Regional Development

Empire State Development names new regional director

Stephen Hunt II to run North Country office

By: DAN HEATH

PLATTSBURGH — Empire State Development has a new director for its North Country Regional Office.

Stephen Hunt II, most recently deputy chief of staff for Congressman Bill Owens, will manage the daily operations of Empire State Development’s two North Country offices, located in Plattsburgh and Watertown.

He also takes over as executive director of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.

‘MOMENTUM’

Hunt said he is excited about the new roles.

“There is a tremendous amount of momentum building in New York state, and the North Country is making tremendous strides under Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo’s leadership,” he said in a news release.

“I’m proud to be on the ground in the region, working to provide new economic opportunity for the communities of this beautiful and unique seven-county region.

“I’m especially honored to join the staff of the regional office and work with the co-chairs and members of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council as we implement our region’s strategic plan to generate new investment and jobs.”

TRANSITION PLANS

Hunt will replace Roseanne Murphy in both positions. Murphy has agreed to help with the transition by remaining in the Plattsburgh office until her retirement later this summer.

She said it’s been a privilege to work in both roles.

“I am particularly proud of the accomplishments the North Country has realized since the creation of the council,” she said in a statement.

“Because of the hard work of the co-chairs and the many volunteer members, the region has seen unprecedented collaboration and focus, moving it forward in a positive direction that has produced results, and continues to grow jobs and sustainable growth in the region.”

‘TREMENDOUS ASSET’

Empire State Development President and CEO Kenneth Adams welcomed Hunt to his team, citing his extensive background in the region.

“With Steve’s knowledge of the North Country and familiarity with its constituencies, he will help advance our goals of driving private-sector growth and creating jobs.

“In addition, Steve will be a tremendous asset to the North Country Regional Council, and I look forward to his leadership and support of the council’s long-term strategic plans for the region’s economic growth.”

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas, co-chair of the North Country Council, also said Hunt is an outstanding choice.

“We have worked with him regularly on economic-development projects and on our various efforts to build our connections with Quebec and Ontario.

“His strong experience and awareness will make him both a great leader for Empire State Development in our region and a great advocate for the North Country in Albany,” he said.

MURPHY LAUDED

“As for Roseanne Murphy, I can’t say enough about all she has done for the North Country over the last 20 years that I have worked with her,” Douglas said.

He said that includes organizing the initial redevelopment plans for the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base to helping the Regional Council win three statewide competitions in a row.

“She has been a consummate professional who helps make things happen and, as she approaches retirement, has much to be proud of in terms of enhancing the North Country and the lives of its citizens.”

Adams also thanked Murphy “for her years of dedication and service” and said they are “very grateful for her leadership and achievements in the North Country.”

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

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