In 2018, Saratoga County continued to be one of the fastest-growing counties in New York State, and for good reason. With an educated workforce, great companies from diverse industry sectors, and a vibrant quality of place, we possess all the attributes that make our community a great investment for businesses and residents. Who wouldn’t want to invest, live, work, and raise a family here? Our future is bright, but it is important that we continue to lead the public and private sectors to plan for long-term growth. This means investing in infrastructure, developing our workforce, attracting talent, and encouraging our companies to innovate and invest in Saratoga County. Laying the foundation for future growth is the key to maintaining our economic prosperity today and long into the future.
Throughout 2018, the Saratoga Partnership marketed Saratoga County to businesses and site selectors throughout the world. We met with more than 75 companies and 60 site selectors to educate them on why Saratoga County is the ideal location for expansion. The Saratoga Partnership is why Saratoga County was successful in siting New York State’s largest battery storage project, Key Capture Energy project in Stillwater; why Proctors – Universal Preservation Hall is transforming a former church in Saratoga Springs into a year-round world class arts and cultural venue in downtown Saratoga after we assisted them with assistance through the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency; why the Saratoga Partnership is working with the Ellms Family Farm, who will be investing in a $10M Saratoga Farm Hub, an agritainment venue and farm incubator project. The Saratoga Partnership’s pipeline of projects currently include over 37 companies that are considering investing and growing in Saratoga County. This pipeline represents over 1,200 jobs and $110 million in capital investment. Saratoga County is ripe for new investment and we anticipate more to come in 2019.
This year, the Saratoga Partnership attracted over 600 leading tech executives and professionals from around the world by hosting the first-ever Silicon Summit East in partnership with Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA), and the 8th annual SEMI ASMC Conference. In 2019, the Saratoga Partnership will continue to bring technology executives and professionals from around the world to Saratoga County. Shining a spotlight on Globalfoundries and our high-tech research and development assets will attract investments from the international business community
The Saratoga Partnership will continue to work with industry sectors throughout Saratoga County and the region, to address workforce challenges. Although Saratoga County’s economy is strong, our businesses aren’t immune to changes in our local and global economy. With low unemployment rates (2.9% Nov 2018) and a high workforce participation rate (68% of the workforce is working), our businesses are being challenged to find talent and fill in skills gaps left by baby boomers retiring from the workforce. This issue is not unique to Saratoga County. In 2018, the national unemployment rate—at 3.7% in November—sits near a 50-year low. Economist Hugh Johnson recently cautioned that our workforce shortage will impact economic output and new job growth if it is not addressed through workforce development.
Entering 2019, the Saratoga Partnership will continue to forge strong partnerships with our colleges and universities to develop innovative workforce development programs that meet the needs of the private sector. In January, we will be launching the first-ever Computer Coding workforce development program in Saratoga County in partnership with Albany Can Code, SUNY ADK and SUNY Schenectady. This program will train Saratoga County residents for high-paying tech job opportunities and fill the talent pipeline. The Saratoga Partnership will also launch Circles of 7 (C7) mentorship program to provide critical strategic business assistance to drive the success of entrepreneurs in Saratoga County. We will continue to work with our partners at SCORE, the SBA, Innovate518, CEG, and SUNY ADK, to deliver innovative tools that support the needs of our small businesses and spark the spirit of budding entrepreneurs.
To help our local communities plan for the future, the Saratoga Partnership has launched the Next Wave Communities program to assist local towns within Saratoga County in developing custom-tailored economic development plans. In 2018, the Town of Moreau became the inaugural Next Wave Community and we look forward to helping more communities throughout Saratoga County plan for a brighter future.
In 2018, we have seen uncertainty amongst our businesses about how to manage the global supply chains or deal with rising prices for imported components hit by tariffs. Heading into the new year, the Saratoga Partnership is prepared to assist our business community with these disruptions in global markets and grow their businesses. Through our Global Markets Advisory service led by Mary Estelle Ryckman, companies can draw on her 30 years of expertise in negotiating international trade agreements and supporting global commerce in Washington D.C. The Saratoga Partnership team is poised to assist the Saratoga County business community and work hand in hand with our communities to lay the groundwork for future business growth.
Our unique quality of life makes Saratoga County an ideal location to attract and retain talent and help our employers fill the jobs that exist today. However, maintaining and expanding economic prosperity cannot be taken for granted. The Saratoga Partnership’s public-private model is one which is replicated and used around the world to conduct economic development and will result in a strong economy in 2019 and beyond.
To learn more about the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, call 518.871.1887 or visit saratogapartnership.org.
The National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Spa State Park hosts 14,000 visitors annually and houses several exhibition spaces, dance and yoga studios, and a 45-seat theater. The facility crackles with life and history, beginning with a grand entry foyer adorned with dynamic dance photos and lined with the names of Hall of Fame members, the greats in all dance disciplines.
