BPU Planning Retool WNY 2023 Conference

During Monday’s Board of Public Utilities meeting, the BPU announced a follow-up event for last year’s Retool Western New York conference in Jamestown. The BPU is currently working to coordinate a one-day Retool Western New York 2023 conference in July. Pictured, is Ellen Ditonto, BPU business development coordinator. P-J photo by Timothy Frudd

The Board of Public Utilities is hoping to build off the success of last year’s Retool Western New York conference in Jamestown with a one-day conference in July.

Dave Leathers, general manager, told BPU board members that the Ellen Ditonto, business development coordinator and other members of the business development department are working to organize a one-day Retool Western New York conference to be held at the Chautauqua Institution this summer. The conference is expected to take place July 26.

“In cooperation with Chautauqua, we’ve had a number of responses to our survey from our Retool 22 participants who said, ‘Yes, let’s continue the conversation, maybe not as long because it’s difficult for our manufacturers to get out of the office for two or three days,'” Ditonto said.

Ditonto explained that rather than holding a conference for multiple days, this year’s Retool Western New York conference will take place in a single day as part of Chautauqua Institution’s infrastructure week.

According to Ditonto, the Chautauqua Institution has a nuclear engineer who will be speaking on July 26. As an engineer, environmentalist and leader of a startup company, Ditonto said “a lot of buttons were pushed” for the BPU’s development team regarding the speaker’s ability to attract people to attend the conference and provide beneficial information for manufacturers and businesses.

“We’ll have a private meet and greet with her for our participants, then a lunch and an important discussion on economic development opportunities and climate tech and clean tech and panel discussions related to recruiting and retention of employees in our area,” she said. “This has been the number one issue as I’ve gone out and talked to manufacturers, and it’s important that they understand that there’s probably work on both sides that needs to be done.”

As part of the conference’s panel discussions, Ditonto said Retool Western New York already has “really good people” committed to speak. Ditonto added that the BPU has invited both the Jamestown and North County Young Professionals groups to attend the conference.

“There will be an informal networking event at the end of the day, and we think it’s important for them also to get to know some of the manufacturers and to talk about what’s possible here in our region,” she said.


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