NCCF appoints community economic development specialist

Nathan Aldrich

Nathan Aldrich

The Local Economic Development Initiative of the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation is pleased to welcome Nathan Aldrich as community economic development specialist.

This independent contract position was created to help connect the economic development community, provide grant technical assistance and alignment of resources for all the municipalities in the northern Chautauqua County region, and to assist the LED in implementing its strategic plan. The work of the CEDS is supported by a local businessman and an Empire State Development Strategic Planning and Feasibility Studies Grant. The Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation is also providing a multi-year grant for the position.

Aldrich holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental design/urban and regional analysis and a masters of urban planning degree with a specialization in economic and international development, both from the University at Buffalo. With an extensive background in community and economic development and strategic planning, he will lend his expertise to Northern Chautauqua municipalities and stakeholders to advance regionally significant economic development activities.

His experience extends to his work with the city of Buffalo Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning, the University at Buffalo Center for Urban Studies, and most recently with the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development. “I hope to leverage the relationships I developed through my work with our County Department of Planning and Economic Development and IDA. There is an excellent opportunity to complement ongoing efforts, and to be an additional resource in achieving economic growth in the north county,” he said.

Aldrich stresses that there are great things happening regarding economic development and regionalism that warrant this position. He hopes to complement ongoing economic development and planning efforts by acting as a convener, a problem solver, and an advocate for our region. “We have great partners in the public and private sectors and in higher education. I look forward to continuing to develop positive relationships with these stakeholders, and I’m eager to support our communities as we work collectively towards a shared vision of creating a vibrant economy and enhancing the quality of life,” he said.

In fact, this potential he describes was a primary influence in his decision to make economic development his career path. “There are many positive things taking place but much to be done. I strongly feel that our region has tremendous assets and I hope to play a role in helping to achieve that potential,” said Aldrich.

Aldrich hopes to play a role in not only helping communities to create plans and develop projects but also make sure those plans get implemented. “One thing I’m hoping to accomplish is being the resource that can work in close collaboration with our partners to translate stated goals in local, county and regional plans into specific and actionable next steps.”

After projects are vetted by the community and determined feasible, Aldrich hopes to assist communities to prioritize them and move those determined to be most impactful forward to implementation.

According to LED Committee Chairman Rich Alexander, tight municipal budgets and limited resources are reasons why the LED created this position. Alexander said, “In most cases, it is impossible for municipalities to go at it alone. Getting things done takes creativity in finding funding sources, aligning partnerships, and applying for grant assistance. That is one service we hope to offer our municipal partners. It’s central to our mission of promoting collective action.”

Aldrich reiterated Alexander’s point saying that he is partnering with the municipalities, the county, the IDA and other groups such as the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corporation and Westfield Development Corporation to align resources and push community and economic development projects forward.

A Fredonia native, Aldrich has strong family connections to the area. He says he’s most excited about the opportunity to return to his roots and advance the regional economy. He concluded, “I’m fortunate and excited to be able to continue a tradition of giving back to the community.”

The Northern Chautauqua County Local Economic Development Committee was formed in 2011 by a small group of local business leaders who wished to broaden the engagement of the private sector in economic development initiatives within the northern region of Chautauqua County. The Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation officially adopted the ad hoc group in 2012 to help fulfill their mission of impacting the quality of life in this region by providing leadership and resources in addressing local challenges and opportunities.

The CEDS office is located in the Fredonia Technology Incubator in Dunkirk. Nate can be reached at 785-7172 or naldrich@nccfoundation.org. For more information, visit www.nccf-led.org.

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