Chamber, EDC split, Martin to leave - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Chamber, EDC split, Martin to leave

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March 25, 2008

Albany --  In a shakeup for Albany's Economic Development, the man at the helm for seven years is leaving. Both the Economic Development Commission and the Chamber of Commerce accepted Tim Martin's resignation Tuesday. 

Leaders say the umbrella leadership over both organizations just isn't working. As part of new Strategic Plan titled Albany All Together, the organizations will separate and be run by different directors.

Tim Martin's been the face of Albany for seven and a half years. Under a joint agreement, he's been asked to step aside. It's because the Market Street strategic plan found not enough emphasis has been put on economic development. "We were getting some push back about a lack of focus in the EDC," says EDC Chairman and Director Robert McKinney.

"What they found too was that there was some concerns with the successes that the economic development commission achieved in the past few years attracting and retaining business," said Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jay Smith.

So now the Economic Development Commission will be its own entity, with its own director.  "The commission felt like they would like to be a separate highly focused or re-focused entity to economic development work in this community," said McKinney.

Both chamber and EDC employees met all day, behind closed doors, to sort out what's next and inform the staff, they say now was the right time.  "It's a good time for this to happen, with the new plan coming on line with Don Buie being added and others very talented leadership, with Al Lott stepping up into his position for the continued great leadership that Richard Crowdis provides us so with all of those great things now it's a good time to make a change," said McKinney.

The Chamber of Commerce under the direction of Wendy Martin for the time being, will also change focus.  "The chamber needs to concentrate on existing business, supporting existing business, the chamber needs to put its effort on the part of the strategic plan to focus on the part that's not pure economic development," says Smith.

That means improving the people through better graduation rates, test scores, and improving Albany's poverty level.

Tim Martin's last day on the job is April first.

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