Two of the area’s leading business advocacy organizations will soon become one, following the announcement of a major merger between the Westchester County Association and the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp.
The deal, announced on Tuesday, Jan. 29, will center on strengthening the economy in the Hudson Valley. The new organization - which has not been given a designated name - is expected to take effect later this year.
When the merger is complete, current WCA Chairman William Harrington is expected to serve as the chairman of a unified board of directors. Bill Mooney, the president and CEO of the WCA will act as CEO with HVEDC CEO Mike acting as the organization’s president until Sept. 1, when he will take over from Mooney.
“The merger of the WCA and HVEDC will take advantage of the enormous talent and experience that these two organizations have,” Oates said. “We found there are natural synergies between the organizations, as well as individual fortes.
"HVEDC has a noted history of attracting economic development, while WCA has exhibited a powerful skillset in delivering strong healthcare, workforce development and advocacy programs. Together, we feel these organizational strengths will be a boon for economic development in our region.”
According to the officials behind the merger, “the new organization unites a shared strategic mission and vision of HVEDC and the WCA. It will build on their economic development strategies, which are designed to diversify and strengthen the Hudson Valley economy.”
“This is an exciting, long overdue opportunity to develop a transformative, integrated business advocacy organization that will focus on economic development throughout the entire Hudson Valley region,” Harrington stated. “This merger will foster a coordinated effort by Westchester and Hudson Valley business leaders, in partnership with government, to create economic development and opportunities that will benefit the entire spectrum of Hudson Valley residents.”
Select representatives from both HVEDC and the WCA will work with appropriate partners to develop governance and corporate structure, as well as a new name and branding for the organization.
“These are exciting times for the Hudson Valley, and the region needed an organization that can take a leadership role in both economic development and business advocacy,” Robert Levine, who will assume the role of First Vice Chair of the new Board, added. “The organization will fill both these roles as we make this seamless transition to a new organization.”
Officials said that the new organization will offer:
- Enhanced legislative power;
- An independent voice of businesses and the communities it serves with proactive policies and initiatives that foster smart growth and economic vitality in the region;
- Advocacy for the business community, including key industry sectors in the Hudson Valley on a local, state and federal level;
- Innovative programs that provide the entire Hudson Valley with the resources and talent they need to grow and thrive;
- New channels of distribution for organizations throughout the region.
“The WCA and HVEDC have always worked well together," Mooney said. “The strengths and programs of each organization are complementary and as a unified organization will realize incredible synergies. HVEDC’s strength in key industry clusters and their geographic reach is of enormous value to our organization. As we come together to become one organization, we will clearly better serve the needs of Westchester County and the entire Hudson Valley.”
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins added, “growing the local economy, providing good jobs for more New Yorkers, and improving the quality of life for our community members are all top priorities for me as a local representative and the Senate Majority Leader. The merger of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation and the Westchester County Association will help streamline operations, improve services to local businesses and entrepreneurs, and spur economic development.”
In a statement, the Business Council of Westchester congratulated the WCA and HVEDC on the merger, noting that they now "stand alone as the only business advocacy organization focused on the county."
"We take this leadership role very seriously. We remain fully committed to continuing to create economic opportunities for all, to being strong advocates for the interests of our members from both the business and not-for-profit sectors, and to working with our elected officials on all levels.
"The BCW has successfully positioned itself to be the clear leader in advocating for Westchester’s interests, while at the same time maintaining strong regional and state ties. We are a member of the all-important Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council as well as numerous other regional and statewide partnerships.
"Our Board of Directors and senior leadership represent the most proactive and visionary business, not-for-profit and academic leaders in Westchester. As we enter this new era of being the only Westchester-focused business, economic development and advocacy organization, we are well-positioned to take on this critically important role.
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