Hamilton/Niagara presents “The Americas Investment Playbook”

Dottie recently blogged about the similarities that exist between Hamilton, Canada and Buffalo, NY.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Dottie during her trip to Hamilton to meet Keanin Loomis, President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce in Ontario.

Through the trip, I was surprised to learn how many opportunities exist for Partnership member companies to experience and interact with Hamilton/Niagara.

HamiltonView 2Seeing as how the 2015 Pan Am Games are being held in Ontario and the month of July is focused on presenting “The Americas Investment Playbook,” there is no better time to tap in to the Hamilton/Niagara region than now.

The Hamilton/Niagara region developed a detailed “Playbook” designed for your business to experience, interact and invest with companies in Hamilton/Niagara.

As the regional chamber of commerce, we love it when other regions make it easy for us to do business together and provide more opportunities for our members to grow and expand their business.

We have been invited to participate and are happy to share the programs and events currently planned with our community and member companies:

  • July 14: Interactive Manufacturing Tour: Explore new technologies that are developed in Hamilton’s manufacturing sector, learn about the innovative research and development taking place between the community colleges and universities and meet with local industry representatives. This event is perfect for members working in manufacturing!
  • July 22: Bilateral Trade Forum: Learn about various methods of exporting (including direct, technology licensing, through joint venture, strategic partnerships, etc.) as well as opportunity sectors across the various Pan American countries. Walk away with tips to speed business conducted across international borders. This event is perfect for Partnership members looking to expand their cross-border business presence or learn more about cross-border opportunities.
  • July 23: Real Estate and Development Familiarization Tour: This tour will showcase new investments, profile the opportunity for future growth and review the multi-modal transportation networks in Ontario. Attendees will also have the chance to meet with Hamilton’s top leaders in local industry, academia and government. This event is perfect for members of our Development Advisory Council!

We encourage you to Join Hamilton/Niagara for some of the upcoming events as they provide an unforgettable experience to international visitors. Click here for details and to register.

We look forward to continuing to work together to strengthen and foster these cross-border, business-to-business opportunities.

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NYS Legislative Session comes to an end

The 2015 New York State Legislative session is one for the history books – but not for what was accomplished legislatively.

This tumultuous session, which saw the leaders of both the Senate and Assembly resign their leadership posts in scandal, ended more than a week later than scheduled and with very little legislative activity.

Thankfully, the final legislative package did include the Partnership’s priority issue: an extension of the Property Tax Cap. 

The Partnership, working hand-in-hand with Unshackle Upstate, advocated aggressively to convince the State Legislature and Governor to make the existing cap permanent.

While our position had significant traction, making the cap permanent was a tall order.

In the end, we achieved a five year extension of the cap through 2020. 

UU keep the cap 2There is no doubt the cap is working.

Since its enactment in 2011, the cap has saved New Yorkers a total of $7.6 billion ($449 million in Western New York).

Recent data shows that vast majority of New York’s municipal governments and school districts are living within the cap, significantly controlling the growth of property taxes across the state.

A five year extension is a critical step in the right direction which will allow all New York property owners to continue to reap the benefit the cap provides and make any future efforts to erode the cap significantly harder.

A strong Property Tax Cap is all the more important given the fact that the other property tax component of the end of session package does not benefit commercial property owners.

While we celebrate an extension of the Property Tax Cap, we must keep the pressure on the Governor and State Legislature to seriously and aggressively address mandate relief.

Unfunded state mandates continue to be the driver of high property taxes in New York. We must address this problem at its source to truly change the business climate and economic outlook of Upstate.

UU Keep the cap 1The end of session agreement also included changes to the Workers’ Compensation law to better protect self-insured employers.

A recent court decision brought about by a lack of clarity in the 2008 Workers’ Compensation reform package had left some employers exposed to rapidly escalating assessments.

Locally, the proposal to give Mayor Brown control of the Buffalo Public School was not included in the final legislative package. The proposal’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, has pledged to reintroduce the measure next session.

