Developing an AI Ecosystem in Upstate New York

For Immediate Release: January 10, 2019 

Contact: Commissioner of Finance, City of Saratoga Springs Michele Madigan
Telephone:  (518) 587-3550 ext 2577
Richard Lin, New Ventures Consultant, NYSTEC
Telephone: (347) 322-8341

Announcing “The AI Opportunity: Developing an AI Ecosystem in Upstate New York”
City and IgniteU to Offer Economic Development Lunch and Learn Series in 2019

Saratoga Springs, NY -- The City of Saratoga Springs, along with the Saratoga Springs Smart City Commission and IgniteU NY, has announced a Lunch and Learn that will focus on artificial intelligence (AI). The event will be held at the Saratoga City Center on Thursday, January 24, 2019, from 12 – 2 pm. Lunch will be provided.

“The AI Opportunity: Developing an AI Ecosystem in Upstate New York” will be a panel discussion about what AI is, why it matters, and what opportunities it presents locally and regionally. Panelists will share ideas, experiences, and viewpoints about AI technology, research and development, ethics, and policies. Following the discussion and Q&A session will be time to network with local leaders, industry experts, and community stakeholders.

The first in a series of Economic Development Lunch and Learns, “The AI Opportunity” will be moderated by Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan, who is also the Chair of the Saratoga Springs Smart City Commission. The Commission, comprising a diverse community membership, was formed in 2016 with the goal of helping set Saratoga Springs on a path to becoming a smarter city.

“I am thrilled to be partnering with IgniteU to offer a series of lunch and learns sponsored by the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, and Innovate 518,” said Commissioner Madigan. “This series—on topics such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, innovation, and energy—works to position the region to spur economic development by leveraging applications of emerging technologies to practical business challenges.”

Panelists include Bob Bedard, the President and CEO of deFacto Global, Inc., the software company behind the creation of a regional AI Center of Excellence. “The Capital District has the intellectual, financial, and political capital to create an AI ecosystem that will drive the AI economy throughout New York,” said Bedard. “The AI Center of Excellence is designed to drive AI competency, skill development, and jobs across the State.”

Also on the panel will be Dr. Craig Skevington, CEO of managed service provider STEADfast IT, which utilizes AI in its high-tech help desk, and Colin Garvey, a Ph.D. student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) specializing in AI risk governance.

“The role of technology is no longer limited to merely a productivity tool,” said Dr. Skevington. “Emerging technologies like AI are impacting the fundamental strategic capabilities of a business.”

“The time is ripe for New York to become a major player in the AI space, and I’m glad to see it starting in the Capital District,” said Garvey.

The Lunch and Learn is free and open to the public, but it is limited to 100 attendees. For more information, visit

 About IgniteU NY

IgniteU NY is a Capital Region startup accelerator, helping to fuel New York startups while supporting the region’s innovation ecosystem. IgniteU is powered by NYSTEC, a not-for-profit technology consulting company. For more information about IgniteU, please contact Richard Lin:

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