Varricchio Hits Ground Running at Putnam County EDC
John Jordan | December 22, 2015
CARMEL—Jill Varricchio, a marketing entrepreneur and community leader, was named the new president of the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation this past October. Varricchio took over the post from Meghan Taylor who left the position earlier this year to become the regional director of the Empire State Development Mid-Hudson Region, which includes Putnam County.
While relatively new to the position, Varricchio said she has already formulated some initial goals. “’Thoughtful” is a word I like as there are many thoughts on Putnam’s economic needs .My goal is to familiarize myself with the current status of available inventory in each municipality. In turn as a facilitator, I hope to guide and provide resources to streamline this ‘thoughtful’ development; I hope from working with the professional brokers, that we can ensure state and national best practices to encourage and facilitate private sector investment,” she told Real Estate In-Depth.
Some of the key strengths Putnam County possesses are its proximity to New York City as well as its lower operating costs as compared to the Big Apple, she noted.
“We have a reasonable cost of doing business here when compared to Manhattan, and we have for example have an office vacancy rate of 11.9 % and an asking commercial rent of $18.93-per-square-foot, whereas in New York City space is at a premium and the costs are at least three times ours,” Varricchio said.
The new EDC President also touted the “neighborhood feel” that exists in the county’s various villages, towns and hamlets and that the county enjoys low unemployment, poverty and crime rates.
Other key advantages Putnam possesses include numerous tourist, historical and recreational venues as well as a number of “shovel ready” sites that are prime for development.
In term of the county’s top performing industry clusters, she cited tourism and the food and beverage industries as key drivers for economic growth. “Since being here, the assortment of new business and broker requests have been from both commercial (non-retail), as well as retail sectors,” Varricchio noted. “The majority impacts the tourism sector, such as a boutique hotel, bed and breakfast, and a brand-franchised hotel.”
She also said that her office plans on working to retain and grow the cluster manufacturing sector and is revisiting the value of Foreign Trade Zone benefits and whether it could add value to businesses that are considering relocating to Putnam County.
Varricchio has been the owner and president of Concept Promotions since 1985 and its affiliated company D&D Mailing Services since 1996. Her first day as president of the EDC was Monday, Oct. 19.
Putnam County leaders expressed support of Varricchio’s appointment. “We had a long list of qualities that we sought in a new EDC president,” said Acting EDC Chairman Jeff Kellogg. “We took our time to find the right candidate that fit our needs and I am happy to say that Jill’s background and passion for the business community made her stand out from the others. I look forward to working with her on bringing the right projects to Putnam County.”
“Jill will be a great asset to the EDC,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Her marketing background and knowledge of the development process will give her the tools to execute the strategic plan the organization put in place. Putnam is in the primetime. Now with Jill, here in the county, and Meghan, at the state level, we have supporters who understand the unique offerings Putnam can provide potential developers. Putnam is open for business.”