While session has officially ended for 2015, two critical issues continue to develop.

First, the Partnership will continue to watch negotiations between developers and labor over prevailing wage requirements on affordable housing projects.

The outcome of this negotiation could eventually have an impact on all private construction projects receiving some form of public support.

AdvocacyGraphics-05_06_15-72dpi11We remain steadfast in our commitment to defeat prevailing wage mandates.  

Second, the Fast Food Wage Board impaneled by Governor Cuomo has announced that it plans to recommend a substantial increase in the hour wage for fast food workers.

While the board has yet to specify a number, the increase could be as high as $15 an hour.

The Wage Board’s decision will ripple well beyond the fast food industry and will further disadvantage businesses and job opportunities in this state.

The Partnership believes the use of a Wage Board to increase minimum wage rates for a particular sector is bad public policy.

We believe that any increase in the state’s minimum wage (already scheduled to increase this December to $9 an hour) should be made by the State Legislature.

Instead of pushing for significantly higher wages for entry level jobs, we encourage state leaders to focus on adopting basic reforms that will generate new opportunities in key jobs sectors and incentivizing job creation by encouraging existing businesses to stay and grow in New York.

While the Legislature’s work in Albany is done for 2015, the Partnership will continue its advocacy on behalf of its members in the weeks and months ahead.

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Discovering Hamilton: parallels to Buffalo

You’d be surprised to learn just how similar Hamilton in Canada is to Buffalo.

A few months ago I was invited to participate in a panel discussion with the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce in Niagara on Lake Ontario. During my visit, I spent time with their chamber’s new incoming CEO, Mishka Balsom.

I also had the opportunity to meet Keanin Loomis, the president of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

The three of us, all relatively new in our positions, talked about the opportunities that exist to unite the business communities on both sides of the border. We also talked about our respective markets.

hamiltonc hamberI was surprised to learn just how much Hamilton has in common with Buffalo.

Check out this quote from The Hamilton Spectator “Hamilton is already taking great strides forward. Among them: redevelopment along our waterfront, the completion of a world-class stadium, seemingly endless new construction downtown, and, most recently, the injection of $1-billion in provincial funding for an LRT system. Add to the mix a highly-trained workforce and an engaged and growing population infusing the city with enthusiasm and an entrepreneurial spirit. We must build on the momentum.”

Does this sound like Buffalo or what?!

At Keanin’s invitation, I took a road trip to Hamilton to spend the day touring and meeting with some important players on the economic development front in Canada.

The timing of our visit could not have been better, as I was extensively quoted in stories about Buffalo’s development in the Hamilton Spectator the same week.

Our tour began with a walk across downtown where I got to see Nations Fresh Foods, a downtown grocery store in the heart of Hamilton.

Naysayers doubted it would be successful, but since its opening it has enjoyed an incredibly robust business. I couldn’t help but think about the mayor’s vision for a grocery store in downtown Buffalo.

Nations Fresh foodsAfter touring the store, we went to the 23rd floor of a high-rise that gave us a bird’s eye view of Hamilton’s development.

Hamilton is the busiest port in all of Canada and, like Buffalo, has an industrial past that includes steel production.

They too are in the process of transforming their economy, and it was great to talk to Keanin about the chamber’s efforts to encourage smart growth development and the development of “complete streets.”

It almost started to feel as if Hamilton and Buffalo are “twins separated by birth.”

He gave us a driving tour around the great downtown neighborhoods of Hamilton where we saw some magnificent homes and beautiful neighborhoods.

A highlight of the trip was meeting with the city of Hamilton economic development department. They shared with us their exciting plans to take advantage of the Pan Am games.

In fact, there some great opportunities for Buffalo companies to take a firsthand look of what’s happening in Hamilton during the month of July.

Hamilton View 1

bird’s eye view of Hamilton

I also met Matthew Green, a Councilor from ward 3 (similar to a Buffalo common council member.)

