Published On: Thu, Sep 13th, 2018

New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. (NYSID) Appoints Maureen E. O’Brien President and CEO

The NYSID Board of Directors have announced the appointment of Maureen E. O’Brien as President and CEO to fulfill the mission of creating as many employment opportunities as possible for individuals with disabilities in New York State. She is the Corporation’s 5th CEO and the first woman in the role.

“During the interview process, it was clear to the Board that Maureen had a passion for NYSID’s mission. She has a strong background in both business and the non-profit sector and we believe that combined skill set will advance NYSID’s mission. She brings many years of government affairs experience which will be a tremendous asset,” said Kevin Crosley Chair of the Board of Directors and President and CEO of Arc Herkimer.

Earlier this year Ron Romano announced his retirement after 21 years of service. Romano stated, “What I am most proud of is the NYSID organization itself, both staff and the Board of Directors. We started with seven individuals in our Albany Office in 1997 and now we have a team of nearly seventy-five dedicated, innovative individuals working to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

In 2007, O’Brien became the Director of Government Affairs for Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI). In this capacity, she handled the company’s public safety government relations work on large strategic projects in the eastern half of the United States. In 2016, she was promoted to Executive Director of Government Affairs managing all aspects of state and local government engagement for the East Region. Her work at MSI focused on interaction, education, advocacy and legislative activity with key funders and approvers of public safety projects.

“The Preferred Source Program in New York State is vital to individuals with disabilities and it is an honor to lead an organization that does such meaningful work. I have been an advocate for individuals with disabilities for over a decade and I know first-hand the difference a job can make for this traditionally underemployed workforce,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien looks forward to working with NYSID’s Board of Directors and member organizations, as well as the New York State Education Department and the New York State Office of General Services, to achieve the objectives of the State’s Preferred Source Program. Established by New York State Finance Law, the program grants Preferred Source status for government procurement of goods and services to advance social and economic goals.

“Long before the passage of the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, New York was leading the way. In 1983 one of Governor Mario Cuomo’s first acts in office, Executive Order 26, was to establish an office to advocate for persons with disabilities. In 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Executive Order 136, the Employment First Act to assist individuals with disabilities in employment. In 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo instituted the Able NY Agenda. All the work that New York leaders have completed demonstrates that New York is committed to seeing individuals with disabilities succeed,” she said.

For the last decade, O’Brien has been deeply involved in Double H Ranch in Lake Luzerne, NY. The camp serves children and their families dealing with life threatening illnesses. Along with many business leaders from the Capital Region area, O’Brien currently serves on the Executive Committee. In 2016 she was an American Institute for Public Service Foundation Jefferson Award finalist for her commitment to the organization. “Maureen is recognized as a strong and compassionate community leader who always seems to find a way to make things happen on behalf of others.” said Max Yurenda, CEO of Double H Ranch.

Alan Krafchin, Treasurer NYSID Board of Directors and President and CEO of the Center for Disabilities Services in Albany, believes this is an exciting time both for the organization and the future of New Yorkers with disabilities. “Maureen is bright, experienced and enthusiastic about becoming the President and CEO of NYSID. We are very pleased and proud to have someone of her caliber and character lead our organization.”

O’Brien grew up in Albany, New York. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.A.) and New York University (M.A.). She is a Trustee at Maria College and chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee; a member of the Notre Dame Monogram Club and the Notre Dame Club of Northeastern New York. She and her husband Dr. Paul F. Vogt are communicants of Mater Christi Parish in Albany, New York and together are raising four sons.

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