Current exhibits include Gender Neutral, a groundbreaking display of the longstanding history of nontraditional gender roles in dance. It brings visitors from the origins of gender neutrality in dance in the 1700s through current work by troupes such as the all-male comic ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Dancers in Film, a multimedia permanent exhibit celebrating the magic of dance in movies, features Lifetime Achievement Award winners Ann-Margret, John Travolta, and Chita Rivera.
The Hall of Fame, dedicated to benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, welcomes two new members annually. Patrons can read about the accomplishments of dancers from Russians Anna Pavlova and Rudolf Nureyev to Americans like Gregory Hines and Martha Graham.
We visited with Museum Director Laura DiRado and Curatorial Associate Lisa Kolosek ahead of the July 11 ACE Mixer at the Museum to give Alliance members an inside look at how to balance creativity and business restrictions to maximize the visitor experience. Interestingly, neither Laura nor Lisa had a dance background prior to joining the Museum staff: Laura for many years worked as a freelance graphic designer with a focus on interpretive site design for the National Forest Service and other clients before taking on her roles at the Museum, first as Exhibition Coordinator and Designer and most recently as Director; while Lisa is an art historian and writer with a Master’s degree in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies.
Location: 99 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY
Employees: 7 in the Museum, 11 Dance Instructors
In business since: 1986
What would you share with Creatives about working at the Dance Museum?
In a small Museum like ours everyone does a little bit of everything and none of us is above any task. It keeps our team strong. You learn so much when you get to do all sorts of things; in a larger work environment you could easily get pigeonholed into specific roles. There is a certain glamour to working at a large Museum, but the experience you gain in a small operation makes you open to everything and gives you a great sense of the bigger picture.
Does reporting to a Board of Directors and being on State property have an impact on the creative process?
It doesn’t with our Board; Michele Riggi is the President and she and the Board absolutely have the Museum’s best interest at heart. They want the Museum to look fabulous and they are very supportive of what we’re doing. We are very fortunate. We definitely run ideas by the Board and ask their advice, but we essentially have complete artistic freedom. As a designer and as a curator that’s a dream.
Our location in the park is sometimes a challenge. The building is quite linear, and often there isn’t a natural path for an exhibition. Also, we are just one of many buildings in a gigantic park system. They have limited staff and there is red tape to cut through for work to be approved for the building since we’re tenants. For instance, we all work off a DSL system with 4.7 mbps for the staff and there is a long State process to getting a new system in place.
Since you had no dance affiliations, how did your background and experience help make you successful at the Museum?
Lisa: I worked freelance for many years, including writing a book for another museum, which helped when researching the material in our archives for our 30th anniversary book last year. I’m also a huge fan of dance. The Museum itself has great relationships in the dance world and we continue to cultivate new affiliations through our Hall of Fame and exhibitions. In our experience, dance companies and individuals have been quite receptive to working with us.
Laura: Working for a wide-format digital printing company gave me great knowledge for my role as designer at the Museum: to figure out which products can be used, how to apply them, and costs gave me unique insight into the exhibition process. I’ve particularly come to learn that many visitors prefer to be greeted with a catalog or pamphlet, (get more info about how to make one here), so they know what exhibits they can expect to see within the building, as well as the many different events that will be coming up in the future. Every bit of knowledge helps.
What can ACE members look forward to seeing at the Mixer on July 11th?
The focus will be on two new exhibitions: Gender Neutral, which explores the history of nontraditional gender roles in dance and Dancers After Dark, which features nude photographs of dancers in locations around the world taken by New York Times best-selling author Jordan Matter. Different spaces within the Museum are often used for dance performance and we are excited that there will also be a live dance component to the event.
ACE and the Center for Economic Growth have concluded our 2018 Creative Economy Roundtable Tour.
This six-county tour, held in February and March 2018, brought more than 700 attendees to Capital Region cultural institutions and creative agencies for open discussions on our regional identity, business challenges and opportunities, and everything related to our region’s Creative Economy. At the sessions, facilitators also shared new data showing the economic contributions from the creative industries, one of the largest and most dynamic regional employment sectors.
Special thanks to our event partners Fingerpaint and WMHT Educational Telecommunications, our event designer 2440 Design Studio, and our hosts: Overit, WMHT Educational Telecommunications, the Hyde Collection, Proctors, SPAC’s Hall of Springs, and Hudson Hall at the historic Hudson Opera House. ACE and CEG also thank the many local companies who provided refreshments for our Roundtable Tour, including Berben & Wolff’s, [forged], Fort Orange Brewing, Mazzone Hospitality, Sunhee’s Farm and Kitchen, and 22 2nd Street Wine Co.