Green is the first non-incumbent to take a seat in quite some years. He’s young, energetic, and understands the opportunity we have to collaborate and to compete as a region in the global economy.

The entire experience reminded me of just how irrelevant the river is.

We are a part of a global mega region and we need to build bridges (not just the brick and mortar kind) to take advantage of it.

I am excited to have counter parts in Hamilton and Greater Niagara that understand the opportunities that exist for mutual collaboration. Stay tuned!

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Member Spotlight: Meals on Wheels for WNY

To celebrate our members and their accomplishments, we have started a Member Spotlight blog series.

This month, Partnership Member Meals on Wheels for Western New York shares information about partnership opportunities, their upcoming Plate Expectations event and the value of networking with our region’s business community.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Tara A. Ellis, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels for Western New York, to learn more about why they’re proud to be a Partnership member.

Q: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Tara. While there’s no doubt that your organization is well-known in the community, I was hoping you could provide me with a brief background? How did you get started in WNY?

Tara Ellis meals on wheels

Tara Ellis, CEO and President, in the lobby

A: Meals on Wheels was founded in 1969 by a group of grass-roots activists as well as some established community organizations. It was an incredible non-partisan, non-denominational effort.

It originally was started under a different name (FANS: Food Action Network.) We served the first meals to 25 residents on the West side of Buffalo and the program grew rapidly.

Then in 1995, our sister organization (Meals on Wheels Foundation of WNY) was formed to make sure that the organization had the long-term, sustainable funding that it needed to survive.

Since it was founded in 1969, the mission has been focused on the basic and most critical of needs for home-bound and disabled seniors in Western New York.

Today we serve about 900,000 meals to 3,600 unique home-bound clients each year. We do that through 25 satellite sites throughout the county.

We also produce about 250,000 meals per year for congregate dining. This is done through 45 satellite sites throughout the county.

Those congregate dining meals are delivered to clients that are still mobile. However, even those clients really need our services. For more than half of them, that meal is their only meal each day. So, even though they are mobile doesn’t mean they have easy access to food sources.

Q: That’s great to hear.

Meals on Wheels logoA: Yes and the program is still growing. This year, we added weekly ethnic meals to select congregate sites and also plan to pilot three new diets for our home-bound clients.

We are also adding routes in areas that we have high demand so we can further serve those individuals and meet the community’s needs.

According to Meals on Wheels in America, we are actually the second-largest program in the nation out of the 5,000 Meals on Wheels programs. We hit that record when we delivered our 25th million meal in 2012.

As of the end of last year, we’ve delivered 27 million home delivered meals and 11.5 million congregate meals.

A few things that make our program unique is that we have six registered dieticians, as well as a full staff of social workers that work closely with care-givers, clients and volunteers. We have customized diets and ancillary services to ensure that our clients can enjoy their best health.

We also offer nutritional supplements for our clients, as well as a book delivery program called Enlightenment on Wheels, where free books are delivered to clients with their meals.

We also have an angel-card program, through which clients get cards, bookmarks and other home-made items delivered with their meals that we send out for birthdays and holidays.

Meals on Wheels 1

Tara Ellis along with Mayor Byron Brown, Site Manager Sandy Carroll and an East Buffalo volunteer as the group prepares to deliver through the “Champions for Meals” program

Q: That’s amazing. I know that you recently joined as a Partnership member a few months ago. What inspired you to get involved?

A: I think the primary key was the opportunity for expanding relationship building. The networking events are a great opportunity for our team to connect with others in the community and spread the word about what we are doing.

We see businesses and young professionals as an opportunity for increased awareness.

We also want to share information about the facility that we have for food preparation. So, we really think that the relationship building will be key for us.

Q: As a local non-profit, you must face your own set of obstacles. What current challenges or opportunities do you face that you think the Partnership might be able to assist in?

A: As you know, with any not-for-profit, funding is critical. Despite the continual increase in demand for these services, the funding hasn’t increased.

