CANTON -- The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency (SLCIDA) has begun establishing itself as a stand-alone economic development services agency, having recently signed a contract with to provide economic development services for the county.
The SLCIDA, according to Chairman Brian W. Staples, is taking the first steps to structure itself “in the most effective manner possible to fulfill this contract as well as the agreement between the Agency’s LDC and the recently formed St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency.”
“We know there are a number of important and powerful development tools that the IDA and the SLRVRA can offer to businesses and entrepreneurs in St. Lawrence County, we are striving to best provide our combined services,” said Staples.
The goal, Staples added, “remains jobs, investment and improved economic opportunities.”
The SLCIDA will be accepting six former County Office of Economic Development staff members as its own employees, including newly reappointed Agency CEO Raymond Fountain.
Fountain said the IDA will be working to determine the most effective way to align its staff with the job functions that best serve the county, its employers and job seekers. “We want to make sure that our staff can be active, available and in touch with the businesses and employers that we are trying to help and to grow,” he said.
As part of its organizational conversion, the agency also announced creation of a succession plan that would transition the CEO role from Fountain to Deputy CEO Patrick J. Kelly on Jan. 1, 2012. Fountain has worked for the county since 1976 and has served as the Office of Economic Development Director and IDA CEO for the past eight years.
One of Kelly’s initial duties will include being the primary representative and contact between the IDA and the River Valley Redevelopment Agency as the two organizations continue to cooperate and move forward together.
IDA Vice Chairman Ernie LaBaff credited Fountain with leading the IDA through the negotiations with both the County and the Local Government Task Force that set the stage for the new look of the IDA.
“Ray had the vision and the persistence that has helped to us created a better model for doing business. We are pleased he is willing to continue to see this transition through.”
Staples commented on the advantages to accepting and employing an experienced staff. “We are essentially starting as a new organization, but with the continuity and expertise that comes with having a professional staff that have been in this business for a long time. Our challenge is take the expertise within the Agency and use it as we build a more efficient service delivery platform. We’re fortunate as an organization, we’ve been able to find good people and we have a positive plan for the future,” he said.
The IDA is a public benefit corporation created by state legislation to promote, encourage, attract and develop job opportunities and economically sound commerce and industry in St. Lawrence County.