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March 22, 2012 - 12:21am

Legislators get report on recent successes of GCEDC

posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

In a very short time, Genesee County has become a big player in the global agricultural community, Jim Vincent told the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday. He's vice chairman of the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors.

Vincent commented little during the half-hour meeting in which CEO Steve Hyde provided a quarterly review for members of the county legislature. But he did note that with Alpina building here, followed by Pepsi/Theo Muller and now Bonduelle buying food processing plants in Oakfield and Bergen from Allen's Foods, Genesee County's place in the ag community has been transformed.

Hyde pointed out that the Bonduelle purchase probably saved more than 250 jobs in Genesee County.

Allen's may have been on the verge of closing the plants if they hadn't been sold, Hyde indicated.

While GCEDC wasn't directly involved in the purchase, officials have been speaking with Bonduelle executives and something may be in the works to help the company grow locally.

The four plants purchased by Bonduelle are the first production facilities owned by the France-based company in the United States.

Members of the committee and other legislators at the meeting made few comments and asked few questions.

Hyde was able to point to other successes for GCEDC and its business development partners, such as Java Equipment planning a location in Batavia and Premier Credit opening a phone room on Mill Street.

Hyde said Premier initially planned on 50 jobs -- which pay $12 an hour plus incentives -- but may soon add another 50 positions.

VP of Business Development Chris Suozzi deserves a lot of credit for bringing both Premier and Pepsi to town, Hyde said.

According to Hyde, when GCEDC first learned of Pepsi's plans, the Genesee County Agri-Business Park was only on the B-list.

But Souzi started working his contacts and managed to convince Pepsi officials to make a site visit.

"After the site visit, we went from the B-list to the A-list, from one of 16, to one of the final four, and then being very fortunate to land this project," Hyde said.

Hyde also gave credit to Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer for giving a "yeoman's effort" on behalf the STAMP project in Alabama. GCEDC needs to secure $18 million in grants and Ranzenhofer has been instrumental in arranging key meetings with Senate leaders and lining up support for legislation that might make it possible.

Vincent told legislators that for every dollar the county government invests in the GCEDC, a total of $18.60 is returned to the local economy.

Hyde said that when he started with GCEDC in 2002, the agency and its affiliates did $600,000 in revenue. This last year, it generated $4.4 million in revenue. It turned a profit of $1.3 million.

"Those profits, of course, go right back into helping us create shovel-ready projects," Hyde said. "We try to build our community, build our tax base, create jobs and create success for our community."

Brian Graz
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Joined: Sep 18 2010 - 4:57pm

If you are of the camp that thinks GCEDC is doing a good job... then how do you reconcile this recent info?

Some positive job numbers for Buffalo Niagara and the Rochester region.

Rochester gained 9200 new private sector jobs over the last 12 month period ending in June. That's the second highest among the state's metro areas.

New Employment numbers show the Buffalo and Niagara areas gained 4300 jobs in the last year, almost a one percent annual growth rate.

Genesee County was not so fortunate. The figures show Genesee County lost jobs at a rate of point-8 percent annual rate.

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