State Energy Planning Board Members

Dennis Mullen
President and CEO
Empire State Development

Dennis M. Mullen was appointed Chairman and CEO designate of Empire State Development in July 2009 (both positions require confirmation by the New York State Senate).  In addition, Mr. Mullen serves as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Economic Development.

Amidst unprecedented global economic challenges, Mr. Mullen works to promote economic development practices that attract business and create jobs throughout the state.  He also advances important long-term development projects, including the revitalization of Erie Canal Harbor in Buffalo, the expansion and renovation of Jacob Javits Convention Center and the construction of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Mr. Mullen joined ESD in September 2008 as Upstate President, overseeing ESD’s ten Regional Offices; the Business Development Department; the Division of Tourism, Marketing & Advertising; Governor’s Office of Motion Picture & Television Development; and several specialized economic development programs, including Empire Zones.

Previously, Mr. Mullen served as President and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE), an economic development organization dedicated to the revitalization of Rochester, New York’s regional economy, from 2005 to 2008.  Under his leadership, GRE focused on marketing Rochester’s core assets—alternative energy, biotechnology, food and beverage manufacturing and optics—in an effort to attract new business to this area.  During Mr. Mullen’s tenure, his team played a role in helping create impressive results for the Rochester Region including Barilla America’s decision to build a $96.2 million pasta-manufacturing plant in Avon and Gleason
Works’ announcement that it will invest $18.7 million to upgrade its plant in the City of Rochester.

Prior to his role in economic development, Mr. Mullen worked for more than 28 years in the food industry in a number of senior leadership positions. Most recently, he served as the Chairman, President and CEO of Birds Eye Foods for 10 years where he spearheaded an aggressive acquisition strategy of the Birds Eye Foods brand from the Dean Foods Corporation in 1998, doubling the size of then Curtis Burns Foods. With this acquisition, Birds Eye Foods became the nations’ largest processor of frozen vegetables. Mr. Mullen also served as President and CEO of three other food enterprises including Globe Products Company, Nalley’s Fine Foods and Comstock Foods.

Mr. Mullen has received numerous awards and recognitions and has served on the board of twelve nonprofit organizations in the Greater Rochester Region. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of B&G Foods in Parsippany, New Jersey and Foster Farms in Livingston, California. Mr. Mullen has served on industry boards such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association, as well as the National Food Processors Association as a member of the executive committee and past chairman. Mr. Mullen also serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at St. Leo University in Florida, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in education.

Earned recognition

  • William M. Mercer Humanitarian Award for outstanding volunteer contributions to the Rochester community
  • Named one of 50 Over 50 by Rochester Business Journal
  • Named CEO Communicator of the Year by the Cooperative Communicators Association
  • Received Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) Hope For A Cure Inspiration Award
  • Received the Flower City Habitat for Humanity Golden Hammer Award