July 26, 2011
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Launches Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council

TOP Governor Cuomo Launches Finger Lakes Regional...

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched his Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, which will redesign the relationship between the state government and businesses to stimulate regional economic development and create jobs statewide. The Governor was joined by Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy, local officials, business leaders, and community members to launch the Regional Council at Monroe Community College.


The Finger Lakes Regional Council will be led by Joel Seligman, the President of University of Rochester, and Danny Wegman, the CEO of Wegman's Food Markets, who will both serve as Regional Co-Chairs. The Regional Council will coordinate the economic development of Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties. A complete list of members of the Finger Lakes Regional Council is included below.


"For too long, Albany has imposed one-size-fits-all economic development plans across the state, ignoring the unique assets and challenges of each region," said Governor Cuomo. "Today, we are taking a new approach. With the Regional Councils, we will empower individual areas like the Finger Lakes to chart their own course for job creation and growth and we will send a clear message that New York is open for business."


The Regional Councils represent a fundamental shift in the state's approach to economic development, from a top-down development model to a community-based approach that emphasizes regions' unique assets, harnesses local expertise, and empowers each region to set plans and priorities.


Currently, New York State's economic development efforts are managed through dozens of separate state and local agencies. The Regional Councils will now bring together stakeholders in every region of the state to serve as a coordinated point of contact for economic development. Each Regional Council will be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy and will be led by two Regional Co-Chairs from the business and academic community. Additional membership is comprised of local leaders from business, academia, labor, agriculture, nonprofits, and community-based organizations.


Each Regional Council will develop a plan for the development of their region. The state will work with the Regional Councils to align state resources and policies, eliminate unnecessary barriers to growth and prosperity, and streamline the delivery of government services and programs to help the Regional Councils carry out their plans for development.


Governor Cuomo has already made historic changes to the state's economic development grant application process to support the Regional Councils. Through a new Consolidated Funding Application that combines resources from dozens of existing programs, the Regional Councils can now apply for $1 billion in state funding for projects they determine to be part of their regional strategy.


Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy said, "Governor Cuomo's groundbreaking economic development strategy will put our state back on the right path. Only by focusing on what our regions actually need can we take full advantage of our resources and keep businesses and jobs here in New York. The Regional Councils will enable every section of the state to prepare individualized economic plans and will make the regions the drivers of their own success."


Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, "New York can no longer afford to have the worst business climate in the nation. The economic development strategies of Albany's past have failed to solve the challenges we face today. Governor Cuomo's Regional Councils create a more efficient business model that empowers individual regions to determine what is best for their own communities and incentivizes thoughtful economic policies through competition. I am excited to work with every region to maximize their potential and bring investment and jobs to New York State."


Joel Seligman, President of University of Rochester and Co-Chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Council, said, "From day one, the Governor has said that New York needs jobs and economic development. His Regional Councils will facilitate communication and collaboration among the state government, business and academic communities. Governor Cuomo recognizes that local stakeholders and business leaders have a true sense of what is most needed in the Finger Lakes. The competitive nature of the Regional Councils will enhance the quality of the proposals and not only benefit our region, but New York as a whole. I thank Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Duffy for their leadership."


Danny Wegman, CEO of Wegman's Food Markets and Co-Chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Council, said, "Governor Cuomo understands the unique qualities that each of New York's 10 regions has to offer. The Finger Lakes Regional Council will work with local businesses to harness our economic resources and ensure that they are put to the best use. The five-year strategic plans for each project will stimulate job creation and spur economic growth. I congratulate the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, as well as the members of the Finger Lakes Regional Council and look forward to working with them to rebuild New York economy."


The ten Regional Councils cover the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Long Island, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, Southern Tier, and Western New York.


To learn more about the Regional Councils, please visit www.nyopenforbusiness.com


Finger Lakes Regional Council Members


Regional Co-Chairs

Joel Seligman, President of University of RochesterDanny Wegman, CEO of Wegmans Food Markets


General Members

Robert S. Sands, CEO, Constellation Brands, Inc.Christine Whitman, Chairman, CEO & President, Complemar, Inc.Augustin Melendez, Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, KodakBradley Macdonald, Vice President, Brunner International Corp.Tom Macinski, President, Standing Stone Winery Charles Cook, President & CEO, Liberty Pumps Inc.Kirsten Werner, President & Co-Owner, Diamond Packaging Co. Inc.Tyrone Reaves, President, TruForm Manufacturing CorpDr. Anne M. Kress, President, Monroe Community CollegeRobert Brown, Business Manager, Laborers Local 435William W. Destler, President, Rochester Institute of TechnologyHilda Rosario Escher, President & CEO, Ibero American Action LeagueTheresa B. Mazzullo, CEO, Excell Partners, IncPamela P. Heald, President & CEO, Reliant Community Federal Credit UnionJohn Noble, President & Owner, Synergy, LLCMark S. Peterson, President & CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise Sandra A. Parker, President & CEO, Rochester Business Alliance Cynthia Oswald, President, Livingston County Chamber of CommerceSteve Griffin, CEO, Finger Lakes Economic Development Center


Elected Officials

Monroe County ExecutiveChairman of Genesee County LegislatureChairman of Wayne County Board of SupervisorsChairman of Ontario County Board of SupervisorsChairman of Livingston County Board of Supervisors Chairman of Orleans County LegislatureChairman of Wyoming County Board of SupervisorsChairman of Yates County LegislatureChairman of Seneca County Board of Supervisors


Mayor of Rochester
Batavia City Council PresidentArcadia Supervisor


Elected officials will serve in an ex-officio basis and will participate in discussions and the planning process. In regions composed of more than two counties (except for the New York City region), members will include:


  • the chief executive or supervisor of each county; and
  • the chief executive or supervisor of the three municipalities with the largest population (limited to one municipal representative per county)




10 Regional Economic Development Councils


  • Capital Region (Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, Washington)
  • Central New York (Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego)
  • Finger Lakes (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, Yates)
  • Long Island (Nassau, Suffolk)
  • Mid-Hudson (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester)
  • Mohawk Valley (Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Schoharie)
  • New York City (Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond)
  • North Country (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence,)
  • Southern Tier (Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins)
  • Western New York (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara)
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