ROCKLAND: Change of Leadership at REDC
John Jordan | November 2015
DiTullo Leaves for NC, Struck Takes Over as REDC President
PEARL RIVER—After more than three years on the job, Michael DiTullo resigned his post as president and CEO of the Rockland Economic Development Corp. to take on a similar post in Brunswick County, NC where he and his wife Joan own a home. The REDC Board turned to a familiar face, a retired business executive well versed in economic development, to take over the leadership position at the agency.
The REDC Board of Directors on Oct. 9th named veteran economic development executive Richard Struck as the agency’s interim president and CEO. The REDC Board was successful in luring Struck out of retirement. The affable Struck retired in April 2014 after spending 31 years engaged in economic and business-assistance related activities, the last 23 of which he was engaged in economic development initiatives for Orange & Rockland Utilities where he was responsible for operating the company’s three-state (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) service territory’s economic development programs.
During that time, Struck’s department helped secure attractions or business expansions involving more than160 major companies that created more than 19,000 new jobs and filled more than 16 million square feet of space. Those victories for local communities in the region resulted in more than $24 million of annual tax ratables for municipalities and school districts.
However, one of his crowning professional achievements came when he and the utility’s Datacenter Action Response Team (DART) helped convince Bloomberg LLP in June 2013 to locate its $850-million data center in Orangeburg. In addition, the Rockland County Industrial Development Agency, where Struck serves as a director, also played a critical role in landing the requirement, by providing an attractive incentives package for the project.
Struck in a telephone interview with Real Estate In-Depth, said the Board was looking for someone with experience in economic development and who had worked with the brokerage community, developers and businesses in the past. He said the REDC Board didn’t want someone that required “OJT” (on the job training). They wanted someone that knew the incentives, knew the properties, knew the people,” Struck said.
In announcing DiTullo’s departure and Struck’s appointment, REDC Chair Sandra Grannum said, “The Board wishes Mike the best in his new endeavor and is confident that REDC and its mission is in experienced and able hands with Rick as the Board undertakes its search for a permanent President & CEO.”
DiTullo and Struck worked on a transition until DiTullo left for his new post in North Carolina in late October. His first day on his new job was Nov. 2.
“It has been my honor to lead Rockland Economic Development Corporation for nearly four years. REDC’s mission to promote Rockland’s economy and foster the attraction of private-sector investment and jobs is imperative to the economic resurgence of the county,” DiTullo said. “The Board of Directors, business community and county government are all supportive of the mission as we all work together to create wealth and enhance quality of life.”
He added, The Team at REDC is dedicated and works hard every day to realize its mission and goals. The Board acted swiftly to retain an Interim President. Rick Struck, the former Director of Economic Development at O&R has vast experience and expertise in economic development and is highly regarded in the Rockland community. REDC is in good hands and is poised to continue its successful economic developments for years to come.”
Struck said that after a year-and-a-half in retirement, he simply missed the work and jumped at the opportunity when asked by the REDC Board.
“I always enjoyed the work. I have always had a passion for economic development,” Struck said. “This opportunity when it presented itself, I was ready to jump back in.” He quipped that previously he had rejected several offers for part-time work, but wound up saying yes to the full-time post at REDC.
The Pearl River resident said he missed dealing with the people he has known over the years in the business community. He praised DiTullo for his efforts and the vitality he brought to the job and said his task is “not to let Rockland slip off of the radar.”
Struck said he will serve in his post as long as REDC wants him to serve. At press time while the REDC has stated it had begun a search for a new president and CEO, the official search process had yet to begin.
He recently completed a term on the Rockland Industrial Development Agency (IDA). He is a past Board Member of the Rockland Business Association (RBA) and Pattern for Progress, and a past Board Chairman of the Rockland Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. (HVEDC).
Because of Rockland’s location that borders with New Jersey, which is very aggressive in its economic development efforts, Struck said that especially in cases where the county is pitted against New Jersey or other states and locations in the region, “We have to be ready to put our best foot forward.” He said that the REDC plans to work with the Rockland Industrial Development Agency as well as with the Empire State Development Corp. and affected communities, as well as his former employer Orange & Rockland Utilities, to secure the best incentive packages possible.
During his time at REDC, DiTullo helped induce more than 15 corporate attractions, with more than 2 million square feet of industrial, office and high-tech space that created more than 2,500 new jobs and nearly $1 billion in private sector capital investment.
DiTullo who heads south with three decades of business and economic development experience, previously held executive positions with the Orange County Accelerator, Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress and the Orange County Partnership before joining the REDC.