Allegany Territory, Salamanca, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- The Seneca Nation of Indians is hosting a bi-state meeting of industrial development agencies Thursday in an effort to collaborate on economic development policy and practice in Western New York and Pennsylvania.
More than 25 people from 15 different local, county and regional agencies are attending the day-long meeting, held at the Seneca Allegany Casino.
The object of the meeting is for all attendees to better understand the goals and practices of the others, and find where integration and collaborations are possible.
The Seneca Nation provided overviews of its goals and opportunities for collaboration from President Robert Odawi Porter; Michael Kimelberg, chief planning officer; Chris Karns, Nation counsel; and David Kimelberg, CEO of Seneca Holdings, the Nation’s investment arm.
“For the longest time, I’ve wanted to get all the IDAs and development agencies in this region together in one room to discover and discuss what we have in common,” Porter said. “We hear every day from multiple sources about what divides us. Enough. Let’s see how we can all work together to foster and build economic development options to benefit all our people, whether they live within Seneca, New York or Pennsylvania boundaries. Good business knows no boundaries.”
Also slated to speak are representatives of IDAs or economic development agencies from Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Allegany, Erie, Niagara, Warren and McKean counties, and from Southern Tier West, a regional planning group.
Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards noted this is the first time five New York counties, two Pennsylvania counties and the Seneca Nation met together about economic development.
“This isn’t just a small step forward, it’s a giant leap forward. This is very different from prior government efforts to find more tax revenue, to finding ways to join together to create more economic growth and opportunity for everyone,” Edwards said. “I am happy to be a partner with President Porter and other regional economic development leaders.”
Those invited and/or confirmed attending include: Corey Witkor, director, Cattaraugus County IDA; Crystal Abers, board member, Cattaraugus County IDA; Matthew S. Bull, executive director, Salamanca IDA; Gary Rougeau, director, economic development manager, Greater Olean Chamber of Commerce; Edwards; William Daly, Chautauqua County IDA; John Foels, director, Allegany County Economic Development; Richard T. Zink, executive director, Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development Board; Thomas A. Kucharski, CEO, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise; Curtis W. Crandall, chairman, Allegany County Legislature;
Also, John E. Margeson, Allegany County administrator; John Cappellino, executive vice president of business development, Erie County IDA; Kathy Konst, Erie County Department of Environment and Planning; Samuel M. Ferraro, executive director, Niagara County IDA; James L. Decker, CEO, Warren County (PA) Chamber of Business & Industry; John E. Eggleston, chairman, Warren County Board of Commissioners; Ray McMahon, director, McKean (PA) County Economic Development Office; Joe DeMott, chairman, McKean County Board of Commissioners; Christopher J. Schoepflin, president, USA Niagara Development Corp.; Michael Roche, McKean County Economic Development; Bob Veilleux, Penn State Cooperative Extension; Paul S. Pfeiffer, director, Investor & Public Relations, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise; Mary George, City of Olean.
“This is an ambitious but sincere and serious effort by the Seneca Nation to become a convener and a common thread in this region’s economic development efforts,” said Michael Kimelberg. “Why should we compete when we can work together to the benefit of hundreds of thousands of people living in two states? We all want the same thing, share the same goal: Improved economic development and more jobs.”