Senator Maziarz joins Governor in announcing WNY economic development council

Senator George Maziarz today joined Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in launching the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, which will redesign the relationship between the state government and businesses to stimulate regional economic development and create jobs statewide. They were joined by Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy, local officials, business leaders, and community members to launch the Regional Council at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

The Western New York Regional Council will be led by Satish K. Tripathi, President of University at Buffalo, and Howard A. Zemsky, the Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group, who will both serve as Regional Co-Chairs. The Regional Council will coordinate the economic development of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties. A complete list of members of the Western New York Regional Council is included below.

"For too long, Albany has imposed one-size-fits-all economic development plans across the state, ignoring the unique assets and challenges of each region," Governor Cuomo said. "Today, we are taking a new approach. With the Regional Councils, we will empower individual areas like Western New York to chart their own course for job creation and growth and we will send a clear message that New York is open for business."

The Regional Councils represent a fundamental shift in the state's approach to economic development, from a top-down development model to a community-based approach that emphasizes regions' unique assets, harnesses local expertise, and empowers each region to set plans and priorities.

Currently, New York State's economic development efforts are managed through dozens of separate state and local agencies. The Regional Councils will now bring together stakeholders in every region of the state to serve as a coordinated point of contact for economic development. Each Regional Council will be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy and will be led by two Regional Co-Chairs from the business and academic community. Additional membership is comprised of local leaders from business, academia, labor, agriculture, nonprofits, and community-based organizations.

Each Regional Council will develop a plan for the development of their region. The state will work with the Regional Councils to align state resources and policies, eliminate unnecessary barriers to growth and prosperity, and streamline the delivery of government services and programs to help the Regional Councils carry out their plans for development.

Governor Cuomo has already made historic changes to the state's economic development grant application process to support the Regional Councils. Through a new Consolidated Funding Application that combines resources from dozens of existing programs, the Regional Councils can now apply for $1 billion in state funding for projects they determine to be part of their regional strategy.

Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy said, "Governor Cuomo's groundbreaking economic development strategy will put our state back on the right path. Only by focusing on what our regions actually need can we take full advantage of our resources and keep businesses and jobs here in New York. The Regional Councils will enable every section of the state to prepare individualized economic plans and will make the regions the drivers of their own success."

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, "New York can no longer afford to have the worst business climate in the nation. The economic development strategies of Albany's past have failed to solve the challenges we face today. Governor Cuomo's Regional Councils create a more efficient business model that empowers individual regions to determine what is best for their own communities and incentivizes thoughtful economic policies through competition. I am excited to work with every region to maximize their potential and bring investment and jobs to New York State."

Satish K. Tripathi, President of University at Buffalo and Co-Chair of the Western New York Regional Council, said, "By creating the Regional Councils, Governor Cuomo is addressing the specific economic development needs of each area of New York State. This approach is exactly what Western New York needs to rejuvenate its economic climate. Under Lieutenant Governor Duffy's leadership, the Western New York Regional Council will work to ensure that residents and businesses from Niagara to Erie to Chautauqua counties are able to build a healthy business climate for the region, including leveraging the resources of the higher education institutions in the area. I look forward to working with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and my colleagues on the Regional Council on creating an environment that will generate jobs and bring prosperity not only to Western New York, but to the entire state."

Howard A. Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group and Co-Chair of the Western New York Regional Council, said, "Since his first day in office, Economic Development has remained a top priority for Governor Cuomo and his administration. The Western New York Regional Council will focus on the generating jobs and keeping families in this state. We will look to maximize the region's resources and revitalize Western New York's economy from the ground up. New York, in all its diversity, was once regarded as one of the most business friendly state in the nation and I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Duffy, as well as all the Western New York stakeholders in restoring that reputation."

The Regional Councils were created through Executive Order. The ten Regional Councils cover the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Long Island, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, Southern Tier, and Western New York.

To learn more about the Regional Councils, please visit

Western New York Regional Council Members

Regional Co-Chairs
Satish K. Tripathi, President of University at Buffalo
Howard A. Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group

General Members
Robert Gioia, President, Oishei Foundation
David Porter, Plant Manager, Cummins, Inc.
Robert T. Brady, Chairman & CEO, Moog
Connie Vari, Executive Vice President & COO, Kaleida Health
Dr. Rosa Gonzalez, Owner/Assistant Professor & Chair, Emergency Management Program,
RGonzalez Consulting, Inc./Erie Community College
Dr. Raul Vazquez, Founder & CEO, Urban Family Practice, P.C.
Jennifer J. Parker, CEO, Jackson Parker Communications, LLC
Pamela R. Henderson, Managing Partner, Henderson-Woods, LLC
Paul Brown, President, Buffalo Building & Construction Trades
Jeff Belt, CEO, SolEpoxy
Brenda W. McDuffie, President & CEO, Buffalo Urban League, Inc.
Aaron Bartley, Executive Director, PUSH (People United for Sustainable Housing) Buffalo
John R. Koelmel, President & CEO, First Niagara Financial Group, Inc.
Dr. Charles Edmondson, President, Alfred University
Thomas A. Kucharski, President & CEO, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise
Andrew J. Rudnick, President & CEO, Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Deanna Alterio Brennen, President & CEO, Niagara USA Chamber
Colleen C. DiPirro, President & CEO, Amherst Chamber of Commerce
Duncan Ross, President, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards

Elected Officials
Erie County Executive
Chair of Niagara County Legislature
Chautauqua County Executive
Chair of Cattaraugus County Legislature
Chair of Allegany County Legislature
Mayor of Buffalo
Mayor of Niagara Falls
Mayor of Jamestown

Elected officials will serve in an ex-officio basis and will participate in discussions and the planning process. In regions composed of more than two counties (except for the New York City region), members will include:

· the chief executive or supervisor of each county; and
· the chief executive or supervisor of the three municipalities with the largest population (limited to one municipal representative per county)

10 Regional Economic Development Councils

· Capital Region (Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, Washington)
· Central New York (Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego)
· Finger Lakes (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, Yates)
· Long Island (Nassau, Suffolk)
· Mid-Hudson (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester)
· Mohawk Valley (Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Schoharie)
· New York City (Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond)
· North Country (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence,)
· Southern Tier (Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins)
· Western New York (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara)