March 7, 2016 (ONEONTA, NY) – At the annual meeting of the Boards of the County of Otsego IDA and the Otsego County Capital Resource Corporation, held last week in Oneonta, the election of officers yielded a new joint Chairman. By unanimous roll call vote, Devin Morgan was elected to the top spot on both Boards. Previous Chairs, Hanft and Bernier did not seek re-election to encourage fresh leadership to jointly lead both organizations.
New Chairman Devin Morgan is a practicing attorney and Special Counsel to Hoffman Warnick (hoffmanwarnick.com), an intellectual property boutique law firm headquartered in Albany. He is also a mentor, blogger, and speaker on innovation and entrepreneurship who enjoys working with growth companies and aspiring entrepreneurs. Devin’s blog is Eat Drink Law (eatdrinklaw.com); he co-founded LocalMotive Workshop (localmotiveworkshop.com), a local group for encouraging sustainable entrepreneurship; and he runs Three Blazes Innovation, Inc. (3-blazes.com), a professional services firm that helps create and grow innovative businesses. He was appointed to serve on the IDA Board in 2014.
“I’m looking forward to helping lead Otsego Now as it continues to work toward transformative projects throughout the county. Bob [Hanft] and Joe [Bernier], along with the Otsego Now staff and the rest of the Board, have done an amazing job focusing the organization on its core mission and giving it the financial controls and compliance processes to make it an effective and sustainable economic development organization. Sandy and the Otsego Now team have already accomplished a lot and I can’t wait to support their continued efforts to engage local, regional, and state partners, as well as attract companies and investors, to catalyze local growth,” said Mr. Morgan.
Choosing to not seek re-election as the Chairman of the OCCRC Board, Joseph Bernier has a lengthy history of service to the community. Before his recent retirement, Mr. Bernier served as the City of Oneonta Community Development Director for 34 years. He has been a member of the IDA Board since 1986 and served as its chair for 13 years. In addition, Mr. Bernier has been a member of the OCCRC Board, and has served as its Chairman, since its inception in 2008.
“It has been a pleasure to serve the residents of Otsego County on the IDA Board for the past 33 years, more than 20 of which as chair of the IDA and the last 7 of which as chair of the CRC. We have accomplished many great things. We have helped some of our largest employers – such as Bassett, Fox, Springbrook and Hartwick College – to expand and create jobs. I look forward now to working with Devin, the rest of the Board and out outstanding staff so we can facilitate meaningful development and quality private sector job creation in our County,” said Mr. Bernier.
Robert Hanft is a Managing Director and Senior Advisor of Utica, NY-based Strategic Financial Services, a wealth management firm. He is an active and engaged member of the community, serving on the boards of such mainstays of the county as Hartwick College, Bassett Medical Center, and Pathfinder Village. Mr. Hanft was appointed to the Board of the IDA in 2010, as served as its Chairman for two years beginning in 2014.
“I became Chairman of the County of Otsego IDA in 2014, during the transition from operating with County financial support and staff to a self-funding private business model. A tremendous amount of work and planning had to go into preparing the IDA to meet its operating and regulatory reporting responsibilities under the new structure. During the past two years, Otsego Now’s economic development staff has worked closely with the IDA board to initiate a large number of projects with the potential to transform the economy of our County. While significant progress is evident, much work remains. I am confident that under Devin’s leadership we will continue the momentum that we have built to date,” said Mr. Hanft.
Both former Chairmen will retain their seats on the IDA and CRC Boards, and Mr. Bernier will serve as Secretary of both Boards.