This month’s column from the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce comes from a different voice. A new voice; not new to Otsego County, but new to this position. My name is Sean Lewis, and I am now the President & CEO of the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce.
I was the Advertising Director of the Daily Star from 2011 to 2015. My wife Diana, our son Matthew and I enjoyed living here more than any other stop in our careers. After 23 years in community newspapers from Upstate New York to Texas we are thrilled to return, and I am equally thrilled to get started. We have considerable headwinds here in Otsego County that have greatly affected the business community and everyone who calls this exceptionally beautiful part of the world home. The pandemic has changed life’s landscape and forced all of us to confront its reality in a multitude of ways. If there is one thing I most remember about the people of our region it is the giving nature of your generous hearts and your willingness to help each other in times of need. I have witnessed these, and I know they have shined brightly over the past two years.
In my role as the leader of this Chamber, my job is to help us all recover. Our goal as an entire community should not be returning to the past, but rather to focus on how to grow and thrive in the reality of today and tomorrow. And while we will continue to honor and preserve our history, yesterday is behind us and gone. The future begins now. To that end, you will see and hear more of me and Kathryn Dailey, our Director of Operations, as restrictions permit. We will be an everyday partner of our communities, and we will be asking for your opinions.
Throughout the year, I look forward to face-to-face meetings, modest gatherings and eventually large celebrations… together. I look forward to (yes) the annual Chamber Golf Tournament, Awards Dinners and the like. I look forward to the County Fair and community festivals, job fairs, street fairs and Outlaws’ baseball games. I look forward to representing businesses in every corner of this county from Oneonta to Richfield Springs and Morris to Schenevus. I look forward to helping businesses tackle the daunting tasks of staffing, workforce development, networking, expansion, planning, marketing strategies and more.
I am also looking forward to developing and synergistic relationship with other area Chambers of Commerce, our Local, County, State and Federal representatives, Otsego Now (economic development), Otsego 2000 (historical, environmental and cultural preservation), CDO Workforce, the N.Y. Small Business Development Center, Destination Oneota (travel and tourism), ONC BOCES, SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick College, area non-profits and all organizations that drive growth and prosperity within Otsego County.
I’m looking and moving forward. I invite you all to join me.