Orange County Partnership - News

Charting a Path to Future Prosperity

A Message From the President & CEO - Maureen Halahan

Dear Orange County Partnership Investors & Supporters,

Let’s face it, we’ve been through a lot. We miss human contact and the freedoms that we take for granted. A car ride, a hike, sitting in the sun or doing projects around our homes have provided satisfaction, but it’s all overshadowed by health concerns and our uncertain economic future.


The closer we get to re-opening, the more reckless we tend to become and less patient. But, we have to stay well and follow safe practices. Everything we do moving forward will be dictated by the numbers of new hospitalizations, hospital deaths, hospital beds available, hot spots, etc., etc. If we blow it, we go back into isolation and not only will there be unrest, the economic impacts attached to a second shut down are unimaginable.


In this publication, we share an article on the official announcement of Governor Cuomo’s plan to open the three upstate regions. (see: Three Upstate Regions Likely to Begin Reopening on Friday).

Now more than ever, companies are focusing on two equally important factors, the safety of their employees and business continuity.


We continue to hear that companies are having a hard time hiring the people they need or bringing back some of those who have been furloughed or laid-off. Between the enhanced unemployment benefits and the stimulus package, some workers are making more by staying home. It seems hard to believe as the unemployment rate keeps climbing and jobs become scarce that some will pass up full time employment for temporary unemployment, but for now, we have to focus on what’s within our control.


Even well-structured companies with strategic plans and specific policies in place to prepare for change during times of crisis are pivoting weekly. Managing and protecting your talent will be your greatest challenge and ultimately will pay the greatest dividends.


Your business comeback plan will likely focus on safety, control, stability and more back-up plans. There’s comfort in the knowledge that we’re not alone. Every person and every business are going through this period of restructuring at the same time. We will have a new pool of talent to choose from where just 12 short weeks ago we were at our lowest unemployment in more than 50 years. Motivated people will be eager to get back to work and they will be grateful for jobs. Our organizations should be working together with everyone at the table, communicating, planning and taking ownership for success. It’s a fight for survival and leaders will begin to emerge. Short term, team-based goals, focused on small incremental victories will add up over time. As confidence builds and normalcy returns, longer-term strategic planning can take place.


Organizations that come out of a crisis stronger most often have leaders who focus on operations and how they engage employees. They are nimble, flexible and focused on engaging, rewarding and retaining their people.


No one has all the answers as we move through these uncharted waters, but together we can find new levels of success.  


Victories to Build Upon:


Currently in Orange County, two of the largest buildings in our history are under way creating hundreds of construction jobs and full-time positions. (see story: Two of the Largest Commercial Projects in Orange County History Begin Construction). Smart planning, good brokering, persistent developers, savvy consultants and motivated corporations invested millions of dollars and thousands of hours to make it happen.


After speaking with municipal leaders, most of whom have to make up millions of dollars in revenue shortfalls, we can expect a greater willingness on a local level to bring worthy projects to fruition. One project alone can save countless small businesses from going under. We have to get projects up and running to kick-start our economy. Every municipality is in dire need of ratables and jobs. Municipal boards need to work together to get applications through the process quickly and conversely applicants need to hire the right consultants to ensure they are prepared.


The market for logistics, e-commerce, distribution and manufacturing is exploding. (see article: Report Suggests Logistics Sector Will Get Even Stronger in Years to Come).


We are being approached by more and more workforce housing developers as people want to leave densely populated urban areas for a safer more affordable place to raise their families. In addition, the talent that we have here, needs to stay here. Especially now. Towns that embrace such opportunities boldly will beat out those that wait.


It’s going to be up to each and every individual to keep our communities safe. If we act responsibly, work tirelessly and creatively there’s hope for a prosperous and healthy future.