Unshackle Upstate is a coalition, led by an executive director who reports to a managing board. This board is made up of statewide and regional business leaders - including the two co-founders of Unshackle Upstate - who have a clear understanding and experience with the unique economic challenges of New York state and Upstate in particular.
Greg Biryla | Executive Director
Executive Director, Unshackle Upstate
A lifelong Upstate New Yorker, Greg Biryla came to Unshackle Upstate in 2014 to serve as Director of Development, focusing on all aspects of the organization’s advocacy, communications and political engagement. In December of 2014 he was selected to replace the outgoing executive director and lead Unshackle Upstate into the future. Prior to joining Unshackle Upstate, Greg served as a top-level staff member in the State Assembly and Senate, working from both Albany and Western New York. He has a deep understanding of the Upstate economy and the politics of New York State. A native of Buffalo, Greg graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2006 and lives in Rochester, NY with his wife Ashley.
Garry F. Douglas | Leadership Board
President and CEO, North Country Chamber of Commerce
Garry Douglas has been President and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce - which serves 4,100 companies across Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton and northern Warren County, since 1992. Prior to that, he served for 14 years as executive assistant to U.S. Rep. Gerald Solomon.
Robert Duffy | Leadership Board
President and CEO, Rochester Business Alliance
Rochester native Robert J. Duffy began as Rochester Business Alliance president and Chief Executive Officer January 1, 2015. Prior to working for RBA, Duffy served as New York lieutenant governor in Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration from January 2011 to December 2014. Duffy previously served as Rochester mayor from January 2006 to January 2011 and as Rochester police chief from March 1998 to April 2005, when he resigned his post to run for mayor. He joined the Rochester Police Department in November 1976. Read more.
Dottie Gallagher-Cohen | Leadership Board
President and CEO, Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Dottie Gallagher-Cohen is president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the region's employer-funded economic development organization and the regional chamber of commerce.
Prior to joining the Partnership, she was president & CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara, where she built community awareness about the economic impact of tourism, and modernized the organization’s technology, marketing, and brand platforms. As Senior Vice President of Marketing for The Buffalo News, she was honored with the New York State Governor’s Award for excellence in media and served on the executive committee of the Yahoo! Newspaper Consortium.
Currently, she is on the regional advisory board of Universal Health Care and Visit Buffalo Niagara.
Dottie received her undergraduate degree from Towson University (Baltimore, Maryland) and her MBA from the University at Buffalo.
Brian Sampson | Leadership Board
As president of Associated Builders and Contractors, Empire Chapter, Brian Sampson is responsible for coordinating its political and policy agenda, advocating for reform in state government, and promoting the overall growth of the construction industry on behalf of ABC's more than 300 construction and contracting firms across New York State. Prior to joining ABC, Brian served as Unshackle Upstate's executive director for 5 years. He also worked with Empire State Development (ESD) as Upstate Director for Business Outreach and served as vice president of the Builders Exchange of Rochester, a 550-plus member association in the construction industry.
Lou Santoni | Leadership Board
President and CEO, Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce
Lou Santoni is president and CEO of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as president of the Greater Binghamton Convention & Visitors Bureau and a member of the Broome County Arena Board of Directors. Read more.