Chamber of Southern Saratoga County officials say they have aggressive plans in 2019 to address local and regional issues such as workforce, business development, economic and community concerns—with a focus on alignment with educational institutions, a passion for community and high-profile events, and a willingness to partner with other organizations where practical and effective.
Matthew J. Grattan, director of community and economic development of the Office of the Vice President for Research at SUNY Albany, is the chairman board chairman for 2019.
“The Chamber board along with its dedicated staff is committed to strengthening our role as a driver of community and economic activity in Southern Saratoga County,” said Grattan. “The Chamber and our members continue to face a challenging business environment in terms of the ability to attract and retain talent and new proposed regulations that could impede growth.”
He directed attention to the ongoing workforce challenges faced throughout Tech Valley:
“We once again will be planning a workforce development summit,” he said. “That builds on the successful summit we held last year to explain the state’s new investments in workforce training. The CSSC will be taking a leadership role throughout the Capital Region in bringing these resources to the business community.”
Area fairs and festivals remain major areas of focus for the Chamber. Two years in a row, it was the top sponsor of “The Way We Were” car show in Ballston Spa, in support of the Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association. The Saratoga County Fair is also emphasized, centered around the massive 5,400-square-foot tent shared by the CSSC and Saratoga County government offices, co-sponsored with the Saratoga County Office for the Aging.
The biggest effort in that regard will be in Waterford in May.
“The Chamber looks to expand the Waterford Canal Festival in our second year of coordination of the event in partnership with the Village of Waterford as our marquee community celebration event,” said Grattan. “Events like this and the dozens of mixers, workshops and educational sessions will demonstrate the value of the Chamber to the community and its members.”
Based in Clifton Park, the CSSC is committed to supporting its member businesses and prospective members throughout Southern Saratoga County and beyond.
Operators of the Northway Exit 9 Rest Area Information Center, the Chamber has membership that extends north and south along the I-87 corridor and provides a vehicle to promote those members to over 200,000 travelers annually who stop at the indoor information display.
Grattan said “we cannot achieve these goals alone, so we will also be placing a key strategic priority on collaboration with other for-profit and nonprofit partnering organizations to maximize our ability to positively impact our community and our members.”
Grattan joined the SUNY Albany Office of the Vice President of Research in September 2015, responsible for developing business partnerships for affiliation with the Start-UP NY and Innovation Hot Spot programs and the Centers for Excellence in Atmospheric Science.
He resides in Clifton Park with his wife Melissa, an entrepreneur and health and fitness professional, and their two sons. He governs the CSSC alongside Chair-Elect Lauren Valentine of Sandler Training, Treasurer Joseph Hanlon of Teal, Becker and Chiaramonte; Immediate Past Chair Chris Meyer of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna; Vice Chair Wendy Rosher of Ellis Medicine and Secretary Brian White of TD Bank.
Other board members include Greg Connors, GlobalFoundries; Anne Curcurito, Times Union; Carmine DeCrescente III, DeCrescente Distributing Co.; Sarah Heslin, Capital District YMCA, Southern Saratoga Branch; Kristyn Kamber, Premium Mortgage Corp; Carl Stewart, Turner Construction, and Dr. Elizabeth Wood, Shenendehowa Central School District.
Chamber staff include President/CEO Pete Bardunias, Vice President Liz Roggenbuck, Operations Manager Sheila Whinnery, Membership Consultant Sandy McAlonie, and employees for the Information Center at the Northway’s Exit 9 Rest Area.