That being said, we are always looking to diversify. As we create more options for high-quality meals, we want to ensure that we can continue do that for any organization at a great rate.

Q: Have you had any recent accomplishments that you’d like the community to be aware of?

Meals on Wheels 2

Tara Ellis with Ruth – one of MOW’s long-time volunteers at their annual volunteer recognition event

A: One key accomplishment is that we continue to see our volunteers recognized in various ways in the community – and not just for the work they do with us.

For example, one of our volunteers was recently recognized as “senior of the month” for saving a client’s life in Orchard Park.

Shortly after that, another volunteer was recognized as “senior of the year” for her dedication to Meals on Wheels and a variety of other organizations – both by the Erie County Department of Senior Services.

The volunteers and the touch-points they make with our clients make an incredible difference to our clients’ lives; this really is a lifeline organization.

Lastly, we just unveiled a new 450-kw generator system at Meals on Wheels. This nearly $250,000 project was more than three years in the making and I am thrilled that it is finally up and running, making sure that Meals on Wheels for WNY will not be slowed down by a power emergency.

It provides an extra layer of security for our clients and also ensures that we can feed the broader community in the event of an emergency.

Q: Definitely. So, are there any special projects or events that you’re working on?

A: Yes, definitely! We have been doing an annual fundraiser every year for 12 years called Plate Expectations. This year, we have a lot of exciting changes in store for the event.

The event, which will take place from 5-9 p.m. on September 2 at Silo City, will have live music, beer and wine, and catering from Dinosaur BBQ, amongst other activities.

We are hoping to grow the event and attract some younger people to our mission. We want to show the community what we are doing, provide them the chance to learn more about our mission and most importantly, make sure everyone has a great time.

We hope that lots of members of the community will come out and show their support for Meals on Wheels.

Q: That sounds like a great time. I’ll definitely be there! As I’m sure you’re aware, our members benefit from the ability to work together in various capacities such as procurement. Do you have any opportunities to do business with fellow Partnership members?

tara ellis client

Tara Ellis with one of the Meals on Wheels clients

A: From a corporate, philanthropic perspective, we want to give local organizations the opportunity to provide their employees the chance to get involved and deliver meals once a week. This is a no-cost, easy way for organizations to become a community partner and make a real difference in the community. Not to mention, we really have a desperate need in the city.

We also hope to build more partnerships to create adopt-a-route opportunities which provide companies and groups a way to give back to the community.

Similarly, we have a Community Center where organizations can rent out space to host events. We also provide food service.

Some organizations are in the people business and, while they do have food service needs, do not want to be in the food business. We can help meet those food needs.

Our real hope is that as we build relationship, we can build those business partnerships as well.

Q: Are there any current opportunities for employment or involvement with Meals on Wheels for WNY? I am sure you have plenty of volunteer opportunities.

A: Volunteerism is always an option! In regards to employment opportunities, our website is always the place to check.

Currently, we are looking for a full-time, licensed registered dietician. We are also looking for a part-time business development specialist to help with the business development and partnership opportunities we were discussing earlier.

Q: What would you say you’re most looking forward to benefiting from as a member of the Partnership in the upcoming year?

Tara Ellis headshot

Tara Ellis, CEO & President of Meals on Wheels for WNY

A: I really think that it’s the deep network of committed professionals across the community. We think that being a member of the Partnership is a great way to build those relationships and leverage opportunities to work with other organizations to further benefit the local community.

Interested in being a part of our Member Spotlight blog series? Contact our Digital Marketing Manager, Julia Jornsay-Silverberg.

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Improving the Public Realm for a More Livable Downtown

Last month, the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC) released the Downtown Buffalo Infrastructure and Public Realm Framework.

This plan, which is intended to serve as a guide for public space and street improvements in the downtown area aims to create a more livable and interconnected downtown Buffalo.

Walking the streets of downtown, it becomes abundantly clear that things are changing.

