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Michael Oates: MVP for Orange County Partnership


Baseball has its most valuable player each year –  Orange County Partnership has its “most valuable partner.” The one chosen this year was Michael Oates, president and CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp.

With more than 200 guests packing Falkirk Country Club June 7, Maureen Halahan, president and CEO of the Partnership, thanked Oates for his commitment to bringing business to Orange and  to the seven counties that comprise the Hudson Valley – Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester, Ulster and Sullivan.

Halahan said Oates, former senior member of Empire State Development and now leading HVEDC since 2009 has helped to promote the Hudson Valley both nationally and internationally.

“He’s marketing us on the global landscape. Companies are very much aware of the region thanks to Mike’s leadership.”

Oates said Orange County’s economic development arm “is a deal-driven organization and very easy to partner with.  It is creating new marketing programs to bring business into the county – President Container, Array Optronix (former tenant at the Orange County Business Accelerator), Kolmar Labs and Taylor Biomass Energy. We are focusing on an e-commerce distribution center. While it didn’t win Macy’s, Orange County is working to make it happen.”

Oates said, “We were a state working without a budget and sending a message that this was not a state to do business in. With our new governor and Legislature, I believe we are now sending a message that New York is, indeed, open for business.

“We need a property tax cap with true relief. We need to repeal the MTA payroll tax. We must reduce barriers and burdens to business coming in to the state or ones that are here and want to expand. I do think we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Since Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the 10 regional councils that would focus on economic development and vie for $200 million in extra funding for the most creative ideas, Oates said the economic picture is looking up. “Governor Cuomo said he intends to have them in place by June. We are in June now, and we’re waiting.”

With Westchester, Orange and Rockland the epicenter of a biotech cluster, Oates said the HVEDC is working to attract capital for the growing industry. “Food and beverage clusters are also growing,” said Oates, “and thanks to Pepsi and other companies we are  working to help this industry grow.” Access to capital and business incentives, he said, is the key to rebuilding the Empire State.


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