Upstate Capital Announces 2023 Board of Directors

Welcomes new board members Kelsey Thomas and Matt Watson

December 20, 2022
Press Contact: Bailey Burke
(845) 204-8090

New Paltz NY – The Upstate Capital Association of NY, the membership organization for private capital investors and transaction professionals across Upstate New York, has announced its 2023 Board of Directors. 

Kelsey Thomas, a Senior Manager of Withum Holdings, and Matt Watson, Senior Vice President of ESD’s NYSTAR, have been appointed as new members to the Board of Directors of Upstate Capital Association of New York. Brian Model of Topmark Partners is the 2023 incoming Chair of the Board. The current board chair, Randy Bianchi of Lakelet Capital, will remain on the Executive Committee following the end of his term. David Brown of Impellent Ventures will transition from Board Treasurer to Vice Chair. David Kocen, Managing Partner of Bluehenge Capital Partners, will become the Treasurer, and Tom Quinn, Chief Executive Officer of the Western NY Impact Investment Fund, will be the Secretary.  

About Kelsey Thomas: Kelsey is a Western New York native with diverse professional experience spanning a wide range of businesses, industries, and geographies. Her background includes nearly a decade of transaction advisory experience with private companies and private equity.  She couples her public accounting background with deep knowledge of the local community, and in addition to her experience, brings the resources of her organization to her participation on the Board. WithumSmith+Brown is an international top 100 public accounting firm.

On her appointment to the Board of Directors, Kelsey says, “I’m thrilled and honored to become a member of the Upstate Capital Board of Directors. As a Western New York native, I’m passionate about helping create opportunities for growth and success of businesses in our area. With the support, resources, and reach of my firm, Withum, I am confident that we can bring value and collaboration opportunities to the members [of Upstate Capital] and the broader business community of Western and Upstate New York. And in true Western New York fashion, I would be remiss if I didn’t end with, Go Bills!”

About Matt Watson:  Matt is the Senior Vice President at Empire State Development and Executive Director of its Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). He has been instrumental in the evolution of the ecosystem, including substantial support for the New York Business Plan Competition, the program Upstate Capital runs to help prepare our next generation of entrepreneurs. 

On his appointment to the Board of Directors, Matt says, “I’m happy to continue the relationship of collaboration with Upstate Capital, the Board and members. NYSTAR is becoming increasingly active in the entrepreneurial ecosystem with new programs supporting companies with capital directly, and it’s a great opportunity to work together to support the ecosystem in Upstate New York.”

Noa Simons, President and CEO of Upstate Capital says, “Upstate Capital welcomes Kelsey and Matt to the Board of Directors. Collectively, the board reflects the full spectrum of capital available to companies in Upstate New York. Both new members bring valuable professional advisor and ecosystem support perspectives to share with the venture capitalists, private equity investors, CEOs, angel investors and industry professionals that make up our board and our membership.”

The 2023 Executive Committee for the Upstate Capital Association of New York Board of Directors includes: Brian Model (Topmark Partners, Chair), David Brown (Impellent Ventures, Vice Chair), David Kocen (Bluehenge Capital, Treasurer), Tom Quinn (WNY Impact Investment Fund, Secretary),  Jennifer Tegan (ESD NY Ventures), Mike Lasch (Pine Street Capital), Randy Bianchi (Lakelet Capital), Sam Ticknor (Union Hill Advisors), and Noa Simons (Upstate Capital, President & CEO)

In addition, the Board of Directors includes: David Dinolfo (The Bonadio Group), Nicholas Querques (SUNY Research Foundation), Sean Moskal (KeyBank), Pete Grum (Advantage Capital), Vikram Agrawal (Vik Brothers), Jeremy Shure (Grasshopper Bank), Somak Chattopadhyay (Armory Square Ventures), Dave Helgerson (Hamilton Lane), and Rami Katz (Excell Partners). 


About Upstate Capital

Upstate Capital connects investors across the capital stack to opportunities all over New York state. We increase access to capital for companies and deal flow for investors by maintaining a robust network of capital providers, company leaders, professional advisors, and supporting organizations. Through regular events and educational content, we connect, educate and celebrate the people building businesses in Upstate New York.