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New Economic Development Specialist Joins Staff at Technical Assistance Center

PLATTSBURGH (December 17, 2007) - The new economic development specialist at the Technical Assistance Center wants to put a face with the facts.

Victoria Zinser Johnson

"I want to work with area businesses, municipalities, non-profits and other agencies and provide them with the statistical analyses they need while at the same time develop the people side," said Victoria Zinser Johnson, who arrived at the Technical Assistance Center (TAC) at SUNY Plattsburgh Dec. 5. "I like data, but also think you can combine that with the personal aspect of our business."

To do that, Johnson plans to get out and identify and speak to the constituents who can best be served by the center.

"A lot of our projects are in economic development; we do a lot of economic impact analysis, whether it's for faculty research, community needs, local governments, non-profits or regional entities," Johnson said. "We have a number of community partners who come to us whenever they have a need for economical or statistical analyses."

The center has recently begun a study of young professionals in the region, something near and dear to Johnson, who sits on the board of the Adirondack Young Professionals Group.

"We're analyzing what is needed to attract and retain young professionals to this area. There are a lot of new businesses growing in the region, and a good portion of the jobs that go along with these businesses are professional management, information technology and accounting. We have a growing aerospace industry that is about to hit the ground and could be a huge shot in the arm for our area and a huge draw for young professionals," she said.

Johnson wants to move away from the "wait until the business or organization or non-profit comes to us with a request for information" and instead take a proactive approach. When a municipality or organization eyes a new project or looks to expand, "there's information we can provide - economic impact statements, for instance - at a reasonable cost as opposed to having to hire a private consulting firm," she said. "I'd like to meet with the planning boards to help them with their data."

Johnson is no stranger to economic development or SUNY Plattsburgh. She previously served as an adjunct lecturer in the geography department, teaching, among other things, urban geography and planning. She also served as vice president of the Clinton County Development Corporation and executive director of the economic and community development group, Friends of the North Country.

"My professional background has been in community planning and economic development," she said. "I'm looking forward to helping our partners develop projects and support their projects with research and statistical analysis."
 For more information on the Technical Assistance Center, visit them on the Web at: www.plattsburgh.edu/offices/centers/tac or call Johnson at 518-564-2214.

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