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2021 NYSEDC Economic Development Conference





NYSEDC Virtual Economic Development Conference

January 20 & 21

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Developing Agenda

Wednesday, January 20

9:30 am  - Welcome & State of the NYS Economy and 2021 Goals

Ryan Silva, Executive Director, New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC)

Patrick Kelly, CEO, St. Lawrence County IDA; Chair, NYSEDC

Eric Gertler, President and CEO, Empire State Development


10:00 – 11:00 am – General Sessions

Site Selection Trends, Industries, and Community Development 

The Site Selection Industry evolved and adapted throughout the COVID Pandemic. Hear from leading industry experts on what’s happening with site selection, opportunities that exist for New York State, and how we can position ourselves for growth during the economic recovery.

Moderated by Steve Hyde, Genesee Economic Development Center


Workforce Development: Planning for Success in a Post-COVID Economy

The unexpected and severe global pandemic has shaken New York‘s economy; decimating a decade of employment gains throughout the state. After the last downturn, the economy did not improve for everyone equally. To address persistent labor market issues and support and equitable economic recovery, Invest in Skills NY convened the NYS Workforce Strategy Group to develop immediate short- and long-term action steps to stabilize the NY economy, increase the talent pipeline, and rebuild/reform employment pathways and economic approach. Hear from leaders who helped put this bold plan together.

Moderated by Evelyn Ortiz, NYATEP


11:00  - 12:00 pm – Breakout Sessions

Economic Gardening

Economic Gardening is one of the oldest and best tested entrepreneurial economic development programs in the country. It provides strategic research and frameworks to help local companies scale up, adding jobs and wealth to the community. Here from the leading expert on what economic gardening is, why it is even more critical in a post pandemic economy, and hear from economic developers on their best practices in economic gardening strategies.


The Innovation Economy, Strategic Investments and Partnerships Fueling New York‘s Recovery Efforts

During economic challenges, entrepreneurship and innovation fuel our recovery efforts. When unemployment rises, entrepreneurship rises. During the COVID pandemic, new businesses appeared across New York State, while many existing companies became more innovative. Manufacturers and technology companies changed direction to provide necessary equipment and materials to combat the virus. Technology hubs at universities across the state also shifted their research efforts, identifying ways to make testing more efficient and how to better treat the virus. Hear from some of New York State‘s leading innovators on how the new economy will help lead our latest recovery efforts. 


12:00 - 1:30 pm – 2021 Presidential Inauguration


1:30 - 2:30 pm – General Session

Incentivizing Solar Energy Projects at the Local Level: Building a Pipeline of Clean Energy Projects with IDA Support

With the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) in 2020, we are seeing an increase of clean energy projects across New York State. These projects bring new construction jobs and provide new, clean energy onto the grid. IDAs are becoming a necessary resource and tool to help move these projects forward. Hear from IDA leaders working on clean energy projects and legal experts on how your IDA can help achieve New York Clean Energy goals and increase economic activity in your communities.


2:30 - 3:30 pm – General Session

Trends in Economic Development From Across the Country: What to Expect in 2021

2020 was a year unlike any other. From the COVID-19 pandemic and mask mandates, to economic shutdowns and the decimation of entire industries, to the CARES act and re-openings, to a national election, economic developers were forced to pivot sometimes on an hourly basis to provide the necessary support and assistance their communities needed. What were some of the things we learned? What trends did we see across the country? With a change in administration at the federal level and our first signs of recovery with COVID vaccinations, what should we expect in 2021? Hear from Jeff Finkle, President of IEDC, to share perspective from around the world. 

Jeff Finkle, International Economic Development Council (IEDC)


3:30 - 4:30 pm – Breakout Session 

Managing Public Relations and Marketing for IDAs in a 21st Century Economy 

Economic Developers, particularly Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs), provide critical and necessary support to their communities. They create jobs, stimulate private sector investment, create net new wealth, and increase quality of life. However, simply giving statistics is sometimes not enough to receive community support for projects, programs, or initiatives. It is no longer enough to show just the economic value of public/private partnerships; IDAs need to start presenting the broader impact and community benefit their efforts provide. Learn from public relations experts and hear success stories from around the state on how IDAs can better present the benefit they provide.  



Thursday, January 21

10:00 am – Welcome Opening Remarks

Ryan Silva, Executive Director, NYSEDC

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul 

Lieutenant Governor Hochul chairs the statewide Regional Economic Development Councils and spearheads the administration’s economic development and job creation efforts. Join the Lieutenant Governor for an overview of the state's economic development plans for 2021. 


10:30 - 11:15 am – Keynote Speaker

An overview of New York State Finances and the Impact of the COVID Pandemic                                

Tom DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller

11:30 am - 12:30pm – Breakout Sessions

Cybersecurity and Data Privacy: Building upon New York‘s Leadership Position in the Emerging Industry Post-Pandemic

Recent revelations of the Solar Winds attack has only further shown the critical role cybersecurity plays in a 21st century economy. Business owners as well as government agencies need to be aware of and protect their assets at all times. Hear from two globally renown cybersecurity experts on why data privacy and cybersecurity are critical to economic development efforts and learn how New York can position itself to be a national leader in the cyber economy.


PILOTS 101: Maximizing the Tools in Your Economic Development Tool Chest

The tools IDAs have to create economic activity in their community appear to be straight forward; sale tax exemptions, mortgage recording tax exemptions, property tax abatements, and payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS). However, there are a variety of different ways a PILOT can be utilized or modified to provide maximum benefit for the project and to the local taxing jurisdictions. Hear from IDAs across NYS how they have creatively developed different PILOTS to fit the needs of their community, and helped projects that would not have otherwise moved forward. 


12:30 - 1:00 pm – Lunch Break


1:15 - 1:30 pm – General Session

NYSEDC Updates

Ryan Silva

1:30 - 2:30 pm – Breakout Sessions

Smart Growth: How Communities across New York State are building a brighter future

Placemaking and building smart, sustainable cities has been a core focus in New York over the last decade. Leaders have developed plans and strategically identified projects—through robust public engagement—to make themselves more competitive in a 21st century market. The COVID pandemic has undoubtedly changed society and with those changes comes a clearer focus on building resilient and smart communities. Hear from a panel of experts what smart growth means in a post pandemic economy, and learn how several New York municipalities have adapted their strategies to continue progress for their constituents. 


NYS Utilities in a Pre and Post-Pandemic Environment: Resiliency and Sustainability Powering Economic Development

Like every other industry, utilities and energy providers were drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Public utilities had to quarantine teams of employees to ensure there would be workers to operate the energy grid should the pandemic worsen. Energy providers adapted their tools to provide assistance to economic development projects and created several new programs to assist with payments from businesses and residents struggling financially from the economic crisis. In this session, hear from utility colleagues on how they are critical partners to the economic development community and learn about the new tools they have to combat the pandemic.


2:45 - 3:45 pm – Closing Sessions

State of the Economy in Post-Pandemic New York and the Future of Economic Development


Revisiting the IDA Emergency Loans and Grants Program and Best Practices for Implementation

In 2020, the legislature passed and the governor signed a law giving IDAs the emergency authority to create a loan or grant program to aide businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is one of the first occasions in over a decade that gave IDAs additional tools to help businesses in their community. While the pandemic is still impacting New York, the need for support for businesses remains high.  This session will provide a recap and overview of the legislation; hear from two IDAs who have successfully set up a loan/grant program in their region.




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