To get a piece of the “New Economy” action, Westchester County will have to start acting more like a New Economy player (think innovation hubs, sustainable growth, smart urban design, workforce development, Millennial-friendly housing, etc.). There’s been a lot of talk—and a decent amount of action—around these themes here in the county, but we still have a way to go before we can compete with other urban areas around the county as a coveted destination for top talent.
To help the county determine how best to move forward in that direction, the Westchester County Association (WCA) is convening a group of visionary urban leaders this spring for its “Westchester: County of Tomorrow” event (April 29, from 7:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel in West Harrison). Featuring speakers from cities including Austin, Raleigh, New York City, and Chattanooga, the event will offer a first-hand look at how America’s thriving economies built their innovation eco-systems—and what lessons can be applied here in Westchester and the region.
According to WCA President and CEO William M. Mooney, Jr., this new event will be “a terrific opportunity to access how far we’ve come and to learn from others, near and far, about how best to move forward.” While Westchester has made progress, Mooney notes that we still need more development around things like “better mobility from east to west, creating more livable communities for Millennials and others in the workforce, training the workforce for emerging jobs in the hot sectors, funding for infrastructure, repurposing and modernizing our office space, and attracting and retaining business.”
Why convene a future-watch gathering now? “There is new construction throughout the county and ‘smart, sustainable growth’ is underway,” Mooney explains. “As an emerging national hub for biotech and health tech, we are now poised for greatness. So, it’s the right time to look to others across the nation who have built successful hubs and get their best advice for the next stage.”
The key speakers at the event—who will focus on how their respective areas have fueled public-private partnerships, infrastructure, transit-oriented development, and innovation eco-systems—are:
• Silicon Valley: Jerry Sanders, CEO, SkyTran, a revolutionary, high-speed, elevated, energy-efficient Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system
• New York City: Seth Pinsky, former president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Michael Bloomberg administration
• Raleigh: Jason Widen, co-founder of Innovate Raleigh, founder of HQ Raleigh
• Austin: Susan Dawson: E3 Alliance, tech entrepreneur, former head of Austin, TX Chamber of Commerce
• Chattanooga: Mayor Andy Berke, overseeing the city’s smart-grid Internet and an economy that has been revolutionized
Also featured will be notables including Andrew C. Peskoe, private investor, principal in Israeli Cleantech Ventures LP and partner, Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell & Pekoe LLP in NYC; Mary Scott Nabers, president/CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., and author of Collaboration Nation—How Public-Private Ventures are Revolutionizing the Business of Government; Mark Strauss, senior partner at urban design firm FXFOWLE; and Christopher B. Fisher, partner, Cuddy & Feder, whose specialty areas include wireless carriers, tower companies, DAS providers, residential and commercial developers.
“We are tremendously excited! It’s an incredible group of people,” says Mooney.
For more information on “Westchester: County of Tomorrow,” visit: http://westchester.org/article.php?a=654#sthash.9BDsnzsv.dpuf