The area has seen a spike in residential units thanks to numerous redevelopment projects.

dan blog june 24 700 block photoWith the residential development, commercial space has begun to follow. New restaurants continue to open on the streets of downtown, and even more are planned.

The 500 block of Main Street (between Huron and Mohawk Streets) serves as an example of the ongoing transformation of downtown Buffalo.

Buildings on the block have been given new life as storefronts light up again.

One of the many impetuses for the redevelopment of this area has been the Cars Sharing Main Street program which is returning cars to Main Street, which was formerly for pedestrians/Metro rail only.

The success of the Cars Sharing program is evident in the completed Theater district where street scape improvements have brought new life to the street.

The early success of this program showcases the impact that infrastructure and public realm development can have on a street, neighborhood and even an entire city.

With this in mind, the BUDC’s Framework lays out a vision for the future of public space downtown that includes strategies to create a cohesive, accessible pedestrian environment downtown. 

dan blog june 24 notes for nodes

map of redevelopment nodes

In addition, the plan focuses on four priority investment areas (or redevelopment nodes):

  • Erie/Shelton Square Node
  • Civic/Employment Node
  • Entertainment Node
  • Main Street Investment corridor

By focusing on specific nodes, the plan can provide strategic investment strategies for significant areas for downtown.

Each area was designated because of its public importance, unique characteristics and development potential.

We’ve seen the impact that infrastructure investment can have on an area.

By targeting areas with potential, the plan hopes to encourage private development and create a more interconnected downtown area.

Downtown is, in many ways, the hub of our region. It is home to many prominent companies and organizations, as well as a burgeoning population.

dan blog june 24 buffalo place tree lighting

Buffalo Place tree lighting; annual event in downtown Buffalo

Many of the iconic places in the Buffalo-Niagara region are located within the downtown area.

The Downtown Buffalo Infrastructure and Public Realm Framework will help guide the creation of cohesive, inviting downtown for residents and visitors alike.

I encourage you to click here to learn more about the plan.

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Consolidated Funding Application: now open

The Regional Economic Development Council is once again making funding available through its Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for workforce development.

The CFA represents a great opportunity for companies looking to create or grow a workforce development program.

Since the launch of the Consolidated Funding Application in 2011, 235 projects have been awarded $213.9 million in CFA funds in Western New York.

REDC Graphic DraftsNYS Department of Labor is making approximately $5 million in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding available through this Request for Proposals (RFP) to support four Workforce Development programs:

  • Existing Employee Training Program: trains existing workers of the applicant business in occupational skills that lead to job advancement
  • New Hire Training Program: trains dislocated workers who require on-the-job training upon being hired
  • Unemployed Worker Training Program: provides required, classroom-based training to dislocated workers who are otherwise under-qualified
  • Special Populations Training Program: trains unemployed workers in special populations* who required classroom-based training in order to be qualified to be hired through a partnership with businesses.
    *[i.e., displaced homemakers, low income individuals, Native Americans, individuals with disabilities, older individuals, ex-offenders, homeless individuals or homeless youth, youth who are in or have aged out of the foster care system, individuals who are English language learners, individuals who have low levels of literacy, individuals facing substantial cultural barriers, migrant and seasonal farm workers, individuals within 2 years of exhausting lifetime eligibility under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and single parents (including single pregnant women)]

The CFA is designed to support Governor Cuomo’s model for economic development and job creation, as outlined by the Regional Economic Development Council.

Eligible applicants include: private sector for-profit businesses (including LLPs and LLCs), private sector not-for-profit businesses who are registered with the NYS Grants Gateway, and training providers with two or more employees.

We encourage all eligible applicants to apply today to start taking advantage of this program that serves to strengthen our region’s business climate and overall economy.  

Questions are accepted through July 22, 2015 and must be sent to labor.sm.dews.CFA@labor.ny.gov. Proposals are due July 31, 2015.

If you have any further questions please email me.

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State of Logistics connects WNY business to SolarCity

Yesterday’s State of Logistics event was an incredible success, drawing 350 people that were eager to learn more about how they can tap in to SolarCity’s supply chain.

