Borrello Announces Two Appointments In His Administration

Credit Karen Harvey

MAYVILLE – County Executive George Borrello announced Friday that he’s made appointments for two key senior posts in his administration in an effort to begin a significant restructuring of Chautauqua County’s economic development foundation. 

 The proposed changes, subject to legislative approval, will create the positions of Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and the Director of Planning and Community Development in an effort to rebrand and realign.

The County Executive announced that Mark Geise will assume the title of Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and Chief Administration Administrative Officer of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) on March 5th. He also announced that Don McCord will be elevated to the position of Director of Planning and Community Development after the consideration and approval of the Chautauqua County Legislature.

Borrello said the appointments and other changes within the County’s current Department of Planning and Economic Development demonstrate that the County is implementing a new approach as it pertains to business and economic development services and efforts to attract new businesses.   

“This is an exciting first step for my administration, and I look forward to continuing to work on the commitments I have made,” said Borrello. 

Borrello said he is thrilled he was successful in convincing Geise to return to Chautauqua County to help in developing a new structure and strategy for the county. 

Geise, who earned his Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo, brings nearly three decades of public and private sector business and economic development-related experience to his new position. For over a decade, he worked in the glass manufacturing sector, concluding his foray in this field as Plant Manager for ACA Reflective Glass products in Dunkirk.

From 2002 through 2009, Geise was employed as a Senior Planner for Ecology & Environment in Lancaster, N.Y.  In 2009, he was appointed to the position of Deputy Director of Planning and Economic Development for Chautauqua County, where he worked until 2016. After a one-year stint with Jamestown Renaissance Corporation as a Senior Planner, Geise was appointed as Director of Economic Development for the County of Monroe, where he has served for the last 18 months.  

“Over the last 18 months, Mark Geise has been a key member of the team managing one of the premier IDAs in New York State in Monroe County, where he has been busy implementing new ideas and strategies to improve their operations and effectiveness,” said Borrello. “Mark will be chiefly involved in carrying out the economic development-related promises I have outlined already, as well as new initiatives aimed at being more proactive, efficient, transparent, and user-friendly.”

Geise lives in Fredonia with his wife Katie, and has three grown children; Mark, Aidan, and Keely.

“I couldn’t be more excited and grateful about returning to Chautauqua County to apply my energy, experience, and skills to continue building on the good work that is underway here,” said Geise. “I feel fortunate to possess the appropriate public and private sector experience, along with the suitable skill sets, to help fulfill County Executive Borrello’s progressive vision for business and economic development.”

“I owe a debt of gratitude to the terrific leadership team in Monroe County, who afforded me an opportunity to further hone my economic development skills over the past 18 months with one of the most successful IDAs in the State. I’m thrilled to again be working closely with County Executive Borrello, who is a very capable businessman, leader, and visionary.”

McCord brings 20 years of planning and business experience to his new position. He has served the Department of Planning and Economic Development as both a Junior and Senior Planner, and was promoted to Deputy Director of Planning and Development in 2014. During this time, McCord helped found the Chautauqua County Microenterprise program; authored several municipal and intermunicipal plans; and acted as liaison to the County Planning and Farmland Protection Boards.

McCord is a graduate of SUNY Fredonia and holds a degree in Business Administration. He currently lives in Westfield with his wife Judy, and has two grown children; Emily and Joshua.

McCord also expressed his excitement regarding Borrello’s vision for the new Department of Planning and Community Development.  

“I share his desire to align our resources, and rethink how we market and deliver our services so that we can send a strong message to the business community and the public that we mean business here in Chautauqua County,” said McCord. “Our team is thrilled to have the opportunity to help enact the meaningful changes being proposed and to be a part of bringing this new vision to fruition for the citizens of Chautauqua County.”

Borrello said he’s confident in Geise’s and McCord’s leadership and ability to help boost economic development in Chautauqua County.

“I am convinced that Mark and Don are the optimal choices to carry out my vision of re-inventing economic development in Chautauqua County,” said Borrello. “By making Mark Geise my Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, and by further empowering Planning and Community Development under Don McCord’s leadership, it conveys a clear message that economic development is my administration’s top priority.”

“Mark and Don both bring a wealth of public and private sector economic development experience to the table, as well as planning competencies, which will be essential as we re-imagine economic development in Chautauqua County.”

Justin Gould contributed to this report. 

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