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EDC Warren County To Showcase Forest Products Industry At Annual Luncheon

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Economic leaders in the Southern Adirondack region are gathering in Queensbury Friday afternoon to discuss the importance and presence of the forest-products industry.

At Friday’s annual luncheon of EDC Warren County, members of the business community will gather to hear speakers salute the region’s forest products industry – a vital economic sector both in the past and future.

EDC president Ed Bartholomew said in the Glens Falls-Warren County area, papermaking remains a key component to the local economy with about 2,500 workers employed in paper mills. Bartholomew also mentioned the other businesses that are supported by the forest products industry.

"From lumbermills, sawmills, loggers, and truckers, to repair shops that make up significantly economic development for our area," added Bartholomew.

While economic leaders also are welcoming a changing economy, including the increasing presence of the high-tech sector with leaders like GlobalFoundries, it’s still important to showcase the strength of the region’s historic papermaking industry today.

“They have been here for well over a hundred years and they intend to remain active and vibrant as we move forward into another century," said Bartholomew.

The keynote speaker will be Deba Mukherjee, president and CEO of Finch Paper in Glens Falls, which has been in operation for more than a century.

Other speakers will help give context to the keynote speaker’s words on the status of the papermaking and forest products industry.

Kevin Geraghty, Chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors and Warrensburg town supervisor, will speak. Geraghty himself is a retired worker of International Paper in Corinth.

Geraghty said he believes papermaking is a fascinating business and tremendously important.

"Just the skilled workforce that's in the area of men and women is so important," said Geraghty. "I think the spin from the paper industry in Warren County and surrounding communities, whether it be machine shops to wood suppliers, to just the local hardware store, is just humoungus."

Steve Scarselletta, President of Local 18 United Steelworkers, a union that represents around 400 employees at Finch Paper, will address the importance of preserving the industry.

"It's important for us to retain good-paying jobs to keep this stability in the community," said Scarselletta.

Other speakers include Heather Briccetti, President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, and Elizabeth Miller, President of Miller Mechanical Services, a company in Glens Falls that fabricates steel equipment.

Upwards of 300 businesses will be represented at EDC’s annual luncheon, including other papermaking companies, as well as telecommuincations, manufacturing, banking and financial service businesses, and others.

The event is being held at the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge in Queensbury.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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