New York State Economic Development Council Announces the Economic Developer of the Year


NYSEDC Recognized all of its Members as “Economic Developer of the Year” for the Substantial Impact They Made in Their Communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC) recognized its entire membership, including the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA), with the Robert T. Dormer Economic Developer of the Year award at its Annual Meeting on September 28, 2021 in Cooperstown, N.Y. The NYSEDC is the state’s principal, nonprofit membership organization representing public, private, and nonprofit economic development professionals from throughout the State of New York.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted lives, economies, and supply chains, and created a global economic crisis that impacted every community in New York State. And every one of the NYSEDC’s members played a critical leadership role in their community in addressing these obstacles. Each were met with the challenge of supporting their business community and workforce during the worst economic crisis of the century, and they continue to work hard to reposition, repurpose, and rebuild their communities and economies in order to make them stronger and more resilient. For this reason, the NYSEDC believes that they all deserve special recognition.

The Robert T. Dormer Developer of the Year Award was established to honor an economic development professional who has made a substantial impact on his or her community and the economic development industry in general.

“The last year has been filled with unprecedented challenges faced by all economic developers,” said Jaime Johnson, incoming Chairman of NYSEDC. “The pandemic disrupted every aspect of the economic landscape, and economic developers were on the front line supporting the needs of their business community and residents.”

The County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) front line staff, along with the County of Chautauqua front line staff, worked efficiently and effectively to field hundreds of phone calls from local businesses and residents during this time of uncertainty and difficulty. A priority was established to obtain all up-to-date guidance information being released at the state and federal levels regarding COVID-19 in order to direct businesses and residents to the correct sources of information to answer their questions accurately and in a timely manner. In many cases, inquiries were directed towards specific organizations or websites, which provided pertinent information regarding their specific industry guidelines and/or safety plan templates needed for their organization (NY Forward, NYS Department of Health, and NYS Department of Labor). Additionally, the CCIDA implemented and assisted with several programs/resources to aid businesses in Chautauqua County, which included the following:

  • The CCIDA created a “COVID-19 Resources for Businesses” page on its CCIDA website where the most up-to-date information was provided;
  • The CCIDA encouraged County manufactures to pivot in order to produce needed supplies for the COVID-19 Response;
  • The CCIDA provided low-interest loans not exceeding $10,000 to businesses throughout Chautauqua County (CCIDA Emergency Working Capital Loan Program), which was approved by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) before it was launched.
  • This resulted in loans being approved for 25 local businesses desperately in need of working capital to keep their doors open;
  • The CCIDA, in conjunction with the philanthropic community, created a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Grant Program, which had two components. The first component involved a 50-50 matching grant program for business to purchase PPE and other materials needed by businesses (e.g. Thermometers, face masks, face shields, tape, barriers, and other implements) to comply with the Governor’s workplace safety mandates. The second component involved the provision of technical assistance provided by Jamestown Community College’s health experts in order to assist companies in developing safety plans that would identify what they needed to do in terms of the provision of PPE, in re-designing their workplace layouts, in revising work schedules, etc., in order to protect their employees and customers; and
  • CCIDA/EDA Cares Act Revolving Loan Fund – The CCIDA was awarded $10.5 million in funding in the third quarter of 2020 as part of the Federal Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Cares Act Stimulus funding, which could be used for working capital, the purchase of equipment, and other defined purposes to keep their businesses viable. Just as with the Emergency Working Capital Loan Program, collateral requirements were relaxed and the interest rate was set at a low 2.44%. This funding was committed within nine months of its launch, and benefitted more than 50 companies.
  • “Collaboration and ingenuity were key during this unprecedented time, and the accomplishments were due to an entire team response of coordinated effort and dedication to service,” said Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel. “While the CCIDA certainly deserves this award, it is an award that is shared by our entire community. I am not only proud of our economic development team, but the entire community for showing great resiliency and ingenuity during this unprecedented crisis.”

“I am really proud of our economic development team for everything we were able to do in the thick of the pandemic,” said Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and CEO of the CCIDA. “I share County Executive Wendel’s sentiment when I say that this award is a reflection of the community at large, especially the business community. I know how hard everyone has worked to continue their operations while facing the challenges of retaining and attracting employees, supply chain disruptions, and so much more.”

“The NYSEDC was proud to honor and recognize all our members for the critical role they play supporting their communities and economy,” said NYSEDC Executive Director Ryan Silva. “We congratulate the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency and thank them for their leadership in moving Chautauqua County and the New York State economies forward.”

Any comments or questions regarding this announcement should be addressed to Deputy County Executive for Economic Development/CCIDA Chief Executive Officer, Mark Geise, at