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Thursday, 31 January 2013 13:12

Keeping Saratoga Viable: SEDC's Schneider Honored with National Award

By Patricia Older | News
Keeping Saratoga Viable: SEDC's Schneider Honored with National Award

SARATOGA SPRINGS – For local businesswoman Shelby Schneider, winning the “40 Under 40” award from Development Counselors International (DCI) was not an individual achievement, nor a personal one, it was an achievement made possible by the entire organization she works for – Saratoga Economic Development Corporation. 

 

“It speaks volumes for SEDC,” said “I work for a strong organization. It is not a reflection of me but of SEDC because we have the right support group and people and the things we’ve been able to do that made [the award] possible.”

Schneider, 38, was nominated for the first-ever award last year and was picked to receive it along with 39 other people from a pool of 150 nominations.  Each winner was chosen for their success in bringing in economic development to their communities. They came from all over the country and world, including Puerto Rico, New Orleans and Iraq. 

Schneider is the Director of Marketing and Economic Development Specialist for SEDC. 

DCI looked for individuals who raised the bar in economic development, “those who have brought innovation, high standards, strong character and a track record of success to their community and profession,” according to their website. 

Schneider, while a student at Skidmore, had an internship with SEDC. She fell in love with the art of finding ways to attract businesses to the community. When a position with SEDC opened in 2000, she was hired. It was Schneider who implemented the ramp-up of and administration of Saratoga County’s Empire Zone Program. She was in charge of the program until its end in 2010.

Schneider explained that SEDC has to stay ahead of the curve, exploring what kinds of businesses would be viable for the area while also seeking out incentives to entice them to try Saratoga County. 

“We first looked at attracting main manufacturers like Ball and Quad Graphics,” said Schneider. “Then further down the road, we went after business like Target and Ace [at Exit 16.] We had to have a well-thought out plan to attract the right industry.”

Those industries involved the Luther Forest Tech Park and GlobalFoundaries.

She credited media coverage, such as local papers and national outlets such as Diane Sawyer’s coverage of GlobalFoundaries, as helping promote the county. Her public relations efforts have landed media coverage in the Christian Science Monitor, The Economist, the Huffington Post and other blogs and publications.

Schneider also credited social media, noting that SEDC’s LinkedIn presence has almost 2000 participants, adding to their networking resources, a vital component in today’s social-media driven marketplace. 

“We use social media for promoting and educating the community,” explained Schneider. “We have made some valuable connections and it is really a great way to get people engaged in the business environment in Saratoga County.”

Continuing, she said that while the distinction of being named one of the movers and shakers of economic development has been an honor, she is happier the organization is doing something to encourage the younger generation to become involved. 

“I am glad DCI is doing this 40 Under 40 – it will bring new talent into the field of economic development,” said Schneider, who was part of the initiative for the 9/11 First Responders Respite held in Saratoga County when she was involved in Leadership Saratoga, a Chamber of Commerce program. 

She noted, though, the work is never done when trying to keep an area economically viable. 

“It is an endless cycle – there is retention and a matter of understanding what our assets are,” said Schneider. “Our next hurdle will be infrastructure and the next generation of technological startups.” 

SEDC is also proud of Schneider and her hard work and innovative ideas, crediting her with helping keep Saratoga County viable and in economic growth. 

“It is an honor to have such a well-respected, national organization recognizes one of our own,” said SEDC president Dennis Brobston. “We are so happy to see Shelby recognized for her efforts in the field of economic development. It also shines a positive light on the strength of organization and the impact that Saratoga County has had in the field of economic development.” 

For more information on DCI’s “40 Under 40” winners, visit www.aboutdci.com/40under40.

 

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