Governor Announces WNY Regional Council Members
On Tuesday, July 26, 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. Amherst Chamber President Colleen DiPirro is honored to be among the group of leaders selected to serve on the Council on behalf of the Chamber and its members. In addition to the Western New York Council, the Governor has created nine other councils throughout the State. Each will focus on economic development initiatives and challenges in their specific regions.
The Councils are charged with developing an economic plan for their region. Governor Cuomo envisions a bottom-up approach to economic development throughout the State with the creation of these councils. Those who serve on the Councils have intimate knowledge of their regions' unique offerings and assets. By allowing those who live and work in each region to serve on the council, the Governor is allowing each area to shape its own future.
To assist with the revitalization of each region, Governor Cuomo has set aside $1 billion in funding that councils can apply for to fund projects they believe are necessary for the success of their development strategies. All ten councils will be competing for the same funding and the councils that are most united in their plans will have a stronger chance of receiving funding for their region.
Co-chairs for the WNY council are Satish Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Howard Zemsky, President of Larkin Development Group. Along with Colleen, other general members are: Robert Gioia (Oishei Foundation), David Porter (Cummins Inc.), Robert Brady (Moog), Connie Vari (Kaleida Health), Dr. Rosa Gonzalez (RGonzalez Consulting/ECC), Dr. Raul Vazquez (Urban Family Practice), Jennifer Parker (Jackson Parker Communications), Pamela Henderson (Henderson-Woods), Paul Brown (Buffalo Building & Construction Trades), Jeff Belt (SolEpoxy), Brenda McDuffie (Buffalo Urban League), Aaron Barley (PUSH Buffalo), John Koelmel (First Niagara Financial Group), Dr. Charles Edmondson (Alfred University), Thomas Kucharski (Buffalo Niagara Enterprise), Andrew Rudnick (Buffalo Niagara Partnership), Deanna Alterio Brennen (Niagara USA Chamber) and Duncan Ross (Arrowhead Spring Vineyards).
Colleen has been with the Chamber for over 30 years, as the only staff person with a membership of 180 when she first began. She now serves as President/CEO and has been instrumental in growing the organization to it's over 2,500 members today. For more information on the Regional Economic Development Councils, please visit the Governor's website by clicking here.