REDC’s Schulman Shifts to New Eco. Development/Tourism Post for Rockland County
John Jordan | June 2019
NEW CITY— In a move that shakes up economic development efforts in Rockland County, County Executive Ed Day announced on May 31st he had hired Jeremy Schulman as the county’s new Director of Economic Development and Tourism.
Schulman, who began his new county post on June 4, served as CEO and president of the Rockland Economic Development Corp. of Pearl River from November 2017 thru May 2019. Schulman replaces former Economic Development and Tourism Director Lucy Redzeposki, who left her position at the end of April. The job pays $110,377 annually.
In what Rockland County Executive Day termed as a “seismic shift” in how the county performs economic development, with Schulman transitioning into a leadership position within county government; the county is looking for ways to expand upon the success of the REDC while reducing duplication of services. The county executive has formed the Rockland Advisory Council for Economic Development, which will fulfill the advisory functions previously associated with the REDC while other services will be performed by Director Schulman and the Office of Economic Development and Tourism.
“This move represents a seismic shift in how county government will drive future economic development, both here in Rockland and around the region,” county officials stated in a press announcement regarding Schulman’s hire.
The funds previously budgeted year after year to fund the REDC will be reinvested in the Office of Economic Development and Tourism to further expand upon their efforts with a more streamlined approach. A total of $316,000 was budgeted for the REDC in the 2019 Rockland County Budget.
“This type of collaboration and sharing of services is critical to the future success of Rockland County. We will be able to leverage the successes and relationships built by the REDC in the public and private sectors to build upon the $7.5 billion in tax ratable growth since I took office,” Day said.
As CEO of the REDC, Schulman partnered with municipal, county, non-profit and community officials to advance a complementary focus on village centers, gateways, infrastructure, corridors and adaptive reuse to position the county for balanced growth. He oversaw a record number of grant awards to Rockland in the competitive New York State Consolidated Funding process and identified and secured additional funding opportunities for business development.
Prior to joining REDC, Schulman was the Economic Development Manager for the City of New Rochelle from September 2005 to October 2017.
“Jeremy knows how to work with all these different entities towards the best interests of Rockland businesses and our residents,” Day said. “I look forward to working closely with him as we move closer to the bright future we all envision for this county.”
In a prepared statement concerning Schulman’s move to county government, REDC Chairman Thomas M. Rau said, “Jeremy’s move to the Office of Economic Development is a tacit acknowledgement of REDC’s three decades of success in creating and attracting new businesses and retaining and expanding existing businesses in Rockland County. I know that Jeremy will help Rockland County government build on what we’re already doing, taking business expansion, retention and job growth to the next level with a unified voice and focus on the needs of local businesses, large and small.”
Rockland County Executive Day stated in the REDC announcement, “Since 1981, Rockland County and REDC have enjoyed a strong collaborative partnership with a shared focus on attracting companies looking to relocate and helping our existing industries grow. By bringing many of REDC’s organizational strengths into county government, we will become an even stronger catalyst for economic growth in the Lower Hudson Valley.”
While the missions of REDC and the Rockland County Office of Economic Development and Tourism are similar, the REDC Board of Directors recently determined that exploring more collaboration with the county will allow both organizations to meet the needs of the local business community with greater efficiency, the REDC noted.
“There was a compelling reason to consider a change in strategy and embed many of our duplicative functions into county government—all for the benefit of prospective and existing companies, which the Board will fully evaluate during the coming weeks.”
Additionally, the REDC stated Schulman’s transition to the county “will leverage broader relationships for REDC, allowing stronger advocacy for additional resources on behalf of Rockland’s business community at the local, state and federal levels.”
Al Samuels, president and CEO of the Rockland Business Association, praised the move that now has county government taking more control of economic development in Rockland.
He termed the hiring of Schulman as the county’s new Director of Economic Development and Tourism as a “good move.”
Samuels noted Schulman’s vast experience in economic development with the REDC, the City of New Rochelle and initially with Rockland County’s planning department. He said that REDC has worked well with Schulman in the past. Samuels added that the RBA’s visionary view of economic development and Schulman’s approach complement each other.
The longtime RBA leader noted that more and more county governments in the Hudson Valley region over the past decade or so have been bringing economic development operations that had been outsourced to third-parties, back to county government control.
The counties that now have economic development as an administrative position or department, such as Westchester, Dutchess and Ulster counties, “have done very well” in the state’s Consolidated Funding Application process, securing significant state funding for new commercial development projects there, Samuels said.
He said those counties have been doing better than Rockland in terms of the share of funds awarded by the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council over the years.
Samuels is hopeful that Rockland County can benefit with larger CFA awards going forward now that Schulman is on board with the Day Administration.