The Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce and the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, along with various elected officials in Niagara County - including State Sen. George D. Maziarz - have submitted letters to Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy urging him to appoint Samuel M. Ferraro to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. Ferraro is commissioner of the Niagara County Department of Economic Development and executive director of the NCIDA.
"As we hope the lieutenant governor witnessed at our annual dinner, where over 500 individuals listened to his keynote remarks ... Niagara County has a strong and vibrant business community," said Deanna Alterio Brennen, NUSAC president and CEO. "As a vital component to the Western New York economy, we simply believe that Niagara County deserves a seat at the council table, and strongly believe that Sam Ferraro is the right choice given his various roles and responsibilities in economic development."
"I am confident that Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Duffy will do the right thing and have Niagara County represented on the regional council," Maziarz said. "Sam is extremely well qualified and he will be an asset to the council in its efforts to enhance economic development opportunities, not only for Niagara County, but all of Western New York."
"I can speak firsthand to the skill set that Sam brings to the table in his role as executive director of the NCIDA," said NCIDA Chairman Henry M. Sloma. "The flurry of activity with new businesses coming to Niagara County is the result of the hard work of Sam and his staff in promoting the positive attributes of Niagara County."
There are currently 10 regional economic development councils in formation, with the lieutenant governor serving as chairman. The councils will be comprised of local business, community, academic, municipal, state government, labor and other key regional stakeholders to create a regionally based approach to allocating economic development funding, as well as to act as one-stop shops for all state-supported economic development and business assistance programs in each region.
The regional councils will coordinate resources and strategies between the many state agencies, while including and engaging local stakeholders in developing and executing economic development strategies that adhere and address the many unique factors in the various regions of the state.
In addition to support letters from Maziarz, the NCIDA and the Niagara USA Chamber, the following submitted letters on behalf of Ferraro: William Ross, chairman of the Niagara County Legislature; Robert G. Ortt, mayor, City of North Tonawanda; Town of Lockport Economic Development; the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas; the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce; Niagara County Employment and Training; the Niagara County Community College Small Business Development Center; Leaders Encouraging Action and Progress; Marsha Henderson, vice president for external affairs at the University at Buffalo; Wright Ellis, president, Niagara County Supervisors Association; Steven Richards, supervisor, Town of Niagara; and the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. All parties listed Ferraro's experience and success in economic development, in addition to his understanding of Niagara County's strengths and weakness as it relates to economic development.
Ferraro's career spans more than 33 years in planning and economic development in Niagara County, starting as a county planner and later as the director of planning and economic development for the City of Niagara Falls. He is involved with a number of planning initiatives and special projects as developed through the Niagara County Legislature's economic development committee, and he also serves as executive director of the NCIDA.