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Governor names WNY regional economic development council

Governor Andrew Cuomo names leadership for the Western New York Regional Council
WBFO News photo by Ashley Hassett
Governor Andrew Cuomo names leadership for the Western New York Regional Council

By WBFO Newsroom


Buffalo, NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo appeared in Buffalo Tuesday morning to name the Western New York Regional Council. It will be lead by University at Buffalo president Satish Tripathi and managing partner at Larkin Development Group Satish Tripathi & Howard Zemsky.

The Governor said the council will redesign the relationship between the state government and businesses to stimulate regional economic development and create jobs statewide.

The Governor was 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 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.

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.

"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," said Tripathi.

"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," said Zemsky.

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)