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Aldrich Receives 2024 Economic Development ‘Rising Star’ Award

Nate Aldrich, left, Chautauqua County Economic Development coordinator and manager of the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth, is the 2024 recipient of the James W. Griffin Rising Star Award, presented by the New York State Economic Development Council. The award was presented to Aldrich by James Johnson, right, executive director of the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency and past board chair of the state Economic Development Council.

COOPERSTOWN – Nate Aldrich, economic development coordinator for Chautauqua County and manager of the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth, was the recipient of the 2024 James W. Griffin Rising Star Award, presented by the state Economic Development Council. Aldrich was presented the award at the council’s recent meeting in Cooperstown.

The Rising Star Award honors an individual, age 40 and under, who has made a significant contribution to the economic development profession in New York state, with consideration given to quality of service and impact on New York’s economy. Innovation in their field and community service/volunteerism are also taken into consideration.

Aldrich is a native of Chautauqua County and has held his position within county government while also serving as manager of CCPEG manager. In prior years, he also held a position as a planner for Chautauqua County.

Since starting in his current role in 2019, Aldrich has been involved in a broad range of projects, though his work with CCPEG drew notice from state officials. CCPEG is a public/private partnership that has worked to develop a wide variety of economic development projects for the entire county and for individual communities, with a focus on placemaking, workforce development, housing development, talent attraction and retention, and infrastructure. According to Mark Geise, deputy county executive for economic development and county IDA CEO, Aldrich is a key member of the team currently developing a $17 million, 150 acre shovel-ready site in Ripley, much of which is being funded through external sources he’s been able to secure.

“The CCPEG team has expanded in the past several years, due to the large number of initiatives it is working on and the funding it has been able to secure to undertake these projects. The impact of these initiatives has increased year-over-year, and this has been in large part due to Nate’s leadership,” Geise said. “This was reflected in October 2023, when CCPEG received the Economic Developer of the Year award by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. My endorsement of Nate for this award was a no-brainer.”

In 2023, CCPEG leveraged more than $28 million in grant funding to assist with various development efforts, secured $1.2 million in grants, assisted 47 individual projects, allocated $460,000 to partners, and engaged with 65 partner agencies.

Aldrich’s other recent highlights include providing technical assistance to the City of Dunkirk, which applied for and received the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award, and he contributed to the Live CHQ/Choose CHQ talent attraction and retention campaign for Chautauqua County.

Aldrich received his Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, and was chosen by the faculty at UB to receive the American Institute of Certified Planners 2016 Planning Excellence Award from the American Planning Association. Other awards received during his time at UB include the Michael J. Krasner Memorial Scholarship, the Western New York Prosperity Fellowship, the R. Buckminster Fuller Award, and the Public Service Award.

Aldrich serves on the Brooks-TLC Hospital Board of Trustees, manages the Chadwick Bay Regional Commission, and serves on the Board of the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau. He is also a member of the Dunkirk Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Local Planning Committee and the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation Local Economic Development Committee.

“It’s really just a case of being in the right place at the right time,” Aldrich said. “Not only do we have a capable team, but they all put a lot of heart and effort into doing what they all do and I’m really just proud of that.”

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