June 24, 2014 marked my first Annual meeting as the President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.
It was an exciting day, as I had the chance to speak to our members about the impactful year we had, as well as my vision for moving forward.
Throughout the year, I have met people from all over who feel and see the momentum of change and growth for our region.
For example, we have a community that is aligned around a strategic plan for economic growth, a Governor that pays attention to our region, and a growing population of 20-34 year olds; these are just a few factors that are helping our community turn around decades of decline.
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership exists to mobilize our members, strategic partners and employees to tackle community challenges and maximize opportunities for growth.
We work for you by focusing on target industries that will grow our economy and advocating to remove barriers to that growth.
We want to drive Buffalo Niagara to be one of the most vibrant, sustainable and competitive economic regions in the country.
How do we do this? We:
- Look for trends and develop solutions
- Advocate for pressing community issues
- Help companies grow their business
- Represent the interests of our members
So, what are we most proud of this year?
- Brownfields Tax Credit Program: We’re thrilled to report an extension to the BCP. Getting this program extended was a major priority of ours to ensure the continuance of dozens of regional development projects. However, we still need the Governor to sign.
- NYS Tax relief and reform: One of the best things to come out of this year’s budget was addressing New York’s crushing tax burden, especially on manufacturers.
- Realization of the first two projects of the Buffalo Building Reuse Project: Under the leadership of Mayor Brown, we have identified “micro-neighborhoods” for targeted investment. The BBRP will result in transformational changes to our landscape that will be felt for generations.
- Political Action: We endorsed and supported Mayor Byron Brown for re-election and also supported two reform minded candidates for the 2014 Buffalo School Board: Larry Quinn and Patti Pierce, both of whom were elected.
- Dream it Do it reaches new heights: Dream it, Do it brought 31 manufacturers together with 22 area high schools and 10 middle schools in order to engage students in grades 7-12 about career pathways in advanced manufacturing.
- Peace Bridge Pre-Authorization pilot goes live: We fought hard for cargo pre-inspection to reduce wait times at the border.
- Realization of the CanAm council: This council has the highest level of financial support of any of our councils and has gone from 20 members to just over 40 with interest continuing to grow.
- Founding partnership to form the Great Lakes Metro Coalition: this earned significant clout on capital hill.
- Expansion of logistics and transportation industry support: We launched the formation of the Buffalo Niagara International Trade Gateway Organization (ITGO). We also hosted a Transportation Summit that brought together over 100 community leaders with leading Federal and State decision makers to discuss our regional transportation infrastructure challenges.
- Management of the Smart Growth events for One Region Forward: We held 2 “economics of sustainability” sessions which more than 275 people attended.
I want to thank our board and our members who all helped to enable us to achieve all of the highlights listed above.
Want to learn more about what was discussed at our Annual Report? Check out this writeup in The Buffalo News.
To view the digital version of our Annual Report, click here.