PUTNAM POSTINGS: Industry Cluster Effort Paying Off for Hudson Valley Region

Jennifer Maher | November 2015

A few short years ago the concept of industry clusters in our area was a very foreign one, indeed. We simply didn’t recognize the impact that attracting groups of similar businesses might have on Putnam County’s economic future. More recently, however, the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp led by Larry Gottlieb and the work done by the Regional Economic Development Council has greatly advanced this concept to the point where several key groups are taking root on the other (western) side of the river, fueling optimism that this can be done here as well.

I recently had the chance to listen to Larry Gottlieb speak at the November meeting of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors. His passion and vision for the region and all the counties he covers was evident in his speech and actions. He filled us in on the areas where economic development efforts seem to be paying off, such as in food and beverage, 3D printing, and “Meds and Eds” (hospitals and universities). SUNY New Paltz’s ground breaking 3D printing initiative garnered more than $12 million in state and private funding and this spells real opportunity for Orange and Ulster counties to capitalize on a major investment. The 3D initiative also promotes collaboration among students, faculty and regional businesses.

One sector in the region that benefits from these newly formed and successful industry clusters (except of course Putnam County) is local colleges. Putnam still lacks a post-secondary education resource of any kind within its borders, and this means all the major grant money being awarded all across the State of New York for expanding learning initiatives and research is ending up elsewhere. We need to find a way to get such a school here, opening the door to both public and private investment dollars, which would in turn boost our efforts to create an R&D center and build those long-sought industry clusters.

Real economic success in attracting industries to the Hudson Valley is happening tantalizingly close to our borders. The challenge is to make some of it possible right here in Putnam County. I am confident we can achieve this if we keep pursuing these objectives.

Jennifer Maher
Jennifer Maher is chairwoman, the Putnam County Business Council and currently serves as the president of the Putnam/Westchester Chapter of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors.