November’s BN360 Spotlight Professional – Crystal Surdyk

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to introduce you to this year’s BN360 Spotlight Professionals.

Each year, BN360 highlights a select few individuals, nominated by member companies, within the Buffalo Niagara region who exemplify today’s definition of a young rising leader. Check back each month to read about these young professionals and how they are making a positive impact on the Buffalo Niagara region.

Crystal Surdyk
Crystal SurdykPrincipal Planner
City of Jamestown

Crystal Surdyk recently joined the Department of Development for the City of Jamestown as the city’s new Principal Planner.  With 20 years management experience and her background in Urban Planning in her previous role as Project Manager at Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect, PC., Crystal’s new position is a natural fit and has allowed her to return to her roots in her hometown.

Crystal is a graduate of SUNY College at Buffalo where she earned a B.S. in Urban & Regional Planning & Analysis. She is an Advisory Board Member for the Architectural Technology Department at Erie Community College, a member of the American Planning Association, Executive Director of Designing to Live Sustainably, Inc., Co-Founder of the Buffalo YIMBY Festival and serves on the Board for Pop Up Park Buffalo.

First Job Out of School

Administrative and Office Assistant at JKLA

Career Highlights

Crystal notes that the highlight of her career so far has been the relationships that she has been able to build.  Not only with her colleagues, who are like an extension of her family, but also the people that she has met and has had the honor of working with in communities across Western New York.

Best Piece of Advice Given Regarding Career

Fake it till you make it.  (To me, it has always served as a reminder that we have it within ourselves to find success.)

 Volunteer Activities

  • Designing to Live Sustainably (d2ls) – Project Manager
  • Pop Up Park Buffalo – Board Member
  • Erie Community College Architectural Technology Department – Advisory Board Member
  • Congress for New Urbanism Next-Gen – Buffalo Section
  • Annual Buffalo YIMBY Festival – Executive Board Chair
  • Kenmore Lacrosse – Boosters Club Vice President

 On Buffalo Niagara

“It’s an exciting time to be here.  Looking back just five years ago, this region has truly changed for the better.  We still have a lot of work to do, especially with regard to the racial and economic divides that plague our region and in particular the City of Buffalo, but we’ve come a long way.  I am encouraged more than ever that we will continue to find ways to connect with each other to rebuild our region together in a way that benefits everyone.”

 Greatest Benefit of Working in Buffalo Niagara

 “Borrowing from a phrase one of my colleagues uses often, our region is uniquely ‘poised to leapfrog’ other regions and most overbuilt cities throughout the country. With comparative advantages like access to a plenitude of natural resources, our macro location on two Great Lakes, temperate climatic zone, vital urban areas with a wealth of vacant and underutilized properties, and rich farmland, the Buffalo Niagara Region has the potential to be one of the most viable places to live in the country.”

Greatest hope for the future of the Buffalo Niagara business community

“My biggest hope is that the Buffalo Niagara business community continues to grow and thrive.  We have an entrepreneurial spirit that cannot be matched anywhere else in the country.  I’d love to see more cooperative and co-working spaces like dig Buffalo, The Foundry, Buffalo Lab, and the WNY Mobile STEAM & Maker Lab which brings the maker-space concept to local youth, exposing them to and engaging them in science, technology, engineering, arts and math education with a hands-on approach.”

About Being a Spotlight Professional

“There are so many incredibly talented, dedicated and brilliant people in this region that leave me awestruck on a daily basis. I am thrilled and honored to be recognized among those that I look up to and admire.”

Crystal’s 5 Favorites

  • Favorite Restaurant: It’s a draw between Ashker’s Juice Bar on Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo and Joe’s Panini Grill on Delaware Ave. in Kenmore
  • Favorite Business Book: ‘Manage Your Day-to-Day’ by Jocelyn K. Glei
  • Best Buffalo Hidden Gem: The Erie County Tribute Garden at Isle View Park in the nearby Town of Tonawanda.
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Anyplace that I can truly disconnect but my favorite is probably my family’s cabin in Clymer, NY
  • Best Place for Wings: Gene McCarthy’s