NBEDC Seeks to Broaden its Business Base

The New Bedford Economic Development Council voted unanimously on August 15 to broaden its base of Council members to “at least 75”; to form working groups in focus areas of the City’s economic development agenda including: Emerging job sectors; Existing and small business development; Sales, Marketing and Communications; Workforce Development; and the Creative Economy; and to hone its governing board from 24 to 9 members. The vote culminates a four-month review.
“Truly sustainable economic development requires a broad and inclusive base of business support and buy-in,” said Tony Sapienza, president of the Council and president of Joseph Abboud Manufacturing, a company which employs more than 600 people in New Bedford.
“Over the last year, it has become clear that the work of the Council is as important as it has ever been. As the only agency charged with economic development throughout the City, we have been building on the solid work of past and present board leadership. We will expect that each member of the Council will serve on a working group and that our executive director will be communicating with the entire Council weekly,” continued Mr. Sapienza.
“While we respect the concept of the previous configuration of the 24 members of the governing board representing many different organizations, in practice, it has not allowed us to focus on NBEDC’s unique mission,” he said.
The new board of nine members consists of a cross section of the City with three members from the private sector, three from the community at large, two appointed by the Mayor, and the Mayor, ex-officio. The members are: Tony Sapienza, President, Joseph Abboud Mfg. (Chairman); Bill Davis, President and CEO, Ze-gen, Inc.; Peter Kavanaugh, President La-Z-Boy; Katherine Knowles, Executive Director, The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center; Scott W. Lang, Mayor; (Ex officio); Jim Mathes, President, SMILES Mentoring; Joe Nauman, Executive Vice President, Corporate and Legal, Acushnet Co.; Paul Vigeant, Assistant Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (Ex-officio).
In addition, Mayor Lang and members of the NBEDC staff will begin meeting with more than 50 employers throughout the City to ensure that their needs and their ideas are being integrated into the City’s economic development activities.

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