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Updated: Nov 29, 2023


By Garry Douglas

When I started at the Chamber in 1992, it already had a tradition of holding an annual overnight Strategic Planning Retreat for its Board and staff at a location outside of Plattsburgh. The first one I organized along with Herb Carpenter and Mark Barie was at the old Wawbeek Inn in Tupper Lake. And this year it will have been conducted on November 3-4 at the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid.

It always starts with an Opening Dinner on the Thursday evening that includes a number of additional guests, many of our state and federal friends, and a keynote speaker. This year we were pleased to welcome Hope Knight, the new CEO of Empire State Development, continuing the tradition of the last four ESD chiefs taking part in our Retreat. Friday then featured a series of informative sessions, starting with a look ahead at Government Affairs by representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Council of N.Y.S., and Upstate United. An especially important session will then have been “Northern Perspectives”, featuring our partners from the Canadian and Quebec governments.

Additional sessions will have included “V.P. x 3”, bringing insights and recommendations from each of our three Vice Presidents: Susan Matton (Economic Development), Kristy Kennedy (Marketing, Operations & Business Development), and Joel Wood (Strategic Initiatives). Plus, a session on the upcoming World University Games and future opportunities for sports competition in the region.

The turnout of Board members is always gratifying, and the information and insights will once again allow us to craft a meaningful set of strategic priorities and plans for the new year, to be finalized in December. Stay tuned.

Onward and upward!

Garry Douglas is president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce.

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