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Chamber resumed its practice in November of conducting an “Annual Strategic Planning Retreat” with our Board, incoming Board Members and management staff — this time for an evening and a day at the new Saranac Waterfront Lodge in Saranac Lake. The opening dinner featured our friend and partner, Martine Hebert, the new Quebec Delegate General in New York who we spent the day with in meetings and tours. The next day included sessions on Government Affairs with the Business Council of New York State, Upstate United and the U.S. Chamber; a conversational session of Strategic Perspectives for 2022 with our three Vice Presidents and the Board; a session focusing on three key strategic issues in the Adirondacks (Broadband/Cell Service, Housing and Child Care); and a briefing on economic development initiatives underway in Franklin County. All of this, together with other input and conversations, has helped to define our Business Plan for 2022 with program and service commitments ranging from small business and tourism to economic development and advocacy. As we do each year, we have also identified just a few key Strategic Priorities needing particular focus and attention in the year ahead, and broadly supporting most other areas of commitment. These are: QUEBEC-NEW YORK: Prioritizing the following in the aftermath of the impacts of the pandemic: • Continued strong and collaborative advocacy for the restoration of normalcy at our shared border. • A multi-faceted, sustained commitment to maximizing and accelerating the restoration and growth of our cross-border connections, including tourism and visitation, business and economic development, and airport activity among a full range of social and economic connections needing to be freshly valued and facilitated. • A continued and expanded focus on the needs and growth of advanced manufacturing in the North Country, exemplified by our award-winning NAmTrans initiative in support of Transportation Equipment & Aerospace, all within the special context of our cross-border and global dynamics. HUMAN CAPITAL: We will maintain and enhance our comprehensive range of commitments to assist North Country employers with the increased challenges of meeting their recruitment and skills needs while simultaneously enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life of the people of our region. GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS: Our special approach to Government Affairs will remain an over-arching priority, carrying a key element of the means by which we will be able to pursue all other priorities and all elements of our 2022 program of work.


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

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