In a surprising press conference, the boards of directors for both the Westchester County Association (WCA) and the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC) announced their intent to merge the previously distinct organizations into a single development and business advocacy organization.
“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,” says current WCA Chairman William P. Harrington, who will serve as the chairman of the newly unified board of directors. “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.”
WCA President and CEO William Mooney, Jr. says joining the two sister-organizations is a clear and beneficial arrangement. “The WCA and HVEDC have always worked well together. 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.”
The design is that by merging, the two entities will yield greater legislative power, a greater voice for economic growth and proactive policies and initiatives within the region, and new channels of distribution for local organizations previously unavailable to the two organizations.
Credit: Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation and Westchester County Association
Caption: Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation Mike Oates (left) and Westchester County Association President & CEO William M. Mooney, Jr. address the media after the announcement of a merger of the organizations today, January 29, 2019.
Major areas of focus will be expanding Westchester’s booming biotech industry into the Hudson Valley, a Real Estate and Housing Task Force to advocate “smart growth” of the region’s housing spaces, workforce development to assist in training and placement of new talent, and continued efforts to direct current key and developing industries throughout the region.
HVEDC Board Chair Robert J. Levine, who will assume the role of First Vice Chair of the new board, says, “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.” He adds, “The organization will fill both these roles as we make this seamless transition to a new organization.”
Overall, local and state-level executives have been overwhelmingly supportive of the merger.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer released a statement saying, “HVEDC has always been very mindful of working together with each and every one of the seven counties in the Hudson Valley, including Westchester County,” adding, “I will be happy to work with them on issues important to economic development and the growth of businesses of Westchester.”
Support has also poured in from other county executives and local congress members, with Senator Chuck Schumer saying, “The merger of HVEDC and the WCA combines the strengths of two excellent operations into one first-rate organization that will drive business advocacy and economic development across Westchester and the Hudson Valley.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with both groups in the past,” he says, “and I look forward to working closely with this newly-merged organization in the near future to create better-paying jobs in the Hudson Valley and boost the regional economy.”