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BNE Markets Buffalo Niagara Region at Philadelphia BIO Convention

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Erie County may be in a fiscal meltdown. And the region could soon be getting its second control board. But one of Western New York's top cheerleaders is at the International BIO Convention in Philadelphia this week talking about why it's great to do business here.

As president of the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, it's Tom Kucharski's job to attract business to the region. And we've had some really great news recently. The region saved a ton of jobs with Geico. And, Bass Pro has been bagged. But how easy is it for Kucharski to sell the region right this minute, with multi-year, multi-million dollar deficits looming -- and and another control board on the door step? Kucharski says it's surprisingly easy.

"The thing that may be lost on us locally here is that the rest of the country is going through the same dynamic, too," Kucharski said. "Even in growth areas such as Phoenix, they're facing an $81 million deficit. We saw recently how big the budget deficit was in the city of Toronto. So, everybody is dealing with this."

One of the things that worked real well for Kucharski was an announcement Friday that he was able to take along in his pocket to the convention. Nano-Dynamics in Buffalo, a cutting edge technology manufacturer, is adding jobs, not moving. Mayor Anthony Masiello said it's good medicine.

"This is a great shot in the arm for our economy," Masiello said. "It is a wonderful improvement to our image."

But Kucharski contends our image -- as fiscally tarnished as it may be -- really doesn't need that much help.

But what about all the toxic politics the state comptroller scolded officials for? Kucharski says business leaders are concerned with business -- no matter how theatrical it gets.

"I have worked in other places where county commissioners were taken out in handcuffs," Kucharski said. "But those areas continued to thrive and flourish."

Kucharski says prospective business leaders know how to keep everything in context. So control board or not, Kucharski says Western New York, with its burgeoning technologies and attractive incentives, is a pretty easy sell.