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Wilmers Will Lead Empire Development Corporation

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Buffalo banker Robert Wilmers was appointed by Governor David Paterson Thursday as the new chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation.

Wilmers will be based in Buffalo and will be in charge of economic development throughout the state. Wilmers will be hiring two executives to lead the upstate and downstate divisions of Empire State Development. Both will report to him.

At a news conference in Rochester Thursday afternoon, Wilmers said his private sector experience will be useful in his new position.

"I think there's much we can do to make upstate, indeed all of New York, more competitive," Wilmers said. "I'll work with Governor Paterson, his administration and the state Legislature to find ways to improve the economy."

Current upstate development chairman Daniel Gunderson resigned Thursday.

Wilmers will not receive a salary. His appointment, pending confirmation by the State Senate, takes effect July 12th.