MARCY — When SUNYIT President Bjong Wolf Yeigh left his post last summer, he also vacated his position as co-chairman of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council.
Now, his successor at SUNYIT, acting President Robert Geer, will be stepping into the economic development council shoes as well.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo named Geer co-chairman alongside Lawrence Gilroy III, who has held the seat since the councils’ inception three years ago.
“I am thrilled to help the regional economic development council in any way I can,” Geer said. “I am very excited.”
Empire State Development President, Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner Kenneth Adams, who is overseeing the economic development council process, called Geer “the perfect fit” for the Mohawk Valley council.
“With his strong background, I am confident he will be an exceptional leader for the Mohawk Valley and help advance the council’s mission to create jobs and grow the economy,” he said.
This fall will see the third set of applications and awards under the economic development council process, which was created by Cuomo in 2011.
In it, regions compete for state development funds. The Mohawk Valley region includes six counties — Oneida, Herkimer, Fulton, Montogmery, Schoharie and Otsego.
Gilroy said he is glad to be working with Geer.
“Since Bob has been in town I have had the opportunity to meet with him and am really pleased for the community that we have been able to attract someone with his academic credentials,” he said.
He also said Geer’s previous role at the Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering gives him special insights into how to help the community plan for the future nanotechnology initiatives in Marcy.
Most recently, Geer served as vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at the NanoCollege, which has served as the catalyst for the budding nanotechnology sector in the Capitol region.
Geer, however, said though nanotechnology is important, he knows the economic development council is about more than that.
“Earlier parts of the process involved population centers,” he said, pointing to the Utica area among others. “Now you see projects take hold in the farther regions.”
He said the council process has already helped foster a regional strategy and the level of connectivity needed for success.
“I trhink the beauty of this model is, as the governor said, ‘the people in the regions know how to execute this, so let’s ask them what they need,’” Geer said.