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Dr. Battles Succeeds Former Monroe Community College President Dr. Anne Kress as the Council's Academic Representative

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Couempire-state-development-finger-lakes-forwardncil (FLREDC) today announced that Dr. Denise Battles, President of SUNY Geneseo, has been appointed as Co-Chair of the Council, effective immediately. Dr. Battles succeeds former Monroe Community College President Dr. Anne Kress who served as the Co-Chair from April of 2016–December 2019. Dr. Battles joins Co-Chair Bob Duffy, President and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce as the FLREDC continues working to grow the economy in the nine county Finger Lakes region which includes Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties.


“The statewide Regional Economic Development Councils have brought together local stakeholders in academia, business, education, and non-profits to spearhead economic development projects in their communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the statewide Regional Economic Development Councils. “The Finger Lakes REDC has worked to transform the region with new and expanded businesses, increased tourism opportunities, and good paying jobs. I congratulate Dr. Denise Battles, President of SUNY Geneseo, as the new co-chair of the Finger Lakes REDC, and thank Dr. Anne Kress for her leadership and efforts during her time as co-chair. Dr. Battles’ experience and knowledge will help to accelerate the Finger Lakes Forward development strategy and continue the momentum of growth now and in the future.”


FLREDC Co-Chair and Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, “Anne Kress’ leadership on the regional council was simply transformative for the Finger Lakes region. I am incredibly grateful for her tireless commitment to the council. Her innovative ideas truly served to move the Finger Lakes region forward. I can think of no one better to take over for Anne than Denise Battles, who will bring a new set of ideas to the table that will no doubt further our focused mission. I am incredibly excited and look forward to working with her on behalf of our region.”

FLREDC Co-Chair and SUNY Geneseo President Dr. Denise Battles said, “I am deeply honored to have this opportunity to serve and advance the economic development and vitality of the Finger Lakes region. It is humbling to follow Anne Kress’ exemplary record of leadership and join Bob Duffy in the role of Co-Chair. I look forward to partnering with Bob, whose contributions to our state are unparalleled, as well as other FLREDC team members, to grow the capacity of our region and beyond.”

Dr. Denise Battles began her tenure as Geneseo’s 13th president on July 1, 2015. She is the second woman to lead the college as permanent president since the college’s founding in 1871. Her appointment at Geneseo caps a 25-year career as a geologist, professor and higher education administrator. An Oswego County native, Dr. Battles is a Colgate University alumna. Prior to her arrival at Geneseo, she was the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Previously, Battles served as Dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences and Professor of Geology at the University of Northern Colorado. In addition to her faculty and administrative appointments, Dr. Battles has also held leadership roles in multiple higher education associations among other honors.

Other members recently appointed to the council include:

  • Grant Malone, Rochester Building & Construction Trades President
  • Steve Mowers, Claims Recovery Financial Services
  • Lisa Burns, Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council President


Ex-Officio changes to the Regional Council include:

  • Adam Bello, Monroe County Executive
  • Kenneth Miller, Wayne County Board of Supervisors Chairman
  • Robert Hayssen, Seneca County Board of Supervisors Chairman

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, “In these unprecedented times it is more important than ever that the community continues to work together to support the council’s transformative efforts to move the regional economy forward. I am proud to have the opportunity to serve on the council as it continues that important mission.”

The REDC process has transformed New York State government’s approach to economic development, creating a statewide framework for bottom-up, regional economic growth and streamlining the state funding application process. Established in 2011 as a centerpiece of the governor’s strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils replaced the state’s old top-down approach with one that is community-based and performance-driven. Through nine rounds of the REDC competition, the Finger Lakes REDC has delivered $721 million for 950 projects.

To learn more about the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, click here.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $8.07 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

About the Regional Economic Development Councils

The Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative is a key component of Governor Cuomo’s approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources.

After seven rounds of the REDC process, more than $5.4 billion has been awarded to more than 6,300 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans, projecting to create and retain more than 220,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit


Shari Voorhees-Vincent | | (585) 399-7055

ESD Press Office | | (800) 260-7313

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