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North Country Regional Economic Development Council Considers Creating A Common Competitive Identity

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council met in Lake Placid today for one of its first fully open public meetings.  Following workgroup reports, the co-chairs offered a presentation on creating a Common Competitive Identity for the council’s seven-county region.
The North Country Regional Economic Development Council first worked through its agenda items, beginning with an overview of the state’s perspective of the region’s successful projects from John Maggiore, Senior Advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo.  “It’s often the case that the plan, your plan, is more important than the funding that comes through the annual REDC process because your plan informs other investments from the state in a way that didn’t exist before.”

A presentation and discussion on the economic implications of access to childcare was offered by Excelsior Fellow Emily Badalamente.  “We’re asking you to consider the implications for businesses in their quest to recruit and retain a skilled and reliable workforce and the needs of families to have access to affordable high quality care.”

The council’s workgroups offered updates on issues including workforce, trade sectors and innovation. Adirondack Park Agency Special Assistant for Economic Affairs Dan Kelleher is a member of the Innovation Workforce.  “We’re going to continue to help the people who are here with ideas, commercialize their ideas. But two we want to become an international destination for companies and people who have ideas and want to bring them to market. One of our tactics was to develop an identity that this region could go out and market.”

That led to the co-chairs of the North Country REDC offering their presentation on creating what they titled a Common Competitive Identity for the region.  Jefferson Community College President Dr. Ty Stone and Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism CEO James McKenna outlined the strategic plan.
Dr. Stone:  “The North Country Competitive Identity aligns public and private sectors, citizens, leaders, organizations for a common actionable future. It will help us to leverage prior, current and planned future investments.”
James McKenna: “And it’s really just carrying our regional plan to the next level. The competitive strategies is not a marketing or branding plan but a very serious effort to change the paradigm here.”
Stone:  “And if we did this right I think we will not only retain those young people who are here but attract others, increase entrepreneurship, increase public and private investment.”
McKenna:   “What we’re looking for today is some endorsement that this is sort of the next step. How are we going to really change things? And it’s really coming up with a competitive identity for the entire region.”  

McKenna says the goal of a regional identity is to get more private investment.  “With competitive identity we’re going to capture more private sector funding. And that’s really what we’re after. I mean certainly the state funding will be there with good programs but our goal is to get private investment.”

A motion to formally place on the council’s agenda the creation of the North Country Common Competitive Identity sometime within the next year or so passed on a unanimous voice vote.