COLLABORATION: New mindset is emerging

About seven years ago, a group of individuals — mainly from the private sector — came together as a way to spur dialogue or, as one current member noted, be a “pebble in the shoe” to get local government entities to work together. Last Tuesday at the State University of New York at Fredonia Science Center, there was a strong sense that pebble has becoming the rock for a foundation of a new attitude in our region.

At the annual Local Economic Development summit, at least 80 community, businesses and elected leaders were in attendance to hear from Patrick Whalen who was chief operating officer of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. During his discussion, Whalen kept coming back to something the group has promoted from the beginning: collaboration. It was because major health-care facilities worked together as one, not apart, that the campus became the economic stimulus it is in the Queen City.

When you think of how much this area has changed in seven years, a lot of it — in terms of collaboration — is much better. Some entities have dissolved. There are more sharing of services. Municipal leaders are working side-by-side more often. And, looking in that Science Center room on Tuesday morning for the summit, they are attending meetings of significance to moving our area forward.

It’s an improved get-it-done mindset. That’s major progress, which is definitely needed, in an area that is poised for growth.

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