For More Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000
Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000
Poughkeepsie... Ron Hicks, Dutchess County’s Assistant County Executive for Strategic Planning and Economic Development has received the ‘Think Local First’ Headliner Award from the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce. The annual awards, now in its 10th year, recognize outstanding businesses, organizations and community leaders in the Hudson Valley and were presented at the Chamber’s monthly Contact Breakfast this morning at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and Conference Center.
County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro said, “Economic development is one of Dutchess County’s most important priorities and Ron has been instrumental in making our vision for a diverse and thriving business economy a reality. I thank Ron for his unwavering commitment to Dutchess County’s growth and success, helping us be a force for positive change within the community. Our efforts have made Dutchess County as strong as it has ever been with 21 consecutive months of job growth, the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years, and $4.7 billion invested in projects under construction or in development. He leads our efforts with passion and professionalism, and a keen focus on the people of this community.”
Mr. Hicks joined Dutchess County government in 2012 to help lead the County’s economic development efforts. In his role as Assistant County Executive, he re-engineered the County’s economic development apparatus through the creation of the Th!nk Dutchess Alliance for Business and has worked diligently to bring together key stakeholders, including Dutchess Tourism Inc., Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board, and the New York Small Business Development Center to attract and keep businesses in Dutchess.
Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Frank Castella, Jr. said, “We are grateful for Dutchess County’s continued support of the business community, helping facilitate development and growth in our region and overcome the state-level obstacles that make doing business in New York so challenging. Ron’s knowledge and love of the Hudson Valley embodies what it means to ‘Think Local First’ and his dedication has helped create a vibrant and prosperous economy.”
The Headliner ‘Think Local First’ award celebrates the leadership and dedication of a business or individual whose actions, business practices, and community engagement exemplify the principles of the Chamber’s “Think Local First” motto. The award is not given every year.
“Simply look around Dutchess County at the many projects and initiatives that are happening, and Ron has most likely been a part of their progress, engaged and involved at every level,” County Executive Molinaro continued. “Ron is at the early morning meetings with developers and participates in the evening municipal planning meetings. Whether it is a local farmer seeking to expand their operations into a new business segment; a data center seeking to relocate; a film maker looking for local talent and services; or a community agency seeking to provide young people with job skill training, among others; Ron is there, willing to help and ready to assist.”
Under Mr. Hicks’ guidance, Th!nk Dutchess has expanded and enhanced its marketing efforts to more effectively promote Dutchess County around the globe. Mr. Hicks also helped facilitate the “Innovation Quad” partnership between Marist College’s Fulton Technology Crossroad Project, SUNY Dutchess’ Materials Science Lab, Vassar College’s Bridge for Laboratory Sciences, and IBM to cultivate a Start-Up Ecosystem for companies to leverage existing science and technology resources and local expertise. Additionally, he has been at the forefront of significant new investment in Dutchess County – particularly repurposing vacant or underutilized space.
Mr. Hicks said, “I am grateful to County Executive Molinaro for his vision and focus on strengthening our local economy and am proud to have been able to help highlight what our county has to offer. We continue to emphasize the cost-saving benefits of investing in vacant or underutilized space instead of building new infrastructure as well as the many other opportunities for growth and expansion that exist in Dutchess. I am humbled to be among such an innovative and citizen-centric group of honorees and thank the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Headliner Award Committee for this recognition.”
“Congratulations to Ron, and to all of the honorees, who all work tirelessly to innovate, create, and make our county an even better place to live, work, and raise a family,” County Executive Molinaro said.
Visit the Chamber's Headliner Award Committee webpage for more information on each category and to see the full list of recipients.