The Erie County Industrial Development Agency voted in special session to negotiate a contract Steven W. Weathers, a development agency veteran, who most recently served as President and CEO of World Trade Center San Diego. That contract is expected to be made official at the ECIDA’s December 16 monthly meeting.
Mr. Weathers, 50, has extensive executive experience in the public development, international trade and private venture capital arenas. He’s held the top jobs at the Savannah Georgia Economic Development Agency, World Trade Savannah, Regional Growth Partnership and Rocket Ventures, both located in Toledo, Ohio, and Greater Tucson Economic Council.
He also served a decade as Vice President of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., and is credited with heading the team that lured Denmark’s Lego Group to locate a Legoland theme park in Carlsbad, California.
“The ECIDA is in a great position to grow the companies in its own backyard, while simultaneously pitching its attributes nationally and internationally,” Mr. Weathers said.
“There are 16,000 economic development agencies in the U.S., so the goal is to differentiate the ECIDA from the pack and get attention. I think my skill set will come in handy to make that impression,” he added.
Mr. Weathers, who officially departs World Trade Center San Diego on December 4, will go from running a nine-person agency with a $1.3 million yearly budget, to the ECIDA which has 16 staffers and a 2014 budget of $2.8 million.
Mr. Weathers’ deep credentials caught the eye of Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz.
“It was quite apparent from the high quality candidates we reviewed and interviewed that many leaders in the economic development industry both locally and nationwide were interested in this position. This indicates to me the excitement the national economic development community has for what we are doing here in Buffalo and Erie County. I welcome Steven Weathers to our community and know he is the right person to lead the ECIDA to an even brighter future,” Mr. Poloncarz said.
The ECIDA embarked on a search for CEO six months ago when Alfred Culliton announced he would retire in early January 2014. Mr. Culliton holds the titles of Acting CEO and Chief Operating Officer.
More than 100 candidates answered the call, with Mr. Weathers emerging the winner.
“My first efforts will be to meet Erie County’s business leaders, community leaders, elected officials and residents to find out what they want from their IDA,” Mr. Weathers said. “I’ve been following media reports for the past several weeks and am very impressed with development momentum I’ll be stepping into.”
Weathers began his career in securities and banking before joining the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. He has a B.A. in economics from California State University, Chico, and earned certifications in economic development from the California Association of Local Economic Developers, San Diego State University and the International Economic Development Council. He was also an adjunct instructor at the University of Arizona, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in economic development.