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Westfield Development Corp. names new executive director

The Westfield Development Corp. has named a former Chautauqua County Planning Department veteran as its new chief.

Donald McCord was named the agency’s new executive director, the nonprofit announced in a press release Saturday. McCord was selected after the search committee interviewed numerous candidates and officially began on Oct. 8. Former executive director Aaron Resnick, who led the nonprofit for several years, resigned in the spring of 2019.

McCord, a Westfield resident, has been active in the field of community and economic development over the past 22 years. He served as the Deputy Director of Economic Development for Chautauqua County from 2015 to 2018 and as the Director of Planning and Community Development for the County from 2018 to 2020.

McCord said some of the highlights of his tenure with Chautauqua County, and his work in the village of Westfield, are his work on the Westfield-Ripley Opportunity Plan, the Grape Heritage Management Plan, the Westfield Connections Plan and the huge number of smaller projects he was able to help execute, such as the establishment of the Chautauqua Opportunities Microenterprise Loan Fund.

“The work I’ve been doing in Chautauqua County with communities has allowed me to understand the link between a community’s sense of place or vibrancy and its capacity for economic opportunity,” McCord said. This role is an opportunity to build upon that concept in my own community.

WDC board chair, Joel Seachrist, said the nonprofit is excited to have McCord on board. “Don’s broad experience spans economic development, community development, team building and entrepreneurship – all great things for Westfield,” Seachrist said.

McCord said his priority as executive director will be to build collaborations between the WDC and other local groups and businesses to help Westfield remain a vibrant community and weather the current economic crisis.

“Job one is going to be supporting our existing businesses and community entities,” McCord said. Following that, McCord said his goal would be to help build Westfield’s brand, focusing on entrepreneurship and opportunities to make the community attractive to new residents.

“Westfield has a bright future and we want to pursue economic opportunity for our community while keeping in mind that we want Westfield to be Westfield,” McCord said.

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