Entrepreneurs critical for job growth in Adirondacks

QUEENSBURY Although vast areas of the Adirondacks are now economically depressed, savvy entrepreneurs can create new local jobs and help improve the quality of life, community leaders said recently at a regional economic development get-together. Regional business and community leaders packed the dining hall at Great Escape Lodge last Friday for Warren County Economic Development Corp.s annual luncheon. Besides networking, local business leaders heard about area economic development initiatives of the past year. Keynote Speaker Ronald Heacock, newly appointed president of Adirondack Community College, spoke about how the college was evolving to meet needs of its students and the area communities. Heacock, who recently moved to Lake George from Texas, said both job growth and workforce development are critical objective in providing even a minimum standard of living for many residents of the lower Adirondacks. And although good workforce training is a necessary component for economic vitality, its likely to be entrepreneurs hard work that will provide the needed jobs in the rural areas, he added. When I first drove through the Adirondacks, it was shocking to see the poverty, he said. I look out my window in Lake George and its just gorgeous I dont want this beauty to go away, but I do want Adirondack area residents to have a better standard of living, and its a struggle to accomplish both. The long-term solution, he staid, is to train the workforce to fill jobs compatible with the mountain lifestyle and to educate entrepreneurs on how to achieve success in businesses that take advantage of the areas resources. ACC is working toward these goals, he said, by its support of the regional business incubator which the college now hosts. Also, ACCs Adventure Sports Leadership and Management program trains students how to be guides for expeditions, whether its canoeing, hiking, skiing, or whitewater rafting excursions. The course also teaches methods of developing successful outdoor adventure businesses, he said. Small business is going to rule the day in the Adirondacks, he said. And we want to give entrepreneurs that helping hand. Warren County Economic Development Corp. Chairman Daniel Burke said that a lot had already been accomplished in creating good-paying jobs in the lower Adirondacks. The redevelopment of the North Creek Ski Bowl and its new interconnection with Gore Mountain Ski Resort efforts which his agency championed will be providing many new good jobs, he said. But job-growth efforts need to go further, WEDC President Len Fosbrook said. Small businesses need to find a niche in the market and then dominate it by providing products and service substantially better than any competitors, he said. Such businesses as Champlain Stone in Warrensburg and Creative Stage Lighting in North Creek are now achieving this status, he said. Fosbrook said he and others in his agency are working at promoting a new concept, reverse commuting, to business executives in the Capital Region. Im telling them if you have a business in Albany but you come up here for recreation, he said, move your business up here where you can enjoy the lifestyle all week long.

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