Attendees heard from Vinayak Gupta, Vice President at SolarCity, and Jack Ampuja, Logistics and Transportation Council co-chair, on the trends and forecasts in the logistics industry.

Vinayak Gupta (Vice President of SolarCity) and Dottie Gallagher-Cohen (our President & CEO)

Vinayak Gupta (Vice President of SolarCity) and Dottie Gallagher-Cohen (our President & CEO)

Some of the main takeaways from the event were:

  • Transportation costs will likely continue to rise, as stated by Jack Ampuja.
  • Ron Aberizk discussed how Direct Energy and SolarCity have installed over 4,000 kw of panels on eight commercial sites in the Northeast.
  • SolarCity is seeking local suppliers for many of its supply chain needs for its new facility at Riverbend.
  • SolarCity hopes to produce 10,000 solar panels a day.
  • SolarCity will be hiring about 1,400 worker for its local plant. Of those, 1000 jobs will require less than a four year degree and about 100 jobs will be highly technical advanced degree positions.
  • SolarCity is hoping to have 20-30 percent of their supply chain local, maybe as high as 50 percent.

“This is only the beginning,” said Gupta of SolarCity’s efforts to build its local supplier base.

We are asking providers and local companies that are interested in supplying the SolarCity plant, to give relevant information about their business, services and products.

“The plant that’s going to be built here is going to be the largest facility in North America to do solar manufacturing,” said Gupta. “One of a kind in the world, a gigawatt facility.”

State of logistics 1By filling out the information on this page, you can help us build a database on the qualifications and capabilities of local businesses.

“This is the first opportunity the public will have to present to SolarCity,” said our President & CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen in this writeup from Buffalo Business First.

The information collected through the intake form will be shared with SolarCity in order to assess the potential of each local company.

“In the next quarter or so, companies will hear back from SolarCity,” Gallagher-Cohen said.

Providers that meet the supply chain needs of SolarCity may* be contacted by the company. [*We make no guarantee that companies, people or organizations that complete the form will be contacted.]

“I want to make sure we enable the local suppliers to the best of our ability,” Gupta said in this Buffalo News article.

DGC for the mediaWe encourage companies seeking to provide raw materials, components parts and fabrication, or services to fill out the information at the bottom of our Supply Chain Intake page.

“The most exciting part for us is not only the people being hired within SolarCity, but all the local businesses we hope will benefit from them being here and new businesses we hope will be attracted to relocate,” said Gallagher-Cohen in this Time Warner Cable article.

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18-A Energy Tax and other key issues

This is a busy week for manufacturing, as there are three key issues that currently face the industry: the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 18-A Energy Tax and the Western New York Purchasing Manager’s Index.

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the 12-nation trade deal that has been negotiated over the past few months, hit another obstacle last week as the vote for the trade assistance program failed by about 70 votes in the House.

Republicans are expected to hold another vote this week, as they and President Obama try to gather more support for the program, which will have a national impact on manufacturing trade.

Passing the trade assistance program is a prerequisite for the finalization of Trade Promotion Authority and the rest of the TPP.

If passed, the deal would significantly reduce tariffs and other non-tariff barriers to increase the exports of U.S. manufactured goods to Asian and Pacific Rim countries.

Members of our Manufacturers Council after April's meeting (from left to right): Susan Witt (Dream It, Do It Program Coordinator for Erie & Niagara Counties), Matthew Smith (Council Chair and Moog, Ops. Project Engineer, Commercial Aircraft Group), Barrett Erbe (Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Economic Development Associate) and Steve Davis (Tapecon, Vice President of Operations)

Members of our Manufacturers Council (from left to right): Susan Witt, Matthew Smith, Barrett Erbe and Steve Davis

Click here to read the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s statement on the proceedings.

18-a Energy Tax: The Partnership supports the immediate phase-out of the 18-a energy tax program, which was also called for last month by the Business Council of New York State.

