Over the past twelve months, Partnership staff has engaged in outreach meetings with over 400 Buffalo Niagara employers, soliciting feedback on the direction in which the Partnership should be headed. These meetings have been instrumental in the creation of the action agendas, which really have a dual purpose: (1) focusing our time and efforts on high-impact deliverables that will help provide opportunity for our members - and their industries (and, as a result, the regional economy) - to grow; and (2) identifying and strengthening the Partnership's role in each sector.
The effectiveness of the action agenda vetting and implementation is evident. Some highlights from the last year's work:
(Agribusiness) Defeat of the proposed NYS "Farmworkers" Bill, which would have devastated family and larger farms in Upstate New York;
(Logistics) Coordination with a number of local entities in logistics of an Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Customs Matters and Trade Facilitation (ITAC-14) tour of Buffalo Niagara international bridges, which included high-ranking officials in Homeland Security, Commerce, Transportation and U.S. Trade Representative;
(Life Sciences) Creation of the Buffalo Niagara Life Science Resource Guide and Directory - digital and print editions;
(Manufacturing) Presentation of the Partnership's 2010 Renewable Energy Series in March and April, 2010, focusing on opportunities for Buffalo Niagara companies in the wind supply chain;
(Professional Services) December's adoption of a "tiered incentives" program by Erie County IDAs that based the awarding of incentives on various criteria, including local sourcing.
In addition, key relationships in each of the industry sectors have been created over the course of the past year that help to ensure that the work needed to be done in Buffalo Niagara is, indeed, being done. A major component of the Partnership's day-to-day work is collaborating closely with industry groups and other entities also working to grow the regional economy. Whether its our partnership with Medtech in the life sciences industry, our aligned advocacy efforts with the Erie and Niagara County Farm Bureaus in agribusiness, or the joint events we put on with World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara to talk logistics, the Partnership can add the "big picture" economic development perspective to whatever the initiative.
In the end, our target industry work comes down to our "ABCs" (as does everything else we do) - Advocacy, Business Development and Connecting. These are the areas where the Partnership is a resource for our members as we work to strengthen Buffalo Niagara's business climate.