CLN Class of 2014 discusses county’s economic development efforts

Community leaders from throughout Chautauqua County- all members of Chautauqua Leadership Network’s Class of 2014-learned more about opportunities for regional economic development and advancement at a program held recently at SUNY Fredonia’s Business Technology Incubator in Dunkirk.

Panelists at the CLN session included Kristine Morabito, program manager, Chautauqua County IDA; Justin Hanft, coordinator of Dream It Do It for the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce; Lou DiPalma, vice president at Lake Shore Savings Bank; Irene Dobies, executive director of the Small Business Development Center; and Michael Ball, deputy director of Empire State Development, Western New York region.

Brief presentations by each panelist were followed by a question-and-answer session, moderated by Andrew Nixon, executive director of the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau and a CLN past president. Class members also learned more about SUNY Fredonia’s Business Technology Incubator from executive director Bob Fritzinger, who provided a tour of the facility and resident businesses in the building.

The economic development session is one of several educational sessions scheduled over the coming months for CLN’s Orientation Year Class. The curriculum is designed in part to educate and engage CLN class members on regional issues that go beyond one’s day-to-day professional responsibilities and demonstrate the opportunities for businesses and organizations to work together for the good of the larger community.

Now in its 22nd year, CLN is a not-for-profit organization designed to identify, recruit, train and network area professionals. To date, almost 500 county residents have participated in the program, which was founded to develop effective community leaders who will address the challenges and opportunities facing Chautauqua County.

For more information about Chautauqua Leadership Network, please visit the organization’s website at