The tax negatively effects the region’s business climate by imposing unnecessary regulatory costs on New York businesses.

Though there are plans to phase out the program by March of 2017, New York manufacturers will still face nearly two additional years of increased energy costs.

In a state where the cost of doing business in general is high, the 18-a tax adds another layer that should be removed immediately.

WNY Purchasing Manager’s Index: The Purchasing Manager’s Index for Western New York, a leading edge indicator of local manufacturing activity, registered positive again at a value of 61.1 for the month of May.

Though slightly smaller than April’s value of 64.4, local manufacturing growth significantly outpaces the national value of 52.8.

This index marks the 15th straight month of increased manufacturing activity in Western New York. The full report can be viewed here.

The PMI report is put together by Jay Walker at Niagara University, and surveys local manufacturers.

Please email Dr. Walker if you are interested in participating in the brief, anonymous survey.

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Power UP: Cherylyn Harley LeBon inspires

Cherylyn Harley LeBon inspired a room filled with young and established professionals on the afternoon of June 5 at our Power UP event.

Guests listened intently as Harley LeBon discussed ways to embrace the judgment that women face in the workplace, and offered suggestions for setting your agenda.


Cherylyn Harley LeBon during her keynote address at Power UP on Friday, June 5th.

“Sometimes, if you get too caught up in the judgement, it can paralyze you and keep you from achieving,” Harley LeBon said.

Harley LeBon discussed the importance of work life balance, mentoring and developing leadership skills in order to achieve success.

A Western New York native, Harley LeBon was thrilled to come back to her roots and see the progress being made in the Queen City.

“Whatever I’m doing in Washington, I step back and remember I’m a small town girl and that keeps me humble,” shared Harley LeBon.

Following the keynote address, a panel of both emerging professionals and established professionals took the stage, moderated by Jacquie Walker from WIVB-TV, Channel 4.

NYW_0134Panelists touched on everything from the importance of mentoring, to the new thought process of millennials and advice on when to say no.

Jacquie Walker wrapped up the event by offering some great takeaways:

  1. Learn when to say no
  2. Have a mentor
  3. Value your health above all

We encourage you to take a look at the conversation that transpired online, and view our Facebook Album for photos from the event and tag yourself!

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Partnership membership: tapping in to the benefits

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is a member-driven organization.

Everyone at the Partnership, especially the member engagement team, works to provide the right connections, resources and solutions to help our member businesses thrive and grow in Western New York.

How do we do it?

We have a great team of enthusiastic, business-minded professionals that are passionate about the services we provide such as:

  • connecting our members to business intelligence
  • advocating for them at the local, state and federal levels
  • providing customized business solutions
  • creating opportunities for our members to build their network

From our experience, we have seen that businesses that are highly engaged with their member engagement representative, regularly attend events, and keep up with us on social media are the ones that experience the most benefits from being a member of the Partnership.

Our #Member #Engagement team Molly McGowan, Mary Woronowski, Joe Stabb and Kate Scaglione. Check out today's #blog to learn how to #TapIn to our #BNPMember benefits!

Our Member Engagement team (from left to right) Molly McGowan, Mary Woronowski, Joe Stabb and Kate Scaglione

We have seen many member companies that, after getting involved in our event sponsorship and council opportunities, experience tremendous growth and development.

As Buffalo Niagara’s regional chamber of commerce, we have one ultimate goal: help businesses thrive.

The more we know about our members, the more we can help.

That is why we encourage you to think of our staff as an extension of your corporate team.

Our staff has a vested interest in helping regional businesses thrive, and we do that by providing members with:

  • access to exclusive events with high profile speakers
  • opportunities to engage in our advocacy efforts alongside elected officials
  • assistance with everyday business issues

Our member engagement team is your point of contact for all of the benefits, services and opportunities that we offer.

If you want to get involved as a Partnership member or have any questions about how to further utilize your current Partnership membership, please email me.

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