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Local News

October 30, 2013

Foothills to host economic summit

An economic summit next month will feature guest speakers and round-table discussions about the future of Otsego County, said state Sen. James Seward, who emphasized a need for business and educators to work together.

The Nov. 14 summit will be at the Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center in Oneonta.

“In 2012, I brought Otsego County stakeholders together to pinpoint our economic development strengths and weaknesses with an eye toward formulating a unified strategy that would better our county’s future,” Seward said in a media release issued Monday.

“The first summit rallied the troops, generated tangible success stories and refocused everyone’s attention to our true needs,” Seward said. “Now it is time to take the next step.”

Seward is sponsoring the summit in conjunction with the Otsego County Development Corp., the Otsego County Industrial Development Agency, the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce and Citizen Voices. About 300 local elected officials, business leaders and owners, school district superintendents and college presidents have been invited, organizers said, and the event also is open to interested others.

The summit will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to “formulate an integrated action plan,” Seward said.

“The recently adopted START-UP NY program can be a winning economic growth tool, but businesses and schools must work together to maximize its potential,” Seward said. “Schools must also understand the evolving needs of our employers, especially those involved in the growing nano-technology field, in order to produce knowledgeable, prospective workers.”

START-UP NY, or SUNY Tax-free Areas to Revitalize and Transform Upstate NY, is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initiative to turn SUNY campuses into tax-free communities for new and expanding businesses.

According to Seward’s release, featured speakers will include:

• Robert E. Geer, acting president of the State University Institute of Technology, who will deliver the keynote address: “The ‘New’ New York: Leveraging SUNY for Transformational Economic Impact in the Mohawk Valley”;

• Richard J. Sheehy, CH2M HILL IDC director of advanced planning and site selection, who will assess Otsego County sites and offer an “action agenda” on how to attract, keep and grow business.

Otsego County is part of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council, an area designated by the governor in a revised format to administer state grants and other assistance.

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