Tracy Verrier is the executive director of the Cayuga Economic Development Agency and Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce.
As the new executive director of the Cayuga Economic Development Agency and Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to those who don’t know me and provide some additional background to those of you who do.
I moved to Auburn three years ago to take the job as CEDA’s economic development technical specialist. The idea of growing a young organization with such an important role in the community was exciting and motivating. A year prior, I had received master’s degrees in both economics and international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. During my studies, I worked part-time at the Syracuse Center of Excellence and continued to work there until moving to Auburn.
Ahead of interviewing for the position at CEDA, I started to do some research. I began to see the wonderful things going on in Cayuga County. I read articles about private developers investing in downtown Auburn, which seemed like a miracle considering the struggles of so many upstate downtowns. I read about all of the great things to do, including wineries, hiking, festivals, theater and recreation on the lakes, and realized Cayuga County seemed like a wonderful place to call home.
A friend brought me to Auburn a few days ahead of my interview to help me learn my way around. Just one evening in Auburn and I was sold. I wanted the job more than ever, and getting it became a necessity. To be honest, it seemed like a longshot when I applied, but my education, familiarity with parts of central New York and analytical side helped prove my qualifications and value. A few weeks later I started working, and only two weeks after that I moved here.
I fell in love with Cayuga County immediately, in no small part due to the instant comradery and support of my coworkers, the CEDA board and numerous community members. This love has grown over time as I’ve seen the kindness and enthusiasm that so many people here possess. I’ve tried to take in as much as I can of what the county has to offer. I’ve participated on boards and committees, bought a house, married a local and have now stepped into a leadership role of two of the myriad organizations that are instrumental in making this community such a great place to be. But it can’t stop here.
CEDA and the chamber have seen great success in recent years. CEDA has made significant progress in bringing economic development programs and resources under one roof in order to streamline access for businesses and entrepreneurs. In doing so, many great projects have been assisted, from expansions of existing businesses to the startup and attraction of new businesses. Take a look at our projects on CEDA’s website to see some of the businesses with which our team has worked.
The chamber continues to gain new members, as well as develop and host many successful events that have provided networking, learning and sponsorship opportunities for its members and the community.
Moving forward, it’s critical to not only continue these efforts, but to take advantage of the momentum our past successes have created. There are many things I dream of accomplishing with and for these organizations. However, one of the most important tasks to tackle is improving communication with stakeholders and the community at large about what we are doing and the things we’ve accomplished. Our increased social media presence (visit CEDA on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; and the chamber on Facebook and Twitter) has started the ball rolling. These outlets allow us to share information about what we and our partners are doing, community news and helpful resources for local businesses. Soon, we will launch a CEDA blog to provide another opportunity to share what’s happening in greater detail.
On the chamber side, we are exploring new ways to provide greater value to members and the community. For instance, we are partnering with The Citizen to publish a Community Guide & Member Directory for the first time in many years. This guide will be a resource for businesses, residents and visitors alike. We’ve also been receiving an increasing number of inquiries from people who have recently moved to the area, and we envision this guide being a valuable tool for them. Watch for it this October!
These are just a few examples of what’s new and upcoming, so please do keep an eye on our websites and social media for new events and resources. My first two months in this position have flown by, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for CEDA and the chamber. Hopefully you are, too.
This article originally published in The Citizen.