The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County (CSSC) traces its roots to a local business organization founded in 1967 to support the twin towns of Clifton Park and Halfmoon, once considered rural “flyover country” to people headed to more popular destinations.
Some 50 years later, the 1,070-member organization is the Capital Region’s third largest chamber, serving 18 communities. It is a leader in the marine, manufacturing, agriculture and transportation sectors, and its Saratoga County Community Development Program has provided a new perspective on “bottom-up” economic development, according to its president and CEO, Pete Bardunias.
He said to better direct the organization’s programs, the Chamber 2017 strategic plan is based on the “3Cs”—Connections, Commerce and Community. This approach looks at things from the voice of the “customer” (member), concentrating chamber efforts in areas that provide the most value for the membership investment, based on input from focus groups and workshops.
To facilitate these changes, staff roles and responsibilities have changed also, he said. Working alongside Bardunias are Vice President of Marketing and Membership Connections Nigar Hale, Vice President of Community and Professional Development Liz Roggenbuck, Operations Manager Sheila Whinnery, Membership Consultant Sandy McAlonie and several part-time staff for the Information Center at the Northway Exit 9 rest area.
Leading the board this year is Chairwoman Jenifer Lynne Marten, an AVP/commercial relationship manager at Ballston Spa National Bank (BSNB).
She joined BSNB in 2005 and is currently responsible for helping businesses with their lending needs. Active with the Chamber for more than 12 years, Marten has served as a past ambassador as well as a member of the Leadership Committee where she oversaw one of the chamber’s leads groups.
She was the 2015 and 2016 chairperson for the Women in Business Committee. She earned an associate’s degree in business administration from SUNY Cobleskill and a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business management from Siena College. She resides locally with her husband and two children.
“I am truly excited to chair this dynamic Chamber during our 50th anniversary year,” said Marten. “With the support of our staff, volunteers and directors we have exciting plans to enhance membership value with new programing, networking opportunities and community involvement.”
The officers of the board of directors includes Chris Meyer of Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna, chairman-elect; Matt Grattan of the University at Albany, vice chairman; John McCann of Teal, Becker and Chiaramonte, treasurer and Economic/Government Affairs Committee chairman; Josh Spain of Momentive Performance Materials, immediate past chairman; and Anne Curcurito of the Albany Times Union, secretary.
Other board members include Panos Angelopoulos of Cleveland Polymer Technologies, chairman of the Manufacturing Committee; Victor Abate, GE Global Research; Jon Andersen, Andersen Boat; Greg Connors, GlobalFoundries; John DeMaria, DeMaria Financial LLC; Anthony DePasquale, OrthoNY; Kristyn Kamber, Prospect Mortgage; Alexander Kutikov, Red Mark Realty LLC; Wendy Rosher, Ellis Medicine; Dr. Elizabeth Wood, Shenendehowa Central School District; Sarah Heslin, Capital District YMCA, Southern Saratoga Branch; Lauren Valentine, Sandler Training; and Carmine DeCrescente III, DeCrescente Distributing Co.