Mohawk Valley has many opportunities

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Raymond J. Durso, Jr., is president and CEO of the Genesis Group:

As we mark the 20th anniversary of the Genesis Group – I believe it’s important to acknowledge the progress our community has made during the past 20 years. We have certainly come a long way! Let’s take a look back at the year 2000:

Gizborne, New Zealand was the first city in the world to welcome the new millennium.

George W. Bush was elected 43rd president of the United States. 

Hillary Clinton was elected to the U.S. Senate becoming the first “first lady” to win a public office

Retail store Montgomery Ward announced that it was closing its 250 remaining stores. 

The use of mobile phones continued to grow as mobile devices became essential consumer products. 

The last Peanuts comic strip was published, and Charles Schulz—the cartoonist who created Peanuts—passed away. 

General Hospital was America’s favorite soap opera, and ER was the country’s most-watched primetime TV show. 

The Broadway musical “Cats” closed after 7,485 performances.

The St. Louis Rams were the Super Bowl champs and the New York Yankees won the World Series.

A dozen of eggs cost 89 cents, and you still relied on a clock radio to wake you up because Google Assistant wasn’t around yet. 

In Utica, Ed Hanna was Mayor – but only until July 4, 2000 when he suddenly resigned at midnight – Common Council President Tim Julian assumed office.

In Rome, Joe Griffo was Mayor. The Oneida County Executive was Ralph Eannace. The Herkimer County Administrator was – and still is James Wallace (42 years 1979).

Let’s face it, all communities have their challenges, but all communities have their opportunities too! History can help us grow and move forward by its examples that brought hope to the region in the past.

From 1798 until the advent of the Erie Canal in 1817, the Mohawk Valley was a small wilderness community growing at a slow pace. The canal rejuvenated our transportation and forwarding business, commerce and trade reigned supreme, and new hope was born. In 1845, transportation and forwarding industries lost out to the emerging railroads. Our geographic location at the crossroads of trade and commerce were becoming obsolete. Our community leaders made a voyage to New England to learn about the new industrial power, “steam.” They brought this knowledge, and economic hope, back to other area and the textile industry began its steady climb to the top, eventually our area became the textile capital of the world. It stayed this way until the exodus of the textile mills to the south in the early 1950s. The Mohawk Valley region was in a position to once again re-invent itself. Again, community leaders at that time sought the prominent industries in the field of electronics, aviation and automobiles, and with it, brought back hope in the presence of General Electric and other related companies.

And now it’s our turn. We have the opportunity to enhance and grow our economy with the emergence of the nanotechnology industry. In Marcy we have Wolfspeed putting the finishing touches on its billion dollar chip fab that will employ 600 people. In Rome, we have Griffiss Business and Technology Park which is home to 6000 jobs. In Utica, Mohawk Valley Health System is building a new state of the art hospital and medical center campus. In Herkimer County, investments continue with Tractor Supply, Amazon, and expansions by The Fountainhead Group and Pepsi. These are just a few of the many projects underway throughout the Mohawk Valley region. 

Combined with our rich history, today our region has several billion dollar industries in Education, Healthcare, Agri-Business and Tourism. With our skilled workforce and the will of our citizens, the Mohawk Valley region does has opportunities - and lots of them. 

As I look ahead....I do so remembering our past experiences, appreciating our blessings today, and with hope for our future. 

Thank you.


 

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