spent enough time doing that – but to talk about solutions and opportunities. What assets does Upstate New York possess that make us an attractive place to live, work and invest, and how do we – and by “we” I mean taxpayers, employers and government leaders – make the most of them.

Because the reality of the situation is that for the rest of eternity, 2/3 of this state’s population is going to live east of the Hudson River. We may lament that fact, but it is what it is. Which means that our lack of political clout isn’t likely to change. So how do we live within that world in a way that will lead to economic stability and even prosperity? Well, we need everyone in the room to come up with a plan for doing so.

You can find a list of the speakers we’ve invited to Accelerate Upstate here – we think it’s a strong and influential list, and since I booked all of the speakers I’ve had the privilege of talking to them about the event. They’re not coming because it’s a speaking opp. They’re coming because it’s a topic that’s needs to come to the forefront. And while we’re going to be doing a lot of “talking” for those two days, we’re also going to be turning that dialogue into action. All of the comments from speakers, panelists and attendees will be compiled into an Accelerate Upstate action agenda to be delivered to Albany after the conference.

Of course, while they’re here we want the attendees of Accelerate Upstate to see Buffalo, so we’ve set up a unique schedule where the conference’s “breakout sessions” are being spread throughout downtown. In addition, we’re hoping that the conversation will flow from meeting rooms to our Accelerate Upstate networking reception aboard the USS Little Rock (overlooking the final concert in the 2011 Buffalo Place Summer Concert Series at the Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf).

We all have our opinions on what needs to change to make Upstate New York vibrant, keep our children from moving away and see more jobs being created. Don’t waste your ideas over hot dogs and potato salad so they’re forgotten by the time the badminton racquets are pulled out. Join us on August 4 and 5 in this collaborative community effort to Accelerate Upstate.